Have you ever had a bad week? I mean a truly bad week. Did anything positive come out of it? Or did it just open the door for even worse things to come? I had one of those bad weeks a few years ago. So just for fun, let’s take a stroll down memory lane.
Eleven years ago, I was trying to get my crop of tobacco in the barn. It had been a long hard summer and it was drawing to a close. We were filling up barns with tobacco, but in the meantime, I had another monster project under way. I was building the largest tobacco barn in the county. To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of tobacco grown in Butler County. Nonetheless it was way bigger than all the rest. One last important detail, I was trying finish up my crop so I could run off to Kansas to spend time with my girlfriend at the time, Amy. Quick summary hard work, barn building, and getting anxious to see my long distance girlfriend.
Enter the bad week here. I was working 16-18 hours a day on the farm. Your body isn’t made to go that hard for long. If you do, then you notice that your safety begins to slide a bit. What I am about to share is a series of events that about put me in an early grave. Event #1: I had a friend offer me some old barn lumber to put in my new MEGA barn. So I took a hired hand with me and we began knocking out boards and putting them on my trailer. I was used to heights, so I climbed into the barn to knock the boards loose and he loaded them. I had given him the additional job of taking the nails out of these boards, but I discovered that he moved slower than molasses in January. I quickly put him back to just loading. This decision would come back to haunt me. We had finished up getting all the lumber we needed. I began to climb out of the barn. I thought I had placed my foot on the barn wall. I did not. I fell 10′ on to the hard ground. Fortunately the lumber and nails were all moved from that spot. But I had a hitch in my giddy up for a few days afterwards. Man that ground was hard.
Event#2: This mega barn that I was building required over 900 tier poles to be nailed up. This requires two people to stand straddled in the air, holding a board in one hand, and nailing with a palm nailer in the other. These tier poles were 10′ long 2×6’s sawn from oak trees. They were moderately heavy. The palm nailers would drive one 5 inch nail at a time. The trick was getting the nail loaded with both of your hands occupied. I thought I would cheat. I would put the nail in my mouth, get positioned, and then drop the nail in when I was ready. This worked surprisingly well…until it didn’t. My nail gun decided to have a moment where it would malfunction. I was in position for another nailing. I went to drop the nail in the gun, when all of a sudden the nail gun fired. The 5″ nail was shot back into my mouth and pierced my tongue. Yes, you read that correctly and no it didn’t go all the way through. Oh it hurt so bad. It spit blood for hours. But don’t worry, I kept working because I had way too much going on to quit.
Event #3: I had taken a break from barn building to haul some tobacco to the barns. We were in a tiny barn and the tobacco was hanging really close to the ground. I needed something out of my truck and instead of going around, I decided to go through the tobacco. I knew there was a board really low in front of me and I thought I was low enough to miss it. I miscalculated. I ran right into it. I saw stars. I bit my already swollen tongue. My scalp was bleeding. I had hit that board so hard that it actually took a patch of hair off my head down to the scalp. I had a bald spot on the crown of my head. This all happened with in a few days of each other. I was getting more and more anxious to get to Kansas. But I was starting to wonder if I was going to live at this point.
Event #4: Most people quit after a few hurdles. I have never been one of those people. I bulldozed on through, even to my own detriment. One evening, I was by myself with nothing pressing going on. I decided to go work in my barn. I thought I really should nail up some more boards that I had gotten from my friend. (Refer back to Event #1). Since I was by myself. I would clamp the boards up, drill a hole and nail up the boards. This was going great…until it wasn’t. One particular board wanted to be feisty and non-compliant. As I was nailing it in, one clamp let go and the board rolled off. I tried to stop it and immediately regretted not letting my hired hand take out the nails from lumber in Event #1. One of the old nails in the lumber snagged my thumb and ripped it open. I had to go to the emergency room for nine stitches.
I decided that was a good time to quit. Needless to say, I was finally ready to go to Kansas. I was in bad shape and in desperate need of rest and recuperation. I rolled into Amy’s parents house about 1 a.m. and she was overjoyed to see me. Although, she wanted to murder me earlier in the night because of the mild half truth I had led her to believe. But we don’t have time for that in this post. The next day, I shared all of my tales that I had gone through to get there. Later that night right before we went to bed, on September 1st, 2008, I got down on one knee to ask Amy to be my wife. Now you know why I was so anxious to get to Kansas with all that I had going on. You see, I was building something else, a mega marriage!!! I knew I wanted her by my side for the rest of my life. Plus she was a nurse, I figured that might come in handy!!! A bad week turned into something beautiful. All the pain I experienced at my own hand was quickly forgotten when she said “Yes!” Almost 10 years now, and I still surprise her with how quickly I turn any situation into an unsafe work environment.
Grace and Peace to you as see the beauty in the pain. Hold on it’s not the end. You never know what is around the next turn. I hope you have enjoyed my tale of woe!!