Jane is feisty.
I’ve always disliked that word (and I suspect she does too), but it describes her perfectly. She’s high-energy in a good way unless you get on her bad side. Then she’s even higher-energy.
Think hell fire.
We had watched her in action over the past eleven months. She was tough but fair. She trusted but meticulously verified. She could be charming and harsh almost in the same breath.
Now she was in charge of our renovation. After assessing the situation for a couple of days she sprang into action. The first thing she did was hand Carl his walking papers.
Then she called the crew together and told them she was the new boss.
“Says who?” one of them muttered.
She immediately got Steve on speaker phone from New York.
“Jane has the money,” he said. “She’s your paycheck.”
After that, things got easier.
Like all good generals, Jane proved to be an effective delegator. She zeroed in on the most proactive member of the crew, a wiry fifty-year-old named Pablo, and essentially put him in charge of the other guys. This, in itself, required finesse.
Pablo was a go-getter. He had a truck…
…something none of the others guys had. And he was a native, so he knew virtually everyone on island. This was a distinct advantage. Also, he was smart.
A routine was quickly established: every few days Jane would call Steve in New York, who would give her a list of things that needed to get done; Jane would meet with Pablo later that day to go over Steve’s list; Pablo would push the work forward.
That’s not to say Jane didn’t stop by to check on their progress in person. In fact, she gave us an eyewitness report every three or four days and often sent photos.
Under this fairly rigorous regime, work progressed nicely. Recently I opened my “Photos” file from that period and was amazed to see how steadily the job got done. From one day to the next a wall would go up, a ceiling fan would appear, the long-sought-after floor tiles would be installed.
The men may not have liked taking their orders from Jane but they ended up respecting her.
Thank god for brimstone—and for small, determined women.