Today is an unusual day for me. It’s the first time in 26 years that I have not been with my wife and sons on Christmas. Over the years I have never missed a holiday at home and I am 100% responsible. At the age of 50, I decided to take at the biggest risk ever and start over. I have talked about it before in this blog but the scale of the risk is enormous. Let me explain.
In 1983, I started a little lawn business in Birmingham, Michigan to earn money. My mother had lost her job and I could see she was stressed over paying bills just to make ends meet. I started mowing grass on our street and I would take all the money I earned and put it in her purse when she wasn’t looking. Soon I was mowing grass in several streets and hustling any little side job. I painted, weeded gardens, cleaned out garages, and anything else someone would hire me to complete.
Fast forward to 1986, I was living in Metairie, Louisiana attending Rummel High School. It was a Christmas morning when my mother made a joke to me, ” Chad, you know grass grows 12 months here in New Orleans.” That Spring, Judy & I ( I called my mom Judy ) moved from Metairie to Lakeview in New Orleans. I remember it like it was yesterday. I would borrow the neighbors’ lawnmower, cut their yard, cut our yard, and proceed to cut 10 more before the day was done.
Back to the story, ( I get sidetracked a lot….) my youngest son, Ashton called me from college and basically told me that it wasn’t for him. I suggested he stay the year whether he went to class or not but just to say we gave it a shot. I feel partly responsible for the loss of interest, during his Junior to Senior year, we closed a business and it caused our family to feel some financial stress. I guess the word, ” some ” is not being used correctly, it was a disaster but a good disaster. I truly feel that Ashton felt the burden of our financial difficulties and it caused him to make a different set of decisions. I must say, I owe him everything. He made it possible for our family to survive the storm and he took on financial responsibilities no 18-year-old should ever consider. Today, every single decision I make, I think about Ashton and his willingness to do anything to help our family weather a financial storm. His brother, Aiden did his part. He maximized his time in college, earn is bachelor’s degree and masters within 4 years, received a job offer, and help his brother with his startup. I will tell you this, my sons are smart thinkers that understand what it takes to make it in the world.
That summer when Ashton returned from College with his brother, he wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do with himself. He went back to his ” precollege job” but that was short lived. He brought up the idea that he wanted to start mining Bitcoin. He and his brother were mining and trading cryptocurrency in high school/college. I asked one question,” are you willing to risk it all?” Ashton immediately said, ” It is the future and I am willing to bet everything on it.” So that is the back story to why I am not home for Christmas.
Today, I am sitting in Rockdale, Texas working on building a data center that operates high-speed computer servers. These servers are used for AI, video rendering, and other similar computing services. When our team completes this project, we will have built the largest facility of its kind in the world.