Name: Mike Kardash
Family: Partner Audrey Aamodt
Profession: Engineering student
Years in Grenfell: 35
If you had to give an impromtu, 30 minute lecture about something, what would it be about?
Hmmm.. That's a tough question. I was the valedictorian in high school, so I gave a speech. I think about it once in a while, what I would say to my class now, looking back as an adult. What you prioritize at that age, compared to what you do now, and how you think of the world, and what you experience. I think I actually would like to give a lecture to younger people, just on things to think about on how to live your life. Choosing friends of character, surrounding yourself with good people. When I was 18, I stayed around and worked at the co-op for a few years. I had a lot of people talk to me, who their intentions were to encourage me to go to university. I still don't disagree with what I did. I think I made the right choice. I think there's too much pressure nowadays to jump right in and go to school. I remember at the graduation ceremony, everyone announced their future plans, and that's great, but a lot of those plans when you're 18 don't come to fruition. You change a lot from 18 - 25. So I think I would tell young people, don't sweat the small stuff. If this doesn't work out right now, that's o.k. Keep plugging forward and things will work themself out. I'm not saying I'm an example for anything, but I did eventually find what I wanted to do - and I'm not saying this is the right thing either - but it's what's in front of me right now. And as long as you're progressing and moving forward and making good decisions and choices, or the best decision you can at the time, it's o.k. My priorities were different at 19 than they are now. I give people credit who can go straight into university, without a lot of life experience, and learn all this stuff. I think you naturally get there, with some encouragement, as long as you don't fall into a rut.
What is the oldest thing you own?
I hang on to a lot of stuff. My grandparents farm - they sold everything out last summer. My uncle was still on the farm. My grandparents lived there pretty much their whole lives. My grandpa was a carpenter. I remember when I was a kid, he had a workshop where he built dressers, and cabinets to tinker around with, wishing wells too - there's actually a few around Grenfell. Ruby Stanley's house has one. Anyway, they had the auction sale last summer, and they sold all of his farm equipment which is all, by today's standards, tinker toys. But anyway, my grandpa had some old tools, like an old wooden level and an old tap & die set, and a few other odds and ends that I snagged. I'm not sure how old, but pretty old anyway. I also got an old wooden handled bucksaw. I've been renovating our basement and the intention is to put some of this stuff down there, and display it. He had a lot of old equipment on the farm, that he still used actually until he retired. A 1949 John Deere AR tractor, and it was in really nice shape. It was his pride and joy, and it was the highest selling item at the auction. He had an old John Deere sickle mower that he still drove up and down the lane with the AR and cut the grass, just because it still all worked.
What do you do to relax?
I don't. Haha... This will make people's eyes roll, but I actually work to relax. Working on things that I want to work on. Sometimes I'll lay down to watch tv, but not very often. Not like I did when I was younger. Now that I'm in school, when I'm home it just feels really good to do stuff with my hands. I like to work with my hands. Before I was in school, when I was working, I used to have strong hands, with callouses. I miss working with my hands, so I try to keep busy with stuff like that when I can.
What's your favorite piece of art in your home?
I don't have a lot of art, but I did build some barnwood shelves for my basement. They turned out really good. I got the barnwood from Sheldon Wolfe, from an old car shed that they were going to tear down. I'd like to get some more wood to do a few more things for the basement. It accents things really nicely. I actually also have a painting that Melody Ortt did, that my sister got for me for Christmas. It's a firefighting painting. And my Rocky Balboa poster.
What was your favorite thing about summer as a kid?
I spent a lot of my summers working with my dad honestly. Since I was 10 years old probably, when the hospital closed. In 1993, or 94. Dad got cut back to part time as the caretaker there. So then he had to do something else, and that's when he started doing lawncare, and cleaning at the coop. So I had to grow up kind of quick I guess. I helped him with that, and that was alright. Didn't do a lot else honestly. Things are different now. People travel all over, but we didn't really travel a lot. Crooked Lake was a big day for us. We went to Moose Bay, or Cedar Cove, where they had the ice cream and mini golf. That was a big sunday afternoon for us. We'd go to the pool, play ball, hang out with friends.
Tell a story about something brave that you've done.
I've been on the fire department for a long time, so there are lots of things with that I guess. I think probably the bravest thing I've done though is quit my job and go back to school. It was really hard. I was really invested in my job, and it's still kind of a hard thing to think about. I miss it. Onward and upward I guess. It was a big change, and especially since I was 34 when I started back to school full time. I was amidst 200 students in their 20s. Out of the 200 of us, there were maybe 15 of us that were over 30 years old. And now we're kind of branching out into our own specialties, and some peope are doing co-op and I'm not since I have my work experience. So I'm sort of plowing through. I've jumped ahead to the next class, so I'm not with all the students that I started with. Now I'm with the class that I'm going to finish with. This summer I actually kind of just jumped ahead with them, got to meet them, so that's been interesting. Lots of good people. So ya, I'd say that's the bravest thing, if you consider that brave. The fire department stuff, I don't know how to explain that. When you're in the situation, you just do it. I guess I should probably be more scared than I am, but you don't always think about that.
What do you consider your best characteristic.
I don't know how to answer that. I'm my own worst critic. I always try my best, and I have high standards I guess. So basically whatever I do, there's always room for improvement. I guess my best characteristic, or something I'm proud of and will admit openly, is that I like to think that I can do anything. Or if I don't know how to do it, I'll figure it out. And most of the time, I figure it out. I like that about myself. It comes from working with my dad as a kid. Things were different back then. Actually, one really good memory, from the summer before the hospital closed down, I was probably 7 or 8. I would go to the hospital in the summertime and my dad would give me odd little jobs. He'd give me a rake and I'd rake pinecones in front of the building. Or I'd water flowers. He'd get called in on the weekend to fix a circulating pump in the boiler, I'd go with him and watch him do it. I guess I picked things up - how to take stuff apart and work on it. Now with google, it's opened up this whole encyclopedia of information. Now I really can do anything! I took my transmission apart in my car and fixed it when no one else would. That was pretty cool. When I was young, Dad would take the car to Eddie Dominique, and I'd go with him and hang out and watch. And I learned by watching a lot of the time. If I see someone do something, I like to learn. I was watching Kim Steininger doing renovations at the co-op when I was working there. He was doing drywall one day and so I thought I could probably try that. So I did my basement. First I did a friend's house in Regina. I practiced on other people's stuff before trying it on my own!
What is one thing you're passionate about?
I think I used to be more focused on one thing or another, but now I've sort of spread out, maybe spreader myself thinner. I do enjoy small town stuff, definitely bleed pretty heavy small town. It's sewn into my heart. And the fire department, I'm pretty passionate about that too. The fact that we're always kind of in the background, watching over things, ready to go out and protect our neighbours, people that we live with in our community. That's a hard question. I'm passionate about improving myself as a person, being a good person.
What inspires you?
My dad inspires me, for sure. I'm really proud of who he is, how hard he's worked. How he came from not a lot, and kept everything going. It means a lot to me, and that's why I look after him. He means so much to me. That's why I still help him clean the store. Family is the most important thing to me.
Which do you prefer, beach holiday or exploring holiday?
I'm kind of a bit of both. I like to have a day or two to chill out, but I like to do stuff. I've taken a few trips. I went to New Zealand to visit my sister, and we did a LOT of hiking. There were a lot of waterfalls to hop around on too, which was cool. I've taken a few hot holidays too. Mike (Zorn) and I went to Cuba. I've been on a few cruises as well. I really like the cruises. They're awesome. There's lot to do. I guess I'm not much of a beach guy. I like a day or two, but I wouldn't want to sit for a week. The cruise holidays were good, because there was lots to do - the evening entertainment. My friend won a cruise, when I was around 21. It was my first time out of the country. He asked me to go along because he won a trip for two. That was fun. A good time. Then I went with Mike again, and with Shannon (Dyke) and her family, the Carles's, and Dave's sister. They really are a lot of fun.