Before I moved to Florida, I had lived half time in Los Angeles and in Greenville, S.C. I had inherited my mom's home in Pickens, South Carolina. The house was old and needed to be repaired and brought up to standards, it needed a lot of work. New wood floors, electrical work, over grown plants on two acres of land. Two full years of work to get the house ready to sell.
However, I can't just do things simply, do the repairs and sell. As I looked at the home it needed a touch of the south. I sat down with a piece of paper and drafted a southern front porch. It ran from one end of the house to the other. I wanted a tin roof so when the rain came down, I could hear it hit the roof. Everyone, if they live in the house needs a front porch. A front porch is used a lot for visiting with people that just drop by. You have coffee on the front porch in the cool mornings and watch your dog’s get agitated by the squalls that ran up and down the trees. I love a front southern porch. The design was complete and ready to go.
The next step was to hire a contractor to build it, while I had to head back to my office in Los Angeles. I was in the process of closing down my Los Angeles office and move everything out east. All these projects were being done at the same time. Shutting down, packing and moving, and building a southern porch. I have done multiple projects at the same time, so I kept going.
I put out bids to local contractors and no one responded. Not even one returned phone call or email. Luckily, my step brother was out and about and saw a sign on a truck that identified him as a contractor. We me up at the house, got a price and the building begun. Now there is a bad part of the story, the contractor did not know what he was doing, and he built it so bad it could never pass inspection, it was worthless. you would walk across the porch, and it would move. I had to fire him with it half done, the good part is he left all of his tools.
Quickly I studied how to build a porch. Thank goodness for YouTube. I also read Southern Porch on Instagram to get inspired. The whole porch had to be torn down and restarted again. I purchased an auger and started drilling holes into the round, cut rebar, mixed cement by hand, cut wood beams and the rebuild began. I decided to do it myself, with the help of my step brother. Every construction job has problems that you become creative with solutions. We had to get timbers up in the air but had no Crain to do it. We build a device with pullies, and it worked, we got those big timbers up in the air and attached. It worked, and thank goodness my step brother helped me. Two heads are better than one, especially since I am a business guy and not a contractor. Every night I would be on YouTube studying how to build the roof beams to put the tin roof on, then how to attach the tin roof. What kind of paint and stain to use for outdoor weather? Home Depot became my friend, first time I had a contractors account with a store.
It took about two years to get it all done. It is hard to build when you are half in Los Angeles and South Carolina. But it got done and I started to enjoy a southern porch. My lesson with this is that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I have never built anything myself on a home. I had never worked outside in 100 degree heat with lightning storms and rain. I had never drilled holes into the ground to start a solid foundation for the porch. But I worked the process through and got it done. Which applies to everything, especially in mediation, you work the process through, face the challenges, and get the job done. Same with everything in life. I never knew I could build a southern porch and yet I got it done. Stay focused, address the challenges and find solutions, and just get it done.
You can do whatever you set your mind to. Simple as that.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.