Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fullamanure #4: Everyone needs to be in a multi-level marketing company at some time in their life

Just to back up a few years, Shouna and I moved to Chicago in 1976 as I was transferred by EDS to work on a facilities management contract with Central National Bank of Chicago which is about one block from the Sears Tower and one block west of the old First National Bank of Chicago and on the west side of the L-train.  I was on the 3rd floor which is eye level with the L which was always interesting but noisy.  I was an SE - systems engineer which means I wrote programs for EDS and ultimately banks.  Just for a little more background and historical record keeping for my children, I was a programmer who wrote computer programs in assembler language primarily and reports were written in COBOL.  I doubt anyone knows what those languages are but maybe COBOL as assembler language is right next to binary / hexadecimal which are combinations of zeros and 1's or more specifically on or off.  Does that help at all? My most famous adventure in EDS lore was that I was an expert on what we called WAAPDSUT or I-AM-a-SUPPER-ZAP.  Basically it was a method to change things in the computer by breaking ALL security and it was a "lose your job" for trying it thing to do.  The funny thing about it was that we had installed a new banking system DDA which meant demand deposit accounting and it had a lot of problems which created what we called dumps.  Basically that means it broke often and generally in the middle of the night.  Bob Scott was a super smart guy who headed the team out of Dallas and I was the local Chicago person supporting the system.  It was the middle of the night when we got what was called a data-exception or SOC7.  In English that means the system crashed and no one's account would be updated in the morning unless it was fixed.  Well, I solved the problem and called Bob in the middle of the night and he told me to use the I-AM-a-SUPPER-ZAP routine.  I told him NO and he yelled at me, cussed at me and then threatened to get me fired if I did not use it to fix the problem.  I explained that I was trained that it was grounds for being fired if I proceeded.  Finally after a lot of yelling I did the deed.  As it turned out I became a hero and became the go to guy around EDS for  I-AM-a-SUPPER-ZAP. 

I should add that Bob became a close friend and moved to Chicago where he was the team leader.  At one time he told me I would become an alcoholic before he became a Christian.  He lost that one.  Should I also mention that Bob and his wife had a few of us over for a very formal dinner where the salad had cherry tomatoes on it?  Well as a side story I tried to eat one of those tomatoes and squeezed it in my mouth to the point it exploded and went all the way across the table.  Not COOL!

Back to the subject, shortly after joining First Baptist Church of Hoffman Estates we met some folks who seemed to drip with money, Brian and Marg Hayes.  Shouna and I were sitting in church and they were sitting next to us but after church they were extremely nice and invited us to a musical downtown at the McCormick Place.  A week later they dropped by our apartment in their motor home and picked us up for the musical.  We were impressed.  When we got to the McCormick Place Brian parked at the front door (a little surprising) and we got out and walked in.  To our surprise everyone there seemed to know the  Hayes family.  After the musical we met Rich DeVoss, founder of Amway and what seemed like a hundred people.  Again we were impressed.  We had no idea who we were with or what Amway was or even who Rich DeVoss was.  A few days went by and of course they shared the multi-level marketing plan with us and Shouna and I were off on another Fullamanure adventure.  In less than 12 months and a lot of stories later we were making more money part time in Amway than I was at EDS working about 60 to 80 hours a week.  Over the next five years we found ourselves traveling a lot with folks in Amway including our first trip out of the continental US together to Puerto Rico.  We even became speakers at Amway rallies and they flew us around the country to speak to hundreds and thousands of people.  It was a great time and shortly after Wynter was born in Hoffman Estates, Illinois in 1979 we moved back to Oklahoma to raise our lovely girl where she would know her grandparents and cousins.  It was a great time with lots of great memories and yes our Amway income continued for years even though we were not active until we forgot to renew one year.  

Well, what do you learn in the Osage?
  • You can do anything you set your mind to
  • Life is like a box of chocolates, you don't know what you might get
  • Life is an adventure, keep your eyes on your goal and not on the effort
Thanks for listening,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fullamaneur #3: Diversify but do it at the right time

In 1980 we moved back to Oklahoma from Elk Grove Village which is a suburb to Chicago where I worked for 5 years for EDS/Ross Perot.  I was still under 30 and lots of ambition flowed through my veins.  So about the end of 1980 I had found an acre of land in El Reno on Country Club Road close to Interstate 40 and where the town was growing.

Well I am still amazed she hung around me after all my idea, but we decided to build a day care center because everyone needed one these days and El Reno is where Shouna grew up and they needed a lot of services.  I got a bank to give me a loan and about $450,000 later I was in business and I had some wonderful folks in El Reno working and we were off to a great start.  BUT HOLD ON, I did not expect the state of Oklahoma to change the rules and reduce reimbursements for child services for folks on assistance by over 20% and then change the rules on how many children per student and raise taxes and add more paperwork.  I did not know the federal government was going to spend millions of dollars to open a single day care center much less several and each one that opened took a few more students.  I did not know that if you had a government daycare center like at the FAA which cost over $2 million and charged the same or less and paid the employees twice as much as me because they did not have a mortgage payment or property taxes.  Then the worst happened, Penn Square and First National Bank of Oklahoma City failed and about half the banks in Oklahoma were ultimately closed and as they use to say "the fat lady sang" in Oklahoma and about every company in Oklahoma was either broke or going broke and layoffs were everywhere.

Luckily I had a great job and as we started losing thousands of dollars a month then 5 and 10 thousand a month I figured out that other folks in the same business were broke and worse off than me.  In fact I went to the broke banks and found a few more daycare centers that were shuttered and I was able to purchase buildings that originally cost $500,000 for less than half and without any money down as long as I would make the payments on those buildings.  Well, suddenly I had a chain of daycare centers called "Country Club Children's Centers" and I was able to move from losing $10,000 per month to 5 then 3 then 2 then even make a little profit.  I did have to finally close the El Reno center because it was always losing money and if you remember "The Rainbow Bible" developed by Billy Huey of El Reno became the new owner.  My trash became their treasure and blessing.  Who says the Lord does not work in mysterious ways?

To end all this I would say I learned a lot about a lot of things.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • In every pile of manure is fertilizer for something to grow, just give it time
  • The lessons you learn make you ready for the next hill
  • After every hill you climb there will be another hill on the horizon and in the next valley is fertile soil for another dream to bloom, maybe growing right out of that old manure patty
Thanks for listening,
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fullamaneur story number 2: If you have a dream, make it happen!

Photo: pumpkin patch at clifford farms before clifford farms... olson family farms and before that for a short time green acres... shouna made me change it.
I am so blessed in that I have a wife and sometimes a reluctant family (when they were younger) who allowed my ideas to become real and I would have to admit that Mom and Dad did a lot to encourage me to follow those dreams.  So here we go on #2:

I am trying to figure out what year we started THE PUMPKIN PATCH as it was to become known.  It must have been about 24 years ago when I purchased a farm west of Edmond on 178th between May and Penn.  It was nothing but 80 acres of sunflowers and ragweed but I saw something much bigger, A FARM, but not just any farm.  I saw what I called Green Acres Farms.  Actually I got that name because my family and especially my wife made fun of me as I would go out after work in my dark suit, white shirt and tie and get on my tractor and start working.  Now if you are not old enough to remember the TV series Green Acres with Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert whom always dressed formal, like me, on his farm you should look it up and watch a few of the shows.

We really did not get started with the idea of a pumpkin patch but it was about June 1st when I took over the farm and the only crop I could get planted and harvest that first year was pumpkins.  So the entire family got to work including Mom and Dad who now lived in Perkins Oklahoma (long story on how and why they left the Osage for Perkins where Dad carried the mail and Mom opened a TV and appliance store).  We plowed and worked about 20 acres and planted it to pumpkins.  I researched and laid down drip pipe and used a water well to pump water 7 days a week 24 hours a day through miles and miles of lay flat pipe to reach the drip pipe with drippers every 12 inches.  Things went pretty well until around the middle of August when the pumpkin plants were getting pretty big and someone tossed a cigarette out the window placing the entire section on fire.  There were no houses within a couple of miles but the flames were extremely high and the fire was hot and fast as it moved south to north.  I was on my way back from Kingfisher when I saw a giant amount of smoke in the distance.  Naturally I thought it was close to the farm but not the farm.  As I got closer and closer I figured it was our place.  Fire trucks were everywhere and Wynter and Chase were there driving vehicles off the property (remember Chase was 9 and Wynter was 12).

Well the great thing was it burnt off all the dead grass but it burned down the barn and Ford tractor but the real blessing was the fire jumped right over the plastic pipes (I guess because there was cold water in the pipes) and the water never stopped flowing and NONE of the pumpkin plants were damaged.  Our farm made the front page of the Daily Oklahoman and we were famous, the hard way.

Well, when October rolled around we had contacted a few schools and churches to see if they would like to have a field trip to the pumpkin patch where we would tell them how God made provision for us through farming and crops and seeds and hard work.  SURPRISE SURPRISE!  It went crazy and we had thousands of folks come out to pick pumpkins.  In fact we estimated over 25,000 people came the first year.  This could be an entire book of stories as we continued over the next 7 years opening our farm to as many as 75,000 folks the last year we were open.

Today the farm is known as Clifford Farms, named after my dad and one of the streets is named Opal Lane.  If you know much about me you know most of my companies are named Lane Legacy or Lane Financial or something similar.

In summary we really never made a lot of money but we made a lot of memories and gave a lot of memories as we plowed all the money back into barns and tractors and more farm equipment and trailers for hay rides and then animals and a lot of hired help.

So what do you learn from the Osage?

  • If you build it, they will come
  • It is not what you get in life but what you give
  • If you take a little manure and mix it with a dream you get a great memory
Thanks for your time,

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Home on the Range: What do you learn at 13,190 feet

Home on the Range: What do you learn at 13,190 feet

Monday, September 4, 2017

Home on the Range: The Osage created Entrepreneurs and Fullamaneurs, ...

Home on the Range: The Osage created Entrepreneurs and Fullamaneurs, ...: Being from the Osage is a big advantage in life for a lot of reasons.  Over the years folks have called me a lot of things and most of them...

The Osage created Entrepreneurs and Fullamaneurs, I am the latter.

Being from the Osage is a big advantage in life for a lot of reasons.  Over the years folks have called me a lot of things and most of them I probably don't want to know.  But, the most common thing I am called (to my face anyway) is Entrepreneur.  Now, I would have to take exception to that and tell you I am just a Fullamaneur (full of manure).  You can be assured a lot of what you have heard about me is true and probably a lot is not but I thought it might be fun to tell you of a few of my ventures and why living in the Osage, Shidler and Grainola were so extremely valuable to my life and I absolutely would not change it even with some of the pain I have had to go through.

My first story of a true Fullamaneur venture:  Brad Krieger (past president of Arvest Bank in Oklahoma), hope he does not mind me telling this story, and I started a company for our two sons, both named Chase and born about 2 weeks apart.  Now Brad is about the smartest person I have known and he is certainly one of my biggest fans.  Now that I think about it, the reason he is one of my biggest fans is he is about 6 ' 6" and 300 pounds.  He could probably take one hand and grab a person's head and squeeze it like a pimple until it pops but he is about as soft spoken and nice a person you can find.  OK, back to the story.  Brad filed the papers with the State of Oklahoma and named our company 2COK, meaning 2 Chases, Olson and Krieger.  Now you would think a guy as smart as he is and president of a bank would know better.  You see, our boys were about 16 years old at the time and good looking and their business cards would read 2COKs tree planting services.  Do I need to explain what is wrong with this?  If you don't get it just call me and I will explain.  I pointed this situation out to Brad and he thought it wise to change the name to C2OK.  And yes, Brad and I purchased the biggest tree spade you can find attached to the biggest truck you can find so our boys could dig and plant BIG trees.

Headache after headache to keep that thing going and we dug very few trees and thus planted very few.  In fact I think I did almost all the digging and planting for free.  So you see we purchased another story in our lives and have a many a laugh over it.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • Think BIG and do something, it is better to fail than to never try
  • If you want a good story be willing to spend some money on it
  • Smart folks don't always get it right the first time either
Thanks for reading

Friday, September 1, 2017

TV Antennas and what goes around comes around

Well I don't know about you but when I was living in the Osage on Beaver Creek (yes, beaver creek was a for real place) we had two TV channels to watch 2 and 6 but if you lived on a hill you might get 5 like Eddy Harris and Jon Tanny Olsen (yes, his real name is Tanny and his grandparents were Nanny and Tanny, for real).  Now Jon Tanny not only had 3 stations but his family had a color TV.  The only color we had  on our TV was the wood frame it was in.  Did I mention that the TV was about 25 inches square and about 30 inches deep in the back where there were about a hundred tubes ( a little exaggeration)?  It probably weighed at least 50 pounds.  Now back to the point.  Everyone had an antenna which we called rabbit ears because it had two telescoping metal rods attached which you spread out and pointed until the TV channel was at its clearest.  And yes, you did have to adjust it often especially if there was a cloud cover.  I do remember one of the most annoying parts to this was it seemed the TV picture was like a page in a book and kept flipping over and over again.  It drove me nuts at times but if you could tune things in just right the picture would not flip like pages in a book.  Thank goodness to Mr. Rash (Jerri and Jodi's dad and of course Gene)  he could fix any TV and if he did not Uncle Bill Heath could but he lived in Ponca (short for Ponca City).  Yes, he was Jim Heath's uncle as well but he was much cooler being my uncle, just kidding.  I love Uncle Bill and Aunt Peggy but that is another story or group of stories.  Just ask me about Aunt Peggy making strawberry daiquiris'.

Well, we got trapped again in side stories.  Antennas,  I just read the other day that only about 20% of folks today know that you can still use antennas with your TV.  I am SHOCKED.  The fact is if you get an antenna (they look very different today and you need an HD antenna) you can get about 38 stations and get rid of cable or satellite TV saving close to $100 per month.  You see, the cost of an antenna is about $15 and the 38 channels are FREE.  You do not even need Internet service.

That brings me to the next point.  If you have Internet service you can get a ROKU device (about $30 and you don't need the flashy one which is about $100) which gives the TV access to the Internet and you can get about any channel you want for a small monthly fee and in many cases free.  If you are a movie freak you can get Netflix or better yet Amazon Prime which gives you movies and free delivery of items via Amazon.  Last month almost 1 million people unhooked cable TV or Satellite TV and saved over $100 per month.  Just FYI, don't get the Apple TV as it limits access to a lot of channel options over the internet (sorry folks who are Apple nuts but they are very proprietary).

Back to Antennas!  Who would have ever thought?  Cheap and easy, I like the sound of that.  It reminds me of sitting on the porch on Beaver Creek in the evening listening to the wind going through the trees and the coyotes howling and many times walking across the hill side outside the front porch of the house.  Those are great memories and I don't even need an antenna.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • Don't throw away your antenna
  • Listening to the wind and coyotes is better than CNBC or Fox and a lot less annoying
  • Peace of mind is found in your own heart
Thanks for listening,

2018 06 Dominican Republic and the Osage

2018 06 25 Dominican Republic and the Osage Here I sit on the top of a mountain in a beautiful house enjoying the fruits of a life give...