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