The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"It's Not All That"

I love my OLC's.  Who wouldn't?  Yes, I have to give them a special rate,and yes, they forget that I'm a carpenter and turn me more often into a handyman, but that's ok.  I have hung/moved/removed/color coordinated and opined about more pictures and living room decorations for one of my OLC's than I have ever done at home.  It's just part of my expertise now, so I should probably put it on my business card.  "Well you've been in a lot of homes," they argue, "where do people usually hang their three foot wide sunburst clocks with the three inch wide clock face in the middle"?

The best part of working for an OLC is not the food.  Of course the food is great, and the snacks and the pop and the overall kindly care that is offered, if not pushed on me, is great.  One lady puts out a 'lunch' that would feed an army of tradesmen when there are only two of us working in her house.  A meal at her home usually consists of at least three main dishes; maybe breaded pork chops, fried chicken and a hot dish casserole, along with a variety of fresh salads (she even showed me that BEETS, prepared magically enough, can taste great!), potatoes, breads and, of course, home made pie and ice cream for dessert!  Others have made me a frozen pizza that I'm sure was only in the house for the special occasion my presence could generate, and then sent me home with a pan of hot chocolate brownies besides!

The best part of working for an OLC is not the kind consideration and hospitality. Her uncorrupted virtue of selflessness, combined with her well honed skills in the kitchen make it a double pleasure to work in her home.  When I give one my bill, I am tempted to deduct for the generous treatment, the encouragement I always receive, and the 'lunch'. I also want to leave a big tip but it's hard to calculate 15% of  the intangible value I was given.

The best part of working for an OLC is not the money I earn.  Sometimes they don't want me to show up till 9 or 10, which kind of wrecks the whole day's potential.  They are sometimes paying me out of their small retirement or pension fund so I do give the OLC rate anyway.  Plus there are a few who are expecting me to write my bill according to the times when they came of age;  even $10.00 an hour may seem outrageous.  More often, however, an OLC is like the one who sees my bill and says "Oh, that's not enough!"  And then she adds something above and beyond.

The best part of working for an OLC occurred to me yesterday.  I cleaned out her gutters and besides paying me, she took me to her beautiful white Christmas tree and pointed out two presents for me to pick up.  How sweet!  I'm just her handyman, after all, but in the culture she has carried with her to these modern times, I am also another person of worth.  I am a neighbor, and a friend, and in this case, a brother in Christ.  This view into a world gone by fascinates me and multiplies the other priceless benefits I gain from working with my OLC's.  As I looked into the gift bag I held ("You need to hold it from the bottom!" she warned.), she could see that I was anticipating something extra special (perhaps because her warning prompted me to ask if it was gold bars) and she tried to let me down carefully, saying "It's not all that!"

The phrase is still heard and used today, but when she said it yesterday, I believe I suddenly heard it used in its original, and purer connotation.  Instead of the disparaging "She's not all that", meant to hurt another and elevate oneself, it was used here as an expression of real humility.

The best part of working for an OLC.... "What's that?  You don't know what an OLC is?  You should have asked earlier."  Anyway, the best part of working with a CLIENT who is a LADY who is OLD ( an OLC) is getting a direct view into the societally mature, but slowly waning world of general thoughtfulness she once found commonplace.


  1. Absolutely beautiful. I love that you appreciate your OLC. I am one and I have a wonderful 'handyman' as well. He takes care of everything we can't do and always with a smile and precision. Yours is a rare breed and all of us, the OLC, love that you are part of our lives.
    Merriest Christmas to you and yours Mike. 'Cuz you are just precious. ♥

  2. Not yet, but I sure enjoy the OLC's that catch my flight. :)

  3. This post made me smile. I love it when someone has good things to say about their customers - it doesn't happen often enough these days.

    Merry Christmas Mike.

  4. Mike,
    You continue to amaze me with your writing and thoughts and inspiration. I was telling a friend about how much I enjoy your blogs and now I've sent your link to her and I hope she enjoys them as much as I have and still do.

    Thanks for sharing wonderful part of who you are.



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