Installer Contest -- The Winner's Circle
November 19, 2007
We wanted your installation stories (your best installation, worst installation, most memorable installation, etc.) and you heeded our call. The following three stories were selected as the best of all the submissions we received.
We want to thank everyone who participated, and if you recognize one a winner’s name, give them a call and tell them you just their story in Floor Covering Installer magazine.
Submitted by: Roland Thompson, Baltimore, MD
Looking over the topics, first I thought I would talk about the times I have done work for several different presidents while they stayed at Camp David.
The most memorable of them all was when I did the president’s office, and when we put back the furniture, I was let to sit at his desk. (I wanted to put my feet up on the desk but the Marine in change would not let me). Then a week later, we got a letter from the First Lady saying how nice it looked.
Then I figured I would write about a funny incident. First, I thought about the one where I received a call from a man I had done lots of work for and they wanted me to come and measure the pool area (that is at least what I thought he said). Thinking to myself that it is a nice size pool, the area around it will make a nice job. I get there and it is not around the pool, but the inside of the pool. He had it emptied and dried out. When I asked him why, he said the bottom of the pool was hurting his grandchildren’s toes. I did the job. He spent lots of money having the carpet custom-made and special glue sent into hold up to the water and chemicals.
Then I thought about the job I did where we had to do the floor, walls and ceilings in a ‘80s hard rock bar. The people that lived in the area were complaining about the sound. By the way, trying to spread glue on a ceiling while lying on scaffolding is fun - kept dodging glue drips.
But the job that had made me scratch my head the most was when I received a call to do a job at a big dairy farmer’s house outside of town. I loaded up the carpet and vinyl and headed to the job. I went to the house and after knocking on the door, the farmer came to the door and said, “oh you’re here to do the flooring. It’s out in the barn.” He said he would meet me out there, and I figured he some offices out in the barn.
We get to the barn and he is taking me past where they clean up and milk the cows. I am now looking at 30 cow lounges all fixed up with fancy lights, custom drapes and custom eating areas. I am thinking, now what is going on here?
So here I am about to put vinyl in one-third of each area, and carpet in the other two-thirds. Now this is where the cows are going to be living and eating. I asked him why and he told me that it has been proven that if you make your cows happy they will give more and better milk.
So I did the job knowing that I am not going back to clean it.
Submitted by: Eugene Lessig, Myerstown, PA
Back a few years, I was sent to a home in Harrisburg to install some carpet and also a piece of vinyl in the kitchen. I wasn’t fond of vinyl, so I decided to tackle that first.
It was a long narrow kitchen like I never saw before. It was only five-feet wide and 17-feet long, with all the furniture and appliances moved out. So my helper and I got the vinyl laid out, squared it up and cut it in. The only way I could paste it up was by folding the material the long way. The storeowner sent me a gallon of paste because he knew it was a small job.
I pasted the first half of the floor, no problem. As I was pasting my way through the end of the kitchen, I set the gallon of paste on a shelf next to the stove. I had to reposition myself and as I was getting up, I bumped the corner of the shelf, not knowing the shelf was a quick release type.
The gallon of paste came down over my shoulder across my arm, down my pants, into my one shoe, and all over the floor. I was stunned. I knew I was in big trouble.
I took my shoes off and ran it under the spigot at the sink, but I knew I couldn’t salvage anything else. I dug my wallet out, gave my helper $40 and told him to go to the nearest shopping center for a shirt, pants and socks. He left and I started cleaning up my mess.
I don’t know how I got that floor finished, but I did. After a long day, I completed the carpet as well. I never told anybody about that day because being a professional installer I was really embarrassed. I was glad the customer was not home that day.
This happened 30 years ago, and I am in my 51st year of the flooring business. I am 69 years old and still installing all types of flooring. I love it!
Submitted by: C.W. Chuck Kubich, Bellevue, NE
Working on a farm in southwest Iowa for an elderly couple, an unusual thing happened.
A crew member and myself arrived at 9 a.m. to install carpet in three bedrooms. The rooms were empty of furniture and ready to go. While installing pad, I heard from the kitchen the words, “Not Again,” not realizing what was happening.
We kept installing the pad and the carpet. Since we were miles from the nearest town (20 miles to be exact), the farmer’s wife invited us to have lunch with her and her husband.
She warned us before we sat down that her husband ate with his work gloves on. He came in, ate with his work gloves on, and went back to the front porch where he spent most of his time. She told us he had dementia, and she took the mail out to the box three times, and he would keep bringing the mail back in.
She was standing at the kitchen window, which overlooked a dirt road, and the mailbox was on the far side of the road. The farmer sat on a rocker on the porch, holding and petting the cat. We in turn went back to work when all of a sudden the farmer’s wife started to scream, “No, no, Oh my God, No!”
Well the farmer, who was sitting on the porch, had walked across the road, cat in arm, opened the mailbox, shoved the cat into the rural box, and closed the lid. Before the woman could get outside, here comes the rural mail carrier, opens the box, out flew the cat and into his car, and out the other side. The car went into the ditch, we all rushed out to see if the mail carrier was ok.
We got to the car with the farmer’s wife. The first words out of the mail carrier’s mouth was, “I don’t know what that was, but I hope it had an Air Mail stamp on it.”
The mailman had turned as white as a sheet. We helped get him out of the ditch and back to work.
The poor farmer’s wife had us all back into the house for homemade pie, while still apologizing to the mail carrier.
The farmer was back on the porch, in his rocker, cat in arms, like nothing ever happened.