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Showing posts from 2012

Thinking out loud on Christmas Eve

As I sit here in my office on Christmas Eve morning, I look forward to the next 24 hours. In just a few minutes I will walk out the door here and head home, ready to wrap gifts for the boys and help my sweetheart finish up the baking for what is sure to be a legendary Christmas feast tomorrow. I love the holiday season, even more this year than most. My boys, with the signing of the paperwork this past Tuesday, are truly home to stay. Tiffany and I have built a cozy home out of the house we moved in to during the spring. For its ups and downs, I have been at my new job for almost a year and am fortunate to be a part of this work family. As I drove in this morning, I turned on the Christmas music, sipped my coffee, and thanked God for the bounty of good fortune he has provided this year.

Even at our best, we all have moments of weakness and failure. While enjoying the successes at my job, I have had a few nasty potholes jump up recently that have threatened to take the whole thing off …

Year three of a Christmas tradition - "The Pocket Watch"

Two years, I was remembering my mother and reliving the last memories I have of her. It was a very emotional and cathartic time for me, and using this blog to recount that terrible time was very therapeutic. I would recommend going back and looking at those posts. I do often, and did last week on the advice of a friend.

During that time, I wrote a blog entitled "The Pocketwatch". It is my favorite Christmas story, and has become an annual tradition on this blog. Please enjoy and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

As a kid growing up, Christmas Eve was always the most special day of the year. Aside from the Santa visit, the day was filled with so much tradition and family that is was more like an event than a holiday. Everyone would gather at my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. Cars would fill the drive way, be parked on the hill, and even in the front yard. It was always a feast, with us kids pushing everyone to finish their plates so we could get to the pr…

12-12-12

Went to write a blog today. Half way through I realized it sucked. So I started over. 
12-12-12. Cool, but not as cool as 11-11-11. Either way, we are all still breathing. At least for 9 days til the world ends. 
Thats it. Loving life. 
Day # 618 and still rocks to be me.
Have a great day everyone.

All is right with the world

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am not a football star, a race car driver, a police officer, a teacher, a pilot, a garbage man, or the President of the United States. I am pretty good at my job, like to write and have thought about penning a book, and enjoy tinkering with my model trains and cars in my spare time. I have a mind for math but am so glad my career doesn't require Algebra. I can shoot a mean game of pool and throw darts with anyone. I like to think of myself as a great brother, good friend, wonderful boyfriend/fiancee, and the type of son that makes my father proud. But none of it has ever come as naturally as the one truth I know about myself. I was put on this Earth to be my boys Dad.

There was once a time when I knew the best place for my three sons was with their mother. When we separated, I told everyone that I would leave them with her so she could get max child support and so their lives were not disrupted any more than they needed to be. And whil…

Your opinion, please

For the last week or so, I have been thinking about the path and where it is leading. At work, the year is winding down and my boss is setting new goals in place. While I am on board with what he is trying to do, I also have to look at the bigger picture and what is best for Tiffany, the boys and myself. I do love my job, but there are times that it seems the minutia gets in the way of the bigger picture. The unfortunate part about that is those small details are the bread and butter of a company like ours. And while you are never going to please everyone, getting those around me to understand that the speed bumps don't negate the highway is another challenge entirely.

Recently I have written about a number of topics that will feed into this one. I had a friend tell me I should write a book. And while that seems like an immense project that will require months if not years to accomplish, I look at the blog and think about the things I have written here. My posts are random, and do…

Calculated Risk

I have a little confession to make. I have never played the lottery before. Sure, I have thought about it many times when the jackpots reached eye popping numbers. My ex-father in law used to play everyday, and would hit for a few thousand bucks every year. I often wondered if, at about 30 bucks a day, if he spent more than he won each year. But I have never filled out a lotto ticket and eagerly anticipated the drawing, hoping that the numbers would come up and change my life forever. However, on the drive back from an inspection in Chillicothe yesterday, I stopped to get something to drink and thought oh what the heck.

I had been told that the tickets were a dollar each, and you can have more than one set of numbers to play. I asked the clerk for 5 powerball tickets. She asked if I wanted the power play and I said no thanks, like I knew what I was talking about. She handed me a ticket with one set of numbers and said 10 bucks please. I was a little confused, until she explained that …

Party Line

There was a time in my childhood that was very bad. From mid 1980 to the end of 1985, my family went through a very dark period that I choose not to think about for the most part now that I am grown. Without going into the details, I will simply say that my mother was married to a very unstable person who I now refer to as the monster. And while this blog is not bout him, or the egregious things he did to me and my family, I will tell you that hate is a very strong word filled with overpowering emotions. And I hate that man.

Those were the days before my Dad, before my kids Poppa. When he came into our lives and married my mother, everything got better and better. He was a real man, a real father, and offered us stability that we had never experienced before. But the dark years do have a story, one that I may tell in detail someday. This blog is about a very small part of those times.

In those 5 and a half years we moved. A lot. I spent kindergarten and part  first grade in one school…

What if?

Maybe it's just because it is Tuesday. After all, Monday was long but uneventful. Or maybe it is because I am having a higher than normal stress level kind of week. Between performing inspections in Ohio, running projects in New York City, and babysitting the people that I work with, I am stretched as far as I can be. But today has me feeling a bit different, a bit edgy, a bit frustrated, and ready to change course before I completely go full on Chris Farley at Rock the Vote in Black Sheep on the people around me.

Don't get me wrong. I love the job most days. I love helping people, leading a team, and accomplishing goals. It is a very rewarding career and, being that I need a career to get through life, I could think of a lot worse things to be than a Project Manager at the PuroClean. But still, days like today cause my mind to wander, to wonder what if. And so I ask what if?

In the words of Bare Naked ladies, "What if I wake up suddenly and then, enroll at the local coll…

The Fear

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am one lucky dude. I have, at 39, found myself in a job that I love pursuing a career that is my passion. I have 3 awesome sons who amaze and impress me everyday, and have found the person God put me on this Earth to be with. I relate my story to that of my mother, who was my best friend, and how she met her soul mate after many years of struggling. It is a good life, and I feel as though it took me almost forty years to really get it.

Of course, I look back and think of the road that I have traveled and how I have dealt with every fork in the road, each speed bump and pothole I have ever encountered. I love the expression a friend used to carry as the tag line in her email that said "I can handle anything that life throws at me. I may not be able to handle it well, or correctly, or gracefully, or with finesse, or expediently. But I will handle it" I have often though of that tag line, especially since the day I told my ex that our marr…

The Myrrh Depot

After enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, I had to return to work this morning. Today was optional for all who work for our company, but Tiffany needed to get some things done (she works with me) so we headed in at our normal start time of 6 am.

About 6:30 or so, I see the front door open to the office and my boss and his brother come in, carrying a new in the box generator they picked up from Home Depot. "Black Friday shopping" Matt told me as they unloaded a couple of ladders and a few other tools. They were good deals, and the items will help us here at the office. But I cannot imagine getting up to go shopping today, the day after Thanksgiving. The stories of crowds and lines and rudeness are legendary, and it is not something I ever want to engage in.

I am amazed that Christmas seems to last for two months now. Don't get me wrong, I love this time of the year. Some of my very best childhood memories revolve around this holiday. And my last great memory…

Someone else's bridge

There is a guy who used to work here that we let go several months ago. He was quite an enigma to me in that he had a tremendous amount of talent in our field. Some days was able to bring jobs in under budget, get letters of reference from his customers, and seemed to be doing well. On bad days, he was cocky, arrogant, entitled and a diva. We thought he could be on the fast track to leadership with the organization, with a little coaching. And we put that ball in his court. He promptly kicked it back in our face. We tried to mentor him asked him to take steps in his development. He failed at every turn. He was slowly burning the bridge, and eventually he had alienated himself from the rest of the team and we had to let him go. It was a shame, but you can only show a horse the watering hole so many times before you have to think he is never going to drink from it.

Of course the stories of people burning their own bridges is nothing new. I could tell countless stories of people I know w…

Esposito and Johnny

Being on the road usually means a lot of quick meals. Because I like to drive to most of my destinations, I often will stop off the expressway and grab McDonalds or Burger King. Sometimes it is as simple as a bag of chips and a Mountain Dew to hold me over til I get where I am going. But I always try to find a local favorite and try it out once I am orientated to area where I am working. In Nashville it was Monell's. In Chile it was this awesome little Peruvian joint. In Sacramento it was In and Out Burger.  And just like those places, I have tried some local fare here. Let me tell you, it is a good thing I don't live here all the time or I would weigh twice as much as I do now.

I mentioned the other day about G. Esposito and sons in Brooklyn. It is a small pork store, but has quite the reputation in the city. Mr. Esposito is one of my customers, and he brings some of his food to us everyday as we work in his house. I have in my possession 3 tubs of sausage balls, a pound of i…

Zingers, career advice, and gridlock

I have never been a "Twinkie" guy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like them and all. And they are even better deep fried. Still, they have never been my first choice on the snack rack. As a fat guy with a sweet tooth, my favorite cream cake from Hostess is the Zinger. Any flavor. They are awesome. You should try them. Tonight. Just run out to Speedway or UDF and grab a pack. You can thank me later. The vanilla melts in your mouth, the chocolate is so rich and tasty, and the red ones are the only thing on this planet that I like with coconut. They even went so far as to put out a Boston Cream zinger about 10 years ago, only to retire it within a few months. They never brought them back. I know, I have been looking ever since.

Soon, my beloved zingers (along with dozens of other sweet snacks) will disappear off the store shelves. Well, kind of. There are no shortage of companies out there who make the same things that Hostess did. And though the competition will never do it…

Day one in New York City

I woke up this morning with a mix on anxiousness and anxiety. I knew that within an hour I would be headed north on the Garden State Parkway towards New York City. I had never been into The Big Apple before, and I was excited to see the skyline, see the lifestyle, and experience, if only a few hours, the city that never sleeps. But I also was nervous about driving into the city, with its reputation for terrible traffic and crazy drivers. As I headed north up the Garden State Parkway, I knew this would be a day I would never forget. And I was right. Today was full of moments and images I will carry with me forever.

As I drove across highway 287 I saw a sign that let me know that traffic was heavy approaching the Verrazano bridge. 5 minutes later I saw New York traffic first hand as we were in wall to wall traffic. Semis whipped in and out of traffic like they were compact cars. People blew their horn for no apparent reason. And I learned that my brakes work really well as other vehicle…

A hazy walk down memory lane

Sometimes, I think I am getting senile early. I will forget the smallest things, causing myself unnecessary delays and stress. Tiffany will send me to the store for milk. I will come back with pepsi, twizzlers, and a loaf of bread but no milk. It is strange, and I suppose not all that uncommon. But when I look back over the span of my life, I seem to follow the same trend. Some moments I remember as if they just happened, while others   seem as though they never happened at all. When I was a kid, there are about 5 years I would just as soon forget, but it seems to be the others that have faded away with time.

Being on the road always makes me get a little nostalgic for the good old days. After all, I used to travel a lot, and each new city and state offered new memories and experiences. In fact, it was because I was on the road that I started this blog. Well that and I needed a coping mechanism as I dealt with the loss of my mother, my marriage, and the haze I seemed to find myself in…

It's (not such) a small world after all

I remember very distinctly flying from Dallas, Texas to Santiago, Chile. It was a long flight, through the night, over Central America and the ocean. I dozed on and off as the plane would bump up and down. When I was awake, I would look out the window and, at one point, I could see a very small light somewhere on the landscape miles below our cruising altitude. And I thought to myself, I wonder who lives there? What's there story? What is their name? Of course, I never will know them, nor will they know me. I will only remember that little light in a sea of darkness from 37,000 feet.

It is not the first time I thought about people living in what seemed to be completely different worlds from the one I lived in. When I was a kid, I stared out the window at the rows of house on the hillside in Scranton, Pennsylvania as my Dad drove us to Cape Cod. When I was a little older, I asked the same questions as I drove through rural Indiana and Illinois on my way to St. Louis. And just today…

30 Days of Thansgiving

On my facebook page for the last 12 days, I have been posting the 30 Days of Thanksgiving. Like so many others, I have been counting my blessings one by one, and reading what a lot of my friends are thankful for in return. It's one of the really cool traditions that social media has brought about. With 18 days to go, I imagine I will come up with some silly things to be grateful for, like hot coffee in the morning or the invention of the McRib. But as I pause for a moment and take in my surroundings, I realize that my blessings go far beyond a few words in a status update.

I am sitting in a hotel room in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Being dispatched for storm duty for the first time in over a year, I left home yesterday and arrived here this morning. As I drove, I couldn't help but be excited about being back on the road and in my element. I remember being in my Belfor truck en route to Nashville, being on a plane bound for Oregon, and being on a 747 headed for Chile feeling the…

Coming full circle

Last week was crazy busy on all fronts in my life. At work, just when it seemed we had hit a rare lull in new projects and I was going to be able to catch up, the flood gates opened with new fires. I spent all week in the car running from Newark to Gahanna, from Worthington to Mt. Vernon, and down into Chillicothe. At the warehouse our capacity went from half full to where are in the world we going to put all this? Not bad considering a large commercial loss that we thought we had in the bag slipped through our fingers. All in all not a bad week for business, even if it was chaotic at times.

On the home front, we were adapting to having the boys at home. The ex wife had asked us to take them while she got some things sorted out, and for two weeks we got them off to school, did homework with them after school, and said best part worst part every night at dinner. Between sleep overs and football dinners, we kept on the go and loved every minute of it. Last Thursday we all watched John-M…

Ok, I get it

It took me a long time to get it. A long time to figure out why, at 19, my parents would ask me to pay rent or move out just because I wanted to take a year off of school. I just needed a break, I explained. After all, I had been in school as long as I could remember, and I needed to just take some time to breath. College was hard, after all. In high school, I was able to kind of skate by and make it ok. But now my classes and labs and study work were dominating my time, and I had far better things to do. I remember my Dad telling me I would never go back. I assured him he didn't know what he was talking about. And I remember my Mother telling me that to get what you want, you have to put in the work. No one gets a free ride. I rolled my eyes, declared my independence, and set out into the world.

After years of struggling in a failing marriage, trying to make a living out of flipping burgers, and feeling like I was treading water, the haze started to lift. I remade my life by chan…

My two cents, Mr. Romney

I very rarely use this blog as any type of political forum, for a couple of different reasons. The first is that I never want to get caught up in the rhetoric and partisanship that drags our country down more and more by the day. And the second is because I am a story teller, and I enjoy journaling my own personal experiences so I can look back over time and see where I came from and where I am headed. Making sure history doesn't repeat itself is a big part of who I am, and spending the time to re-read different posts helps me with that. but today, the blog will be very political, as I feel like no one is pointing out the obvious.

I was never a George W. Bush fan. I feel like his 8 years in office saw this country spiral downward  while he was being less than honest, fumbling for words, and seemingly a little lost in the sauce. The right will tell you it was because of the mess Clinton left. The left will tell you it was because he was furthering his own personal agenda. I think i…

Saturday at the office

Another very busy week at work found me at my office this morning, trying to catch up on some paperwork and get organized before the new week begins Monday. Having so many projects going at once means that it is very difficult to find desk time during normal business hours and, when I do, the constant interruptions still prevent me from getting much accomplished. I get more administrative tasks accomplished in a few hours on Saturday morning than I do the rest of the week.

As I sat punching in line items on a large fire estimate this morning, one of my colleagues walked into the office to get a little catch up done himself. A seasoned technician, Patrick is currently a project manager in training and we discussed the transition and everything that comes with it. The other project manager, AJ, and I are both anxious to get him fully up to speed, believing that having a third fully functional pm will take a great deal off of our own plates.

Similar to me, Patrick came from the restauran…

Murphin Ridge, and taking care of Abby

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First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michael Slusher and I am the Fire Project Manager at PuroClean Restoration Experts in Blacklick, Ohio. I have been writing a blog for about two and a half years. It started when I was overseas, in Santiago, Chile, running a disaster restoration project in the aftermath of a strong earthquake. Originally I began posting here as a way for my family and friends to stay up to date on how I was doing and the progress we were making. But the blog took off from there, giving me the opportunity to journal my experiences and thoughts so I can look back in the years ahead and see where the path has taken me. I shared most posts, and encourage you to go back though the archives and read a few. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will convince you that I am just a little crazy. But no matter your reaction, I hope you will enjoy as I now share my thoughts with the people who like our work on facebook, as well as with my loyal r…

Justin's miniskirt

A few weeks ago, just before I was settling in to watch a Reds game, the sound went out on the TV. Not that this is a momentous occasion, as the TV wasn't on all that much anyway. With each of the boys having their own set in their rooms, the big one in the den was only watched when Tiffany kicked me out of the bedroom because she was not interested in watching baseball. Never the less, we put a new one in the budget and ordered it last week from Walmart's online store. And yesterday, I got my text that it was ready at the Morse Road store, a few miles from home.

My Walmart experience today was probably not unlike many of your own over the years. I made my way through the maze of a parking lot, finally finding a place about 6.72 miles from the front door. I took my online ticket to the service desk and no one was there. I waited a minute or so. The phone on the desk rang and a girl came around to answer. She held up her index finger to show me it would be just a minute and ans…

Disappointment, and a yard sale

I like helping people, I really do. Taking someone by the hand at ten o' clock at night after their house just burned down and assuring them we can make it all better is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Handing someone a dollar out of the console of the car at a stop light is a no brainer. Giving back a little of the good fortune I have been blessed with is easy when you grew up with the parents I did. The examples the instilled in me are a part of my core values and a major part of what I teach the boys. Its all about Karma. All about paying it forward. So when we were fortunate enough to land an entire inventory of clothing and blankets, we were excited about being able to help out on a larger scale.

As we sorted the clothing in the basement, we realized there were a lot of things that the shelters probably wouldn't take. Rabbit fur coats, wedding dresses, and Alfani leather jackets aren't typically something you see a homeless person wearing. So we decided to …