When I was in forth grade I had received $14.00 for my birthday. I was thrilled! I usually only got about $4.00 or $5.00.
My dad took me to the store. We went to Sears and I was looking for some match box trucks. My dad told me I should get some tools. I didn't want tools, but my dad told me if I didn't buy tools he would take me home. So I bought tools. I got a small tool box, hammer, crank drill and maybe a couple other things. I didn't have enough money for drill bits so my dad contributed. Later we found drill bits in the handle of the crank drill.
When we arrived at home my dad set up a work bench for me. Somewhere along the line I got a saw and combination square. My earliest memories where just cutting 2 x 4 pieces into smaller pieces.
Later I enjoyed taking apart my toys, especially the ones with motors. The problem is, I couldn't always put them back together. I would keep the motors and make primitive projects with them. Sometimes I would use different size wire and rewire them. By the time I got to ninth grade I was using them to make power boats with a hunk of 2 x 4.
Many times my brother and I would go trash picking. We'd bring home all sorts of electrical and electronic things. I used to spend hours unsoldering the electronic components from old televisions. When I was in tenth grade I took a Votech course in basic electronics. That was a lot of fun!
In eleventh grade I took a course in house wiring. The course was okay, but there were some people who cut my wires when I was finished a project. I'd finish it and it worked, but the teacher wasn't there to grade it. The next day a wire would be cut. I rebuilt the same project five times then I gave up. After sulking, I spent the rest of the year helping another student with there projects. The teacher let me pass.
In twelfth grade I was in a work study program with school until I graduated. I spent a couple hours in school and went to work for the rest of the day. My work was in a plumbing warehouse. I worked there eight years. People would say, "If Karl doesn't know where it is, nobody does." I learned about different plumbing, heating and air conditioning parts; what they were used for and how they were used. I also learned how to use several tools. One day they hired a supervisor for me and told me to teach him because he wasn't familiar with plumbing. That was the truth! I also drove a pick up truck and helped the plumbers sometimes. I did a lot of the dirty work. I made runs to the junk yard and also picked things up at the suppliers.
I got much of my hands on experience at home. My cousin would come over with another man. We were all young and single. Had nothing better to do except fix up my mom's house. We'd do projects with no experience, and usually it would turn out good. (See my Projects Page) We burned firewood and built a log splitter from the front end of a Pinto station wagon and a hunk of I-beam. At work we would do oil to gas conversions and would take the oils tanks out of someone's house and bring it to our house. I would stand it up on end, cut a large square hole in the side and drill some smaller holes around the bottom. See Picture We threw pieces of firewood in them and I built a hand truck that we used (with two people) to move from one place to another. One year we installed a boiler that burns wood and tied it in with the oil boiler. (Yes, we still used oil. We would get oil free when we did the oil to gas conversions.) We rebuilt my mom's brick chimney, put a new roof on her house and built a dormer so we wouldn't have to duck when we went up the attic steps. You can see it in this picture in the background.
Another project was rebuilding a Pinto. This wasn't the station wagon. We purchased this car for $150. It ran too. But we wasted no time tearing it apart. We got the books with all the specs. We dismantled the springs and took off the gas lines and brake lines. The gas line we painted green and the brake lines red. The engine compartment we painted white so we could see the engine better. The springs we painted black. We rebuilt the engine and automatic transmission. we took out the interior and painted inside the car. When it was finished we started it up. It ran, but the transmission stayed in first gear. My brother tried to rebuild it again, but it was no different. When he took it to a transmission shop they told him that he put it together right, but Ford transmissions don't like dirt. If the work environment has the smallest amount of dirt it will mess it up. And our basement had ash in it from the wood boiler. My mom drove that car about 60,000 miles after that.
I quit working at the plumbing warehouse and started doing day labor with a plumber and tile man. I worked with the plumber doing bathroom tear outs, then helped the tile man put the walls and floors back up. The tile man was in his seventies and used wire lath and cement. Real wet bed tile.
Since day labor wasn't an everyday thing, it allowed me to spend time doing other things. I gutted three of the bedrooms in my mom's house and rebuilt them on my own. Here is a picture of my mom's living room that we all worked on. I helped out around the church I went to. I did body work on the church van which made it run a lot quieter. I got a part time job working in the carpentry division of an exterminating company. Most of the work was replacing termite eaten beams. That job lasted about six months.
Later I got a summer job at a Heating and Air conditioning company. The work they did wasn't as neat as at the first plumbing outfit I worked for. I started in the warehouse. Most of my time was just cutting and threading pipe to get ready for the winter when the boiler season starts. Later they sent me out as a helper. They liked my work and kept me as a helper. But before too long work slowed down I told the boss I didn't want to come into work just to find out if there was work. The next year they called for me to come back and offered me another dollar an hour. I didn't take it. I had a couple bad experiences working there and didn't feel they were very honest. My mom was also anticipating moving.
We moved into a housing development because my mom was about to retire and this would be a nice place for her. It was very inexpensive and they also have a maintenance program that you can call when something is wrong with your house. After we moved I spent five months working on my mom's new house. She had an addition built and I ran new wires and telephone lines. I patched the walls and painted too. I did call for maintenance once during that six months for a leaky tub faucet. The maintenance man saw my work and asked if I would want a part time job as a grass trimmer. I said okay and he talked to the board of directors. A few months later I was hired. The other helper quit and he asked me to take his place. I still work there even to this day.
In 1999 I bought a house right across from my mom's. It needed some work. I gutted the house, put in new water lines, gas lines and wiring for the house, phones, cable TV and stereo speakers. I took out the hot air heating system and installed a boiler. I have a heated kitchen floor, a heated bathroom floor and heated bath tub.
The start of my adventure with computers started like this. I spent some time writing Bible tracts. I used to hand write them and let my pastor proof read them. But my pastor would look them over and write on them so I would have to rewrite the whole thing. He said I should get a word processor. About a month later I found one in the trash. It worked, but all the on screen instructions were in Chinese. (It was Greek to me what ever it was.) I spent six months playing with it and figured out so many features. I could do tables and clip art. I new how to format a floppy disk and save my work. That was pretty good since I never used a computer other than a calculator an a Bookman Bible. Later I thought on a computer. A friend at church sold computers and I wanted to help out his business. I got a couple books on computers, did some research and went to night school. I still use this computer today, though I am thinking of getting a new. one. Later I went to school for it.
Around the same time I bought this house I met a woman who would become my wife. She had a house that she sold which financed much of the work I did in my house. We got married in October of 2000. It was about that time I realized that my job wasn't enough for my wife too. The Bible says that a husband should provide for his wife. Where I work now, they don't provide medical benefits for our spouses nor do they have a retirement plan. My boss was urging the board of directors to give us insurance for our spouses, but it was voted against at the last minute. My wife thought I was good with computers and it was believed that there was good money in that field. I started going to CHI Institute for computer networking. There we learned the basics of all you need to know about computers. From computer hardware to software. We had a course in accounting too. It was very diverse. I graduated my class with the highest honors award. After graduation I started looking for a job. I had a couple interviews in the beginning, but didn't get a job. The board of directors decided to give me a $1.47 raise that year to try and keep me there. It did help, but wasn't enough.
A couple years later I went back to CHI and studied Computer Programming. I was taking this as a Refresher Course and a diploma wasn't available for me. I was there 8 months, then CHI closed the course down. My first program I wrote was my Hangman Game. Then my Bible Baseball Game. I wrote a few other games and projects. Some of these are available at my Web Site. The past two years I've been working on Karl's Bible Power, Version 5. I have Version 4.1 on the web now. I keep learning more and making Version 5 better and better. I am hoping to have it available by September of 2007.
Today I am still looking. Click here for my resume.