MODESTO – Marcus Siamez knew that he didn’t have to go to work today.
Nobody on his jobsite will be there today in honor of Labor Day – the one holiday where the whole country pauses and says thank you for those who have turned their skilled craft into a viable extension of the economy.
But not getting his tools together on Sunday afternoon and making sure that his truck was loaded and ready for a trick back-and-forth to a Bay Area job site, he said, is a strange feeling – one that doesn’t happen very often.
He and a few guys are planning on getting together to grill up some tri-tip and throw back a few beers before holding their annual Fantasy Football draft at the home of the guy who has to drive this upcoming week.
“Yeah, it’s Labor Day but that’s just an excuse for us for do our fantasy football draft, to be honest,” he said. “None of us want to take the time to get everybody together when we’ve got to be back on the road at 5 a.m., so this is the last chance – the week before the season starts.
“It’s kind of when we’ve always done it. Otherwise it would be just another Sunday. We’ve got to go to bed early and get up and do it all over again. It is kind of nice though to have all of the guys together at once though. We all work hard, so it’s a little bit of a release.”
For skilled tradesman like Siamez the Labor Day holiday represents either the last big push before the unpredictable Northern California weather will wrap up a job for the season, or a middle-point – like what is being forecast now – between the seasons when a wet winter is the furthest thing from the mind of superindendents and foremen that are being told that the “El Nino” winter being discussed will be light if at all.
That doesn’t bother Siamez or his brother in law – the chance to pull home a paycheck every week is light years better than waiting patiently until unemployment finally runs out. Projects are flowing again and he says that he’s always been a punctual worker – one that knows what he’s doing when he shows up – so it’s only a matter of time before any sort of a slowdown will lead to putting him right back out onto the scaffolding that has become his second home this summer.
“Would I rather win the lottery so I didn’t have to do all of this? Sure. But this is in my blood so I’d probably just hire these same knuckleheads to come build me a newer, bigger house and we’d do it all the same way.
“You get used to it. I know what I have.”