At the end of each year I'm typically quite reflective of the events of the past year. I often feel time has flown by too quickly, and I take some time to contemplate both personal and business successes and failures.
This year is so much different!
I feel I have the right to say 2018 was a bad year for me. I truly believe things could always be worse, but all in all it was a fairly rough year. Just to mention a few of my laments:
My youngest daughter, who already battles a life threatening disease on a daily basis, re-injured a tendon in her arm playing softball. It happened fairly early in the season putting her out for the remainder of it. It's so difficult to watch your child practice and try so hard only to have to sit on the sidelines with an immobilized arm not able to practice or play anymore. As it turns out it may have put her out of the sport for good as she's now chosen to not try out for next year and to focus on golf instead. I'm happy about the golf part, but extremely heartbroken about the softball part. We'll see what future years hold (she still has two more years of high school after this), but it was just one of those sad things a parent never wants to see their child go through.
Then one day after a doctor's appointment about an hour and a half away, we rushed home to make a quick turn-around to make it on time for a softball game . . .and came home to a very unpleasant surprise. We had been gone for over 8 hours and came home to a toilet that had overflowed. Not typically the end of the world, except this toilet turned out to have a slow leak in it. And a slow leak in a toilet isn't nearly as "slow" as most folks think. It proceeded to "slowly" leak water onto the floor . . .all day long. I went into the basement to grab something out of my bedroom (yes, I know that sounds weird, but it is) and walked in to see water raining from the ceiling. I let out a string of obscenities then came my own waterworks. I stood there crying not even knowing what to do. We ended up filing insurance on it. Long story short our insurance told us they would cover the damage, but would NOT cover mold. With a $500 deductible that was a no brainer. We had it professionally dried out then all put back together. My husband and I moved up upstairs for a bit of time and were glad to have a vacant bed available from our oldest daughter who was away at college. Thankfully no personal belongings were destroyed, but several months and several thousand dollars worth of repairs later . . .my bedroom was finally put back together. I was so grateful to have insurance, that it wasn't worse, no one was injured, and no precious belongings or memorabilia were lost. However, it still makes one's life more difficult to be displaced (even to another location in your own home). I am a creature of habit and don't generally like disruptions to my normal routines. The stress was NOT welcome.
After we finally got all that mess put back together and I finally felt I could put my life back together as well we were getting ready for school to start back again. I walked upstairs one evening while one of my daughters was up upstairs showering . . .I heard some dripping noise and walked into the kitchen . . .and again started my own dripping . . .of tears from my eyes. There was water rapidly dripping out of a can light in my kitchen, directly below the shower. I screamed to turn the shower off and of course everyone came running to the kitchen and I'm certain wondered if I would move into an asylum the following morning. I told my girls no showering in their shower until further notice. Called the plumber (who had done the plumbing on our house when we built it) the next day and, of course, he said he'd have to come look at it. He said he would call me. As luck would have it, the day he called me we were nowhere near home doing last minute back to school shopping. I told him I wasn't going to be there that day and while I didn't say it I was thinking, "It's 2018 . . .I'm a small business owner and a mother . . .you are going to have to make an appointment!!" So fast forward a bit . . .golf season started and one thing led to another . . .life happened. The plumber has STILL not called me back and I can't be too angry about it b/c I also have yet to call him back. Yes, this many months later and my daughters have still not been using that shower. I promise it's on my list, but if there hadn't been another shower available for them to use it would have been made more of a priority. I am embarrassed confessing this, but maybe someone in a similar boat will feel a little bit better! Maybe??? #procrastination I think I'm subconsciously terrified of having part of my home ripped apart again, but on the bright side if I have to rip that ceiling out I have a replacement planned out since I loathe drywall patches! We will see what happens with that!
Somewhere in all that mix I had a client get very angry, basically disappear on me, then just this side of threaten to sue me. I was devastated. I doubted my abilities as a designer, as a business owner, and as a human being. That's never happened to me before and I assure you I didn't realistically ever think it would happen. However, it did. There was a great miscommunication which I took responsibility for my part, however, none of my apologies were accepted and they never admitted any fault for their part of it (basically not fully reading e-mails and not getting some very important info). I was raised to believe when you screw up, you own up to it, apologize, and bend over backward and do everything in your power to make it right. I did that and I learned a hard lesson that not everyone else lives that way. I finally moved on (mostly) and did the only thing I could do . . .learn from it. I have since tweaked a few policies and in the new year will release a "handbook" of sorts explaining in detail what we do, why we do it that way, what to expect from us, and what we expect from our clients. I'm also rolling out new, more detailed (can anything I ever do get MORE detailed??) contracts that I will start going over section by section with new incoming clients just b/c I know that when someone says they read all of it, they might not have actually read all of it. We're human right?! Sometimes you get knocked down, but if you can't get back up and learn and grow from it . . .well that's failure. And I don't like that word.
Another somewhat self inflicted irritation to deal with (literally) . . .two of my three daughters and myself all went through a 6 month round of a particular medication. It's sort of a topic for another post and another day, and long story short it worked and we are all glad we went through the process. However, the medication had some severe side effects. Thankfully none of us suffered any permanent drastic ones (other than the medication working), however, it was literally painful to deal with on a daily basis and we were some of the lucky ones (not) to deal with a "rare" side effect. We all dealt with some quite nasty toe infections. Very painful! My middle daughter ended up having to have an ingrown toenail cut out over the summer due to it and while I put it off desperately praying they would heal on their own after being done with the medicine . . .I had two ingrown toenails cut out mid-December. I'm grateful they are healing quickly. So yes, somewhat self inflicted, and I do feel it was worth it, but it was still a process to go through. I'm sure someone is curious and as I mentioned I'm sure I'll write another post on this later on, but I now get compliments on my skin fairly often. This is a new thing for me! So when a friend tells me my make-up looks really good, I reply, "That's not my make-up, that's the Accutane! But thanks!"
I didn't intend for this to be a "poor me" post, but I'm getting this junk out of my system and hoping 2019 is infinitely better!
At the moment, I have to repair the heat for my girls up upstairs . . .I refuse to pay $160 for that poor repair man to come clean out that thing and tell me yet again I need to clean that out twice a year. See how I'm winning at house maintenance here?! I've made it as far as dragging the ladder up from the basement to up upstairs and hoping I can muster up enough energy . . .I was so thankful to not get sick (with a bug or a virus or any crud) at all so far this school year, but alas, it couldn't last forever I suppose. Some of us around here are fighting off a brutal cold and it's zapped all of my energy.
This year I brought another drafter to my team (Yay for growing!!) and while I was basically expecting the unexpected, can you really ever do that? There were a lot of growing pains as I learned a lot of my own weaknesses and strengths and worked to teach and support while handling my own personal workload. While there were a lot of things that didn't go the way either of us had expected, I think in the long run things will be good and for this year we will settle into a routine that works for both of us and for Building 313. And again . . .I might not like change all the time, but sometimes change is exciting and I'm so thankful for another voice within my company to have as a sounding board and to offer up suggestions and help bear the brunt of the workload that can be crushing at times! We have some really exciting new things that will be happening in the new year that should better allow us to serve our clients and I can't wait to share all of it with you!
I'm sorry if this has all sounded like a "woe is me" post. My point here is that while I'm still thankful we have our health (mostly) and I haven't lost any close loved ones (I'm not joking when I say I know it could always be worse) 2018 has just been one that goes down in the books for us as a generally crappy year. However, I need to mention some wonderful things that happened b/c I just can't fathom sending out a fully negative post!
We made some new friends and continued relationships with old ones.
My oldest daughter seems to have found her groove in architecture school and has been enjoying herself more and more. She started out 2018 in a stressed out state with her living situation (cramped dorm room, filthy community bathrooms, etc.) and by Fall moved into a different dorm and was able to have an emotional support animal (her cat Delphi) join her. Someone out there is laughing, but if you're an animal person . . .the difference is night and day. She has now taken it a step further by finding an apartment complex run by a mission that will both save her money (a LOT of money) and should be an even better environment for her to live in. I'm so excited for her!
My middle daughter excelled on the golf team this year, going to state with her team for the second time. She played very well on an extremely difficult course and ended her high school golf career on a high note. Proud mom. She was also selected as a UCA All-American cheerleader at camp over the summer and had the opportunity to travel to London, England and march in the Lord Westminster's New Year's Day Parade. We did a heck of a lot of fundraising and hustling, but as I write this she is in London and in the morning will march the parade. The same trip and parade I participated in 22 years ago as a high school senior. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity she'll never forget and I'm grateful she was able to go!
My youngest daughter, while it seems is out of softball (and band, as playing trombone was aggravating her injury) she decided to focus on golf. We miraculously met a wonderful man who graciously offered to coach her if she was willing to work hard . . .this man has become a dear friend to us and has turned out to be a wonderful blessing. In a matter of maybe two months, she's come a long way as a golfer and I can't wait to see what the future holds! She also returned to cheer after not cheering for a couple of years and has been so glad she did . . .I think none of us realized how much she missed it.
My husband decided to make a slight career change in moving to a different location in order to reduce his work load a bit. So far it seems it's been a good call!
As far as Building 313, I feel that while 2018 had some rough patches I feel those struggles are going to bring about glorious results. I've learned things I could not possibly have learned any other way and some wonderful new products and policies will come from it. I have long said if I'm not enjoying my job, I'm doing something wrong! I created this for myself out of nothing to work for me and my family and grow accordingly as it was possible. I absolutely LOVE my job with every fiber of my being and I feel so lucky and blessed I was able to start this business and I'm thankful every year it continues. In a few months Building 313 will celebrate TEN YEARS in business and while I don't know what it will be yet, I'm mulling over some fun ways to celebrate this accomplishment! I have quite a bit of work to do yet to launch some new things, but within a few weeks' time I hope to have everything rolled out and implemented! Exciting!!
As far as this blog . . . well stay tuned, because changes are afloat!! A new year, a new name, and a new blog! I don't want to spoil the surprise so I will say no more . . .keep an eye out for my next post where I'll share all the new excitement!
So to 2018 I say BBYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE . . .
I'll see you all next year and I hope you are all looking forward to 2019 as much as I am!
Happy New Year's Eve everyone!
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