Friday, February 28, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 1

Here I sit.  In a tent, just outside of Rome, GA.  I thought about a title for this series on the way up here.  The best I could come up with was Excellent Adventure.  The creative juices were stunted with the larger emotions surrounding this whole operation.  The other alternative was Bogus Journey, but sequels generally always disappoint.  (Only Bill & Ted fans will get that reference.)  What am I talking about anyway?  If you don't know, I would refer you to this previous blog entry to catch up.

I arrived mid-afternoon after an uneventful drive up.  Atlanta traffic was good to me.  I was pleasantly surprised as I drove into the campground.  You never really know what you're going to get going to a new campsite for the first time.  With a nice clean entrance, and the scenery of the foothills and the Coosa River, I knew as I drove in that this location was a good choice.  I was greeted by a nice gentleman at the "trading post" who checked me in and directed me to my spot.  He told me I might have a little trouble getting my RV backed in, but that he would be happy to come spot for me.  I explained that there was no need for that as I was going to be in a tent.  He replied, "You're gonna tent camp for 11 days?!?!?"  I immediately shot back, "That's exactly what my wife said!"  We shared a few laughs and I was on my way.

Setup was a breeze.  My spot is very spacious and has plenty of room for my tent, a table, my supplies and my Jeep right next to the tent.  (I'm not opposed to bedding down in the back of my Jeep if I have to.)  The bathhouse isn't the nicest I've ever seen, but it isn't the worst either.  The bathrooms are heated and of course there are hot showers.  There is even a laundry facility...2 washers and 2 dryers.  Overall this is a great location.  With all the amenities I'm not roughing it in a true sense, but with the duration that I will be here that's a good thing.

Once everything was set up, I took off to get the lay of the land.  Priority number one was to find the exact location of the auctioneer school.  I'm glad I did, because it's about 2 miles away from where Google says it is.  The detour did take me past a very cool sportsman store.....which I stopped at, drooled over some things and got directions from some locals.  I found the right place, cut a u-turn and headed back to camp.  I ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich and sat down to type this.

I don't suspect that I'll sleep very good tonight.  Not so much because of the cold weather, but rather the thoughts racing through my mind.  I'm not gonna lie.  It all finally hit me on the drive up here.  I very deliberately asked God to soften my heart so that I could let him lead me through this transition.  I feel certain that I have allowed that leadership throughout the planning of this, but the doubt still lingers.  I know that awesome things will come of this, but I'm still just as nervous as a cat.

After an authentic campsite cup of coffee in the morning, it will all start in earnest.  It gets really real, really quick.  I don't know what the subsequent entries in The Excellent Adventure will be like.  Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.  Either way, I'm planning to write about it.  I hope you'll read along.

Y'all take it easy,


Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's a Whole New Balgame

I'm back.  Truth be told I never really left, but I did remain silent for a couple of years.  For those who know me outside the blogosphere, that is hard to picture!  So, what happened?  Well, I suppose life happened.

My smoking hot wife and I continued to raise our two little boys and deal with all the shenanigans associated.  They are 5 and 8 now.  Never a dull moment.  Of course, that gobbled up most all of our free it should.  I planted the garden, as usual.  2012's plot struggled, but I actually had a really good garden last summer thanks to cooler temperatures and more rainfall that normal.  I got into the chicken hobby and I absolutely LOVE it.  I bought and sold an International Scout, flipped a couple of old tractors and enjoyed another successful year at work.  I got to witness God work in the lives of several friends and I was able to enjoy Georgia Southern's stunning victory over the University of Florida.  It was a good couple of years.  2014 is going to be good too, but it will be strikingly different.

In mid-January I resigned from my position of Director of Annual Giving at Georgia Southern University.  It was a tough decision to leave a job, a University and a group of co-workers which were all important parts of my life to this point.  Of course I still bleed blue.  I carried the flag before I went to work for Georgia Southern and I will surely continue after I leave.  Two things made the decision the right one.  First I believe that God's will  is for me to move along, meet new people, form new relationships and afford others an opportunity to lead our efforts at Georgia Southern.  Second, since the day I abandoned my previous entrepreneurial endeavor, the thoughts of getting back to it never left my brain.  My wife is supportive too.  That's a big deal.  Even though it will be a certain pay cut in the short term, she is on board.  (Sometimes she reads.... Hey MB...I love you!)  The right situation hasn't been available since I walked away last time.  Now it is.  Maybe God is leading me down a road in which I can learn a lesson. Maybe I'll make it big.  Maybe I'll flop and go cook tater logs at the local gas station.  Either's time to give it a shot.  Back in September I purchased a concrete overlay and restoration operation.  I will be easing into the business with an eager spirit, but a patient mindset as I hone my skills and develop what I hope will become a successful business.  I plan to do some additional tractor restorations too.  There isn't a ton of money to be made in that field, but if properly managed, I can turn a small profit on something that I enjoy doing.  From there it really starts to get weird.  Stay with me....

Since I was a teenager I have always had a fascination with auctioneers and the auction business.  The idea of becoming an auctioneer was never really a serious consideration though.  Kids like me didn't do that.  We went to college, majored in finance and got a job at a bank.  That's what everybody did.  I didn't major in finance and go into banking, but I did fall right into the "bachelors degree to white-collar professional career" pipeline.  Don't get me wrong......  I certainly don't regret that.  I am very glad that I took that route and I am very thankful for the opportunities that it has afforded me along the way.  In fact, it has afforded me the chance to do something totally off the wall.  I'm going to auctioneer school.  The application has been submitted and the fees paid.  I'm really doing this.  Sounds nuts every time I type it. gets even more hair-brained.  Stick with me......

Auctioneer school will be in beautiful Rome, GA.  The classes last all day long for ten consecutive days.  the curriculum should be pretty intense, but I'm looking forward to it.  Actually, I'm down right excited about it!  That wouldn't be enough adventure for me though, so instead of staying in a nice plush hotel, I'm going to tent camp for 11 nights on the Coosa River.  I just hope Snowpocalypse III doesn't set it.  That would be a whole other level of high adventure.

One of the ancillary benefits of this adventure is that it will get me blogging again.  I plan to offer an entry each of the 11 nights that I will be spending in Rome.  Blogging from the tent.  How about that?  Technology is something special isn't it?  Stay tuned for that dumpster fire starting at the end of the month.  This could get interesting.  2014 is indeed going to be a whole new ballgame.  I'm motivated to pitch complete game shutouts, avoid arbitration and get a long term contract.

Y'all take it easy,