Working as a Career Counsellor

For the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with kids at our local high school in the counseling department.  My role there has been a career counsellor and I have helped to facilitate discussions with students that are trying to figure out what they want to do after high school.  Their responses cover a broad range of careers and it is interesting to see who they want to be when they leave school and why.

This past week I had a wonderful conversation with Carol, a senior that has been struggling with trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.  Overwhelmed by the sheer number of career paths available to her, we have been working to try and discover her interests and how she might find a job that will work for her.

It has been tough.

In this week’s session, I saw a glimmer of hope from her when she expressed some interest in becoming a lab technician.  She had been intrigued by a job description for a mold testing position that she saw on a job board and she thought that it might be something that she would like to do.

That made me very happy.

I’m going to do some research this week to discover what she needs to do to pursue a lab tech career and we will talk about it later this week.  I am so excited for Carol and I know that she will do some pretty amazing things in her life.

I am just happy that I was able to help her out.

One Last Window to Replace

Over the course of the last couple of years, my parents have been working on replacing their old windows with new ones.  They live in a part of the country known for cold winters, and they have seen some real reductions in their heating bills since they started putting in replacement Milgard Triple Glass Windows in their home.  They love the fact that the windows look good in their home and help them save money.

They see it as a win-win situation.

But they have one window left to replace.  They were hoping to get it done before the first snow fell, but that was just not in the cards as the first snow came early this year.

They were not happy.

Thankfully, that was a couple of weeks ago and they have an installer coming out Tuesday next week to install the last window.  The forecast is good, so the install should go without a hitch.

They are pretty excited about being done their home renovations.

I am hoping that they take a break over the winter months as they usually rope me in to helping them.  Winter is the busy season at work for me, so I won’t have time to help them out properly.

I know that I will be happy when that last window is replaced – it will be nice to cross one more thing off of their list.

Saved by a Kind Mechanic

Spontaneous road trips are one of my favorite things to do in life.  It all started back in college when a couple of buddies and I drove across the country over the course of a week.  I had never felt so alive, and since that moment, I have made time to hop in my car and explore the world every opportunity that I can get.

In fact, last week a few of us took time off work, hopped into Jack’s Explorer and set out on the open road.  We figured that it was going to be one last adventure before the cold of winter clutched our country for another year.

I have to admit, I was pretty pumped.

But we hit a little snag when traveling through Michigan.  I am no mechanic, but it was apparent that something wasn’t quite right with the SUV that we were driving.  The brakes were not very responsive at all, and after just about hitting a car on the road, we decided to see if there was something wrong with our vehicle.

It was later on in the evening, and we were not sure if we could find a garage that would consider doing a brake repair Trenton Michigan.  It took a few phone calls, but we were able to find a kind mechanic that was willing to help us out.

We were lucky that we did.

You see, after inspecting the vehicle, we were told that a couple of our brake lines had burst and we technically had no breaks.

Things could have turned out real bad.

But after a couple of hours we were back on the road with brakes that worked thanks to the help of one kind soul – the whole road trip would have had to be canceled if it wasn’t for him.

Business Auction Today

When it comes to running local businesses here, the biggest challenge is the social environment of this town.  We live in a community that is defined by whether or not you are in the “in” group or not.  If you are socially accepted, residents will shop in your store and support your business.  But if you are not in the clique, then you will have a hard and uphill battle to try and stay alive.

Unfortunately, one business owner who opened a pet grooming shop in town just six months ago learned the hard way when people here decided not to frequent her shop.  She tried as hard as she could, but in the end she had to close her shop.

Which brings us to today’s auction.  She is liquidating everything from the clothing that her staff wore to the groomers accessories that they depended on to get their work done.  Everything is up for sale including the building, and I know that the owner is trying to make enough money to get her investment back.

I don’t know if that will happen, but there will be plenty of deals to be had.  I’m on the lookout for anything that I know that I could resell and make a profit, so hopefully I will walk away with something good.

Learning About Flipping Homes

For years I have considered dabbling in real estate investing.  As many of you know, I do have some rental properties, but I had always dreamed of taking my real estate business to the big leagues.  This would mean changing my thinking as it comes to these properties as investment vehicles, and I have been actively trying to learn what I can along the way.

Today I had the opportunity to attend a private presentation on the effects on home prices with respect to specific renovations.  The speaker had done research to see what house flippers could do to maximize their property values.  When I had heard that this presentation was going to happen in our city, I was excited – any information that teaches you how to squeeze more money out of your investments is always valuable.

During the presentation, many real-world examples were used to help illustrate the concepts.  Some of the specifics included Milgard Ultra Woodclad Windows in Studio City and their effect of home prices, sale values of homes based on the colors of their walls, and simple landscaping ideas that could give you good return on investment.  While these topics were all over the place, they all focused on one thing – how to make the most profit from a home sale.

Today’s seminar has definitely given me some food for thought.

Dealing with Mold Issues

Over the last six months or so, I have been ill a lot more than usual.  At first I thought that I was working too hard or just run down, but after taking a meaningful break, I discovered that it wasn’t the case.  Some of my friends thought that I should go to the hospital to see my family doctor, but for me, going to the doctor is a last resort.  I figured that I should be able to solve this problem, all I had to do was take a deeper look at my home.

It wouldn’t hurt, right?

I started in the basement as I spent more time there than anywhere else in the home.  A few years ago we had a bit of a water leak and had a water damage restoration done on the basement to make sure that it was safe to live in.  I didn’t want to work in an environment full of black mold, so I made sure that the restoration was done properly and by professionals.

It was the right thing to do.

While the basement seemed okay, I did hear some faint dripping while I was down there.  I pulled back my bookcase only to discover mold growing on the wall behind it.  It seemed like the pipe in the wall had sprung a leak a long time ago.

I had found the source of my troubles.

I will have to get the same company I used in the past out to fix the mold issues – I can’t be sick all of the time, I have a company to run.

A Little Present for my Cousin

For the last five years my cousin has been operating a hair salon here in the city.  While it started off slow, her clientele has grown steadily and she has a thriving business.  It has been a joy watching her grow from a one woman show to employing six stylists.

It has been quite the journey.

I thought that I would get her a little something to commemorate her success and celebrate her journey as an entrepreneur.  But what do you get a business owner?  I really had to think long and hard to come up with something that would work well for her.

After much brainstorming, I decided to get her something that was useful and practical.  I bought her some new barbers & stylists aprons that matched the colors of her shop and I am going to get her logo emblazoned on them.  I figured that it made the most sense to get her something that her and her staff could use, and aprons really made the most sense.

I can’t wait to see them.

I’m hoping to give them to her next week when we have our bi-monthly business meeting.  I hope that she is happy with the gift – she has done a lot for someone that is so young.

Finding Peace Though Tai Chi

Tai ChiWorking as a business owner can create a lot of stress in ones life.  For most people it is not a problem, but there comes a point where the stress can get the most of you – for me, it happened just six short months ago.

It was the first time that I had ever broken down in my life.  I thought that I had everything under control, but after I blew up, I knew that things weren’t quite as good as I had thought.

I decided to do something about it.

One of my mentors suggested that I find an outlet to get rid of my stress, relax and connect with my true self.

I decided to take his advice and enroll myself in a Tai Chi class.

It was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.

In fact, Tai Chi has given me the opportunity to let go of all of the stress that comes along with being an entrepreneur.  I attend classes twice per week, and you can also find me out practicing outside when the opportunity arises.  By taking up this martial art I have been able to work harder and stay more focused on the business.

Practicing Tai Chi has been one of the best decisions that I have made this year.

Weird Day at the Gym

Working Out at the Gym

For the last six months I have been going to the gym five days per week.  Initially I went on a dare from a friend, but once I made it through the first couple of weeks, I feel in love with working out.

It has become a big part of my life.

I usually go early in the morning to the gym down the street, and for the most part it is empty when I get there.  Working out at 6 AM is not good for everyone’s schedule, but it suits me just fine.

Today was a little different as there was one guy that happened to be working out when I walked into the door.  I had never seen him before, and he was kind of nerdy looking and scrawny.

He didn’t look like he belonged in the gym.

I was just about to ignore him when I noticed the shirt he was wearing: it was a fitness and weight lifting T-Shirt for Meat Heads Only.  What got me was part of the saying on the shirt that said “6 Pack Having chick magnet, Meat Head type of guy your girlfriend dreams about”.

It was all I could do to stop myself from laughing out loud: the shirt was ludicrous.

Needless to say, it made my day – in fact I am still smiling over the whole experience.

Planning my Next Trip

It has been awhile since I have gone on a trip anywhere.  I know that I started out this year  traveling to many places around the world, but I have been so busy the last few months at work that I just haven’t had time to go anywhere at all.  The last few months of the year are my busy season here at work, so I know that I won’t be able to get away any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t plan for a trip early in the new year.

By the time 2017 rolls around, I am going to need a break from the office.

After much deliberation as to where I should travel in the world, I decided that I am going to travel to one of my favorite destinations in the world: Vietnam.  You might remember the last time that I traveled to that little piece of the world and since that time I have wanted to go back.

There is just so much I didn’t get to see.

So, I have been spending a lot of time at a Vietnam Cambodia Laos Travel site planning my next vacation.  I am going to look for a travel package that provides the itinerary for me as I don’t have the time to research and plan the trip myself.  There are a number of possibilities that I am considering, and I might even explore some new territory as well.

I will finalize my travel plans in the next month or so and book my trip so that everything is in place for me to travel to that corner of the world in the new year.

I can’t wait until I can take a break from the office – my trip won’t start soon enough.