Monday, June 22

Making Progress at the 18th Street Ball Court

I have spent the last two weekends working on the local basketball court.  I helped throw a tournament there two years ago and it was a great success.  Last year, the person that helped me actually passed away before we can kick off the next tournament but he did help put up the rims that I bought last summer.  I'll be honest, I didn't even want to see the court after he died.  It literally made me sick and depressed at the same time because I knew that he loved that place just as much as I did.

It was supposed to pour down rain every single day that I went down there.  The first day I closed up the shop, inspected what was needed and ran to Lowes in Steubenville Ohio to get some paint, bolts, etc.  I got back and to be honest messed around with the rims, did some painting of the poles and that was about it.  I was tired from chopping heads all day.  I got up at 5 the next morning and went down and took a broken rim off, and painted the backboards a little bit.  This included me strapping a 24' ladder to the top of the same Impala that hauled 30 + bags of mulch and shaking like a lunatic at the top of the ladder.  I had a great guy named Bill who owns a garage and service shop (Bill's Service) beat and tack a few welds on the hold rim and then I painted it black.  I went down yesterday and put the rim up - but still have to go back and tighten the bolts down and put a net up as well as add a little more paint. Just about done with the hoops - still have to get this court painted.

I'll post some pictures once things are done.  It's coming along nicely.  It's just getting the much needed help and even more needed time.

Love life.

Thursday, June 18

Mulching Main Street.

As anyone that has kids and a few businesses with a full time job can tell you - the most important and rare commodity isn't sleep - it is time.

Lets cycle back about three weeks. I have a building about an hour away from where I live that I manage.  The problem is that anytime something goes wrong, the only real time I get to go there to work on it is at about 4:30 in the morning. Three weeks ago, give or take, I had to make one of those 4:30 in the morning trips.  You have a lot you can cycle through and think about in an hour.  As I left town, I passed through Main Street - which is the street where technically used to be the business district but now is home to about a half dozen empty buildings, empty lots, and a few small businesses including my own that are just trying to stay afloat.

5 years ago the town received a grant and replaced all of the sidewalks.  Formerly held together with uneven brick pavement, they went through and pour concrete - it made it look nice. The only real issue with it is instead of asking anyone what they thought would look better, they allowed a few people to decide that planting trees in the middle of the new concrete would be the best idea.  Not only that, they had built 4 inch borders around the hole in the ground where the trees grow that people eventually bitched about because they were hitting their doors on.  They ended up cutting the boarders out and now there just are about 15 of these trees that are planted inside the concrete.  Let's not get into the detail of the empty building and the inevitability that these trees will happen to grow roots which will, without doubt, push the concrete up within a few years.

This was an eyesore to me.  I mean we were already in June and people mentioned - aww, well so and so gets mulch every year. Well nothing had been done and as I left at 4:30 in the morning it started burning me.  The way I'm wired is that when I want something done - I have not somehow make sure it gets done.  Seriously - it affects my sleep and encompasses the majority of my thoughts througout the day.

As I was in Minerva, I noticed that the local gas station there was selling Mulch.  I drive a Chevy Impala - not a big ass truck with a Hemi.  I said the hell with it and literally filled the Impala up with about 15 bags of mulch, which only handled bout half of the trees.  I had to cycle back about 2 weeks later and get the rest.

The lady in charge of the tree department, or whatever the hell you might call it, decided to play it off and instead told me "I don't know who did the mulch, but they just can't put it on there,   The base of the trees can't be covered up", as she proceeded to dig donuts on half of the trees.  I just smiled, but in my head I  just thought - yeah, that's about right.

Love life.

Thursday, June 11

Pipeliners are Temporary, But We Get Buried Next to Each Other

Within the past few years the shale and oil boom has gave a quick injection of hope to the area that I live and do business in. The media and politicians rave about how great this is and how much we are gaining from this.  Within the past 3 months, the small town that I live and do business in has welcomed a company to utilize a former pottery as a staging area.  The company, Associated Pipeliners, estimates approximately 400 workers that pass through here.

Money, jobs, etc.  That's what is echoed.  The only problem is that the majority of the 400 or so workers are from other areas such as Oklahoma and Texas.  I'm still giving free haircuts to the guy that can't manage to get a job or the kids being raised by their grandparents because their parents are locked up or strung out.  This has nothing to do with the pipeliners, but just to make a quick point that unless you change the area, a quick company that comes in for a year and leaves does absolutely no good.

I stay pretty busy on Saturdays when I'm in the shop for the most part.  Anyone that comes in and shares some laughs can attest to this.  I have maybe taken care of a total of 5 pipeliners in my barber shop in the past 5 months.  All except one was a supervisor of some sort.  They all say the same - "we'll probably be gone by football season around here".

Cycle back to three weeks ago in the barber shop.  I had a full house, which typically accounts for about 10 or so people.  A fellow stepped in, a pipeliner, and yelled back at me that he would give me "a hundred dollar bill" if I could get him in there next and let him skip in front of everyone.  This caught me off guard, but I looked around to my shop full of people.  Some of them were looking back at me like "hey - go for it - we get it."  Others were just zoned out.  As I took the hundred bucks into consideration, I looked around.  Yes, there were a few people that I know as soon as they walk in are going to have some sort of explanation why they can't give me 8 bucks for a haircut and shave.  The others; well - they've been doing consistent business with me for almost 6 years.  I looked at the guy and just politely declined and let him know I would be there until mid afternoon if he wanted to come back and I would save him 92 bucks.

With this said, I'm writing this as a small business owner with no other interest other than the people that eventually my son will be growing up with their kids, I will laugh with over the years, and end up buried next too playing Poker in hell with.  I'm all about those people who might hit the proverbial lottery with these fellows coming in to town.  Hell - I might even be out there laying some pipe as well if I didn't want to be around my family and community just because that money is so good for this area.
Just a closing thought, I spent more money mulching the trees on Main Street and fixing up some shit in town that I don't need to mention than I have made off of the pipeliners.  Just a quick thought as you sit back and call me an asshole until you realize how correct I am.

Love life.