Being that I own a business and am not currently teaching right now, I get asked a question quite often and my answer is usually the same. The question? Do you miss teaching? The answer… Parts of it. I miss the students and instruction(most of the time) but don’t miss the politics of the job that can sometimes distract you from what is most important and that is the kids. This last week made me miss teaching more than I have ever in the nearly two years I have taken off and run our business. I am sure something else could have gone wrong but it seemed like Mr. Murphy was visiting me last week.
Thursday thru Saturday-
Between pushing snow and doing what Minnesotan can do to stay warm during the cold snap that people deemed a polar vortex(I call it normal MN winter weather), I was sure hoping the power wouldn’t go out. If the power would have went out, I would have had to do the following sequence of events. Probably at 3 in the morning. Walk to my back garage to get my truck. Drive over to my F-I-L’s. Dig a trailer out of a snow bank. Go and put a jumper on the little tractor. Try to start the tractor. Bring it back to my business if I get it going. Dig my PTO generator out of a snow bank. Hook up the tractor. Pull it over to the house. Hook up the plugins only to find out the power is already back on. All in -35 degree weather with -60 degree windchills. Glad that didn’t happen. Then the end of the previous week ended with water dripping through a door trim at my business. After looking around to find out what the issue was I realized that a skylight was right above this door. So I correctly assumed the 3 ft of snow on the roof was causing an ice jam to build up and water to drip up the roof into building. I proceeded to go on the roof to dig out the three sky lights and to start partially shoveling off the roof of snow. My business has around 14,000 sq ft of roof. I shoveled for about 3 hours to long by myself and realized that this moment called for younger, stronger people. With all the medical things I have going on, it maybe wasn’t the smartest thing to try accomplish on my own. Also one of my B-I-L’s decided to help me by bring the tractor over on Saturday and putting it in my heated garage like I should have done months ago. Nice guy he is.
After deciding that we didn’t want to shovel the rest of the roof off in -20 degree weather, we waited till Monday to start up again. I hired a different B-I-L and his cousin to come and shovel off the roof. They started up in the morning while I finished doing up several things I needed to get done or figured I could pretend I needed to get done so I didn’t have to go on the roof longer than I needed to. Problem with me is if something needs to be done, I can’t not help out to get it done even if it means I will be sore for the next week. All the snow off the front roof ends up right on the sidewalk leading to the front entrance. So I shoveled the snow he just shoveled off the roof for the second time so my employees could leave that afternoon and others could arrive. Course they could go out another door, but they made a big deal about me trying to keep them there all day… Also, the snow is much lighter and fluffier on the roof if I remembered correctly from Friday. Seems to compact into heavy compacted snow on the ground. We spent the better part of 5+ hours shoveling off the roof but we got it all cleaned up. Now the problem was that quite a few windows were buried so we had to walkl around the house in 6 ft drifts and shovel those out as well. Man I love snow. Give me -20 every day of the week over plowing so you can go to work and plowing so you can get home from work. Can’t imagine living in Northern MI. Check out the link for current inchage up there… I am complaining about 60″+ of snow this season while Marquette has had 60″+ of snow in February. Its the 19th… Bet they’re glad February only has 28 days.
My F-I-L was down south in the sun enjoying his snowbird legs. While down there he decided to get a wifi enabled thermostat installed so that he can arrive at his lake house an hour north of home to a warm house when they go up there in the winter or a cool house in the summer. This constituted with me going to plow out the road so that the service technicians can do their work in their small little minivans. I was coming back up towards the beginning of the road widening it out when I met the technician. He stopped along with myself and he tried to back up so I could turn around. I was not going to try and back down the mile long driveway road. He couldn’t get very far in his light little vehicle so I had to try and widen out a spot to get turned around. As I made my third pass with the technician out of his vehicle looking on, I got hung up. I was driving my F-I-L’s brand new 3/4 ton diesel pickup and was stuck. The technician decided he would help by getting an ice pick out of his van. Drivers door… locked. Back door….. locked. One more door and figured he would try it and yep. Locked. So here we are, 1 hour from civilization. Me stuck, him locked out and both of us melting snow as our internal temps rise. Good things only trees to listen. I walked the long driveway road to the lake house to get a shovel, ice pick, several tools and wire coat hangar for him. Walked back and I shoveled and tried to get unstuck while he pried and cried(just kidding). After trying and shoveling for 30 minutes, I gave up as I was just getting more stuck by the minute. I figured I would try unlock his doors and in 5 minutes we were riding down the road to the lake house so at least one of us could be productive today. No, I don’t steal cars for a living like he wondered, I just have some practice from a pink Mercury Tracer I used to roll in. I called my B-I-L(snow shoveler) and he arrived hour and a half later and pulled me out. Meanwhile got the wifi thermostat installed(with an hour of technical difficulties as well) so my F-I-L won’t be cold or hot when he gets to his lake home.
As I got back to plow some more snow, one of my employees called me to tell me one of my two dryers was not working. I finished plowing and went to attempt to fix it. I took the whole machine apart, found out I didn’t know how to test if the motor was seized, put it back together and surprisingly it still didn’t work. Dang. So now the dilemma. Working washer dryer pair in back that are side by sides are 12 years old. Stackables(dryer capoot) in front, 9 years old. 6-10 loads a day in front vs. 3-5 loads a day in back. So does a guy replace with a cheap dryer in the front or get a Speed Queen stackable set for $2700 for the front and have a washer as a spare for the back. Debated for the week and went with a cheap dryer for the front for now and then when the washer quits, will get Speed Queens for front and have spare dryer for back when those inevitably quit. I have put a bit of money into each machine in parts to keep them limping along(thanks youtube for making me a semi competent washing machine/dryer fixit man). Maybe time to put to pasture when they give out again.
Early that afternoon, an employee pointed out that one of my atrium slanted glass roof panels outer layers had shattered. Right in a spot that maybe one of the helpers stepped when retrieving tools or when I was using the roof rake to clean off the glass, maybe I left the corner down as I was setting it down. Either way, it was lovely news to add to the week as it seems everything was going along so swimmingly well. So spent the rest of the day getting RFQ’s to try and replace the glass window on a roof system that everyone but me seems to love. Everyone including my wife loves the light. I hate the maintenance. Can guess who is winning so far. It adds a lot to the aesthetics and the headaches. Later that evening I went and played raquetball for an hour with a great friend of mine. We have played for an evening once a week during the winter. We play for an hour, then I recover for the next half week or so. He, for an old guy, is a great raquetball player. Or maybe I just am not that good. Either way, I was up 13-4 in game two ready to ride my lead to 15 and win for the first time this year. Yep, you can guess how that went. After tiring him out in games one and two, game three I won 15-13 for the first W of the year. Won on a controversial point that he decided he didn’t want to redo. See why I say he is a great friend. Played game four with him being really tired and lost 15-7. Its the way the week went. I don’t want to tell you about how good a tennis player he is. Or again, could be me.
So all in all, I am glad Murphy didn’t visit till Monday. At least for this last week, I really am thinking that teaching would have been an OK preference to owning a business. Something about going to school and going home to spend the rest of the evening with my wife and kids without any thought except to relax. But these weeks are few and far between to date so most of the time it is the same answer to the same question. I miss parts but not applying tomorrow. I really enjoy what I do and enjoy getting up every day so will I go back? Guess time will tell.
Next doc appt in March at the U of M to hopefully start moving towards some diagnosis on what is going on instead of theorizing what it could be. Some type of metabolic myopathy is where we are at right now. Till next time, stay warm. I will be here shortly as I head out to my sauna.