Up Front

One of my most humorous childhood memories is when I was about 10, sitting in the back seat of my dad’s car listening to him and my mom argue about Babs, his bookkeeper. Jack was angered by Babs’ resistance to performing duties he considered within the scope of her job. Nance was sticking up for her.

Never a couple to resist escalating a matter out of proportion, Jack finally proclaimed, “She’s not a real woman if she won’t make coffee!” To which Nance responded with a shriek and a dramatic yet phony attempt to jump out of the moving car.

Fortunately for everyone, the value of women in the workplace is much more highly regarded today, especially in the world of walls and ceilings. Now don’t get me wrong. If there’s one thing that makes me want to throw myself out of a moving car, it’s a condescending story of a woman making it in a “man’s world” in spite of her sex.

But I was particularly touched by two contributions to the Walls & Ceilings bulletin board recently about a couple of women who deserve a little recognition for their talents.

“My fiancée, Carol Jean Reed, is a great hand finisher. She has been drywall taping for 14 years and is very knowledgeable about her field,” writes Scott Karcher, owner of K&K Drywall, in Delavan, Wisc. “On the job she is a very motivated finisher usually right behind me when taping. Her bead work is flawless. I have yet to find any man that can compare. Guys, this gal is 41 years old and works like a 20-year-old. I sometimes have to remind her that there is no particular hurry.

“Carol Jean is my ‘diamond.’ She is a beautiful woman talented in all phases of drywall finishing and can move on stilts like she was born with them. I am currently teaching her the business end of drywalling and I know she will be a great help there also. I certainly appreciate Carol. She is always welcome on my job site.”

“My wife of four years picked up the finishing trade faster than any of the nine guys on our crew, all of whom are excellent finishers,” writes Heath Jimerson, a contributor from Nebraska. “She has an eye for detail unlike anyone on the crew. For smooth walls, she’s one of the best.

“Before we bought all of the box tools and angle head and roller about three years ago, she ran angles with a 6-inch knife flawlessly and faster than any of us. She learned how to walk on stilts instantly—not on the 2-foot height, but on the high boys all the way up.

“She gave birth to our first child a year and a half ago. Now, having another full-time job, she decided to do something easier and less time consuming—laying ceramic tile! She still gets that glint in her eye when I come home with Sheetrock dust and spackle (or ‘mud’ as us Westerners call it) all over me. For me and the rest of the crew, it’s a shame we lost our best ‘man.’”

Those are tributes to which we can all raise our coffee mugs!


While we’re on the subject of men and women, I have a question for all you marketing and PR geniuses that haven’t updated your media lists in more than two years: Do I look like a guy named Leif? Or Greg? Or Bob?! It’s almost funny. Almost.