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Behind the Apron | Dreams in the Aisles

When I was in sixth grade I casually sat back in my chair, put my hands on my head and tipped the seat.  I told myself that someday in the future I would be in high school and will remember this moment.  Many years later, there I am in my senior English class and I did the same gesture.  Poof, like an electric shock, a double life memory, I was transformed back to sixth grade... I could see myself smiling as a sixth grader as if hearing a joke - but this sixth grade smile was only clear to me when I was in that senior moment.

Ground shaking

Shortly thereafter, a lifetime ago now, I was little older than Avin is today I could be found working at Home Depot no# 475... 59th Ave & Beardsley/101.  This was a time when the internet was still in diapers, there were no eclectic cars, cell phone apps - AND you still had to wear a collared shirt at Home Depot. 

home depot #475

I was out of high school, still living with my parents and attending college to get my Virtual Design Degree at ITT Tech (now no longer exists).  This is when I still drove my 1970 Camaro to work on the regular - which the hood now famously hangs on the wall behind me.

Camaro hood hanging on the wall of an office while someone working at the computer

This was a time in my life when I started to gain my own level of independence. I could regularly get a haircut every two weeks (which is still current today) and I could buy myself lunch.  I was making $9 an hour and when I could wander over to Panda Express (which is still there - yet my college is no longer.. weird...)


When I would order lunch it'd cost me - ish $10-$11 or so.  I would remember eating there thinking, fuck man! I just worked ONE ENTIRE HOUR for this lunch...  shit would bother me.. so much so, it'd kill my mood for lunch. 

During this window of time I found myself seeing the future in a different light.  I would choose the early morning shifts.  I enjoyed rolling in at 5/530ish to be open by 6A, then work until mid day and then have the rest of the time to myself. 

Home Depot #475

That would mean I'd be due my break around 930/10 in the morning.  When this would happen I could be found chilling out in front of the building, apron off, sit on the stem wall curb and soak up the morning sun.

Home Depot stack of wheel barrows

My favorite times to do this would be during the week.  It was obvious to me that most people would need to visit HD during the weekend, but there were those who had no work commitments, or at least were there on THEIR terms. 

Like being a cashier or server, you've got a sense for when someone is just gonna be a pain in the ass... so goes being there working, processing someone casually being at the store on their own time.

For me this was a motivator unlike anything I had thought of at the time.  I vividly remember telling myself "someday!" I'm going to go to Home Depot, some store, on a Tuesday, and just be there because I want to.  This was NOT backed by the idea of being off of work, being on vacation, no! This was entirely motivated by it being my own call.

As with any child hood job commitment, there's a time to say goodbye and go off into the world.

Home Depot going away card

Don't ask me why.. but I've held onto this ever since.

Home Depot going away card signed for Josh Brill

Of all the places I worked at in my professional life prior to self employment, I never received a go-get'm/congrats card like this. Maybe that's why I held onto it.. not sure, but I think I was supposed to keep it. 

Poof! suddenly it's 25 years later!

I've started more LLC businesses than I had jobs as a kid...  I've had more business cards, created more business cards that some people have teeth!  When I got this card I was closer in age to Avin AND Tristan! 

The first week of January I was awarded the opportunity to remodel another kitchen.  This kitchen is 30 years old with a handful of families doing their own touches of personality to it.

dated 90s style kitchen in arizona with weathered white cabinets and chunky brick backsplash

To go forward's you gotta go a little backwards...

dated kitchen demolition progress

kitchen dishwasher cabinet installation surrounded by tools

kitchen base cabinet installation progress

kitchen drywall repair after cabinet removal

While I left Avin to do some product organization I needed to jet to the closest HD to grab some next phase material. 

Not thinking much about the parts I needed to get, I pull into the parking lot and make my way towards the door and bam! 

Home Depot Glendale #475

Suddenly I'm taken back 25 years ago.  I look at my watch, it's 10:30... 

and it's a Tuesday?! 

Tucked behind the stack of wheel barrows I could see a 20 something year old kid smiling at me as I walked into HD on MY TIME.  

Wow, talk about full circle?! 

Without feeling bad about how long I was taking at the store, I walked through it remembering all the time beforehand... not necessarily time, but mindset of circumstance. It also brought me back to my sixth grade year too.  

It really humbled my sprit and drew attention to the fact that I don't daydream like I used to..

Or do I??

SpongeBob grin


cappuccino colored 42 inch cabinets installed

I still have a bit more things to do before I can share a DDFD pic, but it's coming.

Too cool of a story not to share with a buddy.

The lesson in the message - don't ever stop day dreaming... don't ever stop doing.

After days, months or years of going to the grocery store collecting things, experiences, and skills.  It won't feel like progress, but one day you'll look down and you'll have created a seven course meal and will have company to enjoy it with and then it will hit you.

Ever had a similar experience? 

Have a grateful weekend! 

Picture courtesy of Chas and her good eye! 

sun peering from rocky mountain top white tank mountains surprise arizona

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