Life,  Venise's Blog

Grandpa Val Wisdom

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On June 18, 2014 my grandpa Val turned 80 years old. Over my grandpa’s past 80 years he raised a family, worked his butt off  and has taught his family about love, sacrifice, working hard and giving graciously. Like the rest of my grandparents, he is one of my heros. He was part of the inspiration behind my unique name (my parents combined Val and Denise, my mother’s name, and came up with Venise).

One of the things that I love most about my grandpa is he is a no bull-crap kind of guy. He lives very simply despite the fact that he could live far more lavishly than he does. You can usually find him driving around in his old pick up, hanging out at the Millwork Outlet or doing a cross word puzzle on the deck of his very modest 800 square foot lake front home. If you ask my grandpa for advice or his opinion, he will probably start the conversation out with, ” well, if I was you…” and he will give you just that, advice based on what he would do. Take or leave it, you will know he is giving you advice based on years of experience and lessons learned.

He, like many others from his generation, worked hard and made an honest living to get where he is today. Having made his living in the construction industry working as a laborer, moving up to a foreman and eventually starting his own general contacting business, Drllevich Construction. He knows a thing or two about work ethic, making wise business decisions and life in general.

So, in honor of his birthday I asked my family to share some of the wisdom that Grandpa Val has shared with them while working and playing alongside him. Although we laugh about these sayings, because we have all heard them so many times, I cannot tell you how many times I have relied on them for inspiration, wisdom and sometimes just a good laugh. Because he cared enough to share them with me maybe one day I will be as wise or even wiser than my grandpa Val because like he says “with the little bit that you know and the little bit that I know pretty soon you will know more than me!”


 Grandpa Val’s Advice On Getting Work Done 

Grandpa Val is one of the hardest workers you will find. Even after retirement (if you can call it that) Grandpa Val wakes up early every morning and goes to work. Sometimes he visits the Millwork Outlet (aka: the Drllevich Family Farm), sometimes he hangs out in his shop working on his current project and sometimes he is checking out his next real estate purchase. Regardless, he has some REALLY good advice about getting the job done. 

“All I wanna see is assholes and elbows”

Venise’s Translation: Quit your yapping and get to work.

Hurry up every chance you get

Venise’s Translation: Set down your phone and give me some hustle

Never take a trip empty handed

Venise’s Translation: Be efficient, don’t waste your energy. If you have to walk across the yard make sure you bring something with you because on a construction site something always needs to be moved.

A job worth doing is worth doing right

Venise’s Translation: Don’t half ass your job. If its’s worth your effort you might as well do it right the first time so you only have to do it once.

Get your ass behind you

Venise’s Translation: When hammering a nail don’t make yourself look like an idiot by holding the hammer at a weird angle and tapping on the nail. Get your ass behind you and hit it like you mean it.

Give me a fulcrum and I can move the world

Venise’s Translation: Don’t work harder than you need to, use your tools. Why mess up your back (the Drllevich’s have REALLY  bad backs) when you can get a tool to do the lifting for you? A little leverage goes a long way!

The jobs not done ’til the clean ups done

Venise’s Translation: It doesn’t matter how great the job looks if you leave a pile of dirt on the floor. Clean it up.


 Grandpa Val on Minding Your Own Business

Sometimes when you ask grandpa what he’s doing he will tell you all about the current project he is working on. Sometimes when you ask grandpa what he’s doing he will leave you guessing. This is one of Ross’ favorite tricks he has learned from Grandpa Val. Feel free to use these when someone asks you something you don’t feel like answering. 

I’m going to go see a guy ’bout a horse

Venise’s Translation: I gotta go somewhere, not important where I am going, just that I am going.

Question: Where did you buy your shirt? Grandpa Val’s Answer: Do I ask you what you eat for breakfast?

Venise’s Translation: Mind your own business

Question: What are you up to? Grandpa Val’s Answer: About 5’9″

Venise’s Translation: Mind your own business


 Grandpa Val on telling others to pull their weight

Grandpa Val has helped make men out of his three boys, numerous grandsons and other young men who have had the honor to work alongside him. He has also helped me and the other special ladies in his life learn the tricks of the trade. Part of that process is letting the young stock know they aren’t working as hard or are as smart as they think they are. Here are just a few of the sayings he uses to get the point across. 

I’ve done more in the last half hour on accident than you’ll do all day

Venise’s Translation: You still have a lot to learn so don’t go thinking you are hot stuff.

Are you working hard or hardly working?

Venise’s Translation: I don’t see you moving, so you aren’t working.

You better get to work or I’ll send you down the road talking to yourself.

Venise’s Translation: You better get your ass in gear or I’ll find someone who will.


 Grandpa Val’s Business Advice 

Grandpa Val has made some very wise business decisions in his day. I am so fortunate to have a Grandpa who passes his advice and wisdom down to me. These are a few of my favorite. 

Better to pass up 10 good deals than get stuck with one bad one

Venise’s Translation: This one speaks for itself and I have used it more than once myself. I would suggest printing it out and framing it!

Pay Caesar that which is Caesars

Venise’s Translation: Quit bitching about paying your taxes, fines, vendors, ect. It’s part of business. We all have to do it. If you can’t handle it, don’t do business.

Don’t get mad, get even

Venise’s Translation: anger doesn’t get you anywhere in the business world. Be smart, use your head and you will win in the end.


 And a few Grandpa Val-isms just for fun

Did you just fly in? Your arms must be tired!

Venise’s Translation: If  grandpa picked you up at the airport he would usually ask you this question which would always make you laugh!

You look like the fuzz around a sick worms ass

Venise’s Translation: Like I said, one of my favorite things about my grandpa is his no bull-crap approach to life. If you look like hell Grandpa Val will be the first to tell you. When I would come in to work sometimes sick and with no care in the world about how I put myself together, Grandpa Val would let me know.

Listen here all you miserable malcontents

Venise’s Translation: This is one of my favorites. Whenever all us cousins would get together Grandpa would refer to us as miserable malcontents. As a child I never really understood what it meant. It was simply Grandpa Val’s pet name for us (that’s the great thing about kids, if you use big enough words they don’t understand you are making fun of them). I am sure we got this name because we were always complaining or wanting something (as kids do). I am pretty sure I will refer to my kids as miserable malcontents as well 🙂

A wife, mom, farmer, HR lady, blogger and dreamer who loves simple goodness like the small of fresh cut hay, bread baking in the oven and kisses.

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