My name is Matthew Maurer
and I’m a gym critic/online personality in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
I haven’t always been a Manitoban though, and I’ll tell you all about it.
One of the easiest things to write about is yourself so this may be the longest thing you’ll ever read on here.
How I Got To Here
As a kid, I grew up throughout different places in Northern Saskatchewan. I have lived in Beauval (Where my mother’s family is from), Stanley Mission (Amachewispimawin), Dillon (Buffalo River Dene Nation), Saskatoon, and Lac La Ronge.
My father was a high school teacher, so at the age of 7 our family moved for the first time from Beauval to Stanley Mission. My sister, 2 brothers, and myself are all very close in age and have all lived in multiple communities. Currently, our family is spread out all over the place.
When my father’s contract was up in Stanley Mission, I was just finishing up grade 10 in high school. We all moved to the closest town, La Ronge. All 6 of us crammed in to a 3 bedroom apartment while my father searched for work. At the time my mother was working for Child & Family services, and my father was still being paid from his contract.
When he found a new job in Dillon, my mother, older brother, and myself decided to all stay in La Ronge while the rest of the family moved to Dillon.
I went to high school in La Ronge for half a year, and decided to go and move with my father for a half year and see how I liked it there.
After having troubles with one of the teachers in Dillon, I decided that if she was going to still be working there I would not be able to finish my grade 12 there. She was the math teacher, and without those math classes I could not graduate. I was just over a month away from finishing my math class when I decided to drop out of the class, because of her.
I moved back to La Ronge with my mother, and graduated from high school there in 2007. The moment I graduated, my parents decided that they were going to live together in Dillon. There was no way I was going to go back there now that I finished high school. There was absolutely nothing for me to do there, and if I were to live there I would just be a lazy prick sleeping on my parent’s couches.
Luckily my friend Kevin and his Aunt, Auntie Brown, took me in to their home and let me sleep on the couch and be a lazy prick there.
Auntie Brown made sure I was well taken care of, and really helped me to get on my feet while I entered adulthood.
After living there for half a year, I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I was always in to computers since a young age, and have a helped people fix their computers when they had problems. By happenstance, I found out that my cousin Nick was an online instructor for a program call Keewatin Academy of Information Technology (KAIT). They taught the CompTIA A+ program online to aboriginals in remote communities, that gave them the skills to work on computers. In order for me to take this course, I needed to live on a reserve. That’s when I moved back in with my parents in Dillon.
While I was taking my online course in Dillon, I was being paid to do so. That wasn’t my only source of income at the time though, because apparently I fit the qualifications of being a substitute teacher. I believe the only qualification was a high school degree, because I was only 18 and didn’t have much other qualifications at the time. I taught all grades from grade 3 to high school, and even their resource classes.
When I finished my online CompTIA training and got my certification, I then decided to move back to La Ronge and get a job there at the only computer repair place in town. The same organization that taught me how to work with computers.
Every time I tried to apply for a position there, the manager was never in. He was always fishing, hunting, or just not there. I eventually gave in and just left my resume there. At the time I was working for a video/ice cream store, and living alone in my one bedroom apartment where I played World of Warcraft until 5 in the morning every night.
It took 2 months for Headwaters Tech to finally call me back, and offer me a starting position with them. I turns out, that they didn’t even hire me because of my resume. The manager went to ask my cousin who his best student was.
Once I started working there, my younger brother just finished high school and was going to be starting university in La Ronge. I had to upgrade my apartment to a two bedroom, and he came to move in with me.
Shortly after that happened, I met this girl online from a close community and we started dating. Almost instantly, she moved in with me.
This should have been an early warning for what was to come, but I was young.. I didn’t know better.
After a month of living together, things already started to turn for the worst. It was so bad that my little brother didn’t want to live with us anymore, and moved out. We then welcomed in her brother to our house.
Things moved pretty fast, 3 months after we started dating I found out she was pregnant.
9 months later, my son was born. For the first 2 years of his life, his mother and I tried to work things out but never could. The last time we tried was in 2011. Towards the end of that year, some friends were putting together a band and I decided that I wanted to join. It was something to get me away from my relationship.
We started playing a lot and writing our own music. Billy, our singer, was very enthusiastic about going about and actually performing for people. We wrote and learned enough songs that we could put together a full set, and practiced it enough that we didn’t suck.
For the most part when we’d play together, we’d drink and have a small party. People would come and drink with us while we played music and would really promote our band. We then became the talk of the town with people around our age.
About 6 months after putting together our band, we challenged ourselves to compete at a battle of the bands competition in Saskatoon. We weren’t sure how we were going to do, but thanks to all the people from La Ronge that went down to watch us, we made it to the second round. Eventually, we won second place of the whole competition, and let it get to our heads that we were actually a pretty good band.
A few months later I started thinking about moving to Vancouver, and talked to Billy about moving there with the band and playing music out there. He then told me about Winnipeg’s metal scene, how it’s a large community and that his cousin plays in one of the well known metal bands there. It was also an added convenience that his father lived there, and had a large house rented out.
We then discussed it with the band, and only one other person was down to move with us. Cody, the drummer, one of the most important members of the band. In late June, 2017 we packed up a uHaul with all our stuff and began our 14 hour journey to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Once we were actually in Winnipeg, we basically partied for a month straight. We set up our equipment in the garage and practiced whenever we had a chance to. We were a three piece band with no bass guitarist, or lead guitarist. We started putting up ads on Kijiji to find the other members. We soon found out that Kijiji ads weren’t the best place to find new members.
Eventually we needed to find jobs. I was the only person with a job (Assisting in tree removals), and was tasked with driving the guys around to look for jobs. We pulled up to a Domino’s that had a sign stating that they were hiring delivery drivers. As we were pulling up, they guys were talking about how they have experience in working in a restaurant and could get a job there. Once we actually got in to the parking lot, they instantly changed their minds saying they didn’t want to work in a Domino’s. Me, being fed up with driving around and no one applying for a job yet, decided to take in a resume with absolutely no experience in the restaurant industry.
A few days later I got a call and was offered a job as a delivery driver. There I met Corey, who I told my story to, and found out that he was a bass player who was looking for people to play with. We quickly recruited him in to our band. After playing with him for a while, we managed to find a good reliable lead guitar player on Kijiji. We taught them all of our songs and wrote a couple more.
We were finally ready to start playing shows!
We played one show at The Zoo, and we kicked ass. We just finished working on the best song we’ve ever wrote, and it was well received. As much as we were living off that high, we didn’t practice much after that. Eventually we stopped practicing all together.
One night while I was out with some co-workers, I was driving to a party when I turned too wide on a corner and crashed in the boulevard making my car spin around and end up in the lawn of a church. Instantly I knew I was screwed. I had my car towed to the house, and took a cab back. Because I was working as a delivery driver, I could no longer make enough money to pay my bills. I went in to an instant depression, and quit my other job in tree removals.
I took the train back to Saskatchewan (yes, literally the train), and stayed with my parents for a bit. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do anymore, everything seemed to become completely screwed up.
While I was sitting on the computer at my parent’s place, I saw one of my ex co-workers post on Facebook that they were looking for a delivery driver. Jokingly I replied that I would do it. She instantly replied “Seriously? I’m sure Joe would hire you back.” This got me thinking, and I mentioned it out loud to everyone that I could get my job back. My mom suggested that I ask my sister to borrow her vehicle while I make enough money to fix my car. I asked, she said yes, and I told Domino’s that I was coming back to work. At this time, the other guys I moved to Winnipeg with were back in Saskatchewan for the holidays. I found out soon after that they decided that they weren’t going to go back to Winnipeg, only to grab their remaining items.
After getting back to work in Winnipeg for a few months, I got a letter in the mail from my insurance provider saying that my license is being suspended for too many infractions. I got one speeding ticket in Winnipeg, and this was enough to push things over the top. Instantly again, I knew I was screwed.
I told the manager at Domino’s what happened and that I can no longer work there. He thought I was crazy and said “I’ll give you a position in the store. You can be the assistant manager.”
After working as the assistant manager for about 4 months, the owner walked in the store one day and said. “Do you want to come to Edmonton with me to build a Domino’s?” At this point, I had just moved in to my own one bedroom house and just started dating my girlfriend, Kasandra, who’s father hated me because I was much older than her. I decided that I was going to do it, to get away for a bit and try something new. I asked when we were going, he said in 2 days, and he was serious.
I quickly packed my things, said my goodbyes, and headed out to Edmonton with someone I’ve never spent time with before.
The store was already 80% finished, and we just needed to finish up the rest. Once we had the store built, I stuck around for a bit to help work in the store so that they can be open all day. As soon as they no longer needed me, we began renovating their other stores to Domino’s Pizza’s new image.
Eventually people started noticing that we were putting out a high quality store, and began asking us to build and renovate their stores for them.
What was just a temporary job, instantly became a full-time business. We began hiring more people, and travelling all over Western Canada. We built and renovated over 40 Domino’s in 2 years, and eventually my short visit’s with my son was becoming a problem. I needed to spend more time with him.
My son’s mother called me and said that because I missed spending time with him over the summer, I could either take him for the school year or never see him again. I knew that I could not go without seeing him, so I agreed to take him for the school year and stop travelling for work.
At the time, we just started renovating KFC’s in Winnipeg. The first franchise outside of Domino’s that we were involved with. It was just happenstance that someone who knew people at KFC worked with someone that knew about us. Once I got back to Winnipeg, I began working on these KFC renovations.
In order for me to take care of my son while working on these renovations, I needed to wake up at 4AM and start work by 6 so that I could be back in time to pick him up from school. This was my routine for a while, until I sent my son to Saskatchewan for Christmas. When coordinating with my family how long he was going to be there, I said that I don’t want him gone for too long. This was relayed to his mom, and she got the impression that I was going to try and get custody from him. When she asked about it, I told her that we needed to figure out something more permanent, rather than him bouncing back and forth between provinces.
She instantly took offence to that and denied me from picking up my son. After I drove out to Saskatchewan to try and pick him up, she moved out of my mom’s apartment and disappeared with my son. I immediately drove back to Winnipeg and searched for a lawyer to help me through all of this. It took a month for everything to go through the process. For that whole month I felt horrible and couldn’t work, so I just stayed home and studied family law and tried to figure out what I could do.
Once I got a call from my lawyer saying that I was going to be granted an interim custody order, I watched the online court system to see when it was processed. The morning I saw it processed, I drove down to the court house to get it, but it wasn’t even ready yet. I managed to find my way in to the office of the judge, where it was sitting on her desk waiting to be signed. Once I told them who I was, they signed and sealed it and gave me a copy.
I took a copy to my lawyer for her records, filled up my car, and drove out to Saskatchewan.
At this time I knew that my son was in Saskatoon, but I had no idea where. Once I got to Saskatoon I started calling private investigators, but quickly found out that they couldn’t help. I posted an ad on Kijiji for a taxi dispatcher job, the position his mom last held, hoping that she’d reply with a resume showing her address. She actually replied, but her resume was old and didn’t have her current address on it. One thing it did have though, was a part of her message that said her son was in school. I instantly thought about going to the school board with my custody order and finding out what school he was going to.
Once I got to the office of the Saskatoon Public School Board, I was placed in the boardroom where I met with the superintendent. She called her lawyers, who advised for her to call the police and give them the custody order. Once the police were given the custody order, they told me that the court order was no good in Saskatchewan and that it would have to go through court there.
I instantly called my lawyer and filled her in on the situation. She found a lawyer in Saskatoon who was able to go to court the next morning and have the judge review the court order and the proceedings that happened in Manitoba.
It got approved the next morning, and I as soon as I got the Saskatchewan custody order I went to the Police Station to talk to the officer I was dealing with. There I was sat in a room and interviewed, to make sure that what the police were doing was the right thing to do. Although, they did mention that they didn’t really have a choice as the court order specifically order them to locate and get my son for me. I guess they just wanted to make sure they were morally okay with it.
Once I got my son back, we drove home to Winnipeg.
Now that everything was back to normal, I needed to get back to work. There wasn’t much construction work going on in the city, and it wasn’t something I really felt like doing anymore. As soon as I was ready to get back to work, our recently hired Estimator was taking on another job offer.
I was placed in his position, and quickly needed to learn how to estimate construction jobs. Thanks to my previous experience working on site, I was able to quickly pick it up.
As I continued to work as an estimator, I started taking on more roles in the company but had no idea what I was doing. I eventually came to realization that what I was doing was the job of a Project Manager. Just doing it very poorly.
I went and purchased the Project Management Book of Knowledge and studied the whole topic. I began making changes to way the things were done in the company, and started promoting ourselves to expand our portfolio. After 4 months of working as an estimator, I was offered the position as Director of Operations, which was accompanied by a raise.
It couldn’t have happened at a better time. The year before I was working as a sub-contractor and had my taxes all saved up. When the situation happened with my son, my savings starting withering away. Between the legal fees, not working for over a month, travel to Saskatchewan, and then taking on a new position at a starting wage, I was completely broke and couldn’t pay my taxes.
After I filed my taxes, I called the government to set up an equal payment plan. The money that I was making was just enough for me to pay my taxes monthly, rent, and all the other essentials. When things came up, I needed to use my credit card. Because I was constantly revolving my credit card, they kept increasing my limit. The small amounts that I needed to add over the year eventually grew to over $3,000 in credit card debt.
The moment I finished paying off my taxes, I took a trip to Montreal to celebrate paying off my taxes. My credit card debt was now over $6,000. When my statement came through, I was charged over $200 in interest. This was a turning point. There’s no way I could pay $200 a month in interest. I instantly cut out everything I could that wasn’t essential and sold off whatever I could let go of. After 2 months, I paid off my credit card debt completely.
At the time of this writing, I have paid off my debt and began saving. My son and girlfriend are healthy, and I am still working as the Director of Operations for GSD Projects where we bring in over $4,000,000 in revenue per year.
I started Alpha6 because I have a lot of experiences that have shaped who I am today and my ultimate goal is to continue to learn and to eventually become a wise old man. With great knowledge comes great responsibility, and I want to make sure that what I’ve learned can be shared with others.