Going back to the early days of the project, I had so many Paul stories, I'm not sure where to begin. In fact there were so many that I began theorizing what was behind them. I don't know if any of my theories were at all accurate, although I suspect the administration of a urine test might have solved at least part of the mystery.
Much of Paul's stories was a string of broken equipment, that would be quietly put away in the shed at the end of the day. Tape measures, drills, levels, in fact anything that would suffer the effects of gravity when dropped from a height, would be put away in their proper place bent, dented, broken or with severed power cords. When asked, Paul would never have any idea what might have happened to the particular piece of equipment, but whoever would be partnered with Paul would inveriably say "Oh that, Paul knocked it off the scaffolding" or "I don't know, Paul said it broke". One day I was working up in the attic (well before it had a roof over it) and noticed light shining up through the floor (don't forget, much of the work on the house was done during the dark season, we don't see the sun for three months). Walking over, I found there was a hole in the floor (5/8"s plywood), about five inches long and 5/8"s of an inch wide. The hole, it appeared to me anyway, seemed to have been caused by the corner of a sheet of plywood. When I checked with the guys that had been sheeting the wall above where the hole was, one didn't know anything about it, the other... "Paul dropped a sheet of plywood off the scaffold". I gained a whole new respect for the power of a falling sheet of plywood. Now accidents happen, they are almost inevitable, and as long as it is equipment that is hurt and not people it isn't a really big deal. I once cut the power cord of two different circular saws in the space of 10 minutes. But it would make my blood boil, when it was just hidden away. I'm better now.
One time, when we were building the second floor, Gary and Paul were working together putting floor joists in. Now Gary is a very precise builder. What he wanted for the joist was for it to be sitting against the rim board on one end, and to just fit in the joist hanger at the other. Paul was running the end of the joist on the rim board side, and Gary the hanger side. They would take a measurement, cut the joist, fit it in place and if it needed adjusting, make the adjustment. Installing one joist Gary asked Paul it it was tight against the rim board. "Yep". As the joist was too long, Gary cut off the excess. Again they put the joist in place and Gary asked if it was tight against the rim board. "Yep". But the joist was still too long, by the amount that was just cut off. Gary asked if he was sure it was tight, against the the rim. "Yep", and again the joist was cut to fit. The third time when the joist was still too long by the same amount Gary headed over to the other side and discovered that the joist was a half inch inside the rim. "Yep".
When we start at the site in the morning equipment would get taken out of the shed and put out. The mitre saw would go on its stand, equipment for what ever job we were doing would go to where we were working, and electrical cords would get strung to the various power tools. One day I went to use the mitre saw and when it didn't work I grabbed the hairdryer. I guess I should explain that the mitre saw didn't like the cold, if it hadn't been used for fifteen minutes or so it needed to be warmed up. We kept a blow dryer by the saw and would use it, aimed in the motor vents, to heat up the circuit board inside. Thirty seconds or so of this and the saw would run. When the hairdryer wouldn't go, I went troubleshooting, looking at the obvious first, are they plugged in? Well no, they weren't. That morning Gary had asked Paul to put out the cord to the mitre saw, which he dutifully did. Unfortunately the male end of the cord was at the saw, and the female end at the plug in. Guess I needed a couple of those female/female and male/male adapters.
But for me, the quintessential Paul story is the gnome door. When you frame out a door the top of the door space has what is called a header. The header is designed to carry the weight that would normally be carried by studs if there was no space there. There are many different configurations of door and window headers depending on the weight that needs to be carried, and the span of the space. Basically they would be two or three 2X4' X6's X8' Xwhatever, on edge, usually with a 2X4 or 2X6 (depending on the wall thickness) on the flat. One day, while laying out walls on the second floor, I saw what appeared to be a door frame about three feet wide and three feet tall, basically three 2X6s nailed together in a big U. All during the day I kept looking at this wondering what the heck it was for. At last I gave up trying to figure it out on my own and asked Gary. "Oh that", he said, "I asked Paul to make a door header with three 2X6's 36" long. That is what he built"