Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering heroes...

Memorial Day. Until I moved here about a decade ago, this was always just a day off. But since I've been here, I've gotten to know a lot of guys who have either served, are serving, or will soon ship out to places known and unknown (or places they can't tell us about) to serve. Nowadays, Memorial Day is nearly a holy day for me. Not because I love war or some such nonsense, but because just the close proximity to some of these guys takes the abstraction out of their service.

It's almost always a humbling experience to know that the man (I actually only know military men) standing next to me has been to war and has, in all likelihood, seen things we have never and will never see. Sometimes horrible things, sometimes noble things. Things out there on the edge of human nature.

Standing next to guys like that take the abstract out of this day and war. It's real. People die. People kill. 

For the most part, the soldiers I've known have been clear-eyed, honorable men. I don't idolize them or raise them to an impossible standard -- they're human beings afflicted with the same nature as the rest of us. But they've gone to war knowing full-well that their lives may end in some faraway place for a particular cause they may or may not agree with. Many of them serve a higher cause than the particular reason for their deployment. Either way, they put their lives on the line so most of us don't have to.

So, thank you. Thank you for doing what most of us have either never thought to do, or were too afraid to do. Thank you for keeping America safe so that the highest ideals to which we aspire can flourish. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My wife and I are both pregnant, due about the same day...

My wife and I are, if all goes well, about to give birth to two healthy babies. Hers (ours, I know), is a human child. Mine is a big monster of a beast of a complicated business, at least for me.

One of the big differences is that my baby has been gestating for about two-and-a-half years.

I launched Phase I of before I had any idea it was "Phase I." I just needed some extra cash so that "Grace" could stay home and take care of little Joseph. You could say that this business was "born" the same time he was. But now, just weeks away from the arrival of our second son, MTB is about to be "born again." Lol. I guess you could say that this a religious experience as well.

The goal for the last eight months has been to make the business as self-sufficient as possible, or rather, to automate enough of it so that I could stay home with Grace and the kids and help out more. We don't have any family in the area, and while we have numerous friends willing to help out, we aren't entirely comfortable relying on our busy group of friends to do so. Ideally, I'd be able to manage the business from my "command center," send reliable guys out to the jobs, and rest somewhat easily knowing that everything will be okay.

This is much easier planned than done.

There are so many details to take care of: regulatory issues, taxes, manpower, truck rentals, scheduling, scheduling, scheduling... (As I write this, I'm avoiding about 40 e-mails, most of which are new move requests). At some point, hopefully soon, I'll write a "typical day-in-the-life" page for the website. For many people, it would be horrifying. If I were dropped into this three years ago, the demands on my time and intellect (not to mention my body) would have turned me into a puddle of molten goo.

That said, after a lot of planning, hundreds (perhaps a thousand) moves, I've positioned the business to this point, the culmination of a LOT of work. In just a few weeks, I'll likely be able to manage things from my command center, confident that I have capable men of integrity running crews and/or moving people. Thanks to Suburban Solutions, we have the trucks. Thanks to the solid friends I've recruited, I've got an army of stand-up guys eager to work. Thanks to a handful of insurance agents, franchise consultants, and many others, I've got all my regulatory ducks in a row.

I still have a lot of work to do, but it looks like all the stars are aligning.

Thank you, God. It couldn't have come at a better time. I'm exhausted and the contractions are killing me.

Zen of Truck Buddy II

In the moving industry, the bar is set so low there's no reason you shouldn't rock a customer's world.

Hell, half the time the bare minimum is just showing up...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Zen of Truck Buddy I

A Truck Buddy doesn't need a list of procedures and policies. All that a Truck Buddy needs to know is summarized thusly: "Don't be an idiot."

If a newbie Truck Buddy finds himself asking any questions whatsoever, let him first refer to Zen of Truck Buddy I.