Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ugh! I hate windows!

No wonder people hate to clean windows, you can see every little bad detail on a clean window. And that happened to us.

Monday, Eric went to Dollywood, and we had a job at a florist on the other side of the river. So, PJ went to Nana's and Poppy's and went to work on someone's house.

We took off to the florist. Chuck takes the outside and I go in. But we can't work on the same window and the same time, so he told me to go down some. I messed up, I started on the window with the neon sign in it. Not good. I got severely fussed at by the owner. I didn't know. And I apologized for it too.

I washed my windows, but everytime I started to spray the windows and scrub, it would dry on the window. Not good!!!! The same thing happened with Chuck too, only worse.

I washed mine inside, washed the cooler doors, washed both doors, and then went back to help Chuck out. The 2 front windows were streaked, badly. And no matter what we did, it wouldn't come up. There was a film on the windows and we had to scrub them to get the junk off of them. We finally get them done and then go over to the sliding door. I scrubbed the inside, and Chuck scrubbed the outside. The stuff was in the middle of the 2 glasses and it wasn't coming off.

Chuck went inside and spoke to the owner and he basically told Chuck that the windows looked like shit and that the problem isn't with the middle of the glass but the crappy way we are cleaning them. So, back out to the windows we go and scrub more. Spray more, scrub, wipe down. Nope, it was in the middle of the glass and there was nothing we could do about it.

Chuck went on inside, I stayed in the truck. I didn't want to go back inside after the previous conversation. Chuck finally convinced him that the streaks and stains are on the inside and that we really can't do anything about it.

Finally we were going home. Not happy about the way the windows came out, but there was nothing to be done about it.

This morning Chuck gets a phone call, it is the owner of the florist. The windows on the other side of the building, where it was darker, looked really bad this morning. Streaked all over the place. Well, we couldn't see it and he apologized that they were like that and that we would come out in the morning and fix it for him. He said not to worry about it, we can get it next time.

We go back the end of May, first thing in the morning. If he was paying us every week to come out and do it, I would be there fixing it right away. But he isn't, this is once a month deal. We offered to fix it, but he said no. I don't want to hear anything bad about us, we tried to fix and we were told not to worry about it.

Chuck said when we left, "I forgot how very picky he really is!" I understand that we didn't do it right, we were there for 2 1/2 hours, the first time after a year of not being cleaned is hard. The owner mentioned to Chuck "The guy we had for years just decided not to come back." Huh, I wonder why????

A delightful couple

I now have time to expand about my hour or so with a very delightful couple, Mr. and Mrs. D.

Deacon, as he requested I call him, will be 89 in July. He is a WW2 veteran from PA, short man, long face, chucky, wears a red hat from Henegar AL., blue jeans and Tshirt. He has heart problems, so he works in the yard about an hour and then he is done for the day. He has also had his heart shocked twice this year.

Mrs. D, I am not sure of her age, but she is right there with him. She is from Alabama, a bit taller than her beloved, sweet talking, tender hearted woman. She wants to work in the yard more, but because of heart issues, she can't do much either.

I spoke with both for a little while and found out about them. And I can't wait to talk with them more.

They met in Chickamauga during the war. And for 3 years they were apart, but stayed in touch. After the war, they married and moved to Pennsylvania. After all their years together, he got tired of the snow, she got tired of the cold, so they moved to town, to their son's home, 6 years ago and have been here ever since.

Deacon shouted over to me, "You don't mind me calling you Lakehurst, do you?"
"No sir, that is fine with me."
"Ok, you have a new nickname. Everytime you come over here, you call me Deacon, and I call you Lakehurst."

That is fine with me, if that what it takes for him to remember something about me, then he can call me that.

He and I were talking about the Amish community on the other side of the county. He was telling me all that they have out there, about the shed that he bought out there, no electricity, everything with horse and buggies, and then he said, "Now, don't you wear no shortie shorts out there when you go." HA! Like I have to worry about that. I told him that I don't wear that out there, I know how they are and that I am too old for something like that anyways.

His bride mentioned that she finally bought a crockpot. And Chuck was telling her how she can cook sweet potatoes in the crockpot. Well, she was thrilled. And then I told her that we use ours all the time and that I will be glad to share simple recipes with her. Deacon looked at me, "Oh you have a crockpot?" "Yes sir, I have 2." "You have 2? Wow! The kind that the pots come out of?" "Yes sir, that is the kind I have." "Oh, and you have a garden?" "Yes sir, I have that too and I can my veggies and fruits over the summer." "Wow, I really like you Lakehurst!" I couldn't help but smile.

Mrs. D asked Chuck how long he and Eric will be out there on Saturday. He told her that it would probably be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. "I do believe I can find a few other things for you to do."

When I was moving the rose to the fence, Deacon asked his wife where it was going. She told him that I was putting it by the fence. "The fence that I just paid to get cleaned?" "No, Bob, the other fence." "Oh, that is good, I don't want to clean that fence again."

Right before we left, Deacon asked his wife if she had paid us yet. "No Bob, they will be out Saturday, I have lots for them to do Saturday and then I will pay them." "Oh, ok, just want to make sure."

"Hey Lakehurst, you want some Hostas?" "That will be fine sir." "Okay, I will have them for you Saturday."

What a darling couple! I can't wait to go back and find out more about them. He made me smile and laugh, a lot! And she is just as precious as can be.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I love some of the people I meet

The other day while I was on delivery, my phone rang. I answered it and found out that it was a little lady that got our flyer and was needed some work done. I took all her information and mentioned that I was at work and that I would have Chuck call her.

Chuck calls her, goes out there and finds out what she needed done. Turns out that her neighbor needs help too. Ok, not a problem. The one needs holes dug and fig trees planted, gutters cleaned out and a garden patch tilled. The other wanted to have a shrub pulled up, tomato plants planted and a strip of ground tilled, so that way her husband can get through on his tractor.

So, today I go shopping with my dad. And then off to the little neighbor's house to get things done. Chuck had the truck ready to go when I got home. Shovel, extension cord, Alligator to cut shrub down, and my little shovels to plant the tomatoes.

We get over there and she had already started on what we were going to help her with. She told me that she wanted a hole dug for a rose bush. Ok, not a big deal, so where is the rose bush, in the ground on the other side of the yard. Dig that up, and then plant it. Meanwhile, Chuck is over there cutting the plant down that she needed down and digging up the roots to that one. All that goes well, now what. Dig holes for tomatoes and plant them for her. She didn't expect me to plant them, she thought that I was only gonna dig the holes. But I was there so, why not.

This couple is a lovely little couple. He will be 89 in June and still doing yard work, she is right behind him. Turns out he is from King of Prussia PA. Nice, I thought I heard yankee in him. They have lived in Cleveland for 6 years.

He found out that I was from NJ and asked the whereabouts and I told him around the Lakehurst area. He remembers when the Hindenburg caught on fire. It flew right over his house, he remembers the people waving to the ground below. And then the radio broadcast that it had blown up.

He was sitting in the shade watching us work, and called over to me, "hey Lakehurst, do you know what scrapple is." What kind of Yankee would I be if I didn't know what Scrapple was. "Yes, sir, of course I do." And I told him that he can find it at Publix in Ooltewah if he was looking for some to buy. Oh he was thrilled to hear that.

His wife got to giving more direction to Chuck about odds and ends and what she will have to have done on Saturday. The pear tree is to be moved, we don't have the ability to do that. The patch of land needs to be tilled, and they are thinking about hiring us to mow and care for their yard this summer. She mentioned that it is getting hard on her husband to do it. He told Chuck that he has a nice little mower for him to use, Chuck told him that he has a nice mower and can have that yard done in about 35 minutes. He was pleased to hear that too.

I think we have a potential to do more for them. We will do the job right, and make sure they are happy with what we will do for them.

Sweet people, loved to talk, lovely yard.

With me leaving Pizza Hut, there is one thing that I will miss, the people. But meeting the wonderful people that I have met so far, I don't think that will be a problem.

So far I have really wonderful customers. This also leads to referrals.

Decision made

I have made a decision about work and this business and I have decided that I will be leaving Pizza Hut.

I have been having issues at work and I really didn't want to leave this soon after starting a business, but I have to.

I have good reasons why I should and one very good reason why I shouldn't.

I shouldn't leave because this is a new business venture and I am afraid of leaving us high and dry.

The reasons I should leave:

I haven't had a day off yet. And I don't foresee one anytime soon either.

The employees that I work with give me a hard time about everything. I am treated poorly there and don't appreciate the fact that no matter how hard I work, things don't change.

I have been taken advantage of from the moment I started working there. They call me to come in, I go. They ask me to stay, I stay. They need someone to fill in, I am there. In the beginning it was fine. I had to prove my worth to them, and I did. But when it got out of control, I couldn't take it anymore. I was there morning to night in some cases, closed when needed, opened when needed, cleaned all that needed to be done, scrubbed toilets and cleaned the bathroom. Enough is enough.

Our business venture is going quite well. Actually, we are at a point right now that we thought would be a few months down the road. Business is coming in, and we are staying very busy at the moment.

Now, just to let you in my world for the moment, so you understand where I am standing right now.
Today - Help a lovely couple in their yard (Will blog about that in a bit)
5:00 tonight, clean windows at a florist on the other side of Chattanooga
Tuesday - work 11-8, turn in 2 week notice, may be home early!
Wednesday - clean windows for realtor at 10 AM and I know there is something else there. Yep, forgot, clean windows at 2 local Pizza Huts
Thursday - Clean windows in Dayton at Pizza Hut.Mow a the yard from hell. Go buy me a new phone, trust me, this is a chore!
Friday - work 11- 4 or later if needed.
Saturday - we have 2 yards to help plant and clean gutters. I think Chuck and Eric will do that. I have to clean the windows at my Dad's house. He doesn't want to do them, he can, just doesn't want to. And he will pay me to do them for him.
Sunday - work, if I still am employed, 11 - 4
And then Monday it starts a new week and starts all over again.

We have 8 yards to mow as of right now. Looking at 9 and 10, wow! It took off faster then what we expected. I am excited about this.

Now, if I could sell something, I will be thrilled.

It is all working out for us. I am excited at what is front of us, I am not looking back. We made a decision and I am happy with the decision.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Never in a million years....

... would I have imagined the stuff that I have learned over the past 3 months.

I have learned to use a pressure washer

I have driven a riding mower

I now have a zero turning radius mower, that I know how to drive

I have learned to back Chuck up perfectly to the trailer

I now know how to hook up the trailer, perfectly to the truck

I have gotten really good at working the leaf blower

I know how to change the air filter in the lawn mower

I know how to mow a hill, that is a fun one

I can clean windows better than most people

Loading the trailer with most of the equipment

Bungee everything down to trailer

I still have some learning to do, such as the following:

Driving with the trailer on the truck

Back the trailer up into the carport

Load either one of the riders onto the trailer

Start the leaf blower

Start the weed eater

Learn how to use the weed eater properly

Start the pressure washer

Other than that, I pretty much have gotten most of the stuff that I need to know down pat.

Really, never in a million years would I have even thought I would know how to do half the stuff that I know how to do today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick update and then some more post to follow

Just to let you know, we are still alive and on the face of the earth.

As you all know we started our own business. It was something that was to be coming eventually, but got started sooner than we expected. No biggie, just go with the flow.

We started out as a window cleaning service. Turns out there is one man in town that basically has the entire area wrapped up. It is either that, or the economy is so bad that no one can really afford the luxury of having their windows cleaned right now. So, we didn't give up, we decided that yards would be the thing.

Neither one of us like to do lawns, but might as well venture into uncharted waters, or lawns. And so we did.

We decided that we were going to advertise with "Welcome Friends" the local welcome wagon. The lady was so nice and just so happened to need someone to advertise to do yard work. I wasn't so sure of this, but, we got one nice hit out of it.

We got a phone call one night from a lovely lady, she asked if we did lawns and told us that she got our number from Welcome Friends. We got over there and found out that this lovely lady worked for Welcome Friends for a while and then found out that she had cancer and had to stop.

This yard was huge, still is huge. Chuck rides the rider and I push what I can get done. There is a hill, and it is my job to get the hill done. Oh lucky me!

Anyway, we get done with her yard and mention to her that the ad that we were running with Welcome Friends was free pressure washing with a summer contract. So, Chuck mentioned to her that he would be coming out to pressure wash her porch and furniture so that way she could drink her coffee outside. She was very pleased. But what made her happy was this, I heard her mention that she wanted to get the windows cleaned. Well, Chuck and I talked about it and I ran this by him, if she gets us 2 referrals I would clean her windows for her. I told her this, and she was thrilled with that. So, she is still working on people because she wants her windows cleaned. And I will hold true to my word, she will get them done as soon as we have 2 referrals.

Here it is, close to the end of April. We started this thinking that if we got 3 yards this year, we would be happy. We went out and bought a used Simplicity from the main lawn place in town.

It would have been perfect if we stayed with just the 3 yards that we had. But, all of the sudden, we grew. And I mean grew! As of now, we have 7 yards, not including our own. Now, one is just part time, very small yard. One is just one time a month, but very large, and the rest are either every 10 days to 2 weeks. So, this coming Saturday, we have 3 yards to do and windows too. UGH! I will get back to you to let you know that I survived.

This week we picked up another yard. A lady that I go to church with lost her guy from last year and wondered if we could look at it and see if we wanted it. Ok, we go out there and get started, I push, Chuck rides the mower. I don't mind as long as it is FLAT. I got all around the front, around the trees and all over the place. I did this one spot twice, behind the azalea, the first time I got through fine, the second time the branch got hung up, and the third time when Chuck mentioned for me to do it again. Although I had been through there twice, I did it once more. Yep, should have stayed where I was at. I went through, the flowered branch passed by me with a little trouble, the one that was a thick limb, well, it stretched all the way up and came flying back on my thigh. I have a welt that is multicolored right now. And it hurts like anything!

We had been talking about buying a zero turn radius mower. Now, let me explain something here. I have only mowed once on the rider, just once, and that was our own yard. I haven't been on it since. I am not the kind that gets on mowers and knows what I am doing. So, a zero turn radius mower scares me.

We had the chance to buy a commercial mower a few weeks ago. It was used, 95 hours, a $7000 mower for $3000. WOW! But I wasn't so sure of it at the time. When we did finally decide on it, we were 5 minutes too late. Oh well, live and learn.

Today we went out to Vassey's again, for like the umpteenth time. Looked at one of the mowers and then talked to the owner about anything used. Well, he had something, but we thought it was sold, since the tag said "SOLD".

Turns out this man came up from Florida, built a house on a hill, bought the zero turn radius mower, used it for 5 hours, got scared and decided he was going to trade it. Lucky us, we get there, talk to the owner, I have to drive this thing, found out it has a tow package on it, and ended up buying it for about $900 less than a new one. Ok, so this is used only 5 hours, it is new to me. Full warrenty. SOLD!

I told Chuck that we weren't gonna go home and think about this one. Because if we did, it would be gone the next day. Go home, get the trailer and load it up.

Of course I had to try and figure this thing out, I ran into the neighbors bricks going down the hill, ran into my garden and Chuck said I hit something else, not sure, but I am sure I did hit something else.

Chuck decides to let Eric drive it. Now, this thing is fast, Chuck popped a wheelie on it once. Eric gets on it, nearly ran Chuck over
Gets some instruction
And off he goes
Of course he had a blast, while PJ is inside pouting.

Chuck finally gets Eric to stop and get off the mower and gets PJ.

All I hear is laughter and mower engine running, this is what I see

So, we are doing well, staying busy, living life, loving life, enjoying the boys and each other. It is work, but it is so worth it. So, we are a little sore the next day, get over it. We are ahead of what we thought we would be. Actually, we thought we would be looking at 8 yards in August. We are looking at getting another yard from someone that I know, and giving incentive to other customers to get us referrals.

Life is busy, but at least we are having fun at it.

We are doing well, having fun, living life, enjoying the boys and