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  • Mark Olivito

Swimming Pools, Weirdos & The American Dream


The NJ Turnpike commute to PAVERART at ridiculously early hours allows for plenty of time to let the mind wander. In the early hours of a new year I thought back on a delightful back and forth I had in late 2022 with somebody interested in a possible outdoor living design project. She called herself 4 months after the first convo something I LOVE: WEIRDO!!!! But hold that thought for a bit...


Our first convo started as they often do, a picture sent in of the pool and walkway areas , a couple of questions, general background info into something that may or may not turn into a PAVERART design project:

"Time frame is flexible. Been waiting a long time anyway. 5' X 50' want an alligator walking toward my pool decking."
sidewalk, paverart, design ideas, hardscaping
PAVERART Potential?

swimming pool, outdoor living, hardscape design





But that isn't the exciting part........people reach out to us all the time with project ideas, price inquires, can we build this unique design concept in PAVERART for a driveway, patio, etc.


What was exciting was a response to one of our emails where we were talking about challenges running a small business. Instilling work ethic, solving problems. It was just a couple of lines but clearly she expressed appreciation for some of our writing about PAVERART and our view of the world.


The gratitude I have for people that follow our story is immense, whether they ultimately buy a design or not. ANYTHING that provides inspiration when running a business or just trying to get through the grind of tough periods should be embraced!

But here's where things get interesting. I asked a simple question:

"If you don't mind me asking, what is YOUR definition of the American Dream?"

What followed makes me smile ear to ear. Re-published with her permission.......

  • Try everything you can

  • Find what brings you joy

  • Figure out how to make that happen

  • Do it for survival

  • Lead by example

  • Live the best life you were given

I truly think I’m living my American dream. I grew up in New Orleans Louisiana with two brothers close to the same age. We all took different paths. I excelled in high school, went to college while working 2-3 jobs at a time. Took on college debt.


I worked in an office, managing human resources, delivered pizza, waited tables, and did my favorite job. An offshore deckhand on a scuba/fishing charter boat. I guess you can say my skill sets are very diverse.


I learned quickly, that what I loved, was talking to strangers, introducing them to the things I found exciting in life, and trying to help show the way.


I took my finances very seriously so I worked my butt off and waiting tables seem to be the one true thing that brought me the most joy.

I have my college education, a degree from Tulane University, and I’m a very proud 30 year veteran waitress. Not veteran in the terms, military service, but certainly a veteran and helping show people how to have a good time.


I’m certain I followed the path I was supposed to, because a 1994 while waiting in a hokey little restaurant in Metairie Louisiana I met my husband, and we’ve been married for 25 years. He is also a waiter, we know work at the finest restaurants in New Orleans, and make a great living, which is afforded us the opportunity to rebuild a house we inherited and last April we installed a beautiful swimming pool.


This is what brought me to your website, well looking for paver ideas I came across your website it was interesting, so I dug a little deeper and found your blog. You’re right, the tone was conversational, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I hope this gives you a little more insight into the weirdo you’re emailing with. Weird people are interesting.


WEIRDO. I gave such the metaphorical "fist pump" when I read this and how they make the world interesting. I thought back to friends I grew up with and used to raise hell with in the 80's and early 90's. There was nothing "vanilla" about them.


I thought about the diversity of our country, people from all walks a life, striving for different paths and definitions of success. Give me a room full of supposed misfits from different walks of life, different challenges any day of the week and I'm a happy camper.

AND.......if truth be told, on podcast #27 "A Wake-up Call to Parents" which I re-listened too, I gave my own definition of the American Dream:

"My kids are going to have a better life than I did. To have the next generation be better off than you were."

It was certainly off the cuff and honest. But the more I think about it, it's a tad "eschew." It imposes MY definition on my kids, which is a tad dangerous. AND, there's a whiff of financial success under-pinning this definition.


5 bullet points from my fellow weirdo conversation works so much better.

  • Try everything you can

  • Find what brings you joy

  • Figure out how to make that happen

  • Do it for survival

  • Lead by example

  • Live the best life you were given

I mentioned that people that follow our story and take the time to engage (but may never buy something).......are every bit as important as paying clients?


Make no mistake, SELLING PAVERART pays the bills, keeps us viable as a team. But there's a major difference between surviving and BUILDING something sustainable that endures.

People along our journey that keep the flame lit to stay at it work on the later.


Let's call them Weirdos. I wear that term as a badge of honor, and encourage you to embrace the Weirdos in YOUR life, whether present or not.


Wishing you much success and health in 2023 and beyond

MO



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