Huddle-up Sundays!

While I was lying in my warm, comfortable bed with a cool, crisp breeze blowing through the open window, I took a deep breath, stretched and thought to myself, “I love the fall season.” 

Just as the thought crossed my mind, that wonderful aroma of coffee whipped past my nose, and I quickly remembered, “It’s football Sunday!” 

It was the usual sleeping arrangements in our packed bed. My wife, son and dog, Norman, were all asleep, taking advantage of Sunday morning leisure. I had to make sure I got out of the bed without disturbing any of them. So, I ever so carefully lifted the comforter, slid my right leg out of the bed, and then continued to slither the rest of my body like a snake, making sure not to make much movement. 

“Yes, success!” I thought to myself. 

I then slipped on my slippers, threw on a shirt, brushed my teeth, peeked back in the room to ensure there was not any movement, and then made my way down the hallway to the living room. Football Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week. It’s a time where I truly believe I am a NFL owner because of Fantasy Football. 

For all of you who play Fantasy Football, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I picked up the remote, turned the channel to ESPN and grabbed my phone to look over my lineup. After 10 minutes of talking to myself and flipping through my lineup, trying to decide who is going to get the start for the week, I made my way into the kitchen to grab a hot cup of coffee and make breakfast. 

Sunday is not only my favorite day of the week because of football, but also because I am home with family and I get to prepare breakfast for them. Before I do anything, I take a big sip of my delicious coffee and preheat the oven for the best breakfast food of them all: BACON. Yes, that’s right, I bake my bacon in the oven. If you haven’t tried this technique, you must take this approach over frying it in the pan. Trust me! 

Anyhow, I put the bacon on the baking sheet and placed the sheet into the oven. Not even 30 seconds later, I hear dnails hittingthe hardwood floorsgetting closer to the kitchen. Yup, you guessed it. Norman the bulldog is always the first one awake when the smell of bacon is in the air. 

With my lovely bulldog assistant in the kitchen drooling on the tile floor, I prepped my famous pancakes. I  pulled out the eggs, milk, and butter, and when I closed the refrigerator door, standing there was chef No. 2, my son, Mason. 

“Da-da, can help you make pancakes?” Mason asked, as he was rubbing his eyes. 
“Sure you can! Go pull up that chair and bring it next to me near the counter top,” I said.
“Da-da, I want do the eggs this time, okay? Da-da, okay?” Mason asked. 
“Not this time, Mason. But, I’ll let you pour the milk and stir the mixture,” I replied. 

After trying to negotiate with me, he eventually and reluctantly agreed, and we began to make our pancakes together. One would think that the aroma of buttery pancakes, coffee and bacon would wake anyone up. But think again, not Mama Bear. On Sunday mornings, I need to get a forklift in there to peel her off the bed. And rightfully so, as she is constantly on the move dealing with a 4-year-old 24-7 and also expecting with our second child. 
Nonetheless, eventually everyone sat down to the table and enjoyed our wonderful pancake breakfast. It was time for the best part of Sunday, watching football. 

Boiler day

Although Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week, if I had to choose a working day that is at the top of my list it would definitely have to be Boiler Day. I arrived at the job site early that Monday morning, ready to rip out an old beast in the basement and install a new masterpiece. 

As all boiler jobs begin, our team walks through the house and starts to map out our entry and exit plans for the old and new boilers. Some of the houses that we work in are not the best for fitting and maneuvering large pieces of equipment. We are often puzzled on how they were able to get the old boiler down into the basement, because it seems as if they built the house around the units. 

I made my way down old rickety, creaky, wobbly basement stairs and set up shop for the day. I plugged in all the lights, brought in all of the necessary tools for dismantling, threw on a hose, and drained the system. After the dismantling phase was complete, it was on to the most important time of the morning, breakfast! I’m sure you can guess by this time in the article what my favorite meal of the day is. 

Breakfast wasn’t like my family’s Sunday extravaganza, but it was a good way for our team to socialize about life and catch up on all of the minor work-related issues over a hot cup of coffee and a muffin. After our pow wow session was over, it was time for the old and new units to exit and enter the house. We did our walk through again to ensure the best possible routes. This is where the mayhem and confusion started to happen. 

At this point, there were about five or six workers, all having a say on what, where, when and how to accomplish the task. So after about 10 minutes of discussion, we came to a conclusion and began taking the old one out. Let’s just say, nine times out of 10, the “original” plan usually doesn’t go accordingly. 
We had two guys counting to three at different times to plan each lift of the boiler, and we had guys trying to change the plan of attack midway up the flight of stairs. There is always confusion whenever we are faced with this task, and we are always so close to either damaging something or someone in the process. After dealing with this for a very long time, I had to do something about this problem and take some action.

Quarterback

While watching football on Sunday I started to notice a trend in how quarterbacks perfected their trade. They all knew how to command, direct and control the huddle. The quarterback who stands out in particular isDrew Brees, of the NFL's New Orleans Saints. 

If you get a chance on Sunday, do yourself a favor and watch this man control the huddle. Each time the team huddles up, he gets down on one knee and makes eye contact with each player, making sure his teammates are listening and understanding his play call. You can see that his teammates respect him and his leadership abilities. 

While watching Drew Brees command the huddle, I started to think, "This is how BMC Plumbing needs to plan before boiler replacements."

With any tasks at hand that you face out in the field that involves a team effort, you must take control of the situation. Grab your employees attention and let them know that you are calling the plays. Could you imagine if while Drew Brees was in the huddle and his teammates were all shouting out what play should be run? It would be total mayhem, and just wouldn’t work. 

Well, the same applies in our industry. You cannot have co-workers shouting out and demanding different options, all while halfway up a staircase and lifting a 500-pound boiler. I use the boiler example in this article, but you can apply this to any part of your career. 

In order to take control of any situation at hand that is especially crucial, you must learn to take a stand, demand the attention from your audience, and be the leader of the huddle. It’s never good to have too many cooks in one kitchen. 

I hope you enjoyed this article on my breakfast rituals and the resulting work inspiration, and would love to hear some of yours! 

 

Sean McCormack is co-owner of BMC Plumbing and Heating Inc. He can be reached by email at seanmccormack99@yahoo.com; phone 845-596-7770; Twitter @seantheplumber1; and Periscope @seantheplumber. Visit www.seantheplumber.com.

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