Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013

It is that time of the year again, another Fathers Day. I am not sure how I take this day any more. Either good or bad. Good, obviously because I have four fantastic children who are healthy and alive. Them along with their husbands and wives....or soon to be wife in one case....seem to have great relationships with each other. This is always great to see. Bad, the not so obvious reason,  this time of year reminds me that I miss my father so terribly much. The opportunity to make a call or send a card or even have dinner together doesn't exist for me.

My father passed away over twenty eight years ago. Each time I say that it seems so long ago. Time may have healed wounds from the painful day when I was in my early twenties and just started college. Faded are too many of the memories of the distant past. I don't like the fact that I don't think of my father as much as I feel I should. However when I do remember it is filled with a bit of pain deep inside realizing what I said above, I just won't ever be able to see him again.

I see within myself some of my fathers traits.....of those that I recognize. They are the amusing memories...maybe because those are the things I choose to recall. My father was always an ambitious individual. He had high hopes and dreams to make and do more for his family. We visited lots of places as a family, and even more when it was just me at home. Maybe I should do a blog about some of those trips....some were really funny. My father tried to do something beyond imagination with a few inventions that he had been working on. The biggest was a patent he held for a non-aerosol devise. We went all over the country and even down into Mexico to try to get that off the ground. 

One of the biggest influences I see my father within me is the drive to have and run our own businesses. My father opened his tax office when I was only a year old. It was called KENCO, ....after his name.....KEN and company basically. I grew up in that small office on Frank Phillips Blvd. Played as a child in the back office and many of my fathers clients saw me grow up within those walls. I don't recall the person, but I know one contractor brought me in a small wooden dog house to play with. I had that toy for many years. I wonder where that went to? I guess I got his will to create and be an entrepreneur from the years I spent in that office. As a young child I worked for my father doing "chores". I got paid a wage for the work I did. I raked the shagrug, .25; cleaned the bathroom, .25; took out the trash....there were a lot of bins for each of the employees, .25; dusted, .25; refilled the soda machine, .25..... and so on. As I grew up I was taught how to do short form taxes. This was just another math problem for me. Pre computer days. And then once into high school I advanced to corporate taxes. This saved me from ever having to flip burgers at a fast food place. I am thankful for that.

My father's office had a bunch of services that I was allowed to assit with. He had a Western Union service there that transferred money more than messages. I often help with that and the teletype machine in the back. KENCO provided copies for clients. Many would come in just for that. They didn't make copies themselves but rather give us the documents and we went to the back to make them. Some times just a few copies, sometimes hundreds. This was a way that my father saw to help offset the costs of the copy machine that he needed to prepare taxes. It wasn't until I went to college I saw the first KINKO'S in Stillwater......funny the name was so close.....and they provided copy services. I wonder to this day where and how they got started. Maybe they drove through Bartlesville one day? 

As copy orders got bigger, we had a small printing press in the back. On that machine we could make hundreds of copies.....of each and white mostly. Wow, time certainly has changed in technology. Those services put me up at the front desk taking orders and meeting face to face with customers. Taking money and giving change....all in my head. We didn't have a cash register. I don't think many people can do that these days. They don't even know how to count. I had to add up the cash drawer every evening as well to see how much money we made.

Not always but sometimes I even answered the phone and took messages. Not bad for just a teenage kid. I still did the chores too.....usually got more than a quarter for it. I saw my father's office grow. He had to get the small house next door so he could store more things. He had an office in Skiatook for a while. I remember when he got his first computer for taxes. It looked like the captain's chair for Star Trek. It was massive. And did so Then there were versions of the PC that came out. The business of taxes was growing. We saw the development of our new competition.....H&R Block. All of this makes me wonder if my dad could have seen how the development of the tax offices or copy outlets could have grown where it would have gone. Where would the growth have taken my family?

My brothers worked briefly for my father, but that was only once they were grown and only for a bit. It was me that grew up in that office, that knew it so well. I know my parents wanted me to take over the business. They hoped that I would be interested in carrying on the KENCO name. However, that wasn't the case. Nobody in our family showed a desire to "work taxes". Nobody seemed to have my father's business in their interest. Such a shame. The business had ran its course and allowed my father to raise and support his family. And then we all turned our back on it. I certainly didn't see myself working taxes the rest of my life. I didn't want to be an accountant. I wanted to be an architect. We all had our own goals.

And then the day came when it was just too much for my father as well. His frail body couldn't keep up with the diabetes that attacked it. And I am sure that running a small business had its own set of stresses as well. I understand that first hand. My father, my dad, passed away on August 13, 1985. I was home from college that summer after my first year. I wasn't even working for my father that summer. I was working for a concrete contractor. It was my mother's birthday. I rode to the hospital in the ambulance. The driver was a guy I went to high school with, played soccer with. His heart had given out. I remember sitting on the floor of the hall in the hospital wearing my old house slippers......hadn't worn those in years. Is was the quickest thing I could find in the middle of the night as I rushed to ride along in the ambulance. Isn't it funny the things we remember?

The days, the weeks, the months and now the years have passed since that dark evening. There are times now that I sit at my desk in my office and I think of my father. I try to compare the stress that I have with what his might have been. I really never understood.....I really wasn't old enough to. I compare my business with his. The size of the we now begin our expansion. The number of we continue to grow. I wish he could see me. I wish I could share. I wish I knew that he was proud of me. I wish I could sit down and have a chat about stuff......anything. He wasn't all into sports, he wasn't all into politics, nor even church. He just did his business. That was all I really ever knew of him. And I was there much of the journey. This I am thankful for.

I am thankful for a father that provided for me. For a father that obviously loved me....even if he didn't always know how to show it. I am thankful for that funny guy who was more odd than being in style. I am thankful that I got to spend time....even if it was too short....with my dad. I guess, now I see how strange I am.....I guess, in a little kids get the chance to see their grandfather in me.....a little odd, a little quirky, a little possessed, a little goofy......but most importantly a father that loves his children. 

I miss you Dad, love you always. Thinking of you today.

ET this I beleive

Friday, June 7, 2013

Some people just don't care

I don't know what it is about some people. I don't think it has to do anything with responsibility. I feel that it is a general lack of caring. Some people just don't care.

You go out of your way take care of things for them, But they don't reciprocate. Just a little attention please. It seems that their motto is, "the needs of themselves are greater than the needs of others". 

Oh well, to each his own. I can do my own thing as well.

ET this I believe

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

So What Is The Point?

So what is the point? There are times when I feel that everything I do is somewhat pointless. It is kind of like mowing the lawn. I spend countless hours mowing and trimming and weeding and planting.....and all that happens is having to do it all over again. What do I gain? Or is it just pointless?

There never seems to be an end to the house repairs. Once you get one appliance fixed or item patched or repaired, here comes another. Ownership isn't all that its cracked up to be. By the time you pay taxes, do the repairs and maintenance there isn't any time or money for upgrades. My home is my castle.....yeah right. So what is the point?

Exercise, this tired old body just cannot keep up. I have been trying to lose weight and run to stay fit. Setting some goals for myself. It just seems like every time I turn around I have more injuries preventing me from running or exercising. High ambitions but not enough steam in my engine anymore. My body keeps breaking down. Money on exercise gear, shoes, doctor appointments, race entry fees....s what is the point?

So we are supposed to go to church every Sunday and we do. I even teach morning class. But it seems that nobody else is very committed. Time and preparation for the class for only a few to hear what I have to say....or what the bible has to say. Makes it quite discouraging when there isn't others that care. Makes one question about the relevance of it all. So what is the point?

Work is such a time consuming necessary task in our lives. I spend so much effort in creating a business, building a business, maintaining a business, running a seems it runs me mostly. Why do I want to grow bigger? Taking on more work means hiring more people. Hiring more people means acquiring more equipment and software. More desks means I will run out of room and will need to rent more space. Of course that space needs to be renovated. Of course now I have more people, more overhead, more deadlines....I need more projects to pay for it. Sort of a never ending cycle. So what is the point?

All the "stuff" we do seems to build up like water in a dam and you just hope that it holds back the floods. If it ever breaks....."Sally bar the door!" Really, all this activity keeps us moving so much that we don't have time for each other. We don't have time for anything but finally crashing in bed at the end of a long day tied together with the string of things needed to get accomplished. Collapsed.

So what is the point! Do you ever find yourself asking these questions? Do you ever wonder why you end of doing the things you do? Or taking responsibility for more stuff? What if you made different decisions in your life, where would you be now? Maybe I live in an apartment, no grass to mow, no repairs to manage. Maybe I shouldn't worry about exercise. Since nobody cares at church, they probably wouldn't even notice if I wasn't there. Think of what I could accomplish with the extra time. Just find a job that paid my bills. No need to worry about all the business headaches. Leave that to others. Wouldn't life be so much easier! So what is the point?

For me I guess it is the in borne trait of always bearing the responsibility. I seem to have to "care". I don't look the other way, I go and help. I was given strong shoulders to carry some of the weight of burden.....regardless of how tired I become. Along side that trait of responsibility is the trait of competitiveness. Something deep inside makes me want to do more, do better, achieve more, accomplish more. I feel sometimes these traits are more like curses than blessings. Life could be simpler if my DNA was different. Different, but probably boring too. Uneventful. Bland. Lackey excitement.

So what is the point? I am still not sure......but I keep on doing it.
Have a great day my friends......find the point!

ET this I beleive