Monday, August 31

Back to School, Backto School..

It's that time of year again.  All of the kiddos head back to school and some parents can take a breather.  Since opening in Wellsville almost 6 years ago, I've given free cuts to several local areas for those kids heading back to school to ease up the financial burden that comes along with it.

This year was no exception.  I've reviewed the list of "needed" items for those going back to school.  From preschool to Seniors.  To say the list is insane or the fact that we pay taxes and still have to shell out over a hundred bucks on additional school supplies is just, well, crazy as hell.  Since when is it imperative for a kid to take their own 5 gallon bucket of Purell to school?  Oh well.

This year I was gearing up for a few free cuts and things just started pouring my way.  About a month and a half ahead of time I got a text from Bill Crawford, the founder of The Team Mojo Foundation asking if I could help them out at the end of August.  This is a guy that I really look up to around here and I would basically do anything to help out because I really believe in his positive messages, activities, and just way of thinking here in the valley.  Absolutely is what I told him.  So I was penciled in for an event for free cuts.

Two weeks ago a friend of mine casually brought to my attention this barber from Iowa named Courtney that lets gets kid free cuts if they read to him.  Normally I just cut them up for free without anything at all but I really liked this idea.  I'm big on earning and learning when you're young.  I created a quick picture and shared it on my business' page on Facebook and tossed it out on twitter.  I went in that Saturday armed with my own books, but had an overwhelmingly great response of kids who brought their own books and read as I cut their hair.  I even had a woman tell me - "this is great - that's gotta be the first time he's read all summer."  I thought that was funny.  I quit counting after 18 or so kids that day but there were plenty and it was a blast.

A few days later the event that I mentioned Mojo asked me to do came out of nowhere.  I totally forgot about it and didn't move my work schedule appropriately for my corporate gig.  This was an annual Back to School Bash that the local First Christian Church puts on.  I'm not what you would call a devoted Christian or religious guy - but I do look up to these folks because they are always positive, upbeat, and most important have a bunch of activities they try to get going in town - including once a year where a bunch of volunteers get together and clean up the town. This year was different because they got together with the school administration and had everything in the parking lot of the school.  I was running late because of work but the amount of people there was crazy.  Everyone was laughing and as I ran around the building I was blown away - there were tables set up with various groups and organizations handing out promo stuff, a bunch of games, a dunk tank, free food, free backpacks full of materials, etc. It was just awesome.  I set my stuff up in the back and just started cutting.  They weren't the best cuts I could deliver, which bothers me as a professional barber, but under the circumstances they got the job done.  It was windy and by the time I was wrapping the last 5 or so up it was dark out and the only light I had came from a nearby Popcorn Machine.  It was a challenge but it was a blast.

With that said - people only ever ask about the number.  "How Many".  I have no clue.  I never count.  Also - any time people say 'good job' or 'that was nice' it makes me feel like a real blowhard asshole because I don't want recognition or my fat head on the front of the review or a news channels website.  I just want people to be a little less stressed out in a repressed area that I call home.  I never remember how many, but I remember the good stories.  Like when a kid gets to college or gets his first job that came from a rough background and he slips me money for a haircut and says "Man - JC used to cut my hair for free and kept me fresh cause we couldn't afford it" or that single parent or family going through stuff that tucks back a few tears or that quick hug from the single mom with a few kids really roughing it through life.  It's not about a haircut.  It's about loving each other, helping people out when you can, knowing right from wrong, and leading by example.

love life..  study hard!

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.

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.