My Last Blog Entry for 2009

My family gets pretty annoyed with me at this time of year.  They get tired or hearing “This is the last time in 2009 that I…”  So, to all my readers — yes, all three of you — this is the last time in 2009 that I’ll post in my blog.  Not to worry, I’m sure I’ll have a few things to say over on facebook throughout the day today as we try to get everything out of our petri dish of a building.  It is going to be a long day.

To prepare for our move out, we’ve been cleaning our home office.  That will become the center of our business.  Our plan is operate and continue to serve our local customers (salons, barbershops, spas, senior care facilities, and individual stylists,) delivering their orders to them.  Delivering to our customers isn’t new, our top 10 customers never set foot into our building.  They would simply phone or fax their orders in.  Our challenge will be to convert those customers who would come into the store multiple times per week (some, multiple times per day) because we were close by.  It won’t be easy, but it is better than spending all day in that building with all the mold and mushrooms.

As were cleaning the office, we’re coming across things that we should have thrown out or recycled long ago.  Like tickets, with parking, to the 2003 NHL Eastern Conference Finals.  The Flyers were bounced in the semis by Ottawa.  I didn’t go to any of the playoffs that year, or since.  I had eye surgery in February that year and only went to one game after it as a season ticket holder (it was 1 April vs. Columbus — Jeremy Roenick bobble head night.  Eliz and I stayed until the end of the first period when it was clear I’d have a better chance at growing new hair on my bald head than I would seeing the game.)  Then there’s the Dreamweaver 2.0 guide, complete with a 3 1/2″ floppy disk!  You would have thought that I would have gotten rid of that after I purchase the Dreamweaver 3.0 Bible or the Dreamweaver MX 2004 book.  That scenario repeated over and over again with Photoshop, Illustrator, QuarkXpress, and a few other programs.  Why I still have the box and manual to the Canon A40 I purchased in 2002 is beyond me.  I guess I wanted to take advantage of the whopping two megapixels.  It is amazing what we’ve saved over the years.

I’m looking forward to turning the page to 2010; I wish you a happy and healthy year.  Of course, I’ll be back with a post in a day or two.  That will be the first time in 2010 that I’ll post to my blog…


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, 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.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!  We celebrated the same way we have for the last five or six years: dinner out – this year we went to PF Changs, then watched a movie with the kids that we paused to watch the ball drop.  We watched Hancock, which we saw in the movies over the summer.  We have always watched Dick Clark, but it is so sad to him that way.  That is not how I would want to be remembered.

I haven’t noticed much improvement in my vision over the last few days.  I am looking forward to my post-op appointment next week to see how things look from the doctor’s perspective.  I would also like to see how long I have to wait to get new glasses.  I try my “old” glasses (we purchased them last March,) but since the surgery I cannot see clearly through them.