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I'm a fixaholic. As a small child I would take apart my toys just to put them back together. My father would tell me he had to hide his AM/FM transistor radio from me for fear I would tear it apart. When it quit working one day, he gave it to me to "play" with. To his surprise I fixed it. I was 6yrs old. That is also when I became interested in Rock n Roll.
When I was a teenager my mother told me that if I wanted a boy to notice me I needed to like the same things he likes. In 1976 all the guys were into rebuilding 69' Mustang's & Camaro's,...muscle cars. The guys would hang out at a neighbors house after school to help work on his Mustang. I'd walk by and listen and before long I was helping bleed brakes and rebuilding carburetors. Somehow, I knew the theory of combustion engines and could join conversations. I was finally having conversations with the cutest guys in school! Except I had trouble with the names of tools. Thingamagiggy didn't impress the guys much. It did however provide an opportunity for one guy to offer to teach me their proper names. We both like fixin cars and Rock n Roll. My mom was right! Life was good!
After graduation came a new life! No school, no curfews and no parents! Freedom! Instead of attending college I attended the beach, concerts and parties. Soon the freedom turned into reality. I needed to eat, i needed money, I needed a job. Not much out there so i was a pizza parlor day shift waitress I worked full time for $1.25 an hour + tips. My quarters from tips became my jukebox money and only music I got to hear since I had no time or money to go to concerts anymore. I was meeting people. I had regular customers that sat only in my section. I enjoyed meeting people and although I enjoyed my job I wanted more but didn't know what.
My alternator had gone out in my car. I'd been walking to work for over a week and when payday came I took the day off to "walk" to buy the alternator and "walk" home to replace it. I hated being on foot. The next day at work several regulars asked me why I wasn't there to bring them iced tea and pizza? Its so nice to be missed. One table of my regulars were 4 guys that worked for the same company. They were very impressed that I knew how to replace the alternator in a car. They asked me how I knew it was the alternator and not something else. They asked me all kinds of questions. I was hoping the cute one would ask me out. Instead, they asked if I'd like a job as a technician, repairing major appliances. The only experience I had was fixin the pizza ovens a few times. They said I was born a technician and would be perfect for the job. They handed me an application and 3 weeks later I was sitting in the passenger seat of a repair van. I sat there for the next 3 mths of on the job training. I loved everything about this job! I wasn't in an office all day, I was outside, driving, meeting people and best of all, I was doing what I have always enjoyed, fixin stuff.
I still remember the first day out on my own. I was issued my own van that morning, a 70's Dodge van, oldest in the fleet. No power steering, no power anything. I was so excited. I built up my muscles driving with no power steering. I was so proud! I was a real technician with a real service van! Yeah! I drove to my very first service call. A dryer not heating, I was full of all kinds of emotions. Excited, happy, scared, nervous, scared, proud, scared. I rehearsed everything in my head, from my hello to my goodbye. I was anxious to get this first call behind me. I didn't want to mess this up or embarrass myself. I arrived on time to my first call and when the man of the house answered the door he hollers to his wife, "honey, she's here to hang the new curtains". I about died. Curtain hanger?
That was 33 yrs. ago. I have had many lunches with those same 4 fellow technicians at that same pizza parlor over the years. I eventually moved on to expand my areas of expertise. There is no limits in this field. It can and will take you to places you would never imagine. In 33 yrs. my resume includes cool adjectives like: highly skilled and qualified. The list of all I repair is long and I've never been able to list everything simply because I'm always learning something new. It typical lists: all major residential and commercial laundry, kitchen, refrigeration unit in a home, hotel, restaurant, hospital, school, nursing home, store, bar, cafeteria, outside kitchen and even the coolers at the morgue. As well a industrial floor equipment, buffers, Zamboni's, extractors, pallet jacks. AC DC voltages. 36v deep cell batteries, 110v, 220v, 3 Phase, natural gas, propane and solar power and more. I also assist others by answering their repair questions they've posted on ifixit.com Everyone at ifixit.com is wondedrful! We all share the same values and ideas. We believe everyone has the right to repair!
I recently made one of the scariest decisions of my life. I resigned from the big company to start my own company. I left the security of a nice, steady paycheck for the uncertainty of my next meal. I have't starved yet.
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