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  So the hopes and dreams from last Thanksgiving have been replaced by frustration and concern this year.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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Six Months Later

Okay, so I haven’t updated in five months.  I’ve had a bunch of stuff going on.  Here it is in a nutshell…  We scrambled to find a new space for our business (Salon Supplies + Interiors – www.ForMySalon,) which we finally did about a week before our old lease expired (5 Feb 2009 – yeah, we didn’t even have until the end of the month.)  We moved our business the week of 2 Feb.  It took us the next two weeks to unpack and set up the soft goods (shampoos, perms, hair color, etc) and another couple of weeks to set up our showroom.  Our days were long and free time non-existant.  We only closed for four days during that stretch.  Ken and I (mostly Ken) have been working hard to get ForYourSalon.com up and running.  Eliz has tried to manage both the store and our homelife — delivering salon supplies, taking the kids to school, payroll, soft good orders, etc.  No wonder we both (and the kids too) were wiped-out by some flu like thing in mid-March (and without the luxury or the ability to take a day or two off, it probably took a little longer to get rid of whatever it is we had.)

Okay, enough about other stuff.  I started this blog to rant about my No. 1 frustration: my eye sight.  Here’s where I’m at now…  I am able to read on the computer with reading glasses (I never in my life thought I’d be able to walk into a drug store and purchase glasses for under $20…)  I still have to enlarge the text two or three Apple +’s, but I’ve kind of accepted it.  The readers also help me see larger printed materials (newspaper headlines, etc.)  Officially, my vision still stands at 20/200 in my left eye and hand motion at a foot in the right.  (My right eye has been a lost cause since the day I was born, so I’m STILL ready and willing to take part in some sort of crazy experiment to help me see with it.)  It doesn’t seem likely that my vision will improve much more than where it is currently.  I have been refracted twice with virtually no improvement.  We will try again in a month or two.  I am not happy.

Here comes the rant…
Three of my thirteen eye surgeries have occurred since I was 15 (1980, 2003, 2008.)  Before each one, I was very excited to have the procedures (two trabs, one partial cornea transplant) done because I thought my vision would be improved greatly.  The 1980 trab was successful and it didn’t reduce my vision (though it didn’t improve it either.)  The 2003 trab was successful in reducing my IOP, but I went from reading the 20/100 line to the 20/200 line.  The 2008 partial cornea transplant was successful in removing the bad endothelia and replacing it with a good (but 25 years older than me) endothelia.  My vision is no longer cloudy, but I still can only read the 20/200 line.  It looks clearer than it did a year ago, but I still have trouble seeing TV, movies, sporting events, peoples faces, and just about anything else.  I was hoping to get to 20/100 and from what both my cornea specialist and my local ophth said, it seemed possible.  I had great fantasies of having a catch with my daughter as she worked on her softball pitching mechanics, throwing a football around with whoever, going to a Phillies game, Flyers game, Eagles game, or soccer friendly between two of Europe’s best teams and actually see what is going on.  I’d take tons of pictures with my camera and mess around with them in Photoshop.  All of those will have to wait, if I can ever do it at all.  My biggest problem is trying to get past the frustration and find something else that I do like to do.  I just can’t seem to move forward.  Got any ideas?

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