I know a guy…

This is a very popular term whenever someone is in need of electrical work, auto repairs, plumbing issues; and for some people, “certain medication”. It makes sense to ask someone that you know and trust if they “have anyone” for a certain project. You trust that person and if they’ve had a good experience with the person or business they’re recommending, you can usually bet that your experience will be similar. In today’s age of social media, a thousand positive reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook can sometimes get discarded by a poorly placed negative review. So, its’ nice to “know a guy (or gal!)” outside of all of that noise.

Do you remember about 2 months ago, when I got rear ended on my way to the Super Bowl 52 festivities? If you haven’t read that story; go ahead and click that link quick-have a laugh and then come back here. I’ll wait.

Done?

Great! So, eventually after doing a bunch of “sleuth” work on my own, I filed a claim against the person who hit my car through State Farm directly. The gentleman with the vintage Impala told State Farm that he hit my vehicle, but said that there was no damage. Well, ladies and gentleman that statement equals “admission of fault”. So, State Farm said they would pay for the whole cost of replacing my bumper and nothing goes on my record with my insurance agency, so my premiums stay the same. In all honesty, had the guy not run me all through downtown Minneapolis and just apologized initially; I probably wouldn’t have pursued anything because you could barely see the mark. The moment that he tried to run away from me, I wasn’t giving him a brake (pun intended). Actually, now I hope his premiums go up 372% :) Whatever happens to him, I needed to get my bumper fixed.

Well, I know a guy. His name is Todd. He and his wife Amy, own Collision Pros & Glass located in the very small town of Clarkfield, MN. I grew up in Clarkfield and actually spent a year or two working with Todd detailing cars after he repaired them. Actually, as I’m writing this–I have no idea how or when I got hired there or when I really left-maybe I’m still employed? Todd, if you’re reading this and you remember-let me know. Did I just show up with donuts one day and leave a couple years later? Did I dream the whole thing? I’m completely drawing a blank–must have been a real intensive and thorough interview process. Either way, I think I was OK at my job. I had a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville that I washed about every other day at the local car wash, so I knew how to clean a car. Maybe that’s how I got the job! It was a small town, so word probably got back to Todd that I had the cleanest grandma car anyone had ever seen and he was like “I gotta have this kid at my shop”.

Yeah, that’s probably what happened.

I had a lot of fun working with him in my late teenage years. Him and I have pretty similar personalities, very sarcastic with tons of ‘tongue in cheek’ comments. So there was plenty of barbs tossed back and forth and even more practical jokes between us. When I worked there, he had a makeshift dirt track just outside of his shop, where he could practice his jumps. If he wasn’t an auto body specialist, he would have had a career as a race-car driver. Not NASCAR though, it would have been something off the wall-like school buses, tractors, or dump trucks, maybe 4-wheelers. I would like to put this out there that he challenged my grandma car to a drag race against his 4-wheeler (quad as he called it). The race took place about 3 miles east of town, and I forget how the race ended up——–wait-no I don’t- he lost. Todd has never met a gas pedal that he didn’t like, I can appreciate that.

Anyways, I called Collision Pros & Glass and said “Todd, I need a bumper” and he said “I know, I saw your Facebook post and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s such an honor to be speaking with you! I can’t believe I’m talking to you on my personal cell phone!!”. I’m just kidding, only about 3% of that happened-like the first 12 words, the rest was me trying to pump up my ego. He did enjoy my story, however.

Todd let me know his estimate and how it ties in with insurance, etc. Since I’m such an impeccable driver, I wasn’t really sure how it all worked. I told Todd that whenever he was ready, I would meet my dad halfway and switch vehicles so dad could drop the vehicle off with Todd (my dad would find out later that he had agreed to this). Thanks Dad.

After I made the switch with my parents, I got the vehicle back in ONE DAY. Not even one day, less than that: 23 hours-exactly. Do you know how long it would take me to YouTube ‘how to remove a bumper’, actually remove the bumper, put the new one on, and clean an entire vehicle? Me neither, but it would be more than 23 hours! The coolest part about the vehicle getting fixed was how unbelievably clean it was when I got it back! I have 2 little kids, so it’s dirty again-but WOW was it clean for a day! He even touched up some paint chips and included touch up paint for any future door dings. When I dropped my car off, I had 42 cents in the cup holder, when I got it back there was 53 cents in there. This is an honest company my friends! Or I miscounted the first time.

I think my blog posts are turning into “Small Business Review”, but that’s OK. My parents owned a Coast-to-Coast (True-Value, & Hardware Hank) hardware store in town for a majority of my childhood and I watched as a Wal-Mart 15 miles away help put it out of business. It’s not any fun to watch your parents’ business basically get pushed out of town by a business not even in the town. So, I’m going to give some love to the small businesses out there! Or at least for this post and this one. There is absolutely a level of service that is not matched by the big companies. Admittedly, I’m as guilty as you are and have 3 Amazon packages delivered seemingly daily at my house, but I still get a feeling of satisfaction when I buy something from the local hardware store, coffee shop, or restaurant. I generally make a conscious effort to help them out.

So if you need a vehicle fixed, repainted, rust removed, add some fender flares, or even a hitch added; please give Collision Pros a call!

If you don’t want to drive the whole way, my dad can meet you halfway.

-ML

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Why I don’t talk to my friends from school anymore

I bet that got your attention! That’s called “click bait”, sorry about that. But keep reading since you’re here..

This is the subject that has caused me the most anxiety over writing about-might as well get it out of the way! This is a subject that I’ve had on my mind LONG before I ever started a blog-years even. Keeping in touch with high school classmates is something that I’ve never been very good at since I graduated. Actually, I’m downright terrible at it.

I grew up on a farm in a small town in southwestern Minnesota of about 900 people, the phrase “everybody knows everybody” is incredibly true. To this day, my dad still says “nobody uses their blinker because everybody else knows where you’re going!” You obviously can see where I get my wit.

Growing up in a town of that size, you do know everyone-especially the other kids your own age. I remember so many summers riding my Huffy bike about a half mile into town every single day (kids can’t do that anymore unfortunately…) to hang out with my friends, play T-Ball/Baseball, go swimming, or just ride our bikes around town; usually begging one of our parents to let someone stay over night. Man, summers were the best!!

Now, summers are just a reminder that I didn’t choose “teacher” as a career.

I grew up with those kids, from daycare to graduation. You get to know them, you know their families, where they live, etc. I distinctly remember being a freshman in high school and watching the seniors walking through the hallway. I felt like a kitten walking around in the lion’s den. THEY WERE SO BIG!! Some even had facial hair. When I got to be a senior and we were “Soooo big” as my 10 month old ‘says’, my classmates were the same size in my eyes that they had been since 5th grade. We didn’t change, we even added a bunch of great friends.

After graduation day; everyone kind of goes their own separate direction. There are some who go to college, some who don’t, some who move far away for personal reasons, and some who stick around. During high school, your friends might not be your “best friends” anymore, “cliques” form, and people change. But, you still play sports with them, you party with them, and you grow up with them.

Regardless, in the end the T-ball team full of 5 year old kids is still the Class of 2004.

Facebook came out in 2004 and not to be left out of a growing trend, I joined during college in 2005. I thought “this is great!, I’m going to stay in contact with so many of my old friends”. I did that by “liking” things that they might have posted; or experiences that they were sharing.

Almost two decades of friendship, stories, and experiences has been reduced to a blue and white thumb. Don’t forget that at least 50 other people clicked that thumb as well; so it probably got lost in the shuffle anyways. I remember feeling anxious the first time I clicked “like” on a post of one of my high school classmates that I hadn’t talked to in, I don’t know-one freaking year. Now I pop thumbs like I’m poppin’ tags.

Now, I think there have been 2 class reunions since I graduated. I have not been able to attend either one; I’m sure they were awesome-we had such a great class! So, maybe had I been able to make one of them I wouldn’t feel so damn weird reaching out to some of them!

I’ll be at the 15 year reunion. That’s a promise.

I can count on about 3 fingers the amount of classmates that I genuinely keep in touch with; and 2 of those-I’m pretty poor at. If you’re reading this (I really hope someone reads this) and we went to high school together and we’re Facebook friends. I can almost guarantee that I have kept up with your life in some capacity through Facebook. I notice it when you get married, have a new baby, made a lifestyle change, got a new job, a first or new house, a new car, started a blog/podcast, started a business, or you had an amazing trip to Europe. Granted, these are all the “positives” that make the Facebook timeline anyways. But, unfortunately it’s not very difficult to spot the negative things as well, perhaps a divorce, death, ilness, job loss; etc.

Jesus H. Christ, that made me sound like a stalker…I hope people get what I’m trying to say.

I CARE, OK?! DAMMIT, I CARE!! There, I said it. With all the crap going on in schools and on social media now days, I’m not sure that phrase is said enough.

I feel weird reaching out to old classmates, and I know its because I feel guilty that I haven’t reached out. I guarantee there are people out there feeling the same way. I have this anxiety where I feel like I’m bugging someone by reaching out (yet-oddly enough, I’m a very good cold-caller), so I don’t reach out-I watch their lives on Facebook like the rest of the world. Do people still call each other? Whenever someone that I haven’t talked to in a while calls me, I’m always like “Do you need help? Say ‘Kangaroo’ if you’re in trouble”. Its almost weird, right? Everyone lives in a world of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and text messages. Myself included. I think they’ve even started teaching kids how to have actual conversations in school. That’s sad. I can promise that both of my kids (and any future kids—calm down Mom; just saying) WILL be able to hold a conversation with another human being. I hate when you ask a kid a question and the parent answers. HATE IT! If the kid is able to, let the kid talk answer…if they embarrass you-so what. It’ll be more embarrassing when they’re 16 and don’t know how to answer questions in a job interview without you doing it for them. Sorry-I’m off topic…

Anyways.

Let me put this out there, if you’ve been doing the same thing as me and watching your classmates that you haven’t talked to for a long time on Facebook or otherwise. Reach out to them! Maybe it’s me? Maybe you think your kids would like to play with my kids, maybe you want to grab coffee or better yet, a beer and just catch up. I’m 100% in. This is something that I would love to get better at, but I’m also not sure that I will-but I’ll try. Let’s figure something out and reconnect! It’ll no doubt be awkward, but who cares. If not, I hope you’re all doing very well for yourselves!

Well, …that was kinda mushy. Sorry about that.

-ML