I have a personal assistant. I have not had a personal assistant for many years, but recently a good friend of mine, in the same business as me, began using a part-time personal assistant and the young lady has a business degree so I decided, I too needed her to come and work for me. Let me share here, I did not ask to see her business administration degree she achieved after attending a four-year college, but I must assume she has one because she told me she does.
Her name is Yegenya Chityan and she was born in Eastern Europe
- I think Chechnya or somewhere that was once part of the Soviet Union but isn't anymore. She and her parents migrated to the USA when she was seven years old. Yevgenya speaks English as fluently as any American and she has no detectable accent. So, for all intents and purposes she is as American as M & Ms anyone else I know. Only her name is unusual. I will call her Yev for the sake of simplicity, and also because that is what most people call her as well.
Yev and I began working together in May. I become busy in September and October as I begin to do my marketing for all the areas of my business, and marketing is an area I seem to have trouble with so I figured we would have a few months preparation and training so Yev knows more of what she is doing for me and we might accomplish something when the marketing season comes around in the fall and winter. Also it helps that I am making enough money in May and June, and throughout the summer so i was able to pay her as I trained her. I suppose she appreciated this as well.
About a week ago, we both returned from our summer traveling: I left on August 6th for Oregon to do a fair, I visited my sister in Portland for a few days then proceeded north to Canada. In Canada I visit friends and attend a writing and improv class at Hollyhock under the direction of Ann Randolph.
While I was off doing these things, Yev went to visit a lover in Seattle and then visited her parents on the East Coast for two weeks. When we sat down for the first time at the end of August, I did something I have done in the past and failed at miserably. I decided to do it again because Yev seems to be a lot more competent than some of the other assistants I have used over the years. What I did was I told her all my goals, dreams and aspirations regarding business.
We created a list of all the things I wanted to and needed to get done. We discussed briefly who would do these things - she or I or who we would find to do them - and when they needed to get done by, and why they needed to be accomplished. Yev immediately asked, "and what is the priority on this list and which things are not priorities?" This made me take one large item, "College Marketing" completely off the list since that is fantasy as I do not have a college demo, a brochure or the marketing materials necessary to make it a reality at this moment.
A few days later, we are sitting in my office again. I ask Yev, "what is on the list that I need to do?" and she takes out the list and says, "fix the leaf spring on your trailer."
I have a 6' x 12' cargo trailer I will be pulling cross country in a few weeks. It is filled with all my woodworking tools and I will need the tools in Mississippi in October. I am driving cross country the end of this month, performing in North Carolina for two weeks then I return to my house I own in Mississippi. My house in Mississippi has been neglected and needs a lot of small work done on it to bring it back up to par. It has been deteriorating over the last few years and has not gotten any attention. It heeds paint, it needs the carpet on the floor in the bathroom removed and tiles put down. It has woodwork on the outside of the building that needs to be removed and replaced. Inside the building there is a half wall and I need to finish building that wall all the way across the room and put on a door and lock so I can rent it out as an office. I will bring all my tools to Mississippi, and I will also fly a contractor friend, named Joel, back to Mississippi and together we will attack my list of repairs that has been growing and ignored for many years. Perhaps I will be able to sell the place once these repairs are made. I'd sure like to find a property somewhere I want to live or visit more often. I owned this house because my daughter lived in Mississippi and I wanted to live near her as she grew up. My daughter's name is Jessica. I call her Jecca and she has now grown up and moved away. This means we are both emancipated and I have no reason to remain in the south, and have even less desire to keep this building. The problem is it is not in a good neighborhood and no one has even inquired into buying the place since it went on the market. I need to improve it's curb appeal, sell it and move on.
So, this is why I need to bring my trailer filled with tools to Mississippi. However the trailer has a broken leaf spring. To fix this trailer, I have to remove the leaf spring on the trailer that is broken and bring it to the store to match it with another leaf spring because there are a lot of different sized leaf springs.
Men never have the right tools for every job. Likewise, I did not have a socket wrench that has a long enough handle so I could break loosen rusty nuts under a trailer. After searching, I did find a length of pipe I put onto my socket wrench handle as an extension and was able to use this to loosen the bolts. I am not being a mechanic, and it surprised me that it took only a little more than an hour for me to remove the broken leaf spring from the trailer. It was now after 6:00 PM and getting a new leaf springy legal means was not possible that night. I would have to wait until the next day.
Saturday morning I get up and I go to get a new leaf spring. I drive 15 miles and find a trailer supply store. They have a wide variety of leaf springs in stock, but not the one I need. Apparently, leaf springs can be a half-inch longer or shorter and they can have one, two, three or four pieces of steel - coincidently called leaves - in the spring depending on what it is used for - boat leaf springs are lighter duty than cargo trailer springs. Large trucks have more leaves. Mine was four bands of steel, 15-1/2' from the center of one bolt hole to the center of the other bolt hole at each end of the spring. The store I went to didn't have the right leaf spring. They had longer and shorter ones, and ones with less bands. The store owner convinces me I should order two of them to make sure they match, "because if they don't match the tires will wear unevenly and the trailer will ride crooked", he explains. I agree. I leave him a deposit on my credit card and will get the parts on Wednesday. Today is Saturday, Monday is a US Holiday and he can't order the parts until Tuesday to arrive on Wednesday.
I leave the store and am in the neighborhood of a very well stocked car parts store. I refer to it as a all stocked car parts store because the owners bought up all the competition on the San Francisco Peninsula of anyone that delivered car parts to mechanics for moles around and they had almost a monopoly on this delivery business. I know of them because a good friend of mine used to work there. Paul Reaser is a friend I have known since High School and even when he was a meth addict and living on the streets, he still showed up to work at Kohlweis Auto Parts where he worked for forty hours a week for about five years. He did finally get fired because he didn't care how badly he smelled or dressed, and he even though he worked in the back of the store, cleaning, crediting and restocking auto mechanics parts that were returned after the mechanics ordered the wrong part - even though he was hidden in the back of the store, his hygiene was out of control; matted hair, scruffy face and as homeless looking as homeless can look.
This is the store I wander into. they are called Kohlweis Auto Parts and I need a longer socket wrench handle to make my life easier, new windshield wiper blades for my 2011 GMC Yukon because the wiper blades I had on my vehicle had mastered the art of smudging old bugs and water across my windshield, I would ask if they had trailer leaf springs and I had to get my battery checked because twice at Hollyhock and once more time since then my battery went dead and I needed a jump. The battery was three years old. I figured it had lived out its life and that was why it would not hold a charge even if I left a cell phone or a computer in the car to charge overnight.
Kohlweis Auto parts had the windshield wiper blades. They only cost $22 for the pair, which is a relief because my last vehicle was a Toyota Tundra and one could only get windshield wiper blades for that truck at the dealership and they'd cost $55 - so this was going well. Kohlweis Auto parts did not have a larger socket wrench and that was OK because I was doing OK with the one I had and the pipe extension I was using so I'd survive there; they did not carry leaf springs for trailers but the Chinese salesman in his very heavy accent told me three times or more there was an RV and trailer repair facility down the street about one or more blocks. I figured out he was telling me "I could not miss the place if I looked" as I drove out of the store to the left. The place was called "V & V RV and Trailer Repair." I bet you have no idea how hard it is to understand a Chinese Person with a very heavy accent try and pronounce "V & V RV?" Meanwhile, he tells me they might have that part for me, and the saleman also tells me I have to remove the battery from my car, bring it in and he can test it to see if it is good or not.
I have some wrenches in my car. I decided, even though the store has multiple signs posted outside stating "Our insurance does not permit repairs in the parking lot" I choose to remove the battery in the parking lot anyway. After all, how else am I supposed to bring it in and have them test it? I get under the hood. I take my wrenches, a few pair of pliers and I go at this battery. Let me describe where car battery is in a 2011 GMC Yukon. It is under the hood. It is not in the front of the car, near the bumper, it is in the rear of the engine compartment back against the firewall. It is in the corner tucked back near the passenger compartment. It is on a tray where it is bolted down, and there is a bar that goes across the battery from the frame to the battery tray and it is under an other bar that is placed in the corner of the vehicle I assume for structural purposes. This third bar goes over the battery. I have to remove this curved structural bar, remove the bar that holds up the tray in the air, and remove the bolt that holds the battery on the tray from moving. I do not have the right tools with me to do this. I need sockets, socket wrenches and extensions for my socket wrenches. I own these, but they are not with me, they are back with the trailer where I have been fixing the leaf spring. I reassemble the battery so I can drive back to my trailer 15 miles away.
I drive back to my trailer. This would normally be an easy task however this particular weekend is Labor Day Weekend and not only is there holiday traffic, but the traffic is extra high now because San Francisco is getting a new bridge to replace the bridge built in the 30's that connects San Francisco to Oakland. they need a new bridge because in 1989 when there was an earthquake the bridge broke and killed some people, and now 25 years later, they are finally getting around to completing the replacement bridge they started building four years ago. It is the most expensive bridge ever built with more anchors set deeper in the bedrock than any other bridge ever built. it is going to be a good bridge. it is going to be a safe bridge. it is going to be a pretty bridge because they spent the extra money to make it pretty. And on this holiday weekend they are going to connect this new expanse of bridge and disconnect the old bridge. This is taking place 30 miles from where I live, however the other bridge that crosses the bay is the "San Mateo - Hayward Bridge" and this bridge is right next to where I live and where my trailer is getting a new leaf spring. Therefore, traffic is a bit heavier than usual and this slows down my process of getting my sockets, socket extensions and socket wrench to remove my battery.
I do however succeed in getting these tools, turning around, driving back the Kohlweis Auto Parts. I remove the battery ignoring the signs in the window that say, "Our insurance frowns on people like you doing what you are doing and you should not be doing that." I take the battery inside the store, the salesman attaches it to the battery tester - which is portable, which pisses me off inside because he could have carried it out into the parking lot, attached it to my battery without making me remove the thing from the car; but it is done and he attaches it to the battery and after pushing a lot of buttons, prints out a little slip of paper and tells me, "your battery is fine."
I didn't want my battery to be fine. I wanted him to tell me the battery was no good. I wanted to buy a new battery. I wanted a battery that was going to charge my cell phone or my computer without going dead and needing a jump. I don't want to have to unplug my GPS and other attachments from my lighter each time I get out of the car. I wanted the salesman to take a lot of my money because my battery was no good and he was going to sell me a new one, a high-quality, super duty battery that did the same thing as any other battery but in an amazing way. But this is not what the salesman tells me and I am not prepared for this. I start asking him stupid questions I already know the answers to. I figure in my mind, "maybe if I ask them to someone behind a counter in an auto parts store where my friend who was homeless and addicted to meth used to work, he might have different answers for me". This is not the case.
I pick up my battery, because it is heavy I walk funny back to my car with it. I put it back in the 2011 GMC Yukon where it is tucked back in the corner bolted down to the tray and reassemble the bar that holds up the tray and replace the piece that goes over the battery holding the body of the car together in a way that the engine might not land on the lap of the passenger if I am in a very high impact collision and I leave Kohlweis with my new windshield wiper blades.
I decide to go down the street and look for the RV Repair place the Chinese salesman told me about. Sure enough I zip down the road, pass the large collection of RVs, make a legal U-Turn, go back, bring my leaf spring into the showroom where no one can be found. I go into the garage and find a salesman, he find the correct leaf spring, I buy the correct leaf spring, I go back to the first store, cancel my order, get a refund and I have had enough excitement for the day so I decide the leaf spring can go on tomorrow.
It's now Sunday. I go and put the leaf spring onto the trailer. It is iron, and it has little parts that need to line up with other little parts so that bolts will slip into holes through multiple pieces. After hitting the spring and the axle with a 2.5 lb. hammer a few times, a mallet and a smaller metal hammer, squeezing parts with a clamp to make them slip into the holes they need to slip into, jacking up the axle, jacking up the trailer, bolting, unbolting, rebolting, temporarily bolting, moving the jack from spring, to axle to trailer, unbolting the temporary bolting, rebooting it the way it is supposed to go and I eventually impress myself and actually succeed on reassembling the underside of the trailer back to its original condition. I changed the tire with the spare tire that is in better condition and my trailer is ready for the trip to Mississippi on September 25th. Anyone want to go, let me know.