The Memory Goes First

Friday, April 25, 1996

Mine Did.
I knew someday it would happen: my memory finally giving up and checking out a megabyte at a time. I think today was the beginning of the end.
On Sunday morning, I woke up late about 6am having forgotten to set my alarm on Saturday night. In my rush to get to work, I left the condo in a hurry, forgot my several sets of keys and locked myself out. Fortunately, I carry a spare Jeep key in my wallet and the garage door opener got me back inside to retrieve the keys.
On the way in, I forgot to stop at a convenience store for Marlboros, though I've cut down and still am trying to quit. (Yeah, sure, sure...) Once at work, I forgot the keypad number for the entire complex's alarm system and set it off. After seven years, one would think I'd have it all down pat. That situation handled with the security service, state police and fire departments, I also forgot I had some mid-morning landscape design appointments and was cutting it very close by the time I made the first meeting.
I spent the late morning helping customers at the Garden Center, with no real forgetfullness problems. But after leaving for the afternoon's three meetings, I remembered that I'd forgotten the clipboard in the office; I'd walked out without the Customer Data Sheets and other vital information in their file jackets. I had to go back.
For a nice take out treat, I got broiled 10oz crab cakes, seafood bisque, onion rings, salad and stuffed potato skins for Mom, Dad and myself from the local Joe's Cafe & Seafood Grill. I was stopping by my folk's home for dinner, but I forgot to take the dinners along when I closed up and left work, and had to go back for them. At this point I was thinking of checking into a home for the soon-to-be braindead.
Just after I'd gotten home, I remembered that yes, I'd forgotten the catfood: my two cats were waiting by the door. Back to the store. Usually, I work on some landscape estimates on spreadsheets in MS-Office97 Excel v7, but decided to bag it and get some sleep, also hoping that my forgetfullness would abate. After getting comfy, I remembered that I didn't brush my teeth. Enough already: sleep is needed badly here and now.
Monday 4am came too quickly. I felt awful; aches and stiffness in joints, fever, sweats and chills; everything that indicates the flu. When I do on-site visits at people's homes, I'm often invited inside and subjected to whatever ills they or their kids have. No more. I politely wait for them to come outside now and deliberately avoid the closed home environment of germs. Being sick sucks.

My 'Puters Went Next.
I thought it was solved: after spending 4 day and 3 nights reloading and reconfiguring my Office Pentium 586/200mhz-96RAM and being fortunate to have Jeff and Pete donate some time, hardware and software and after enjoying almost two weeks of fast, smooth computing and surfing, the unit had five fatal errors today and crashed. I used ScanDisk and Defrag to clean up all the lost chains and clusters. It's ego is repaired and working again.
But the Home Pentium 586/166mhz-64RAM is still sick. It's been sick for a few weeks: Word v7.0 in Office97 won't cooperate in opening any files and rewards my efforts with an illegal operation notice. ScanDisk, Defrag, Disk Doctor and Speed Disk all are negated by write to disk syndrome; although absolutely nothing is running. I just love these little Win95 quirks.
Since I do a lot of work on the home unit, I may also have to start over and reformat the hard drive, thereby spending countless hours reloading and reconfiguring and something, something...
I installed Netscape Communicator PR3 on both the office and home units. Illegal Operation errors popped-up all over the place. There must be a corrupted file in their program; what the hell else could cause that on two Pentium computers? It couldn't be my Win95 O/S on the two units. So I de-installed quickly and everything returned to normal. Too bad; I'd heard that it was a slick program. I'll have to try another 12mgb file download and see if it's corrupted too.

The Dark Ages.
Before the current Garden Centers and Nursery in today's Horticultural Industry, there were cavemen and women tending primordial forests; now we're here. The point is that the industry I've joined is still in the 18th century. Although I researched it well before joining the business, I didn't know that it was this bad: there are still small places making change from 1950s cigar boxes. Great people, but very backward business sophistication, except in the top 8% of the larger companies and 5% of the smaller units. With all the hardware and software in my operation, I'm definitely over wired in comparison.
Marketing is another area where horticulture is not even in the race. I recently gave a talk on Positioning and Marketing Warfare; both philosophies developed by marketing mavericks Jack Trout and Al Ries, of New York City Madison Avenue fame. I was fortunate to work for them and with them during the late 70s and early 80s. Much of their marketing philosophy solidified my marketing and business acumen. Their strategy is reflected in my ads. They have seven published books on marketing; all superb and fun reading. If you're interested in their book list and how to purchase direct for a discount, send me a note and I'll forward it to you.
Software is a real problem: just now are MS-DOS based systems becoming widespread when the real world uses PCs and Windows. Amazing. I had to build my own landscape estimating and billing spreadsheets; there was nothing commercially available. I visit two industry trade shows each year and I'm stunned by the lack of sophistication for sale. A few companies have tried to raise the bar, but aren't making much headway. I hope they can survive and help carry a generally backward industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
And speaking of The Dark Ages...

Criminals In The Mirror.
Benny Nitwit-yahoo, the so-called Prime Minister of Israel, escaped indictment and sure prosecution in an influence-peddling scandal that's rocked the Zionist government since January. He really stinks from the whole affair now.
It seems he's taken a cue from our own scummy national criminal, Slick Willie, in wearing Teflon suits and allowing the criminal acts to slide right off, thereby permitting others to take the legal hit for him and Hitlery.
Why is it that governments are afraid to indict and prosecute corrupt politicians at high levels? Is the shit smeared that far around the political spectrum? Oh yes, it really is. The evidence of Clinton's and Netanyahu's crimes are there; the government career prosecutors are chickenshit and on their payrolls. I wonder if Janet Reno, the US Attorney General had anything to do with their decision to inhibit the law? I bet she didn't send them any traceable email. Maybe; there's no other rational reason for the obvious lack of legal action in both instances if flagrant criminality. Congress will find out soon about the Reno's blatant indecision and possible complicity in just one of Clinton's many crimes now under investigation.
America's seemingly inability to remember is manifested by the liberal Clinton mafia being given repeated passes on prosecution for decades, the exception being Watergate in the 70s, when the Republicans took it in the face. Since, as a collective body, we conveniently forget problems and move on to the next sensational story in the media; as a nation, we seem to have mass alzheimer's disease.

Personnel Problems.
Hiring people to work at jobs where they can learn is fun; I look forward to it. Having to fire people because they can't or won't handle responsibility is not fun.
I always give someone the benefit of the doubt; but their sick calls on Mondays after a weekend of drinking or doping are unacceptable. There are jobs that they're scheduled to complete on a daily basis which are let go and undone. These tasks are then carried over to the next day and that day's jobs are carried over to the next and so on. Soon, critical schedules are out the window and invalid. Life runs on a schedule: they must get used to it and deal with it.
It is especially difficult to find good, reliable people in this industry; when I do, I pay them well if they're here for the long term. The pay scales generally lag behind all others; images of California and Texas migrant workers working for pennies a day and being abused are conjured up; we don't have those kinds of problems. But it carries over into the type of people who do work here. It's a PR problem that the industry needs to address. And very soon.
Overall, we have two great landscape crews, nursery maintenance and sales personnel this year. There'll be a few glitches along the way I'm sure, but what would life be without a few bumps?
Me? I'm starting to get used to the 18-hour days now. Going to work when it's dark and coming home when it's dark often makes me think there's nothing in my life except the business for the foreseeable future. And I'm right: been there, done that for the past seven years. Deja Vu all over again.

Now wash your hands, clear your desktop, and come to the dinner table - it's lasagna night! If you're tired of that incessant, mailbox clogging shit, here's how to cope with it.

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