Goodbye 44!

No, I’m not looking into the future and the 2012 presidential election.  I turned 45 the other day and, quite frankly, I’m hoping for a better year.  At 45, how many good years are there going to be?

There was a great deal of promise when I turned 44 last November.  I was having a very tough time seeing and surgery was scheduled for early December for a full cornea transplant or a partial cornea transplant (where only the endothelia is swapped out.)  The hope was for the endothelial transplant, but that was to be determined during surgery.  The surgeon was pretty optimistic that my vision would get to 20/100 or a tad bit better.

The result was the easier surgery, replacing only the endothelia, but vision that peaked at 20/200 in spring and then started going the wrong way by July.  I can now see 20/400 in my good eye and none of my ophthalmologists can tell me what the problem is now.  So the hopes and dreams from last Thanksgiving have been replaced by frustration and concern this year.

Then there is the business.  When I turned 44, I had absolutely no idea what was going to become of our business, Salon Supplies + Interiors (see the two previous paragraphs.)  Our lease at 1010 MacDade with the ganif (I am being too kind) was set to expire on 5 February.  Once my doctor informed me that the surgery was “a success,” we tried to negotiate a one year lease at a lower rent.  We were paying $3750 in rent, $1200 in taxes, and about $1100 for utilities on average per month.  (Utilities varied from $800 to $2000 and were billed by the ganif, not Peco.)

Now the question was to move or close.  I really wanted to launch ForYourSalon.com, which was suffering from massive delays (uh, yeah, my sight issues.)  Thankfully, Ken came on-board full time and got it moving again.  We looked at properties from the end of December to the third week in January, when we found our current location.  It was perfect!  It had a drive-in bay, a loading dock bay, and nearly 8,000 square feet.  This place could accommodate our cabinet shop, used equipment department, new equipment showroom, and beauty supplies department.  And the price was right too: $2,500 per month rent, no CAM charges, no taxes, and a utility bill that averages about $575 per month (highest was about $675 and lowest was about $350.)

We boxed all the supplies and moved everything in about five days.  We had everything setup in the new place in about three weeks, though we only closed for three days during the move (the last day at the old location and the first two days at the new location.)  The first few days at the new place were somewhat painful for me since we had so many different workers (moving temps, electricians, etc.)  While my staff knew to keep things off the floor and away from traffic areas, the others did not.  I walked into metal piping that was hanging out of the electricians truck by about three feet (the truck was parked in the warehouse.)  It literally brought me to my knees.

So our predicament is very similar this year.  Different building, different issues, with a move imminent.  This year there is greater worry.  The conditions of our “perfect” space began to worsen with every drop of rain that fell at the end of June.  As water poured in every day or two over the summer, the mold and fungus began thriving.  Samples taken by a mold remediation company in early November showed levels much higher than they should be.  We will be out of the space within weeks (hopefully two weeks.)

Besides my sight, my general health hasn’t been good over the past year.  I’ve had sinusitis multiple times since early summer.  Hmmm, I wonder if it has to do with the mold…  I am looking forward to evacuating that building and seeing if my health (and Eliz’s too) rebounds.

The immortal words of a great philosopher are always in the back of my mind, “It’s always something.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another…”  That said, I’m looking forward to a better year.  I’ll let you know right after I turn 46.

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Everything Looks Fine…

I’ve been waiting for this appointment with my cornea specialist for weeks.  I have been having problems with my left eye since the middle of summer and both my local ophthalmologist and my glaucoma specialist noticed “folds” in my cornea.  Both thought that was the reason for my visual acuity dropping from 20/200 to 20/400 in my “good” eye.  My right eye has bothered me for the last day or two, so I wanted to have Dr. Ayers take a look there too.

I get called back and the “nurse” (she is more than a helper, but I doubt she is a nurse — please correct me if I’m wrong) puts up the eye chart.  I see the big E (20/400,) but not the SL (20/200.)  She drops the pinhole thingy over my eye and after some searching for the perfect pinhole, I see the SL line.  The OPLB line looks like some black blobs and I can’t make any of the letters out.  The “nurse” says, “Oh, that’s not so bad.  It’s only one line less.”  Really?  So if you are driving down the street, you don’t think seeing a sign with letters about 12 inches tall would be much easier to see than the sign with letters about six inches tall?  I’ve wasted a ton of money on signage then if it’s not that different.

After waiting an unusually long time to see Dr. Ayers (a total of about an hour fifteen minutes,) he finally came into the room.  We exchanged pleasantries and then discussed my eyes.  I told him about my left eye and not seeing as good as I had been and I am now having greater difficulty reading on the computer.  As I put my head into the applanation tonometer (the machine with the blue light on it,) I mention that my right eye is bothering me.  He took a look at the right eye and mentioned things like corneal edema, bullae, and some other things to the “nurse” who was writing everything in my chart.  I kind of knew that I had some bullae (small, fluid-filled blisters ,) because I’ve had sinusitis and been on antibiotics for the past two weeks.  (This is the third time I’ve had sinusitis in the last four months, could it be the mold at the store?)  The problem with the bullae now though is that when they pop, the pain isn’t going away and any kind of light brings additional pain.  I thought I might have an infection in the eye.  Doc said no and to use this stuff called Muro 128, which is basically a kicked up saline solution.  It also comes in a gel that I usually use.  I suppose I could also go to the kitchen and throw some salt in my eye…

As he checked out my left eye, he noticed the “folds” straight away.  He then said the “folds” are Haab Striae and I’ve had them for a long time.  He then (tried to) show me the sketches he’s done of my eye at every visit.  He realized I couldn’t see it and told me each one has them (the striae) there.  He said my eye looks good.  My IOP was eight in the left, 16 in the right.  Wow, so everything is good!  I am so relieved.  But wait, I can’t see as well.  There’s got to be something going on.  I do have a cataract in there, but the doc says he doesn’t think it is time to remove it.  Besides, by taking that out, it may wreck the endothelia that was transplanted in December.  Dr. Ayers says, “But we could just do another one.”  He said I might be able to 20/70 or 20/80!  Of course he said I’d get to 20/100 by doing the endothelial transplant.  I guess I’ve got to wait more than 42 weeks after the surgery to get there.  He doesn’t think the cataract is the problem though.  Dr. Ayers then adds, “Whatever it is, it’s not an easy fix.”  House!  HOUSE!  Where the hell is that guy…  Oh, he’s not real?  I thought that show was one of those reality shows.

Speaking to my dad about the appointment last night, he said, “What are they gonna tell you?  They can’t fix it, it is the way it is.”  I should have listened to him.  I’d have saved a few hours and the copay.  Not too bad for a guy that only spent two weeks in high school.

I’d like to thank Ken for transporting me to my appointment.  Since Ginny and Scott aren’t with us at the store, we don’t have coverage for Eliz and I both to leave store.  Between the mold, the economy, and my vision, it might be time to get into something else.

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New Images of Water Damage and Mold

Area was used to show custom salon furniture and other salon equipment now only shows mold.

Area was used to show custom salon furniture and other salon equipment now only shows mold.

This container was empty on Friday when we left for the weekend. Now it has about 10 inches of water in it.

This container was empty on Friday when we left for the weekend. Now it has about 10 inches of water in it.

Wet display case, wet Coke box, wet rug, mold on the walls.

Wet display case, wet Coke box, wet rug, mold on the walls.
Right side of the counter, from the customer's perspective, where the customers stand at checkout.

Right side of the counter, from the customer's perspective, where the customers stand at checkout.

As promised, here are a few images of the water damage and mold at 617A Grant Road in the Delcroft Shopping Center, inside Salon Supplies + Interiors.  The carpet near the counter and display case seems wetter than in past storms.  The carpet is soaked almost to the rear of the checkout counter.  The display case countertop was wet this morning when we arrived.  There were also a couple more ceiling tiles that were wet by the entry door.  One was so wet it was sagging.  The floor below those tiles was wet too.

I’ve emailed the property management company, Goel Enterprise, but haven’t heard a word yet.  It appears they are just going to string me along until the end of the lease on 31 January 2009.  Very frustrating…

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