“Adventures in Mexico“
Over the course of the past 2 years, I have been living life at full throttle. Sure, I have my down times… my… “off” times where I buckle down and work long crazy hours, do side jobs, basically to “get my money right”… but in general, I’ve had a lot of adventures all over the Eastern Regions of the country in many rather unmentionable places… but one adventure in particular stands out, unique from these…
During a MASSIVE transformation of my life last year, I found myself struggling financially after hanging up my tool belt and quitting the Cable Installation business. I thought being a cable man would earn me more money than being a pizza guy, give me something to build my future on and become a career for me, rather than just a job. What I learned… was the “Time Value of Money”. While I may have earned more as a cable guy, I also spent more. I thought gas, and wear and tear on my cars driving pizza was bad… But working as a sub-contracted cable installer…
Was FAR worse.
Work Truck, Ladder Rack, a big, heavy expensive ladder, Tools and equipment to perform your job function and/or make your job easier, etc. These costs can be managed if you have an economic truck and got quality equipment and LOTS of skill… but the real killer… was the lifestyle. You work from basically 6am till Question mark 6 days a week, Sundays are optional. The longest shift I ever worked was from about 6:30am when I arrived to the Shop Headquarters and worked till 1am. Yea. I was at someone’s house working on a 28-foot extension ladder, running an aerial drop through thick trees from a span clamp to the power mast of this little one story house somewhere in central County. The job probably paid me about 80, and it took me roughly 4 hours to complete. Had I been a little more experienced, I may have been able to do the job in 3 hours, but I was still mastering how to run wires through trees on a ladder in the rain and in the dark with a small flashlight in my teeth, and mounting a discontinued power mast clamp to tie the coaxial messenger line off on to… The drive took me 20 minutes in each direction, roughly 30 miles, which was about 4 gallons of gas in my 1992 F-250 Ford “Plumbers Truck” with a bad transmission and see-through floorboards.
Pardon my French, but Fuck That Bull Shit.
Perhaps if I were working hourly for a wage around $15 an hour plus overtime pay, with full benefits and a 401K using company tools and vehicles, the job my be doable… but for the amount of shady, lying ass, scum-bag dickheads that I worked with on a daily basis and answered to for my jobs (aka supervisors) and the expenses that I incurred, and personal injury, etc. I said NEVER AGAIN after I lost my EXPENSIVE tool belt and my transmission went out in my truck on the same job in the same day. That was the second truck I’d been through in 6 months, I hadn’t even eaten a real meal in weeks, and I got more or less fired from my part time pizza job that I tried to hold onto for daily cash because I could never make it to work on time since my cable jobs always ran over into the night.
So for the first time in years, I found myself stuck in a place where I had no job, and no income. I’ve always been a hustler, working pizza, bartending, odd jobs, web design, computer repair/networking, whatever it takes… but here I was, broke and broken at the same time…
I spent a few days trying to recover from this massive blow… I decided that I would sell off the remainder of my cable supplies and attempt to find work within my network of people until I could get stable again. This era of my life was one of great self-discovery and personal growth. I had JUST begun taking yoga classes and reading the first book I’d picked up in Eons called “Transcendental Meditation – The Science of Being and the Art of Living”, I was learning about Quantum Physics, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Positive thinking, “The Secret”, all these wonderful tools began to surround me in my everyday life. I discovered the peace and joy from loving myself and accepting where I was in the cycles of living… I began to realize my part, my contribution to the world…
I began to feel special for the first time in my life, instead of “different”.
These times were some of the hardest, yet they showed me that I am a survivor, and I am capable of so many wonderful and beautiful things…
I had a job briefly with the office building I was working in downtown as a GIS Analyst, it didn’t pay great, but it was allowing me to eat and keep gas in my car. I was 2 months behind on rent and 2 car payments behind… I don’t even want to TALK about how far behind I was on my house payments for Moms house in “Midwest”, or the credit card debts I racked up with my Home Depot Credit card during my tenure as a cable guy…
About 3 months had passed after my truck broke down, and I sucked up my pride and went back to the pizza shop that I had quit years before to escape the drama from one of my co-workers who was boning the ex-girlfriend who wanted me back. Sigh.
After realizing 60 bucks a day isn’t going to do it for me, I kept looking. I tried to get back my Papa John’s gig, but there weren’t any store openings and my car situation was a bit of an issue as well after I had to spend $1000, cashing in my last old savings bond my grandmother bought for me when I was 12. I was EXTREMELY fortunate and grateful for her help and foresight…
Things were rough, yet… I managed to stay very upbeat… very hopeful. It’s like I knew that things would change soon… things were going to get better. I told myself that everyday, and for the first and perhaps even the only time in my life I every REALLY felt like that.
Me and my dude went out to The “Shoreline” restaurant one night randomly. We were out Golfing perhaps, or something around the general area… and for the first time, I had a table inside on the ground floor. I’d been there many times before over the years, but this particular time, a very outgoing guy approached us and asked us if we knew anyone who needed a job, they were hiring for servers and bartenders.
I’ve always dreamed of trying my hand at bartending since the CRAZY parties we used to throw out in Tampa and I’d made enough money to pay my cell phone bill AND my rent in ONE NIGHT with purely my tips from our open bar.
On my way into my interview, I stopped at the only 5/3rd Bank Branch in Florida that I’ve ever known exists. I wanted to close out my account that I had opened in “Midwest” that I used to pay my bills from the house mom left… you know… to come closer to closing that chapter of my life. As I sat in the office waiting for seemingly forever due to my pending interview, I noticed a box that read, “All-Star for a Day” on a pedestal. “Win 4 Tickets To an NHL Playoff Game!” was written in capital bold print.
Sweet. I went ahead and filled one out. After all, you can’t win if you don’t play. Or even more well put… You can only win if you play. (Note the difference.)
I closed my account, and continued on to my interview just blocks away on the beach of “the shoreline”, where I knocked my interview out of the park. After taking a standard drug test they were going to put me on the schedule for training!
I worked out a deal to where I could come back to “The Pizza Chain” as an early day driver 2 weeks later.
So I now officially had 3 part time jobs… doing 60 hours a week, I had a great gym open 24 hours I was visiting 2 to 4 times a week, and a love for life that I never knew existed.
Each and every day was unfolding before me in a new beautiful pattern, opportunity seemed to fall from the sky and land in my lap.
Then a few weeks later, I got a phone call… from the local NHL Hockey Team.
Yea, I won the tickets.
I treated the 3 people that I had always appreciated the most to our AWESOME seats, The Uncle, Billy, and Chris, and enjoyed the only home game the Lightning won that Playoff season.
The following month, Chris tells me his “date” for his companies Mexico trip can’t get her passport due to legal issues… If I could come up with my passport and the money for the flight, I could come with him to the all expenses paid once in a lifetime trip.
I was working a lot of crazy hours, and I was taking my time paying Chris back all the back rent I owed him, but he knew that I would be good for it; he just wanted to go with someone cool like myself.
My life had turned completely upside down during all the chaos just a few months earlier, I lost a lover during my insane 90 hour work weeks, then I stabilized to what I thought was a bright career in cable installation…
It all deteriorated before my eyes… and I lost my peace… only to find a new.
There is more to the story… but it must be told in parts…
I just had to tell you of such a yo-yo tale of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.
Never think that you can’t get up after you fall down, because no matter what, it’s on you to BOUNCE.