I thought I was going to black out.
It was August in Florida, another August, and I had dozens of bushes left to trim. Tight little holly bushes that had to be shaped into spheres, so I had to bend over. This particular townhome complex had hundreds of bushes like this and they had to be kept tight.
I had long since sweat through my clothes and was dehydrated. At 100+ degrees and more than 90 percent humidity, you would soak just standing still outside. Swing a 10-pound power tool for a few hours in that, bent over, and you simply couldn’t consume enough fluid to keep up.
There was a point when I had been so hot for so long and was so tired that my vision went white for a second. I could feel the heat in my brain and hair, under my skin, in my core. Sweat poured into my eyes and dripped onto the lenses of my glasses. The thought occurred to me that if I passed out in this planting bed it could be hours before anyone walked their dog this way and found me.
I had another thought in that moment as I stood up straight to stay sentient, a feeling really. It was pride.
I had started my business Service Meisters out of desperation about five years before that day, after I lost my first business. It had been five long and very dicy years but our property repair and maintenance enterprise had beaten the odds and here I was, standing in the mulch struggling for consciousness. And that was a victory.
That said, I was proud in that moment not because my business was successful, though that was satisfying. It was because, in a tangible way, I knew I was providing for my family with my own two hands. As effort drained from my body, it turned into sustenance for my loved ones. I have never felt more useful. I hope to never forget that feeling.
When I started Service Meisters I wanted a uniform, something people would recognize on sight. I chose a black shirt for practical reasons – it hid dirt. I’ve always been a ball cap guy, so I knew I’d need one to complete the look. I found a cheap red one at Walmart. I was wearing it that day in the mulch.
My life has changed a lot since then. I no longer make my living outside and I don’t wear a hat every day. But when I started HomeDabbler, I pulled my latest red cap off the hook.
It is a reminder of what it took to get here.