First, I hope you don’t mind if I refer to you as Santa. Whenever our custom home or remodel clients call us by our last name, it always means trouble. Using our first name means they’re happy — like the call we got on Thanksgiving as we prepared the annual feast.
“Hello Tricia, happy Turkey Day! We’re just here to enjoy the holiday with our kids and stopped by the site. Looking great! Wanted to let you know we are very pleased.”
Nice call, short and sweet, happy clients. Now, if it had begun, “Sorry to disturb you Mrs. Morin, but…” Well, that wouldn’t have been very merry.
So, Santa, let me start with some gifts for the company. The jobsite heaters are getting old and unreliable. Same with our air pressure tank and nail guns. They keep getting fixed over and over again. Time for some new ones. We left you a nice plate of cookies at the jobsite. Yes, those special cookies my buddy in Colorado sent us. They should make the rest of your night really cool.
For the company president, who is also my lovely wife, Tricia, she could use a new laptop, more ink for the plotter, some country house plans (Craftsman style is on the way out) and some 2019 client leads with good attitudes. Preferably, their jobs should be no more than 20 minutes away from the office.
Our supervisor, Matt, never tells us what he needs, so I will make my best guess. Let’s start with a new phone. Calls and texts never get through to him for some reason. At least, not the ones I send. Hmmmm. He also buys our jobsite subs hot java — which adds up — so a large coffee maker should do the trick. He’ll have to do a little more work to make them what they need, but that’s life in the construction world. Some logo t-shirts would be nice, too. Can we get one that fits his dog?
He’s always running around the sites.
Our best contractors should get something. At first, I was giving my finish carpenter a big tip on his bill. I’m thinking more like a sock full of coal hung on the half-finished mantle that should have been done a week ago. That should help the schedule, too.
We have friends at the Home Builders Association, so let’s start with the staff: For Sharon and Jennifer, let’s do a plaque saying, “We appreciate everything you two do to keep this office open.” For the members who stay busy in committees, how about something they could all enjoy? Government Affairs folks would prefer Scotch and nice glasses. And for the presidents of the state and locals, let’s do calendars for 2019 with our meeting times pre-printed. Encouragement to serve another term. Or does that lack subtlety? Whatever.
Santa, it just occurred to me that your shop up there has been around forever and could use some repairs. Please leave our members an invitation to bid on specific things you need. Just bear in mind, the lucky remodeler will need a 50 percent deposit. I suggest you pay it in gift cards for Lowes and Home Depot.
We have our new construction clients to think of as well. The two things they all ask for is completion on schedule and warranty repairs. If you and I can work out a deal, please send your elves to do the work once this whole Christmas thing is over. I’m sure they’ll be available at that point. Let me know how to contact the supervisor and I’ll get him the lists.
We also have the association’s lawyer, Ari Pollack, that I want to include. I know his family is Jewish, but I still want to do something. Please sneak in there with some candy and a plate of potato latkes. Just make sure it’s all kosher. They would really appreciate it.
And then there’s me. Well, where do I start? For one, I can’t drive anymore so I’m thinking a black limousine. Why? Well, I ride in the back so now everyone will think I’m important. We also need a new roof on our house, but just like the cobbler’s kids and new shoes, we’ve had to wait and wait. More coal in my roofer’s stockings if you land your sleigh on old shingles. I also have a lot of time on my hands that needs to be filled now that I am retired. Leave my cell phone number in everyone’s stockings with a note to “call good ol’ Paul.” I would love that.
Oh, and one last thing. Santa, you’ve always been a generous dude. You don’t have to fit it in your bag of toys. Just drag it behind you and the reindeer. I want a banner reading: “HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL YOU BUILDERS AND ASSOCIATES!”
Thanks Mr. Claus,
Paul Morin is president of Tarkka Homes Inc. in Weare, NH and a partner in The Abacus Group, a lobbying and consulting firm in Manchester, NH. In 2009, he was the first residential builder to receive the New Hampshire Construction Industry Ethics Award. He was asked to write a satirical article for The Finish Nail and directs all offended readers to the publisher for apologies.