Thursday, February 2, 2012
Saturday, October 16, 2010
A Christmas climbing vacation last year ended before it ever really began, quite frankly. I had an emergency surgery and decided to leave my job as a live-in nanny for more income among other reasons. Immediately I was homeless, but at least I was smart enough to take care of my massive doctor's bills by ensuring my financial well-being. I say this in a grandiose way, but in fact I had told my part time job that I was now free to work as many hours as they could schedule; the more, the better. So began a long road of physical and financial recovery.
Approximately six hours before the emergency room.
The first four months of this year were spent working 50 hours a week without health benefits or paid time off all while living on my gracious friend's living room couch. By the way, thanks again Greg, Sarah, and Max. Things would certainly be different without that grace period. Still, though, I was without a permanent place to live and trying to prove myself everyday at work. I wanted desperately to have benefits, a "regular" schedule, and a room of my own. Slowly but surely I went from being just another part-timer to a real work horse. There were weeks that I slept in the stockroom or in my car simply because I had no other place to go and couldn't afford a different situation. This isn't the most glorious quote, but Mat Kearney once said, "nothing worth having ever goes down easy." I thought this many nights as I slept alone and sometimes sick in these places.
Some nights I slept in the mall just like Corduroy the bear.
Over those months I was given the classic run around by my boss and my boss' boss. My district manager continually told me to improve certain aspects of my job and "we'll see in a month" where I would be. Each month I was always in the same position. I had improved, but it was not quite what they were wanted. (Side note: what does indirect jaron like that mean?) By early summer I had been through two different stores and six bosses for various reasons. Full time associates and assistant managers were hired and quit within months, yet I was still a part-timer working more than 40 hours a week. By April I was literally knocking it out of the park every day I came to work. At the end of each month a top 20 list is posted for several sales categories, and I finally made it. Albeit the category was socks and I was a mere 16th best in the country, I was still proud of my accomplishment especially given my housing circumstances.
My brother came and visited in the middle of May. It was a breath of fresh air, even if it was for only a week. Some how things are always alright no matter how terrible they may seem if he is there. The presence of someone or lack thereof is a powerful thing. I realized my struggle at Clarks was just beginning and it would be a similar test to surviving architecture school. Amazingly enough, I found a great place to live in late May and was no longer sleeping in my car. I quickly settled in and went to work for Clarks even more dedicated.
The top 20 list for June was posted and I couldn't believe my eyes. I knew I had an unreal month, but to be on the list for a third time in a row was great. However, this time it was not for socks alone, but name was on the list in four of the six rankings. The most incredulous part was that I was at the top of the list in the two most important and difficult categories. In six months I had gone from and average, hard-working part-timer to the best shoe and accessory salesman in the country for Clarks. What a special moment. I finally felt like I had achieved something. There was a bonafide period where no one in the country was better than me at my job, plain and simple. In fact, I was almost 50 percent better than the second place finishers among 1000 sales associates, give or take a few. I felt an enormous sense of pride and an increasingly strong desire to do better the next month.
From the beginning of June to the present, I have approached each day or work and climbing the same. I want to be better than I was the previous day. It may be better in a different way, but I want to be constantly improving. Statistically, July was not as absurdly off the top of the charts, but for the second straight month I was number one in the two most improtant categories. This was the point where I wanted a personal goal of being the number one salesman in the company for the year. It will be February before I know for certain, but the numbers are looking as if that goal could be attainable. To be the best in back to back months made me realize that I was not a fluke salesman and I had dozens of customer testimonials to that fact as well. Unfortunately, my hours were being drastically reduced until somehow I was left with only four hours in the first week of August. How could this be? Why me? How did I slip through the cracks? What would I do?
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Also, a bit of motivation never hurts.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Yesterday I decided to give the Boulder Public Library a second chance. After my first visit, it was deemed that no good architecture books were inside there. Upon a second look, it turns out that there is definitely some possibility for some good reading. However, as the saying goes, you can't judge a book by it's cover. Thus, I chose a thin, tattered one about architecture and another on life after the city. The first one, The Tao of Architecture, was finished today. The book references a Laotzu parable at least once on every page, which means an abundance of thinking to be done for a book with with so few pages. Not the most interesting, but some very good points were made; a nice reintroduction into the world of architecture. Well, that's about all the writing I have time for today. There will be another tomorrow.
Friday, April 23, 2010
This running book makes the fourth in two months, and after the first I made the decision to begin running again. Running is liberating, an investment, and a struggle. Most of all, it is rewarding. I was told once that people are less likely to achieve something if they tell others about small successes en route. However, I chose to begin running again about two months ago with a track workout. Four quarters at a stead pace with a quarter jogged as rest between laps. I could not complete the workout, but the purpose was to measure the current fitness level. Four runs, three books, and two months later, it was time to "check in" again. I managed a 5:55 mile on a treadmill at the gym. Certainly not a glorious time for the masses, but it was a personal best for me. The best part about it was setting the treadmill to a pace to follow and realizing that I've been running sizeable portions of my longer training runs at a higher heartrate. It would be nice to run a sub 5 minute mile sometime this summer, maybe even a 4:30, but the joy of covering ground is enough for now.
The climbing is on the up and up as well, as Target would say. I've been exclusively sport climbing for about three weeks now. Prior to that it was more or less thirty days in a row of weight lifting. It seems the running and sport climbing are working well together for now, and this is a wonderful time of year to be living in the Republic of Boulder.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
On a side note from this "weekend," which was really not a calendar weekend but a retail weekend, Greg Mionske and I both acquired our first pairs of Jordans. Needless to say they improved our basketball skills exponentially.
Well, I've been working a ton the past week and a half, turned down a job as a tax claims investigator (who wants to help people figure out how they mismanaged a part of their lives for 40+ hr/wk), and started sport climbing for real this time. I saw the bodies exhibit at the Denver Arts and Sciences Museum, which was too cool and such poignant day that I was nearly reminiscing about everything as it was happening. Crazy. I paid another month of medical bills and finished another book. Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr. is the best book I have read this year. It is second only to The Little Prince on my all-time list, and this is quite a statement for those who understand. I can't remember the last time I sat in a silent room and laughed so much and felt such an overwhelming since of exhilaration as training regimens were described, practical jokes unfolded, and feelings were illustrated. Beautiful, insightful, hilarious, brilliant, and inspiring. Hope the sequel is somewhere near the same ballpark.
One of these days I will have pictures again. And one of these days I will climb outside again, but I'm in no rush for either at the moment.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Born to Run is a nationally accalimed best seller, but this doesn't always mean a person is going to like it. Take The Kite Runner for example. I couldn't even finish 20 pages before I was wholistically uninterested. Anyway, the book was wonderful. The author tells the story of the development of American ultra running and parallels that with the rich running history of a Mexican tribe known as the Tarahumara. Having read this, I am definitely inclined to question my eating habits, run more, and how Michael Hickman's life story sounded as if it could be my own. Strange how insightful and thought-provoking reading can be.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I made the trip the "long way" to Yosemite and continued the journey with only a map and a few days supply of food. I had no expectations and lived each day for the day, not knowing where the roads would take me or where I would sleep. One of these paths brought a disposable camera to my possession. It had 12 exposures already taken on it when I found it, and this past Friday I finally took the last one. It is time to get it developed and see the treasures that have been stored away for months. I wish my life was still that concise and simplified, but I'm finding that it's okay to establish dependencies in relationships, places, and even things.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
So, I watched 7 Pounds with Will Smith this morning before the sunrise. An absolutely wonderful movie. I also watched the sunrise for the first time in many months. This is sad mostly because this time last year I was watching the sun rise each morning and taking hundreds of pictures every day. "Well, some things change, awe but some things stay the same." I also used to draw, climb outside, and send lots of snail mail. Wish some things didn't change. However, I am still sleeping in my sleeping bag, which is more than less a year and a half strong. That said, it's time for some famous Mionske flap jacks, a movie, and that sleeping bag.
Side note: Greg Mionske finally bench pressed over 100lbs. and Rob Gonazales dunked a regulation basketball on a regulation goal twice this afternoon. Watch out ladies or else BOOM!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
As spring sluggishly awakens, this was all I could think of last year. Unfortunately, we're all a year older and everyone seems to be where I was last year: Bishop, CA. So no SB10 for me. No party barges, no tropical drinks, no desert heat, and no open road unless you count an 11 mile stretch of Hwy 36 to and from work. No adventures to be had with one day off a week, only the few spare hours allowing for the tying of loose ends that form my life. However, hard work does pay off sometimes. All the work over the past three months has earned me a promotion, which I took but still would rather be doing something else. As for climbing, the results of "hard work" are often bittersweet and gray. Hard work in athletics is ambiguous to say the least, since it's all relative to the individual. It feels like I've been "working hard," but it's hard to quantify these results when I haven't tested myself outside in months and I'm always on the verge of being seriously injured. Well, no time for "time off" as long as I can still do something, but with so many people leaving town for the week it does feel like a break of sorts. Happy Spring Break (if you have one)!