Nothing Got Really Broke (but the owner?)

June 29, 2007

This is the way we push a 16000 pound 4 color printing press through a window into a new location. Mind you, I wasn’t there for this part of our move. Upstairs, I was fervently praying that the press (which is worth a good bit more than the house my family lives in) would not wind up in the basement.

Do you see the red headed gentleman in the foreground? Earlier in the day, he had taken great joy in pointing out the atrocious welding job our contractors had done to support the floor.

“It’ll never hold,” he said.

Thus spoken, he had no compunction whatsoever about driving the forklift to place a very heavy object on the floor that would never hold. In truth, the welds on the columns supporting the floor look like they could have been done by kindergarteners who had just been introduced to a Lincoln Welding machine. No . . . scratch that. The kindergarteners could have done a better job.

The floors held in answer to my prayers and much to the dismay of the red headed gentleman. AND the printshop got moved, thanks largely to the amazing efforts of Brian, Rickie, Jamaal, Todd, Sharon, Joe, Poor Richard’s poor kids, and other extended family, bystanders, and the occasional wino who wandered over from the Poplar Mart.

As their imperious leader, I should have been organized, in control, efficiently executing the careful plan we made for the move. Nope. Brian took that role. Aside from cringing upstairs while the presses came through the window, I played the role of troubleshooter. My job was to try to figure out the things that no one had planned for or even thought about

As an example, I am still wondering why a roofing crew would have completed three quarters of the roof, leaving the remaining part uncovered. We have been experiencing a drought. Do you suppose that they concluded that roofs really weren’t all that necessary any more?

I also wonder why the alarm company would connect the alarm to the response center before the system was completely installed, before anyone was trained, and before a password had been assigned to turn the dang thing off.

These marvels led to the hilarious coincidence that brought the entire Macon, Georgia fire department into my building in full regalia looking for a fire that didn’t exist at the same time I’m trying to figure out why the roof is leaking during the first rainstorm in over a month. I did discover that even if the alarm company will not turn the alarm off in your building, you can unplug the batteries and all of the electrical power that goes into the alarm control box and it will stop making noise.

This makes the entire Macon, Georgia fire department calmer. It does not make them so calm that they’ll help you look for leaks on the roof, though. They deal with fire, not water. But they do enjoy coffee.

The print shop is up and running despite a few little kinks and grumbles from the equipment (and from Joe, who is not fond of change). The owner? Hmm . . . not so sure. Check back with me in a week or so.

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Slight to Moderate Desperation

June 4, 2007

The printshop is moving . . . on Thursday

Beautiful wife says that I went through my midlife crisis when I started up the printshop. I didn’t chase women, go on drinking binges, disappear to an exotic Third World country, or go postal and blow something up. I bought an AlphaGraphics franchise.

I’m not so sure. For the last nine years, we’ve run the business. It’s been relatively successful. We haven’t become opulently rich, but we’re not starving either. And we’ve had some great customers, wonderful folks who have worked with us and cool opportunities to get involved with all kinds of projects, people and organizations. In balance, I’ve really loved it.
So why did I want to move?

Now that moving day is here, I’m just not sure. The photo above is our new location, enhanced more than just a little bit in Photoshop. It’s nice inside, but it still looks like a disaster from the street. When we began the project last August, the contractor (who is really a pretty good guy) said, “six months construction, no problem.” In February, he said “move in May, no problem.” When we set a move date of June 1, he said, “it’ll all be ready.”

We’re moving on June 7 and there’s still a lake out the back door, concrete to be poured, flooring to go down, and the telephone folks have gone non compis mentis. I’m not sure what part of our need for telephone and internet service that they don’t understand, but they aren’t on any schedule that I can ascertain. Neither screaming nor encouragement seems to have any effect on them at all. They’re oblivious.

Our existing shop is a shambles; and of course we’re busy for the first time this year. We’ve got two large programs and a nice brochure to get off the presses and through bindery before we move. Luckily, the team is functioning well. The owner, on the other hand, is walking around like a dazed zombie. At this point, I’ve got lists of lists to check on. Lots is getting done, but I’m spending time wondering what I’ve forgotten.

This feels a lot like a mid-life crisis. At 47, I might be a little old for this kind of trauma, but I’ll confess to a more than occasional feeling of slight to moderate desperation. The thought, “what in the world was I thinking?” crosses my mind on an hourly basis. My dreams have revolved around deciding not to quit the job I left 10 years ago and I wake up wondering if it’s not too late to ask for it back.

Nonetheless, we’re moving. Into a building in downtown Macon. A big building. A big building that needs to get finished. Across from the Poplar Street park with the fountain that looks like a toilet overflowing. And from the locals who sit in the park and drink beer by the bottle from the Poplar Mart across the street. They are colorful. They use colorful language. I’m going to buy them colorful toy boats and rubber ducks to play with. They can float them in the fountain that looks like a toilet bowl overflowing.

I’m going to do this because it sounds like something a delusional 47-year old owner of a moderately successful printshop would do to go along with his second deranged mid-life crisis.

Life is still grand . . . did I remember to check on the water heater?


Big Pig Update

June 2, 2007

Curiouser and Curioser . . .

Eldest daughter sent a link with a different slant on the big pig story (See Just In Case You Missed It ). It seems that the pig had a name, and it wasn’t Grendel after all. Fred, the pig, was domesticated. The image of young Jamison pursuing the feral pig through dangerous Alabama swampland wasn’t exactly accurate, either. Fred the pig was shot in a fenced in hunting preserve.

Here is a quote from the Atlanta Constitution with Fred’s previous owners’ take on the story:

“From his treats of canned sweet potatoes to how their grandchildren would play with him, their stories painted the picture of a gentle giant. They even talked about how their small Chihuahua would get in the pen with him and come out unscathed.”

Read the whole story at AJC .

Isn’t life grand?