It’s easy to sometimes take the simple things in life for granted. For example, hot water. I’ve pretty much always taken it for granted but fate and the past few weeks have reminded me just how amazing hot water is! You see, twenty years ago, when my wife Sandi and I moved into our 1925 house in Winter Garden, we had a vision of redoing pretty much every room in the house to turn it into our “home.” I had hoped to start on the kitchen somewhere back in the early 90’s, but before we could get to that room, we had to make the master bedroom livable-taking it down to the literal dirt floor; then we moved onto my daughter Jennifer’s bedroom, then the third bedroom, then the guest bathroom, then the utility room, then the living room, then the dining room, then the…well you get the idea!
Back in the day, I would do most of the work myself, in between working, going to school and trying to be an actively engaged father-needless to say, I moved at a snail’s pace. Then, along the way, Jennifer was growing up faster and faster, and the house became less important and dance, band and lacrosse took center stage. Then it was time for college visits and then trips to Georgia Tech to visit her at school and then more trips to Chicago, where she has worked the past three years as an engineer!
Four years ago or so, my neighbors decided to put a gas line in at their house and we went ahead and split the cost of bringing it to our street, with the intention of putting in a gas flash water heater when we finally redid the kitchen one day. It was a good plan in my mind. Through the years, in an effort to stall the inevitable “kitchen project,” I would tell Sandi, that as soon as one of the appliances went out, we would redo the kitchen. Believe it or not, for twenty years, we had not lost the fridge, the stove, the dishwasher or the water heater-and yet despite that appliance miracle Sandi decided it was time to move forward with the kitchen redo this summer anyway-LOL! I had begrudgingly accepted the fact that the project had grown in her mind over the years and that it was way over my head now as we would be removing bearing walls, leveling floors and redoing way more than I could do at this time.
So we lined up a contractor, architect, and engineer. Twenty years of waiting was about to be a thing of the past back in June, but alas, one thing led to another and the summer is over and we haven’t started as of today…but, almost in a cruel twist of fate, several weeks ago, I noticed that our hot water wasn’t really hot and when I went outside to look, there was water pouring out of the room that holds the heater! It had ruptured. Since we were moving to gas once we got to the remodel, which should have been any day at that point, I decided I would just take out the heater and solder in a piece of copper tubing, eliminating the hot water from our home. I could handle cold showers for a few days…
What we thought would be a few days has turned into quite a bit more-weeks! Sandi laughed everyday as I cried out in angst when the cold water hit me in the shower…and although the shriek had become little more than a pathetic murmur, cold water is not something I got used to, and probably never will be. Happily though, because of the unplanned delay, we were actually able to rent a small house this week for the three to four months that the redo will take and incredibly, it is only ten houses away from where we live (prior to that, we were looking at staying in a trailer in the back yard-now that would have been an adventure!) So, after moving a lot of furniture from our house to the rental, I took a shower there on the weekend and I cannot tell you how happy I was to have hot water!
For years I just didn’t appreciate hot water, but today and forever more, I will be grateful every time I turn on the faucet and the water comes out hot! So that being said, we have unintentionally taken our alumni for granted since 1933-individuals who passed through our doors and have gone onto amazing journeys. This month we have chosen to highlight one such alum and will be doing so all through this 85th birthday celebration year and on into the future! They’ve always been out there, making a positive impact in our community, but we have been so busy with the next generation of students that we have not taken the time to appreciate the tens of thousands who have passed through our doors.
While we have not said it near enough, unlike hot water, we do not take for granted all those who have made a stop along the way at OTC on their way to a brighter future. Our alum are an amazing group of people and we are excited to highlight several in the months ahead. I hope you will take a couple of minutes to view the video below and the future stories and videos that we will be sharing during our 85th year celebration. The OTC family is everywhere and we are proud of them all. If you know of a great story concerning an OTC Alum, please share with me so that we can share with others. Being a part of the OTC family is a beautiful thing. Thank you, alumni or not, for your support of what we do and a special thank you to all of our alumni who make our community such a great place to be!
Have a great CTE month, Mike.