I have always found it hard to write about myself. I have done so many things throughout my life, but it seems to me they are always trivial. My sister's thinks different, and are continually telling me all the interesting things I have done. Well I guess we'll give it a shot and see what happens.
I am just a simple small town mountain bread fool. I grew up in a very small community in the mountains of Colorado. There were always things for us to do around town and out in the country. We had the run of the town, and my parents had the benefit of knowing what we did before we got home. Such is the small town life, with everyone knowing each other, and not being afraid to talk to each other.
I am a jack of all trades, and master of none. I have done so many different things in my life, that at times its hard to decide what was most enjoyable. I grew up working in my parents service station, pumping gas and servicing cars. That was the age when customer service was real. We always washed the windshield and checked our customers oil and other fluids when they filled up. At times I think we as a society gave something up when we lost the "Full Service Gas Station".
After graduating High school, I joined the US Army. I enlisted as a mechanic, and spent four years working on military vehicles. I went to basic training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at Fort Jackson SC. I was then stationed at Fort Hood TX for two years. Coming from the mountains, this was a climate shock to my system. Where I came from it almost never got above 80 degrees. At Fort Hood on the other hand it was not uncommon to reach temperatures in the triple digits on a regular basis. I spent all my free time partying, and visiting Austin and San Antonio. When we got three day weekends, I would jump in the car and drive home, 14 hours one way, and spend some time at home. Just when I had accepted that I would probably not get stationed overseas as I wanted, I got my change of station orders transferring me to Germany. Of course this came about four months after purchasing a new car.
I Left the car at home, and caught a bus to Denver. From there we flew to New Jersey, where we had to wait for six hours for a flight to Germany. Of course being young and dumb I spent the free time riding the little tram around the airport thinking this was great fun. Once settled onto the flight to Germany, I figured out that I was incapable of sleeping on anything that moved. The very long, 10 hour, flight seemed to last forever. I figured that being the Army, we would end up sitting around some transient barracks in Frankfurt waiting for our assignments, and I would be able to get some sleep. Oh no, for once the Army had their stuff together, and I received my duty assignment almost as soon as I walked through the door of the receiving station. I would be stationed at Bitburg, an Air Force base close to the Luxembourg boarder. A simple 1 and a half hour drive if you were to drive strait through. naturally though, they had to make it a round about trip, dropping off soldiers at every other base in Germany before getting me to Bitburg. almost five hours later, they dropped me off at my units HQ and barracks, located in downtown Bitburg. For some reason the Air Force did not have room on base for the Army units. Eventually this turned out to be a blessing, not having to sign out at the main gate every time you went to town.
After being awake for close to thirty hours, one would think that all I wanted to do was get a bunk and sleep. Youth has its advantages, when it comes to the need for sleep, sometimes other desires over ride the basic need. I just had to get out there, and check out this country I had heard so many stories about from my Father. I went out walking the streets of the town, and basically exploring my new home. As I was walking, I saw two beautiful women walking on the other side of the street. Being the young boisterous fool I was, I whistled at them to show my appreciation of their looks. They stopped in their tracks, and came walking across the street, one slapped one side of my face, and the other got the other side. Come to find out, in Germany, they associate whistling with calling the dog. This night was also the first time I experienced German beer. I decided right then and there, that Americans did not know squat about brewing beer. There was a small bar called Rosies just a few blocks from our barracks. This became a regular hang out for the Army folks.
I was assigned to depot duty. Meaning I was in charge of taking all the vehicle that were determined to be beyond repair to the depot facilities in Germishiem in southern Germany. I would then drive up to Frankfurt, and pick up a new or more accurately rebuilt vehicle from that depot. Now one could easily make this trip in one day, granted a very long day, but it could be done. Not me, I managed to convince my supervisors that it was a three day job. I spent many hours driving around Germany in my wrecker, seeing as much as I could. I tried not to take the same route twice, and avoided the main roads when possible. This was a great way to see the country. Unfortunately I received my final separation orders in less than two years, and returned home.
I spent my first winter home from the Army working as temporary winter help, plowing snow on Vail Pass. This was an experience in defensive and creative driving. I was always amazed that when people mounted ski racks on their cars, they lost all ability to drive. We had a running joke that the ski rack was for when they flipped their car they could just slide on down to the ski area on their skis.
I then went back to work for my parents, and rented a small studio apartment close to the school for $200.00 a month. Oh but I wish my bills were of the small amount as back then. I worked for Mom and Dad for about six months. Then I started in with the Sheriffs Department as a dispatcher. I can tell you this was my most stressful job ever. The reason for the stress is that you are handling emergency, life and death situation. Your cooped up inside a secured room, and there really is no outlet for stress.
I was taking classes on the side to become a law enforcement officer. I worked there for about a year before being hired by the Town Police Department. I spent five years feeling cooped up and stuck in that small town, enforcing their speeding laws and generally making the traveling public unhappy. I had a few very interesting cases, and got a little life experience a person can get in no other job. I finally got hired by the Sheriff's Department in that fifth year, and was able to enjoy the ability to patrol close to 2200 square miles. There was a major difference in the enforcement policy. The Sheriff did not have a focus on traffic enforcement, thank god. Our focus was on patrolling and being visible. I had a number of very good cases with the Sheriff's Office, and received additional training in other specialties. I became a D.A.R.E. instructor, which I think was the most rewarding assignment. I worked with the Sheriff's Office for three years, until I finally grew up and realized that I would not be able to provide for my family, that had grown instantly by marriage, on the meager pay that allowed me to qualify for food stamps and other assistance.
I went to work for a beer distributor for a short time, until I figured out that I would have to move to make it work. I then went to work for a local excavating company as a heavy equipment mechanic. I had not practiced mechanics for some time, and was unsure how it would work out. In the first four months, I got 5 raises, and was promoted to field mechanic over guys that had been there for three years. I loved this work, being back out in the field, not really having anyone looking over your shoulder all the time. As long as you kept the equipment in the dirt working, everything was great. I was very good at what I like to call "Field Engineering". That is making something work any way you can until the new parts come in. In a six month time frame, I made more money than I had in a year and a half with the Sheriff's Department.
I then got a chance to buy my own business. It was a tough decision, but in the end, I would have regretted not trying it if I didn't give it a shot. Things went great for the first year and a half, then business started to slow down. Nothing major, but the weather played a factor in business, and it had not been good. My final down fall was 9-11. That disaster that changed all our lives, and ruined the lives of many victims families, put me out of business. People stopped traveling, and then we started having the forest fires, shutting down the camp grounds and recreational areas around the county. I ended up selling my business at a loss, story of my life - buy high sell low, and moving south.
Of all the places, Texas, that state I had learned to dislike so much because of it's weather. My wife was from a little town called Mansfield, and did not like the mountains. She also had severe migraines and the altitude made them worse. We moved to an area somewhat in the country around the DFW area. I started working with my brother in law, in his company as a plumbers apprentice. Low and behold almost six years later, here I am still working with him, with my Journeyman's license, trying to survive just like everybody else.
I am currently trying to teach myself programing. I have downloaded the Microsoft Developers Suite Express edition, because it was FREE. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about the subjects, and playing allot with the programs. I had made databases years back when I was with the Sheriff's Department, in Access, and have started doing that again. I'm not making any money at it yet, but everyone has to start somewhere. I have decided that I don't want to continue doing physical labor for the rest of my life.
I have always been an avid reader, and hoped to write a book some day. Perhaps I will use this opportunity and site to practice writing some short stories. Well if you stayed with me this long and are not bored yet, come back later and see what articles I come up with.
As any good Trekkie would say "Live Long and Prosper".