I was raised by my grandfather, and although it was far from easy, I was lucky to have him. He was a hard-bitten man, former military, who approached his work and his home life with the same quiet discipline. I don’t know how other kids spent their childhoods, but I can bet money they weren’t anything like the childhood I had. For the old man, daylight hours were to be spent productively, and after dark was time to rest. This meant I never got to laze around on saturday mornings watching cartoons, or goofing off playing video games after school. If I wasn’t busy with school or chores, then I would be helping him with his air conditioning business. He had owned the same small HVAC shop ever since he was discharged from the Marines, and I got to be his apprentice like it or not. Let me tell you, there is not much incentive to finish your homework early just so you have to go and clean ductwork or install a new heating coil. It wasn’t that he was a slave driver, he was just a man from a different era, and at least I learned a lot about HVAC systems. That turned out to be a valuable skill set to possess, as since then HVAC workers have become more and more in demand. Although I might have hated all those hours spent in the shop back then, the knowledge it gave me about heating and cooling systems is still with me to this day. In fact, I took over his HVAC shop when he retired.