Posting this a day late, but thought I'd bring out some of my "personal" memories LOL
On October 11, 1996, I ofically left home to go to UTI in Phoenix, AZ to learn HVAC.
I had just graduated High School that May, and turned 18 that July. I was the last of 3 children to leave the nest.
I remember just like it was yesterday. I was just filled with exitement.
I was glad to finally be out on my own, and was exited to see Phoenix.
I was glad that I would finally get to learn about A/C and heating systems, something I had been interested in from a very young age. (I remember way back when I was 6 years old when I would go to people's houses and look to see what kind of condenser they had, and look at the furnace, or being in a public building trying to get into mechanical rooms to see the equipment. Used to drive my parents and sisters NUTS!)
I could not wait to get done with UTI and move up here to Connecticut where my sisters both lived.
What an exiting time that was. I spent an entire week cleaning and packing up my room. I threw away bags and bags of stuff. Stupidly enough , I THREW AWAY a whole bunch of 33 and 45 records! Even threw away 4 years of stuff I had "Stashed" that I didn't want my parents to know about like love notes and failing school papers LOL
I even took each and every one of my CD's (like 35 or 40 at the time) and copied them all to tapes bacause I didn't want to take my CD's since I was afraid they would get stolen. To this day I will never regret that I did that.
After packing up the rest of my car, me and my Dad headed out, after giving my mother a hug and hoping she would not go to tears. (She wanted to go so bad, but her job would not let her take the time off.)
We took the 3 hour drive to Liberal, Kansas where we met with the rep from UTI and all of the other UTI students from Kansas that were going. There were quite a few others going, about 60 if I remember correctly.
We spent that night getting to know our "roommates" (there were 4 of us in each motel room, and we had the same roommates each night of the trip.)
The next morning, we all caravaned out toward Phoenix. We drove the 9 hours to Gallup, new mexico, where we had planned to stay that night.
Getting into the mountains of New Mexico, it was just too much for my 4-cylinder 1986 Oldsmobile Firenza and it overheated badly. Me and my Dad pulled over, luckilly there was a rest stop close by. We ate lunch and rested for about an hour, and luckily my car was just "tired", and it had cooled off. We drove the rest of the way to Gallup, at a pretty nice motel. Went swimming at their indoor pool, and really enjoyed the night.
After getting to Gallup, I decided to look under the hood of my car. Dam good thing I did. One of my hoses had started to tear open, and it was RIGHT on the edge of bursting. Found an auto parts store and they had a hose for it, me and my dad changed it out and the car was good to go. (man I was lucky on that one!)
The next morning, we drove the rest of the way to Phoenix, about 6 hours.
Once we got there, we drove over to the hotel, and on the way we drove down Weldon ave and there were the UTI buildings. At Last!
The next day we spent looking for an apartment and getting enrolled in School. We found an apartment, and co-incedentally, all 3 of my roomates were from Kansas who had came down on the trip.
School started on the 21st, so I spent that week trying to find a job, and acclimating to a whole new city. I was still filled with exitement, and could not wait to start (and finish) school.
If only I knew what lie ahead.
As time went on, I was very dissapointed in my other fellow students. I never was one to party and drink a lot, but the majority of these students were just out of control. Think of the movies where you see parents of a teenger going away for a weekend and the kids partying and trashing the house when they were gone. This was pretty much the scene at UTI. Teenagers without parents.
I was lucky my roommates were not any more wild than they were. They partied, but noting compared to stories I heard other people telling me about their home lives. I could not believe the stuff I was hearing these other people talk about. The drugs, the non-stop partying, and hearing of how their houses were just trashed with bottle caps in the ceiling and garbage all over the floor.
I had pictured it being totally different - I thought most of the people attending would already be profesionally-oriented people..........BOY WAS I WRONG!
I did manage to meet quite a few people who I liked however, including 2 brothers that were pretty much the same type as me. We ended up all moving into our own apartment after my lease was up with my existing place.
Overall, I was very happy with the training I got at UTI. I had a lot of really neat instructors (along with some I didn't really care for), but I really liked the program.
On September 26th, 1997, I graduated UTI.
I was not financially able to move to Connecticut though, so much to my dissapointment, I went back to Kansas.
In 1999, I was finally able to move to Connecticut. I knew within the first month after moving here though, that living here was not going to give me the life I had hoped for and dreamed about for years.
It didn;t take long to discover that my sisters were going to treat me like an outsider, which they still do to this day, and probably always will.
I look back on myself 10 years ago, and I remember thinking of meeting the right person and getting married, buying a house and having kids. So far none of the above have happened.
When I moved out here and started working, I found that the HVAC trade is so much different and more complicated than it was back home. There is so much more to doing installs, and during the summer, there is not nearly as much A/C work to do. And here it doesn't matter if it is 3 in the morning and there is 10 feet of snow on the ground, if someone calls and has no heat, you have to go out in that sh*t and hope you don't kill yourself in an accident.
I rmember looking forward to being close to both of my brothers in law and doing stuff like going fishing or getting together for football games. Both of them turned out to be real jerks, and my sisters are now both divorced.
I remember looking forward to being with my sisters and eventually bonding with them enough to where they would come to me if they had a problem or a bad day, or them taking interest in some of the things the I do.
I looked forward to having a cirlce of friends to hang out with and do things with such as fishing or just going out for a night. 6 years later, no real friends besides aquaintances at work.
When I think back on the days of turning 18 and being so exited to go to college and graduate and go to work, it is depressing to think how if I had know how things for me were going to be today, I could have done so much different.
I would definatly go to UTI again. I was very happy with UTI and their training. (Although I am dissapointed now that they do not teach HVAC anymore.)
However, thinking back, I wish I would have just gone to a place where I liked it and was happy, rather than trying to waste my time on my family, which I now realize is a piece of sh*t.
I would have stayed in kansas where at least I had a few social friends and would now probably have a nice house, a good job, and a better social life.
It is really sad when I look back on myself just 9 years ago when I was so exited and looking forward to life, and now being in a situation where I did everything I wanted to after college but did not end up with what I thought I would end up with.
I decided this year, that I am going to make some changes for the better.
Next year, I plan on moving back to Kansas. I am going to just leave my family and forget about them. (They don't treat me like family, so it won't phase them if I don't talk to them anyway.)
I am going to find a good job with a company I like (That will be the hardest thing about leaving connecticut, I really enjoy the company I currently work for and have an exellent boss.)
Once I make my move I plan to get into better shape and lose the weight that I have gained in the last 10 years that is all from eating garbage.
I will live in a place where I actually enjoy working in the trade, so I will feel more motivated to do good work.
I will probably have a better social life, as people back in the mid west are much easier to make friends with.
All in all, I will have a better life and be a much happier person, hopefully just as happy as I was the day I packed up my car to leave home.
So many changes that I should have made years ago, but have just sat and dwelled on it instead of doing something about it.
I am going to save up money over the winter, and when the time is right, either next spring or fall, I'm going to make it all happen.
Next year by this time, you will all get to see, the "New ct_hvac_tech"
Sorry for such a long post, but if you read this far, you now know "a little more about me :-) )