Showing posts from October, 2014

I am the old guy

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Mike Paternoster. He was a regular customer of mine when I was a manager at Fuddrucker's restaurant, and we chatted most every time he came in. I knew his sons, and his wife, and that he owned this company. ServiceMASTER. He talked about it a lot, and always wanted me to work for him. I kept politely declining, because I though it was like Amway, a path I was NOT about to go down (again). But he was persistent. And one day we had a conversation.
The rest, as you may or may not know, is history. He hired me, I worked for him, found out he was a weasel and walked out after 2 years. He ate a bullet, I went to work at 3D, Belfor, The Mammoth, etc. And even though he and I left on rocky terms, I owe a lot of where I am now to him. Were it not for his stalker like behavior then, I might still be behind a kitchen line now. 
When I had worked for him for a year or so, he sent me to class to get my water damage certification. I went to this place cal…

Shaping the minds of young men

As I write this, my middle son Ben is on his way home. Gone since yesterday morning, he is with his Boy Scout Troop. They have been hiking and camping this weekend, something they do about once every couple months year round. The first time he went, I was not sure how he would do sleeping on the ground in the cold. But he looks forward to it every time and even spent a whole week at Camp Falling Rock this summer.

I have never had any problem with Ben going away with the group. Partly because he is 14 and a good kid, but also in part because of the leadership of Troop 778. See, the scoutmaster is one of my closest friends, Dave Burnham.

He has known Ben since he was a baby. His boys and my boys have grown up together, and he and Sara are like family to Tiffany and I. They are tried and true people who have seen me at my best and at my worst, and have called me friend anyways. So I am comfortable turning one of my boys over to him for the weekend without batting an eye.

Dave is a strong…


At 4:03 today, Little Red texted me a photograph. It was a picture that made me want to hop in my car and drive as fast as I could to get home. It was the type of image that would bring any man to his knees, distract him from whatever he was doing, and make his mouth water. You know what I am saying? Yes, my amazingly hot Italian wife sent a picture of her homemade lasagna in the oven.

I immediately shut the light off in my office and headed for the door. Just as I was about to exit, one of my Project Managers, Patrick, called my name. I walked into his office and he told me he needed to have a not so pleasant meeting with one of our technicians. He asked if I could stay, as we customarily have two members of management present when we need to "council" someone.  I asked when the tech would be back, and he said 5pm. I groaned a little, showed my colleague (a former executive chef himself) the pic my dinner, and told him he owes me one. I would put my lasagna on hold.

The mee…

Why I hate the Family Dollar

I spent much of the last three weeks at a local dollar store. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they had a small fire and we were charged with getting their inventory clean, their walls painted, and their store ready for its grand re-opening. It was an immense project with lots of moving pieces, and my team worked hard to make sure our deadline was met and our client was happy.

While working there, I got to come home every night. A far cry from my Belfor days that saw me live in hotels for months on end, our daily routine was not really affected. I was able to make the drive home each evening and sleep in my own bed. And Little Red would often ask me to stop by the dollar store closest to our home to pick up milk or bread or some other household need as she does quite often.

I am always happy to oblige, even though I secretly hate that place. They always seem to have stuff piled up in the aisles, the floors are always dirty, and I swear if they opened more than one of their 4 registe…

Thanks Red Beard

Over the last couple of weeks, I have felt like I was back at Belfor again. Running a large project with many different moving pieces all while trying to control costs, manage subs, and train new project managers takes me back to my days on the road with that mega company. I wrote many posts from a lot of different places, and logged my travels from Chile to Virginia. And while this job may not be 1000 miles from home, keeping the ship on course is right in my wheel house. And I am very much at in my comfort zone.

Several years ago, while in Clarksville, Tennessee, I was privileged to work with a terrific team on a project at a sewage treatment plant. Belfor personnel from all over the country jumped into a nasty job feet first. And we were assisted by a labor company, who supplied the manpower to get the monstrous job done on time and under budget.

The supervisor for that company, Blanca, stayed on site with us for months. One day we were sitting around the office, and she told me th…