Buona sera. Yours truly had an interesting trip. Oh, you didn't know I was going away? Right, I neglected to mention it. Almost 2,000 miles by car. (And for that stronzo on US-131 between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, you're damn lucky I was in too much of a hurry to pull over and explain a few facts to you.) Anyway, had a safe and productive trip.
OK, gang, Uncle Bob is going to reveal some personal history to you.
Way back in the mid-1980s, before my activities became both confidential and occasionally underhanded, I was married and we had a young child. And we were very devout in our Christian beliefs. (I still believe, but I'm much less active today.) We were also down on our luck. After much searching, a job offer came in. We were going to be co-resident managers of a self-storage facility. Back then, we were living in the town of Ionia, Michigan (which is a situation that I do not recommend for anyone), and the job was in Grand Rapids.
Or so we thought. The owner was a big-time liar, as we found out later. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to refrain from giving names?
The job was not in Grand Rapids. Instead, it was further south, in Kalamazoo. So, we set up shop and tried to make a home there. My then-wife was doing office work, and I was cleaning up the empty storage units. During our time there, the rentals went up to about ninety nine percent. We were supposed to eventually give instruction for other managers in the self-storage empire that this nut case was planning on building.
Then, my supervisor disappeared. I found out that he had resigned. The owner became the supervisor, and started making impossible work demands and did not furnish the money to buy the materials I needed to do the upgrades and "repairs" that he wanted. We thought he was nuts, but it was a setup. While he was telling us that we were doing a good job, he was training our replacements behind our backs. Our entire job was really a quick fix for him.
We were a quick fix for him, too. They had purchased the company and dumped the existing resident managers, one of whom was terminally ill and dying. No way would we have taken a job with a cazzo like that if we had known what he was like!
One day, bastardo came into the office (on our day off, yet) and said, "The work's not getting done, so we're firing you." I hope none of my readers ever have the experience of losing their jobs and homes in the same moment, living in a strange city! Remember, it was not just the two of us, we had a young daughter at the time. I think she was about two or three back then. It's a good thing that the weasely boss loser dude did not come by, because I was learning that I was capable of great physical violence. Watching the wife that I loved at the time sitting on the floor, packing and sobbing...
||>>> Fast forward a few chapters. I'll simply add that there was much praying at the time, and a series of what I consider miracles that took us out of that dark time. Oh, and our replacements? They dumped them, too.
About fifteen years later, I took a trip to Kalamazoo and drove by the place. It had a different name. Now, I seriously doubt that the company changed its name. I think he sold the business. Ha! Loser!
It had been over twenty years since I saw their headquarters in Grand Rapids, but I wound up driving by there just the other day. Even had a small anxiety attack from the deeply-rooted trauma of that time. The sign looked...different. I turned around to drive by for a closer look. Guess he couldn't hold onto the business at all. I was very glad to see that!
But it was even better. A name I did not know even existed was now there: Uncle Bob's Self Storage! Ha! My name is up there! Was that a bit of cosmic justice? God showing a sense of humor? Remember, at that time, we were both very, well, devout in our beliefs and practices. And I recall a fragment of a Bible teaching that essentially said, "You don't touch God's people." We were actively God's people, and he did us wrong. Very wrong, very big time. He's out of business now.