back in the OC empire

Im back in my OC empire…sleeping on the floor in my shared 350 sq ft mansion (with A GREAT view). We did a cram session of info today, talked with the soccer shots franshising owners about some stuff…fingers crossed that they catch our vision and get behind us.

our spring season we only had 23 kids in our program, we believe that we already have about 150 kids enrolled for this fall (thats an estimate but it could be more or less..we dont know until the season starts). Thats a pretty good growth rate. We have lots of work to do, but for the first time in my life…i dont dread my job. I really enjoy what im doing…now if only we can build up our company and make some money at it.

cross your fingers for us my loyal readers……reader…….hi amanda (my wife).

PS. next week is “scary time” (we give our weeks names…like POWER WEEK and stuff like that)..next week is the first time that i am the only partner here working the phones, running “demo days”…etc. I have the Least experience so its a little intimidating. even my toes are crossed now.

what am I leaving behind.

I am leaving behind a lot of hard work…but, I cant help but feel that I wasted my time. I know that in hindsight…40 yrs from now, I will have a very clear picture of all the great things I got out of the last three years of my work life…but right now it looks a bit hazy.

Let me break it down for you. I bought a house, good investment. Then I took my spare money and invested it in building a rental suite in the basement, good investment. I also had spent a couple thousand dollars when they were pouring the basement so that they would add a separate entrance to the basement, good investment. Then everyday after work I sat in the basement watching YouTube videos on how to- tile a bathroom, install linoleum flooring, install a kitchent, hang doors, install laminate flooring, install shelves etc…, good investment. I bought my dad a plane ticket to fly up and help me work on the project, good investment. I put all my spare money into increasing the value of my house while my friends were buying new quads and campers with their extra cash, good investment. The problem was that when the markets crashed it meant that after all my work, my  house was now worth an estimated 20,000 dollars LESS than what I had into it. Pretty cool, basically the lesson learned is that a good investment opportunity is just that, an opportunity..not a guarantee.

During this time I was putting in 3 years towards getting my CGSB lvl 2 tickets. That certified me to work with Radiation, inspecting welds and castings (with the opportunity to work on inspecting airplanes as well). My boss felt that it was best for me to own my own tickets. I dont totally agree with him, at least as far as how he defined the process of getting to that point. If my name is on the ticket and I did the work, then I would in every sense of the word “own my own tickets”. You are the bottom end of the totem pole, making the Least amount of money in the industry, yet you have to come up with $10,000 to pay for your tickets. When I was in my courses, all of my fellow students….every single one of them, had their courses paid for. Most of them also had their hotels and food paid for. Some of them were paid an hourly wage to be in the program, since they were employed and it was part of their training. So it seems that most (All) of the industry would agree with me, but that’s besides the point.

I was working towards Franchising. There is a 90% dropout/failure rate in this program. In November 2008 I finally recieved all the tickets necessary to start up your own business and franchise under a large companies License number (Way too expensive and difficult to get approved by the Government to have your own Radiation License, and the liability is THROUGH the roof!). The deal was that I would work for 2,000 hrs for the guy who got me into the program, and then I would cut loose on my own.  16 days after recieving my tickets, I started to have some pretty severe physical symptoms.  Then I spent an entire winter on call, 24 hours a day…7 days a week.  And I BARELY got any work. So the bills got harder to pay, and i spent more and more time in the doctors office. I had most of my blood taken out of my body, one little innocent looking tube at a time.  On May 9th I was finally told that I would no longer be able to work at my job in canada. bummer.

Then my boss put his hand through a table-saw. So he really needed me to stay and cover all his work for him or he would lose the few contracts that he did have. The problem was that there was no work available.  So I stayed on, committed full-time. I skipped a lot of family stuff and just stayed in a small town. Only I didnt get any calls, just like i told him that there was no work in my area all winter (he didnt believe me) there was also no work during the summer. I paid all my bills with a Mastercard, and used up the equity that I had access to in my home (the bank thinks its worth more than it is). Then when I told my boss that I had to leave in July he got really upset. He told me that my character was a disappointment, because i hadnt stayed on to work the full 2000 hours that I had told him I would work prior to branching out on my own. hmm…someday i might write him a letter.

SO..i left a job that paid me $30 an hour reg, $45 an hour OT…only it actually worked out to more because I got paid a minimum of 4 hours for every call out. When its working at a fulltime rate you end up getting paid about 16hrs worth of work for about 11 hours of actual work. Also, anything after 3pm is considered an OT hour. Once i franchised though, that hourly rate was triple digits..not a bad payout.

Now i have nothing to show for all that, living on the floor in California, sharing 400 sq feet with two guys. My wife and 4 month old boy are living in canada while we wait for their paperwork to come through for them to immigrate to the States (looks like it could be up to 10 months). And i am starting up a business from scratch. awesome. (its called Soccer Shots..look us up at soccershots.org Orange County)

Why move?

well, i was minding my own business when my circulatory system let me down.

I never really got nervous doing presentations in class…or going on dates…or asking a girl to marry me 4 months after i met her, so you would think that i would not be a likely candidate to suffer from chronic ‘cold feet’.  I have a circulatory disease. Not that big a deal. The symptoms are easily controllable, all you have to do is avoid cold weather and emotional stress and then you feel like you are on top of the world. Unfortunately I was working in a job that required me to be consistently exposed to -40 temperatures….problem. And the economy was crashing around me..oil and natural gas prices were plummeting, which was directly affecting my job…I was on call 24 hours a day..every day. Problem was that from May 9th until July 25th I was only called out for 34hrs…hard to pay the bills,…emotionally stressful…sooo, problem.

Off to california. With virtually no money. My wife and kid dont have paperwork to come to the US, so I live here by myself. Well….not totally true, i live on the floor of a 400 sq foot studio…with three people (one of them snores like a revving engine)

Hard Tests..Radiography Level II

Basically i am challenging 2 years worth of training, hours and testing by cramming everything in at once and then taking a rediculously hard test. The exam that I took and then recently got my marks back on (after an Excruciating 3 week wait) had a 90% failure rate…yeeaaaaaah. thats a 10% pass rate….that means that only, on average, 10 out of every 100 times the test is taken, is it passed.

I was pretty shaky on how i felt about it…pretty shaky. I worked So hard..i have been studying cue cards and taking practice tests and memorizing definitions and math equations since the beginning of January. I got into the exam and i was like “oh crap”. The test was SO hard, the questions were SO confusing, and there were math questions with equations that i had Never even heard of before..and i have memorized Tons of equations.

I phoned the guy up in Ottowa…he checked his computer, and told me “Mr. Barkey, you have successfully passed all three parts of the Written Examination, congratulations”

I couldnt believe it, i was so overwhelmed and relieved and surprised that it quickly became a moment that i wont forget, characterized by a sweeping blanket of intense emotions. I was so released from stress that it just flooded out of me in waves of excitement! I have worked so hard, and been blessed by so much prayer support that i am just extremely grateful to have this part of the certification process behind me and now i prepare for the last step, the Practical Exam.

It is a 2 days exam and I get three attempts at the Practical Exam. Since i have no material to study, i am planning on going into the first exam with the mindset of learning as much as i can in the first go around…and hopefully passing as many of the 7 parts as possible. Im pretty nervous about it. the exam is mid august..and because they are SO backed up, i cant rewrite until the end of October…STRESScase!

math test

its super fun writing a math test after ZERO hours of sleep. My reasoning and deduction skills were a bit slow..but I managed to get a 14 out of 15 so im happy about that. It wasn’t actually too difficult of a test..we were taught way more than we were tested on, so that was nice.

the foot thing…fun times. Just like last time, after sitting in the hospital for 7 hours..my symptoms dissappated and by the time a doctor came around to check on me, they were gone..just like last time. So he said “i have no idea…but it seems to have fixed itself”. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that absolutly nothing brought it on (I was laying in bed) and that 2 yrs and 4 months ago the exact same thing happened while i was sitting on a couch and got worse while washing some dishes. The clinic doctor said he had no idea and then sent me to a hospital where the symptoms dissappeared before i saw a doctor. So so far only the walk in clinic doctor has seen anything. The symptoms are similar to a blood clot, except that it doesnt progress into a deep vein thing..and they are similar to gout except its on the wrong part of my foot (top, outside part…instead of running up from big toe)

so after a sleepless night in the hospital i got no answers..but at least i was  a little better prepared for my math test than the doctors were for my foot.🙂

wow, it hurts.

It is 3:30 AM and i think i am having my second Gout attack. I went to bed at 11 PM with zero pain in my foot…but as i started to drift off the pain got worse and worse. Right now it is a throbbing pain that is almost impossible to walk on, and its progressively getting worse.

I had this happen once before. I went to a medical clinic..then got sent to the hospital..and by the time Canada’s wonderful health care system decided to see my the symptoms had dissappeared as quickly as they came. So here i sit…counting down the hours until i have to be at an extremely hard course in the morning…probably on zero hours of sleep. To make matters worse i cant drink coffee because it says that it might make it worse.

awesome. ever wonder at God’s timing?

im not too stressed because this has happened once before, about 2 years ago..and even though it technically went undiagnosed that time…im pretty sure its the same thing right now. crazy painful. no chance of sleeping. can’t really walk. pray for mental energy tomorrow..and an easier day so that i can absorb more info. i have my Math Test today (friday morning)..this should be interesting.

 

my big scary Radiography course

well today i started my Level II Radiography course..my last stage of training. So far i have been fortunate and i have done well on the courses…but the other courses didnt boast a 90% failure rate. They changed the grading scale less than a year ago..and since that time the failure rate has risen by 230%…i know…seems a little crazy.

Today was easy..but thats cause it was all review…tomorrow is some more math fun..then on Friday morning i have my First Test that i have to pass to get my math certification…should be a blast. Then i have four days of joy called Materials & Processing..then a test on that..probably on Tuesday morning, then i get another cute little certificate…then i have a couple weeks on Radiography…then i take a nice big test to get my last certificate.

Then comes the fun..the gov’t exams. I have to pass a written exam, and then a practical exam. The waiting period is typically 2-3 months to get in to take the practical exam. That is Way too long. Its so easy to forget things between now and then…so i would appreciate prayer that not only do i pass the course certificate exams, but also that somehow i would find my way into a practical exam in the near future..and then capitalize on it.

thanks for thoughts and prayers.