Good morning friend :)
I hope your sky outside is as nice to look at as mine is... damn it's beautiful. I'm not sure if it's because my birthday is during the monsoon season or that I love the hot! summers I'm not sure.. I don't know if it's because I spent countless summers in Tucson with my awesome grandparents working under the grey clouds with a touch of humidity while a nice thunder storm looms over us.. damn I don't know. But I love this time of year :)
The other day I went to the landfill to help some clients out along with helping a buddy and also us getting rid of our shit in the house as well... and well.. just as I was preparing to leave to collect my next round... Hulk caught my eye..
I legit paused and soaked it up.. birds were flocking around, big ass machines doing their stuff, other junkyard types doing their thing, the smell of diesel, dirt, and just crap.. the dump... and yet there was a beautiful moment.. a metaphoric flower coming up from the dirt in such a place.
So I stopped and took a picture... a couple really. I can only wonder what all the other men were thinking as I'm positioning myself to catch the right angle.. hahha... I wanted to remember this moment.
There lays a toy, a fond played with toy from Tristan. He came to the conclusion at some point he needed to move on from it and had to throw it away. Although I'm making a much bigger deal about this than he is... but I had a flash of all the memories Hulk likely had with him... what that toy did for his imagination. He may not play with them like that again, but creative roots will carry on in his mind that he'll be able to expand on.
The other part that just got me was the look on Hulks face...
There he lay, atop a pile of concrete, stucco, wood, carpet, junk... he found himself out from the bag he was tossed in... half torn apart with his missing torso... a torn shoulder... ripped to pieces.. .yet! he lay there pounding on the ground refusing to quit... never quitting, quite literally exhausting his last green plastic'y life saying I will not go quietly into the night.
This was the moment I was processing as the sounds of the environment around me came silent. Tristan knew he needed to move on from a playful childhood chapter of his life. The toy knew it but was going out with an epic close.
For months I've had a feeling I lacked the vision to describe... describe to myself personally, let alone articulate to others... when I got into the truck, the moment I just captured with Hulk provided the missing imagery my heart had been searching for.... and I felt ok.
Ok with the heartfelt understanding that it was time for me to move on from my Water Features and no longer build them.
It's amazing to me what a full year does to the spirit.. Just last September I wrote a post about the origin story of my water features.... I had spent hours and hours preparing for my youtube self interview video that I did.. damn it was exhausting, but it was a lot! of soul searching I did.. As I stated in the video... I've quit a number of times throughout my building them and stated I was here to stay.. hahah! so much for that.
So hear I am today and rather than use the words quitting, I am retiring from building them professionally. I understand how Brett Farve, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana...(I can't stand sports analogies btw) haha!! all the greats from the past.. .they'd retire, then come back, retire, then come back... something was pulling them to come back. I get it... I felt the same thing every time I would close that door.. what the hell do I do now??..
For me, my fountains provided me a creative outlet to work with my hands.. build something special, something that many lacked the know how to do. I was 100% self taught and thrived on the providing service to people. Looking back on everything I can see now that although I loved building, I really enjoyed providing service to my customers.. it was like performing in a sport (which I rarely did as a kid)... the dopamine fix I'd get building and creating for others, in front of others.. it was amazing!
It started as a creative idea that evolved into something that I could not let go of. It made me discover myself in a way I didn't know, it put me in some very stressful situations with customers and my/our personal life.
When I saw Hulk there putting up his final fight it made me look back on my past building them... the joys I had in doing so.
Here never seen before are the legitimate first 5 we built.. Fountains 1,2, and 3 totaled more than $45,000 worth of project money... #3 being more than half of that amount, built for a house 7 times more expensive than mine... I was 25 years old... and I had never made that much money personally, let alone it being other peoples money... and even more shitty scary...
I NEVER made a fountain that could run for more than 20 minutes without creating a massive mess...
in a need to follow through and make a fountain that really worked I designed 4a and 5b.. those were test fountains built from a portion of the deposit money to build the real ones. The goal was to figure this shit out before! the customer ones were fully fabricated and ready... that goal was achieved... thankfully.
The fountains taught me to have the courage to sell myself in ways never thought of. They taught me to not quit when feeling overwhelmed... taught me to find solutions. Since then, I've built another almost 70 based solely on the frame design of 4a & 5b.
The other joy was, at the time, it wasn't lonely. The shop was filled with me and my brothers.. and a 3 year old Avin. :) We struggled together as I figured out how to build something we've all never done.
The fountains were hard on us as we all still had day jobs... the balance was f'n exhausting...As the years progressed, we all grew up and became adults... life got shitty, complicated and stressful... When family shit got in the way of things we all drifted apart... I struggled wanting to keep the biz going and closed it.
Of all the jobs I held throughout that period I was only ever on salary. So to make ends meet we needed extra money... I started the fountain biz all over again, but with just me... I renamed the biz and started them again. Not entirely for the money as much as therapy.. the need to build, to stay active, to tolerate life's current shit show. It saved me through the stressful times in dealing with the life abandonment...
There was a time when my entire family moved to Utah.. The market up there didn't have an industry for me to keep providing for the family.. so we stayed. I'm thankful we did, but it was hard. It was just Chas and I. I was the only one working so Chas could be home with Avin.. all we could do was rely on each other... That time made our marriage far stronger than ever before. The fountains kept up and ultimately saved us financially... as soon as I was ready to quit.. we needed money and the universe provided building opportunities.
It was still incredibly lonely. No more was I building them in people's houses.. I was sending them across the country... countless hours in the shop by myself... still using tools my brothers shared and worked on together. There were a lot of times that it sucked... but I couldn't quit. I would burn hot and love it, then I would get fried and gassed out. I would end up doing this for another almost 8 years straight or so. Sure I loved it, damn did I... but it cost a lot of me. Sometimes too much.. but it wouldn't go down without a fight.
Fast forward to today.... I'm self employed and can control my time in a way that I couldn't when I was first building them.. You'd think I would be exploring all the options to make it into something.. but it doesn't feel the same anymore.
History finds a crappy way of repeating itself.. life and family are still at odds and I often feel estranged from many of them. The fountains are now no longer an avenue for stress relief or a creative outlet. I can feel the grip of the fountains loosening as my discovered identity becomes clearer..
It was incredibly hard leaving my hospital design day job and go into sales... I quickly realized that sales was too professionally (industry wise) .. I greatly struggled with the identity of being just a realtor simply because of the industry image.. I watched people change from it, lose themselves in it and it was gross... I relied on my artistic building side of creating fountains to balance that identity. That was ok for only so long as the struggle was still there.
The GUD Handyman business is booming in a way that I could never have imagined. The long hours of GUD work creates a lot of empty time.. the quiet moments of self solitude has allowed me look inside myself more than I have before... It fulfills my need for connection with people and customers.. I'm able to provide and perform in a way that I loved doing with my fountains... I'm far more disciplined than I ever have... This year's finance spread sheet it named "Have the Discipline" .. I can feel the changes of what being intentional does... I'm really enjoying things now.. far more than I ever have and I love it. <3
I know in my heart it was the upbringing my parents provided me that gave me the foundations of taking risks and trying things even if I failed... My GP taught me what craftsmanship means.. all of that allowed me to build things with my hands and sell them all over the world.. today, all of that experience is backed with the sales/social experience that real estate provides. Now with the GUD stuff I have found that I am way more blue collar than I knew... and I love it!!
Being a handyman and real estate has bonded in a way I never ever could have imagined. I love them both so, so much! It's an identity I can get behind without question. Seeing Hulk on that pile of junk and debris... the decision Tristan made to need to part from it so he could move on and grow to his next step, that moment solidified where I was feeling in my heart with moving on.
As I approach my 40's (still have 2 years left) life is different than before. With stresses and failures comes wisdom. - if you're paying attention... from that failure comes growth. As I look back on all the things I've done - I needed the fountains... I wasn't done learning from them. They provided me SO! much... as I work on my GUD jobs I can see and feel it's preparation...
I no longer have my GP to call and ask questions about how I should build something or fix something... I'm on this for me to figure out... but I rest easy knowing he's at least watching how things shake out. (RIP GP <3 ) I believe this is life letting me know it's time to start a new chapter.. and that it's ok to do so.
This doesn't feel like quitting to me like it did before... it is more like school of life. Not that I've graduated and am done learning, no. I'm looking at this really the way Clint Eastwood did when he left the acting field and took that experience and moved behind the directors seat. The life education he gained and his creative notoriety all built a foundation for his next chapter. He evolved beyond what he was once capable of. Today he still acts but he's acting in his own stories now.. one's that he's leading.
I see me retiring my fountains as just that.. I am who I am because of them and I'm grateful to everything it's taught me. As I type a way a song is on repeat.. it's a moving song for me but it was one that we'd listen to insistently in the shop while building fountains... it was early in the days of building them. Overcast days like this and the shop were all that I'd dream about and man did I love them!!... The music brings me back but it's like an epic song that you'd hear at a funeral of one's life as the place their still life into the ground... remembering but understanding the finality of things but holding onto the memories because that's what moved you and made you.
When I got home that morning to fill up for the next load... low and behold... something stayed...
I think it was the universe telling me that it's going to be ok. Although we move on in life we never forget where we came from. I picked up the car and held it, even spun its wheels. I opened up the truck and put it in my center consul for it to always be. It told me that although I'm not building them anymore, if I want to make some for fun, that will be ok. Just as a retired athlete still throws the ball or coaches a team... it's ok that they don't play anymore.
As a parent, the hot-wheel will always remind me of Tristan. Reminding me how his little ass will not always be little.. he will grow up and not play with toys in the future. That makes me sad, but sad with love understating the change of time and the inevitable. It will also always remind me of the day I retired this chapter of my life and started a new one... all the while, never forgetting where I came from.
Thank you SO! much! I super appreciate your patience as I articulate what I'm feeling.
Enough eulogizing about my fountains!!! :)
Now to what makes Friday's so bad ass! :)
In awesome fashion! a friend sent me a he took picture.. and HOLY CRAP!! Amazing!... outside the fact that he took this I would have scooped this up as soon as I would have laid eyes on it. DAMN! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Self discovery is a long road and can be a bitch. I don't think I'm done (lord know's Chas is tired of my I'm gonna do this, no this, no this is what I like, no I don't like that) hahah! it's a process for sure. If you find yourself on a path of self discovery and want to talk to a buddy who's still failing forward, I'm here. If you're a spouse who's watching the self discovery and need a buddy for that. >D hahah! Chas is here for that too. haha.
I'm grateful for your time and support.
Make it a joyful weekend and have a grateful Friday friend :)