But then one day my dad had an opportunity to buy a Shell gas station of his own. I guess he knew someone who was selling theirs and my aunt who by now owned 3 Shell gas stations and who was rich in my eyes was someone my dad looked up to. He sat us all down one day and told us that he was borrowing money to buy the gas station. We were excited but also didn’t know what that meant. He said we all needed to help out. I was down for the cause. Our whole family was. And so from the age of 12 me and my brother worked as cashiers after school and weekends at the gas station.

I didn’t mind at first. But then my dad had come up with a crazy plan. You see my dad had borrowed a lot of money to buy the gas station. And it came with a hefty interest payment every month. My dad wanted to pay that loan off quickly so here was the crazy plan. You see 99% of all “garages” are closed on Sunday’s. So my dad’s genius plan was to open Sunday so he can capture all that business. From a business perspective it was great!! But that would mean I wouldn’t see my father again. But he convinced me and my brother who were now 13 and 14 years of age still living in a one-bedroom apartment in Hawaiian Gardens that we would one day be able to afford to live in a house. Maybe even one with a pool. So we went along with the plan.

In my opinion now as a 50-year-old father that was one of the worst decisions ever!! It seemed like the only time I could spend time with my father was working at the gas station. I hated that gas station with a passion. My dad did eventually buy a small house a few years later and by the time I was 18 years old he bought the house of “our” dreams (pool included) in Cypress. I kind of felt though it was “his” dream because by the time he had bought the house it was time for me to go to college.

So you see for me I didn’t want to make the same mistakes my father did. I was going to make money fast and quick and a lot of it. I eventually made a lot of money. Millions in fact. But I was going to do it right. I knew I wanted to have kids but I wanted them to have the house and everything so they didn’t suffer while I was making money. I wanted to spend time with them and play with them and do the things my dad did when he was a mechanic like camping and fishing and so I thought the only way to do this was by marrying someone a lot younger. Don’t get me wrong I love my wife even though she is 7 1/2 years younger. We both sacrificed. Saved money. She drove a Daewoo and I drove my 1997 Toyota Supra lol. We never spent money. Always saved. Didn’t have kids for almost 10 years after we got married. And then right when we were planning to have kids with millions in the bank 2007 hit. And with it went all our hard earned money. We went from living in Huntington Beach 2 blocks from the beach in a beach home we bought to shopping for groceries at the 99 cent store. It was really that bad.

You see all that saving went nowhere. We tried to save our mortgage company. We never got to really vacation. Never got to enjoy anything really. I felt so devastated. So we decided we weren’t going to wait anymore. And so in 2008 our daughter Katie was born. And then Preston 2 years after that. And then Dylan. And then Audrey. Last of all was Dominic. But trying to support 5 kids was a lot of work so before I realized it, I got sucked back in to working crazy and long hours. You see the mortgage business is like real estate it’s a commission business. And all that would have continued until I got the call one day from my mom.