Monday, June 27, 2016

RIDING SHOTGUN IN THE CRAZY CAR


 We banged out another piece for what we should call our "NINE INCH NAILS" line.
These pieces are a lot of fun to play with.
 Not many homes yield any all steel furniture. It would definitely call for a certain kind of living space, but that's kinda the point. We'll switch it up once West Elm or Restoration Hardware start doing it, but until then, we'll keep perfecting these pieces.
We spent the week doing a bunch of bullshit work. Refinishing/repairing 25 event tables offsite.
 It was pretty miserable. Not a lot of fun to be had, but rent is due, so we DO.
We wrapped it up early Saturday morning and Zack had mentioned a street fair/art fair by his house in Logan Square.
 For those of you that don't know about Chicago. Logan Square, not so long ago, was a shit hole.
Gang/junkie ridden area of Chicago that if you weren't in a gang, or going to buy drugs, you pretty much avoided.
 Well thanks to the beauty of gentrification, Logan Square is now the beard, tattoo'd woman, hipster mom, indy rock asshole capital of Chicago.
 I hadn't been to Logan Square for any length of time since the early 90's.
The last time I was there, I was walking back to the train station after going to some punk rock show one night and I was surrounded by about 8 to 10 Spanish Disciples (one of Chicago's wonderful gang offerings).
 I was a kid. A white kid. A white kid with a mohawk who was on the brink of most likely getting beaten to death on a poorly lit residential street.
 I was doing a really shitty job of talking my way out of that ass beating, when this guy pulls up in a car.
I knew this guy was pretty high ranking amongst them by the way that they parted like the red sea when he exited the car to most likely...kill me.
 I think I had my eyes closed, awaiting the impact, when the big dog says "what you doin' here bitch?"
I opened my eyes, and said "holy shit...Eddy? Eddy Munoz???"
 I went to school with Eddy. Eddy hugged me and said "B! what cho' been up to fool?!"
The shit that was about to end up in my pants had made it's way back into my lower intestine at that moment.
 We chatted a bit as the Spanish Disciples escorted me to the train station. I received an escort because according to them, Latin Kings had been shooting up the block earlier.
 Came to find out that not long after my reunion with Eddy, he was shot and killed.
Me and Max were taking the train to Logan Square to meet up with Zack and his wife, to check out the art fair.
 Max loves taking the train places, and I love that he's learning how to navigate the city.
While on the train, and pretty much the whole evening I couldn't stop thinking about how I can't save my son from a world gone apparently mad.
 Every person on the train had their faces buried in their phones, except the crazy guy who kept waving and making faces at my son. We get off one train to switch to another and are accosted by homeless people begging for change. We change trains downtown and there are quite a few obvious tourists and I don't even see them as "people" I see them as soon to be "victims".
 You can actually SEE the shit birds downtown stalking these tourists like a vulture would a dying calf.
I want to enjoy the evening with my son, but I can't suppress the overwhelming feeling of wanting to get home, pack up, and move him some place SAFE.
 Some place he can be a kid. A place where he doesn't have to navigate homeless beggars, or junkies, or self absorbed assholes. A place where we don't have to be able to differentiate gun shots from fireworks and their proximity to us.
 Crazy, self absorbed, rude, and just plain mean have become acceptable behavior.
I made a disturbing discovery about myself on our urban journey.
 As much as the world has seemingly gone animalistic, I too have become an animal.
I travel the city with my son prepared to KILL anyone that threatens us.
 I carry no thoughts of repercussions or consequences. I exit our home prepared for battle.
When the fuck did THAT happen?
 Why is that even a thought?
I'm just going to a stupid art fair and I'm prepared to kill for my son.
 I have gone mad along with the rest of the world.
Maybe it's not the rest of the world. Maybe it's just the city.
 If that's the case, then maybe it's time to leave the city.
I've lived in other places and other places aren't like it is here. Sure they had their issues, but nothing like here.
 I remember a time when I would have read a news report in disbelief, that spoke of a woman being stabbed and her throat slit at a train station. Now? I read the headline and think to myself "that sucks" and proceed to check AIR BNB for a Michigan rental.
 Not so long ago, maybe just a couple of years ago, I wasn't so calloused.
I remember reading a story of a little Jewish boy who was abducted and chopped up in tiny pieces in Brooklyn.
 I sat at my laptop and wept.
I cried for that little boy as if my tears would have put him back together.
 Now? I probably would not have the same reaction, and I think that's fucked up.
As much as I speak of humanity and the lack thereof...I too have lost mine.
 Happy Monday!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A SPECIAL BREED OF CRAZY


We have been playing with these rusted finishes on table tops for a few months now.
 There are a couple of aspects that excite me about them...First off, you don't really see it done or at least done like we do them, very often. Secondly, it turns a simple table into a piece of art. True art, because there will never be 2 alike.
 We have been hunkered down with some of the most boring work a man can do...refinishing table tops. A seemingly endless barrage of fucking tabletops.
 The money is good, the work sucks balls, but you do what you have to do...until you freak out, say fuck the world and spend a day on making a steel and reclaimed wood chair.
 I wanted to make a reading chair for my lake cabin (which I don't own).
When you sand table tops all day, your mind wanders. Mine wandered to a lake cabin. In my head, the entire cabin has been built, and this chair will go on the wrap around porch.
 The chair is real, the cabin is very not real.
Today (as I write this) is Fathers Day.
 It's the one day that the guys who bust their ass to raise kids get props, and the shit bag dead beats get called out on social media.
 I'm a good dad.
In fact, I'm the dad I've always wished I had.
There is a big celebration planned for our commune today.
 Today we celebrate graduations, and birthdays, and oh yeah...fathers day.
The pool will be out, the kids will be going ape shit, we'll have great food and cake, and all of us fathers here will get the obligatory hug and a "happy fathers day".
 I'm being selfish because that's what fathers day is for.
It's the day when good fathers don't sacrifice anything. We're supposed to be able to do what we want with impunity...for one day.
 My idea of impunity would be to spend the day with Laura and Max at the dunes in Michigan.
I would read by the lake, Laura would sun worship, Max would jump over waves, and for a brief moment in time, all would be right with the world.
 But today's festivities  will include...children fighting, someone will get hurt, most likely a broken pool, adults will argue, someone is gonna cry, and at some point, Laura's mom will find a way to soak me, most likely someone is going to get offended and storm off and when the smoke clears..us dads will clean it all up.
Just a prediction, but I've seen this movie before.
 Ya know what though? It's all good.
All these kids, all these adults here...they're all fucking crazy.
 But they're my crazies.
The way our commune is set up we're all mothers and fathers to each others children, hell, we're mothers and fathers to each other.
 I don't get to read lakeside with my immediate family. I don't get peace and quiet.
I get to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful and interesting people on the planet. I get to watch a gang of children experience summer at it's finest.
 So today, instead of being a selfish prick (which I would totally fuckin bask in, if given the opportunity) I'm going to enjoy the love of family. I'm going to count my blessings with each water balloon that I fire off today.
 Not many people get to experience the family unit that we have in our commune here. It's a unique and beautiful situation.
 I'm gonna choose to embrace that.
I'm a good fuckin dad. I KNOW that. I don't need a card to remind me.
 Every wrinkle on my face, every gray hair, every burn and every scar, every ache and pain in my body...THOSE are my fathers day cards.
 I am fathers day everyday, because everything I do, and will do, is for my son.

Monday, June 6, 2016

SPIT IT OUT




When I walked in the shop on Monday morning, I would have bet the farm that the week would be a total wash.
 As I came into the shop that morning clutching my coffee cup, I saw Zack ripping the chop saw table off the wall and a few Romanian construction workers scratching their heads and looking confused.
 A small corner of our shop was getting "imminent domained" to make way for a hallway to connect 2 sides of the building as per fire code.
 I have no problem with that. A little notice would be nice though. Corporate knows how to send an email when your rent is due or your parking is being pulled due to a movie shoot, but they seem to have forgotten our email address when the Romanian version of Bob the fucking builder is about to go full on Kool-Aid through the wall where we cut our material.
 I like these Romanian guys...they are really sweet big smelly guys, and at one point I was pretty sure they were going to attempt to build this hallway with the sheer power of their minds, by the way they stared at the space for seemingly hours on end.
 3.5 days later, the corner of the shop was now a public hallway and our business could continue.
Somehow, even with the Romanian invasion, we were able to knock out a rolling bar prototype for a rental company, a giant 6' long coffee table for a restaurant, along with 3 restaurant table top samples, we also refinished 2 more table tops for another restaurant, as well as did some fire code work for the building.
 The Makers...we're 2 guys. That's it.
 We divide and conquer, because we have to.
I noticed the Romanians watching in amazement as we performed our ballet.
 Focus, stay the course, and go.
I think from time to time people get the impression that we're assholes.
 We're actually the opposite, it just comes across that way because we don't have time for "hopes and dreams" discussions.
 If someone tells us exactly what they want built...consider it done. If someone comes in and starts with " I, um, was wondering, if you could, um....build a...ummmm, thing to um.... hold these things that we um...."
Bitch, spit it out. We have no idea how to build "UM" whatever the fuck "UM" is.
 If we're in the middle of building stuff and have to stop to listen to you stutter through a simple thought process, I can testify that I'm going to come off as an asshole.
 It boils down to time.
Time dictates everything.
 A huge problem with the world in general is a lack of respect for someone else's time.
We have all experienced that asshole at the coffee shop who has been standing in front of you in line for 10 minutes, and as soon as it's their turn to order...they have no idea what they want. You had 10 minutes to figure that shit out!
 It's disrespectful...to humanity.
Me and Zack had to meet a potential client at their location.
 The meeting was scheduled for 11am. We were there at 10:50. 10;55 I get a text stating they couldn't make it until 11;30. Fuck it, it's a retail corridor so me and Zack figure we'll walk around, do some window shopping, kill some "time".
 We're walking down the street behind these 2 women and Zack points to a name tattoo'd on the one womans neck. The name happened to be the same name of the potential client.
 Coincidence? These 2 woman are taking their sweet time, window shopping, chatting away, and I'm thinking "this can't be the woman."
We walk past them and wait in front of the location to meet our client.
 The 2 women dip into a coffee shop, and Zack and myself twiddle our thumbs. 11;45, I text the client to ask for an ETA.
 Sure as shit, this bitch stumbles outta the coffee shop upon getting my text and heads our way.
That meeting was over before it started.
Time is more valuable than money. If you don't respect my time, you don't respect me, and if you don't respect me, we have nothing to talk about.
 Chances are...If I'm coming off as an asshole...it's most likely because You're wasting my time.
Time is more valuable than money because I can always find a way to make more money, but there are only so many hours, minutes, and seconds that I'm allotted, and the fucked up thing is, I have no idea how many of those hours, minutes, and seconds I've been given. In fact...I'm pretty sure I have more time behind me, than I do in front of me, so, MY time as well as YOUR time is as precious as it is limited.