Highway of Speed Bumps

Last week was pretty brutal; like a high way of speed bumps.  While looking ahead last Sunday I knew it was going to be a tough week, given my intense work schedule and time-consuming objectives.  I had set my mind to plough through it but I didn’t know half of what I was up against.

Lately, the restaurant has been short-staffed.  The week of Valentines Day is one of the busiest weeks of the year.  As expected, I was scheduled to work every single night and doubles on the weekend for a total of 9 shifts.  In addition, my shifts started earlier and ended later than usual, especially Valentines Day.  It’s not so bad to work every night as long as I have enough time during the day to work on my business and an early out or two so to have some time at night to touch base with my client and spend some time with my girlfriend before it gets too late.  Those early nights also allow me catch up on sleep if necessary.  I sort of have a routine and this last week threw it all off-balance.    On top of that, I had four disasters occur.

First, the sewer lines backed up into my apartment on Valentines Day.  The main for the whole property was clogged so whenever the tenants in the main house flushed a toilet or ran water it backed up into our apartment because our apartment sits lower than the house.  Shit literally runs down-hill.  Unbeknownst to them their toilet was running for hours (somebody forgot to jiggle the handle) so ours was over-flowing for hours, flooding our apartment with the foulest mix of shit you can imagine.  It backed up into the shower too.  My girlfriend spent the night at a friend’s house so she could shower for work in the morning.  Thus, I was left to deal with the plumber and clean up the mess.  The only good part was all the puns…can you believe that shit?  Why does this shit have to happen this week?  Yeah, I cleaned that shit up.

The second disaster shouldn’t have been a disaster at all, maybe an incumbrance at best.  My car needed brakes.  I had been putting it off for two months and knew if I didn’t do it soon I would end up with a major problem.  Plus, during my Monday commute I had to slam on the brakes and noticed they don’t work so well in that type of situation.  Enough is enough.  I scheduled it early in the morning so I could still put in a solid day’s work afterwards.  But fuck me runnin’ sideways, an hour and a half job turned into 6 hours!  By the time I got home I had just enough time to take a shower and get to work.

Next day, my girlfriend’s car won’t start…as if I need to spend another day at Firestone.  Jumping it did not work so it could be the alternator.  Hoping it’s just a really dead battery though.  Regardless, I’ve had to shuttle her to and from work the last few days.  Another hour a day gone.

Fourth, my girlfriend’s dog had a seizure yesterday during a conference call with my client.  We had been playing phone tag all week and didn’t get more than 30 seconds in before I had to go.  For that I was frustrated but for the dog I was scarred.  It was Sunday so the vet was closed and I couldn’t afford to take him to an emergency clinic.  Fortunately, he was back to normal before I had to go to work.  However, this is the second time he has done this so we need to figure out why this is happening.  The blood work will be expensive but I can’t let the little guy suffer.

So….Monday was the only normal day I had.  The rest of the week was pretty much sabotaged.  I did not prospect for new clients like I wanted to.  I did not complete any of the medial tasks I promised my client.

However, last week wasn’t a complete failure.  I still managed to notch a few achievements.  While at the body shop I skimmed through an entire book on Wordpress that I’d been meaning to get to since November.  I learned a lot about plug-ins, user management, advanced customization, optimization, and other cool stuff I honestly didn’t understand yet.  I also enrolled two business ideas in a fast pitch event coming in three weeks.  Who knows maybe someone will like one of them.  I checked the block on some monthly financial goals too.  Best of all, what I would I call my crowing achievement in a shit week, I finally persuaded my client to redo the book cover, found a good freelancer to do the job, and looks like we’ll get rolling on it this week.

Looking forward to a smoother road this week.

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Here’s to Keeping It Real

My girlfriend has grown impatient with my lack of progress.  We have no doubt hit rock bottom.  I say that this is rock bottom because no matter what I can wait tables anywhere and sustain this level of existence and unless I commit a felony I can always get a job waiting tables somewhere.

Today I submitted a couple of ideas I’ve had rolling around in the back of my head for a while to a fast pitch event that connects entrepreneurs with angel investors.   I bounced some of the details of my ideas off her and she was clearly annoyed by it.

Tonight we had a good talk after a few drinks.  We started out talking about her goals.  She’s at that point in life when she realizes she is going to have to make a decision about what she wants to do with her life but hasn’t found her calling.  I can relate because I’ve been there.  I try to be sensitive but I also try to challenge her to think it through and work the problem without talking down to her, making her feel stupid, or pissing her off.  Usually I piss her off.

As usual the conversation turned to me.  What have I accomplished?  Why am I so special?  She is reserved and it’s rare that she opens up about what she really thinks although I can usually tell what she thinks before she admits it.  I love the real conversations.

She admitted that has grown impatient and weary of all my ideas.  No surprise to me because it’s no secret that she wants to get married, buy a house, and start a family.  She feels that every new idea means failure of the current idea and further delay.

She came at me hard.  She said that as this drags on she increasingly doubts that I will be successful.  I can see why she thinks that.  She sees other guys my age with stable salaried careers.  I tried to defend my choices by arguing that the experience I’ve gained is far better than any of our peers/friends who have chosen a stable career.  I added that although I they may seem better off right now, in the short run, in the long run I have better positioned myself for greater success.  She countered, “why do you think you’re so special.”  Using my own words against me.

It cut deep but strangely I loved that with one simple question she was challenging everything I believe in, everything I’ve ever done, and everything I’m striving for.  It forced me to do some soul-searching.  Why am I special?  Damnit, I’m special because I have ideas, the courage to give them a go, and some savvy to execute them.  Instead of wavering I am now even more entrenched in my conviction that building my own successful business is my path to happiness.

But how do long do I have before she leaves me?  I have always wondered but never asked.  Given her rare brutal honesty it seemed like time to ask so I did.  She roundaboutly said 5 years although I suspect it’s really much less.  Judging by her increasing impatience and frustration I give it 2 years at best.  Can’t blame her, wouldn’t blame her, that’s just real.

It’s tough to swallow when those closest to you don’t think you’ll succeed and may leave you if you don’t.  On the flip side, I am more motivated and energized to make something happen and for that I am grateful for her brutal honesty and implicit challenge.  If she continues to challenge me in this way it will be far better than her benign complacency, pretending to listen or care about my latest idea.

Here’s to keeping it real.

January Goals and February Goals

I am proud to announce that I reached all four of my monthly goals for January.  I saved $100, paid off an extra $100 of credit card debt, joined a group (dart league), and most importantly landed my first paying client!  Barely made it on the first two.  After 1st of the month bills I’ll have less than $50 to my name (sheesh).  And my paying client hasn’t paid me anything yet but he will although it’s less than $20 since we haven’t sold very many books yet.  But hey who’s counting…

My girlfriend challenged me to increase my goals for February.  I just love her tenacity!  Looking ahead through February I fear that it will be harder financially than January.  I suspect my truck needs brakes since they squeak and I can feel a coarse grind reverberate through the brake pedal that’s like a blade on a wet stone.  Can’t forget Valentine’s Day either.  I want to buy her roses to show her how much I appreciate her and I want to buy her something nice since we didn’t give gifts for Christmas.  A couple of clients would off-set those expenses.

Despite fear of failure I decided to ramp it up for February and really go for it.  This month I am going to:

  1.   Save $120
  2.   Pay down an extra $120 of debt
  3.   Land 2 paying clients
  4.   Attend a meeting for a new group
  5.   Pay off my brakes by the end of the month

Number 4 will require me to take a night off from work since most of the groups I’ve found meet at night and I have to succeed at Number 3 to make Number 5 happen.

If These Walls Could Talk

I found out today that we get to keep the apartment.  My landlord’s job as a commission only salesperson charged with signing up businesses for some association lobbying against Obamacare (because it’s unconstitutional) didn’t work out.  It took some will power and a pretend cough not to laugh when he told me this.  So they are no longer moving to Savannah and no longer need us to move out.  Yay!  Call off the apartment search.

Or maybe not.  It turns out the dogs weren’t just acting up when they would go crazy, barking and scratching at a seemingly innocuous section of the floor or wall.  The last few nights I’ve been hearing scratching and squeaking in the walls and in the rafters and underneath the floor.  It’s all around us.  These guys aren’t small either…sometimes it’s so loud and intense that I am convinced they are about to break through the drywall.  So I get up, turn on the lights, grab a baseball bat, and search the areas where the noise is coming from, expecting to see a head poking through with arms flailing to pull the rest of the body past the threshold.  A neighbor of ours had that exact thing happen.  A squirrel had scratched through their ceiling and gotten stuck with its head poking out into the living room.  I figured we had the same pests judging by the intensity and loudness of the scratching and the size of the holes I found in our siding where they are no doubt getting in.  Plus, squirrels are literally in every tree in our subdivision.

Then yesterday my girlfriend went to take the trash out to the can in the alley when she saw a “big mouse” bigger than my fist lumber across the yard and into one of the holes in our siding.  Yep, rats!  Even worse, at least squirrels are kind of cute.

Luckily the landlord isn’t trying to down play or avoid the problem.  The exterminator is coming out tomorrow.  My fear though is that if they kill them with something they may die in the walls and smell.  Or worse yet, the costs to seal up the dozens of holes and cracks from warped boards and deteriorated siding on the exterior of this ‘lovely’ carriage home will be too expensive for them to afford thus making this a reoccurring problem.