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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learning from Home Dudes

We've transitioned from monsoonal and mild to mixed monsoonal and blazing. Soon we will be simply blazing, but only for 60-75 days. The intense heat hit suddenly and it is hard on home dudes. They are in and out of hot vans every day, doing hard physical work, sometimes for 12 hours. I see them drag up the stairs at the end of their workdays and my heart hurts. I don't know how they do it. To their credit, they always manage to look pretty presentable, too! I know Cesar always has a man-purse tucked away somewhere with cologne and supplies for cleaning up his face and clothes in case of messes. They all know which on-board products to use on accidental spills to their clothes ~ they care about the image they project. We like that here.

We started the morning yesterday with 90 degrees at 6:30 a.m. Heavy silence reigned. Paper coffee cups picked up on the way in. Another cigarette for each of the home dudes. David and I don't do that. No one was very perky except Limes, but we talk about these things and everyone at least manages a chuckle or a "well, we're all in it together, so let's start the day."

One of David's favorite sayings is "there are miles of carpet in this city" ~ usually said with a dreamy grin on his face. We're called out to clean a lot of it. We do huge commercial jobs and one room jobs. We take them all. It happened that we cleaned the corporate human resources department of a major hotel/casino operation and our contact person loves our work. She seems to be very social, so we hope she'll talk to people in other departments and we'll get more and more work in that monstrous facility.

No one who follows this blog would know it, but I'm a talker. I am an only child, so I grew up thinking people wanted to hear what I have to say. I am a communicator and harmonizer by nature, always trying to make the connection with others. My mentor at the union (a crusty old curmudgeon teaching a sweet young thing the ropes) taught me, "If you can't give them substance, give them form." So with communication, I'm always two steps out in front. It's damned hard to shut me up. With respect to carpet cleaning, I had to learn from the ground up, but by now I have a barrel full of really cogent discourses on - you name it: pet urine issues, water damage restoration, cookie cutter patch repairs . . .

Home dudes rolled and my day started. July may have started in spits and fizzles, but it's going out screaming. I am an octopus - arms reaching out everywhere for phone, calculator, BlackBerry, keyboard . . . I took the next call. "Hi, Limes, this is Diane from XYZ Casino. You were out in May to clean our carpets . . . " I went on instant charm alert, because this is an important customer. [All customers are important, but you get my drift.] My fingers flew on the keyboard as I pulled up the customer record. If she had questions about the services or the cost, I would have the answers immediately. "Hi, Diane, I remember you well! How may we be of service today?" ["Got 10,000 square feet of carpet to throw at me?," I hoped.] "Your men did an excellent job for us and we plan to call you back in 10 months, but I wonder if you can help me with something." "I'll certainly try . . . . " "Limes, why would we be growing mushrooms through the carpet?"I sat up so straight, so suddenly, I could hear bones cracking. "M-m-m-m-mushrooms?" with a slight squeal in my voice at the end of the word. "Living organisms? Mushrooms? Through the carpet?" What the heezy? WTF? Folks, the words I was sputtering were just time spenders, because my brain had stopped. I'd crashed into the brick wall and was broken. "Well, they were living, but we keep pulling them out." I have to tell it as it was, readers: I couldn't come up with anything. She'd rendered me word-free. I got off the phone with a firm promise to investigate and get back with her. Yes, the lame old, "Let me look into this and I'll call you back." Blush.

I went to David's office doorway, which is a place where I often take refuge, my hands each placed on a doorjamb. He and I cackle a lot each day, but he could see the shock and distress on my face, and this was no laugh-fest. We're both brow-furrowers when faced with something mystifying, and this time the ruts were deep. Although you've read me blog about David's brilliance, he's not a nuts-and-bolts, take-it-apart-and-put-it-together kind of man. I think he would not like puzzles. He pays other people to work certain things out. All day I freaked out about those mushrooms. I spoke to almost every home dude as they radioed in: "Home dude, what do you think about . . . ?" "What? What, Limes? What did you say? You're kidding, right? Giving me the business?" No, home dudes. It's real.

By coincidence, all vans and service teams ended their day at the same hour. Home dudes collected in the office, where I could literally feel heat emanating off of their bodies. I started the mushroom talk and the noise level rose. "What the hell?" "Limes, are you sure that's what she said?" And then, Troy, in his quiet way, piped in. I had to hush the others in order to hear what he was saying. "Either their slab is cracked or the mushrooms are growing near an exterior wall. There has been some water source and the mushrooms are growing through the cracked slab or through the wall." Dead silence. Thought I: "Yeah, can that really happen? Is that something you've actually heard of?" I silently gave him Diane's telephone number. He called and spoke quietly with her. We all listened. He hung up the phone and grinned. "Mushrooms growing through the carpet along an exterior wall where they recently had a plumbing emergency that spewed thousands of gallons of water." Because Troy is a nuts-and-bolts, take-it-apart-and-put-it-together kind of man.

After Troy's show, Justin suddenly remembered an apartment he lived in where his bedroom abutted the neighbor's bedroom. The neighbor had a flood in his apartment and apparently appropriate water damage restoration work was not performed. Justin went to his bedroom closet one day and thought about fainting. "Limes, it was a forest. Mushrooms, little trees . . . " I'm adding mushrooms to my list of topics about which I am knowledgeable. Just like action-back carpet and Pet Urine 101. Once our CPA was visiting the office to make a presentation at our staff meeting. She watched us interact for an hour. When she was leaving, she touched my arm and said, "They are all so lucky to have you." Uh-huh. It goes both ways, home girl. Can't wait for the first phone call when I can ask, "Are you growing mushrooms, Ma'm?"

In my ears right now: Mushrooms, what did you think?

Something that charmed me: Justin growing a forest in his closet.


  1. There may be a market for those mushrooms! Exotic, wild mushrooms, favored by carpet munchers everywhere!

  2. We know what an entrepreneur I am ~ maybe I should give it some attention! A1 Limes' Magical Mystical Mushrooms?

  3. A1 Limes' Magical Carpet Ride Mushrooms?

  4. The Steppenwolf one-hit-wonder song would be my jingle.