A Builder’s Flat Feet

Who doesn’t run around all day, squashing their poor feet in ill-fitting shoes, those you can’t toss because you paid a fortune and don’t want to waste even a day’s worth of usage. When you are working on construction sites, you step on metal debris, you slip and twist your ankle, and you risk life and limb. You think twice about keeping those not yet worn out shoes and you get ready to trade them in for something soothing and comfortable. You wish you were a nurse and had those soft slip ons with insoles for extra padding. You know the kind that look like clogs but are better constructed and not so rigid. Shoes are our support and we should not take what we put on our feet lightly, as we often do. We go home with swollen toes and aching ankles. We soak in a hot tub, but why did we get this far anyway?

I think I had been suffering too long by the time I started griping about my shoes. Guess why? I am a builder with flat feet trying to execute multiple jobs all at the same time with little to no pain. It got to be time to talk to the doctor. I have a friend who recommended a podiatrist, a specialist in matters of the feet. I had the flatness checked out, verified, and learned that there is, in fact, little that you can do other than wear insoles, just as I thought. Hence the thoughts about getting nurses shoes. Would I be laughed off the job by my cronies? The doctor mentioned that in addition to clogs there are re-enforced sneaker styles that do as good a job. He recommended a particular brand that are light weight, provide good support, and well made to last and last. They are typically worn by hospital staff and that in itself is a great testimonial.

Shoes are kind of a status symbol so I wasn’t sure what an odd-looking sneaker was going to do for my image. Probably not a lot more than clogs would. I simply have to let people know about ol’ flat foot and get some sympathy. They will understand my lack of fashion sense while at the same time they will admire my practicality and common sense. So I did get the sneakers in a basic grey mesh that will go with everything—particularly my ubiquitous khakis. Maybe I will start a new fad. Ha! A cabinet maker on one job said I have to admire your guts. Someone else muttered something about being in the wrong place. Didn’t I need to get my way to the hospital. I love a sense of humor.

Meanwhile, flat foot problem solved no matter the consequences. The shoes added to the general camaraderie on the construction site and I may go out and get another pair in black. I will not risk a second of pain for my feet and will rotate the shoes as the need arises.

Summer’s Best Friend

Summer is a great time to get some of those DIY projects done outdoors. You don’t have to worry about rain ruining your freshly nailed wood planks. If you must do it yourself, make sure the conditions are prime. It is hard enough to do any building and repairs so why not make the situation optimal. You don’t want the hottest day of the year where you could sweat to death. Think of anyone you have nabbed to help you. You need to be concerned for their health as well. Nevertheless, a sunny day may be the only time you have available. Work during the early hours of the morning or perhaps after dusk to spare yourself too much sun exposure. You will want to have a fan plugged in nearby if it is possible. Then take a break now and then and get some circulating air. Meanwhile, a cooler is a great idea to have beverages close at hand. This way you and your crew will always be able to stay hydrated throughout the day. People who are dehydrated cannot work effectively and it will spoil your job. You may have to stop midstream and start another day.

Summer’s best friend could be the ice cooler. Keep it well stocked. You may have a garage refrigerator in any case but you can take the cooler to just the very spot where you are working. I have a beach cooler that goes with me to every trip to the shore. It houses sandwiches and snacks along with ice cold beer. It does double duty when I have a work project that keeps me outdoors. You don’t have to have the biggest one on the planet, just one with room enough for the ice and the sodas. More than one hot worker likes the feel of ice on their neck.

Planning your projects is of the essence any time of the year. You have to know who is coming to help, just when, and what is their job. Organization will keep things rolling along smoothly. It will save time and effort in the long run. When things are done willy nilly, you may have to redo some things that are not done right. If you want perfection, be the master of the job and control the activities start to finish. People have different construction skills so make good use of them. It will affect the final outcome. If you are weak in an area and you want to learn it, have someone skilled show you the ropes. If you are absolutely a novice and it is something complicated like electrical work, then by all means hire a professional. Then your DIY team can proceed afterwards with what they are able to accomplish. There is a great deal of pride in being able to execute tasks on your own not to mention the money you will save in the long run. But remember, joining forces with experienced craftsmen will make your project outcome shine.