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Monday, September 1, 2008

Katrina Anniversary

3 yrs ago, the week Katrina hit, Lisa and I were in Poland, via Berlin for my friend Boogie's wedding. Boogie was a friend I met my first year in business when I picked them up hitchhiking, -he and his friends previously blogged about. I mean, it's pretty amazing, this free market system, - I start a business, hire boogie and his friends, they work hard 7 days a week, 15 hours a day (still less than me) and leave the country at the end of the summer with a pocket full of cash that goes a long way in Poland - enables a marraige proposal to a girl named 'delicious', the purchase of a small apartment, and a real jump start on life.

Here's Boog, Delicious and Lisa at a cafe in Lodz, Poland.

Same with Juan - my right hand man who has been with me since the very beginning - 7 years. During his stint with us, he has mastered the english language, supported his family at home in Guatamala, invested his american money in building an apartment complex in his home city. All the result of my gamble and perservence. Edwin got his green card and his family is coming over, spent 3 years nurturing 2 country carpenter and turned them from dishonest hill country carpenters to responsible young men (who in the end screwed me - can't change a tiger's spots), and a very large number of subcontractors and supply houses have benefitted from the boat I float - remarkably, until 7 months ago, the boat was leaky, large, lumbering, and for the most part, a very tenuous proposition.

Oh, how many times have I been screwed, cheated, taken advantage of, fixed other people's mistakes during this business building experience - let me count the ways. Well, maybe not. Let's just say focusing on the big picture is not the easiest task when confronted with a weekly barrage of bullshit coming from all direction. But, as Lisa has often remarked, it was that ability to look past the country spite and sometimes lackluster performance in order to keep my eye on the ball - the ball being paying my bills, and developing/designing/building & selling perfect country houses.

Here I am in a consignment shop overlooking a square of Berlin.

Train trip from Warsaw to Lodz, very hungover after a big night out in Warsaw which included some accidental eastern european strip joints, which let me make clear, are different from the ones in Reno.

Golden Gate bridge and Chuck the builder in the fore.

And Lovely Lisa in our suite in Berlin.
We promised boogie we woul be there for his wedding, and lo and behold, we were - come hell, high water, and no money.

We did, however, fly first class, since there are some frequent flyer advantages to buying hundreds of thousands of dollars of lighting, lumber, doorknobs and flooring.