Posts Tagged ‘work’

Old Guys Rule!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

I am now at a time in my life when hanging out with 70 year old men is more of the norm, than hanging with 30 year old men. It happens quickly, seamlessly and more strangely, as a welcome change.

I used to joke to my wife about how old men are more friendly and approachable than old women. Men always seem happier and more apt to strike up a conversation whereas women seem to busy and preoccupied with hair and nails. Well maybe not just hair and nails but it’s something that is on their minds.  I believe it goes back to how men never really change even as they age. We actually become more like we were when we were young the older we get.

I’ve begun to seek out older guys. They always have something interesting to talk about and I always learn something from them. Old guys now have time for hobbies so many of them go back to collecting cars as  pastime. Sports are always on the table and if you are a diehard fan it doesn’t get better than to talk to a someone from the 40’s or 50’s. To hear them talk about a life we can only imagine. A simpler time when radio broadcasts were as groundbreaking an event as streaming video is today.  Their colorful recap of the past is especially amazing since they only had their ears to rely on for a picture of what was happening.

I love cars. I really love the old ones especially because they remind me of my past.  Yesterday, I took a motorcycle ride on a beautiful fall day, to seek out a 1969 Camaro that is for sale in my town. Lo and behold I found myself in a scene from one of today’s car reality shows. I arrive and as I ride down a long driveway, I am waved on by a woman who I would later meet as one of the owners of the Camaro. As I continue along, I see a huge garage, a fifty foot monster lined with doors, just behind the house I am passing, and in front is an older man directing me where to park.

In my head I am thinking that this is going to be an experience that one hears about like urban legends. As I dismount I can’t help but to laugh to myself because I am approaching a part of automobile heaven. Then I think this could go one of two ways. This man could be a really cool car guy or he could be a real pompous ass who just loves to show off his toys. Luck today, would shine as strong as the sun on me for he was a cool car guy.

Now here is why old guys rule. This gentleman and I spoke for over an hour and a half about everything from how he grew up to how he acquired the 25 or so cars and motorcycles that we toured through that day. Each car and bike had a very detailed history that he was very eager to share with me. The part that pulls me in every time is the passion you can sense when they talk about their life and how it has intertwined with their vehicles over all these years. Walking through all the cars, batteries, lifts, tools and parts you can’t help but think this man is a hoarder so we joke about all the unfinished projects that he knows will never get done. At some point I felt myself being drawn into this mans life. I envisioned spending my days off from work, helping him pull parts and shine up the cars and organize his garage which he definitely can’t do on his own any longer. Being 76 yrs old, he made it clear that he’s run out of steam and lost his motivation to see anything from start to finish. I told him he needed someone to get his juices flowing again. Not wanting to spook him, I held back volunteering to get my hands dirty after just meeting him but I will most surely return another day to drop that idea on him. Being that he has a son that doesn’t share his interest in cars, he needs someone to reignite that spark.  I couldn’t help but to tell him how cool I thought it was that he could just come out here everyday, crank his radio up and hang out in that huge man cave of a garage he has. He laughed and agreed that it was the best part of his day to just go out there and hang around in the mess he’s accumulated for some 30 years.

When I was younger, my friends and I would gather in someones garage, work on our cars  and play music, laugh and break each others chops for hours, all with out a care in the world. Now as I have reached the other end of my lifeline, I can see why men find their way back to the garage. There is something very nostalgic about old age and cars that makes it one of life’s more enjoyable moments. Men don’t change. We take breaks now and then to raise children, stress over our jobs and try to find ways to make our wives happy. But that old car guy is  in there somewhere, just waiting for his moment to go back in time and do the things he loved.  The things that helped to shape his life and made him the person he is today. Old Guys do rule!!!!

Just one man’s opinion..

The Regular Guy

How about that!!!

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

storephotoLately I have been noticing a significant amount of new subscribers to my site.  That is a really cool thing when people notice your blog and want to be part of it so thank you all for signing up. I have been in a little bit of a slump of late and I haven’t posted anything for months because frankly I can’t seem to come up with anything but political opinions that I probably shouldn’t share on a regular basis. That being said, some new things have happened that I would like to share in future postings but today I will start with the biggest item first.

Life for me has taken a turn recently, in a great direction, since the sale of our family business this past August. I had been so busy the months prior to the sale working and trying to put together the deal that brought on the new ownership. After 30 years I had been feeling burnt out and wanted to step down from all the responsibility and just stay on to help grow the business for a new owner. Seeing and feeling the new energy since the sale has given me new life. I almost feel like I did when my family first opened except I don’t have the nervousness that comes from starting a new business.

Responsibly can weigh a person down and more so than I believed it could until I realized just how different I feel since the sale. People often say that letting go of responsibility  in their life can feel as if a “weight” had been lifted off their shoulders and I can relate to that now. Over the past 30 years I had spent most of my days baking, managing and running the finances of the bakery which never gave me the opportunity to concentrate on any one area and that  prevents a business from growing. I always felt that the only way I would ever see this business grow would be to sell it, because I would never be able to do the things necessary to make it happen.

Today, as I sit in sunny Florida, I have time to reflect on the changes and how I feel today about my future in this business. After the last 2 months or so under my new boss, Joe, I have had the time to actually bake everyday for 8 hours. I always felt that if I could just bake  I would be able to turn out more product than anyone else which would help to increase sales and perhaps bring more business as we would have more product available everyday. I have been enjoying my new position as a baker and I feel like I am having fun for the first time in a long time. Getting to create and pay attention to the details of baking full time has made me find renewed energy and creativity.

Stepping aside for new ownership raised a question from both my friends and customers who wondered  if its weird for me not being the boss but still working  in what was once my shop. I guess I had to stop and think about that but it has been such an easy transition that I feel very comfortable where I am at. The new owner makes me feel more like a partner than an employee and having to teach him the many aspects of the bakery business gives us the opportunity to  get to know each other better. Besides, the passing of the day to day responsibilities of running the bakery has given me more time to enjoy the other aspects of my life, which is what was most important to me when we talked of what I wanted from the sale. Things like more time in Florida, restoring my Chevelle and having weekends off to do the things most people take for granted were high on my list of what was important when changing ownership.  When you work most every weekend for 30 years you miss a lot of things because they all happen on Saturdays and Sundays. I have a lot to catch up on and I am working hard on that now!!!

When I sit back and think about what feels most different about my life, I realize that I actually have moments now when I am thinking about nothing. I am sure that sounds funny but its true. I spent most of my days and nights thinking of the business. Coming home and working on insurance quotes, making sure the money is there for payroll, paying bills, worrying about wedding orders being filled etc..etc…Now I come home and think about what parts I need to order for my car or how I can put a second floor on our vacation home. Yeah I still think about Holidays and how many Stollens we will need to make but it doesn’t constantly burn in my head anymore. The single biggest change since  no longer being the”boss”  has got to be  the peace of mind that comes with free space in my head!

Now as I look to the future of what was once our business, I hope that there will be a place for me as it grows, where I can find a balance between work and free time. Where I can play a significant role and yet enjoy the things I missed out on over years past. Be there when I am needed most but still have time to explore the things I have been wanting to do for so long.

How about that?  It looks like I might have found a way to  have my cake and eat it too!

The Regular Guy

The Boss

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Today, it seems that no one wants to be the boss. In my 30 years of running our family business, I have not had the opportunity to work side by side with someone who could be the “the bossboss”. Oh yeah, I have had a few  who say they want to be but no one who had what it takes to be one. The main reason usually turns out to be the inability to tell people what to do. More often than not, no one wants to be what many employees perceive to be the “bad guy”. That’s it in a nutshell. You have to be the kind of person that doesn’t give a damn what their co workers think of them,( as long as you are fair and respectful). To often managers or bosses don’t want to be disliked so they wind up doing the job instead of delegating it and holding that person responsible to get it done.

The boss isn’t supposed to be your friend. Friendly yes, but friends absolutely not. There has to be a distinct separation between worker and boss and those lines should never be crossed. Hanging out with or taking interest in a workers life puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to having to direct that employee on what they need to do. You begin allowing your feelings to rule your decision making because you have now allowed emotion into the equation.

I am quite sure General Patton didn’t have many friends or men who liked him but they sure as hell respected him and followed where he led because they believed in what he stood for. His strong leadership didn’t come from hanging out with his soldiers, it came from his ability to separate himself from his troops in order to accomplish the task at hand. If he allowed his emotions and feelings to rule his decisions, we might be saluting the German flag right now.

Being a boss I learned something about hiring employees. There are what I believe, four things a good employee and perhaps future boss should have.

 1.Talent

 2.Strong character

 3.Passion about their work/life

 4.Desire and ability to learn

I have nothing to base this on but my own life and my experience with the people I have employed over the years, but I do know that without these four things, you do not have a chance at success in either work or more importantly life. I have never thought of myself as being perfect but have always strived for perfection in my work. Believing that if you don’t aim high you will always hit low, can be a curse for a boss. You tend to believe that everyone should think the same and that frustrates you to your wits end when employees constantly fall short. As a person, you can’t understand how anyone wouldn’t want the same things in life and feel deprived when you give it but don’t get it back.

Everyone wants to “be the boss” but few actually have what it takes. At the end of the day and perhaps my career, I know that I have led people on a long journey and did what I believed best for both my business and its employees. There are very few thank you’s along the way because most if not all of what you do for people is expected of you. Even so, being the boss and knowing that you gave people an opportunity to succeed in a safe, respectful environment, with a chance to earn a fair wage, makes what anyone might perceive of you, not matter all that much. Deep down inside you know you gave it everything it took to lead your troops on the road to success.

Just one mans opinion

The Regular Guy

Rust and grime, dust and time

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Time takes it’s toll on old cars. Dirt and road grime build up over the years as does rust which is always the biggest demon when restoring an old car. There’s only two ways to deal with rust and that’s cut it out or sand it off.

Although no one wants rust and grime, its pretty cool to see the changes that take place when cleaning up the parts that are in need. Scraping off dirt and old oil to reveal the part beneath it to later prime and paint. It is too damn expensive to pay for new parts when old ones are still good but only need cleaning or paint. Paying someone to do the work is also an option but again do you want to spend money on things like that when you still need new wheels and tires? Save the money for the good stuff. Check out the picture on the left. Rust removed and ready for paint, while the picture on the right shows the parts primed, painted and ready to be put back into the cars chassis.

     

 

Picking through the extra parts that came with the car, I found it wasn’t worth cleaning, repairing and recovering the cars original bucket seats. In hind sight, I should have inspected the extra parts more carefully because half of them weren’t worth taking. One call to a local Auto Recyclers netted me new set of buckets and a center console for $140.00.Perfect leather seats from a Mini Cooper which is a definite upgrade from the ’72 Chevelle bucket seats. The console with its cup holders and armrest/storage compartment adds a touch of today’s cockpit conveniences.

Restoring a car takes a lot of patience and time but its also very Zen in that it’s quiet time you spend detailing and thinking usually by yourself and in the end you feel good about the  results and that you accomplished something rewarding.

 

It sucks! Now go away

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Does every waiter have to ask how everything is less than five minutes after they serve you? Do they not eat out themselves? Can they at least watch you to see if your mouth is full BEFORE they ask you?

Look, all you need to do is walk by me once in awhile and if I need something, or “the food sucks”, I will get your attention. Is the food so bad in these places that waitresses have to ask you how everything is? Shouldn’t it just be fine? After all, it is what we expect when we eat out. I don’t go out thinking “hit or miss, I hope this food’s good”. And one more thing. Tell me your name. That’s not reserved for costly restaurants. That way when you disappear, I can ask the next waiter to find you, just in case “it sucks”.

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

Can you please pick that up?

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

When I was a kid, I once heard my mom say to her friend that she shouldn’t lift a heavy item. Your thinking “that doesn’t sound so bad “, but, aha, there’s more. She followed that with a scary suggestion that this woman’s “uterus will fall out!”

Wow! What the hell is that? I don’t think I was more than 10 yrs old but that sure sounded bad to me. What the hell is a uterus? Did I have one of those? I lifted some heavy things. Was I going to lose something through my ass? Next time I saw my friends, I had to ask if any of them knew what the heck a uterus is. Well as it turned out we weren’t so up on the female anatomy as we thought we were. Sure we knew the important parts breast, butt, the female flower….you know all the stuff that mattered to us, but a uterus? And the fact that it might just “fall out”. I remember thinking that I was glad I was a guy cause it didn’t seem like much more than a good bowel movement was coming out of me.

So fast forward to the present. I find myself laughing today when I tell women at work not to lift heavy things because their uterus might fall out. They laugh and say that won’t happen, but I tell them I don’t want to be the one present to witness the event if it does! After all, am I the one that s going to have to have to pick it up, bag it and carry it to the hospital so they can put it back in? Hell I don’t think I have it in me toss it in my car and bring it with us. Its not like a finger that you can throw in a bag of ice and put it on the dashboard. If you witnessed your child’s birth than you know just how messy those things can be! Seriously, does it really “fall out”? I recently heard a story about a guy who pushed so hard during a visit to the john, that his intestine fell out. Really, a friend of mine drove him to the hospital and watched the doctor push it back in. Holy crap man!

So for future reference, don’t let your woman pick up heavy items.  Unless you have a pooper scooper or something else handy to pick up that uterus when it falls out you better carry those grocery bags from now on!

Just one man’s opinion!

The Regular Guy

How to Handle Stress: The Essential Elements

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The following is a copy of an article written by my sister and posted on http://www.deeper meditation.net. I hope this will help you deal with the stress we incur everyday.

How often do you exclaim, “I’m so stressed out!”? Stress is a commonality that is all too familiar but often overlooked as a serious symptom of disease. The reality is that stress is the #1 risk factor for disease. With studies showing that stress leads to obesity, heart disease, depression, anxiety, hypothyroidism, immune deficiency, etc., why is it that we are still so stressed out?

I believe it is that we are not taught as children how to handle stress properly. We learn to mimic our parents’ behavior, which was not always a healthy choice! Instead of realizing that stress is something that happens inside a person, we see it as an attack against our homeostasis and defend it at all costs. Stress typically arises because of our beliefs about how things ‘should be’ and not necessarily the situation at hand, and often it is self-inflicted.

In my 16 years experience as a Massage Therapist, I have found that most of my clients come to me because they are internalizing their stress. Instead of letting it out, they hold it in and that energy transmutes into a physical pain or disease. Massage is a great way to release it from the body because the pressure receptors in the skin convey a message back to the brain to release the energy and send out endorphins to relieve the pain.

However, we should not always rely on someone else to relieve our stress. If we never learn how to adequately handle stress so that it doesn’t get trapped in our bodies, stress will never go away. It just gets transmuted into something more difficult to deal with that we find no way of escaping, such as a debilitating disease.

If stress is self-inflicted, how do we stop the cycle? First answer these questions:

1. Do you create deadlines for yourself, like having company over so the house must be clean by a certain time?

2. Do you worry about what people will think before you act or speak?

3. Do you volunteer for things even though you really don’t have the time?

4. Do you do things even though the little voice inside you is saying, “No, don’t do it!”

5. Do you allow others to control your time because you are too ‘nice’? For example, getting trapped in conversation you really don’t have time for.

6. Do you get enough rest, eat right and exercise as you should?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the first five questions, consider this: “Who puts you first?”

The primary way to adequately handle stress is to begin to make time for YOU. Realize that without your health there will be none of ‘you’ to go around. Stop taking on extra projects or putting pressure on yourself. You will be AMAZED how the universe will open up opportunities for you to take care of yourself when you make the decision to do so.

Helpful techniques for handling stress and getting the energy OUT of your body

1. Talk it out with someone or scream at the top of your lungs. That feels REALLY good! (Just don’t scream at your children!)

2. Crying is a great vehicle for relieving stress. It doesn’t mean you are weak!

3. Deep Breathing works by carrying oxygen to the cells so they can detoxify.

4. Exercise/Stretching is necessary to release the tension and pain in the muscles.

5. Meditation is a great way to clear and relax the mind. It just takes some practice.

6. Visualizations are a handy tool for handling stress. They can range from comedic skits about the situation to visions of paradise on a tropical island. Either way, they are great at tricking the mind into believing whatever you want.

7. Hot water baths are awesome for loosening muscles and granting “Me-Time”.

8. Realizing your limitations is a tough one, but a little humility goes a long way.

9. And, of course, plain old Laughter is and always will be the best medicine for handling stress!

Finally, I have found the use of pure essential oil aromatherapy to be a very effective means of handling stress. These oils work on the body and mind at the same time and can be used for numerous maladies related to stress. These include depression, anxiety, impatience, IBS, allergies, headaches, physical pain, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, low immune system and the list goes on.Essential oils work so well because the sense of smell connects with memory centers in the brain, wherein the memory evokes a physical response. Over the past decade I have developed a line of scents to balance the body based on ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic principles. My blends work to balance the mood by affecting the elements in the body. For example, if you have too much “Fire” you will need a water, earth or wood scent to calm you down. If you are a thinker, you are too “Metal” and will need a fire, water or wood scent to open your heart. Your scent needs will vary daily as your mood changes. I find it helpful to keep your favorite scents on hand so you will always be balanced.

The ulterior benefit to using these blends is that they will also boost your immune system! The scent you wear may also work on those close to you so they will also be balanced. Next time you’re stressed, mist some “Happy” in the air and watch what happens!

Whatever you choose to do, the thing to remember is to find balance. Too much of one thing really is too much. Balance is the key to a stress-less life!

Jakki Wienecke is a Stress & Pain Management Specialist, Author of the self-help book, Follow the Signs, owner of the Divine Creations Aromatherapy line of products to heal and balance the body and founder of PRISM Wellness. She has spent the last 16 years working to educate the public about the benefits of natural therapies such as massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, chiropractic, aromatherapy, yoga and natural skin care. From dance/Pilates instructor to her work as a Massage Therapist to her guidebook for a purposeful life, she has always worked to bring joy to others. Information about her workshops and products can be found at www.DC-Aroma.com. 410-399-9737

 

Life as we know it…..

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Some one once said” Life is what happens while your busy planning for it.” Maybe it wasn’t exactly that but close enough.

So how is it that we get so involved in planning our lives that we miss most of it as it jettisons right by us. I have been trying to change the way I live my life for years, and it’s a slow process at best, trying to undo the mess that I have created.

Last year, I went to see “Eat, Pray, Love ” and I walked away from the film with a reinforcement of what I always believed. You can not change your life unless you change where you live your life. Nothing really changes if your environment doesn’t

The main character in the movie came to a crossroad when she realized that she wasn’t living a life by choice but one that she couldn’t relate to because she became lost in all the things that life threw at her on a daily basis. She didn’t know who she was and what truly made her happy, so she embarked on a mission to find her true self.

If you think about it we build our lives in steps which seems to end in retirement. We are born, we grow, we learn, we work, we marry, we have kids, we buy a house, we create massive expenses and responsibilities, and we hope for a comfortable retirement. We are led to believe that this is a way to a happy life. We don’t live life, we work it. Sure we all get little bits and pieces of it but do we ever really live the life we would if we could?

I have spent my life working just to enjoy a few off weeks a year to do things that make me happy while all the time wishing I could work less and live more. I am not talking about traveling the world but just taking the time to “smell the roses”.  I, like most men, are driven to make money with the hope that at some point I can enjoy the rewards of my lifelong efforts. But unless you happen to make a killing very quickly, you will find that basically you work your whole life to live, and not much more.

Maybe we are all just missing life the way it was intended to be. “SIMPLE.” We have all become products of our environment. So caught up in our work that it becomes our life. Think about how upside down we have made our lives. We spend most of our day working and the rest sleeping. When we aren’t sleeping we are on our phones or computers probably either working or wasting time.  I have been told by my parents that some of the best times of their life were before all this technology set in. It seems that living before the 1960’s was great. Could it be because life was much simpler and less cluttered with technology. People actually had conversations in their living rooms with neighbors on Saturday nights. It was called “having company”. Today, we don’t even want to talk to each other so we just text.

If you are young and reading this here’s some advice. Start early and save as much money as possible by avoiding what everyone else is doing with theirs, because later in life you will need it more than earlier. Travel as soon as possible and see how others live in difference to where you were raised. Take a job or jobs that don’t tie you down ( this is the difficult one) but allow you to leave if necessary and start up somewhere else. Remember, its not how much you earn its how much you spend that makes life difficult, and with this in mind, stay debt free. And last, you will  learn later in life that it is shorter than you think so be prepared to say yes now to all the things you truly want to do and not make excuses as to why you can’t. Don’t let your “career” become who you are. Keep your life “simple” because at some point you will look back on it and wonder how it got so complicated and stressful and not know how to fix it. It becomes like the hamster on a wheel. Repetition over and over, the same everyday.

Life as we know it happens because we allow it to. Someday, hopefully sooner than later, I’ll get this life right!

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

She says…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

While the Regular Guy provides a forum for men to vent and discuss commonalities,  I say gals should also snatch the opportunity to spew forth our feminine perspective! I may not be as witty as Carrie Bradshaw, but I am in the newspaper business and I’ve always had a thing for writing, so my goal is to inspire some discussion here. Think of it as group therapy for the regular gal (and guy)… those of us who constantly ponder love, career, family, health and fitness, beauty, creative expression and how to juggle all at one time and still remain at the top of our game. Not unlike the Regular Guy who might obsess over sex, sports and sitcoms, the Regular Gal is no stranger to obsessions. “She Says” will expose that all of these topics transcend gender. Depending on who starts the discussion, some are just a little more sugar-coated than others.

Join the forum. Join in the freedom of expression. Join the fun.

Time stands still..

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Being a kid, I always looked forward to snow days off from school. When my friends and I heard that snow was coming we couldn’t help but plan whose house we would wind up at to build a fort and have a war with neighboring kids.

There is something really wonderful about being snowbound in your home as an adult. Time stands still.

When everyone in town is snowbound, nobody gets the edge on anyone because we are all in the same boat. There are no worries about lost business to another company or making an interview for a job. There is no getting the kids ready for school while you text on your Blackberry to a client. Time stands still.

You sleep in and when you awake you hurry to the window to see just how much snow your going to have to shovel to get that car out of the driveway. Your not worried so you go back to bed and catch up on sleep you wouldn’t normally get. If your real lucky, your laying next to someone who is feeling a little frisky. Hell you have all day. Time stands still.

You finally get your butt out of bed and you eat a really big breakfast because your going to need those calories for all that shoveling. You dress like its 20 below outside and your armed with shovels, salt and ice scrappers. All this doesn’t seem so bad because you have all day and nowhere to be, just like everyone else.Time stands still.

As you shovel that snow you begin to remember when you were younger and your dad made you go outside to clear a path so he could go to the store for the milk and bread he forgot to get in preparation of the great storm. As he slides and stumbles to his car, you can hear him mumble under his breathe how your mom is a pain in the ass and won’t stoop reminding him how she “told him so”, about the milk and bread!  As the cold air brings you back to reality, you look around and marvel at how breathtaking the snow and ice on the trees look. What a great day to be alive and you remember that you have all day to enjoy it.

Yes, when a snowstorm hits your town, its truly a magical moment. It brings you back to a simpler time in life when you had nothing but time..no worries, no responsibilities, no cares in the world, just time. Time that was so endless because you never knew just how fast it would pass in your lifetime. For me, being snowbound stops time just long enough for me to remember what it was like, when I had nothing but time, to enjoy my life.