Roman Sturgis Take care of each other and make good decisions.

September 7, 2009

War? What War?

Filed under: Blog — Roman @ 1:55 pm

The other day while I was working in the post office, a woman came in to deliver a thick stack of postcards. I was introduced to her by a co-worker as a regular customer who often sends packages and letters to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Far as I can tell, this woman does not have children of her own, though she calls all of her adopted soldiers, who she finds through AnySoldier.com, her “children.” Some of them are local to South Carolina, but most are from throughout the country. In addition to postcards, which she sends on a regular basis, she also sends 60lbs of trail mix a month, and other goodies that soldiers can’t find in the stores on base. Side note: another woman mentioned she was sending antihistamines to her husband in Afghanistan. Apparently all he can get where he is, is Robitussin and Tylenol.

I’ll be honest with you all. Even though I read several papers online every day and listen to public radio on my 40 minute commute to and from school, I’ve pretty much put all my attention for the wars on the back burner. Frankly, all the front-and-center news I’ve been focusing on has been about Health Care, Energy, and Environment. I was thankful for those two customers for reminding me about the troops. If you’d like to do something nice for a random soldier, go to AnySoldier.com and find a match.

Another interesting person I met last week is a guy named Perdie. I saw him several times in a day, walking along the side of the road carrying a giant American flag. The third time I saw him, I stopped and yelled from across the highway, “Need a lift?” When there was a gap in the traffic, he jogged to the grass median and we stood on either side of the northbound side of 17 having a short conversation. I asked him if he was walking to walk, and he confirmed that he was. Then he pointed to a sign on the back of his pack that was too hard to read, but which he quickly clarified: “I’m walking to protest massive government spending!” (Of course.) “You can read more about it at Perdie.com!” Apparantly he started in Eastern Long Island and had made it all the way down 95 and to Myrtle Beach. His plan is to go to Charleston and then west on I-10 to Santa Monica. He’s a film maker, so I gather he’s taking a lot of footage along the way. I told him to take care of his feet and was on my way. In retrospect I should have offered him a beer for the road, seeing as I just came back from the grocery store.

So one final bit to this post: HVAC school is a little like Hogwarts. We are the same group studying different aspects of the same trade all day long. M-W-F we start with Basic Electricity (Beginners Magic) and then end with Refrigeration Fundamentals (Charms) with corresponding labs in-between (Potions). T-TR is Tools and Service, otherwise known as “Which Wand To Use” and “Muggle Relations.” Last week we had our first labs with actual electricity and some tests. It’s starting to get fun. I still haven’t committed to buying any of the meters that we’ll need in the real world, but I am budgeting to purchase them before the end of school. We’re expected to have about half a dozen different meters in a complete kit. Each of these things is the cost of an I-phone, so the cost racks up pretty quickly.

I imagine myself one day showing up at a customer’s house and asking, “What’s the problem, ma’am?” Then taking a bunch of measurements and troubleshooting the problem well enough to write out a plan of action and an estimate. A residential HVAC tech might respond to four or five calls in a day, or on some days, one or two, depending on how big the job is. I’m hoping that my grab-bag of previous experience is going to help me succeed at this in a big way, because I really, REALLY want to have my own business one day. That is the Big Dream these days.

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