Disaster Pros

Today’s post was found scratched into the underside of a piece of tire rubber that was marinating in oily water at the bottom of an immense pothole in South Minneapolis. Knowledgable sources have verified that it was indeed written by the elusive skipper of the pirate ship Muskellunge, Captain Billy.


Me an’ th’ boys was watchin’ headline news on th’ satellite when our attention got snatched by word that th’ Costa Concordia was makin’ its way t’ dry dock, more than two years after tippin’ over in th’ waters off’n th’ Italian coast.

Th’ details what caught our fancy was basically th’ monetary ones.

Th’ wrecked vessel was a floatin’ palace wi’ 13 bars, 4 pools an’ multiple high-value amenities. An th’ cost – 1.4 billion dollars t’ turn th’ vessel upright, float it an’ move it, only t’ have th’ thing broken down into pieces an’ sold fer scrap.

As perfessionals in th’ fields of freelance maraudin’, swarmin’, pillagin’ an destroyin’, me an th’ boys is lamentin’ that so much was spent havin’ amateurs do work we woulda took on fer free. Ain’t that right boys?

Pirates is, by nature, scavengers in that we is lookin’ t’ pick up valuables what has been left sittin’ out in th’ open, unguarded. An’ if that don’t work, we forcibly liberates said valuables from their secure locations an’ brings ’em out into th’ open where they becomes, in a word, unguarded. We then assumes ownership. Same difference.

One thing I can say fer sure – Had me an’ me boys been given unfettered access to th’ Costa Concordia on th’ day before it foundered, we coulda accomplished th’ very same result without any loss of life, usin’ this here simple checklist we employs whenever pillagin’ a cruise vessel:

  1. Acquire Items of Value Directly From Passengers
  2. Traumatize & Expel Passengers
  3. Raid Ship’s Bars, Consume All Liquids
  4. Liberate Items of Value from Vaults, Supply Rooms
  5. Remove Items of Value From Cabins
  6. Tear Fixtures of Value From Walls, Etc.
  7. Inventory Mechanical Items, Sell on Ebay
  8. Abuse, Misuse & Trash Remaining Items
  9. Indulge in Acts of Selfishness, Carelessness, Gluttony, Etc.
  10. Set Ship Afire and Cast It Adrift

I daresay me and me boys woulda left th’ Costa Cocordia in essentially th’ same shape ’tis in today, at much less expense wi’ only a somewhat massively larger amount of significant environmental degradation t’ th’ surroundin’ area.

Whenever calamity strikes, folks lament th’ haphazard nature of what occurs, completely ignorin’ th’ fact that perfessionals already workin’ in th’ field can do a better job of messin’ things up than an of th’ amateurs who ruins things by showin’ off fer their girlfriends.

But no one ever thinks t’ ask us, an so all these here major mishaps tends t’ unfold in a seemingly random, chaotic way. Which gives disaster a bad name!

Me point bein’ this – ’tis th’ same fer all major construction/destruction operations, whether yer puttin’ on a new roof or burnin’ down th’ livin’ room. Yer gonna get a much better job if’n you asks a perfessional!

Your humble servant,
Capt. Billy

When do you hire a professional, rather than do it yourself?

49 thoughts on “Disaster Pros”

  1. Good morning. There have been times when I thought I might need the help of someone like Captain Billy. I try to do most of my own home repairs which seem to be endless. I never seem to get caught up on taking care of all the maintenance and repair work that comes with owning a home.

    From time to time I get some help from professionals for things I can’t do such as certain electrical and plumbing projects. Occasionally I hire someone to help with large projects such as painting the outside of the house. Very often I think what I really need is a person like the Captain to burn the place down and bring an end to my never ending efforts to keep my house from deteriorating


  2. I try to hire a pro for lots of tasks.Some of the tasks i suppose we could do, but I want it done right, and I can’t stand the anxiety of doing it myself and it not turning out. In the next 6 months we will have someone install new window treatments on all the windows, lay new carpet in the bedrooms, do some plumbing and electrical work in the basement, remove the old brick trim on the front of the house and replace it with different stone, tear up sidewalk and front steps and pour new concrete, and move some furniture from my parents’ condo to our house. (I also suppose we will get a real estate agent to sell the condo when my father dies. It is in trust and we can’t sell it until he’s gone). When I was little my parents said my mantra was “Do it myself!” Those days are gone, I’m afraid.


      1. I got a call from the plumber two weeks ago saying that he hadn’t forgot us and was going to start getting the piping in to start the project. I will expect him sometime before Thanksgiving.


    1. with that list i am glad to have you call the professionals. that is almost more than a guy could handle n the weekends but i would be trying


  3. Anything that could cause major flooding or a house fire (e.g., major plumbing or electrical work) and anything I’d rather throw money than time at (e.g., repairing plaster). Oh, and anything that might require a Very Tall Ladder (one of the reasons I preferred set to lighting design is that the ladders were mostly shorter – 10 feet or less, generally, instead of giant A-frame ladders…and don’t talk to me about extension ladders, they give me the willies).


  4. Cap’n Billy’s checklist seems to be remarkably similar to that of traditional rock stars. Does this make Cap’n Billy a rock star?


  5. Rise and Shine Maties!

    Anything highly detail oriented gets a professional treatment–like bookkeeping, tracking$$$. I can not see those written details and I make a mess of it. Form-completion, as well. Can’t fill out a form to save myself. My assistant has to do that. Or correct mine.


  6. Taxes, roofing, sewer line, car repairs.

    Everything else is subject to our current position on the time/money matrix.


    1. good list. i have screwed up 3 of the 4. i wont try taxes. and i will do it again. i though about opening a sewer company. its amazing how much you get to charge when human waste is involved. give me a break. after a couple of minutes you hardly even notice. cmon over here for a little smooch….


  7. Morning all. My list is eerily similar to MiGs.

    I will attempt small electrical or plumbing jobs, only if turning off just one circuit or shutting down the water supply to the affected area won’t be devastating for more than a few hours – in case I screw it up and have to get a professional in to fix it (only took one such disaster to teach me this lesson). I will also change my own oil and lightbulbs in the car if the stars are aligned.


    1. gosh i remember the feeling that jolt gives you from not knowing what you are doing installing electricla stuff. nothin else quite like it. zzzzzzzap!! then you try to touch a different wire instead and come back to that one later after you figure it out.


      1. I got zotted by an incorrectly grounded (or not grounded) cord when I was in college helping out with a stage lighting project. Have been a bit leery of electrical work since – small stuff I’ll do, but I won’t go near 220v work or anything more complicated that replacing a switch or small light fixture.


  8. Husband is enjoying the professional help of an accountant as he sets up his consulting business. He is now officially a PLLC (professional limited liability corporation), and we are learing all sorts of interesting things about running a business.


  9. Last fall I hired someone I found on Angie’s List to trim trees. He did the two hackberries in the front and some of the maple in the back (which is really my neighbor’s but stands right next to my fence and fills up my gutters every two weeks). I was at work so I never met him but we talked on the phone and he was very pleasant and he was always going to come back and take some more off the neighbor’s tree but for some reason he didn’t and he never sent me a bill and I have no idea what his name was. (Now I know why he received such a high rating on Angie’s List – free unfinished work always trumps paid finished work – in SD anyway.) I’m sorry to say my Angie’s List membership expired in April, otherwise I’d try to find him to make an honest woman out of me.


      1. Interesting… I had a chimney sweep/gutter cleaner who never cashed a check of mine. This was years ago before it was easier to find people on the internet. About 8 years later, he came to the door asking if I wanted my gutters done because he was doing the house next door. I told him that he had never cashed my check and offered to cover it but he said no. I’ve had him do the gutters a couple of times but he always asks for cash now.


  10. We had a bunch of trees blow down at my cabin several years ago. There was too much downed timber for us to handle it, so I asked around town for someone who could do the work. I ended up calling this man with the exotic name of Roland Etisserie, who sounds like a character in a medieval romance. I said, “I’ve heard you are a good man with a chainsaw.” He said, “No, I’m actually an arborist.” I wondered what the difference was between a good guy with a chainsaw and an arborist. When he submitted his invoice, I understood. The difference is about $800.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i have to be careful with trees. i get in there and it gets my blood pumping. i dont think of trees as anything to be concerned about then i get reminded….i love chain saws and outdoors and figuring out stuff you have to ad lib the correct way to do it. trees fit all of the above. if you can get somebody to pay for it all the better.


      1. He just got home from the coffee shop with his laptop. Spent most of the afternoon listening to Calculus lectures.

        Had a blast by all accounts.


  11. I often suggest for a project that we hire someone, but so far Husband still wants to try everything except roofing, some plumbing, and rebuilding the garage. And he did have help on the screen porch. I will have to say he is really handy. If I were on my own I’d hire out plenty.

    OT: Our nephew will be visiting her for some weeks in August (and maybe beyond) – he’ll bring his tree-trimming equipment in case there is any work for him up here. (He’ll also be working with a former employer painting houses…)


  12. gosh i do way too much stuff i have no business doing. painting on tall ladders is always a rush in the wind. i have to figure out how to get the chimney painted thats another 20 feet taller than my tall ladder goes. i think it involves rope. electrical car plumbing, sewer after paying 4 thousand to guys who did it wrong and wouldnt came back. i do construction stuff for me but if im selling it i have to hire it done. my son calls my work ghetto. i asked what that was and he said its like you kind of pound the nails in and when they beny you just smack em down in there. i a building garage shelves right now to hold my record collection. talk about sick i think it is up to about 5000 records or so. it is the perfect application for my workmanship it needs to hold weight and get anchored to the wall. i ma the only one who will notice its lack of perfection ( i catch a little flack on my plaster patching and ceiling spraying inadequacies) my paonting and car repairs are good for easy stuff not so much on the finer points of the tough stuff where everything matters. ( i wont be rebuildig transmissions and i did pay a guy to put an ebay tranny in this winter (1000 for the tranny 400 to install instead of 6500-8000 at vw or the tranny shop) it runs just fine.
    i thought about the ship being hauled off to be dismantled and i wondered why they didnt just take torches to it and dismantle it there but i suppose you dont want deisel and body parts spilling out onto the beach in the tourist areas. then again for 1 billion 4 i think you could book all the hotels rooms for the week and work 24/7 to get it hauled out. or let captn billy and the boys take care of it.
    or you could just have donna call them and have them come and take it out and then not be there when its time to pay.


    1. I was actually thinking about you leaning off the top of the ladder with the chainsaw when we were doing Steve’s tree. My heart was in my throat the whole time.


    2. That is NOT true! The tree guy probably felt sorry for me knowing I was an underpaid teacher who didn’t know beans about teaching math and decided not to charge me.


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