In this interview, Ken and Lisa Jordan share their unique journey of establishing Accent American Inc, a successful cleaning and disaster restoration business.

The couple initially started with a simple carpet cleaning service, gradually incorporating services such as upholstery cleaning, water damage restoration, mold remediation, and crime scene cleanup.

Ken and Lisa attribute their success to high-quality work, professional certifications, networking, and mentorship.

The couple also shares personal anecdotes of overcoming significant obstacles and fostering a close-knit family business environment.

Despite the challenges in their industry, Ken and Lisa’s passion for their work and commitment to their clients set them apart.

Timestamps of key moments:

00:00 Introduction and Meeting the Jordans

00:26 Ken’s Early Career and Life Before Cleaning Business

05:09 How Ken and Lisa Met

13:10 Starting Their Cleaning Business

14:42 Growing the Business and Gaining Certifications

21:38 The Challenges and Rewards of Working Together

23:37 The Challenges of Property Management

25:06 Reality TV Show Experiences

26:04 Dealing with Infestations and Unusual Situations

27:04 Overcoming Personal Challenges

36:18 The Power of Networking and Referrals

38:38 The Importance of Certification and Education

43:29 The Future of the Business

Ken and Lisa can be reached through their website at https://accentamerican.com/

Transcript
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Hi.

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Today we're celebrating Ken and

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Lisa Jordan of Accent American Inc.

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Cleaning and Disaster Restoration.

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Hi, Ken and Lisa.

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How you doing?

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How are you?

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Wonderful.

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How are you?

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Good.

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We're so excited you're joining us today.

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This is, this is going to be fun.

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We're excited to be here.

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Thank you.

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So, how did your business get started?

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Uh, Disaster Restoration, that sounds

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like a big, Well, first of all, I, I

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started a carpet cleaning business.

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I worked my way, I majored in business

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and finance and I worked my way

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through school and, uh, was a bouncer

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and checked out a bunch of jobs

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and nobody was paying decent money.

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I mean, uh, Kmart offered me a job

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out of college, 18, 000 a year to

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start and 60 to 80 hours a week.

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And I made more money working

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part time in college just

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being dressed like a Chippen...

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I was a bodybuilder.

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So I dressed like a Chippendale on

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ladies night to serve drinks to the

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ladies and, uh, that started in the

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eighties and I was making eight to twelve

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hundred dollars in tips in one night.

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It was easy to do back then.

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Yeah, I waited tables also.

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It was easy to make 800 bucks a night.

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I remember when the

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Chippendales were popular.

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Yeah, they try to get me to do that too.

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And I'm like.

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They wanted me to, uh, join up

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a group in London, and they got

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busted for a patent infringement,

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and then the guy got arrested for

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having relations with a 15 year old.

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Well, because Chippendale, Chippendale

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is a very famous old furniture company.

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Right.

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Right.

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And they took the name and didn't

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get permission to use the name

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Chippendale, and it is patented.

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They got busted when they went to

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England, which is where Chippendale is.

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I also could have got into pro wrestling.

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Uh, everybody's seen the actor The Rock.

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I knew his father.

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I trained with his father.

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And he wanted to promote me in

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pro wrestling along with Paul

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Wallering and a few others.

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And I was in college at the

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time, so I couldn't do that.

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But they were switching over.

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to, from the Dusty Rhodes type look

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to the bodybuilders, and I knew Hulk

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Hogan, trained with him, and he had

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just, uh, bodyguarded Cyndi Lauper,

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and on stage he got noticed and he made

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Rocky III, and after that wrestling went

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crazy, but the main reason I couldn't

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do it, they wanted me to fly to Japan,

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I could do, you know, wrestling is

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all fake, alright, and the Mount Sulu

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wrestling school is a stunt school.

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Like I would go to and I'd have to go to

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that and that cost 10 grand, so I'm not

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going to make it, but kind of wonder,

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well, what would have happened if it did?

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So did all of that physicality, uh,

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play well into, you know, lead in well

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into your, your business, your, your.

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It didn't lead into the business, but

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it definitely helped having all that

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muscle and all that strength when

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you're moving furniture and carrying

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around big pieces of equipment.

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Oh, sure.

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I've seen him pick up a sofa and

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carry it out the house on his back.

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Yeah, won't do that now, but, not

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at 64, but, um, yeah, it just.

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I just saw an ad somewhere and it says,

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you know, make a thousand dollars a week

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and I'm sitting there How can you do that?

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I was used to making that in a day

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when nobody wanted to pay the kind

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of money I made and Long story short.

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I went to work for a company and it was

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a bait and switch $595 or $495 a room

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you go in And I'd watch what they did

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and I'm like, you know, I don't agree

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with this I didn't know what I was doing.

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So I said, yeah, I can you

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know do this better So now

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granted this was the 80s, right?

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So I'm walking in, I'm working in

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biker shorts with a portable, a

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tank top, just about making money.

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And he was massively huge back then.

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He's small now compared to what he

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was and you know, he had a 12 pack

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of you know, most of his clients were

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women and some of them were having

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their carpets cleaned once a month.

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Aunt Lisa said, I met Lisa, she was

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working at Roboconnie's And at Century

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Finance, and at Cardi's Jewelry.

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And I knew Jim Robiconti.

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He was a legend in Tampa for nightclubs.

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He's a big promoter in South America

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now, and I knew him real well.

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And I used to bounce for him.

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And in the 80s, they had,

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uh, best, 80s Bar contests.

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Bar contests for, like, bodybuilders.

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Best chest, best legs.

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Well, they had them for women, too.

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But I would go enter these,

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and I'd win 500 bucks a week in

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addition to making those tips.

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Wow.

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Because I'd go in and I'd win

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bar tabs, I'd give away, but

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I'd win about 500 bucks a week.

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Go in there and I'd go in all

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dressed, lousy and take off and

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get on stage and pose and win.

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So Jim calls me up and I'm

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like, no, I don't wanna do that.

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I, I'm too old to do that.

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He said, now bring your best

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friend, your but your buddies

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and we'll give you free drinks.

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And was cocktail waitress in there?

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I was one of the waitresses, and Jim told

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me to go recruit guys for this contest.

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And he walked in with, Him and

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five of his big massive buddies.

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So of course I go right up and

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try to recruit them So I didn't

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tell her I was in the contest.

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So i'm like, hey, you know Would you like

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to get together sometime have a coffee?

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Here's my card.

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Nope.

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Nope.

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Don't have time I'm busy.

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I work three jobs and I would come

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in there Big story, long story short,

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that, that contest that night, a big

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fight broke out, some guy jumped on

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stage and who shouldn't have been

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there and he was severely overweight

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and everybody's laughing and then he

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cold cocked the bouncer busted his nose

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open and I used to bounce with this guy

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and had to rush him to the hospital.

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So, get him all stitched up.

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So after that I kept coming back.

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Mm hmm.

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And she's...

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Yeah, I kept saying no.

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I'm tipping her 5 a drink for 1.

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75 beer.

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And she's, no, no, no, no.

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So...

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Legitimately, I'm busy.

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I was working two full time

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jobs and a part time job.

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I worked Monday through Friday

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at the finance company, 8

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to 5, with my two roommates.

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And then I worked at the bar full time.

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My only night off was Monday, because

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on Saturday and Sunday during the day...

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I worked for the jewelry store.

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So when I asked her out, my buddies

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there, now this sounds very egotistical,

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but let's understand, in the 80s, the

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way I was built, the women asked me out.

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They'd come to the club, they'd want to

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go out, just like the eye candy thing.

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He was also a male model.

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Yeah, I did some modeling too.

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This was during the John

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Travolta days, right?

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Pretty much.

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Yeah.

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Well, I really kicked it off

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after you had John Travolta.

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Then you had the country

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Western thing kicked off.

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And right after that flash dance came out.

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Yes.

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I remember that when flash dance

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came out, all the women, which the

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gym became the new meat market.

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And I was at a gym that was hardcore.

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I mean, I dumbbell started at 50 pounds.

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Oh, I'm playing with 180 pound dumbbells.

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So the women would come in there,

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you know, instead of going to

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the happy hour to meet guys.

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And we're like, what the heck?

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Leg warmers and everything,

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you know, and it stood out.

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So then after that, all these

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other clubs started coming.

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Uh, and they were meat markets.

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Ballys are, are, are all of that stuff.

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Mm hmm.

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So, pretty much.

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Well, so what happened with that,

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he kept coming in and talking to me.

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And, you know, it was like six weeks

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of him coming in every night and just

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standing there, waiting for me to walk

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by so he could talk to me a little bit.

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And would ask me out all the

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time, and I kept saying no.

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And I thought, I only have one night

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off, that's when I do my laundry.

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And my buddies are laughing

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and rolling on the floor.

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She said no.

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And I'm like, I know.

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She said no.

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I'm like, what's that?

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At the finance company, my two roommates

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worked at the finance company with me.

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I was the only one with a car,

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so I drove both of them to work

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and drove them home every day.

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Um, our boss was really cool

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because most of the people who were

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working there did collection work.

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I got bumped up where I was

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doing the actual posting onto

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the account, so I didn't have to

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make those phone calls anymore.

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Nice.

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But the one roommate, James, did off

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site collection, so he would use my

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card during the day to run and pick

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up payments from people and bring it

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back so they could post on the account.

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Well, our boss would let us take

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breaks with the radio contest.

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Whenever they'd have dial in and win,

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he'd go, Okay, everybody take five

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minutes, dial in, see what you can win.

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So we won a lot of stuff

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because we're constant.

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We had multiple lines, so we

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could have five lines going at

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the same time to the same number.

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So on this particular day in July, I won

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two tickets to a movie premiere party.

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It's a Monday.

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I'm off that night.

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Asked both my roommates, which

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one of you wants to go with me?

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Oh, no, it's too late.

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We'll get home too late, and I

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gotta go to work in the morning.

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I'm like, really?

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I take you home, take a nap, get

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dressed, and go back out to work

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and get home at four o'clock in the

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morning, then sleep for two hours

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and wake you up to come to work.

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You can't go out one night.

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They're like, no, no, no.

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So, my male roommate, James,

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why don't you call that guy at

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the club that keeps talking to

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y'all and giving the guy a break?

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Okay, thank you.

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So, I am, um, getting

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ready to go out the door.

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I had another thing, I'm already

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dressed and the answering machine rings.

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And back to, so I stopped to

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listen to the answering machine.

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And it's like, hey, it's

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Lisa from Robiconte's.

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And she told me that story.

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Can you be here in 30 minutes?

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And I'm like, boom, called her up.

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Where do you live?

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She lived next to King High School.

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I lived on the other side of Tampa.

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I lived in apartments close to,

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um, Town and Country, Hillsborough

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and Memorial and it's five o'clock.

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Alright?

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So I'm like, oh my God.

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So yeah, I'll be there.

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So man, I drove like a ba.

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I drove so fast, I hit a pothole,

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busted my passenger door.

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It started flopping open.

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So I had to bungee cord.

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You driving in the van, I

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had a bungee cord that shut.

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So I finally get to her apartment and

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I start walking out the car and then

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her roommate goes, My male roommate,

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James, who was kind of built, nothing

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like him, looks out the window and

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he says, This guy, is he kind of big?

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And I'm like, yeah.

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He goes, Is that him?

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And I'm like, yeah.

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We lived on the second floor.

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And he goes, Okay, see ya!

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And ducks in his bedroom.

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So, so she comes out, and Lisa,

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Lisa had million dollar legs.

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That's what attracted me to her.

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Yes, and those five inch heels and a

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miniskirt and I'm like, oh my god, you

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know many so anyway I'm like you're

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gonna have to get in on the driver's

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door I just broke that door and she's

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like, yeah, right So she goes in I make

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sure I turn and I look the other way I

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may I look at it and make sure he was

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polite He would look at the other way

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because I literally had to crawl over

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the driver's seat in a micro miniskirt

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Cross your legs before you sit down Yeah.

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So, we get to Harbor Island, and it was

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a, a club, what was the name of that club?

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Blueberry Hill.

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Blueberry Hill.

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And she won a movie premiere, it

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was a movie with Cindy Lauper,

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Jeff Goldblum, about psychics.

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We finally saw that movie

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about two years ago.

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Two years ago, this was thirty five years

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ago that we were supposed to see it.

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So we're talking and drinking,

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and she, oh my god, can she drink?

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I spent 280 on the bar tab and

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she drank in the 80s and the 80s.

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So, we end up back at Robiconte's

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at about 2 in the morning and

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everybody's cheering and clapping.

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They're going, finally!

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Yes!

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So, anyway, after that,

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that was our first date.

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Prior to that, working in the club,

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our boss, Jim, would have meetings with

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The staff, the staff is mainly female.

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He liked female bartenders,

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female waitstaff, we had one

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male bartender, and the bouncers

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were the only other male crew.

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So he would always tell us, ladies,

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don't go out with the guys who come in

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here, they're all crap, they're all, you

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know, assholes, and that kind of thing.

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And then one day he looked at me and

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he says, except Kenny, he's a nice guy.

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I said, what are you talking about?

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I'm not seeing Kenny.

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Why is everybody talking

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to me about this Kenny guy?

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So when we finally walked in, everyone

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was like, yay, you finally got together.

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That was our first date we've

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been together ever since.

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Wow.

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We knew we were getting

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married on the first date.

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Yeah.

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The things we talked about, having that

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big house, a lot of land, Bunch of dogs.

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Bunch of dogs, raising our own

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crops, and that's where we are.

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That's where we are.

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We bought this in 99.

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And so, naturally, um, I got

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to tell her I had a business.

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I had a carpet cleaning

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business, upholstery cleaning.

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And, uh, so.

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She came on and she would help me with

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the business and she would work, uh,

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the bar and I told her you don't have,

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you know, it's up to you, but you

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don't need to work three jobs anymore.

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We'll move in together,

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put our bills together.

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Uh, I'll have the business lease the car.

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And we can use it and

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write off the payments.

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All right, and you put all your tips in

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a jar Which turned out to put that all

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that coins We had one of those big five

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gallon zephyr health bottles and I would

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bring home the change for my tips Which

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is quarters always we filled up that jar.

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It was over six thousand dollars helped

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us put a down payment on our first house

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Yes Because we needed to come up with

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like uh, ten thousand or something.

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We bought the first house in 89 So, I

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met her in 88, and then, not, uh, yeah,

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towards, yeah, 89, we got in there.

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89, we bought the house,

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we got married in 90.

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Then we bought this place in 99, and

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so she would help me with the business.

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I'd drag her out in the field.

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Well, I would, I would come home in the

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evening and help him with paperwork,

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which he's horrible at paperwork.

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So we bought a computer and I started

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putting things into, you know,

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the computer bookkeeping program

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for him and that kind of stuff and

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making sure that all the bills got

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paid so he didn't have to do that.

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And I also made him

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start wearing a uniform.

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Yeah, we found out about

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certifications back then.

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It was called the IICUC.

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ICRC now, and I became a certified

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triple master in the industry.

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So, uh, in terms of what that means,

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they teach at Purdue university now

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as a 10 year course, and there's

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less than 500, 550 people worldwide

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who have his level of certification.

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So that question,

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what sets you apart in the industry?

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He's a ICRC certified triple master.

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Um, you ever look at his list of

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actual certifications, it fills up

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a full page and we figured it was

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over 10, on the sleeve, over 10,

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000 hours of classroom training.

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Plus Q Gon, plus testing, plus for certain

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ones you have to get the certification and

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then be a journeyman for two to four years

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and show actual proficiency in the field.

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And he was also what they

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call a performance assessor,

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where they would take.

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Say, you were a carpet cleaner, you would

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come to the assessment and we would help

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on the side, run you through certain

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tasks, like, how do you measure chemicals

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properly and people don't know how to

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measure pH and how do you measure pH?

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How do you pull back the carpet?

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Clean and replace the pad when there's

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pet urine and then reinstall the carpet,

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different things like that, and you'd

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get a grade, pass or fail, and it's a

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way for companies to say, okay, so John

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does great here, but he needs help here,

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so this is what we need to work on him

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for, and he was one of the assessors.

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I got dragged in behind

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him to kind of help.

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Yeah.

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Okay.

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So it's sort of an

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external quality control.

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Yeah.

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It's done by third party people

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who've been trained and assess

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themselves to be experts.

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Now, moving ahead.

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Naturally, when you had a water

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loss, we didn't have water

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damage restoration back then.

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We had to invent it.

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So what happened, who would you call?

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You'd call a guy that sucked water out.

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And then you'd say, well,

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can you dry this or that?

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So we'd put fans down.

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Lo and behold, we think

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we're drying, but we're not.

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The walls started molding and all

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of this, so mold became a big issue.

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I don't know if you remember the

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Melinda Ballard case in Texas, where

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their family got sick from mold.

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They had to sue Farmer's Insurance.

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And, uh, they wanted, they had to,

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you know, tear the house down, so

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that's when Aaron Brockovich came in.

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Took over and basically, you know,

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after she made that movie, she became

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the lawyer and she took that ball case.

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So now they came up with

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a certification for mold.

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We came up with a certification for

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water damage, how to do it and dry

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it properly so you wouldn't get mold.

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We've served on committees that

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help establish these standards.

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He just recently did a committee

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to rewrite which one was it?

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Deodorization.

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And they dragged me in for

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some reason, even though I

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don't have the certification.

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Yeah, so what happened is, so

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naturally, one thing led to another.

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So carpet led to upholstery, which

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led to tile and grout, which led to

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this, which led to floor, which led

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to water damage, rug, cleaning, all

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different certifications, drying a

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building out, crime scene cleanup.

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Uh, biohazard remediation.

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COVID cleanups.

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All of that.

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So that's where we grew to.

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Okay, so you didn't start with

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the crime scene part of it.

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That was much later.

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It was simple carpet cleaning and

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they each built on each other.

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Okay.

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And I once had someone ask me

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how they kind of correlate with

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carpet and upholstery cleaning

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and disaster restoration.

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Well, if you clean carpet, you

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usually have some kind of equipment.

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We have the big truck that sucks.

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Some people use portables.

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We have a bigger truck.

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If you have water damage,

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you suck up the water first.

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So you need the big truck that sucks.

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And the last thing you do on a

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water damage restoration job is

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you clean the floors as you go out.

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Fire.

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If you have a fire, what do

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they use to put out the fire?

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Water.

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So again, you need the

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big truck that sucks.

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Plus we use the big truck

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to clean everything.

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And again, we clean the

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floors on the way out.

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So again, you're dealing with the

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water situation, and you use the

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drying equipment, and you still use

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the big truck that sucks, because

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we tear out the drywall, and then we

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wash down the sides and the floor,

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and again, we clean the floor.

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It's the last thing we do.

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That separates us from our

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competition in this way.

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Think of a national franchise,

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any of them, that do what we do.

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They do not want to dry anything.

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They want to rip it all out.

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In our industry, in order to

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learn drying, they had to build

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homes and flood them and dry them.

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And we successfully dried carpet

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padding and drywall from clean water

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losses without ripping anything out.

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Over 400 times.

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In this house that they use.

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Yeah, and drying of drywall

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makes it stronger and harder.

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You don't have to cut it out.

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But if it takes you three, let's

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say, uh, 2, 000 square foot house

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flooded completely, it might

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take us $5,000 to dry that out.

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But my competitor wants to come in and

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take out 2 to 4 feet of drywall, put

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everything in storage, rip out all the

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carpet, pad, floor, rip out all the

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cabinets, hit you for a hundred grand..

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I'm dry in 3 to 5 days.

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Your house is tied up

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for six to eight months.

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And they have to...

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any cleaning from a fire, they sub

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out They don't know how to do it.

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Yeah, we do it ourselves.

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So why?

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Now from a business model It's easy

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to invest a half a million dollars in

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equipment to make less They would rather

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hire three guys with a razor knife go in

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And i'm sorry, i'd rather do it ethically

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in the right way Yeah, plus I can do

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ten jobs for five thousand dollars each

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while they're I've been stuck on this one

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for eight months and I'm only in a month

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and I still got the other seven months

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to do those and three to five thousand.

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Now, think about it.

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Alright, your house, a pipe breaks.

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Alright.

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And um, you got a company that can

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dry everything out and guarantee it.

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No odor, no mold, no nothing.

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Alright, your, your insurance.

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So, we had to argue with

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the insurance a lot.

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Oh, carpet and pad molds.

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No, it doesn't.

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It's plastic.

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Alright.

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Tupperware, you don't throw

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Tupperware away when the food molds.

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Hey, there's so much, there's so

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much crap wrong about mold, and I

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could talk three hours just on mold.

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All right.

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And, uh, so it naturally, you know, came

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to, for, you know, to fruition that way.

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Okay.

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Now you've got to tell me what

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do you guys love most about

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working together as family?

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We are together.

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We get along great.

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We love working together.

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We don't have to have time apart.

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We spend all our time together

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and we, I, I, I've trained her.

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And honestly, when it comes to cleaning,

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especially crime scene, women are better.

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Men are lousy.

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Men make lousy cleaners.

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They are not, when I got to do

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detail cleaning, be it fire or

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be it mold or trauma, women.

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But for the level that we clean at, it's

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way beyond your housekeeper type cleaning.

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Right.

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Because we are looking for blood borne

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pathogens and, you know, viruses and

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bacteria where they're just looking

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for skin polished surface cleaners.

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Sometimes when we go through and clean

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to disinfect, it doesn't look pretty.

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That comes later.

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You got water stains on your mirror.

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Okay, this is about getting it to pass

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a test saying you are healthy clean.

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We clean carpets and

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the floors the same way.

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Like if you mop your floor,

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you're not cleaning anything.

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What happens as soon as you

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squeeze the mop in the wringer

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and dip it back in the water?

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Well, one of the things we really

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enjoy is every day is different for us.

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We don't have like this set schedule.

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It's not just a job, it's an adventure.

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We don't know what's

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going to happen tomorrow.

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We work with a lot of property managers.

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We had one, we're still waiting for

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them to pull the trigger on, that

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their tenant was getting evicted.

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Um, before they could

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get him out, he died.

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Um, he was there for ten

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days before they found him.

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And his poor little dog got hungry.

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It wasn't a little dog.

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He was about...

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His poor dog got hungry.

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So, the situation...

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He's dead.

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So now they have to find his family.

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And they can't do anything with

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the unit even though they were

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in the process of eviction.

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He hadn't been legally evicted yet.

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They can't do anything with the unit

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until the family is notified, and

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it has gone through probate, and the

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family has the ability to come and

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take whatever possessions they want.

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It was flea infested?

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Well, and in the meantime, we go over

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there to do just some basic cleanup, and

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they had the power turned off because he

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didn't pay his bill because he's dead.

Speaker:

And now they're trying to get the

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power turned back on, but because

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of the probate situation, the power

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company is going no way to do anything.

Speaker:

So they're, they're stuck and they've got

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this unit that they can do nothing with.

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There's no rent coming in and

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no hope of any rent coming in

Speaker:

until probate goes through.

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We ran equipment to knock down most

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of the odor so they can at least get

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in and, and to get the contents out.

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Yeah, well, this is the same property

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manager who during Ian had one of his

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houses that was rented to a family

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and three huge oak trees fell on it.

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Boom.

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Boom.

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Boom.

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Went through the roof.

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Came through the roof.

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Came through the ceiling into the

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living room while the family was

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having a birthday party in the room.

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Luckily, they were in the

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dining room and nobody got hurt.

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Broke the trusses and everything.

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And.

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We went in and just cleaned

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up all the mess up and dry it.

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Yeah So you could actually walk through

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the building without flipping and falling

Speaker:

And then the tree crew came in and

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pulled the tree out and made a huge mess

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again, so we had to go and clean it.

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Sounds like you guys could have a second

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division selling insurance because with

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all your stories We've been contacted

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for reality shows, um twice Discovery

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channel and the problem was they want

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drama They want you to make up stuff.

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Yeah What the hell's

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wrong with you or this?

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The first time, they said take some video.

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So I'm out in the field and we

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had, we were working with a general

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contractor and his crew on a mold job.

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And we're in there in the old suits and

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everything and ripping out drywall and

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I'm taking video and I send it to them and

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they go, Well, where, where's the drama?

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You know, we need you guys like

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fighting and bickering at the same time.

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It doesn't work like that with us.

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We don't we don't have that kind of stuff.

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And then the 2nd, 1 dirty,

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rotten, dirty, rotten cleaners.

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We're supposed to and they interviewed

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us and they were just getting ready to

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start filming when something happened

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in the background and we got cut.

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Well, right after that happened, we had

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a, um, a major hoarder house with spiders.

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We had a house that was infested

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with spiders and German roaches.

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Plus, he was a 40 year

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smoker, so there was nicotine.

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Plus, he had a couple of cats

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that were using his dirty clothes

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laying on the floor as their potty.

Speaker:

So that would have been a

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huge one for their show.

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Then we had another crime scene.

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We had the one where the guy had the

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aneurysm and then bled out in his

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chair in the 8, 000 square foot house.

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We had all these interesting stuff.

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So I emailed him.

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I said you're missing out on all of

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it Because people see episodes of

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their show and they're like there's

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nothing there, but they're bickering

Speaker:

at each other They're not really

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doing anything interesting like you.

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When they interviewed the first interview.

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I said, what do you want to talk about?

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Blood, mold or crap?

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Oh yeah, he's our guy.

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Okay, ask a question.

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What a shame.

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I was I was playing basketball on a

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carpeted court for wheelchair patients.

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My.

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My thighs look like Earl

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Campbell, if you've ever watched

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Earl Campbell running back.

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Huge.

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Alright, I was about 260,

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you know, really big.

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So I ran down the court to make a

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fast break and the carpet gave loose

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and I blew both patella tendons.

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At the same time.

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That's the one that's...

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from your kneecap going down.

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Oh, yeah.

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So they rushed me to Brandon Hospital.

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They didn't know what to do.

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His kneecap flew up into his thigh.

Speaker:

So they had to.

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I finally got to Florida Orthopedic.

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Met, uh, Thomas Bernassi.

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Well, first we went to Brandon Regional

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and they kept you on a stretcher in the

Speaker:

ER with monitors on you for 24 hours

Speaker:

and the doctor never came to see him.

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Did nothing.

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He did nothing.

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We didn't have health insurance.

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We'd just gotten married a year before.

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Not even a year before, so

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brought him home and then someone

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said, go to temple general.

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So we had a friend who

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had a van in a wheelchair.

Speaker:

So we loaded him up in the back of

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the van in the wheelchair and hauled

Speaker:

him off the temple general and Dr.

Speaker:

Thomas Burnett.

Speaker:

They happened to be on duty that night

Speaker:

and we told him we don't have insurance.

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It's not don't worry about it.

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Dr.

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Burnett picked him up and didn't

Speaker:

know if he'd ever walk again.

Speaker:

So this is.

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Than a year after we got

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married and then shortly after

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that, found out I'm pregnant.

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He was the main, how soon after that?

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Uh, it was just a couple months later

Speaker:

that we found out I was pregnant.

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And, and you still didn't know

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if he was ever gonna walk?

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Mm-hmm.

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I had no idea.

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Mm-hmm.

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He was still laying on

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the sofa, unable to walk.

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When I came in and told him that I

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was pregnant, I sat in a ccpm machine

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that gets a thing that would work.

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Work your legs for two months.

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Mm-hmm.

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, go, go to the bathroom.

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And I have buddies after a while.

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I said, pick me up, take me to the

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gym so I can at least work upper body.

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It got so bad, I finally said, I got to

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go to work, wires are not, they had to

Speaker:

put a screw through my kneecap and a screw

Speaker:

through my bone and, and the lower bone

Speaker:

and wrap it with wire to hold it together.

Speaker:

Well, timing, both my trucks blew

Speaker:

up and, um, didn't have the money to

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rebuild my engine, so I borrowed a used,

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bought a used truck, it was stick shift,

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Ford, so as I'm driving down the road,

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I'm pushing the clutch, wire breaks.

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I hired another kid.

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He had fetal alcohol syndrome,

Speaker:

but he could, he could work, to

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do what I needed and pay him.

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Well, we also had my brother in law, one

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of his friends, uh, came and took our

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truck and did some of the cleaning jobs

Speaker:

for us, so we would have some income.

Speaker:

Because I'm working part time, and my

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story on that, I was working, I left

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the nightclub, I was working in a

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hotel, in the bar, just serving drinks

Speaker:

a couple nights a week for extra money.

Speaker:

I went to my boss and told

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him what happened and he

Speaker:

goes, what can we do to help?

Speaker:

I said, I need more

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money and I need it now.

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Yeah.

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So he said, okay, I've got like paperwork

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and stuff in the office that you can

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do for me and we'll pay you for it.

Speaker:

So I went back and started doing

Speaker:

all of his reports and all of

Speaker:

the paperwork for the food and

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beverage operation in this hotel.

Speaker:

Well, the corporate office saw

Speaker:

that the reports were coming

Speaker:

on in time and accurate.

Speaker:

And they said, well, what's going on?

Speaker:

And he told them, well, you know,

Speaker:

Lisa's working in there part time.

Speaker:

doing all of this for me.

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Well, they created a full time position

Speaker:

for me for 30, 30 grand a year,

Speaker:

which in 1990, pretty decent money,

Speaker:

plus full health insurance benefit.

Speaker:

And I found out later that I

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was pregnant, so it was covered,

Speaker:

but that created a position.

Speaker:

From there, I went to become,

Speaker:

in less than eight months,

Speaker:

assistant to the general manager.

Speaker:

At nine months pregnant, they promoted me.

Speaker:

To assistance to the general manager

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and human resources director.

Speaker:

And then after she left, when the

Speaker:

hotel got taken over, which they do

Speaker:

frequently every four years, I moved

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to a different hotel and was assistant

Speaker:

to the regional vice president.

Speaker:

So that incident is part

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of the career for me.

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They got a computer and she

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figured out how to work it and

Speaker:

programmed it and created computer

Speaker:

software to run their programs.

Speaker:

So really, it was simple stuff,

Speaker:

but I'll say she got an IQ of 169.

Speaker:

And I'm a natural one.

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She got me beat.

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I'm 1

Speaker:

41.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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Don't ever play scrabble

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words with friends.

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That's so you guys,

Speaker:

you guys overcame that.

Speaker:

Apparently you heal because I healed.

Speaker:

I had to teach myself to walk and

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uh, and I had and every time I push

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that clutch to stab me in the 10.

Speaker:

Well, the minute I told him I'm pregnant

Speaker:

is that that was the spark that got

Speaker:

him up and I've got to do something.

Speaker:

I've got a child to support now.

Speaker:

I've got to, I've got to go.

Speaker:

He'd run upstairs carrying a floor

Speaker:

shampoo weren't affordable because

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I didn't have a truck mount yet.

Speaker:

And when it came to a truck mount, I

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found one in a junkyard and built it

Speaker:

when I got well and put it in a truck.

Speaker:

So my first couple I built

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because back then good truck

Speaker:

mounts were running 40 grand.

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All right.

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Now there are hundreds.

Speaker:

So, I built the system.

Speaker:

If you ever see our big red truck,

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we drive around, we work on it.

Speaker:

It's about 250 grand to

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outfit that truck today.

Speaker:

We got lucky with it.

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We, we bought the truck used the

Speaker:

truck mount unit that's in it.

Speaker:

It's a funny story.

Speaker:

We got lots of stories..

Speaker:

We get, we go to our annual

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conference every year usually

Speaker:

either in Vegas or another city.

Speaker:

It was just in Fort Lauderdale.

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Yeah.

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And they would have these raffle

Speaker:

prizes where you buy a dollar

Speaker:

ticket and you stick it in the

Speaker:

cup for the prize you want to win.

Speaker:

And I always win some stuff.

Speaker:

I still do.

Speaker:

They don't do raffle tickets anymore.

Speaker:

They do it different, but

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I always win something.

Speaker:

So, we go in and they're drawing for the

Speaker:

prizes and I win a machine called a CRB.

Speaker:

It's a counter rotating brush machine.

Speaker:

You use it to clean floors

Speaker:

and it helps get up.

Speaker:

It pulls the nap up.

Speaker:

It pulls the nap up on the carpet.

Speaker:

Well, Ken has been talking

Speaker:

to a guy named Troy.

Speaker:

Troy had a truck mount cleaning

Speaker:

unit that was down here in Tampa

Speaker:

at the shop around the corner.

Speaker:

No, he shipped it to the shop.

Speaker:

Or he shopped it.

Speaker:

There was something wrong with it.

Speaker:

Needed rebuilt.

Speaker:

Needed to be rebuilt.

Speaker:

And they had been negotiating talking

Speaker:

about can he maybe buying it from him.

Speaker:

Well, Troy comes running over to me

Speaker:

and he goes, hey, I'll trade you that

Speaker:

truck mount unit for that CRB machine.

Speaker:

So the joke is, I got the

Speaker:

truck mount for a dollar.

Speaker:

Because I paid one dollar, I won

Speaker:

the truck mount and traded it.

Speaker:

It's about a...

Speaker:

The other machines were about two

Speaker:

grand, so I had a buddy rebuild it.

Speaker:

To buy that machine today...

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It's ridiculous.

Speaker:

So it's very powerful.

Speaker:

I mean, probably one of the most

Speaker:

powerful machines you can buy.

Speaker:

So we got into that.

Speaker:

Yeah, we got into that for a dollar.

Speaker:

Wow, that's quite a story.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

I won another machine too.

Speaker:

I won another machine that's what, 6, 000?

Speaker:

Yeah, that portable we use for high rises.

Speaker:

They would draw your name

Speaker:

and I kept joking around.

Speaker:

I'm going to win that grand prize.

Speaker:

I'm going to win that grand prize.

Speaker:

And we're at a pool party in Vegas.

Speaker:

And Ken's sitting at the table with my

Speaker:

mother, and they're drawing prizes, so

Speaker:

I get up and walk around to the opposite

Speaker:

side of the pool, where the podium

Speaker:

and the stage is, and I'm just kind of

Speaker:

standing there, next to a tree, waiting,

Speaker:

and all of a sudden, Larry, the guy

Speaker:

who runs the show, who knows us very

Speaker:

well, pulls out the name for the grand

Speaker:

prize, and he looks around, and he goes,

Speaker:

I've never seen her run so

Speaker:

fast in those stilettos, man.

Speaker:

My mom's like, what's going on?

Speaker:

And Ken's like, she just won something.

Speaker:

She's up on the stage.

Speaker:

And then he sees me standing next

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to this big portable machine.

Speaker:

He's like, oh, she just

Speaker:

won the grand prize.

Speaker:

Keep going on some interesting stories.

Speaker:

Oh yeah.

Speaker:

We've got 30, I think

Speaker:

you guys have a book.

Speaker:

I think you got an absolutely

Speaker:

natural book of, of stories that

Speaker:

you could probably Oh, I could write

Speaker:

a book based on a lot of things.

Speaker:

Oh yeah, absolutely.

Speaker:

If nothing else, your, your beginning

Speaker:

years and, and subsequently, yeah.

Speaker:

I knew very famous people.

Speaker:

I knew Dr.

Speaker:

Martin Luther King Jr.

Speaker:

As a kid.

Speaker:

I sat on his lap.

Speaker:

Uh, my Jesse Jackson's, uh,

Speaker:

stepmother read us Bible stories.

Speaker:

Um, we had the same birthday.

Speaker:

And, uh, that's where I got my,

Speaker:

uh, conservative values from.

Speaker:

And, um, my mother was best

Speaker:

friends with Anne Frank.

Speaker:

She's from Holland.

Speaker:

Holland, The Diary of Anne Frank.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

So my mom lived, was in Holland

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under occupation by the Nazis.

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Yeah, she unfortunately died

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at the age of 84 in Frankfurt.

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Oh, I'm sorry.

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Her family was in the Dutch underground.

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Um, I mean, yeah, you've got to start,

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you've got a publishing, uh, career again.

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Yeah.

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Is there anything about being in a family

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business that you know now that you wish

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you had known when you started this.

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I wish we had known more about

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the Small Business Administration.

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Because we didn't know any of that in

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the small business development council.

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We didn't know that and well, I try

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to get an SBA loan and I couldn't.

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Okay, so I had to I had to basically

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my vehicles I had to pay for

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where we, we pay for everything.

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We got, we didn't get any loans.

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The only time we got a loan

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was when my dad was working for

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General Motors and I could buy a

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vehicle with option a and get like.

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A discount and you can finance the truck

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mount with the truck at five percent and

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I did that twice with two trucks Okay

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Minimizing debt in your business

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Yeah, use your money wisely.

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I mean, you know, we're practically

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debt free Yeah, our goal is to pay

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the house and the one credit card we

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took out to buy the generators, right?

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We're paying Payments

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are 70 bucks a month.

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We're paying 500.

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So knock it out of the way.

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Yeah.

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Well, so if somebody's listening

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to this, um, in the future, what

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service area is within reach?

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Do you go across the country or?

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No, we don't go across the country.

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It's just two of us.

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We do mainly Hillsborough,

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Pinellas, Polk and Pasco.

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We do a lot of work down in

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the Sarasota- Bradenton area.

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We work with Neal Communities,

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which is a huge builder up there.

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So, if there's any builders up there,

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we do some amazing things with floor

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cleaning, like removing paint, drywall

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dust, uh, wood glue, that kind of

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stuff, we can get all of that off.

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Post- construction cleaning?.

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Shaw Mills referred me to them.

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I had to develop the system,

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because I couldn't get it out, so

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I developed a system that works.

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Yeah.

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So, for somebody to reach you, I

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know your website is Accent American.

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Accent, like, accent on a...

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Right.

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And American, there's an N on the end.

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American.

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Yeah.

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With an N.

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American.

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Yeah.

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And I'll make sure I put

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that in the show notes.

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Um, it's phone number there

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or through the website better.

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Um, you can phone us if people want to

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contact us by phone at 813 621 6015.

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That's what you call when

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you want it really clean.

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All right.

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If I could give advice to mostly

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to consumers, um, You got to be

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careful of national franchises

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because they're not certified.

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The only certification,

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you can't create your own.

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The only certification is the

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Institute of Inspection, Cleaning

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and Restoration Certification.

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So anyone going in, anyone

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can get in this business.

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They get an occupational

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license to do business.

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They say I'm licensed.

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They get insurance and bonding, but

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they don't know what they're doing Go to

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school and learn learn the science first.

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Yeah Definitely learn this way to get

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into this kind of business definitely

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go to the IICRC Then get in some of the

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the facebook groups that are out there

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Um truck mount forums is an amazing

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one Rob is great about supporting other

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people and he doesn't allow any crap.

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He doesn't allow people to bash each other

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Or someone to try and steer someone wrong

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deliberately cleaners connect cleaners

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connect is another There's a lot of people

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out there who are willing and able to help

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you if you want to get into this Yeah,

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someone can run any business look for

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those look for those chamber of commerce

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is great for that Give me an example

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Let's say you bought a brand new carpet

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and you have the new warranty required.

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You got to clean it every 12 to

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18 months whether it looks dirty

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or not because of soil and sand.

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You got to have an

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IICRC certified cleaner.

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If you hire just anybody and they

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come in and they spray a pH about 10.

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6 You just fried your stain protection.

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You never even knew it.

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It's gone.

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Yeah, one of the one of the biggest

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Things I tell business people all the

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time is network get out there meet

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people We don't spend any money on

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advertising or marketing None at all.

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Zero.

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She, we track every call.

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We it for years because of networking.

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It's referral.

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We started networking heavily

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back in oh seven and made lots of

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great contacts and we foster those

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relationships with those people.

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We make sure we stay in front of 'em.

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We make sure we keep in touch.

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That's where our business comes from,

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is from that small circle is where

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we're getting all of our business.

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Beginning when you in a new company,

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you're going to be, you got to create

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a customer base problem with people who

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call you see SEOs and stuff like that.

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They don't work for us

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because let's be honest.

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If you're at the, if you're in house

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floods and you're at the computer,

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you're not going to go online to

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look for a water damage company.

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You probably go call your insurance or

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call someone, you know, you're going to

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call your neighbor or your mom or somebody

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and go, Hey, this is what happened.

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What do I do?

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Because people don't know what to do.

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Now, if you want to clean a carpet

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or a floor and you don't know

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what to ask, we've educated, but.

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People how to market us and referral.

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You don't know what to ask.

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So you go, you see an advertisement

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or you see something on Google and

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you call and your first question is

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how much I don't have time for how

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much I don't have time to explain.

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I don't need 1000 calls a day.

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To spend 10 minutes trying to book someone

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I'm going to book someone that hey you

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so and so used you and I want to do

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boom Right, they're ready to hire us and

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pay so how much callers are the leads?

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We don't want leads.

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No, we want referrals.

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And that's the hardest

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thing to explain To an SEO.

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We can get you the phone rings I don't

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want the phone to ring with someone I

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have to sell to And getting back to that

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you're asking how how to communicate

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with us I communicate with my clients

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the way they want to communicate.

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If they want to go on to Facebook and

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get to us through Facebook Messenger,

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I will respond, text message, LinkedIn,

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Instagram, however they feel most

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comfortable with how I deal with them.

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She said clients, not customers.

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There's a big difference in our industry.

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A client values you.

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Customer values price and they just keep

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moving to the next price And a lot of

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these guys get caught up and they go

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out of business and guys like us buy up

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their equipment Because they they pay

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for all this stuff and point for click

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and this and they got no work coming

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in So they end up going really really

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cheap to get volume and they're stuck and

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they work themselves to death They can't

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afford an oil change change the tire.

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They can't afford the right

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insurance It all compounds.

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Because you're selling a service.

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If Coke or Pepsi, if

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you're like Coke or Pepsi.

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Either one.

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Yeah, you're going to

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buy it, which is cheaper.

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You can measure it, you can

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touch it, you can feel it.

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But you can't with a service.

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Sounds like you've got a

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consulting business there.

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You could also start . Oh, I, yeah.

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And that's the hardest

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thing to explain to people.

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Well, there, there's several

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companies in this area that we

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have mentored in this business.

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Yeah.

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I've helped our competitors because

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the more of us they are, the more who?

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The tide rise.

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The boats rise.

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Yes.

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Yes.

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Exactly.

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That's the crap floating in the water.

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And you can clean it up.

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So what we do right now, other

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than a damage, we probably

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don't work most 20 hours.

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Two, three days a week.

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That's it, but we're higher end.

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And we built our lifestyle, we got our

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stuff paid off, you know, because at some

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point we're going to walk away from this.

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Not yet, we still love it.

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Now I'm going to die here

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on this property, sorry.

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Well, if someone, I mean.

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Well, it's about a million.

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We have eight acres and we've got

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our cows and we've got our chickens.

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We've had our pigs in the

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past, got our crop, got our

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garden and that kind of stuff.

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And it's peaceful and it's quiet and.

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We have great neighbors, so, and

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our daughter is a block away.

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We turned down a wonderful...

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So, you brought that up.

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A lot of family businesses, you know, the

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concern in a family business is, is that

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succession of what, what happens to the

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business when I'm no longer able to work.

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You don't want it.

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She doesn't want it.

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She has no interest, so we get to the

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point where we're going to retire.

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We would just say, hey, you know,

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come buy the equipment here.

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Okay, so you're basically just,

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your plan is to liquidate and

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just shut the business down.

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Unless somebody wants to take

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that name, then, I mean, if they

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want to buy the business as a

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whole, then we would sell it.

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Now, we turned down a 1.

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6 million dollar offer in 2009

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from a builder, but we said,

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if someone comes along with 3,

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4 million, I will consider it.

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Yeah, you know, because 1, 000, 000, 1.

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6, you go buy a house for 600, 000.

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You can't live on 1,

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000, 000 for 30 years.

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I, I, I couldn't.

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Well, our financial planner said if we

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had 750, 000 to invest, we could retire.

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Well, that's that.

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Yeah.

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But, but so a million.

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Well, it sounds like with, you know,

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the ability to sell insurance to

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create a publishing empire with all

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your stories and to consult with

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other cleaners, you know, that you

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could do basically over the Internet.

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Multiple options.

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Yeah, this has been such a pleasure.

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Thank you so much for joining us on our

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podcast I see another interview coming.

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We will see you soon.

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