As a kid, Tank was a nervous nelly. He claimed to be interested in Irish dancing but he cried at the first class. Same with sports. He wanted to be signed up but trying new things made him wig out.
Imagine my surprise when he was 11 and I left the house for a run while he was mowing our lawn. When I came back he was mowing the lawn across the street on the corner. A lovely couple, hard to believe - but yes they do live in our neighborhood. They're a little older than us. Tank waved and shrugged his shoulders while motioning around the yard like a young Bob Barker: 'All this and so much more can be yours . . .'
Inside I asked around if anyone knew if Mr. Drummond had asked Tank to mow. No one knew a thing about it. Later the Drummonds filled us in. Tank rang their bell and handed them a paper with a million misspellings.
His offer: he'd mow their lawn. If they liked it he instructed them to circle $5, if they didn't think he did a good job - they circled 'not good' and his service was free. They told him to go for it and they insisted on paying him $20. He behaved as if he'd won the lottery.
They referred him to a couple in the culdesac. Tank gave the woman his pitch. She said she wasn't sure. She had no money and her husband wasn't home. Tank left her his number and went home.
Later the woman called. Coach answered the extension in the basement. The woman said she decided that she DID want him to mow her lawn.
Tank: Well, I don't know. You just told me you don't have any money! (imagine Coach in the basement FREAKING out at how rude our kid sounded to a neighbor - one we didn't know, but STILL).
And so our little entrepreneur was born. The next summer as a 12 year old between caddying and mowing, he earned over $4,000.
Since then, Tank mowed lawns, planted bushes, did spring clean ups, handed out fliers, met people on places like Nextdoor, got referrals, trained siblings, took a portion of the siblings' pay for jobs they covered for him, got stitches when he stabbed himself with a landscaping knife, acquired another mower, got super excited when my folks gave him a blower for his 12th birthday, and has refined his people skills but not necessarily his spelling skills.
Next, he met a woman who runs her own commercial landscaping business and started working for her on the days he didn't caddy. He learns a lot there and has been given a few raises over time. During the lockdown, he helped her on days he didn't have to e-learn, following rules like wearing masks, driving in separate car, working outside, etc.
Somewhere along the line he started working for a family friend who works for his family's business. They make labels for things like engine parts. The guy's son is one of Ed's best friends. During covid when that place was closed, Tank agreed to take a project and complete it in our home. He had to attach grommets to something. It included punching 80 billion little holes into these red vinyl banners.
Guess what's fun? Finding over half of those 80 billion little red circle cutouts all over my flipping house since this little lockdown project. Tank worked in the basement, but failed to sweep up the scraps until I started to notice these odd little red circles all over the house. Then I ventured down into the basement. I WAS ASTOUNDED.
|Doesn't look like much, but these little buggers |
were harder than shit to pick up.
|It appears that the vacuum gobbled the circles up, but |
most of them needed to be picked up by hand.
We are friends with the guy (Ed's friend's dad) - and yes, I do send him photos occasionally of little red circles as I find them. 10 months later.
This summer, Tank planted a watermelon that his landscaping boss gave him. We are not planting people. I was surprised when he opted to grow his plant along our front walkway - near our front door. Anyway, it didn't grow all that big, but he enjoyed the experiment and we enjoyed getting the occasional photo of his budding watermelon and a message like: "I'd like to thank all the little people", etc.
|Cute, but not likely to satisfy appetites in our family.|
In the fall, Tank met a kid who runs his own landscaping gig. He attends our rival high school - Entitled High. He owns his own equipment, like big league stuff. The kinds of stuff Tank drools over, and that we cannot afford and even if we could - our garage is LOADED. Hard pass. Anyway, Tank reached out to him, and they met recently. The kid (also a senior) hired him to help out whenever Tank has time, etc.
In case I haven't summed it up properly, this kid is a shaker and a mover. He's going places. And when he isn't going places, he leaves his size 15 shoes in the middle of my kitchen floor.
When we met with a member of the business faculty at Creighton, I told them that Tank is geared towards sales. One point the man made was that they have awesome internships. A guy on staff goes out and comes back with amazing internships, you name it - he makes it happen. I told the professor that this guy sounds like Tank. A get-it-done kind of guy.
Tank turned around to look at me in the presentation room with his intentionally fake sincerity look because he is a comedian on the side: Hey, thanks.
Me: No problem.
Hopefully he'll get accepted based on this mother's ringing endorsement because his math skills aren't gonna have anybody tripping over little watermelon plants to get to him.
I intended to post this in December when Tank was turning 18, but then a dryer broke and doorways needed to be expanded and I was labeled as a gas appliance. I share it now, so you know a bit more about my senior in high school. He likes junk food, so gifts of junk food are welcome as he copes with his non-existent senior year.
Kidding, but I cannot imagine our home with him away at college next year.