Both of my parents get the credit for teaching me how to do a tonne of things and giving me the confidence to tackle things on my own. From a young age, they involved my siblings and me in whatever projects they were working on around the house.
When it comes to the renovation and home improvement side of my DIY personality, my biggest influence is my Dad.
My Dad grew up working alongside his father, learning the construction business first hand. They built houses, dug out basements, renovated homes.
Eventually, my father decided to make construction his career, and he went to college and earned a construction technology diploma.
He worked for a number of companies over the years and ultimately served as site superintendent on a number of subdivision developments, including Canada’s first metric subdivision.
Our first home was in one of the neighbourhoods he built. And the second was a custom build that my parents still live in today.
In the late 1980s, my Dad was laid off. Construction jobs were scarce at that time, but with four young kids at home, he didn’t have any option. He had to work. So he started his own company. He would load up our Oldsmobile, hook the trailer on the back, and off he’d go.
At first, it was just small jobs—pour a walkway, patch a wall, put up a fence. Eventually, they became bigger—renovate a kitchen, redo a bathroom, install a deck, put on an addition, build a whole house. As he had with my grandfather, my sisters and brother and I often worked with him. I think I was probably 10 the first time I went to work with him.
A few years later, working construction was my full time summer job. We often got some weird looks when we first showed up at the job sites—a contractor with a young girl assistant, sometimes two—but they always changed to looks of admiration when they saw how hard we worked and how good of a job we did.
My Dad prides himself on doing a job right, and he taught us all the same. I remember how for weeks every night he studied the building code and how happy he was when he wrote the exam and became licensed. The building code still holds a place of prominence at his desk, and his license numbers were typed proudly at the top of every estimate that he wrote.
Since we became homeowners, my Dad has been invaluable to Matt and me, advising us, working with us, teaching us. We wouldn’t be able to do everything we’ve done at the farm without him.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for everything you do for us.