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Why do you say? Let me tell you why!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by jasond, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. jasond

    jasond LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    What you are about to read, is a true story about a real person who wakes up each day and ponders as to why, why, why?

    On September 9, 1971, I was born a white kid in a Naval hospital outside of Jacksonville, Florida. At six months of age, my dad is transferred to San Diego, California.

    With time, we make many moves from one part of California to another. My dad gets out of the Navy and ends up taking a job in Saudi Arabia.

    So, my mom is raising us young ones, all by herself. Dad is 12 months gone, and the yard starts to grow...and grow...and grow. I remember it growing so high that our two dogs could only be found in the backyard by the jingle of the tags on their collars. One day I came home to find mom out trying to mow the rough with a reel mower while my youngest sister (2 years old) sat in her baby swing on the driveway. At 8 years old, the sight of my mother struggling with that mower was a gut wrenching site.

    I had never used a mower, let alone a reel mower, in 3 foot tall grass before. Mom watched me mow, and mow, and mow. She still tells me about the time it took to mow the yard...she claims it was 3 days. I swear it took almost two weeks.

    After about six months, I was a damn good mowing hand.

    Little did I realize that an old lady across the street, who stayed drunk most of the time, had been watching me mow for six months. I guess her luck with some man had worn out, so she needed someone to harp at while mowing her lawn. At the point that her lawn grew to the same height that our rough had been, she stopped her car one day while I was riding my bike in the street. She was a scary thing, with big red hair, all poofed out, cigarette in one hand, and a big coffee cup in another (I realize now why she drank coffee at three o'clock in the afternoon). Anyhow, she pulled up, cranked down her window, and offered me 5 bucks to make her lawn look like I made mine.

    Now, being a young kid in California that had no idea what money was really for... I agreed. Luckily after my second day working in her yard, she gave me a baby blue bowling ball that her man had left in her garage. Yes, the bowling ball, with carrying case, certainly made the job a fair deal. Of course, I didn't care much for her drunken muttering and harping at me for missing blades of grass throughout the yard.

    A month later, I added the lady next door to her, whose husband had a bad back. Soon enough, I was making 5 bucks per yard at several yards on the street. Of course, at nine years old, all my hard earned money went to accessorizing my Schwinn bicycle. It wasn't long before I had the hard plastic seat, plastic tuf-wheels, and bear trap pedals. Several years passed. I mowed many lawns. I had the best looking bike, and my friends were so envious. Eventually, I hired them to help me. I paid them half of what I got, only if they used their own mowers. I laugh to myself about it every time I think about it. Those poor guys....tisk tisk.

    On a rainy afternoon, my mowing empire would come to a crashing halt. Riding my bike home from school, I fast approached a realtors sign in my front yard. My heart sank...and then my mom said we were moving to Nashville, TN.

    So, the year was 1983. Californians knew only two things about Nashville: country and music. I still remember the gay and flaming math teacher (Mr. Gordon...are you reading this?) teasing me in front of the whole class by saying that kids in Tennessee wore coveralls to school, wore no shoes, and chewed on hay all day. Someday I will meet up with that --- surfer...and teach him something about folks from Tennessee.

    Well...we packed up the moving van, the cats, the dogs, everything except the mower. Mom said we were going to buy a new one once we got to Tennessee. So we drove cross country, seeing the vast landscapes of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee! My first memory of Nashville, TN was eating a pecan waffle at a Waffle House with a waitress with three teeth and tattoos on her arms...a true southern belle!

    Well, mom had bought a big house...which she claimed was so much cheaper than our house in California. Of course, she failed to mention the yard was about four times as big TOO! But she had promised me a new mower. In fact, during the first week, while we were moving in to our new house, she and I went to the Toro dealer where I picked out a shiny red new mower. 2-cycle, commercial, aluminum deck. It was gorgeous!!! Of course, I didn't think about the lawn being 1.1 acres and the mower only being 22" wide.

    Now, if you're are from, or were from, or still are from Nashville, you know what it was like in the mid-eighties. Van Halen was the band on WKDF, the Wave pool was so cool, and Opryland was THE place to go during the summer and try to pick up chicks (especially if you were cool enough to have summer passes). Well, the eighties were good and bad for Nashville. Land was cheap, country music was big. There were some FRICKIN huge houses around. Up the street from us was where Jerry Gerrett the wrestler lived...his place was GIGANTUOUS! A lot of people lost their jobs due to Ingersoll Rand, DuPont, and many other big companies leaving Nashville. Nobody seemed to have any money to pay for their lawn care.

    It didn't take long for me to figure out what I needed to be doing to start making money in Hendersonville. What I wanted was a new BMX bike, with the baddest, newest equipment offered by Hutch so that I could go and visit girls after school and on the weekends. Chicks at school digged the guys with the pink Hutch freestyle bikes. I knew of only one way to make the chicks dig me. I had to make some money mowing lawns to get the bike to get the chicks!

    I worked that neighborhood harder than a bible salesman could work a Las Vegas stripclub. I knocked on every door, every week, and sold myself cheap. I am talking 10 bucks to mow a half acre. My people loved it. I was their personal lawn slave...I didn't care; all I wanted was a pink freestyle bike...and the chicks that would see me riding it.

    I pushed, I bagged, I trimmed. No matter what, that Toro made me so much money. I got a steal on a Weed Eater brand trimmer. I traded all summers mowing of a neighbors lawn to keep the trimmer. Damn I was a sucker then.

    Of course, as time went on, my body ached for a riding machine. When I came across one, I jumped on one hell of a deal. A brand new Ariens with a B+S 11 Hp engine for $325.00. That year I turned 15. I was a grass slave no more...ride the lawns all day and bus tables by night. If only you could have seen me then 'Look out girls, here I come'.

    I finally broke and went all bus boy. I ditched all my mowing net worth. My customers wouldn't even look at me anymore. You would have thought I was the kid in the neighborhood that was always trying to get their kids to smoke cigarettes and look at porn. In my neighbors eyes, I was nothing to them anymore. With time, an old country Joe (black guy) up the road, who lived behind the old church on the cutoff road, took over most of my work. In fact, I just heard he still mows some of those lawns to this day.

    Calhouns. Woody's. The Shack. I specialized in table clearing and cooking staff. Not bad for a young high school punk with a $450.00 VW bug (I traded it square for the Ariens mower).
    Eventually, I graduated from H'vegas, and went on to the big orange, where I studied my social skills. After my first year, just before the first spring break, I had partied so much that I didn't even have enough money to buy gas to drive home. I bummed a ride from a friend back to the house, and happened to somehow land a job working on the city golf course, mowing the rough on a huge Kubota rough mower making good money and working like 60-70 hours a week. That summer, I made killer dough. I partied hard when I wasn't working though...and pissed it all away. I now know what Jimmy Buffett means when he sings he made enough money to buy Miami, but he pissed it away so fast.
  2. jasond

    jasond LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    After two years of developing my social skills, the school sent a short note to my parents letting them know that it would be in my best interest to take a long semester break. Overnite, I had to make the decision between moving out of the house for good, or landing a great military occupation specialty (MOS) in the Marines.

    So, I did the high speed, low drag thing. It took me from Parris Island, to Camp LeJeune, to Memphis, to Courthouse Bay, to Cherry Point, to 29 Palms, to Yuma, to El Toro, to Guantanamo Bay, to Panama, to Peru, and then back to Cherry Point. I drank, I traveled, and I spent many nights with many women I will never know (although sex was good!). I grew up fast. By age 24 I was tired of my brain on ice, sick of traveling, and spent my nights with one women that I wanted to always know.

    I married the girl, brought home a black dog named 8 Ball, and ended my time with the USMC after six years as an avionics technician and journeyman engineer mechanic. We left Eastern North Carolina for the big city of Raleigh, where we bought our first house. I worked as a field mechanic for several construction equipment companies and returned to college to secure my future as a highly skilled and well educated management type. I attended number 24, UNC Chape Hill, with the pursuit of happiness and majored in Economics to land that really important banking job trying to sell services to people. (like me now!)

    I will be the first to tell you this....piss on those left-winged liberals who spend their days swinging from tree to tree. Those young kids might have been able to figure out what the derivitive integer of an ice cream cone was, but they couldn't couldn't figure out which hand to wipe their own --- with. Talk about a dirty rotten shame...how did these brains become so worthless? And don't even start me on the professors. Their intellect might be surpassing the frequency needed to talk to mars, but HELLO, did you see that hole in your shirt under your arm and what did you eat for breakfast cause the egg you ate dripped onto your tie, you nasty excuse for an intellectual pig! What a waste of some perfectly good white folk.

    Frustrated, fed-up, and definately not wanting to chum chum with the liberal freaks that graduated and managed to find jobs in the financial sector, I decided to do something interesting, rewarding, and profitable. I took a job as a manager for a construction company and invested the remainder of my college tuition/savings in a little company called Nortel, thinking what better way to succeed. I bought a bunch at 42.33 per share. What a deal. (I just pulled up what I have on MSN...uh hum...Friday it traded at 2.98 per share). A negative net worth. Just shoot me PLEASE!!!

    And then, my wonderful wife, told me this:

    Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, but Faith looks ahead.

    So thats when I started to ponder and I remembered what I enjoyed doing most...maintaining lawns. So I researched, and looked, and found a company that was for sale and needed a new owner.

    I have been in business almost a year, and every day I leave the house excited about what work has to be done each day. I strive to make my company the best it can be, and try to make each customer's property look better with each visit. I have taken some hard hits and learned ALOT fast, and have also found that the money isn't what I thought it would be, but... I am so happy working for myself and love doing what I do. This year I hope to break even. Next year should be much better since I will be more seasoned and will know what to expect in the springtime.

    My wife and I had a baby boy in May. It is one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. At the end of the day, I get excited about going home and seeing how he will smile at me, or giggle, or wink, or whatever that day. It is certainly one of the happiest things I have experienced to this day. It's funny...now my concern isn't how much money or what kind of things...it is making sure that I can provide him with a good environment to grow and learn in. Time will tell.

    I hope that you find your work as satisfying as I do. At times, I do get a bit down and out, but always tell myself that it could always be worse. Life is short, so I have got to make it last as long as I can!

    Good luck to you and your business and I wish you continued success.

    Remember, there is no right way to do the wrong thing!

    So why, why, why? Get on now...PUSH PUSH PUSH!
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Jeez Louise...that's gotta be one of the longest threads on LS...LOL. Fun to read too:D

    BTW, best of luck. I've been doing it for 9 years now (not by myself) of course.
  4. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    What a fantastic story. I can relate to what you say about the professors and all those ambitious corporate types. Been there, found out that the highly educated aren't necessarily any smarter or more respectable than those who have no degrees whatever. It's all just a lot of hot air, and I don't like that.

    I am now finding my freedom and psychological health in mowing and working on people's gardens, as well as on my own. The money is not as fantastic as my previous corporate job, but the job security and satisfaction to be derived from it is far beyond any I could have imagined.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is inspiring to know that there are a few sane people still out there :)
  5. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    I knew I made the right decision not to go to College.........in the end we're all doing the same thing!

    Your wife is a smart woman.......Faith does look ahead..........keep it and that money will show up.
  6. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    great story
  7. I am Me

    I am Me LawnSite Member
    from D/FW
    Messages: 72

    I have not laughed so hard in a long time. I loved the story. Best wishes to you and yours.

    Oh, and I think the old drunk lady was my Grandma....
  8. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Keep your head up and work hard. It all works out in the end.
  9. jasond

    jasond LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Just a quick reply to the long story above. First year numbers, with only two employees...139K gross sales. Alright!!!
  10. Josey Wales

    Josey Wales LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Cool story :)

    God how I miss the original Van Halen. :cry:

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