Wednesday, August 5

Couldn't Enjoy Vacation

Let me start this off by telling you how great Presque Isle is.  We only spent two days there - but what a beautiful place.  Located by Erie PA, only about 2 hours from where I live at.  Plenty of beaches, a clean state park, and odds and ends to do to keep busy.  It was a nice getaway, unless you have an 18 month old that doesn't like sand on their feet like I have.  Beach time was limited, but there was still plenty to do.

This was my first trip away in a few years and it was a rough one.

Columbia Gas, the gas company I use for everything, decided the week before that it was a good idea to do random gas checks in the town of Minerva, where I have a rental.  They dug up beside the building and replaced one of their lines and called me and told me that I needed to come up there immediately because there was a gas leak.  I had to leave work and drive an hour to get there in the middle of the day.  They ran pressure tests only to tell me there was a leak "somewhere".  We could not get into the upstairs apartment because the crazy guy that I have living upstairs had the deadbolt soddered on.  They came back two more times - without calling me.  Said there was still a leak somewhere, shut the gas off, and both techs they sent out were ignorant assholes to me for no reason. The guy upstairs, who is a hoarder (another issue I have to take care of), didn't seem to mind but the women on the bottom floor run a dog grooming business and it's hard to clean dogs properly with cold water. Whatever - I called a plumber while on vacation and $1500 later things are temporarily fixed.  This is the same place I hired a childhood friend that is a contractor and got taken for a $500 ride for nothing.  Oh well - that's what you get.

I got a call the first night we were there.  It's a call I had a feeling was coming.  My grandma passed away.  Without getting into much detail, I was very close to my grandma.  She had dementia for the past 8 years and within the past two years had really taken a turn for the worse.  It was horrible watching her suffer and simply fade to black over the years.  It hit me hard, but I made quick peace by realizing that she wasn't suffering anymore.  I'm not much for religion of any kind, but the idea of a heaven when someone close to you passes away is a good way to make peace.

There was also a few other deaths in the small town I live in.  One was the guy you always seen smiling, the other was a younger guy that sprayed his satirical hate around like he was the asshole Santa Clause - but this particular guy, when he wanted to be, could be the sweetest guy you ever met.  Either way - I knew both of them pretty well and it's never good to say goodbye orwatch as families grieve.

One thing I realized when we finally got away is what a black cloud lies in this valley we live in.  Economically, emotionally, and just overall.  I've tried to preach positivity and promote different events over the past 5+ years here.  Honestly though, people are beaten down, depressed, and have no pride in anything around here anymore.  We have to get away more often, or worse yet - relocate somewhere a little more promising.

Love life.
j.

Thursday, July 23

The Reset Button

The first lesson in fundraising - know what else is going on before you expect people to show up at your event.  I'm known for sporadic fundraisers.  The way I see it - you have to strike while the iron is hot.  This past weekend I put together a fundraiser for a woman who is going through chemotherapy only to realize about 3 hours into it that everyone and their hillbilly brother is at Jamboree in the Hills.  If you haven't heard of Jamboree In The Hills - just google it.  It's a big country concert that is about an hour away from where I live that lasts for a week.  Yes, a full week of beer chugging, truck mudding, banjo twanging - but people come from all over the world to attend.

With that said - the Bowl Cut fundraiser didn't get much response, but my shop in general was slow last Saturday because everyone was away.  We'll figure out a way to get something else going though.

Speaking of getting away, I'm taking the wife and kid away this weekend.  As much as I'm wired to just work and be productive, it's time to let the mind recycle.  We're not going anywhere crazy - just to Presque Isle - which is about 3 ours from here in Pennsylvania on the shores of Lake Erie.  I've never been there - but I'm told it's nice and worth the trip.

The entire time we have planned this I've been thinking about the Reset point.  Kind of like a RESET button on an old Nintendo - I look at a quick weekend away as a Reset point in life.  I usually waste any time I get off just planning or trying to reorganize any work I have/want to do so I come back and go back at it full steam.  Or sometimes I actually find myself doing work when I'm gone.  Oh well - that's just how it is.

I've been helping coaching peewee football the past two weeks, but it's hard finding a babysitter.  I really do love doing it - but my wife thinks that she is better off sitting in a tanning salon hoping people come in while it's 90 degrees and sunny out and I have the baby the second I finish up work at the corporate gig.  It's just one of those things that maybe now is not the best time for me to coach. You have to have your priorities straight in life.  Family, Faith, Football as the old great coach would say. Good lord do I love doing it though.

Enjoy your week and I'll update you on Presque Isle!

Love life.
j.

Friday, July 17

Bowl Cuts for a Good Cause


Some people are just pure hearted people.  A friend of mine really has been through a lot.  Before you just quickly assume that I'm speaking of the woman in the above picture - let me point out a quick fact that is known but often overlooked.  I'm talking about her husband.

Those that get sick or have life kick them in the face are by far victims of shitty situations.  Those that love and support those people also feel the affects. 

The woman above is Angela.  She was diagnosed about 2 months ago with cancer and started active chemotherapy.  Her husband, Brian, sent me a text message saying - "Hey, Ang has cancer and needs her head shaved.  I told her the only stipulation was that you did it." 

Personally it all hit me at once.  The first thing I thought of was the fact that she had just given birth to a daughter and had another daughter already.  That's a mom of 2 possibly entering the ring with that fucker Cancer, that I hate badly.  Secondly - that's my friend's wife.  A guy that has already been through a rough patch in life who is just a great,honest, hard working young truck driver.

When I met Ang and Brian at the shop, she only went through one treatment and already a large amount of her hair had fell out.  It's weird how Chemo works.  Some people feel these affects and loose hair right away, some people don't loose any hair at all.  I shaved her head and Brian took some pictures.  Hey - life is too short not to try to make someone that is worried smile for a little while!

I racked my brain on a fundraiser.  Typically a cutoff of an event where everyone shaved their head would be in order, but I wanted to do something different.  That's when I decided to offer bowl cuts - a basic cut involving a bowl and some clippers that was super popular in the late 80s/early 90s.  The agreement?  Rock a bowl cut for 1 week and turn in donations to Ang.  It all kicks off tomorrow at the shop.  Laughter is the best medicine and everyone can laugh at a bowl cut!  We'll see how it goes!

love life.
j.