Time article

Losing Time

I remember the times when I used to have time, to watch the sun set. Ponder the colours as they intertwine over the top of the great dividing range, turning bright blue into off tone shades of grey to black, leaving me with a dulled blue, almost purple in between the night and day, that tells me the day is done and the dark night is about to begin.

That dark night breaks into speckled light, a deluge of stars and galaxies, nebulae of new born brightness in the galaxies above. I would spend hours simply watching the stars and how they moved across the night sky. Often I would bring out the telescope, gazing upon Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Delving deep into my mind about our existence and where I actually fit in. Wondering what all this means, always with more questions than answers.

I find myself now, in the present, wondering where that time has gone. Wondering why I now seem to miss all the sunsets and by the time I get the chance to look into the night sky, I’m too tired and it’s time for bed.

I wonder is it just because I’m at that time in life where everything is so busy. I’m at the stage where work and progress must come before the simpler things, even family to some degree. For the modern world dictates this. It drives me with no other choice but to keep pushing. For to stop, and take time, only brings more pressure from society to push even harder next time I start again.

I want to see my daughter more often. I want to spend time with her and teach her of the Orion Nebulae and the beauty in the birth of stars. I want to show her the Centauri system and how beautiful they are in the sky each night, how in time, they may all be drifting apart, but still appear so bright to our eyes each night.

I want to take more time with my mother to sit, quietly and just listen to Pavarotti’s “Ave Maria” while I watch her Dementia filled brain float into his lyrics. I want to hear the memories she still has left come trickling back about her childhood with her own mother. Just sit. Take time, and listen.

I want to grasp onto one of the few fond memories I have with my father and dive into that aqua blue water to pull a crayfish out, start our fire on the beach and dine like we’re kings of Babylon and simply forget, about time.

I want to share those childhood memories with my sister before the world started to stretch and skew from much too young of age, turning children into adults before their time.

But for all these things I want, I simply cannot take. For a tall, strong adult man in this modern world of ours, there is no ground for failure, no soft cushion for our fall. There is no spare time, only lost time to push harder and sacrifice everything that makes us, us.

So for now, in this middle part of life, where time is at it’s lowest, we must keep pushing harder. Maybe one day I’ll find time to gaze upon the stars again. Maybe my lack of time will not keep me from fond memories for when I’m old.

If only I had more time.

 

Reflection

A Year in Reflection – Our Evaluations

Can you guess why I’m sitting around again this morning? Surely it’s not because of another rain day today….We’ve had our share of them this year so far for sure. But it’s given me some time to reflect on last year. Covid. Increase in trade demand. Massive increase in our services. I touched base on this slightly in my last article recognising an area that needs improvement after receiving some bad feedback, then sitting down with Camilla and doing some self evaluations on our business to understand the problem and try learn from it.

You see, I’ve been around a long time now, over 23 years in fact in and around the Gold Coast concreting. The business has been operating here for about 16-17 of that, at a rough guess, and we’ve always been at worst steady, leaning towards very busy at any given time. But last year was something I’ve never seen before and to be honest, something I’m only coming to terms with now since we’ve been a bit slower from the constant rain delays.

I’m always someone who tries to look further into situations, evaluate them as a whole and not just what I’m seeing or hearing on the surface. Analytical I suppose. But the whole Covid debacle had me completely confused. I saw so much of the country going into a recession, similar to what I saw in 2008 with the GFC, but then for us, business kicked along running at probably 150% greater capacity then normal. I really couldn’t make heads or tails of it, all we could really do is put our heads down and asses up and make hay while the sun shines. We went from being booked for around 3-4 months at a time and getting maybe 10 calls a week for quotations, to having to stop bookings at 6-7 months because anything after that was unrealistic, while we were still getting 40+ calls a week for new work.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining about being busy while a large chunk of the world had slowed down dramatically, or stopped in a lot of cases, completely first world problems. But it had me in a position where 70 hours a week on the tools was common place. That amount of work hours on the tools is no problem, I’ve done that hundreds of times, but it was the consistency throughout the entire year of doing this that I nearly broke down from, both physically and mentally. This reflected back through our scheduling and some clients at times, getting long delays in their bookings, which of course caused frustrations to them as well, which we completely understand (although didn’t appreciate being yelled at on a few occasions because of it.)

I wrote a few articles about this at the time throughout the year as well, but feeling as though we’ve finally settled down a bit, I can reflect and try and make heads and tails of what was happening, trying to improve our booking and scheduling process in the future.

It’s a really difficult situation, because although mentally I wasn’t at my best last year from stress and burn out, some of the work we put out was by far our best overall. The quality of work remained, that did not drop away, which I suppose I can take a positive from doing everything I can to keep my standards high. But it was the back end of the business that dropped away. Camilla did a great job holding things together, she really is my rock, but we just inevitably found ourselves with scheduling problems throughout that we just couldn’t overcome.

The funny thing is, this is exactly what I didn’t want the business to become when I moved away from commercial work and into the mind set of, “quality over quantity”. We want to be the “little guy”. We want to provide residential customers with something that isn’t overly available in this industry. We have worked really hard over the years to deliberately not grow and not be the business who simply takes on mountains of work and throws sub-contractors at it to complete it. The quality of work and customer service goes completely out the window when that happens.

I guess you could say last year though, that exact thing crept back into my business that we don’t want where we simply just took on too many jobs and Camilla and I couldn’t realistically handle everything effectively. Something had to give and on this occasion, it was our customer service on a several occasions.

Although we are still heavily booked for a long period, we have stretched our schedule out with more room in between jobs, which not only helps with the rain delays we’re getting at the moment, but also helps with us coming back into the business model that see’s our customers receiving the best of us again, on all occasions.

I really do enjoy still learning hard lessons at 40yo. Or am I just dumb and have already learnt this lesson? Camilla thinks I’m just dumb. :p

Hope you’re having a great 2021 everyone and if you got this far, thank you kindly for reading. Take care.

Thinking

Room for Improvement

Room for Improvement

Just thought I’d write up a little blog on something I’ve been noticing over the past year since the economy kicked along around the start of Covid (sounds weird to be saying it like that for sure).

As with most of our followers and anyone who comes across our website really, they know that we’re a small business by choice where Camilla and I are onsite and in charge of each project. We’re not a business that is looking to expand and grow into an entity that simply throws manpower at projects trying to make as much money as possible.

We’re a small setup focussing on quality. We want that job satisfaction in our lives and in our clients lives. We want our clients to know we care about the outcome of their projects. But we’re running into some negative feedback because basically, we’re just not keeping up with demand.

I can use the excuse that working seven days a week is taking it’s toll, and it is, but at the end of the day, there’s a shortfall from us that we need to figure out a solution for.

I’m going to be sitting down with Camilla over the next month or so and figure out how we can combat this problem. We’re still in the position that we do not want to expand, but the rapid influx of new enquiries that are never ending and the large demand for our services, is starting to take it’s toll.

Kind of the opposite of what we want to achieve. Previously working towards good reputation by staying smaller and keeping the quality of work high….but we’re at present refusing to grow and getting bad feedback because of it. Where is the balance I suppose?

There is the other option of just riding this out because it will slow down again, I just don’t want keep having our clients let down by our time frames that seem ever harder to control.

The best I can do for now, is learn something from this feedback and work hard to improve ourselves so we can keep moving forward.

Defeat - Too much damage

Defeat

Carindale Project on Hold

Unfortunately for now we have had to suspend work on our Carindale project. We have completed the first section of the project in removing the tiles ready for resurfacing, but as you would know if you follow our works, NBN has installed their cabling to a very poor standard and will not re-attend to rectify it, along with the side section of concrete also requiring a major overhaul before resurfacing can be applied.

Simply a case of not being able to overlay something that is not going to hold together. Once the overhaul has been completed by others to the NBN part and side sections, we will return to this property to complete our works.

Pictures below for damaged areas that are awaiting fixing by other contractors.

Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Defeat - Too much damage
Torii

Competition – I Need a Canvas

What's On Offer

So basically, I’m a little bored. We’ve got a heap of work on and our schedule is quite daunting, but, I need to add a little flavour into it. After the first long break at Christmas this year in what seems like an eternity, I promised myself to not only balance out my work / personal life better, but to also put more time into what I consider my art.

Naming this a “competition” is kind of corny, but I’m trying to emphasise, in this circumstance, that the work and materials will be provided for free and I guess “competition”, is the best way to let potential customers know this.

This idea, is not only limited to this particular design that I will be talking about in this “competition”, I am also open to other potential clients who to provide me a canvas to work upon, and hopefully some more “themed” installations.

I want to start completing the odd project, primarily out of my pocket providing the outlay isn’t too crazy, to start delving into full theme’s that I can encompass different styles and aspects of my overlay resurfacing, as well as epoxy, into a single piece of workmanship that really is one of a kind. So if you think you have something interesting, outside of this idea, please get in touch, I’d love to hear what it is.

For now though, lets chat about this potential design and the requirements I am looking for in a potential concrete canvas.

The Idea / Theme

I’ve you’ve been following my articles for a while, you’ll maybe remember quite a while ago me expressing my respect for the Japanese culture and something that drew my attention a lot whilst I travelled there briefly, especially in areas surrounding Mount Fuji, was the Torii Gate and Shinto Shrines.

Although not specifically a religious type person myself, the idea of having a place to show respect to and ask for good fortune to something higher than yourself (Kami), is an interesting concept. I don’t want to try and pretend to know all the inner workings to the Kami, simply just saying it is something that tweaked my interest in depth, whilst there. Which also, gave credence to a pretty cool design idea, which although will be difficult to pull off properly, would really keep my little inner creator Kami happy.

The Torii Gate is symbolic as the entrance from the mundane to the sacred. An entrance point into the Shinto Shrine and this is what I want to re-create for a potential customer.

Shinto Shrine

The Background

I want to create the background primarily in the textured style of our new (but old), stone skip trowel overlay. I want to use this to replicate possibly a stone pathway leading to the Shinto Shrine.

This skip trowel design I’m thinking to apply in a dark grey to black multi tone in water based stains, that will compliment the overall theme of a more “jungle” type feeling, and allow the colouring of the other aspects to pop out properly from it.

The picture across gives an idea of the texture design. I will be looking at a darker grey than this though and of course, without the tile pattern.

Skip Trowel Overlay

The Torii Gate

The Torii Gate itself is to be the star of the show and to be completed in a textured effect to imitate a timber look.

The gate will be completed also in water based stains leaning towards the common solid red colouring, possibly with a black topping as seen in a lot of images of Torii Gates.

This section will be a bit tricky to get right as I don’t want it to look too tacky….but I think we have the skills to get us there.

Note: Credit to Ultimate Industries for the timber effect. I stole this photo from Peter’s website….I’m sure he won’t mind? lol

Torii Timber

The Finishing Touch

Now what would a Japanese themed installation be without a Golden Sunset?

I’ll be looking to apply a large sun into the design and completing this with a stipple effect to appear like the fuming heat of the afternoon sun as it beams it’s glory upon the Torii Gate. Colours of Red and Orange will be the star of this.

If I can pull it off as well, I would like to spray on some misting clouds through the sun in light and dark greys. See how that one pans out.

The picture across gives an idea of the texture finish for this, ignore the colour applied of course.

Custom Staining

Closing

I guess at the end of the day, this might be difficult to find a customer who suits the requirements we need. First of all, you need to be into this theme, along with artwork in general of course.

Secondly, the project needs to be reasonable and not going to cost me a fortune to install.

Thirdly, the perfect canvas would be great. Hopefully and upward facing driveway. Or a larger entertaining area. Patio entertaining. Or even better, something leading to a personal shrine would of course be perfect.

If you follow my blogs, share this blog around to anyone you might think may be interested.

I’ll be sharing this through Instagram and passing it along through my supplier reps as well. Basically just getting the word out as best as possible.

Hope you’re all doing well out there and I hope we can find the right requirements so we can make this dream into a reality.

Skin cancer article

Lets Talk Skin Cancer

CAUTION – Before I get started here, I’ve got a few photos posted on this post that may not be appropriate for younger eyes….to be fair though, if you’re kids are reading what I’m writing, we’ve got bigger problems to deal with.



A few years back, I was chatting with an old friend of mine over a beer. I was a bit younger, much fitter and had less beer in the ol’ belly keg, so I had my shirt off enjoying the sun a little bit.

His son who was sitting with us, asked what the big scar on my chest was. I responded with the truth and honesty, the same way I try and live the rest of my life. I told him about my younger days and what I did wrong, in regards to sun protection, that caused the Stage 2 Melanoma the I had excised. Hearing the story, along with seeing the massive scar on my chest, gave him a bit of scare, however unintentional it was at the time.

Of course not meaning to scare the kid, I felt a little shitty after that, but then came around thinking, to be honest, that’s exactly what I needed at his age, then just maybe I might have been a little more careful.

Basically I grew up in the bush so to speak, in a little bush school that had 30 children from years 1-7. It was a tough little prick of a place and bush kids pack a punch. It was also during a time when “Sun Smart” was just coming into play, only really seeing it’s advertising on television. You know, “Slip, slop slap”. Well I got to see this maybe only a handful of times throughout my early days, so it never really had a chance to dig into my thick head and take a hold.

Fast forward a little bit to my teenage years, skipping school and spending hours every day, at the beach with no shirt, no hat and sunscreen was for pussies. After all, it only stung when it got in the eye and trying to pick up chicks with stinky red eye just never worked….or maybe it was the ugly mug, 50/50 call really.

Into late teens and early 20’s, starting out in the mud and hey, we’re working our asses off outside, suns out guns out right?

Only in my later years, after my first excision of a skin cancer, did I really take heed and get my pasty red headed ass out of the sun, or at least wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.

So I guess what I’m getting at here is a bit of a message. A message to kids, young men and women, along with adults as well, get your shit together and protect yourself from the sun, even the smallest things, require a pound of flesh in penance.


Skin cancer article
Stage 2 Superficially Spreading Melanoma 0.4mm Depth

This was me at 30 years old. Finally heading down for a skin check that were few and far between. I was having a full check up, but this particular bit was like a pimple in a hair follicle. I picked it, bit of blood came out and I paid it no notice. A few weeks later, it was still slowly bleeding, so I got it checked.

The first excision this time was about half this big, requiring around 30 stitches to close up. After the pathology results came back, the doctor advised me there were still malignant cells too close to the excision line for safety, and that we would need to recut more out. Back we go and another 10mm either side was taken out, with cut from armpit to past my center clavicle.

This time we got it. Thank fuck because I honestly couldn’t have sat there wide awake having the doctor extract more of my body, as I could smell the BBQ pork from cauterizing my open veins that were spilling all over my chest.

Oh, you think they knock you out under a local for this shit? Ha. Wide awake baby. Not even a phone to stay occupied.

This second cut took over 120 small stitches and approximately 30 thick stitches to close properly, which of course was nearly impossible considering you could fit two, 50mm gauze pads in the open wound before pulling it together and stitching me up. I won’t show you those pics on here….


Skin cancer article
Melanoma Scar Tissue

The pic above is about 4 years later. Camilla and I were hiking taking silly photos and no, my present body is but a fat shadow of my previous self. But, this is the only pic to give a good idea of what that scar healed like…..look good hey ladies? Would be beautiful across a chest like yours? Cover your shit up or put sunscreen on….lol. (looking at my sister).

The bit that’s bringing all this to mind is the latest couple I’ve just had removed yesterday, and also having a couple of photos that give a good comparison to the size of the identified problem, and initially, how much the doctor has to take out.


The picture on the left was after the excision of the first one yesterday. These are only stage 1 beginnings, so basically nothing to talk about in the grand scale of Melanoma. But the circled part of the first picture is the second that is to be excised. You can see the purple section? That’s actually larger than what the problem spot was, caused to the original biopsy a few weeks before. The second photo is obviously both spots excised.

Now I guess here comes the point I want anyone willing to pay attention, to listen to.

Don’t be a dick head bush kid.

If you’re one of these Euro chicks who comes over here to Australia and bakes in the midday sun for hours on end, pull your head in, you won’t be beautiful when they start cutting you up.

If you’re a tradie, especially roofers and concreters are the worst, put your shirt on dick head, majority of the time your body isn’t as good as you think and you’ve got it off in front of other blokes.

In this article, take it as you will. I’m not trying to be this recovered cancer patient warning everyone else to change their lives, nor am I looking for caring messages to be sent. I’m fine and because I get checked every 6 months, it’s highly unlikely skin cancer will get me.

This is just written knowledge that maybe someone might pay attention to.

The only bit about skin cancer (if you’re getting regular checks) that sucks, is as I said before, the pound of flesh to be paid in penance.

 

Checklist Article

Considerations Before Contracting Us

There’s an ongoing battle for us at Walker Concreting and Resurfacing, we have a hard earned reputation that’s taken years to develop and this gives our clients confidence in hiring our services, that their project is in the hands of a contractor who actually cares about the outcome, even if you have to wait for us to get there.

I was going to write up a list of different things to consider, but to be fair, I think our reputation preceedes us. I don’t need to toot my own horn and talk myself up, those who can, don’t need to talk about it. If you’re having your project priced by us, I’m sure you’ve already done your research and know that we’ll take care of it to the best of our ability.

I do however, just have one, major consideration you need to take into thought, before pulling the trigger in waiting for us.

Time frames….

We are a small business. There is literally myself, my wife and a full time off sider who to be fair, has more experience than me (been together longer than my wife and I too, good ol’ Ollie). This information is detailed, literally, on the front page of our website explaining what our business is and how it operates.

We are not a business with dozens of employees. We do not sub-contract our work out because our clients trust us solely to complete their work, not others. We also, cannot magically make more hours appear in every day / week to get more work done…I think our 70+hrs a week is pushing the boundaries as is…please don’t ask me for more 🙁

Our small business mindset is very deliberate. I hate modern economics. Big fish eats the small fish and controls the market share. It’s disgusting. We are small by choice and will remain that way, so our clients know exactly what they are getting.

There are also all types of things that cause delays. Rain. Other services not completed their part of the deal (plumbers for instance). Project took longer than expected. Many many things can cause delays, but I promise you it’s never us not putting in enough hours or effort.

Typically, we run off a schedule anywhere from 3-6 months, changing with the economy and other times of each year as is.

Now, just before you pull the trigger, imagine you’re pencilled in 4 months from now to get a start with your project and there’s 5 projects to be done before I get to yours. Now imagine 3 of those projects take an extra 2 days to complete, which is not abnormal and is always unforseen and can’t be planned for. We have then magically lost a full week before we get can get to you.

March comes around for example and we get 2 weeks of rain delays….the marbles keen rolling down hill to trip someone else up.

Now imagine I can’t work 70+hrs a week for months on end without at least taking a week off here and there. Even just one week off. You’re project could lose a month without even trying before we can get there.

There is of course the more “typical” outcome, where everything runs on time and everyone is happy, but I’m just trying to advise potential clients of a worst case scenario, that “sometimes” pops up.

The majority of our clients who do contract our services, are very aware of this fact and are quite happy waiting as long as it takes because, our hard earned reputation provides security in their decision to have us complete your work, in an industry that has a bad repuatation to begin with.

I have a favourite saying with Camilla when she tells me someone is complaining about the time frame for waiting, as happened today from a client we were simply trying to communicate with, attempting to be as professional as possible through our communication, about any potential delays. My response to her every time, is…

“I’m sorry, it sucks, but I can’t give them what I don’t have”.

We look forward to pricing and meeting with each potential client and take extreme pride in every project we complete. We really look forward to completing your work each and every time as well.

But please, don’t book our services knowing our wait times, then abuse me and accuse me of being unprofessional by simply giving you notice of our (unforseen) delays.

Burnt out article

I’m Busy!

15-20 years ago, a young man started out with the goal of getting as busy as possible. Chasing the dragon and making that mullah baby! Work booked in a month in advance, my chin held high, a sense of accomplishment.

After ups and downs, nearly in clasp of said dragon, I pondered my aching joints thinking, “man, only a month worth of bookings would be a nice break from this shit I’m knee deep in”.

I pushed to mid 30’s. More skilled and building a reputation. Three months bookings ahead. Although the joints didn’t ache any more yet, the brain struggled to keep up as I tumbled and stumbled along my path….still the dragon eludes me…bastard.

I’m now facing 40. My body is fucked and my head is mush. Six months. Not 1, 2 or even 4. We’ve been working on a 6 months schedule for such a long time now, I forget even what job we did last week, let alone a month ago. Where the fuck did that dragon go? I swear I saw him yesterday…..

It’s funny how you consider yourself “busy” in life. At any given time, a person or contractor can consider themselves busy. But there’s always another new, crazy level of “what the actual fuck is this” you tumble into, (if you’re trying hard enough), that just makes the last section of busy look like a sunshine and lollipops.

I love what I do. I really do. I’m a bush kid full of ADHD and had basically no chance at what “normal” people would consider a productive life through education. I grit my teeth, worked through my problems and figured it out for myself. Every penny and accomplishment earnt, through blisters, blood, sweat and tears.

I’m also so damn thankful these days that our clients, and people in general, can look past my personality disorder, look beyond the small things that make me hard to deal with on a social basis, but then take notice in the hard work I put into my trade and business, see what I am working my ass off trying to acheive, so my client, who has taken the time to show faith in my abilities, has something truly wonderful and inspiring installed in thier home.

It’s a funny game though in my line of work. You seem to be struggling early on, not keeping up with the rest of your peers throughout life as we’re learning our skillset. Then we start to make progress, start to see something moving forward as we get better. Then by the time we really get bloody good at what we do, we’re burning out by all the hard work it took for us to get here. A viscious cycle. But one well travelled all the same.

Myself, and now my wife since she came on board, have been running into brick walls for a long time now. Working our fingers to the bone until we physically and mentally can’t push any harder, then taking a week or so off to reset again, before jumping back in the deep end. But, those little resets are not working anymore.

We’re only back a week or so after a reset and I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m not enjoying what I do. All I can see if tough bloody jobs in front of us…that dragon so far from reach at the peak of the new hill that seems steeper every month.

You see I’m the guy contracting the $50k project, 6-8 employees onsite, concrete pumps, supplying all materials, thousands of dollars on the line if anything goes wrong, and be calm as a fucking cucumber, having a laugh with the lads and getting shit done. She’ll be right mate.

But recently, I’ve been snapping over absolutely minor, stupid details of everyday work. Things like a skip bin hasn’t been arranged. Dumb frigging things. It’s time to step back.

I guess maybe, have we reached the absolute pinacle of what “busy” can be? Maybe we can’t push “busy” any further? 6 months bookings with 70-80 hours a week trying to stay on schedule for months and months and months on end, without end. I never knew busy until it finally slapped me on the ass as I fell back down that hill, exhausted, watching the dragon fly even further out of reach.

Either way, we’re stepping “busy” back and taking back control of our (my) life. I am quite aware in a modern society, I will be working (to some degree), until I’m frail and old. If I don’t slow down a bit now, I will not make those old, frail bones to begin with.

I think the hardest thing with having a 6 month schedule ahead, is that even if you only have minor delays here and there, it’s nearly impossible to stick to a date given to a client. Imagine trying to take some personal time off in there as well? Taking even a week every 6 months just to reset and keep the quality of work to our typical standards? Impossible. Almost as stupid as trying to catch a fairytale dragon.

Clients from here forth, will be given simple a month in which we expect to start their project. At least that way, WHEN we’re late, it’s still (hopefully) at least in the same month that we advised them of (lol).

To maintain a small business. Maintain work standards. To not become an Ogre and want to rip peoples heads off on a daily basis….exceptions need to be made. Money is the only thing driving us to push the extra hours. I will still make the money, just over a longer period of time and who knows, maybe I’ll rediscover the reason I love my decorative industry as much as I did a few years ago. Maybe I’ll finally find those hours to put down a few new artistic designs I’m always thinking of……

Maybe.

Maybe is better than never, at any cost.

Covid Article

A Familiar Face

Hey everyone (anyone really who actually reads this rubbish). As always, it’s been a while since I have a chance to jump on and give an update. Ever since Covid hit, our already murderish schedule seemed to double, if not triple over night and my god I haven’t had a second to scratch myself in around 6 months….but….first world problems of course and we’re among the lucky who still have a regular income, so definitately no complaints and very thankful.

I guess the biggest reason why I’m on here this afternoon, apart from the several Crowns that seemingly didn’t touch the sides, is I feel the website / social media side of the business has been a little neglected. Certainly not through lack of projects, but it seems every project we’re on is long, difficult and tiring, so although the quantity isn’t there, the quality is….even if it is disguised by not having pretty swirls and blended tones throughout it’s textures. Plus, I’m freaking old and tired from busting my ass each day in a business I refuse to grow in man power, because we are about providing a more personalised, professional and experienced service to our clients.

After the original 4 months of Covid’s bullshit tentacles grasping onto our lives and restricting our breathing, we finally got a chance to take a week off….but seriously, after 4 months of 70hr+ weeks, a week doesn’t exactly work. It’s rushed, still tumble weeding down to the OK Coral for the daily stress shoot out, before heading back into the ferris wheel to appear to fit into the worlds reality of work work work at the expense of all else. Also, open the damn borders you wankers, I didn’t ask you to run up a $100B credit card bill in my name, pfft.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a hard worker. I’ve always been prepared to go the extra mile to achieve things that a lot of people just aren’t prepared to put in the extra effort for. Whether it’s seeing and experiencing places in the world only brought with my calous riddled hands, or experiencing satisfaction in the work place by accomplishing goals within projects that honestly and humbly, not a great deal of other contractors will achieve through lack of expereince only gained through hard work, over decades.

The last, “several” projects, have been nothing but nightmares. I have spent more time on grinders in the last 2 months than I think in the last 20 freaking years. Every single damn project has been ground back, layered, ground back again, so on and so on, trying to achieve the top quality we aspire to for our clients who wait months and months for us to attend their projects.

Such a humbling experience having people willing to wait so long for our services as well. We try to our upmost physically and mentally for you, exert all of our experience as well for each and every project to live up to every expectation by our lovely clients. Cheers to you all. You’re so appreciated.

But something that I need in my life, is the artistic, creation side of my decorative industry that gives me the biggest “ego boost” of all. It’s also something that we haven’t been doing a lot of lately…..

The projects we’re on and have been on, are all very, very complicated jobs. Going from the beginning of what we have to work with, and taking them to completion, is a level of workmanship that very few others in this industry can achieve, I guess that’s why most of our work these days is work that others just simply won’t take on. While our clients are getting quotes of “rip out and redo”, we’re offering a high quality, secondary option that works. Only offered from understanding of the products and what we are working with to every, minor detail, making it all work.

I guess I get a kick out of getting feedback from our spectacular projects, where multiple tones are blended to create realistic stone formations, or pure artistic creation is taking place through one of our one of kind designs. I guess maybe the feedback isn’t there for the projects we’ve been on lately. Although it is great feedback we’re getting, it’s more the little details that most people can’t see that goes into these jobs….kind of like quiet acheivment, name on the wall at Langely sort of setup. Sounds stupid, but credit from peers I suppose rather than WOW factor on Instagram.

At the end of the day, money plays the major roll in the direction of modern life. Long for the days where creation and artistic freedom was rewarded on a similiar frame of mind as the bottom dollar we all need to strive for. Money does, and always will hinder true creation in our modern world.

Completely not comparing myself on this level, not even in the same galaxy, but imagine Michelangelo scuplting David. Money has been offered and plays some part of course, enough part to not have simple, every day problems overcome what you are trying to artistically acheive. Only a financial gain for time spent.

But overall, a beautiful mind that is simply lingering at back of room, a third eye for the artist, allowing their hands to apply absolutes to the project that is beyond typical comprehension. The afternoon light through stained windows gives credence to the last few strokes committed upon that very day. Money is not the drive. Money is enough to allow more freedom to not stress about what the artist is trying to acheive. The goal is beauty. Beauty in it’s perfections…..and imperfections.

I love the money we’re making at the moment on these large, technical projects…..but I think I need to start redirecting the business again. Bringing money and creation back at least level pegging. I have so many new designs to put down that just keep getting put on the back burner.

One day I suppose. When the money doesn’t quite have the hold on life quality.

A few pics below, of the more “simple” design projects we’ve been on, but are heavily technical in our attempt at perfection in what we do.

I hope you’re all doing well out there. I read a sign as I drove through Mackay a few months ago.

“Tough times will never out live tough people”.

If you’re doing well, get at it and keep pushing hard. If you’re struggling, have a chat to someone and keep trying your best. My ears are open for any of my friends needing it. There is always someone who gives a shit. It’s OK to not be OK.

Ethics Business Supplier

The Tipping Point

White Lie / Harsh Truth

As a young buck stepping out into the business world in the trades, I took strides through learnt lessons of text in how a business should aspire to greater heights. Expand. More employee’s. Tender contracts. Government contracts. Chase the dragon. Bottom line! bottom line! bottom line!

After several years stepping down said path, I came to realise I was just like all the other conglomerate assholes with no actual ethics within an astronomical unit of reality, solely existing to drive profits and not caring who we stand on in the process.

I still remember going to the local hardware in Nerang with my father. Asking the man who owned / operated the establishment what his thoughts were on the particular project at hand, to recieve knowledge not only greater than ours on the subject, but from someone who actually cared about the result…as opposed to modern day hardware employee’s who wouldn’t know their asshole from elbow (for the most part). Best just remaining quiet to prevent losing brain cells through in depth discussion with the resident slugs who make up the cogs of the ever expanding wheel of profiteering.

From those early lessons, then subsequently from my lessons learnt travelling the wrong path early on, I soon directed the business into a more personal establishment, where the crew might be small, but the experience high and someone you can trust when in conversation, every word from my mouth is honest and with your best intentions in mind for the outcome of your project.

I also tend to make this simple frame of thought expand thoughout my entire business. The material suppliers and manufacturers I choose to work with not only offer high quality products, but also value their customers and their business, along with their return business through a quality relationship.

My conrete supplier? 11 years I’ve been with them. The last time I spoke with their rep, I simply said “I’m not one of these guys who goes around several companies and plays one against the other, we’ve been working together for a long time, I think the prices have gotten a bit high, can you see what you can do for me?”. The next day my rep dropped the prices 15% all across the board, much more than I was expecting, but only received through an above standard relationship over the last decade.

My steel, resurfacing, epoxy and machine suppliers, are all leaning closer to 10 years working with me than anything else, hell, Ollie my longest employee has been with me for 14 years. I value long term relationships that I can trust. Which leads to me the point of this post.

Today, the line was crossed and I flipped. I don’t get angry often, so when I do, you should listen closely and take heed.

Now I’ve been in the game a really long time. I snicker when the concrete supplier, who is an hour late, tells me the “plant broke down”. If only I had a dollar every time huh?…

I have a laugh on the blue bird skies day when a machine operator says he got a puncture, knowning damn well he’s a fishmerman and always takes a day off on days like today. It’s cool. A common understanding. All little white lies with a little tongue in cheek. They know, we know, whatever.

But when you’ve expanded your business and your 20 yo is trying to tell me how to run my business, I get a little agitated. When that 20 yo, after a week waiting on a repair to my grinders, says that there’s no news yet and we need to wait a bit longer, I’m patient, I sit. When I  touch base again Friday, only to be told I’m being pushy and the repairer is waiting on parts to fix a $20 tag and test lead on the grinder which should have only taken 2 days….I smell and rat and get a little fucking frustrated.

When I finally get in contact directly with the 3rd party repairer you sent it off too, finding out the grinder had been repaired for the last 3 days and you simply haven’t bothered contacting them to find out, wasting my time and not appreciating the exxy profit I was prepared to pay you for the service, knowing I haven’t got a second to scratch myself at the moment with how busy we are to fix it myself? You’re lucky I didn’t come down there and ram the grinder up your ass. This isn’t a white lie, it is blatant disrepect for my money and my business, take your medicine boy.

All an old school bush kid like myself requires, is honesty. Tell me you’re busy and haven’t had a chance to follow it up. No problems. But treat me like an idiot and piss down my back telling me it’s raining, I’m taking my money elsewhere. Just between you and me, it’s not a small amount I spend on floor grinding.

I’ll explain that to your boss when he realises why I haven’t been in for a few months.

I suppose at the end of the day, I don’t expect your business to stay small, you travel your own path. But, I do require industry level respect. I’ve earnt that much through being a quality customer.