I used to love playing Jenga with my kids—it is a great game that requires skill, patience, planning and an “appreciation” of gravity. One wrong move and the whole thing could collapse.
Over the years I have seen a lot of chimneys. In fact a chimney almost got me fired back in 1970 when I was working part time for one of my college professors. This was all way before I could have ever imagined ending up being a Seattle Home Inspector some 39 years later.
I spent weekends and breaks doing handyman work for him while his house was being remodeled. I ended up working for my professor’s builder for about a year after he fired the guy he had working for him at the time.
While the following incident is not what got the helper fired, I am sure it did not help his case any. The builder sent him up on the roof to start shingling the roof. The roof had been covered with felt paper the day before. We could here the dull thud of “occasional” nails being driven—-until the builder couldn’t stand it any longer and he went up on the roof to see what kind of “progress” the helper was making.
The helper was shingling the roof from the top down!
When questioned about this “less than conventional” approach to installing shingles, the helper merely stated, “This the way I always do it.”
After this event—-and some other events that ultimately got the helper fired, I figured this was my chance to ask the builder for a job. I figured I could EASILY do better than this helper.
The next day—-or soon thereafter—-the builder sent me up on an older part of the roof to tear down the chimney. Seemed simple enough, and even sounded like fun. So, there I was up on the roof and knocking the bricks apart and throwing them two stories down onto the lawn—-having a ton of fun trying to hit the bricks that were already embedded in the grass below. It was not long before I had a growing pile of bricks and a boss running and screaming out of the house like he had pulled up his trousers with a hornet’s nest in them. He was waving his hat—-his bald red head glistening in the sun—-saying things I really can’t repeat here. He wanted to know what the “H” “E” double hockey sticks I thought I was doing. After he calmed down a bit, he informed me that he meant the OTHER chimney. “Oh,” I said.
He didn’t fire me—and the rest of the story—-is my whole life.
Like I said at the start of this post—-over the years, I have seen a lot of chimneys.
The chimney pictured above is perhaps the worst chimney I have ever seen. And I am sure that left to its own devices it will soon find its way to the lawn below, “That is the way they always do it.”
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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