Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Lead painters – paintshop managers – have many good things to report for 2017. Here are a few of the more than 5,900 responses that I received to the e-mailed question:

 

“IN YOUR PAINTSHOP, HOW HAVE THINGS BEEN GOING LATELY?”

 

  1. Regi.

“Owners ordered the property management to purchase and supply engineering with a much safer, and EPA certified, solution to treat Black mold. MoldSTAT Plus Mold Killer.”

 

  1. Alec.

“I found enough tinted paint to touch up all thirteen walls in the upgraded suites.”

 

  1. Danny.

“The air compressor kicked in first try this morning. It’s been malfunctioning. For over three months. No budget to replace it right now.”

 

  1. Pablo.

“The waterproof grout mix is holding all of those tiles onto the uneven surfaces around the pools…”

 

  1. Gabe.

“Management approved chief engineer’s request for a FaceMask breathing apparatus, and accessories before the end of 2017. My boss and I opted for a HobbyAir II, with 80-foot hose.””

 

  1. R.G.

“Starting January 2018, I’ll have a part-time painting assistant three mornings a week.”

 

  1. Brian.

“When I returned from vacation, some of the crew had cleared out the space to lay out the steel beams for me to spray. Over 120, each 80-foot long, need to be done in less than three days…”

 

  1. Fernando.

“Boss is paying time and a half when the shop closes down Christmas to New Year’s Day.”

 

  1. Margo.

“Three more painters have been added to help on the airport project January-February.

 

  1. Bill.

“Delivery date February 1 for my new (one year old) company truck. The old one is barely running. I’ve had to have it towed three times within the last month…”

 

A FEW TIPS OFFERED BY RESPONDING PAINTERS ABOUT REQUESTING EXPENSIVE THINGS 

 

DO before you ask management to invest in an expensive product, tool or equipment:  

  1. Research the item (s) you need.
  2. Contact a regional manufacturer’s rep.
  3. Ask for contact information for three contractors that use the product.
  4. Call each; find out what they like and dislike about the product. Also ask about alternate product (s) they recommend, and why.
  5. Then include all of the above information in your written request/proposal for management.

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A painter cannot operate his or her paintshop on management’s good intentions, or promises.

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Thanks for pushing for what you need, and for persisting until you get results.

 

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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In the mid-1980s, my mother interviewed over 1,000 Vietnam veterans. Most of them had been suffering with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other health problems as well. Fewer than 25 percent of those veterans were receiving the healthcare that they needed.

 

Within five years of being interviewed, over 60 percent of those with PTSD had died. For those still alive, life was full of ups and downs. The veterans struggled to get ongoing access to healthcare, job opportunities, and financing for education, home buying, business startups, etc.

 

Fast forward: It’s now 2017. Over forty years after the U. S. troops pulled out of South Vietnam. Over thirty years after my mother interviewed the last veteran on her list.

 

On November 6, 2017, a LinkedIn.com “Connect” request came into my home page. It was from a retired painter-painting contractor on the west coast.

 

The 72-year old man wanted to know if I was related to a “Sandra…….. Hajtovik.” (That’s my mother in case you haven’t made that connection.) If so, he asked, “Could you please put me in touch with her?… I’d appreciate it…”

 

A Vietnam veteran (U. S. Marines Green Beret), he’d been interviewed by my mother in 1984. He wanted to tell her what had happened with him in the last thirty-three years.. “How my life has been going…” he e-mailed.

 

Within a day of getting the message, my mother e-mailed the man.

 

So, how had his life been going?

 

  1. It turns out that he was the retired founder of one of the largest commercial painting companies on the west coast.

 

  1. Over the last twenty-five years, his company had given jobs to over fifty-five Vietnam veterans.

 

  1. Many of those “painters” – men and women – suffered on and off with PTSD and other medical conditions caused by toxic exposures while serving in Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s.

 

  1. One of the “automatic benefits” available to all of his employees, particularly the Vietnam veterans, had been financial help to go to college or trade school, rent or buy a home, lease or buy a vehicle, get emergency or surgery treatment, even bury a close relative. “Help has included for immediate family, too,” the man has e-mailed my mother.

 

  1. Special financial help has been available for any “employee painter” who wanted to start a painting contracting business of his or her own. (That’s helping to set up the competition.)

 

For Christmas of 2017, this “retired painter” is bringing all of his employees and immediate families to Central Florida, for two weeks, to visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

 

He’s invited my mother and me to join the group for two days and nights. (That includes hotel accommodations inside Disney. I have other plans that can’t be changed.)

 

My mother accepted the very kind invitation. Already, she is jotting down a short list of “interview-type” questions.

 

It would have been great to meet the fellow career painter and decorator, and talk shop. Also, I’d  want to find out why, besides the obvious, he has employed and stuck by so many Vietnam veterans.

 

“Character builds character,” my Grandfather Boyd once said. “Worth builds upon worth.”

 

From what I’ve learned so far, I’d say that this retired painter/painting contractor – Vietnam vet that my mother met in 1984 – has tried to help other painters-vets build good “self-character.” I’d say that he’s also helped to build more sense of “self-worth” into their worlds – and into the larger world in which they are still trying to make it.

 

What an important legacy this war veteran is leaving behind. One person at a time.

 

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How far and how well others journey through life often has so much to do with you, and I.

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Thank you for checking into “Painting with Bob.”

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

SOME GOOD THINGS ABOUT A PAINTER’S WORLD

 

  1. Four guest passes to see The Last Jedi. (Thanks, Doc.)

 

  1. Packed cookies all in the mail, folks.

 

  1. I’d saved six of seven manuscripts and related files and setups onto flash drives. (See no. __ below.)

 

  1. Installed new hard drive. Now waiting for copy of new operating system from Microsoft.

 

  1. Old hard drive is on its way for specialist to run analysis, recover files…reactivate.

 

  1. So far, all “readers-en-field” have also written reviews. (And all are very positive.)

 

  1. Online bookseller Curtis is a first-class networker, linking only serious participants.

 

  1. Connection with amazon.com best-selling author Buddy A. is proving outstanding.

 

  1. Artist-sculptor of Neanderthal in cover photo is on board 100 percent. And, with her international connections.

 

  1. Indiana cousin made it to the altar on December 2. (Three months earlier, his spinal cord was severely damaged in a five-vehicle pile up on the interstate.)

 

  1. New outpatient neurologist at CNH/FHMG is a very sharp, wholistic health pro. Very up to date on research, therapies and clinical trials.

 

AND, A FEW NOT SO GOOD THINGS ABOUT A PAINTER’S WORLD 

 

  1. The new hard drive will not open up. Note: I’m waiting for new Windows 7 from Microsoft.

 

  1. I lost all of no. 7 manuscript and related files, when the hard drive failed. Rebooting, etc. a NO GO. Started working on this one in 2011.

 

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Sometimes, even good or not so good things encapsulate the opposite effect.

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“Painting with Bob” is a blog aimed at helping painters and decorators, including contractors.

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

His eyes. There was something so familiar about those eyes. I couldn’t stop staring into them.

 

I was only two years old. But I knew those sea green eyes. From somewhere. Glistening and clear.

 

Of course. This was Santa Claus’s lap that I was sitting on. And, it was Santa that kept smiling, and laughing so jolly-like at me.

 

He was all dressed up in his bright red plush suit with the white fur trim, matching hat, and shiny black boots and belt.

 

Of course. My instincts were correct. The big, tall man with the white wavy beard that touched his chest?

 

It was my own father. He was playing Santa at IUPAT/ IBPAT Local 8’s Christmas party for the union member’s children. Like my one-year old sister. And I.

 

Christmas season can be a fun and rewarding time for a painter.

 

The union painter may be recruited to play Santa at the annual Christmas party for members’ children. (Like my Dad did for over five years.) He or she may serve as coordinator for the big boss and his wife’s holiday night out for the employee painters and their spouses/significant others.

 

A painter may be one of the volunteers that assembles bicycles and other “vehicles” to help out Santa’s helpers-parents. He or she may help collect, then wrap toy donations for the local children’s home. The painter may represent the shop, and make the rounds to the local paint manufacturer’s stores’ open houses held for trade customers.

 

He and other crew members may be “volunteered” to paint scenes and props for the local Christmas parade float. Or sets for the community theatre’s annual Christmas production starring local children.  The painter may join the construction trades’ community charity chorus.

 

The independent painter may reach out to his or her community, and lend a hand wherever it’s needed. Even in the public school system, or at a shelter. He or she may offer tools and equipment to make others’ holiday tasks easier, and safer. Special skills and abilities may be donated to help local non-profits tackle their holiday community projects and programs.

 

At any older neighborhood church, the help of a younger and more agile painter/ craftsperson would be appreciated in decorating. Also setting up the traditional outdoor nativity scene. Even preparing for the special meal for people that are homeless or alone.

 

What about the staff painter? Show a little enthusiasm for the season; and you’re recruited for major holiday decorating. Stringing thousands and thousands of Christmas lights throughout the property. Examples: Those tall, tall Palm trees. Decorating the swimming pool areas. Painting, then setting up exterior and interior holiday displays. Helping create a special space – presence – for dear old Santa. Decorating the halls and lobbies, and other high traffic areas. (One year, we also decorated the public restrooms.)

 

What had been one of my favorite on-the-job holiday projects? Helping the rest of the staff set up their special displays and holiday activity areas.

 

By the way, your ChristmasNew Year week may be just around the corner – or already here. There’s still time. to grab your talents, pack essential tools and equipment, and head out to help make the season bright, cheerful and hopeful. For others!

 

And, that’s what this season is all about.

 

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Holiday bliss follows a benevolent heart, and extra pair of hands.  RDH

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Best wishes from the network of people that make “Painting with Bob” possible.

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

 

 

 

In December of 1992, my father visited Florida – and his daughter – for the last time. Every year, he planned it so that he’d be in the “Sunshine State” to celebrate his birthday.

 

On the way to South Florida, he stopped at St. Augustine. He walked through the Fort, and checked out the cannons pointed out to sea (Atlantic Ocean). He knelt and prayed in the tiny chapel nearby, where the Spanish explorers prayed for calm seas. He toured the Henry Flagler Museum, and admired examples of the world’s rarest seashells.

 

He window-shopped along the cobblestone-covered street where top artists and craftspersons displayed and sold their works. He got acquainted with one of Florida’s, and the city’s, most renowned oil painters. He drove through torrential rains and winds to St. Augustine Island, to buy a relic nautical bell, from a diver that explored old sunken ships.

 

In South Florida, he gave his daughter a ride to work for three days straight because it took her hatchback auto so long to defrost and warm on cold, icy mornings. Early mornings, he (and Mom) walked along Bal Harbor Beach, between one of Sunny Isle’s most expensive oceanfront condo buildings and Baker’s Haulover Cut, a channel that connected the Intercoastal Waterway to the Atlantic.

 

Outside, he waited in line for an hour or longer to bite into one of the best, and largest, Kosher sandwiches in the Southeast. (He had a Classic Cornbeef; Mom had her Reuben.)

 

The afternoon of Christmas Day, he walked along the southerly stretch of that Bal Harbor Beach. Ahead of his daughter and Mom. His head hung low; his steps slower that usual. Whenever he glanced back at family strolling behind, he wore a contemplative look on his face.

 

One morning, he followed up with a lead from a real estate broker that handled large residential properties in Golden Beach. It was located along a small stretch of ocean property between Sunny Isles and Hollywood.

 

He admired several new oceanfront mansions along Ocean Boulevard. Eventually, he pulled into the drive at the address given to him. A massive, U-shaped stucco mansion, painted in a soft Golden-yellow, towered before him. A lean, bronze-tanned man – the Italian architect – stood by a long and glossy black Mercedes.

 

“Distinguished, friendly” was the way Dad described the man during a long-distance phone call to me on Christmas Day. He also said that the man’s oldest son had been pre-med at Purdue, the same time that I was there.

 

My father got out of his like-new grey Chevy Suburban, and introduced himself. The gentleman laid down his tube of blueprints, then took Dad on a tour of the 10,500 -plus square foot home.

Over thirty minutes later, the two men re-emerged, wide smiles on their faces.

 

After an embrace and a “Chiao,” Dad climbed back into his vehicle. He handed Mom two business cards, and a handwritten note on the architect’s engraved personal stationery. And he said, “We’re moving to Southeast Florida. I’m going into painting here. My own shop. Mr. V is my first client…”

 

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that Dad never made it back to Florida. (Well, not in his well-known earthly form.)

 

FAST FORWARD…

 

Christmas 2017, I will be my sister’s guest when she spends over three days at the Golden Beach home of that Italian architect’s son and his family. Longtime customers of my sister’s employer.

 

When the invitation card was forwarded to me, it contained an interesting old photo. Taken in December of 1992, it showed my father, a distinguished gentleman wearing an Ivory silk suit, and a third man dressed in “painter whites.”

 

They stood in a large marble-walled rotunda at that Golden Beach home. Under a partially-completed dome ceiling: A replica of the Sistene Chapel.

 

Standing to the side of the three men was a man a little younger than I. He was dressed in a black turtleneck and worn jeans. (He looked a little familiar.)

 

“The guy in the dirty jeans is me,” my sister’s Christmas week host had scrawled at the bottom of his invitation note. He added, “I hope that you can make it. Condolences about your father. He would have liked it here. Done very well… My father liked him.”

 

SMALL WORLD, ISN’T IT?

 

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Every meeting in passing is an opportunity about to unfold.  RDH

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Many thanks for doing your work and living your life with a conscientious soul.

And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

THE THANKFUL TURKEY

 

 

   ~ A GUEST HOLIDAY STORY ~ 

 

“WHEW!” gasped Terrence. “I  made it!” Another Thanksgiving has moved on.

He gazed around Strongbow’s Turkey Farm. “There’s Mack, and Lou . . .  Carl . . . Robert.” Near the back fence, he saw “Larry . . . Scott . . .Paul. And, there’s Brian and Harold.”

Terrence asked, “GOBBLE? How are you doing, guys?”

Under a clump of low-flung trees, “Buck. . .Jim. . .Nathan.  GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE. Good to see you.”

Terrence peered in the direction of a long row of feeders. That’s where he could always find Stan, Sam and Steve. The three Turks!

“GOBBLE GOBBLE, GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE. No use to really look,” he muttered to himself.

“GOBBLE. They’re all gone.” A tear crept from his eye, onto his bright red comb.

After living five years on the famous Valparaiso, Indiana, farm, he knew how fortunate he was. To still be there. Alive.

Not fully dressed (de-feathered). Wrapped tightly in that special plastic cover, and laid inside one of the huge freezer rooms in the “processing” building.

Waiting to be carried across the road to Strongbow’s award-winning restaurant. Then, placed in Chef Louis’s hands for roasting. Or, sold to a private customer. For home cooking!

GOBBLE! GOBBLE! A shiver ran through his body. All the way down to his knobby knees.

He stared across U. S. Highway 30. He could see the lit windows of Strongbow Turkey Inn.1

He saw Chef Louis and his assistant, Alphonso, moving around. “What are they doing? Thanksgiving has passed.”

Truthfully? Terrence knew.  After Thanksgiving, much work had to be done.

The dining rooms in the restaurant and Inn would still fill with people (diners). Traveling families stopping for a fine meal. Local people, celebrating late because of working on the holiday. Regular patrons and small groups, that ate a fine meal there every chance they got.

Terrence knew Chef Louis, by sight and voice. Often, the popular chef visited the fields where the Broad-breasted Bronze Turkeys grazed. Where they huddled closely together.

Sometimes, he brought Alphonso or Marie with him. Much of the time, he came alone. Talking with the turkeys as he wandered among them.

 

 

 

 

Whenever Chef Louis came by, Milan, the keeper, came out and walked along with him. Chef Louis did a lot of pointing. And, Milan said, “Yes! Perfect.”

“Good,” said the Chef, nodding his head up and down.

Weekends were always quiet on the farm.  Especially, after a holiday.

Milan was gone with his family. Chef Louis, Alphonso, and Marie kept busy in the Inn across the road.

“GOBBLE! GOBBLE! GOBBLE! We can relax.” The turkeys reassured each other.

Unlike the other turkeys that came and went at the farm, Terrence never had to worry about such things. For that, he had become most grateful.

You see, he was no longer a young turkey. The turkey had passed his “prime.” A long time ago.

In fact, Terrence had become what some folks – what Chef Louis and Mr. Adams, a co-owner – called a “mascot.”

 

Strongbow’s Mascot.”

 

That meant he would never have to worry about losing all of his feathers, and staying in a freezer room. Until you know who – his Holy maker – came along, and did you know what!

He never had to worry about being roasted in a hot oven. Cut apart and sliced up. And served on a huge platter, or on beautiful China dinner plates. To complete strangers.

Terrence gazed in wonder at the night sky. It had turned a plush, velvet deep blue. Luminous and mystifying. Filled with stars that shone brightly. Winking and blinking.

And, the moon: the color of white corn. Lighting up the field in glorious splendor.

He crouched down by a peony bush and lowered his head.

 

“Thank you, God,”  he prayed, “for sparing me all these years. For giving me this fine home, and corn and grain to eat. And so many fine friends and neighbors.

“Thank you for Chef Louis and Alphonso, and Marie. Milan, too.” He paused.

“Please bless my old friends that have moved on. And bless others with their robust meat and savory flavor.

“May we all give thanks, Heavenly Father. For your love and care. Amen.”

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrence slept. Thankful as any old turkey could be!

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1. Terrence” is a fictional turkey. Strongbow Turkey Inn and its farm were very real. Sadly, the restaurant, bakery and Bow Bar were closed on March 29 of 2015. Catering, holiday buffets and special events continue to be available. Since 2013, Strongbow’s owner has been Luke Oil Company, Hobart, Indiana.

2. Copyright © 2017. Sandra Stepler Hajtovik. All rights reserved. From: Table of Thanks and The Thankful Turkey, Copyright © 2016. SSH Communications. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A former U. S. official’s unprofessional, and potentially unlawful, use of personal electronic devices and addresses for official/ business purposes should remind everyone else to watch their steps.

In all areas of life, including our work lives, certain communication rules must be followed. And certain precautions must be taken to protect the privacy and integrity of all data and information placed into our hands. And, under our watch.

Five Polices to Keep Your Communications Static-Clear, Squeaky Clean

1. Use only company/employer-issued mobile and electronic devices to conduct and carry out all work-related communications via electronic means.

Example: Politely turn down a chief engineer’s request to use your personal cell phone
for work-time communications and texting.

Note: Many companies do not allow staff members to use their cell phones at work, except during breaks. For emergency use, you need authorization from your supervisor, or someone else in management.

2. Use only company/employer-authorized e-mail addresses, social networking pages, web sites, blog sites, etc. to send, exchange, and receive work-related communications, data, records, etc.

Example: Your personal-professional electronic media sites such as LinkedIn.com, Indeed.com, wordpress.com (or .org), Facebook.com are hands-off for work-related/company/employer purposes.

3. Even during off-hours, keep all work/business and personal communications activities, including electronic, separate from each other.

Example: Insist that your employer furnish and expense out any work cell phone, I-Pad, tablet, notebook, and other devices that you need to use during off-hours.

4. With your employer, set up authorized and secured the electronic devices, websites, e-mail accounts and addresses, fax numbers, blog sites, etc. that you need to conduct their business whenever and wherever you need to do so.

Example: Even on vacation, reserve the use of personal electronic devices, sites, pages, links, etc. for your personal use. No exceptions!

5. Do your Paintshop scheduling, estimating, ordering, invoicing, phoning, texting, faxing, messaging, project managing, banking, recordkeeping, etc. on company/employer-owned or leased devices only.

Example: Technically, any paintshop device must be checked-in and stored at your department, or other designated spot, each time that your shift ends. This includes credit and debit cards.

Five Practices to Protect Your Job-and your Reputation

1. Don’t share or publicize your access codes and passwords for any mobile or electronic device that you use for your work.

Example: Even if your boss and/or teammates need to use your device(s) when you’re off duty, make certain the devices are set up so your boss and each teammate has his or her own access code and password. No exception!

2. To limit another’s access to your inputs and content, have your employer install security programs on all devices that you use.

Example: If no one else needs to use certain data, files, schematics, estimates/comps, paint requisitions, etc., still see that your boss sets up every device that you use as company-secured property.

3. Only take work home after or off your shift if (a) you have authorization to do so; (b) you have left an identical set of materials at work; and, (c) you have the work stored on a company-owned/leased device with tight security protection. And backup.

Example: Any materials removed from your place of employment are considered 100 percent company-owned property. Even if and when removed temporarily.

4. Follow a full transparency practice when performing any work-related communication task, project, transmission, etc. – whether oral, written, fax, computer, IPad, mobile phone, audio-visual, etc.

Example: Be ready and able to share and justify any part or aspect of any work-related communication that you handle, generate, transmit, receive, etc. Regardless how brief, incidental or unimportant it may seem to you, or another person.

5. Say, write, ext, post, record, tape, film, or notate nothing that you do not want to, and/or cannot explain to more than one other person. A teammate that has your back, for instance.

Example: Holding yourself accountable first helps you approach all work-related communications with an honest and accountable commitment to others. Also to both short-term objectives and long-term goals, the bigger picture, and the greater mission.

A painter’s job description requires that he or she put himself or herself out there on a regular basis. It also requires that the painter communicate in ways that matter, and that will stand up to scrutiny.

Closing note: Working with different contractors/employers, professionals and tradespersons, crews/teams, vendors/suppliers, and, customers/clients is great. And, the opportunity can provide any professional painter and decorator with benefits that are priceless, transferable, and timeless.

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Be able and willing to justify all work-related communications to anyone.
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Thank you for serving others, and for accepting this link to “Painting with Bob.”

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

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