Canadian Rental Service

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Spare change

Greetings and salutations, Lords and Ladies of the Rental Realm! I’ll understand if you need to take a moment to catch your breath, wipe your eyes and shake your collective heads in disbelief, but yes, Canada’s most famous tool is back in the saddle again! It’s been many moons since I last graced the hallowed halls of Canadian Rental Service magazine, and much has transpired since I last bent your ears with tales of renovations gone awry, trade shows gone wild and Santa’s elves gone bad. Well, the fetid winds of change have swirled around me, much as they have around the rental industry in North America. These blustering gales carried with them much upheaval and tumult, not to mention the cloying aroma of Ed Cosman’s cologne, but more on that later.


September 24, 2010
By Steve Milcik

Topics

Greetings and salutations, Lords and Ladies of the Rental Realm! I’ll understand if you need to take a moment to catch your breath, wipe your eyes and shake your collective heads in disbelief, but yes, Canada’s most famous tool is back in the saddle again! It’s been many moons since I last graced the hallowed halls of Canadian Rental Service magazine, and much has transpired since I last bent your ears with tales of renovations gone awry, trade shows gone wild and Santa’s elves gone bad. Well, the fetid winds of change have swirled around me, much as they have around the rental industry in North America. These blustering gales carried with them much upheaval and tumult, not to mention the cloying aroma of Ed Cosman’s cologne, but more on that later.

Come along with me while we take a brief look at “Steve Milcik: The Lost Year.” Feel free to hum the theme song of your choice while you read, but not too loudly as your employer may wonder why you’re singing “Shaft” in the bathroom.

I am no longer a married man. That’s right ladies, this hunky doofus is once again a bachelor, so feel free to change your e-mail address, get an unlisted phone number and lock up your daughters and/or livestock. After 22 years of wedded bliss, my ex-spouse Sophie finally got wise and decided to cut me loose, leaving the door wide open for all those United Rentals managers with expiring non-compete contracts. We’re still good friends, which translates into “no restraining order needed.”

Along with the wayward wife, I’ve also changed professional positions, but along a horizontal plane.
I’m still in the rental software business (Hah! Y’all thought you were safe, didn’t you!), but I’m now with the fine Canuckian folks at Texada Software. They are a great bunch of partners to work with, despite the fact the head office is in Guelph, Ont. Ahhh, beautiful Guelph. You know you’re from Guelph when you can close your eyes, walk in any random direction and be at a Tim Hortons within minutes. I do leave behind many fond memories and good friends at Orion Software. I think I may have also left a bag with my lunch in their fridge.

In the last year, I’ve also moved twice, said goodbye to my dog Jasmine, said hello to two new kittens, Romeo and Juliette, and became involved with a few charity organizations as a volunteer. Change has become a constant companion for me, as it has been for the Canadian rental scene. Jay Williams rides off into the sunset, leaving behind a legacy of quality and kindness, to be replaced by Andrew Paquette as president of the CRA. Andrew is a local boy, and we have had the opportunity of travelling on many of the same flights to trade shows together.

Strangely, he always seems to get on and off the plane before I can, and while I’m describing my suitcase at the lost baggage desk, he’s sauntering out of the airport with a smile on his face and his bag in his hand. Someone remind me to trip him when next we meet.

Closer to home, Chris Skalkos has passed the torch of this publication to the trusty hands of Mike Davey, who in my opinion, is the finest, most erudite and intelligent man I have ever had the honour to meet. I am humbled by his command of the Queen’s English, his overwhelming literary prowess and his professional panache. Not only is he a brilliant editor, but Mr. Davey is a stunning specimen of a man, often being mistaken for Tom Selleck when he drives by in his Hyundai, or David Hasselhoff when he goes swimming at the local YMCA. I can’t say enough good things about him, because if I stop, I may find my column wedged underneath an ad for Weed-Whacker Training School. 

So there you have it … the past comes full circle to the present. I missed a plethora of things during my absence, but most of all I missed all of YOU. In the decade I’ve been working with the rental industry, I’ve forged some magnificent friendships and had more gut-busting good times than I ever thought imaginable. This is a great world we live in, this rental realm, and I am truly blessed to be able to once again be part of it. This column, such as it is, will revert to its standard format in future issues. It will be often confusing, sometimes inane, seldom informative, and completely loony on a regular basis. Of course, no “Funny Page” can be considered complete without mentioning She Whose Name Must Not Be Uttered, but Praised Loudly to the Heavens or Face Her All-Consuming Wrath and Frightful Floggings, Her Majesty, the Dread Queen Mandy Wellnitz. Oh yeah, feels like old times already…

Thanks for allowing me back into your homes, your stores and most importantly, your bathrooms. I promise to leave the seat down on my way out.

Steve Milcik writes from Montreal, Que., and when he isn’t brushing the dust off his keyboard, he sells Systematic Rental Management Software. You can write him or add his address to your spam filter at smilcik@texadasoftware.com.