Muzikman's Background
Muzikman's Background

Hi! My name is Mike and I'm originally from Abbotsford, Wisconsin, a small town with a population of about 2,000 located in Northcentral Wisconsin.   I'm currently residing in Wausau, WI, with a population of 30,000+.



My Family

My family, in addition to my parents, includes one brother and two sisters.  I am the oldest of the siblings.

My younger brother, Frank, also lives in Wausau, WI, where he has resided since 1984.  He is a year and a half younger than me.  He is retired, prematurely, from the hospitality industry, due to health issues.  He had previously worked as a full-time bartender at several places in the Wausau area, including thirteen and a half years at the Scott Street Steak and Pub(now defunct...demolished), in downtown Wausau, which was host to many excellent blues bands throughout the year, including their house band, the "Petrified Alien Brain Blues Band". He was voted "Best Bartender" in Wausau for two consecutive years in an annual reader survey conducted by City Pages, a Wausau weekly newspaper.  Two other establishments he had worked at, as a bartender, were The Wright Place On Sixth, and The Elks Club.  Just prior to his retirement, he had switched to working as a waiter, at Michael's Supper Club in Rib Mountain(metro. Wausau area).  Frank is also an amateur artist.

One of my two sisters, and her husband, also live in the metro. Wausau area.  Caroline works for a large medical center here in Wausau.  Their son(my nephew Ryan, age 25) also lives in the metro. Wausau area.  My other sister and her husband live in Northwestern Wisconsin, near Cable, WI.  Mary is a high school Family And Consumer Education(FACE) teacher for the Hayward, WI School District and her husband, Jeff, operates his own plumbing business.   They have two daughters:  My niece, Alexandra, is studying Photography at a college in northern Minnesota, and is engaged to be married.  My other niece(also my goddaughter), Jessica, is a Senior at Hayward High School.

A little bit about my parents:  My dad is 90 years old!  And, my parents just recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary!

 



Education

I graduated from Abbotsford High School in Abbotsford, Wisconsin.  I completed one year of the Electronics Engineering Technology program at DeVry Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, after which I moved back to Wisconsin. I then completed the first semester of the two-year Accounting program at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Wisconsin, after which I switched to, and completed, the 2-year Police Science program at the same school, for which I received an Associate In Applied Science degree. I then completed the one-year Data Preparation program at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wis. for which I received a vocational diploma.  I took numerous other computer-related courses after that, over the years, including courses on advanced BASIC language programming, Windows NT 4.0 system administration, the Windows 95 operating system, beginning and advanced local area networks(LAN), and others.



Career

I worked seven years(1985-1991) for Tombstone Pizza Corp. in Medford, Wisconsin, most of that time as a mainframe computer operator, and mostly night shifts. I also worked, briefly, as a computer operator, for Peoples Choice Credit Union and the Medford Veterinary Clinic, both located in Medford, Wisconsin, in the 1980's.

Following my time working for Tombstone Pizza,
I was employed for seven years(1991-1998) as a mainframe computer operator(eventually promoted to a Senior Computer Operator) in the Information Systems Dept. at Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wisconsin. I worked third shifts(11 PM-7 AM).  Here is a link to my personal website page which shows what the "computer room" area used to look like back in the 1990's, when I was still working at the clinic.  Of course, everything's changed since then!

I eventually grew tired of working night shifts, and, following my "stint" at the clinic, I was employed by PC Professionals, Inc., an Internet service provider based out of Wausau, Wisconsin, from 1999 until 2000.  I worked in their Internet Technical Support Call Center, fielding telephone calls, and responding to e-mail messages, from their customers, who were reporting problems or issues with their Internet and e-mail service, or just with general questions.  I learned a lot about the Internet, and PC's, in general, working for PC Professionals.  Back in those days, Internet service was primarily via dial-up telephone modems.

In those days, the Internet Service Provider(ISP) business was pretty volatile, and, just about one year from the time I started working for them, PC Professionals was eventually "bought out" by another Wausau-based ISP:  DataWave.  DataWave did offer me a job, to stay working with them, but it was such a dismal offer, that I chose to go out on my own, in business for myself, and declined DataWave's offer.  Not long after that, DataWave was soon "bought out" themselves, by Solarus.  PC Professionals, when they sold off the ISP-side of their business, reorganized, and are still in business and still based in Wausau, as Network Professionals.

Following my "stint"at PC Professionals, in February of 2000, I became self-employed, providing personal computer and Internet servicing and troubleshooting; consulting and training services; website design work; and hardware and software installation and upgrades, primarily for customers in the greater Abbotsford area.  But my customers actually came from as far away as Marshfield and Wausau, and I used to do such good, quality work, that I ended up making "service calls" as far away as La Crosse and Eau Claire, for the relatives of some of my customers!  (And, yes, they paid me for my services, including mileage, where required).

I also began instructing/teaching community/adult education computer and Internet-related classes for the Colby School District.  I did that starting in 2000, and continuing right up to the time I had my stroke in June of 2010.

And, finally, I also did  some "contract work" for a company called TEK Systems, which had a regional office located in Appleton, WI.  I worked for them from 2001 to about 2008.  TEK Systems would "contract" me out to do various IT and technical-type jobs for various Central Wisconsin companies and institutions, primarily in Marshfield and Wausau, with the jobs ranging in length from 2 to as long as 6 months.   For example, I worked with a team of people involved with training nurses and other hospital employees, in the use of a new patient care software package, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.   Other contract jobs took me to such places as Graphic Packaging Corp., Wausau; North Central Technical College, Wausau(TWICE); Aspirus Wausau Hospital Center, Wausau(TWICE); and Fiserv Health(formerly Wausau Benefits), Wausau(TWICE).  I must have done pretty good work at those places, as they would request to have my services again!

My most memorable "contract job", working through TEK Systems, was for Aspirus Wausau Hospital Center, in Wausau, from October to December, 2003.  I was placed in charge of a project that involved the acquisition, and installation, of approximately 50 thin client workstations, including some fully portable/mobile wireless units(NOTE: we called them "COWS"(short for Computers On Wheels), and the nursing staff affectionally gave them their own nicknames, such as "Bossy" the cow!!!).  This project involved the expenditure of approximately $100,000 worth of computer hardware, and, since most of the equipment was being installed to all of the hospital surgical suites, Day Surgery Plus area, PACU, and recovery areas, the timing of the installation of that equipment was critical.  I needed to visit each of the surgical suites, in advance, to help in the selection of the placement of those units.  In some areas that I had to do installs for, I had to wear "scrubs" just like the doctors, nurses, and other surgical staff had to.   

I also spent some time, in the past, working as a public safety 911 communications dispatcher, for both the Marathon County Sheriff's Dept. in Wausau, Wisconsin and the Eau Claire Communications Center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The Eau Claire Communications Center provides dispatch services for the Eau Claire Police Dept., Eau Claire Fire Dept., Eau Claire County Sheriff's Dept., and all police and fire departments and EMS services in Eau Claire County.

The Marathon County Sheriff's Dept. provides dispatch services for the sheriff's dept. and all police and fire depts. and EMS services in Marathon County.

I found working as a dispatcher to be very interesting, as well as rewarding, although it did tend to be stressful at times! 

Eventually, in June of 2010, at the age of 50, I suffered a "bleeding stroke", affecting my brain, and I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where I remained for about a month, including the time I spent in the hospital's Rehabilitation Dept.  The stroke primarily affected my speech(I now have a bit of a speed impediment...some stammering & stuttering) and my sense of balance(no "tight rope walking" for me these days!).  I was initially ordered to not get behind the wheel of a vehicle, but then, due to the medications they initially had me on, I suffered THREE TIMES from incidences of "passing out", which resulted in my further being restricted from driving for extended periods of time.  Eventually, I lost my driver's license altogether.

But, with determination, I gained my driver's license back, in June of 2012, having taken both the written tests, AND the behind-the-wheel driver's test.  I also learned to ride my bicycle again, in 2012.  Of course, with my sense of balance not being what it used to be, it makes it a bit more challenging, and I ALWAYS wear my helmet when I go out for a bike ride.  And, being in Wisconsin, my bike riding is somewhat limited by the weather!  But, I love to get out on my mountain bike and go riding!

So, altogether, I spent about 2 years' time stuck in the house, in Abbotsford, and limited to how far I could go, and how much I could do.  That was about the worst two years of my life!

I eventually was approved for disability, so now my financial concerns are pretty much over with.

And, as of May, 2014, I now live in Wausau!  The nice thing I like about living in Wausau is that my brother, and one of my sisters, and my nephew, also live in Wausau.  And, I also have many friends living in Wausau, including former customers, as well as co-workers.  And, I'm just very nervous about the prospects of losing my driver's license(and driving privileges) again.  But Wausau has taxi service, plus they have municipal/city bus service.  So, at least I'd be able to ride to anywhere within Wausau!  My apartment is located in downtown Wausau, and I'm within walking distance of the "Transit Center"(city bus transfer station), the Wausau Center Mall, the Marathon County Public Library,  the Grand Theater, and the 400 Block, a downtown square which is home to free musical entertainment in the summer.

 



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