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business as usual

We have some friends who always thought that we had all the money in the world. They would think, “Well you make such-and-such an amount of money per job.” Okay, well no…That’s how much we charge. Out of that we pay for supplies, gas, insurance, wages (if we have an employee) taxes, etc. Owning your own business does not automatically make you a millionaire. Believe me! I know first hand. It is hard and it is stressful.

When Jim and I were dating, actually when we were talking marriage, the business was a concern of Jim’s. He was in the process of buying the business from his father. It was always going to be a huge part of his life and he wanted to make sure we would be clear on some things before we committed to spending the rest of our lives together. His mother always handled the bookwork, would I be willing to take over someday? I didn’t have a problem with that, although, at the time I was planning on working full time outside the home forever. After buying the business and the property it sat on, it was assumed that at some point in time we would also buy the house that sits on the property and live there. I was always for that. I liked the house and thought it would be nice to live where we worked. Little did I know! And one of the big ones, long work hours, weekends, not many vacations. As our children got older, Jim was amazingly able to balance work and: being involved in as much as was possible (he once made wood book covers for Jamie’s entire 5th grade class for a book-writing project), doing woodworking projects with my Girl Scout troop, going to every single band competition that Jamie was in, being at Jamie’s dance recitals, being Cubmaster and then Scoutmaster when Jon was in Cub and Boy Scouts, doing every monthly Boy Scout campout and every yearly high adventure while he was Scoutmaster and going to football games and track meets that Jon was in. I could go on and on. Sometimes when Jim did these things, we lost out on business. Hopefully, though, these are things that had a great impact on our kids…So, Jim has done a fantastic job of making time to be with family. We’ve not had many vacations, but have done a creative job of incorporating business trips into family weekends together.

I’m thinking a lot about the business lately (well I always think a lot about the business) because Jim is bidding (almost reluctantly) on a big job. I won’t go into details, but it’s government funded and that complicates everything and it is in less than desirable areas of the city (which means that it would be hard to leave our equipment there for the duration). Today, and the next few days, Jim is doing test work there. He usually does not show his stress level, but I can tell it’s high. And he doesn’t even have the job yet! The money from this job would help see us through this economic slump we’re in. Honestly, though, I’m just not sure it’s worth it. Jim feels the same way. These are the times that I better not hear someone say, “Oh, you’re so lucky to have your own business!”

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