Day 5 in the books. Currently loving every minute as a master (apprentice) tile guy!
Commutes are longer than I’m used to at 20-50 minutes, but I apparently live in the perfect area for a job like this. Not hitting traffic in any direction on my way to or from work, so the long commutes are actually.... Kind of nice??
Every single night I walk away, brain overflowing with new knowledge and incredibly happy with the work I’ve done. It feels sublime crafting something after so much time in management (which I hate) and financial (which I actually like too, but in a much different way). I can thank my boss for a company culture of excellence, as he’s one of the tradesmen who takes a lot of pride in his work. Real nice guy, and super humble. Not that *most* contractors are dicks, but I do think I got pretty lucky here.
I’ve now seen every step from beginning to end of what it takes to put in a $15,000 shower, and done most of them too. Nerve-racking, but also pretty cool being trusted to do more than just vacuum and grab tools just a few days in. Getting the pre-float poured, sloped properly and mirror smooth was terrifying, as I knew we’d be tearing it all out and restarting if I fucked up.
The picture below was my work, and I think it came out beautifully. The wall tiles are handmade, and they’re all very much different sizes, not square, and Potato-chipped to some degree. This made both aligning the tiles (laser level at each row, you’ll be happy to know) and grouting a bitch and a half, but once I stepped back and looked at the finished product.... Damn. The “imperfections” add so much to the look.
I’ve used a ton of new tools too. The tile saw being an easy favorite. I wonder if I could do a redneck DIY version, swapping in an appropriate blade and strategically aiming a hose at my chop saw... Maybe cutting upside down to protect the tile finish?
I’ll be tearing up my kitchen and bathroom fairly soon after my trip, and doing a big remodel. Last night I grabbed bathroom dimensions and sketched up a quick floor plan, and this week I’ll be doing a 3d model. I’ve had a design idea floating around in the back of my head for awhile now and I feel confident that I can (soon) bring that design to life.
I’d like to work with this company in some capacity longterm, as the pay, people, and work are all things I find agreeable, and the bossman seems to like me. The electrician thing is still in the works too and it’s priority one, but I’m on the waiting list and was given no info beyond 3-24 months as to when an apprenticeship would come up for me. I ALSO plan on finding the time to learn under a custom cabinetry guy, as that would really round out my “condo remodel” skillset, and let me channel some creativity.
Anyhoo, that’s my update. 15 hour work day on Monday, 12 on Tuesday, 3.5 today. It’s hard work but aside from mixing big troughs of thinset not super physical. At least, not that I’ve seen so far on the two jobsites. I felt about the same after the 16 hour day as I did after a 9 hour window washing day.
Oh, and guess what I found? Rasputan and Jack fruit. Both in a little grocery store near one of the jobsites. First time seeing either locally. Tasty, but the jack fruit sap embeds itself into your skin. I had to break out some intense cleaners to get the stickiness off my hands!