We had just unloaded our equipment at the shop at the end of a difficult hardwood-floor restoration job.
“Have a good weekend,” we told each other with a weary laugh.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t Friday evening. It was a Monday night after a long weekend of work.
We were joking about having a good weekend. Our weekend was over. We had to be back at work in a few hours. All we had time to do was go home and sleep.
I was in college at the time, home for the summer and working at Ralph’s for my dad, who founded the company. I wasn’t crazy about working weekends, but I understood why we were doing it. This job was for a business rather than a homeowner, and commercial customers often want us to work weekends so we don’t disrupt their work week.
We worked Friday evening and expected to be done early Saturday. But sometimes a job takes longer than expected.
This particular job was for a retail business that wanted their floors re-sanded. The problem was the floor was full of nails. We had to keep changing our sandpaper because the nails dulled the sandpaper and caused it to leave streaks. This slowed us down considerably and kept us working until Sunday night.
The thing that sticks in my mind about our jokingly saying, “Have a good weekend,” was that no one really seemed upset. We were joking around after all, in good spirits. No, we hadn’t spent the weekend like we normally would have, but we had done something worthwhile. We had turned a decrepit old floor into a beautiful floor.
I also still remember another weekend-long commercial job that I worked on as a young installer. An insurance company had 20,000 sq. ft. of hallways with a herringbone pattern on the floor, which they hired us to refinish.
With herringbone flooring, some boards are oriented horizontally and some are oriented vertically. This multi-directional pattern presented us with a challenge because it’s difficult because no matter how you do it the floor is being sanded and finished across the grain of the floor. There were a few sections that need to be corrected and it took us until Monday to make the floor look the way it should.
Several of the guys I worked with on those long-ago, all-weekend jobs are still with us. Robyn, Al, and Randy all remember the feeling. We try our best to avoid those weekend killers for our crews—using our accumulated skills and smarter scheduling. But if it’s necessary, we get the job done.
Even if it means working when everyone else is relaxing.