Thursday, October 30, 2008

Small Business Challenges

Owning a small business has LOTS of challenges...  But first, let's define small business.  It appears that the government defines you as a small business if you have less than 500 employees.  500!  My first thought was that I would then be considered a micro business, but have since been corrected, and determined that I am a NANO business.  I do have one part-time employee.

A major challenge of a small business, is equipment failure.  If any piece of equipment fails, like say, your computer, that has your entire business on it, then let's just say you are in deep doo doo.  But you call the IT department, right?  Oh wait...  you ARE the IT department.  And if you can't fix it, then you have to pay to have it fixed.  And when you are a NANO business, sometimes money for fixing stuff isn't what you planned on.

Another challenge is invoicing.  OK, so the invoicing part isn't hard, but apparently the collecting part is harder.  I have never had a problem until recently, but my largest client  changed recently due to a sale of the building where I am located.  They had an invoice due Oct. 1, and another due Nov. 1, and neither one have been paid to date.  Yes, I realize that it's not quite Nov. 1 yet, but with 2 days left to go, and no sign of anything from Oct yet either, it's quite frustrating.  Their invoice is essentially my paycheck, so that means I've not had a paycheck since Sept. 1.  And that makes it even tougher to pay for things like, say, having a computer fixed.  See the circle here?  And yet, I'm still expected to provide services, with a smile on my face, not knowing when I'll get paid for it.  I can honestly say it's getting tougher and tougher.  I've checked, and both checks were cut over a week ago, and they are being mailed from 3 blocks away.  3 blocks.  I could have walked over there and back 100 times in that amount of time, considering it's STILL NOT HERE!

Fortunately, I love what I do, and things will settle down once the system has ironed out the kinks...

And I think this new company will have some opportunites for me that will be positive.  So that gives me hope.  As long as we can keep the billing situation under control...



Only because you asked for it.  Here is the bowling update for the week...

1st - 91
2nd - 106
3rd - 120

Average for the night:  106

Definitely not great.  But the onion rings were good......


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Casey Dog and pets

I've been wanting to do a post on pets for a while, so decided it was time.  We do have a fish tank, a 55 gallon fresh water.  And have *kinda* named some of them.  There is "Little Sucker", and "Apha Tiger", and "Sharkie", and "Red Tail", and "Mean Shark".  There are some other fish in there as well as the one we adopted, Bubba.  Bubba is a sucker fish that is probably at least 10 times bigger than any of the other fish in the tank.  But he adapted just fine, and thinks he's in a palace compared to the 10 gallon tank he came to us from.

Then, of course, there is my Casey Dog.  Casey, really, but she answers to a lot of different things, depending on the mood.  She's a Lab mix that is 12 1/2 years old.  I got her when she was just several weeks old.  I was living in NC, and an instructor at the local community college lived on a farm.  A pregnant Lab momma wandered onto the farm, and gave birth to 9 puppies in the barn.  She adopted them out, and later found out that about half of them died within a few months of a liver disease.  Casey was one of the lucky ones.  I remember her sleeping in a laundry basket for the first few months.  I sure wish I could find those pics...  She was adorable.

She has certainly been with me through thick and thin...  And until I can find some of the old pictures of her, I'll post some from the last year or so...

Doing what she does best (and most of the time!)

Here she is begging for attention (and showing her cataracts...)

Here are just a few other random pics as well:

And to finish off, here is a small video of one of her favorite things to do in the yard.  Roll and scratch her back!

PS - this is my first attempt at uploading a video.  Wish me luck!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Bowling update

It was just that bad.....


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Email Questionnaire

Got this in my inbox today.  I enjoy these from time to time, and even more when things get changed up a bit.  Remember though, this was designed for email. If you decide to do this yourself, please link to it in the comments, so I can see too.  Enjoy...

Welcome to the 2008 edition of getting to know your Friends. FORWARD then
change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to your
friends including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you
will learn a lot of little things about your friends that you might not
have known!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:10 AM or so, I think...

2. Diamonds or pearls?  Diamonds

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Uh - can't remember.  Something earlier this year, I think...

4. What is your favorite TV show? Most reality shows.  Currently Survivor.  Although I am a sucker forDesperate Housewives

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? something bad for me.  Either at the cafe here at work or McD's.

6. What is your middle name? Let's go with M

7. What food do you dislike? I'm learning to like more and more, although I'm not a fan of peppers or really hot stuff.

8. What is your favorite CD at moment? I like the shuffle on my nano.  Quite the variety.

9. What kind of car do you drive? Subaru Outback

10. Favorite sandwich? Swiss Cheese and Salami with mustard

11. What characteristic do you despise?  procrastination (OH WAIT!  THAT'S ME!)  still dislike it...

12. Favorite item of clothing? Do flip-flops count???????

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Somewhere new I've never been before!  Europe, Australia, Canada, all would do fine...

14. Favorite brand of clothing? Comfy brand

15. Where would you retire to? Outer Banks of NC

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? 38.  They're all memorable.  Some for good, and some not so much...

17. Favorite sport to watch? In person would have to be Baseball.  On TV - Football.

18. Farthermost place you are sending this? Greenville, NC

19. Person you expect to send it back first? Christine

20. When is your birthday?  February 20

21. Are you a morning person or a night person?  ummm...  both?

22. What is your shoe size? 8.5

23. Pets?  Casey dog.  Black lab mix.  Getting on up there at 13 years old...  And some fish...

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Wait until after bowling tonight

25. What did you want to be when you were little? Don't remember

26. How are you today? Chilly

27. What is your favorite candy?  Twix

28. What is your favorite flower? Gerbera Daisies, tulips, and daffodils

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? October 25th, cause it's Saturday

30. What is your full name? Who cares

31. What are you listening to right now? The squeaky revolving door in my lobby

32. What was the last thing you ate? Wheat bagel with lowfat cream cheese for breakfast

33. Do you wish on stars? Sometimes

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? lellow (yellow)

35. How is the weather right now? Chillier than I care for...

36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? A client

37. Favorite soft drink? Diet Mt. Dew

38. Favorite restaurant? Lot's of them for different reasons.   But Vancosta's especially for their Ranch Dressing!

39. Real hair color?  Brown with a few strands of grey

40. What was your favorite toy as a child? Stuffed monkey puppet that had arms and legs that wrapped all around.

41. Summer or winter? Summer

42. Hugs or kisses? Both

43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate Milk, Vanilla Ice Cream

44. Coffee or tea? Tea

45. Do you want your friends to email you back?  Sure.

46. When was the last time you cried? Who knows.  Probably recently, though

47. What is under your bed? Clothes in storage bags, and probably a missing shoe or sock

48. What did you do last night? Watched Biggest Loser

49. What are you afraid of? Snakes

50. Salty or sweet?  Both!

51. How many keys on your key ring? work - 6;   home - 6

52. How many years at your current job?    10ish, but 1.5 as the boss

53. Favorite day of the week?    Saturday

54. How many towns have you lived in?  In Hampton Roads, probably all of them!

55. Do you make friends easily? Sometimes.  Depends on the person.

56. How many people will you send this to? 6 or so

57. How many will respond? probably 3


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boss's Day

Today is Boss's Day.  How do you really spell that?  I've seen it three different ways today:  "Boss's Day", "Boss' Day" and "Bosses Day"...

Anyway - today I am a boss.  With one employee.  A great employee at that.  LOVE HER!  I wasn't expecting anything for boss's day, so I was surprised when she called to wish me a happy day.  I was even more surprised a few minutes later when she showed up (with all 4 of her great kids!) and brought me a plant and a card.  

See for yourself:

I cracked up.  I usually leave her a note with things that need to be done on it for the day, but for tomorrow, I just had to leave this:


Peanut Butter Sculptures

This past weekend was the Suffolk Peanut Festival.  I used to live out in Suffolk, and went to the Peanut Festival while there.  It's the city's equivalent to a county fair.  It wasn't really on the agenda to go, but then we got wind of the Peanut Butter Sculpture Contest.  D, being the HUGE peanut butter fan and one who could live on the stuff alone, really wanted to go.  I admit, I was intrigued, and had not seen this during any of the times I had been to this festival.  Here's the basic run down...  Each entrant gets a "block" of specially made peanut butter.  I think I heard one person say that it is made with a lot less oil.  

They are given and apron, gloves, steak knife, and 20 minutes to create the best sculpture as chosen by three judges.

It appeared that most of the entrants were high school girls, but there was a mix.  About 15 total.  It also appeared that the PB became more difficult to work with the longer they handled it.

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring in the regular camera, so all of the pics were from the camera phone.  Definitely not the best, but you are still able to see.  My favorite was the first and second place winners, hence the pictures.    First place went to a high shool girl who sculpted a mermaid out of peanut butter, and second place went to a high school girl who sculpted a jeep out of peanut butter.  Enjoy the yummy pics..


Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

Last night was a good bowling night.  For me anyway.  Our team still lost 3 of 4 games, but I did pretty good...  Scores:

1st - 129
2nd - 106
3rd - 134

Nightly average of 123.  13 pins over my current average.  WOOHOO!  And yet, we're still in 37th place out of 40....  

It was a pretty interesting night, in that the team we bowled are in second place.  And I see why.  Three members are family (husband, wife, and son and they EACH had TWO balls) and the husband "teaches" bowling.  He was pretty anal about his game.  How so?  He wrote down everything about every ball he threw.  Which board he was on, what pins he hit, and so on, and so on.  Each time his wife went up to bowl, he stood right behind her for each ball (provided she didn't get a strike) and coached her on her throw.  It was quite comical.  I think he was so focused, he forgot to have fun.  Which is the main reason I go each week, to have fun.  

The next set of lanes over (the team that we will be bowling next week) had a guy on the team that during one of the games had 7 strikes in the first 7 frames.  I thought I might witness someone actually having a 300 game.  But alas, he didn't make it.  He got a spare in the 8th with 8 pins on the first throw and picked up the other two.  The last two frames, I'm not sure what he got, but they weren't all strikes either.  But still impressive.

One day, I'll bowl 7 strikes.  In the same night.....


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Snake Update

Ok - did some digging and showed the picture to a few people. (Who all thought it was a baby copperhead, too...) and come to find out it's a DeKay's Snake. A common brown snake, non-poisonous! Here is a link with much more information:

That's a relief! I won't be quite as worried the next time I see one in the yard... And I'm pretty sure there will be a next time. Also glad we didn't kill it.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh Sh**

So there I was, getting ready to do some yard work, and having to move some items to get ready.  Like the grill cover that has not been on the grill in a few weeks, but laying in a crumpled mess on the ground.  Now, I expected  there to be some critters under it.  And there were.  Some crickets and bugs.  But what I wasn't prepared for was a snake!  Yep, you read that right.  A snake.  Now granted, it was a baby, but a snake none-the-less.  And where there's a baby, there's gotta be a momma, right?  I mean, how else is a baby gonna get there? 

I admit, I have a truly unhealthy fear of snakes.  6 inches or 6 feet, it doesn't really matter to me.  I don't like it either way.  

D came out, and we both didn't really know what to do with it.  I may not like them, but this was a baby, and I didn't really want her to kill it, even though she offered.  We stood there looking at it trying to figure out what to do, and I just had to get the camera, and snap a picture of it.  We then decided that maybe we could take a shovel, and move it.   D grabbed a shovel, and managed to coerce the baby snake onto it, but then what?  Where were we gonna move it.  Luckily, the back of the yard is very wooded and thick brush.  We decided that was the best place, so D *gently* flung it back there.  It was a baby after all.  I should have taken pictures of that, for posterity, but I had set the camera down so that I could help.  How I was going to help from a safe 20 feet away, I'm not sure, but I was ready.  I could have called 911, cause it could have been a poisonous baby snake.  Still not sure.  But here is a picture of it for you to take a gander at...


Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Pahked the Cah!

Well let's just get the silly scores out of the way to talk about way more important stuff...  

1st game - 98
2nd game - 118
3rd game - 116

There.  Done.

But the funniest event of the night was when I "pahked the cah" on a split.  At least I think it was a split, although I couldn't tell you what pins.  I'm pretty sure one of them was the 10 pin.  But I don't know what the other one was?  The 8 maybe?  Or the 9?  J or D if you read this, PLEASE leave a comment and tell me what pins they were!

Anyway - I'm so inconsistent, that it normally would have been a miracle for me to get one of those two pins, but somehow, I managed the ball directly in the middle of both of them, and got them both.  It was a fluke, and if I had aimed, I probably would have only hit one.  

Played poker again, and only one of the games did I even manage to get 5 cards, and they weren't anything to write home about, so I didn't win poker.  

On another note....  There are 39 teams on the league, with one "ghost" team, for a total of 40 teams.  Right now, we are in 38th place.  We MIGHT move up to 37th, since we one 1 of the games last night.  Hopefully, we'll win some games if/when we bowl the ghost team, and that will bump us up.....

Until next week America (or all 4 of you now that read this...)


Monday, October 6, 2008

State Fair

I love the State Fair of Virginia.  I've gone for many many years now, and I just really enjoy it.   What's to like?  Some examples:  The agricultural exhibits, the smell of all the foods, the sounds of the the rides,  the sounds of laughing kids on the kiddie rides, the variety of people the fair draws, and so on.

One of my absolute favorite things about the fair, though, is the Quilt Show.  Some amazing quilts are entered, and every year it just sparks me to want to do more, and even gives me some ideas.  This year, there was a Polka Dot quilt.  It was colorful, and random, and every fabric used was a polka dotted fabric.  It was really fun!  There were other beautiful quilts, some traditional, and some more contemporary.  What it sparked was that when we went grocery shopping on Sunday, we stopped into the fabric section, and bought a bunch of polka dot fabric on clearance.  Can't wait to see what it evolves into.  

Anyway - sidetracked from the fair...  We spent about 7 hours there, saw a bunch of cool vendors, saw some cool artistry, ate some good fair food, and even watched duck races.  A grand day to be sure.  This year was the last year that the fair was on the location that I've always known it to be.  Next year it moves.  I'm sure I'll go and check it out.  


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

Tune out now....  It's not all that pretty.  Not ALL bad, but not pretty.  First game was a 98.  Second game was a 120.  Third game was a 114.   We still lost all 4 games, and are quickly approaching last place.   Still fun.    And no, I didn't win poker.  Didn't even get 5 cards.  (Not sure I got 5 cards all night, all 3 games combined!)  DOH!

PS - Hi D&J!  Hope you enjoyed the laugh!!!