From the full version of Sunnyside's Lousy Book
What happened to my painting business?
I managed to rent a small shop behind the trailer court of where I was living and the sad thing about it was that within the first month of renting the shop, the owner moved a drug addict’s small trailer into the driveway. I had to wake him up in the mornings to get him to move his truck out of my way.
Not having the same phone number as the one I built my business on over the years sure wasn't helping much. I know they interfered with the calls I did get and my work in Tacoma got scarce as time went on. As the summer approached, signs of my painting business diminishing became more prevalent. After many years of having a back log of homes to paint left over from the previous summer -- the back log of jobs became non-existent. During the summer season, I managed to get bye on the word to mouth clientèle in the small community out on the Washington coast. Once I was out there, my customers would run into me personally.
Initially I had built my work truck to improve my life and make my life as a painting contractor easier. But the conspiracy has made painting harder than I ever could have imagined. I'd be the first to say I don't have much desire to paint for a living any-more and I dam well deserve to be able to retire from it.
One time I slipped up and told a customer of mine that I had the formula in my file at the paint store to a custom color I had used on their doors about ten years earlier. I knew I had the color chart, because I had seen it many times over the years. Also I can remember I had a gallon of the same paint I had shipped through U.P.S. to my job in Westport at the time I was working on the same job.
Before I arrived at the paint store I had a feeling that the formula wasn't going to be there, and once I arrived it was of no surprise the custom paint chip formula wasn't in my file. I should have known better than to mention it over my phone.
I've often thought of myself as the guard in a Monty Python movie, "In Search of the Holy Grail.". He doesn't give up.
In the movie this Knight who is suppose to Guard an en-trance ends up getting his arm cut off by King Arthur. He reaches down with the good arm that he has left and picks his sword up as blood is gushing out of his wound on the opposing shoulder. King Arthur cuts of his other arm. The wounded guard walks up to Arthur and starts kicking him. King Arthur takes a swing with his sword and cuts off one of the guard’s legs. With blood gushing out of all his wounds, the Guard starts hopping on one leg toward King Arthur as an attempt to block King Arthur from passing his gate by bumping into him as a way of pushing him back.
Arthur takes a swing at the Guard’s one and only last leg. The Guard ends up standing stationary on his hips and says, "Come back here. I'll bite your knee caps off!"
I managed to find a patent lawyer who lived in a town just out-side the Tacoma area in the town of Orting. As it turned out, he needed a paint job on his house and consequently we worked out a trade. He said he would be able to have the application done around June, or July. Since I had no back log of homes to paint that summer, I was able to start painting his house sooner than we planed.
While I was painting his house, the lawyer would get home at night and ask me about the components involved within the operating system of my truck. Since he was originally a structural engineer and not exactly one of the mechanical types; I had to teach him about the various hydraulic components involved within the system. I wasted a lot of time on describing what components do within an operating system, of which I don’t even use anymore.
Over time I've learned that I'd been better off with a lawyer more fluent in a mechanical background and using a larger law firm is usually a better approach because with a larger firm, a larger number of attorneys are available and the inventor is more likely to find an attorney specialized in the particular field as the invention.
I had a problem with getting the patent attorney to finish the patent application. He had a few excuses during the summer. First it was that the illustrator went on vacation. Then it was the illustrator fell ill and then he ended up in the hospital. Because of the attorney's snide remark stating that September was around July, I still wonder if any of what he said about the illustrator was true.
Toward the end of September I got pissed off because I had over-sprayed my truck. (Since the driver’s window had been down.) I knew it would not have happened if only I'd been able to drop the bed and park the truck upwind. To say the least I was anxious to be able to use my system in such a manner I designed it for. I got tired of waiting, so I took the incentive and began commuting to the attorney's office each day to help keep him motivated and to help out by proofreading the application. Three days later the application was finally completed.
Once we finished the application, he informed me that the application was more work than he'd originally expected so he was increasing the amount of money he was going to charge me for his for his work. The original deal was $3,500 and that I paint his house for a $2,000 discount. I paid him $1,500 up front for his work and $1,000 for the illustrator's work for a $2,500 total. Then he raised the $3,500 fee to $5,000 when we were done. That meant to me, for the amount of money I got for the labor, he just charged again against the original deal. In my book; I'd say I painted his house for nothing. Or dose that mean I put two coats of finish paint on his house instead of one coat, (white, over green) I get a $4,000 discount?
Another thing that pissed me off was he never returned all of the photographs of my truck. He said he had my photographs filed way somewhere because he thought he might need them for future reference. Also I never got the original drawings I paid the illustrator $1,000 for. He said the drawings where at his home in his fire-safe.
Get this: He got overly involved in writing out the complex synchronizing type operating system. The operating system wasn't important enough to disclose in the fashion he did and consequently it is no longer used to operate my truck either. All he would have had to write out was: An operating to do such and such, because....
I wish I would have known that I could’ve billed him for teaching him about hydraulics. Well, we'll say the lessons were worth $500. Gee, I'd say he owes me $1,000 wouldn't you? I did make a few small payments to him, but once I got the application on a computer disk from him, he never saw another dime from me.
By the time the application was filed, I had already had the shop setup at the trailer court. You can bet I was happy to have a place were I could fire-up my welder and weld the wheels back on my 80 inch wide "P____ B_____" bed. I was happy to get rid of the side-skirts and covers too. Not only that, but I was extremely happy to use all of my beds again and even drive my truck around naked once in a while.
Being able to take the bed all the way off not only makes it easy to check the oil level in the reservoir, but to fill it as well and that was the first thing I did after welding the wheels back on the "P____ B_____" bed.
Just as I suspected, the reservoir was low and it wasn't hard to figure out the reason for chatter and the inability to top out the hydraulic cylinders the last few times I used it to loaded and unloaded equipment. The cylinders had been sucking the oil reservoir dry. Therefore I suspect someone along the way had drained a fair amount of oil out of the oil reservoir. At least 3 to 5 gallons I'd say. (Sabotage number three.) Stupid Rule Number: 67 & Number 12 -- Everybody knows how it's done, they just do it.
During the months I'd lived at the trailer court, I wondered if anyone other than "Their little spy” knew about me or my truck. As it turned out, after I filed and decided to use my truck again, I figured out that nobody in the trailer court ever caught on to what was going on under the covers of my truck. The reaction of surprise from the neighbors of what I had was all the proof I needed. Sure I had "The Major" that had all kinds of advice of what I could do, but he didn't have a clue. I got tired of his ideas real quick and pretty much had to tell him to leave me alone and I didn't want anything to do with him. The landlord thought my truck was real neat, but could never realize the revolutionary aspect of it. To him it was just a fancy truck. As for most of the tenants in the trailer court; they were too wrapped up in there drugs and alcohol to even care about it.
Shortly after the fire in December of ’93, I bought my IBM Think Pad® laptop computer from Future Shop with the advanced money from the insurance company. I paid and extra $240.00 for an extended warranty because the warranty stated: If the parts were found to be too outdated to fix the product, they would replace it with the next better product. It sounded as if it was possible to end up with a computer upgrade if something was to go wrong with it. Since the laptop’s parts could be quite expensive -- it sounded like a good investment at the time. However, don't believe anything stated in extended warranties, the extended warranties are simply not worth the money people often pay for them because there are loop holes in the policies. The goal for a retailer offering these extended warranties is not honor the extended warranty because it’s cash out of their pocket. Their authorized service center is conditioned to put the blame on something else that isn't covered in the warranty and.
it’s usually your word against theirs, and you’ll often find yourself paying the authorized service company to fix it anyway
Within a couple years, the case of the laptop got a crack near the hinge and I planned to have it fixed just before the warranty expired –hopping that the computer would be outdated and I might receive a newer upgrade.
Since I’m the person I am, with inventions and all, I deleted all my personal files that had anything to do with my inventions before I took the lap top to Future Shop for the repairs.
This is when Harry Black, a guy I met shortly after moving into the dumpy trailer court on Custer Road, came to the rescue. We became pretty good friends, (considering that it was in his best interest since he was the owner of the coffee shop nearby,) and he loaned me his old lap top to use while mine was being repaired.
Odd thing about his old laptop was that it was the same computer I had lost in the van when it caught on fire. Mine was a 386 HP, and his was a Texas Instruments® 386 with a mono-crome screen.
The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:
The Rental Paint Job in the North End
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