Go Pro

For the love of beer
The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, you would order up the first round as a way of toasting the hard working “young man” as you often refer to me.

You know, you’re only two years older than me. It’s not like it matters.”

It mattered in 1970.”

Yes, yes the whole draft thing, but we’ve been there and done that so I know it isn’t age you’re going after today.

It’s just that I wonder when you’re going to wise up to the lessons that I’ve learned over my longer span on the planet.

Here it comes, what is it this time?

Not only did you fix your own driveway, but when that repair failed, you fixed it again. When are you going to break down, pry your wallet out of you’re a** and call in a pro?

It has nothing to do with money.”

Seriously, it has nothing to do with money. When I’m ready to replace the entire driveway, I’ll call a pro. This was a repair around the foundation of the ramp we put in. You don’t call a pro for stuff like that, they won’t come for such a small job. I’d try to explain that, but you’d have nothing to do with it.

Offer them enough money and they will do the job.”

It’s not worth offering them more money, it’s a small bit of work. Even with busting up the old stuff, it only took me two hours.” Then I would show you a video of how easy it was to break up that old concrete.

What’s time to a pig?


Then you would tell me the joke about the farmer and the pig and the apple tree. It’s an old joke. You heard it on A Prairie Home Companion, but it’s been being told for years. When I mention that I’ve never heard it, you quip:

You’re a lot younger than me.”


It’s more than time. You hire a pro because they know what they’re doing. Obviously you didn’t know what you were doing the first time you filled this hole.”

I know what I’m doing. I’ve been mixing concrete since I was 12 years old. My father taught me back when you bought sand and gravel and cement in separate bags.”

Yeah, but who taught your father? Information is only as good as the source.”

My father learned how to mix concrete from guys who were making shoes with it.”

This is the building my grandmother owned. There are four apartments in the front building and a detached house in the back.

We had a good laugh at that. I explained that it wasn’t much of an exaggeration. My grandmother was widowed right before the start of the Depression. My father was only four years old. She owned an apartment building but most people were out of work and couldn’t afford to pay rent.

What did she do?

She rented the apartments to the mob. They used them to make the booze they were selling during prohibition.”

Really? But did they actually teach your father how to mix concrete?

I’m not sure. They did pay him 25-cents a bottle for every bottle of booze he could pour down the drain when they were raided.”

You sure that isn’t just a tall story your dad told you?

I’m sure. They paid his sister too. My aunt is actually the one who told us the story.”

You’d stop me from ordering the next round.


I’m in the mood for something different.”

You want a suggestion?” Asked Cheryl, the bartender.

An offer I can’t refuse?

No silly. I’ve been making Jameson and Diet Coke for people recently. It’s very refreshing.”

That does sound good. I’ll have one of those, he’ll have another Yuengling and he’s buying.”

With that taken care of, I would try to convince you that even professionals make mistakes or end up with defective products. My neighbor is a concrete pro. I showed him the deteriorating concrete and he said that he has seen that happen before, and on much larger jobs. I’d send you a link to Cordelia’s Mom so you could read about her two-year-old-professionally-installed roof that leaked. In fact, there was an article in the local paper about lots of home foundations cracking.

Yeah, yeah. So, these mob-guys? Did they ever whack someone? Did they ever mix up some concrete shoes?

I don’t know. People used to tell stories about people who were taken for a ride and never returned. It was a tough little town, but it wasn’t Chicago.”

You would take another sip of that Jameson’s, toast the end of prohibition and bathtub gin. Then you would tip your glass to Cheryl, give her a thumbs up and remind me that sometimes, you do need a pro. I would agree. It would be cheaper to sit at home and have a beer, but it’s really not about the money, it’s about spending time with interesting people.


  1. Great process pictures, Dan. But I for one will not be bustin’ up a driveway… It seems there have been far too many times when I was determined to do the physically impossible and move things that were much too heavy. This morning I bent down to pick up the cat’s water bowl and thought I was going to be painfully in that pose indefinitely. More power to do-it-yourselfers, but I need to teach myself to call a professional. :D Have a satisfying Saturday. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Only you can tell a story about concrete, DIY, prohibition, families, jokes, calling a professional, and keep us all reading right to the end. I’m definitely a do-it-yourself type of person but I’m also smart enough to know when I need to call the pro. :-) Happy Saturday.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Judy. There are some things I don’t mess with, but I really enjoy most of these projects. So far, the new patch is holding up well. Have a great weekend.


  3. Thanks for the link, Dan – note to your readers: the roof story is in Part I of that post series – you can get to it by click on the “here” links in the post Dan linked to, or you can go right to it by using this link: http://cordeliasmomstill.com/2015/07/16/the-make-over-begins/

    Now that that’s out of the way, I must tell you the story of our driveway repair a number of years ago. We had a small hole in the middle of the driveway – like you, we didn’t want to pay to have the whole driveway redone, but while my husband is a pretty good DIYer, repairing concrete is a bit beyond him, especially knowing that heavy vehicles would be driving over it. I have a client who’s a retired concrete professional, so I called him to ask for a recommendation to someone currently in the business who could do a small repair. My client sent over a colleague who barely spoke English. When the repair was done and I asked how much I owed him, the colleague commented, “Nothing – you take care of [insert Italian first name here], we take care of you.”

    That sent a chill up my back, and I’ve been waiting for those concrete shoes ever since. But the repair has held up, event though the rest of the driveway has deteriorated a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny. My neighbor would have repaired this for me, in fact he offered to do it both times. He gave me some advice about securing the reinforcing rod, but I could easily do the work. He thinks I just had a bad bag of concrete. I hope he’s right.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had to laugh out loud at the concrete shoes remark. I have worked in concrete and must say I agree there had to have been something wrong on the first try. This looks like it will work. Jamison and Diet Coke is begging for a curse from the local Leprechaun

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They never have found Jimmy Hoffa or his concrete shoes. Living in Michigan when he disappeared, we were quite riveted by that ‘change in leadership’.

    Love the building photo owned by your GrandMother. So evocative of our small town 1950s buildings and now when I look at the picture I think “Yikes, the code violations!” Not that I agree with our smothering, nanny-state regulations but it’s an example of how brainwashed we’ve become in our ‘safety first’ current society.

    The picture of the Jameson bottles is lovely – one of my favorite parts of owning a pub was unpacking our liquor deliveries and taking inventory because bottle shapes and labels are so fascinating. BUT IT’s a TRAVESTY to mix it with coke or anything, for that matter. Good Lord, young man, you shun the Keurig-sters but embrace those who foul a neat whiskey?!? What size shoes do you wear and where do you store your concrete mix?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Sammy. That building was a collection of code violations to be sure. It’s still standing, the picture I used was taken in 2009, but it is no longer in our family. We lived in the back half of the street level apartment until I was about 10. Like so many buildings in Pittsburgh, what starts out at street level ends up in the 2nd floor.

      The Jameson was not my idea. Cheryl is one of the bloogers in the group I’m in on Facebook. Her picture was used for the badge of the Cherished blogfest . She posted on FB that she was drinking that and I thought it would be fun to work it in to a post. So far, I have two warnings about mixing it with Diet Coke. Sorry, Cheryl about tossing you under the bus on this :)

      As for Jimmy, he’s in the foundation of something. Some say Giant’s stadium, but I wouldn’t know. Really, I wouldn’t.


  6. I am not a do it yourself woman at all. I am only good with clogged drains, running toilets, and finding a pro online….but, I love to make messes so I will always try to fix something myself before calling in a professional, lol :)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan, only you could put a story together about concrete, and have me read every word! Even chuckle here and there. Not a DIY person, I hire professionals. Cracks in the driveway? Get those inter-locking paver professionals! Ugly garage floor? Yep, get the apoxy guys! Keep your stories coming, I love them! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Besides the diet coke was from Costa Rica and much better than what gets brewed up here. I try to play “live and let live” when it comes to drinking matters. And Don’t get me started on this country’s favorite “domestic” brew. 😉 but thanks for the mention. I loved your story and I have always wanted to be a bartender so that was an awesome moment of imagining for me. 😄 I have said it before and will say it again-you and my husband could have a beer or three and talk for hours about how you NEVER need to “go pro”. Yet another thing you have in common. He did however recently follow my advice when it was decided we needed a new hot water heater. He still purchased it himself but I suggested he allow the plumber to install it and save his hip, his back and his shoulder. So maybe he’s going “slow-pro”. Lol. BTW you whiskey snobs, I have had my Jameson with soda, tonic, and absolutely straight up if I felt the calling. Thanks again Dan. Another awesome tale! Im sure you did a bang up job. 👏

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You know you’re getting old when someone only slighter older than you calls you ‘young lady’ or, in your case, ‘young man.’ Or maybe they know they’re getting old. Makes me roll my eyes every time. You are one heck of a handy man, Dan! I enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very interesting about grandma and the mob. Funny, actually. I have a mental image now of children pouring booze down the drain while Mugsy Malone finishes off another concrete shoe.

    As for the Jameson, I may have to try that. Used to drink Kessler and Coke all the time until it started to give me heartburn. Perhaps the Jameson will be a bit kinder?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be sorry if that image sticks in your mind too long. Try washing it out with Jameson. Thanks for the comment. Actually, if you tried and liked the Jameson mix, it might help vindicate Cheryl (although she seems to have made her stand pretty well.)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m not a DIY person at all. I pay a ransom to get tiny jobs done, but experience has taught me that letting me near any repair job can turn out to be prohibitively expensive. You seem to have done a great job, and have a neat little story to go with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The little stories usually make their way to the bar with me. I love being able to fix things like this. It feels good at the end of the day to have accomplished something tangible as opposed to the tech work I do for a living. Although, these jobs usually mask the labor behind the finished product, Thanks.


  12. Dan, cement shoes and 25 cents to get rid of Prohibition booze? Wow! Great contacts make lifelong companions and keep your friends close and enemies closer, is all I would add. Your projects and results seem very “pro,” Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Cordelia's Mom, Still and commented:
    Willow has her “If Were Were Having Coffee” series. Dan Antion has his “If We Were Having Beer” series. Maybe someone should start a “If We Were Having Wine” series. Any takers?

    Please enjoy Dan Antion’s tales of his home ownership experiences – be sure to click on his links (hint, hint).

    (Comments are disabled here – leave any comments over on Dan’s site)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan, you are cracking me up lately. Your sense of humor ROCKS!!! You sound like my husband who stubbornly (strike that!) insists on doing everything himself. He claims the workmanship these days is horrible, and I’d have to say yes, he really does have a valid point.
    I howled at your grandmother’s story and how you guys rib each other! I LOVE these posts with a spin of funny on them, Dan. They are fantastic and every time lately I come here you make me feel lighter. Thank YOU!!!! (((HUGS))) Amy <3

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am certainly with you on this Dan. If there are things that we can fix up then there is no need of pro. In India, we usually don’t call pro until ‘really required’ scenario comes up. In Mumbai, its practically impossible to find so much space outside home, but there are small touch-ups that we do to keep things in shape. We also have the tendency to fix our own health with OTC medicines rather than going to the doc.

    Liked by 1 person

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