My name is Carrie…I am a thirty-something stay at home mom. I started staying home almost six years ago when we had our first daughter. I have two girls and a little boy and a fantastic husband that makes the “stay at home” part of “mom” possible. In my previous life, I mostly worked with children in before and after school programs and volunteer settings. I also worked in corporate printing for a while. I really always liked working with kids. Not so much little kids, but older ones that understood, and even appreciated, my sarcasm.
I was honored when Millie approached me about writing for her MiUS blog. I like writing…though I warn you. My writing is a bit like me…a little all over the place. One day I might tell you about how much it worries me that my daughter has a life threatening food allergy. On another day, I might talk about how I would love to know the inner secrets of those moms that always look perfect and act kindly towards their kiddos. Some days, I will toss a recipe your way…who doesn’t need something quick to eat for dinner? A little mom encouragement? Sure. Maybe some religion and politics (gasp!) hey, I’m game for it all.
I believe in supporting the “Made in the USA” products. I also believe in helping out the mom and pop stores of the world…I would much rather shop at the local hardware store than a Home Depot (not always easy anymore). Going out to eat? My husband and I steer away from chain restaurants and give our money to the independent guy as often as we can. I also believe the differences in each one of us is what makes this country great. I love that people agree –and disagree- with my beliefs. That, my friends, is what makes the world go round!
My parents have always been very influential in my life. They started with next to nothing, drained their savings to buy a house, always had a home cooked meal on the table, and taught me the importance of having a good work ethic. They still practice all these beliefs today and help us teach our kids the same values.
While my mom has always crunched numbers for a living (I have never seen someone’s fingers fly across an adding machine so fast!), my father has worked for our family business (ok…it’s not a dynasty like my husband had hoped…it literally was my grandfather, dad and an uncle…in a one hundred year old building no less) since he started working …oh wait…he did work for McDonalds a hundred years ago, yes he still talks about it! I thought it would be fun to ask him a few questions…but please…never ask him how much a McDonald’s hamburger was way back when…
Me: When was Jig Grinding Service started? Who started it and why?
Dad: My father Bob Barker [before you get too excited, Bob Barker was my grandfather’s name. However he was not THE Bob Barker- is THE Bob Barker still alive even?] started it in 1967. Bob had always run the same machines for other companies so he decided to give it a try on his own…and succeeded.
Me: Do you mostly manufacture/produce products made and used in the USA?
Dad: Yes, most of the products I work on are made here. With that being said, it doesn’t always mean that those products stay here. They may go to another country for producing the parts for assembly and could possibly come back here for assembly. I don’t usually have that information. My company is a fourth or fifth tier, or even lower, so I just do my job and hopefully get paid.
Me: Why have you stayed and taken over the family business? Have you ever wanted to do anything else?
Dad: I have been doing this since I was 17 years old. Due to my father’s retirement, and then the economic collapse, my partner (brother) had to go elsewhere for us to survive. It was a difficult decision but it was the correct one to make. I enjoy the work that I do, but am also looking forward to the end of my career here, and health and work will make that decision for me. I branched out into the political arena around 2001 and I also enjoy that work.
Me: Has your involvement in local politics influenced you in your business decisions?
Dad: No, not really. If anything it has had the opposite effect. Local governments need to look at their bottom line just as businesses have had to do. I think you will be seeing more of that as the State and Federal government keep reducing funds back to cities. Tough decisions need to be made so that the residents don’t have to pay an increase in taxes. Cities need to get lean just as businesses have had to during the economic downturn. I feel my business experience has helped me in understanding and making those decisions.
Me: Do you believe in, and try to buy products only made in the USA?
Dad: Yes, but it isn’t that easy anymore. Many of the big manufacturers that produced tools for my industry have moved out of the USA or are no longer in business.
Me: Did you feel kind of crazy “planking” for the photo?
Dad: Yes, at first I wasn’t going to do it. Hey, I am an old guy who doesn’t kid around much. But then I thought about it and it was for a friend who has some health issues and if it put a smile on her face one day then it was worth doing. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Hmmm…doesn’t kid around much? Here is my dad, or “gramps” riding a roller coaster with my oldest daughter…