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Workplace Injuries
Stories about Carl Sr.


Get a House in the Ghetto

Smaller is better. A lot better! And living in the ghetto is wonderful. We only moved to the ghetto to save the money and have a place near my work were we could build a boat.  We did not know that it would be the best place we ever lived.

Home Sweet Home

Here are the reasons you should move to the ghetto too: You can be free and live free. You can be a part of society, not just your strata of society. You can help those who need help and know the difference. And you can lower your stress, your footprint, and your consumption and do what every you want with the excess cash; like build a big sailboat.

We live in a free country with the freedom to make our own choices, yet most of us follow the crowd like sheep. Before we choose to live in a homeowners association,  in a "good" neighborhood, in one of the five model homes, furnished with the same stuff from the same furniture stores and the same lawn and garden stores and even use the same Christmas decorations.  So we are free to be free, but to me if you don't exercise that freedom you are not free at all. Do you really need someone to tell you what color your house should be? 

We isolate people into these ghettos and then we ask them to, "Just say no to drugs.", "Stay in school.", "Abstain from sex.", "Don't have an abortion.", "Manage your money.", "Use credit wisely.", "Build a strong family."  We reach out by plastering these messages on billboards and bus stop benches beside the sign for  "Payday Cash" and "Bail Bonds". What we don't do is go live beside them. We deprive them of knowledge and skills afforded to us by our educations and positions. And we deprive them of our encouragement, our compassion and our respect. And because we live in ignorance we deprive them of equality in how we vote. When was the last time you visited a school in your cities poverty district?

What hypocrites we were. We sit in church and pray for the poor when it is those people we have shut out of our lives. They can not live in our neighborhood.  They don't go to school with our children.  They don't even shop in the same grocery stores or attend the same church. The closest we come to them is when they come to clean our office building or mow our lawn. Yet these people for the most part are hard working, fun loving and love their children. They offer to help at the drop of a hat and expect nothing in return. These are some of the most courageous and tough people I have ever met. My neighbor's wife at 18 years old walked for 2 days across the Sonoran desert carrying her son. And then there are other neighbors who give our ghetto its reputation.  We have crack whores, and bums, a good share of murders including two children last year. To live in our society we must live among our society, the good and the bad.  That is what bonds us together as a neighborhood.  We know who to trust and we watch each others back.

In the ghetto you can help those who need help and know the difference. We use to occasionally volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Now we provide telephone access, internet access, tutor English, translate school documents, make micro loans, advocate for better schools, provide heaters when the power is out, climb trees to cut limbs, and occasionally unclog sewer lines.  We know the people we help because they are our neighbors and we in turn we have a better relationship with our neighbors than we ever had in a homeowners association.

Cheap, Oh my God is it cheap to live in the ghetto. We paid $1,500 USD for a lot that is 100 feet by 210 feet with the remnants of an abandoned house. $30,000 later we have a 640 square foot house, a 700 square foot shop and apartment, a 1200 square foot private court yard, and a front yard with a 30 by 70 foot rock pad and two 20 foot high, 30 foot span gantry cranes.  And its only 4.5 miles from my downtown office. Try doing that in a bedroom community.

Finally; don't be scared.  Take some precautions; a fence, some cameras, some warning signs, a couple of hand guns and a 12 gauge shotgun will get you started.  After that you'll get to know which neighbors you can trust and build that trust.  Soon you will be wondering what all the fuss was about and living free.

Clearing the Land

God brought us out of darkness and into a new land.

And in the new land God had
brought forth much brush.
And he did say "Clear it!"
"And cut the grass."

So the people toiled for 40
days and 40 nights to clear
the brush and cut the grass.

And when the work was done
God brought forth a dump and
gave it to the people.

There was grumbling among
the people when they saw the
house God had given them.

For the people looked into
the house and saw no seat for
them to rest on.



And they saw no place to
wash they bodies.



God was not pleased with the
grumbling and he did smite the
wicked with poison ivy.



And there was much sorrow in
the land.

Tear it Down!  No Wait..

We decided to just teardown the shack and start fresh. So like an upstanding citizen I went down to the City of Tulsa office for a demolition permit. I thought it was funny that I needed buy a permit to do what the elements and neglect had already been doing for 15 years, but my humor was lost on the city clerk. Then I was informed that I would have to have a licensed plumber cap the sewer line, and that would have to be inspected by a city inspector before I could be given a permit. I could find nothing humorous is the stupidity of that request. Things like that make you wonder if the city really wants the ghetto to improve or if keeping it a ghetto is what best serves the business men, builders, and real-estate developers that control the city government.

So I studied the city ordnances a bit and discovered that I could "remodel" and I would only need an inspection for the electrical in order to have the electric meter set.  So in order to dodge the city inspector Nazis we decided to "remodel" the portion of the house that was still standing.  This seriously blurred the line between "remodeling" and "building".

Building the Shack into a House

The roof was removed and
turned into driveway paving, and the foundation wall was
removed so a real foundation
could by dug and poured.

We saw cut the existing slab.

Then hand dug a footing and
poured the concrete. Then a
neighbor laid the cinder blocks
while we started replacing
beams the carpenter ants had

There is not much left of the original structure.  We will
keep the flooring, most of the
rafters and about 10 studs in
the walls. 


Framing and sheeting the new
walls as the old exterior walls
come out.

The roof is corrugated asphalt
sheeting. It installs much easier
than metal.
See www.ondura.com

Installed some windows and
started adding tar paper and
lath for stucco.

Framed the inside walls.


Kay sanding the floor while we
waited for the licensed
electrical contractor to install
the wiring.

The City of Tulsa council  got together and decided that I
must put 1 plug for every 6
feet of wall space in my home on my private property. I
thought I lived in a free country
that gave me the right to make
decisions over my property.

I had $1600 for electrical work done by monkeys working for
a licensed electrician because that's the only way I can get the facist pigs to set an electrical meter.

And the contractor only broke even on our house because he
failed the inspection twice. The first time he did not have a sign
on the street with the address. The second time there were no
architectural plans that showed the cabinets on the end wall,
so that wall needed a plug installed. This is the City of Tulsa's
contribution toward improving the ghetto.

The insulation is installed and
the sheetrock is going in.

The insulation will be
considerably better than
the previous insulation which
consisted of one layer of tar
paper.  A cardboard box would have been warmer.


Kay tape and floating the
sheet rock.

Cut, glue, sand, stain, polyurethane and repeat several times and you get book shelves, cabinets and closets.


Getting ready to do the floor.  Kay's many days of sanding and patching are over.  Hurray!


We were finally ready for the
floor inspector who was a
really picky bitch.

...but we got her approval.

Having lived in bland homeowner associations, and
having seen the colors used in
South America we were ready for more color.  This is two
part acrylic going onto the tub.


Before and after.

We also painted the other

All done on the inside.

Mom mixing stucco.

Dad troweling stucco.

Sam... Sam! Stop that!

Kay playing in the sand.

Giving the house it's heart.

Giving the house some South
American personality.

Once the house was done we built the shop and then the patio