Thursday, May 17, 2007

Duane LeGate Part 1.1 Crisis and character

[Continues...Part 1.0]
Then a series of events happened to me that I would not wish on my worse enemy. In a VERY short time frame, our family dealt with death, I had to help my sister (the one I was telling you that had bipolar) deal with some very unpleasant things she had gotten herself into, and 5 other things that I would consider MAJOR, but will not share here. Long story short, all this stress lead to me having a massive heart attack on 8/24/02 at the age of 38. I died that day and I will always have Dr. Chang to thank for bringing me back and letting me enjoy some more precious time on this great earth. Ok, things are getting sticky. I owe the banks, lines of credit, and business partners. Dr. Chang told me that rehabbing WAS OUT. My net worth, or should I say my negative net worth ballooned to a few hundred K shy of 1 million. I had MILLIONS of dollars in notes and such out. I couldn’t finish my properties, and then the hammer hit.

Just as all the stress I was under lead to my heart attack, the stress got to my wife also… in the fashion of a nervous breakdown. I literally got out of CCU and 2 days later she said she wanted to divorce me. There was nothing in my life at that point that was remotely stable. I over leveraged, and got my butt hung out to dry, I had more personal things to go on in my life in a very short window of time than most people will ever have to confront in an entire lifetime. In fact in a counseling session with a Christian based family practitioner, he said that any one of the “stressers” as he called the events could lead to marital strife, but with all we have on our plates, he thought maybe we had passed the point of no return.

So I moved into one of my houses. A TV, a couch, a bed and a computer was all I had.. Looking back, this time I had is what saved everything. I had to go back and make an accounting of my life. I asked myself tough questions. Are you raising your children properly? I would go to their games and recitals and such, but was I TRULY engaged in their lives? Was I giving them the proper moral up bringing? Was I a good husband? Did I live for myself or was I truly a good partner for my wife? How did I view wealth, I was lying to myself… I was seeking wealth for wealths sake and not for family stability and using it to help others. I kept asking questions until I finally asked myself the ultimate one. “If I would have died, what would they have said about me at my funeral?” When I finally answered myself truthfully.. I didn’t like it… I didn’t like it AT ALL. I searched and realized that I wasn’t the person I wanted to be, I wasn’t the person I could be.

So I had to do first things first. I had to admit my weaknesses and work to get my wife and therefore my family back. I had to provide financial stability. I had to figure out a plan that gave me steady income and pay back all of my creditors. I couldn’t get a job because of my condition. So I called a former co-worker and on the back of a napkin came up with a business plan that I could run out of my home, provide recurring revenue and get everyone paid. BK? Not an option for me. It would have been financially prudent, however, as I saw it these entities, whether it be banks, mortgage companies, and even friends had invested in ME. I owed it to THEM to pay them back properly. As of this writing, I have one carry over note left with a buddy of mine. I have 3 properties besides my residence. I have a successful business that I moved out of my house and now employ over 10 people not including all of our outsourced partners. I coach all 3 of my sons sporting activities – over 26 teams in the past 4 years. I sit on the board of many non-profits for the sake of helping others, my wife and I have a very healthy marriage and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with her. I feel proud of my surroundings.

Part 1.0 Circumstances beyond control. Part 3; Doing well by doing good.

31 comments:

Tony Soprano said...

First bitches!

Tony Soprano said...

That will teach you who's boss!

Anonymous said...

Murses!

aaron said...

damn duane,

Im speechless. You truely have come out a better man. huge kudos to you. May you and your family continue do be blessed although with what you are doing I don't think you need blessings. You already have them.

Rob Dawg said...

Tony,
That's some serious whackage you dropping on us. Have we done something wrong?

BadjerJim said...

Awesome stuff... but why does the date say Sunday, May 20?

Tony Soprano said...

@ Dawg

I'm just grouchy because I didn't get any T&A in Victoria last weekend..

Rob Dawg said...

BadjerJim,
Easy, all the parts will hang together in a linear time line. All other posts will be under them until finished.

JoanTheArch said...

Where's Simon & Schuster when you need them?

Lost Cause said...

Wow. That was really a rough patch. Very humbling. I'm very happy that you got a second chance.

mejustme said...

Holy crow!

Duane's story is even worse than Casey's. Casey still has his health and his wife (for now).

This makes Snowflake look even worse. How dare he pass up a chance to learn from Duane!?

Legion said...

Geez, no wonder you were trying to help snowflake, you've been thru worse. Still, now that Nigel knows how successful you are, I'd tighten your sphincter to keep him out. I swear Nigel is like a parasite that latches onto anything that even hints at success.

Legion said...

@mejustme

Casey thinks he is such a genius that Duane should have helped him no matter what, under Casey's terms. Like it's been said, Casey seems to think people will just flock to work under him doing his bidding, he's the "idea" man remember. Let the peons work in the fields.

aaron said...

mejustme,
I think you mean Duane's story is a 1000 times better than casey's. Duane actually looked deep within himself and made needed changes. He's been down to the depths that I can't fathom and now he's come back with a new perspective and much better outlook on life.

As someone else said...Quite humbling

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna make this all about me for sec - I went through a similar personal and spiritual inventory, after my father had a stroke. I too did not like what i saw, although it was'nt nearly as rock bottom as Duane. I also turned my life around, for the better, and it was the hardest, most difficult, gut-wrenching process I could have imagined...

And worth every second.

It makes you a better person.

My hat is off to you, Duane, I have immense respect for you - and thanks for sharing very personal things here. Thats' not easy.

Legion said...

By the way, that graphic of page hits and views of CAsey's yesterday, showed that people were hitting his site, but not sticking around to read anything (probably because they couldn't). What an imbicile. Rob's views however are always more orange than yellow, so people are sticking around.

I like M. Singh said...

"How did I view wealth, I was lying to myself… I was seeking wealth for wealths sake and not for family stability and using it to help others."

Mister LeGate, I am writing to you regarding the above quote. This sentiment resonates within me and I am sure others as well. One wonders wealth for what?- and understandably begins to muse on life for what? And for whatever life is, wealth is for that same purpose, but magnified.

Casey writes that he wants to create a website to help others. Casey also writes that his ultimate goal is to attain 'passive income'. Duane, I am wondering: did you and Casey ever talk about what he would do when he crawled out of this hole? Do you believe Casey understands altruism, and would he practice it were he able to? He previously wrote in a 'budget' that he would tithe 10% of income-- do you believe he would, were he able?

As always,
I L M S

Hobbes said...

Duane:

Wow.

Casey is a pissy little spoiled brat for blowing your help off.

Stephanie J. said...

I asked myself tough questions. Are you raising your children properly? I would go to their games and recitals and such, but was I TRULY engaged in their lives? Was I giving them the proper moral up bringing? Was I a good husband? Did I live for myself or was I truly a good partner for my wife? How did I view wealth, I was lying to myself… I was seeking wealth for wealths sake and not for family stability and using it to help others

It takes a special kind of man to sit down and do that kind of soul-searching.

Those are questions Casey routinely avoids. I don't see him being strong enough, or big enough of a person to swallow his pride and do such a thing.

You're an amazing person, Duane.

Legion said...

Hey Steph I searched my soul at one point too!!! Found nothing but still...
so, now that I am a special man as well, can I get a minute between the breasts of life like the bird?:-)

Anonymous said...

Heart attack at 38? Good Lord.

I've punched through my 30's and most of my 40's in good health, touch wood, and -sans heart attack- I've come to view what I value most in life as time.

I now view every purchase on the basis of how much time it'll add to my days 'on the coalface' and then decide whether the real cost (and I mean value investing real cost) is worth it. Well, truthfully, I'm basically now retired which causes one to really look at the cost of a flash lifestyle.

You know what? Most of the crap we all work for isn't even worth a weeks work. And it certainly isn't worth foreshortened holidays and time away from family.

Europeans make a less money, buy a lot less crap, and damned if they don't lead better lives. They don't aspire to 4000 sf McMansions and SUV's - they relish family, good meals, and exquisite urban environments. And they excel at those goals. And their lifestyle costs a lot less to lead...

I wish you good health and a strong family, Duane. Because that is true wealth.

Cheers, Mail Guru

The Dude said...

Jeez....I know what you mean by the pursuit of wealth for wealth's sake and how much it "costs".

Among my many regrets, it's at the top of my list. Working too many hours and focusing on business to the detriment of my family. Had I the chance to do it over again, I would have made fewer deposits to the bank and many more deposits in my wife and kids' lives. Regret weighs heavy. Anyone who gets a second chance and doesn't appreciate it misses the blessing of redemption.

Sprezzatura said...

Congratulaitons, Duane. Good on ya.

You did precisely what casey has been unable to do. In my neck of the woods we call an honorable, decent man a mensch. That's you.

Endgame said...

Duane,

Incredible story so far - I'm starting to see why you wanted to help Casey.

Much respect to you...

NoDebtWhatSoEver™ said...

@Anonymous 9:49am
Europeans make a less money

Well, if you say so...

, buy a lot less crap, and damned if they don't lead better lives. They don't aspire to 4000 sf McMansions and SUV's - they relish family, good meals, and exquisite urban environments. And they excel at those goals. And their lifestyle costs a lot less to lead...

A few generalisations there, methinks. Although our cars (when we have them; I don't, but I then live in the middle of an exquisite urban environment) have far fewer cupholders than yours (or so I've heard). Also, I presume you mean "European" in the mainland sense; the British seem to be chasing something which sounds suspisciously like the American Dream.

Sprezzatura said...

Hell, if I spoke more than just English and could get an EU work permit I'd be over there. Western Europe is not perfect, but they definitely do a lot of things right.

Zewg said...

Wow, Duane,
Sounds like you have been through Hell and then some!

I am glad you pulled through.

Casey really doesnt have it so bad after all.

Rob Dawg said...

Casey still doesn't have it bad at all. He just thinks that having only one line of credit, a car, a wife who supports him, relatives that put up with him, occassional vacations to Tahoe, Phoenix, SLC is having it tough. Though isn't there yet but it is calling at all hours and waiting just outside.

I'm willing to be Beg-A-Thon II is because in 5 days there is a no excuses payment due in cash in person on time no excuses.

socalwatcher said...

Casey Serin moves into one of Nigel's rentals and the area has a big storm and floods the home. A neighbor glides by and asks Casey, who is knee deep in water, if he needs help.

"Nope, my God will save me!"

The water rises some more and now is up to his neck. A passer by in a big 4x4 truck asks if he needs a lift.

"No thanks, my God will save me!"

The water rises some more and Casey is now sitting on the roof. A helicopter flies over and asks if he needs help.

"No thanks, my God will save me!"

The water rises more and Casey finally drowns. He goes to heaven and gets to the pearly gates. He asks God "Why didn't you try to save me?"

"I did. Remember the boat, the 4x4 and the helicopter?"

Anonymous said...

"At 10:58 AM, NoDebtWhatSoEver™ said...
Europeans make a less money

Well, if you say so...

, buy a lot less crap, and damned if they don't lead better lives....

A few generalisations there, methinks.... "

Guilty as charged.

But only a pedant would argue the points you choose to. Yes, Monaco, Luxembourg and Switzerland have higher per capita incomes. Yes, the British are stupidly aping America - but, Mr. Pedant, since when has the term European included the British? Yes, the US has some truly lovely urban environments.

Yes, I've generalized.

But the fine distinction is that Europeans are generally epicurian in the pursuit of their lifestyles. Whereas, North Americans (you Canadians don't get off the hook either) are gluttonous in focusing on size rather than quality.

And I say this (cringing) as someone who hails from the land of big, stupid cars, houses and 'meal deal' portions. Our gluttony will not lead to pleasant outcomes.

Anonymous said...

What a story!

Just like Casey Serin.

NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll bet that if Casey read this, he would think of himself like Duane.