Surveying, A Family Event
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Posted by: Adam Schmeing, PLS
Shortly after receiving my license to practice land surveying in Tennessee, I built a website and started a private practice. I was employed full time with a large construction company doing quantity takeoff and estimating. So I felt the need to conduct small surveys to keep my mind sharp and feet wet in the practice. We did maybe 10 jobs the first year, so it was more of a hobby than a business.
Throughout the following years, I would ask my wife to come with me to do these small surveys on the weekends. At the beginning, she was happily reluctant to be my rodman or instrument operator. Reluctant because I would ask her to get up earlier on a Saturday than she would on a weekday. We would work in the heat of September and the cold of February on days she would have rather stayed inside and read a book. Happy, I think, because she saw how much excitement I got out of doing this work. The enjoyment of finding corners set long before our parents were born and the pride of solving the difficult questions that other professions are not trained to handle.
Our little business has taken us as far East as Pulaski, Virginia and as far West as Calloway County, Kentucky. We’ve spent Saturdays surveying subdivision lots as far north as Covington, Kentucky and long lost but not forgotten tracts on the mountain side in the Red Bank area of Chattanooga. And every time I have asked my wife to help, she has been reluctantly happy to help me out.
On July 18, 2016, our surveying duo became a trio with the birth of our daughter Abigail. Her arrival placed a temporary hold on my wife’s surveying career. But after 6 or 7 months, Missy returned to the passenger seat of the surveying truck. Though if you ask her, she might say she was heavily pushed back into that seat. We were back together and once again surveying was even more enjoyable having my wife in the field. Only now we are a 3 man crew… sort of.
Abigail and Missy don’t get to go on the more complicated and longer jobs. They come out for the small lot jobs and mortgage surveys that typically don’t require a lot of field time. But they do still travel with me on the weekends. Having my wife and daughter in the field has changed me and my surveying practice. I’ve begun to look at projects that require travel as opportunities to site-see. I took on a project in Tullahoma, Tennessee which gave us the opportunity to see the George Dickel Distillery. This past June I accepted a project in Leitchfield Kentucky which just so happens to be an hour or so north of Mammoth Cave. Sadly that project was canceled the day before we were to leave.
Like so many other surveying companies, we have been busy this year. It has meant a lot of long nights and weekends. I have been so involved in making the business profitable, meeting client’s demands and keeping appointments that I have let some things slip my mind. On April 28 of this year, I found myself locating boundary corners in Fentress County, Tennessee. I was trying to upload photos to my company Facebook page while waiting on the GPS observations. Abigail, wanted to run around too much that morning so she was hanging out in her backpack on my back when I got a pop up notification. My wife, who was taking a break in the truck, posted a photo of our wedding picture to my account with just two simple words, “Happy Anniversary!!” Listen, I don’t care how smooth of a talker you are, there is no covering up for not only forgetting your anniversary, but scheduling 2 jobs on that same day. Well at least we were together, enjoying the outdoors and having a good laugh at my expense. Maybe next year I’ll remember to check the calendar.