Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for the ‘Paint crew’ Category

Paintshop and Management: Transparency and Accountability

The terms “transparency” and “accountability” are used in every trade and industry, including government and not-for-profits. Together, also sometimes synonymously.

 

What do transparency and accountability mean, in relation to the painting and decorating trade?

 

Transparency: Painter demonstrates a clear, honest and understandable picture of his or her, as well as others’, decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

Accountability: Painter becomes answerable and takes responsibility for his or her, and/or others’ decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

How can transparency and accountability work in the painting and decorating trade?

 

Problem/Situation: Yellow paint used for “No Parking” and “Yield” lines faded, wore off fast.

Transparency: Painter shows management the difference in composition and durability between paint product supplied, and the product recommended for high-traffic exterior surface.

Accountability: Painter takes share of painter-supervisor-management group’s responsibility for approving, ordering and using less durable and low-cost paint product.

 

Problem/Situation: Re-touched up others’ surface touch-ups, still left paint color differences.

Transparency: Painter shows G.M. how budget and time crunch drove decision to re-touch up small area versus repainting entire wall or room.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for completing work order that way, knowing results and need to still repaint wall or room as soon as possible.

 

Problem/Situation: Repainted entire wall after bleach clean-up of major Black mold fungi buildup, costing more than touching up immediate surface.

Transparency: Painter shows Housekeeping Director and G.M. why repainting wall was necessary and explains why it may be needed again in near future.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for own and supervisor’s decision to repaint area as soon as possible, and to help get guest room back into circulation.

 

Problem/Situation: Painted office walls stripped of wallcovering and heavily infested with Toxic Black Mold Fungi.

Transparency: Painter shows management why applying paint vs. wallcovering is safer, healthier.

Accountability: Painter assumes responsibility for tone-down appearance; offers to add border.

 

Problem/Situation: Caulked, repainted lobby’s slylight area vs. touching up water leak spots.

Transparency: Painter shows management that treatment plan protected area. Also, how it “bought” them little more time before major repairs and reconstruction would be needed.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility caulking and repainting jobs temporary, visible fixes.

 

Problem/Situation: Declined “quick-fix” project to repaint all exterior guest room doors.

Transparency: Painter showed management dire need, and wise move, to properly prep, fill cracks, sand, and prime area before applying finish coat.

Accountability: Painter shared responsibility for appearance of doors, if repainted with minor prep work.

 

Problem/Situation: Discreetly inspected major wall damage, and advised extended-stay family of guests in suite before notifying managers.

Transparency: Painter explains to guest that damage must be reported before repairs could be done. Reported damages, situation to managers; suggested creative solution for repairing area.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for inspection and assessment before reporting problem. Takes responsibility for proposing that guest help make repairs to save everyone money and face.

 

Problem/Situation: Completed priority-scheduled project late, delayed by manager’s switching painter to handle unscheduled, extra project.

Transparency: Painter shows managers how delays impacted completion of priority project, before arrival of large group of guests.

Accountability: Painter assumes share of responsibility for non-completion of project in time, also for not holding firm to shared goal of General management-Engineering/Paintshop-Housekeeping.

 

Tips on how to look at any problem or situation

 

  1. It falls within the painter’s/paintshop’s scope of expertise, abilities, resources, responsibility.
  2. It has a solution. * So let’s find out what that is
  3. Let’s take care of it, the best we can with what we have to work with.
  4. Do it for the people. Do it for the place. Do it for the community.

 

Tips on how to look at Transparency and Accountability

 

  1. In the short-run or long-run, honesty is the best policy – and the easiest to justify.
  2. The obvious will always shine through, one way or another, eventually.
  3. It’s easy to understand what’s true, and to see through the rest.
  4. Self-responsibility is the trademark of a good human being.

 

A Painter’s work life is full of tests. Beyond skill, ability, knowledge, and adeptness.

 

Among them are tests that measure:

 

  1. His/her character, sense of ethics and philosophy of living.
  2. His/her loyalty to the painting trade and construction industry; the employer, manager, team.
  3. His/her commitment to the organization, and the business.
  4. His/her respect for and appreciation of everyone served by that organization – eg. guests.
  5. His/her collaborative spirit toward everyone with whom the business deals.
  6. His/her self-responsibility toward the organization’s role in the community at large.

 

A painter’s willingness to be transparent and accountable is a central key to professional and personal success, fulfillment and longevity!

************************************************************************

Thank you to every painter that tries to live and work a self-responsible life.

************************************************************************
Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Preventing Permanent Damage To Your Own Body

Every painter that’s worked in the trade for three months or longer knows about health and safety issues. Whether working for a hotel or facility, a contractor, a corporation, or on his or her own.

 

SEVEN CAREER PAINTERS AND THEIR HEALTH ISSUES…

 

LARRY herniated three lumbar discs from lifting, carrying and moving heavy paint equipment.

TIM fell and lost use of his thoracic and lumbar spine areas, both legs and one arm, after a scaffolding collapsed.

WAYNE damaged both hips climbing extension ladders and scaffolding, while carrying heavy paint cans and spray equipment.

PAUL destroyed the ligaments in his “painting hand” and wore down cartilage in his wrists from years of repetitive motions.

JESSE developed spondylosis in both knees from climbing ladders, bend, and crouching.

KEN wore down the joints, tendons and muscles in his “spraying hand.”

MARK developed skin cancer from frequent exposure to paint chemicals and direct sun.

 

Over time, over 78 percent of painters suffer permanent damage to their hands and wrists, spinal cord, knees, hips, and feet. And, they develop irreversible respiratory, lung, eye, and skin problems.

 

It’s all that lifting, toting, carrying, pushing, pulling, moving, bending, stooping, crawling, crouching, etc. It’s all that breathing in and coming in contact with toxic paint product chemicals, cleaning agents, environmental hazardous materials, etc.

 

Gross picture that I’ve painted? It’s meant to be. Alarming painters’ prognoses? It’s meant to be.

 

TEN TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR OWN HEALTH

 

Overall: Invest in and regularly use supports for the parts of your body that you use the most, and//or are already weak, damaged, or worn.

 

  1. Lifting – Besides that “bend and lift from the knees” rule, always wear a back brace from your thoracic spine to below the waist.
  2. Working on knees – Slide on knee pads, under or over your pants legs.
  3. Hand and wrist grasping – Slide foam tube over paint brush handles. (TIP from Mark Santos, Wall Wizard.)
  4. Carrying – Wear padded, firm grip gloves.
  5. Pushing/pulling – Wear elbow and forearm pads and braces.
  6. Spraying – Besides longer hand and wrist support gloves, wear a soft neck brace. I like one that fits under my shirt or jacket collar.
  7. Standing/climbing – Into those work boots, insert contoured gel pads. BONUS: Ankle/shin socks or supports.
  8. Stooping – Yes, affordable hip, thigh and femur supports are available – and work great.
  9. Breathing hazardous chemicals/fumes, etc. – Minimum: Inexpensive masks. Recommend: Adjustable respirators. Safest: Self-contained breathing/air flow apparatus.
  10. Skin and eyes – SUIT UP for skin. Wear snug-fitting safety glasses that cover entire area.

 

Eventually, you may become one of those painter’s statistics, regardless of what you do and precautions you take.

 

However, protecting and supporting your vital “painter parts” will certainly give you a one-up at minimizing those risks and maximizing your painter’s world shelf life.

 

************************************************************

Protect your own body; it’s the only one that you’ll ever have!

************************************************************

Stay safe. Live well. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Heat Illness: Preparing-for-Prevention Tips for Painters: Part II

As painters and decorators, we are our own best advocates in preventing heat illness on the job. We must play an active role in the protection of our own health. We cannot leave the responsibility to our employers.

 

In fact, both OSHA and EPA limit the employer’s level of responsibility. Employers tend to make these work-related choices, and provide preventive measures at their discretion.

 

Now – the cooler months – is the time to come up with a plan to prevent and treat on-the-job heat illness symptoms.

 

Now is the time to determine how we will handle our workload during the sustaining hot and humid months/season. Especially in climates like Florida has from May through October.

 

NOW is the time to get the facts out about heat illness.

 

  1. Talk about it: types, symptoms, risks and warning signs, safety issues.
  2. Publicize it.
  3. Orient everyone on the team and staff about what to look for.
  4. Train team members and staff what to do, when, and how.
  5. Commit to on-going heat illness awareness and advocacy at the workplace.

 

Heat Illness Prevention Tips for Painters

 
1. Know your body.

A. What is your tolerance level to heat, humidity, and sun exposure (direct/indirect)?

B. What is your exertion limits within that tolerance level?

2. Know your work environment.

A. What is the highest temperatures in which you must work during the hottest, most humid season? How many hours a day? How many days a week?

B. What is the actual temperature felt by your body – with the heat index added?

C. What us the longest period of time during a work day, that you must work continuously in that actual temperature?

D. How many days during a week must you work continuously in those actual conditions?

E. What is the level of clean-air and ventilation within your work area(s) on a continual basis?

3. Know your job’s physical demands.

A. How many hours in a day must you work in hot, humid conditions? Number of days a week?

B. At how fast of a pace must you do your work? Very slow? Slow? Moderate? Fast? Very fast?

C. For how long a period must you keep up that pace? _____ minutes. _____ hours?

D. How many breaks do you get, ordinarily, each of these days?

1) At what times during the work day are the breaks scheduled?

2) How many additional breaks are you allowed during work days in hot, humid conditions?

3) How often can you take a break when heat and humidity conditions meet or exceed your tolerance level. (See 1 and 2 above.)

4. Know your physical limits in meeting the physical demands.

A. How many pounds can you lift, carry or move, ordinarily and at once?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the maximum number of pounds? Without symptoms.

2) With B, do you need to use a cart or other conveyance piece of equipment?

B. How long can you climb and stand on a ladder?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the maximum length of time? Without any symptoms

C. How long and often can you bend, stoop or crouch within one hour?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the longest that you can do these? Without symptoms.

D. How long can you stand and how far can you walk without resting? Holding/carrying anything that weighs your maximum poundage? (See 4-A above.)

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the longest period and furthest distance that you can do these? Without any symptoms.

5. Know what your first heat illness symptoms may be.

A. What have been your first heat illness symptoms in the past?

B. What, if any, medical conditions that you have could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms?

C. What, if any, medications that you take could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms? Include over-the-counter products – eg. antihistamines, aspirins, nasal sprays.

 

Do you have a low tolerance level to any heat-humidity-ventilation environmental conditions?

  1. Avoid them. Work in cooler, shaded areas when above conditions do exist in other areas.
  2. Do not allow yourself to be placed in any situation that might cause, trigger and/or exacerbate your heat illness susceptibility.

 

SPECIAL LIFE-SAVING HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION TIPS

 

  1. Schedule exterior painting during the coolest times of your work day. Examples: A. Dawn-to-10 AM. B. 5 PM-to-dusk or dark, or later.
  2. Plan to work on surfaces/areas opposite full-sun exposure. Examples: A. West and north sides of buildings when sun is over east and south sides.
  3. East and south sides of buildings when sun is on west and north sides.
  4. Plan to work in hot, humid areas when an emergency comes up. NOTE: Ordinarily, there are times when exterior painting must be done immediately.
  5. Wear short, white painter’s pants when you must work in outdoor temperatures 90 plus degrees. Regardless of the time period involved. NOTE: Get approval before the hot season arrives to adjust clothing to fit extreme heat/humidity conditions.
  6. Wear a cap or hat with a bill, when working and/or walking in the sun. TIP: Wider is wiser.
  7. Keep a drinking water supply with you at all times.
  8. Carry packs of small snacks in your pocket. Examples: Walnuts/almonds, Peanut M&Ms, raisins, trail mix, granola bars, energy bars.
  9. Carry frozen ice pack in small cooler on your golfcart or pushcart. While you’re at it, stick in a couple small cans of healthy juice. Examples: V-8, orange, apple. TIP: Pack a banana, too. High in potassium. Essential for sodium/hydration leveling.

 

BOTTOM LINE: The painter on duty must get his/her work done. One way or another. So watch out for yourself when the heat and humidity start to climb. And, set the standard for others to do the same.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ***********

Learn and Live “Heat Illness” Free. Go to: www.osha.gov/heatillness.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ***********
Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Changes and Advancements in Hotel/Facility Painting, Part 3: Supplies, Tools and Equipment

Introduction

 
The standard types of painting tools and equipment will always be in use, as long as the paint products go unchanged in how they are applied. Paint spray equipment applications are not to be replaced. They are only approved upon by making subtle changes to spray guns and paint pumping systems.

When it relates to the roller cover, its design is continually being re-examined for ways to improve its performance, primarily with new materials. Widely used tools and equipment are difficult to replace. Changes in supplies mean costly changes to a system which is already operating efficiently.

 

  1. Changes and Advancements in Supplies:

A. Abrasives, caulking, patching compounds, masking materials, and other items. Changes: meet the demands of structural components and newer surfaces, also environmental changes.

B. Sanding products produced for wet or dry use. Option: Abrasives affixed to a sponge type substrate, allowing greater flexibility.

C. Caulking produced as waterborne and siliconized. Advantages: Resist cracking, and provide waterproofing, while allowing the surface to be painted.

D. Patching compounds that dry faster and harder. Advantages: sand easier, allow painting sooner.

E. Masking tapes designed to be left on the surface longer. Advantages: Do not pull the surface loose, and make re-taping unnecessary.

 

Comments about Supplies:

Commonly used supplies have advanced little. They tend to fulfill the need, in an efficient manner, for which they have been designed.

The quality of supplies must not be overlooked. They are your aid in producing a quality painting or finishing job. They sure can make it easier. By the way, a poorly adhering masking tape is not going to do you any favors.

 

  1. Changes and Advancements in Tools:

A. More paint brushes designed for applying multiple types of coating. Brush hairs are a composite of nylon, polyester, olefin, and other synthetic fibers.

B. Roller frames designed to reduce the friction of the roller covers. Added feature: control the covers from slipping off of the roller frames.

C. Roller covers, with new developments in nap composition. Advantages: Optimal nap composition which lasts longer, and is durable with various coatings.

D. Advancements that consider the ergonomics of a tool’s use. Example: Joint knife, which must be very strong and flexible. It must provide an excellent grip and balance for effective use.

 

Comments about Tools:

Advancements in tools are needed, especially when a product or material has no way of being applied. A tool must be designed, tested, fabricated, and marketed to industry, business and public consumers.

 

  1. Changes and Advancements in Equipment:

 A. Fine finishing, hand-held and airless portable spray system. Designed for ease of use by the professional painter and finisher. Homeowner/general consumer models: easier to operate, clean, and maintain.

B. Masking machines that are easy to manipulate in taping procedures. Normally for commercial, residential and automotive painting.

C. Spray pumps designed for easier use by the homeowner/general consumer market. Features: lighter weight, easy to set up, simple to clean up. Pressure fluid: maintained electronically.

 

Comments about Equipment:

Changes in equipment occur when use and testing point to an area of design which can be improved. I consider advancements, something which really alters the marketing of a piece of equipment.
What marks a more advanced piece of equipment? Some key features: greater performance, more energy efficient, more ergonomics, and increased durability.

 

Closing Comments about Painting Supplies, Tools and Equipment:

A successful painting project requires that all intended and needed supplies, tools and equipment are available, reliable and qualitative. Consistently, they must help the painter to (1) produce above-standard workmanship, (2) achieve satisfactory-plus results, and (3) ensure cost-effective durability.

 

PAINTER’S TIPS: Wisely choose each supply, tool and piece of equipment. Then, care and maintain each one properly. Maximize its potential usefulness and effectiveness on future projects, work orders and tasks. You’ll be glad that you did.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Even the most advanced supply, tool, or piece of equipment is only as effective as the painter using it.

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2014, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: On the job on Thanksgiving Day

Usually, hotel/resort and facility painters need to work on holidays, including Thanksgiving Day. Particularly if they are scheduled to be on duty that day of the week.

 

For many reasons, I always enjoyed working on Thanksgiving. Even though many work orders were STAT, guest tempers flared, and bosses went ballistic.

 

10 THINGS THAT MADE THANKSGIVING A GREAT WORK DAY

 

  1. Chance to be with other persons – work friends – on a holiday.
  2. Opportunity to help others enjoy the holiday away from home.
  3. Lighter, more relaxed mood among staff members, even management.
  4. Teammates’ humorous approach to troubleshooting, and handling of problems promptly.
  5. More time allowed for light talk between and among staff members.
  6. Teammate’s holiday stories and jokes during breaks and lunch.
  7. Holiday atmosphere throughout the property.
  8. Festive, respectful attitude of guests and visitors, even when complaining.
  9. “Lightened up” attitude of bosses.
  10. Scrumptious menus prepared by our cooks – and those “doggie bags” for home.

 

10 TIPS FOR ENJOYING THANKSGIVING DAY AT WORK

 

  1. Two-three days before, jot down simple to-do list for the holiday. Select tasks that take little time – and will free you to enjoy the day with others.
  2. Carry in a holiday snack for teammates. Something that they’ll like, tastes great, and is easy to grab and eat on the run. ADDED TIP: Hand out pieces of wrapped holiday candy to fellow staff.
  3. Show up in a holiday mood, and spread it around, without overdoing it.
  4. Be ready to stop and chat with teammates and fellow staff any time your paths cross.
  5. Make the work day a little easier for any teammate that you know is going through a rough time (whatever the reason).
  6. Keep your eyes out for guests that need an extra pair of hands, or smile.
  7. Step in and give your boss an unexpected and extra break time.
  8. “Take two” minutes. Toss a ball with a teen hanging out in your work area outdoors.
  9. “Take five” minutes. Lend a hand to a guest loading up the family vehicle.
  10. Look out for children that appear lost, confused, upset, or ill. Help them get back to family.

 

Remember: Everyone on the property that day will be visiting. Away from home, and away from their own tables.

Give thanks that you’re there on this holiday. There’s a good reason that you are. Make it matter!

 

A TRUE THANKSGIVING STORY…

 

Three turkeys lived, very visibly, in our woods. One Thanksgiving, my dad forgot to pick up his 22+ pound, free Thanksgiving turkey from the company.

 

Without saying anything to anyone, he loaded a rifle and snuck into the woods to shoot a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

 

But, the three turkeys had other plans. They disappeared.

 

Dad crept through the trees for over two hours, fighting whipping 40 degree winds and biting snow. Still no turkey.

 

When he came back to the house, Mom asked him, “Where were you? Ron and Carol dropped off your turkey.”

 

Dad looked at his unloaded rifle, then doubled over in laughter.

 

*****************************

Give thanks for the turkey that got away, and the turkey that joins you for dinner.

*****************************

A safe and memorable Thanksgiving week-end to everyone. And, thanks for reading “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: The Future of Painting and Decorating

In the future, which most of us have not thought much about, the painting of surfaces will no longer be needed.

 

All construction and building materials will be coated at the manufacturing plant. Even touch-ups on the construction sites will be unnecessary.

 

If you’ve been paying attention, that’s the case more and more today.

 

So, where will that leave the experienced painter? Will he or she become extinct?

 

A number of occupational pilot programs offer training in things like “paint coatings technology,” for example. Painters learn skills used at the product design and manufacturing levels.

 

  1. Design, development and maintenance of computer systems that run assembly coating systems equipment.
  2. Operation of assembly painting computer system equipment.
  3. Research and development of painting and coating products applied at building products manufacturing plants.
  4. Manufacture of manufacturing equipment that applies coatings.
  5. Installation and maintenance of manufacturing equipment that applies coatings.
  6. Quality control.
  7. Sales and marketing of above mentioned computer systems, manufacturing equipment, and pre-coated construction materials and products.
  8. Risk management.
  9. Accounting, credit and collections.
  10. Training of construction workers in installation of pre-coated materials and products, etc.

 

You get the picture.

 

Painting science and technology. Not a bad choice, actually. Generally, technology jobs pay more per hour. They offer more job stability, and mobility. They offer access to job, and volunteer, opportunities not available outside the realm of science and technology (STEM).

 

By this time, the old structures and pieces will have bitten the dust. I’m referring to the homes, office buildings, stores, schools, restaurants, manufacturing plants, etc. that required painters on site, or a paintshop, for brushing, rolling or spraying on product.

 

The panorama of our residential, commercial and industrial landscapes and skylines will be occupied solely by surfaces pre-coated at the plant. Sleek, clean lines. Toxic-free, hazard-free.

 

Recently, I got out “Star Wars” from my Star Wars Trilogy Special Collection. I popped it into my DVD-VCR system. I looked more closely at the sets used in the movie. Awesome!

 

There, in full view, was a vivid picture of future surfaces. Those construction/building products and materials precoated at the manufacturing plant.

 

I took my first class in Painting Technology 101, I guess you could say. Food for thought for certain.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s amazing the trade lessons that science/futuristic fiction authors, artists

and filmmakers have been teaching us, probably without thinking about that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Jesse the Painter: The Pride of the United States and Mexico

Jesse V. came to the United States from Mexico to give his small family a better life. Initially, they settled in Miami, where a group of relatives had immigrated and, eventually, earned U. S. citizenship.

 

There, he worked as a painter, while Maria, his wife, stayed home to care for their toddler Doreen.

 

Jesse worked hard, accepting any job and toiling long hours, to make ends meet. He’d learned the painting trade back in Mexico City. /Where both he and Maria left behind their loved ones.

 

As soon as they arrived in the United States, Jesse and Maria applied for citizenship. The Miami relatives served as sponsors, tutored them in the English language, and helped them meet the other requirements. Just as promptly, they registered as legal residents of Florida.

 

Shortly after being granted U.S. citizenship, Jesse was given an industrial painting opportunity in the Chicago-Northwest Indiana area. He joined the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades (IBPAT). The job offered a much higher hourly wage, pension and family health benefits, and both job security and safety.

 

Jesse and Maria fit right into the area. They found a church that offered a Sunday mass in Spanish. The Hispanic population was starting to grow. So, they were able to form a few friendships with families, from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and South America. Always at the core of everything was Jesse’s love for his wife and children – and their devout Catholic faith. He talked a lot about his wife and children.

 

Eventually, they had three more children: a son and two daughters. Proudly, Jesse and Maria reared them to be good Americans, and good people. Yes, all of them knew Spanish and fluently communicated with family back in Mexico. Their home in Northwest Indiana was decorated with momentos that showed their great pride in Mexico their native land. Also, there were treasures everywhere that showed their great pride in the United States of America, their chosen home.

 

My father and Jesse worked together on a frequent basis. As the company’s superintendent, Dad often pointed out Jesse’s admirable attributes, strong work ethic and undaunting professionalism.

 

On the job, what Jesse lacked in height, he made up for in experience, skill, energy, and drive. He was motivated, and always jumped in, “a real self starter.” He had a happy personality, and smiled most of the time. He had a friendly, helpful and willing spirit.

 

At different periods of time, Jesse and I worked for the same contractor. Whether he was working on a commercial or industrial project, he gave it his 150 percent. He was consistently professional, punctual, loyal, and neat. He never complained about a thing. He worked beside other painters as a true member of that crew, or team, assembled to work on that project. He worked beside other tradespersons, and bent over backwards to make their jobs go smoothly.

 

He was interested in what others had to say, and he defended others to the limit. Yet, he had difficulty standing up for himself when someone talked about him. And, he had a stubborn streak, and did not like to be corrected.

 

The biggest joke about Jesse on the job revolved around the large thermos of fresh fruit juice – eg. cantaloupe – that he carried to work every day. Also, he always offered to shae the hot Mexican food packed in his lunch by Maria. Tamales, tortillas, tacos, enchiladas, etc.

 

One Thanksgiving Day, he and his family came to our country home for dinner. They brought along six home-baked cream cheese pies: 2 plain, 2 cherry, and 2 cinnamon. For 10 people. During the meal, I realized how Maria struggled to participate in the table conversation. After living in the U. S over twenty years, her English-speaking skills were limited. Yet, her immense pride in her family being American citizens radiated from her eyes. Sang from her voice. And, captivated you through her loving smile.

 

The saddest day in Jesse’s life in America came in the mid-1980s. His beloved wife, Maria, suffered a severe brain aneurysm. Within a few days, he had to decide for the hospital physicians to pull her off the life support machines. At his request, our family sat in the nearby ICU waiting room. Keeping his children company while their dad kept vigil at their mother’s bedside. And, reassuring Jesse and the children as the time drew near to let her die in peace.

 

I’ll never forget those last moments with Jesse and his children, proud Americans and proud Mexicans.

 

Jesse was different after he and his children buried Maria. Who wouldn’t be? He took off work to go home to Mexico City, where he visited with his brother, a physician who achieved great tv media recognition during recovery efforts after the massive earthquake in 1985. While in his native land, he also spent a lot of time with Maria’s family.

 

When he returned, eventually, to the job, he wasn’t the same. Yes, his workmanship and craftsmanship were still first rate. But, his soul was missing.

 

He and my dad became close. I became close with Jesse’s son-in-law, a coworker of ours.

 

From time to time, Jesse would simply be gone from work. Back to Mexico for one to two months at a time.

 

When my dad died suddenly in 1993, Jesse came by. He sat in our living room, and cried. He told me all about his pal, Bob. And, he told me all about the kind of friendship he and my father shared. I didn’t have a clue.

 

The last time that I saw Jesse. He stopped by to say “hello” and “so long” during our huge estate and moving sale in May of 1993. Like at work, he picked at me a little. “Bob, when are you going to get a girlfriend. You’re a good guy.” For some reason, his joking didn’t bother me at all. I saw how deep and genuine his vein of caring ran for his friend Bob – and Bob’s son.

 

******************************************************************

Thank you for visiting “Painting With Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

Tag Cloud