Ace of Spades Landscaping...

Well, I'm finally changing this page, loosing the annoying background and putting in new stuff. There may be some nifty 'Ace of Spades' graffic or background or clipart added somethyme...but I doubt it. All I'm doing right now is tellin' ya what's going on...

I've been a landscaper since 1988, after I left the employ of Curry Buick in Bloomington, IN. I had a really nice ten or eleven year run. I always had more work than I could do. That must be a good sign. Right?

So, as the years went on, and the Indiana heat and humidity pounded on this old man's body, I was wanting to get away from the intense fisical beating, while still working outside with landscaping. Enter John Mellencamp.

In February of 1999, a month after I got home from the AT thru-hike, I was involved with helping the Mellencamps move into their brand new lakefront home near Bloomington. I spent several weeks helping get their personal belongings put away and then the straightening that went with it.

Mid-March, as the season was about to start, I told John that I was going to have to start landscaping soon. (Meaning for my Ace of Spades clients, as I had never done any landscaping for the Mellencamps.) John looks outside at the snow and says "You can't landscape now. There's snow on the ground. But, the first thing I want you to do is..." and went on with a list of landscaping things he wanted me to do.

I gave him that furrowed-eye-brow "What the hell are you talking about?" look and said "What the hell are you talking about?" He said "I want you to take over my landscaping and swimming pools at all the properties."

Hmmm, I'm thinking. I tell him that I'd have to think about this. This was a huge offer. One that I was intending on turning down simply because it was out of my league. That, and the fact that the only thing that I knew about pools was that sometime they had water in them.

So, I leave the Mellencamps and drive to my good buddy Stoat's house.
Stoat is the guy that taught me how to be a landscaper. He is the best hands-on landscaper in southern Indiana. He had hiked 900 miles with me on the AT.

After we got home from the hike, he went to see his boss about when he was going to return to work (at the company that had taken care of Mellencamp properties for years). His boss told him that he was going to put Stoat in charge of maintenance and they decided when he would start working again.

The night after he talked to his boss, Stoat said "Dan put me in charge of maintenance."
I said "Why? Does he want you to quit?"
Stoat said "What do you mean?"
"You don't want to be in charge of maintenance. That's a demotion." I'd been around long enuff to know that you don't put the best hands-on landscaper in southern Indiana in charge of cleaning parking lots and picking up trash.
"It won't be that bad." he said.
I said "You won't last a month."

Now, we are back to the day that John offered me the job. I pull in to Stoat's drive and walk in, intending on telling him that Mellencamp offered me the job, but I'm going to turn it down. The first words out of Stoat's mouth were "When can I start?"

This was in reference to the fact that I'd tried to get him to come to work for me for years. He had no idea that John had just offered me the job. So, I tell him what had happened and asked if he was interested in coming to work for me at Mellencamps.

We worked out the numbers and figured out what we would be doing and the rest is history. The only unfortunate part of it all is that Stoat's former employer lost his best employee and biggest account to me in a matter of minutes. And, both had come to me. Fortunately, Dan and I still work together when we can, and there seems to be no animosity.

So, now I do just about anything the Mellencamps want. It has been interesting, to say the least. I figure I'll ride the horse 'til it throws me off. I still have 6 or 7 other accounts to keep it from becoming monotonous and to give me someplace to go when I don't feel like being at John's.

In the fall of 2003, Stoat decided he wanted to flee the Hoosier state and head west...or, south...or, somewhere. He was just wanting to spread his wings a bit. He didn't get to fly too long, though, and a few months later he found himself back in Bloomington and back to work at Designscape. Now, he owns a bunch of houses and cars and cell fones and stuff. I'm still pluggin' away at Mellencamps and what not...So it goes.

How's that???
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