Into High Gear.

Friday, April 19, 1996

Moving Fast On The Jobs.

Things are moving fast now: the landscape crews have their first few jobs under their belts and are picking-up momentum daily. My foreman, Alan Miller, has his hands full floating between job sites and keeping quality at a continuous high level. But he does somehow. That's his job and he does it very well.
Of the "freshman class" of new landscapers on my crews, only one hasn't worked out. Seems this was his first job; everything had been handed to him previously. He's 19. My, times have changed; at 19 I had been working since I was 14, because I wanted to and could easily handle it, and because employers had confidence in me doing the job. Actually, I looked older than I was and caught hell for impersonating a 16-year old. That aside, there's no reason why kids today can't and shouldn't work when they're 16; it's a great lesson in life to start taking some responsibility for their lives, even at 16. Especially at 16.

Dad's Birthday.

My Dad is a very special man. He and my Mom are retired now from very successful careers after raising my sister, Becky and me at the same time. Both of my parents were born in York, grew up here, knew each other in school, were in the US Army during WW2 (Mom was an RN), and chose to come back to their roots. I guess I did too. Dad was 73 on April 17th.
A sargent in the Army Corps of Engineers, he was badly wounded but saved several US soldiers in The Battle of The Bulge and was highly-decorated for it. After the war, Dad finished Penn State with a major in chemistry, started as a chemist for Allied Chemical and retired in 1989 after 44 years as General Manager. He was a honest, forthright corporate executive, helping to make Allied a better company for being in its ranks.
My Dad helped me in innumerable ways when I was growing up; just one of which I wish I could repay him for. The only thing he ever asked for was for me to be my own best self, be the best I could be. No more, and certainly no less. I remember him getting me my first baseball glove, fishing, major league games, he and Mom being there when I received my Eagle Scout Award, and a thousand other things he did for me. He taught me honesty, helped me mould my own character and showed me the value of living. He beat cancer twice; that was over 20 years ago and no re-occurrence. Wow.
I wanted to take him to LaMotte's for crabcakes, but he's a real homebody; doesn't like to go out to retaurants and such. He'd prefer to eat home cooking with Mom and watch TV for a few hours each night, after a long day at the Garden Center, where he's in charge of the retail business and general customer relations. Everyone loves him; he's great with all people.
Happy Birthday Dad! And thanks for being my Dad.

Flying Children.
By now, the news of little 7-year old Jessica DuBrof's death last Thursday in the airplane crash at Cheyenne, Wyoming, has spread far and wide. We may never know exactly what happened to cause the tragic waste of a young life, as well as that of her father and flight instructor. And it seems the controversy is just starting.
When I heard the news last Thursday on ABC, I was saddened. Here was a baby who was pushed by her "parents" into something that was beyond her age and swhack level. Many so-called parents push their children into careers way too early in life; sports, music, entertainment and even pornography. Somehow, these adults are either seeing big dollar signs or have an psychotic mandate from their own failed lives, and want to re-live their past childhood years through their children's. A real sickness. Let the children have the childhood they deserve!
Did you see the interviews on TV with the pathetic mother who rationalized and justified everything her dead husband and she did to push Jessica into trying for an obscure world's record. A very lame and pathetic show. And at Jessica's funeral this Tuesday, her young brother flew over the ceremony with his flight instructor in tow. Words can't describe the pathos of those two, minus one, adults. Wonder how she sleeps at night? She's carrying a lot of death on her conscience these days.

Late Nights.

I'm working like a shrew this month; it's 11:30pm on Wednesday and I'm taking a short break from doing a pile of landscape estimates. Pickles is laying on top of some blueprints that my landscape designer did, purring contentedly and playing with my Rolex GMT Master watch, which I always take off and lay on the desk when I'm on the computer. Habit, I guess.
Last night I was here until midnight; Sunday and Monday until 2am. April and May promise to be horrendously-busy months; all the estimates fall upon me to initiate and implement. I'm averaging eight very detailed and lengthy spreadsheets per night. And since there was no such software available when I started this business six years ago, I built my own in MS Excel. Very sophisticated works of art! Since I built the templates, I'm able to fly on them and work extremely fast. Having a near-photographic memory helps in not having to look up every price that I quote in the estimates; I ordered and priced the stuff, I know it cold. The horticulture industry is certainly a long way from catching up to the rest of the business world in many respects.
When I get so tired of computer work and I can't safely drive the 14 miles to my condo, I open the cot and crash in my office. Mental exhaustion teams up with the end of physical endurance and causes major sleep. Pickles is glad when I stay here; he likes to sleep with me on the cot and stay nice and warm in between the blankets. A private office with all the conveniences is a very nice lurury (read necessity) when away from home and working 18-20 hour days. It takes a lot of the pressure off having to leave at a certain time, with a pile of unfinished work, only to face it the next morning. Being single again (read divorced) is the only way I would do this; if I was married to a wonderful woman, I'd be with her and Pickles would be alone on the cot. Bet on it!
Time to go home and feed my two other cats, Murphy and Mama; they're alone all day and it's good to get home and give some affection to them, as well as get some back. They're happy to see me. Heck, I'm just happy to crawl into a nice warm bed and sleep. The two cats make great pillows.

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