Unlikely Improbabilities

The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks. – Douglas Adams

Lots of stuff is happening.  I’ve been back in Indiana for the last week, and it’s wonderful to be here.  I get to see my other pups (awesome) and my wife (super awesome) and my btown friends (eh. j/k).  One thing I’ve noticed being back is that I’m not terribly productive.  I think I fall into old habits a little to easily (sitting on the couch watching 24 is one good example).  I’m getting some stuff accomplished, just not as much as I should.

Yesterday we went over to Farm Bonchek and played outside in the rain and went swimming in the pond.  Hanging out with Rob and Fern and her parents was a lot of fun.  They are a great group of people.  We went mushroom hunting and found a ton of Chanterelles that Barb cooked up in some wine, garlic and olive oil and holy crap they were delicious!  We also had some fried green tomatoes, grilled chicken, potato salad, bread, and blackberry cobbler for desert.  What a great meal it was.

The dogs were awesome.  I don’t even know how many were actually there but it was something in the order of 8 or 9.  It was cool, they all seemed to get along really well.  Tasha and Kota seemed to have a blast.  Tasha is a true water dog.  We were out swimming in the pond, just relaxing in some floaties, and Tasha would every little while decide to swim out to the middle of the pond where we were and do a lap around us.  She would swim out, around us, and then back in to the shore.  I lost count of how many times she did this but it was a lot.  She is a strong swimmer, I actually held on to her tail and she pulled me around the pond for a little bit (to the horror of her mom).  I figured if Tasha didn’t like it she would turn around and bite my face or something :)  Today she is unconscious ;)  Kota also did a lot of swimming.  Most of the time we would have to call him out, but he would swim out to us and climb onto our laps (we were in some floating chairs) and he would just hang out with us.  He was really getting tired by the end of the day, a couple of times he started to swim to us and turned around cause it was too far.

After we got done swimming we were hanging around at the house and at one point Tasha climbed into the van on her own.  I think she was tired and getting a little irritated with the other dogs (or she just wanted to be more comfortable).  Near the end of the day it seemed like the dogs (T&K) were becoming a little “cranky”, they started barking at lots of stuff.  Like the horses.  That had been there all day.  When I finally loaded them up in the van to head home they almost knocked me over to get into their crates.  Tired and eager for bed methinks.

On the business front things are progressing, in some ways a little slower than I’d like, especially in terms of getting the funding in place.  I’m still waiting on some of the money from STC that they owe me from my pension.  I wasn’t impressed with certain people in that dealt with payroll before, and this experience hasn’t changed my point of view.  Hopefully that money will arrive soon so we can make some more purchases.  We have recently spent a good chunk of money on some equipment and other things we need to get the business up and running.  We are looking at space to rent, we found one place that we really were excited about but couldn’t work out a deal for reasons beyond our control.  It was a little disappointing because the space had a lot of things going for it, the owner was pretty excited about having us in the space, but there were some conditions on the space imposed by the other tenants in the location that we couldn’t work around.  We have a spot that we were both really excited about when we first saw it that we are close to working out a deal on, so I think we will be moving forward on that soon.

We also are going to work on “building our brand”, hopefully this week we can start getting a logo and some marketing materials started.  We have a ton of things to get done, and there are a couple of significant steps that need to be accomplished before we can move on the others (getting a space is a big one, it’s holding us up on a couple of fronts).  I’m excited about the collaborative nature of creating the image for our company.  We clearly each work a little differently, so hopefully we are each going to bring something to the table and come up with something we all are happy with and excited about.  Or not.  :)

Leslie has taken a big step and spoken to her boss about telecommuting from Oregon so that she can keep her job.  Her boss is open to the idea on a trial basis to see how it works out.  That is a huge relief and means that we will probably be able to get her out to Oregon by the end of the year, which is awesome.  We have also decided to sell our house instead of renting it out.  I’m not sure if it’s the right move or not, but it could get us some badly needed cash in the short term, would keep us from having to worry about renters and maintenance and all that, which is good.  I feel bad about making Leslie move again, but I’m really glad I’m taking this shot.  I don’t know how it’s all going to work out, but with a little luck we’ll be in good shape.

If anyone that reads this is interested in buying our house, let me know ;)  The other hard part is deciding what stuff we want to keep and move to Oregon, and what stuff we want to sell in Indiana and just buy new when we get a house in Oregon.  I think we are going to be living in the RV for probably 6 months at a minimum, maybe up to a year (how crazy is that?).  That just means that anything we take to Oregon is going to have to be stored, so it’s going to be somewhat costly to keep it.  On the other hand, we have some really nice stuff that we paid a lot for and we probably won’t spend that kind of money on furniture in the future, so we’ll be replacing it with lower quality stuff.  It’s not as much a problem for me, but Leslie is really the one that spent the money on the stuff we might not keep (she probably has $8k in just the dining room table and chairs, couches, and bed).  In contrast I have $2k in the Bose surround system which is easy to take with us.  It’s going to be an interesting decision making process to say the least.

Well I’m gonna call this a good update for now.  Thanks for checking in.

Shrapnel

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I’ve been doing pretty well so far in restraining my old habits of spending (by habits I mean complete lack of impulse control), which is critical because I am making NO money right now and need to conserve as much as possible.  I had a slight relapse today at lunch where I had a relatively expensive entree’ and two (albeit small) beers.  My portion of the lunch bill was probably $23.  Holy crap!  I didn’t even pay attention to the price of the meal when I ordered it, and I had only intended to have one beer.  The beer was okay but nothing special and I had been torn between trying the Bourbon Barrel Aged Doppelbock and the Imperial IPA (I tried the bock first).  The waitress then started talking up the IPA and I couldn’t resist, although I did request a small one.  I felt bad when I saw my bill (Scot was taking us out to lunch today) so I offered to pay for it.  I’m on the hook for some steaks for us to grill this weekend, so that should work out just fine but I have to stay vigilant because I really can’t afford to spend $20 on a meal.  I’ve been pretty good, I just have to stay on top of it.  Money is my biggest worry right now, I see my credit card debt growing and if the business doesn’t fly, things are going to get ugly.  There is also the possibility that the business will do okay and things will still get ugly from a personal finance perspective.

We just had an unexpected expense for Kota of about $1k, which sucks.  I’m really glad he’s okay and it was the right call to get him checked out, but that kind of surprise definitely adds to the pressure.  I took the West Coast dogs to a new vet for the first time in forever.  Very nice experience at Whole Pet Veterinary Care, very thorough initial visit for my two pups.  I was definitely not rushed in and out.  I was there for probably an hour and 40 minutes, and almost none of it was waiting.  I found all of the staff to be very friendly and knowledgeable, the vet was very personable and they really put in a lot of time in getting to know me and my animals, although the vet was having a hard time keeping Shadow and Pepper straight.  In her defense, they are relatively close in size and both are mostly black.  The room was large and snazzy with a nice couch and a dog bed on the floor.  Shadow and Pepper seemed very relaxed, Shadow chilled out on the dog bed a few times and Pepper was up on the couch with me.  I’ll be going back in a couple of weeks for a follow-up visit.  Shadow has a cruddy ear, so she want’s to re-check it to make sure it’s responding well to being cleaned out.  I’ll continue to evaluate them, but my initial interaction was very positive.

Had a video “date” with my wife tonight.  I miss her very much.  It’s comforting to get to see her, but it’s also hard because I know that she is really having to work her ass off to keep things running at home.  Tonight I felt really guilty about how much she has to deal with and how much I put on her.  I think today was just one of those days where my mind kept focusing on the negative, tomorrow will be better.

The business is still coming along.  The money we are going to need seems like it is in constant flux.  One day I look at things, crunch some numbers and feel like we are in pretty good shape.  The next day I crunch them again and realize how far we are away from really having the resources to successfully put this project fully in motion the way we want.  Wish us luck, we are going to need it.

Hope you all are doing well!

Shrapnel

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Too Long…

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It has clearly been too long since I last posted.  Part of that is because my wife, Shadow, Pepper and I took a week-long road-trip across the country from Bloomington, Indiana to Salem, Oregon.

The trip was great, we got to see a lot of amazing scenery throughout the trip.  Wind farms in northern Iowa, the hills and features of the Badlands, Devil’s Tower (which I am going to call Rock Tree), the Plague Bearing Prairie Dogs, the mountains and valleys, rivers and waterfalls, forests and desert, the thermal features in Yellowstone National Park, and all of the amazing wildlife.  I got to experience and see a lot of new things for the first time, and I think my wife really enjoyed watching my reactions.

It was a lot of fun, but it was also stressful.  When you are relying on a couple of vehicles that are 12 years old to get you across the country, and you have had some problems in the past, it can create a certain amount of dread.  We did have a snag when the Jeep’s starter fried on the last day of our visit to Yellowstone.  We got to take a tow truck at night through the park.  It was kind of fun, it was the first and only time when we could both look around instead of needing to pay attention to the road.  We got the Jeep hooked up to the RV with some excellent team-work, and I changed the starter on the Jeep in about 2 hours and for only 100 bucks.  Not too bad.

It was also kind of a bummer to realize that at the end of the trip that Leslie was going to have to go back to Indiana.  It was absolutely fantastic to share the experience with her, and I think we both are recognizing how wonderful a two dog household would be.  We love our dogs very much, but I think 4 is just a bit too much.

We have posted a ton of pictures on our Facebook accounts, so check them out.  Coming up later, I’ll be adding an update on the business plans as they are coming along nicely.  Maybe :)

K

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So I’m “back home again in Indiana”, at least for a little while.  It’s taken me quite a few days to get back into the swing of things.  That 3 hour time difference is a killer.  Also it has been wicked hot here, in the high 80’s with what feels like 214% humidity.  Ick.

I’ve been able to do some basic housework and create a list of tasks I’d like to get done before heading back to the coast.  One big thing is trying to get our roof to stop leaking.  We’ve been fighting  a roof leak for about 2 years now.  We paid a guy to fix the roof, and he just hasn’t been able to completely solve the problem.  Yesterday they came in, cut out some drywall so they could see the inside of the roof and put the hose test to the roof.  It took about .076 seconds for the roof to start leaking, so they figured it out pretty quickly.  They also had fixed the problem and re-tested and it looks good, so I’m hopeful.  It’s also pretty good luck for us that we had another torrential downpour early this morning, so maybe it’s really fixed this time.

It’s been awesome to be home and hang out with my wife and the puppies.  We took the dogs to Leonard Springs park the other day, they seemed to have a blast running around in the woods and playing in the stream.  They found some really thick mud to get into and Tasha found a shallow little mud puddle to lay down in (see Leslie’s FB page for pics).

The other night I went over to my friend Rob’s house and had a few beers and just hung out and chatted.  When I left, Rob had just bought a sailboat.  Now he has three.  Something is wrong with that guy :)

Leslie’s uncle Ted (my uncle-in-law?) sent us a DVD of the videos he took at our wedding, so we sat and watched it.  That was a really fun day, and some of the reactions that were captured are hilarious.  One funny thing was when we were sitting here watching it together (Leslie and I) I actually felt a little nervous during part of the ceremony.  What the hell is that about?  I already know how it ends!  Stupid monkey brain.

There have been all kinds of things happening on the business front, most of which I can’t post at this time.  I’m going to write some posts, and once we have gone public I’ll publish them.  I can report that today we are beginning the process of filing our articles of incorporation, which is the second big step toward getting our company up and running.  I count me quitting my job as the first step.  We still have lots of decisions to make and things to figure out, but I’m pretty excited about the progress we are making.

Thanks for checking in!

Shrapnel

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So got to spend the weekend visiting my friends who live in Kent, WA (which as it turns out is NOT SEATTLE).  Apparently living in Kent isn’t even a specific enough description for some of the people out here.  Oh well, I have a lot to learn about the geography of the Pacific Northwest apparently :)

It was awesome to get to see my friends.  It’s been a while since we got to hang out so that was great.  It’s very cool how no matter how long it’s been since we have last seen each other, I am immediately comfortable hanging out with them and it’s like no time has passed.  Their kids keep growing up.  Megan, their oldest, has become quite the mature young lady (she’s 14) and she is also quite the geek (and I mean that in the most flattering way possible).  Nick is a crazy little fire-cracker of a boy that bounces between sweet and ornery as quick as he bounces around the house.  A few years ago, Scot and I had a chance to go visit with them, and ever since that first meeting Nick has been infatuated with Scot.  He has asked his mom if it would be okay if Scot could pick him up from school.  It’s really cute and funny and also inexplicable due to Scot’s general dislike of children (although he seems to be very tolerant of Nick).

The weekend was also cool because I got to meet some new people, Christy and Chris had some friends come over.  We played some Settler’s of Catan and drank some beer (yay!).  There was also an impromptu performance by my friend Chris (bass guitar) and his cousin Ryan (vocals and acoustic guitar).  They are two members of the band The Motive, and so it was quite a treat (and not just because I was fairly buzzed at this point).  Also during this socializing event, I would like to apologize to a certain someone if I offended him by looking at his wife’s ass.  In my defense, she did have about 3 inches of ass crack sticking out of her pants, not to mention I was probably 6 or 7 beers into the evening by that point, so what the hell was I gonna do?  Apparently look at her ass.  Although I’m pretty sure I would have looked had I been totally sober.  If she (or you) don’t want people looking at her ass, maybe she should put it away.  Thanks for not though!

We had two main reasons for heading up to the Seattle area this past weekend.  First was to visit my friends, which we did and had a great time.  Second was to check out the NW Dive and Travel Expo.  The Expo was a lot of fun.  We got to see some very cool stuff, and got to meet some great people.  Walt Amidon stands out as one really great guy that we met.  I’d definitely like to check out his shop, he runs a dive store up in the Tacoma area.  I learned a little about using a re-breather for diving, and it was enough to make me consider learning how to dive using one.  It’s not going to the top of my to-do list, but it is on there somewhere.  Diving for a long time while creating no bubbles (can you say silent?) and reducing the risk of DCS are the two big benefits.  One downside is that the re-breather unit I was looking at was $8500.  Ouch.  Seriously ouch.

This coming weekend, Saturday in fact, I am flying back to Indiana for a two week visit and then a week-long road trip with Leslie, Shadow, and Pepper back to Oregon.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to get home to see my family.  I CAN NOT WAIT!

I went to a job interview today for a part-time job.  Well it wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I’d like to get it I think.  Part of the job would be web admin, which would be cake and I could do 90% of it from home.  I would need to go take some pictures on occasion, but that would be the only requirement of the job that I’d have to be on-site for.  Another aspect of the job, or a different project really, is a PC replacement and network installation project.  This wouldn’t be too challenging of a job, and I think I could make a good little bit of money from it.  I’d really like to do the web admin part due to the flexibility and the fact I could do it in my sleep.  The network project I would like to do because I need the money and it would help me scratch my itch for some tech work.  I’ve done a few projects for Scot @ Petwerks, but nothing all that significant.  I am trying to keep myself involved in a little tech work by doing some projects of my own.

I am currently working on planning my route from Indiana to Oregon.  I’m thinking we will spend a night or two at the Badlands, and then also at Yellowstone.  If anyone has any other ideas about places to stop along the way, feel free to pass them along.

Also, anyone that feels like making a financial contribution to my efforts to get my own business started, I’m not too proud to accept donations.  :)

Enough screwing around, you kids get off my blog!  ;)

Shrapnel

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I had been doing pretty well, I thought, in terms of coping with being away from my wife and puppies and friends in Indiana.  Until today.  I’ve never been away for this long, and so I didn’t really know what to expect.  It sucks.

I miss Leslie and the dogs so much it almost physically hurts.  This is definitely a new experience, and not a pleasant one at all.  I really just wanted to go back to bed today and try to sleep the day away.

Leslie and I got to have coffee together, via Skype, which was totally awesome.  It was a lot of fun, and we got to just chit chat and talk about the normal mundane routine life stuff that we normally would.  It was great, but as soon as it was over I missed her more than ever.  I hope she is doing better than I am today.

I think that one way we are going to manage to get through this is going to be through the use of modern technology.  Things like texting, IM, and video calls through Skype allow us to stay more connected than would have been possible just a few years ago.  I’m thankful for every single time I get to see her smiling face :)

Scot, Amy, and I took the dogs to the park and went for a walk.  I really, really wanted to stay home by myself and wallow in self pity, but I managed to force myself to go with them.  I’m glad I did, it’s a beautiful day and I think the walk raised my spirits a little bit.

On the “Pet Project” front, we are really making some good progress and I think by the end of this week some significant steps will have been made.  There is still a ton of things to work out, consider, learn, decide, etc. but each step we take forward feels good.  I have determined that I really need to have a place to go that isn’t “home” in order to be optimally effective.  I can do a little work at home, but I am more productive in a different environment, for whatever reason.  One aspect is getting away the snacks and fridge, I apparently have some willpower issues (not really a surprise, that’s why Les and I would rarely buy a bag of potato chips) :)  I am trying to shed a few pounds before I get back to Indiana, but so far I don’t think I’m making great progress…

I am very thankful to the generosity and companionship that I’m receiving from Scot and Amy.  Especially for the coffee.  Most especially for the coffee.

Thanks for reading!

Shrapnel

PS  I am setting a goal for this week of trying to get some practice in a dry suit.  I haven’t done that yet, and it looks like it’s going to be an interesting experience, so I’ll try to post something about that once I manage to “get wet/dry” ;)

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But Scot and Amy have returned from their vacation to Hawaii, and it’s nice to have them back.

I definitely find leaving the house to come into Petwerks’ World HQ is good for my productivity.  There are a lot of distractions at home, and one in particular has a siren song I find it a real challenge to resist (we shall call it, The Fridge).  If I continue to give in, I’ll be broke and weigh 400 lbs.  So yes, getting out of the house is a good thing for me, although I’m not too surprised by that.

I got a ton of reading done while Scot and Amy were away, and the weather was great for the most part.  I haven’t really had any beer since I got out here, and sweet jeebus am I thirsty for some.  I have to manage my beer budget very carefully.

I think we are going to see some excellent progress in the next two weeks, which I am excited about.

One really cool thing I’m finding with this whole unemployment thing, is that I really easily lose track of what day it is and I no longer have that dreaded realization on Sunday night that tomorrow is a work day and is going to suck.  It is a pretty awesome feeling, and was definitely an unexpected positive side effect.

Leslie and I had our first virtual “date” on Friday.  Yes that sounds like we did naughty things via phone/webcam and I’m not going to comment on that.  Let your imaginations run wild.  Good luck getting the image of my naked ass out of your mind.  You are thinking about it right now, aren’t you?  Pervert!  It was really nice to actually get to see her for a change.  I think we are starting to get into a little bit of rhythm with communications and whatnot, so hopefully things will keep puttering along.  I will say that I do feel some guilt, especially when she is feeling overwhelmed.  I really want to be there to help out.

Other than that, things are moving right along.  Our “Pet Project” continues it’s march toward realization.  Stay tuned!

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Toast in a bag…

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Did you know that you can buy bread that has already been toasted?  Interesting find at the bakery outlet store.

Today was going to be a big day for us to meet with a rep from a major manufacturer in the industry we are going to be entering.  Yesterday was actually the original date that the meeting was scheduled for.  However we were smacked in the face by the halibut of disappointment.  Due to science the meeting has had to be postponed, FOR NEARLY THREE WEEKS!!!  Damn.  I’ve been looking forward to this meeting for quite a little while.  I think it’s going to help us make some significant decisions.

From now on I’m going to refer to our idea/business as our “Pet Project”.  I would again urge people that I have shared some of my plans with to please keep it to themselves and certainly not post anything on Facebook that gives anything away (if you do I’ll un-friend you! [yes that was supposed to be a punishment]).

I am trying to make this place feel like home, frankly at this point it’s just a vacation/visit to me.  I’ve only been out here for a few days, I think it’s going to be a completely different story once a few days turns into a few weeks.

Tomorrow I “get” to take Scot and Amy to the airport (we are leaving at 6:00 am), after that I’ll probably putz around Portland a little bit before I come “home”. Hopefully I can avoid any “incidents” on the bridges.

This is my most “quote-y” post yet, don’t you feel lucky?

One more thing.  In my ongoing series of Blackberry vs. Iphone, Blackberry has made something of a comeback.  When it comes to the ability of using your phone as an additional storage device and in terms of having an easy and powerful desktop application, sorry Apple but Blackberry kicks your ass.  Itunes can eat a bag of dicks.

Night world!

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Good evening campers!  Today started out as my most productive one so far.  I felt good.  I felt awake.  I felt eager.  I rode to work with Scot and spent a good chunk of time at Petwerks World HQ.  I began denting my to do list and was enjoying it mightily.  It was a relief to be accomplishing something.  Then we went home…

We got some lunch and headed up to Portland to check out a couple of shops.  The shops were pretty cool, the staff knowledgeable and helpful (and in one case surprisingly cute).  That was when I was struck by how far I still have to go to be able to “do” what we are trying to do versus planning or pretending.  A lot of things can be overcome with effort and/or money, but experience takes time and I’m not sure if we have enough time.  We shall see.

I know that I’m going to have good days filled with excitement.  I also know there will be bad days where I’m freaking out over money or some crisis.  Today felt like it was just a tiny bit of both.

Soon my housemates will be headed off to Hawaii.  I will be all alone in my brand new town for a few days.  Does the phrase “like a zoo monkey” mean anything to you?

Good night world!

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West Coasted…

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So today I have “officially” become a resident of Oregon, sorta.  I’m staying at Scot & Amy’s house, and they are being wonderfully gracious by opening their home to me, and I’m very thankful for that.  Without them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make this trip.

The last 48 hours has been emotionally draining.  I miss my wife and my puppies so much.  It’s strange because I’ve only been gone for less than a day, but I suppose that because I know this is going to be an extended trip and it is likely only the first of many that every hour apart feels magnified.  This morning when Leslie dropped me off at the airport, if she had said “Please don’t go.” I probably wouldn’t have.  Quitting my job was much, much easier than leaving today.

I think that the pain I’m putting her through, and that I’m going through is going to help me to focus on the goals and to work as hard as I can to be successful.  I would hate to put her through this and fail, so that it would seem to have been for nothing.  I have to make the most of every moment that I’m away, she deserves no less.

I will also say that I am completely and utterly physically and emotionally exhausted.  I’ve been up for 21 hours and flown from Indy to Denver and then to Portland, so I’m optimistic that I’ll bounce back and be ready to kick some butt.

I’m already counting the days when I get to see my wife and “kids” again.  See you in 26 days…

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