Decisions, Decisions – 2012
It is now 2012; we are completing the new international terminal. Karla and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage, and I started a blog. In 2012 I decided I needed to make some key decisions about my life and what I hope Karla and I would be doing in the future.
Karla and I decided in January of 2012,that we were going to make the entire year a celebration of 30 years of marriage and take some fun trips throughout the year. Also I would decide during the year how I would start to get my story out on being a sexual abuse survivor. I decided I was going to find the internal peace that has eluded me for decades.
We were finishing a science and academic building at Atlanta Metropolitan College. This was a really cool design and fun building for us to build. It is always fun to build projects on a college campus and see the excitement in the student and professors eyes on opening day. I really enjoy doing projects on colleges and universities campuses. The energy is always high. I am proud to say we won an Associated General Contractors Build Georgia 1st place Award for the new science building for projects built in 2012.
We started a project in 2012 that is a dream job to me. It is a dream job because of the history of the building and the complicated process to renovate the existing building. We had to figure out a way of gutting a 75,000 sf building, including the roof and trusses and only leave the walls standing in a safe way. We had to figure out how to underpin the existing foundation and rebuild the building back from the inside out and add an additional 10,000 sf to the existing building, and all without damaging or losing the existing walls. One of the best superintendents in the industry is leading the project, his name is Ike Tiggs. The superintendent is the field general and the person that makes it all happen in the field. It takes a lot of planning when doing a renovation of this size. We have to work with the subs, architect and engineers to develop a plan to succeed, stay safe, on schedule and stay in budget. The planning and scheduling are intense before starting the project and gets tweaked throughout the project. In a major renovation the unforeseen conditions and getting things to fit properly are a constant worry. Thankfully, preparation planning and a great team will get the job done. This job will be completed the fall of 2013.
In 2012, I was really struggling with what I would do next with the business. Should I keep trying to grow the business, shrink the business or just hold steady until the economy clears up. Basically I had become very bored because everything had pretty much stopped in construction during the great recession. Where we were use to having 5 to 10 jobs a year going was now 1-3 jobs per year. I love architecture and construction. I love owning a business, but I was tired of the great recession, the struggles it has brought for over 4 years. I care so much for my folks, that it was so painful when I couldn’t keep everyone. New projects were few and prices were to low and the risk to high with such low prices. Subs were going out of business almost every day. Teamwork among general contractors, architects, subs, engineers, program managers, and clients was becoming a constant struggle with too many arguments. To me, before the great recession, for most people their word was their bond, and people on projects worked together to solve problems. By 2012, people were scared they would get back charged for a problem on a project, many owners had too tight of budgets for what they wanted built and pushed everything down on the architects, and general contractors, who in turn pushed it down on consultants and subcontractors. It had become a risk management minefield in the construction industry. I know I was more tired of it because I was also going through my own personal struggles of dealing with my childhood trauma and trying find internal peace in my mind and let go of the past.
I was also trying to figure out how do I get my story out to help other sexual abuse victims. I had known for some time, I couldn’t keep sitting on the side lines about childhood sexual abuse. I had to find a way to give hope to others and help myself keep healing as a survivor. I knew I needed to dig deep inside of myself and find answers to a few key questions. I also needed to make on a decision about what I wanted to do going forward in the construction business?
I took a few key trips that helped answer those questions. As I have stated in earlier posts, I love the outdoors and visiting places off the beaten path or places that have cool architecture and I always love places with water.
My first trip that got me thinking and helping me decide was a trip in June 2012. My wife and I drove up the Blue Ridge parkway from the start in North Carolina until the end in Virginia. It was so unbelievable; it was like driving on a road that time had forgotten. First this is a two lane road, and the speed limit doesn’t exceed 40 mph, and no trucks are allowed. This was our trip where we didn’t know where we would sleep every night. We just went with the flow. The sites were so beautiful and relaxing. It was just so peaceful; it took four days to go 400 miles on the Blue Ridge parkway. I finally saw the Rotunda designed by Thomas Jefferson, and then we went the back roads, to Fallingwater which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Now that was a trip. I had waited 40 years to take that trip and I was not disappointed. From there we drove to Ann Arbor Michigan and were actually a tourist for the first time. We then drove back to Atlanta and finally stopped in Corbin, Kentucky to see the home of the first KFC. We also visited a beautiful waterfall. Those were a great 10 days and helped me start making some key decisions of my life.
The next key trip was a place I dreamed about going when I was a Boy Scout. The place was Philmont Boy Scout camp in New Mexico. Boy Scouting was where I fell in love with the outdoors and the peace it gave me. I believe camping and scouting help me deal with my sexual abuse. I could dream that it never happened to me when I camped and worked on merit badges. Every month I looked forward to my Boy’s Life magazine and reading about Philmont. In 2012 I was on the board of the metro Atlanta BSA, and a group of the board members went to Philmont for a few days. This was another trip where I was not disappointed. We stayed in an old 1800’s hotel that was haunted. I saw Bisons, huge elks, and other wildlife. We went hiking in the mountains, eating in the mess and just enjoying the great outdoors. A couple times, I had tears of joy, but no one ever saw them. I was slowly being cleansed of my childhood trauma by going to the places I dreamed of as a child. I was so happy and pleased upon my return, my wife and I endowed a scholarship for needy boys to get a chance to go to Philmont. Philmont is a great place and will have a positive impact on a young man for life. I was 56 when I got my visit, and it was worth the wait.
The end of October Karla and I took another trip I always dreamed of. I took a 5 day bike ride through the wine country in California. There were 40 riders and everyday was a great ride. I didn’t know anyone on the trip and by the second day Karla and I were like old friends with all of them. They treated us so well and were very friendly. Many of them had ridden in Italy on a trip a few years before. I had trained for a few months and made every day of riding. Even the day I flipped over my handlebars, got 8 stitches above my eye and was back riding the next day. All I will say is don’t try to take pictures while riding. Stop your bike first, and then take pictures. It could have been much worse, but I had on my helmet and God was protecting me. I found out 4 months later that I also separated my clavicle in the fall. The wineries that we visited everyday were beautiful and at night we had special dinners at the wineries. Riding a bike every day in the back roads of the wine country was so amazing and another chance to see God’s handiwork and just think as I rode. I got to think a lot during those rides and enjoyed the hard work of training for the bike trip. I must admit I have done a lot of cardio over the years, but cycling a least 20 miles up to 40 miles per ride really gets you in shape. I am in 2013 doing a 4 day 320 mile ride from East Lansing, Michigan to Mackinaw Island, Michigan. I am training now for that event.
The last trip in 2012 that was special for me was our 30th wedding anniversary cruise that we took the last week of November 2012. We have never celebrated anniversaries, but we decided 30 years was a big milestone. We had been through 30 years of a great journey, and in the 30 years there have been tears from struggling and plenty of laughter from our happiness together. We just took it easy and reflected on a great life together and what we wanted to do for the next 50 years. Yes, we plan on being married at least 80 years, which puts us into our low 100’s. You have to plan for the future, lol.
The year 2012 was a year filled with decisions and one big one was starting this blog and saying out loud to the public I am a sexual abuse survivor. Words can’t explain how scared I was to say out loud on the internet about my childhood trauma. I must admit the positive feedback has been overwhelming and there have been many people saying that I have helped them . The sad part is unfortunately how many of us exist, and how often sexual abuse happens to children. I want my words to give hope to others about getting through the fear and other negative effects of childhood sexual abuse. I want people to know we can still be happy, have very productive lives and learn to forgive. We can help others, and not let the people who stole our childhoods take our dreams in our lives.
I am so thankful and blessed in my life. Please enjoy a couple of videos from 2012. This short video is of our journey celebrating 30 years of marriage with pictures of our journey from dating until our 30th anniversary.
Please enjoy and every day I thank God for delivering me through the trauma and effects of childhood sexual abuse. Enjoy life and keep going for your dreams.
Please enjoy the travels of Karla and me for 2012. Song 1 by my daughter Karia, songs 2 and 3 by my neighbor’s son William Davenport, track 4 and 5 unknown artist, and last track by me, words and singing by me using garage band.
Please enjoy the slideshow from 2012 of some of our projects and our travels in 2012