Our concrete jungle project is winding down and may be completed by tomorrow. They poured the driveway on Tuesday, the RV pad yesterday (pictures coming!), and will be doing the pool deck today. Everything thus far looks far better than we imagined. Our poor pool is nearly drained to allow them easier access, but it’s just as well because it’s a mess of concrete, dirt, leaves, etc. We are not sure yet whether to hire a service with a pool vac to clean it out thoroughly or acquire one for ourselves and M do it. In this case I believe we will compromise: hire the service to clean out the mess and polish the tile, then evaluate and purchase a smaller pool vac for our use.

The concrete crew is 100% hispanic, and spanish is spoken when they are communicating with each other. The owner and crew leaders all speak heavily accented english, but M and I can understand them well enough. Since he is there all day and working beside them, they all know M’s first name and address him that way, but on the few occasions they are greeting or speaking to me, if they call me anything they refer to me as “Mrs. M.” No matter how many times I have introduced myself, told them to call me Janelle, M refers to me by name … I am forever Mrs. M to them.

It is rather endearing.

As previously noted, M and I are kind of weird about extended hospitality to contractors working at our home for more than a day, and this crew has been with us for almost 2 weeks. Most people supply drinks – water, lemonade, soda – but we tend to want to offer food as well, and I have been preparing something for them most of the days. Since they are hispanic and are accustomed to spicy foods, I have been using a lot more peppers and spices than I would ever use cooking for us (I do not like spicy food). Since they are doing a lot of hard physical labor, I prepare meaty meals with lots of protein. Still, it has been simple stuff – beefy stews, lasagna with chorizo, salsa chicken, chilli meat and beans – all served with bread. I put it together the night before and start the crockpot or in the oven on a timer so it’s hot and ready for midday meals. Thus far It has been well received, and every day I have come home to an empty crock pot or pan where there was food when I left the house. Still, I have this ridiculous anxiety that they are just being nice and telling M that they like it and eating all of it.

Nicer still is that their work and has not gone unnoticed. Thus far the owner has been to 3 other homes in our neighborhood to quote jobs, already contracted with 2 of them, and given cards out to several others who asked. We are thrilled they are getting more work.

But for now, they are solely focused on our pool deck. While we have enjoyed having them underfoot – as much as anyone can enjoy having their whole yard torn to bits and rebuilt – it will be nice to have the job done and get started on the next projects. Plus after the concrete is done we can get back to praying for rain. The weather has been lovely out here, but we REALLY need some rain.

4 thoughts on “Being “Mrs. M”

  1. Ah Mrs. M 😉 I knew I liked you long before this post! But this: “Most people supply drinks – water, lemonade, soda – but we tend to want to offer food as well, and I have been preparing something for them most of the days” is so me! It goes along the lines of giving back. There are many people that will argue “these men know that they are hired laborers, you don’t have to feed them” in the similar vein of people that don’t understand the volunteer work that my kidlet #1 and I do. My personal philosophy, thanks to my Pops, is that lend a hand when you can and in the case of people that work in service of you (whether it’s a contractor, laborer, housekeeper, tailor, barber etc.) remember to treat them with respect and tip if a job is well done. {{hugs}}

    1. Thanks for not making me feel weird about this! M and I are very mindful of the people we hire and how hard they work on our behalf, even if we are paying them. We’ve both worked at different jobs and things our entire lives and been treated like furniture or worse, so we never want anyone to feel like they are “just” the concrete laborer crew. Being an unimaginative cook, I’ve scoured the internet for interesting recipes that sound appealing and steer clear of the delicious fare they most likely get at home. The food has been disappearing and there are big smiles and shy “thank yous” when I cross paths with the crew. Makes it worth every single anxious second about whether it’s good or even good enough.

  2. I think you are soo nice to make meals for them!! I swear, you are such a sweet soul!! I saw pics on FB and it’s going to look SOO nice when it’s all complete!! 🙂 I’m excited for you!!

    1. Thanks! M and I tend to be generous, because honestly so many people have been kind and giving to us in our lives. These men work really hard! There is one on the crew who has only one usable arm, but I was watching him swing a pick this morning and he twirls it like a baton with only one arm. The work is beautiful and we’re so excited about having it done.

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