My Two Month Episode Trying to Fix a Fridge (a comical tale)

A guest post by Alicia Donald for the Didjeridu Blog:

It all started on that one faithful day in June when I said to my spouse “I’ll get around to it tomorrow.” We were lucky when our fridge broke down because the neighbors had a spare one, and they said we could borrow it for as long as we needed. Little did I know their kindness was a curse that would promote my laziness. It wasn’t until a little under two months later in August that I’d finally get around to solving the problem. And this is my comical tale.

I should start by saying how the fridge broke down, because that’s one of the funniest parts of this story. It’s safe to say my nephew is literally a cookie monster. I mean he’s not just a little boy who loves cookies. I mean he’s literally a friggen cookie monster, man! How so? Well, in his desperate search to get the cookies from the jar above the fridge, he turned into a miniature green Hulk and knocked the whole fridge over. I heard the noise from the bathroom and stomped out to find my nephew lying on the floor next to a broken cookie jar, a broken fridge, stuffing his mouth with cookies.

First of all you might wonder how knocking a fridge over would break it. Our fridge was rather old, one of the main reasons my family loves it so much and went through the trouble of getting it fixed in the first place. Something inside just went out of place, I assumed. I didn’t know at the time because I never looked inside. Like I said, I had settled for “getting around to it tomorrow,” which secretly meant “two months from now.”

At least my nephew got some cookies out of the deal, and he managed not to cut himself with the shards of the broken cookie jar (though part of me wish he had just to teach him a lesson).

After all this happened, I let my nephew’s father do the scolding for I was in no mood to do so, let alone talk at all. All the food I was supposed to eat over the next few weeks was going to waste for all I knew. This was around when the neighbors knocked on my door, wondering how we were doing. I thanked Jesus they happened to bring a lasagna with them, for I was hungry (and didn’t feel like cooking meat that had been fridgeless for 6 hours).

I invited the kind people to lounge in my living room, where they heard the funny tale of the how the little boy I was supposed to be baby sitting broke my only refrigerator. The husband took one look at his wife, then looked back at me and said politely, “You know, I’ve fixed at least six fridges in my day. Perhaps I could take a look at it.” When I said that was awfully nice, but I plan to do it myself, they must’ve sensed internally that I would never get around to it so they offered, “Well then, you can borrow our spare in the meantime.”

I was awfully tired, yet feigned gratitude nonetheless. The gratitude didn’t actually kick in until I had slept and woke in the middle of the night to grab a glass of milk. “Ahhh, fresh, cold milk!”

It’s needless to say that this was precisely when the evil curse took effect, and my subconscious mind, also known as the demon who haunts me, suggested, “Muahahahahaaaa, you don’t need to fix your old fridge. You can just use this one for ever and ever and ever AND EVER!!!

Time went by. More time. More time. And eventually I forgot that I was even borrowing a fridge, until the next time the neighbors knocked on my door. This time their lasagna had mushrooms in it (yuk). When sitting around the tea table on the patio, the husband, who was always polite, after beating around the bush for a bit, asked, “Our grandson is missing his quick access to pizza pops. When do you think we could get that fridge back?”

The first thing I wondered, which was rudely out loud, was, “I thought the fridge was a spare?”

“Technically it was, which was why we were letting our grandson use it for his pizza pops.”

I later found out their grandson plays video games all day, hence the need for quick access. Despite my personality, I felt bad for the kid and, there on the patio, answered, “I suppose you can come pick it up tomorrow.”

I didn’t know how in the world I would get ye olde fridge fixed overnight, but my neighbors accepted my answer nonetheless, and left me to enjoy my mushroom-stuffed lasagna that I ended up throwing away (I hate mushrooms if you didn’t guess).

That afternoon I felt like a college student who had lost all hope on finishing her homework in time and paced back and forth in the basement like an evil genius, thinking should I call Batman? He would know what to do. It was the word “call” that rang a bell for me, and I raced to the laptop to find the perfect appliance repair service to call. I didn’t feel like spending money to do something I should’ve done myself two months ago, but I had to. I owed my neighbors a number of favors for all the kindness they’ve shown me and I wasn’t going to disappoint them, nor their pizza pop loving grandson.

Well, we’re coming to the end of this tale now, as the appliance mechanic came over, pridefully calling himself a refrigerator technician and guess what? Yeah, really I ask you. Guess what happened next? His job only took two minutes because a wire was loose! Yup, you heard me right. A STINKING WIRE WAS LOOSE!

I probably don’t need to tell you how stupid I felt. He showed me the loose wire before he put it back into place, and it was so obvious I could’ve spotted it myself if only I had taken the time to inspect the appliance myself. But nope. I am silly, they say. Oh, silly Alicia. She never does anything right!

My Love for Surfing the Waves – Have You Surfed Before?

surfing is for cool people, and everyone else, too, who automatically become cool after

Everytime I go surfing I can’t help myself from writing poetry as soon as I get back to my beach towel. There’s just so much to write about when it comes to the beauties of riding the open waves with nothing but a board under your feet. As the sun warms your back and the water cools your feet, the spindrift and spume of the violent ocean sprays your legs, and while waving at the people on the beach who are looking off in amazement as they see you glide toward them equals no other experience.

If you haven’t gone surfing before but you’ve always wanted to, this blog post should be the last thing you read before a rented surfboard is strapped to the roof of your car. There are thousands of great surfing spots around the world. My favourite is Tofino BC as you can surf there all year round, even in the winter, and it’s relatively safe so long as you keep an eye out for signs warning of rip tides. Continue reading “My Love for Surfing the Waves – Have You Surfed Before?”

Entwining Stormy Sounds With Instrumental Music

Storm

After a bad sales day or when I’ve had a fight with someone it’s easy to storm off angrily and listen to angry music in an angry place with a beer, but instead I listen to the birds in the trees, the rhythm of the guitar and I usually feel better within a few minutes. There’s something about sounds of nature and the sound of soft instrumental music, that, when combined, enhance the beautiful feeling they would give separately, to make their power twice as strong.

Ancient Chinese music with birds chirping and water running can always humble me. Mexican dance music and the smell of fresh coffee, with the sound of the ocean nearby, is like the perfect morning.

Unlike all the catchy singing you can find on the radio and those songs designed to get stuck in your head, the sounds of urban traffic, wild nature and live instruments played by live people are constantly changing and shifting the vibes of the present moment.

You can listen to the same radio song that sounds the same every time or you can watch and experience someone playing the banjo, live, in front of your face, to the sound of crickets in the grass and wind blowing through an open barn, hay rustling at your feet.

Sometimes I Find the Rhythm in the Storm and when I’m watching a storm I can sometimes hear distant piano music as if some crazy scientist in a tower conjured the storm himself with an experiment and, mad about his creation, began to play the piano vehemently. When the wind hits the trees I can hear him laughing.

But that’s just my own imagination playing around with me. Without the storm maybe I’d be gazing through all the suburban windows, listening to the playing children and the grandmothers telling tales of old days. But enough talking like a crazy person.

If you’re feeling down and out because you had a bad day, I invite you to listen to instrumental music, not too loudly, and appreciate the natural sounds in your environment. Mixing these two lovely experiences together has helped me more times than I can count and sometimes it’s helping me when I don’t even know it. Perhaps right now as I listen to the rhythmic tapping of my keyboard keys, and the rain hitting the window, and the roommate listening to a documentary. All these noises I hear everyday are, to me, way better than the top 40 radio hits.

THE FUNNY LIFE OF A DRAINAGE CONTRACTOR IN VICTORIA BC

Before I joined a drainage crew in my mid-twenties I dreamed of being a comedian. My closest friends believed I would become the next greatest TV host because I would always crack jokes and, as they said, had the perfect deep broadcasting voice. I kind of disappointed them when I became a full time perimeter drainage crewman. This story is about how I turned that disappointment into pride by keeping my comedian dream alive in the drainage business.

When I was twenty-six I went to the family thanksgiving dinner at grandma’s house like we do every year, and like every year grandma likes to ask each family member how they have been and what they’ve been up to. My dad has a unique bicycle repair and fixing business but when it came to his turn he said the same thing he says at every dinner, in his usual emotionless voice: “I fixed a few bicycles today.” I, of course, was sitting beside him and grandma’s eyeballs landed on me next. The last thing she remembered was that I was trying my hardest to get my first comedian gig after practicing in the mirror, or at least that’s what I thought. It was heart-wrenching to see the happiness on her face when I told her I got a full time job as a drainage systems installer for a Victoria drainage company. I was expecting her to be sad that I was no longer following my dream. Instead, she laughed and said, “It’s about time you got a job. I knew you’d never fix bicycles like your father.”

Fixing bicycles? That was what she thought I was going to do with my life? I wanted to get mad but I knew that would be silly. Instead I cracked a joke about how I’d try to convince my whole drain system company to start riding bicycles to their work sites to give my dad more business and grandma loved it. She was actually quite interested about drain services because she had her drains blocked recently. I became the focus of thanksgiving that night as I told my whole family the best flood prevention methods and why it’s important to get frequent drain maintenance. “Why is it so important?” Grandma asked.

Smiling grimly, I replied, “Calling drain cleaners for frequent drainage cleaning prevents crocodiles and snakes from eating your cats.”

Grandma coughed on her turkey while laughing and finally her eyes landed on my sister, who then went on about her dream of being a princess (she was 7). I’ll never forget that thanksgiving dinner because for me it was the beginning of my new career. Before then I wasn’t sure if being a perimeter drainage serviceman was right for me but now I knew that I could install drains and be funny at the same time.

That was over fifty years ago and know I’m one of the wealthiest drainage contractors on Vancouver Island (unofficially retired). But nobody calls me a drainage contractor. My family and clientele could call me so many things like a drainage expert, a drainage systems installer, a self-employed contractor, a sexy business owner, but NO! I’m known as “that comedian who unclogged my drain”, “that funny guy who answered the phone” or “the comedian of the family who’s also a drainage contractor”.

My friends weren’t exactly right when they said I’d become the next greatest TV host but at least I fulfilled my dream of becoming a comedian. To this day I still haven’t found my first comedian gig but over the years I’ve gathered and made up a lot of drainage jokes. Unfortunately the wider audience doesn’t find drainage as funny as I do. I could tell them about all the funny stuff I used to see doing residential drainage in Vancouver, doing drain services for hippies on Salt Spring Island, but they’d rather hear about American football players or TV superstars. At least you’ll get to hear of some of the funny things I’ve seen and done.

When you roll up to a house in your service vehicle and smell weed, see weed and see hippies all lined up in a row to smoke weed you know you’re servicing a weed dealer. On Salt Spring Island thirty years ago I came to such a house to unclog a drainage system or, as they said it over the phone, “unclog our pipes … hahaha … no our pipes are fine I mean unclog our water pipes. Yeah, water pipes. Our other pipes are *cough* working just fine.”

That was before the days of owning my own business so of course I unfortunately had to service these hippies. I began my work of first inspecting the drains to see what was wrong before I pulled all my tools out and right away, within five minutes, I found what had been blocking the pipes and it was a big bag of weed! I brought it to the homeowner and he said, “Oh damn I was trying to remember where I hid that thing.” He then happily paid in full the amount that had been on my boss’s quote and I drove off with enough time in my morning to do a second job before lunch. Perhaps I would’ve cracked more jokes that day if I wasn’t hungover. I bet those hippies would’ve loved my drainage jokes now that I think of it.

Perhaps the funniest moment in my whole career had been the moment when, being laid off, I went about applying for work at various drainage companies and came across this little old lady in Oak Bay who, out of pure pleasure, had started her own drainage company at the age of seventy-four! It all started because she, having a plumber for a husband, had learned everything about the drains in her own house and so willingly did free drainage services for all her elderly friends. Of course, her friends being as kind as they were, refused to let her do it for free and even suggested that she, because she loves doing it so much, offer her drain services in a local listing.

This sweet lady ended up hiring me for doing drain repairs. My time with her was brief because, due to health issues, she had to stop what she was doing but she didn’t want her dear friends to lose out so she handed over her drainage business to me. It was just a simple thing, pretty much a phone number and a logo in a few listings–drainage Victoria BC–nothing more, but I managed to take everything that little funny lady gave me and turn it into one of the most lucrative perimeter drainage companies on Vancouver Island. I already knew how to be funny but that old lady taught me the importance of providing services out of love. For a while after that even I didn’t consider myself in the drainage industry; I was just in the industry of being funny and helping people out.

If I were to go back and get a dollar for every time I made someone laugh I’d be the richest man in the world today. I wanted to share my story on this blog because I know there’re so many young men and women in trade school wishing they could be the next Jackie Chan or the next Tom Cruise but, guess what, you can! And you can do it while also being a tradesman or a tradeswoman. The worst case scenario is that you’ll make a lot of money, so make grandma happy and get a job!

I Find My Rhythm In The Storm.

My life as a storm enthusiast/storm chaser.

Unlike most people, we, storm watchers, don’t watch the weather channel so we can avoid the coming storm. We watch it so we can drive towards the storm. It started out as a fascination until it eventually became a passion. The idea of watching something so powerful slowly takes form out of thin air is a breathtaking experience. It slowly builds you up with anticipation before it goes berserk, finally setting itself free in the form of a massive storm or tornado.

Continue reading “I Find My Rhythm In The Storm.”

I’m The Best Salesman In Town (Or At Least That’s What My Clients Say)

Trading with physical goods or products is the same as trading services.

Salesmen in general are under the same laws when it comes to both the written and unspoken rules of selling. As a salesman since my youth, I learned the craft the hard way. While my job supported my education, which had been helpful in rising up the ranks, everything I learned in actual practice paved a solid foundation for my career.

I come from an era where connections are established the old school way. That’s why everything that I know came from a rigid training of selling that emphasizes feelings rather than time, passion than emails, and instinct than online retailing.

ELIMINATE ALL EGO TO BE SUCCESSFUL!

Starting out as a salesman involves a lot of growing pains. I focused on being disciplined – Waking up early, doing my homework to know my target market, drinking or eating less to spend more time thinking and building my client base. Even when the people I’m speaking with don’t show interest, I remain curious about their lives and show my willingness to help.

A day’s work involves the same hustle and bustle to close a sale. I focused on my persistence in building relationships than making the actual sale. I have to be resourceful and creative with my words to ensure my client is all ears.

During times when my day is becoming mundane and banal, I focused on living my day as though it’s my final one, which immediately gives me a boost of energy to meet new people. I show confidence in my product and, more importantly, in myself.

When my persistence overflows and some clients find it as being pushy or too aggressive, I focus on being the master over my feelings. I keep a good, honest and open mind over matter. I share my knowledge and communicate the benefits of my products and services.

When I start making a few sales, I focus on keeping my value on an upward trend by staying passionate, competitive and resolved about multiplying my sales a hundredfold. I set my targets higher to prevent me from being to relaxed, I keep myself dedicated to it long-term and endure what’s next in my career, ALWAYS.

Be like a wave!

Continue reading “I’m The Best Salesman In Town (Or At Least That’s What My Clients Say)”

The Introduction!

Well here is where we start things off strong.

 

I wrote this a while ago, and now I realize things like this truly do take time! Life things happen to everyone and it really brought me back to being grateful for what we have; thank you for your patience!