Sunday, September 28, 2008


I surprised myself yesterday by finishing the awning without Dave's help. He was at work (I'll come back to that in a minute) and so I decided to start with one post in the ground. After the first one went in relatively quickly, I thought I'd have enough time for another post.

When I got to the big cross beam, I almost downed tools. After all, it was a two person job. One to hold it in place, the other to drill. That's when I remembered the enormous woodworking clamps my mum gave me a few weeks ago. There was no harm trying them out and blow me down, they worked! The clamps held the beam in place as I drilled them secure.

I worked through the whole day yesterday, thinking I'll just get this bit finished. Before I knew it, I had constructed the whole awning. A very timely addition as well. I noticed in the afternoons that this side received the westerly sun. It was coming through the chicken door and hitting their water.

I used tall posts for an intended purpose as well. An entry gate to the run will be placed in the front, and I will be able to stand up straight when I enter. However, the rest of the run will tapper downwards. This will save me on materials, while still allowing me to enter the run without having to bend. As the extended run will only go a few metres beyond the gate, I can still reach the run with a rake for cleaning.

Plans...PLANS!! I always have plenty of those.

Now onto Dave's workload at the moment. An awful thing happened recently. He'd taken on a new fellow as second chef in the kitchen. Rather than go into all the details, I'll just get straight to the point. Not only has he cheated Dave out of his two rostered days off last week, but he also gave him 10 minutes noticed before his shift was due to start before resigning. He called Dave while we were out shopping. Apparently he got a better work offer elsewhere.

As Dave said, he wouldn't have been impressed if he was leaving but he would've given his blessings at least, if he'd given him enough notice. Ten minutes before his shift was due to start was pretty bellow the belt. The reason for doing this apparently, is he was waiting for his pay to go in. Once he checked his bank balance in the morning, he decided to resign.

Dave has now worked two weeks straight and it looks like it will be another week before his new off-sider can start. He's working seven days a week, from 10am to 10pm, and running a kitchen with only one other person to help, who also works the bar. So my poor-poor husband is just about killing himself at the moment. He cut himself with a knife yesterday, taking part of his nail off and some skin. His bosses, while lovely people in their own right, aren't professional enough. They should see this situation is serious enough to take action and intervene.

It isn't their fault, or Dave's, that this person did what they did recently. But Dave is the one working like a Trojan, risking life and limb (literally) to keep their kitchen running, while they "get around" to fixing the staff issue. It's not they aren't doing anything - it's just they don't see the urgency while Dave is under the same salary and working the job of at least 2, if not 3, people. One of the owners offered Dave a few days off in the beginning of this week, but the other owner intervened a day later to say they had other pressing issues to attend, and couldn't run the kitchen at the moment.

If Dave had managed to cut a finger off, then he'd be on workers compensation and they'd have to do something to fill the gap then. So as you can see, they just don't see the urgency of a man working 7 days a week, for two weeks straight, at 12 hours stretch at a time. I understand they have a business to run, but if anything happens to Dave at the moment, they'd be stuffed. It doesn't make sense to postpone the legitimate urgency of the under-staffed kitchen.

But I didn't mention all this to tell tales on anybody, because it's also been a valuable lesson for both of us. The natural reaction you want to take with an employee that's dishonest and without integrity, is to start lowering your own integrity as well. We wanted to loath this fellow, and I'm sure Dave did more than I. But every time we wanted to react like that, we told ourselves we didn't' have to become what the employee was, in order to handle the situation.

We were going to have to handle the fall-out anyway - but without losing our own integrity in the process. It's so easy to want to react badly when someone wrongs you. But it's also an opportunity to demonstrate what your own integrity as a person really means.

At the moment, my husband is demonstrating his integrity in truckloads! He's understandably upset and understandably exhausted - but still meeting HIS responsibilities at the workplace.

Due to professional differences however, Dave is going to be working towards giving his own notice in a few weeks time. He's already lined up a fellow to take over his job, and in another week the new 2IC should be ready to jump on board too. So Dave is continuing to look after his boss's interests. There have been a few job offers Dave has turned down, that were actually better jobs. He turned them down because his current bosses appeared to be nice people.

Which they are - don't get me wrong. But there's a difference between being a nice person and a professional. At the end of the day, you can like your bosses all you want, but it's their business relationship you depend on. But we remain hopeful we can navigate these troubled waters, with our integrity in tact. We've come so far and there's still further to go. But like the bushland project shows us every day, do what little you can and soon it will amount to whole lot more than you thought!

So I encourage others to use their integrity when the opportunity arises. Be confident that a little bit can go a long way. And don't let the actions of others persuade you that integrity isn't required. Every given situation is an opportunity for integrity, and it's how we take responsibility for our actions.

Take care.


  1. Brilliant job on the hen house, WTG!

    I agree, personal integrity is all we have at the end of the day, to sacrifice that means we have nothing.

    As Albert Einstein so eloquently put it: Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.


  2. Oh wow Chris you have done such a wonderful job! Wow. My chickens would be so envious of that coup compared to their converted dog kennel lol....

    Your poor husband, I hope his finger is ok... You are both in a difficult place right now. I agree with Molly, your personal integrtiy is most important.
    I hope he finds a new job quickly that will be perfect!

  3. hen house looks great, you never know what you can do on your own until you try. im sorry to hear about Daves work troubles, i hope he finds a better job soon, one that hes not working 7 days a week, killing himself


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