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The crazy! The crazy!

July 28th, 2007

So, to make a long story short, I’ve spent much of the past two weeks trying to make this house thing work, and the end result is that I have to spend another week or two hammering our business and personal financials into QuickBooks in order to prove to the credit department at the bank that yes, owning a yarn store is a real job, and no, we’re not filthy rich because of it but yes, we will be able to pay the new mortgage.

At this point, it’s unclear whether or not the sellers will approve our request for yet another extension on the financing condition, or if they will just let the offer go. Either way, I’m working like mad on my new Windows laptop (blaaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhh) because it’s the only platform that supports QuickBooks 2007 in Canada or ANY major accounting software, for that matter.

Don’t get me too riled up about this matter. I’ve owned some variety of Apple computer since the first one came into my family’s life circa… what… 1989? It was an Apple IIgs, and I had already learned some basic programming on earlier versions. Still, this was almost ancient history as far as the Mac was concerned. I’ve had… let me count them… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11… maybe 12… varieties of Apple computer since them and have nothing but compliments to rain in their direction.

Hear me and hear me now: I love the Macintosh. It’s stable, pretty, easy to use, powerful (UNIX os baby!), compatible with both my non-computer-literate family and my software engineering origins, and has proven itself time and time again to be equal to or better than the Microsoft equivalent. (And don’t start arguing that I just haven’t used a Windows machine enough to know the difference… I’ve been working on them since I left SGI (IRIX servers all around) for eFinance back in 2000.)

The thing that bothers me is that this is the first time I physically haven’t been able to do what I need to do on my mac. I need to purchase a current (and supported) version of accounting software with Canadian tax support so I can input our company’s financials and run reports in a format that’s acceptable to my bank and my tax accountant. This, my friends, means QuickBooks. So, a trip to Best Buy and a cheapish HP laptop later, I’m up and running.

Oh wait. That was after the 12 hours of installing and configuring (and debugging) Norton 360 so I didn’t get horrible viruses. And after the 24 hours of installing and configuring (and reinstalling and reinstalling) QuickBooks, which worked fine for four hours but then refused to launch for over a day and a half.

So now, I’m up and running. Thus the lack of blog posts. Thus the lack of energy for much positive thought at all.

And don’t bother mentioning that the PC is a less expensive route to go. I spent $700 on this laptop. Not bottom end but hardly top of the line. The cheapest thing at Best Buy was $550 and it had less than a MB of RAM, which wouldn’t cut it. This HP looks and runs pretty well. But, after I added on the service plan – a necessary evil for a computer prone to inexplicable crashes and bugs – and the virus protection software, I was a mere $100 short of the equivalent brand new iBook.

So bah humbug.

I’m writing all this on my new HP from a hotel room at the Dallas airport. After spending part of last week on a sales trip to Kelowna, I’m now en route to home, aka St. Charles IL, to visit my family while my dad has a hip replacement surgery. This was a last minute decision last night, and they don’t exactly know I’m coming. So, I’ve cashed in airmiles for the flight and the rental car and will spend a few days helping my mom and dad through the surgery and initial recovery. I’m really glad I could make this work, despite all the craziness in my life right now.

I had a bit of a breakdown in Revelstoke last week when the bank initially said they wouldn’t touch us with a ten foot pole until we had at least 2 years of business experience behind us. Why are we working this hard for this little? I know this is no surprise for anyone, but you don’t get rich from having a yarn store. You work really hard, you have a great life, and you meet awesome people. But money isn’t part of the gig. In the last month, I’ve worked 31 days in a row, at an average of 12 hours a day, not including the time I spent preparing class materials at home at night. That’s an 84 hour workweek over a month. I’m exhausted. Sandra is exhausted. Being away for even a few days, even on work, helped us realize that we need to build in a day or two off… together… every week or we’re not going to survive the long haul. But taking time off, scheduling other folks to help out, has a trade off. Does it mean fewer classes? Even less income? Even less time to get some of my pet store projects going? I don’t know yet. I don’t know what the solution is.

I just know that for now, I have to focus on inputting all these financials, and get a hope of us getting this house that’s a minute’s walk from work. Do you know what that extra 3 hours a day will mean for our lives?

Realistically, I know if this house doesn’t work out, there’ll be another one. The market is slowing down, and we’ll find something else that’s closer than we currently are. And still, I’m tired of all the back and forth. I’m tired of getting so excited for something to happen and then having it fall apart. I don’t want this one to fall apart.

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13 Responses to “The crazy! The crazy!”

  1. Franki Says:

    My fingers are crossed for you and grrrr to the stupid bank!

  2. Michelle Says:

    My fingers are crossed for you guys as well!! We’ll all send our knitterly love and good vibes to the bank for ya!! Hope your Dad is ok, give him our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Safe journey, see you when you get back home…..

  3. NJ Says:

    Well Amy, running your own business is a shit show and that’s why the banks are so persnickity (sp?) on this point. Lord, when we ran the pie shop we simply didn’t rest. It was a summer business and we went from 8 am to 11-12 every day and it was fun and it was completely, mind bendingly exhausting. I still look back on those two years as some of the best times of my life though. We lost so much money (no business plan, fell in love with the location). The worst part was that after we worked so hard all summer, we had to get jobs for the winter. No time off at all. I don’t suppose any of this is making you feel better but I know how you feel and maybe the house isn’t going to happen now and maybe things have to happen in baby steps and maybe that’s okay. Try not to stress too much about the stuff you’d like to change now but may not be able to for a while, otherwise the joy of running your own shop will be compromised and being your own boss is still better than working for someone else, even if it is considerably more stressful. take care of your dad.

  4. pmg Says:

    Did you investigate MYOB? It is a very good accounting program for the Mac.

  5. Josh Says:

    Did you look at any of the new Apple laptops? They can run Windows now as they’re based on the Intel platform (which means that they’re basically PCs inside) now. There are two options 1) Boot Camp allows you to make part of your drive Windows and then you can boot into Windows or Mac 2) Parallels is a software application that will let you run Windows in a window on your Mac desktop. Both options allow you to run Windows at NATIVE speed (that’s as fast as a PC, unlike VirtualPC of the past which was emulation and ran very slow) and are more than adequate for running Quickbooks or any other Windows specific business software. The MacBook is a bit more (about $300) than your PC but you also get a Mac in the deal. Can you still return your PC laptop?!

  6. Leanne Says:

    do you want to speak to D to see if he has any ideas? let me know. he would love to help you out. take care of you, sweet ames (and sweet sandra too).

  7. antonio Says:

    II was wondering why you didn’t bought a MacBook and a copy of Windows XP and used BootCamp to boot the machine as a Windows box, instead of an HP stuff…
    BTW, hope everything will be fine for you guys!
    a.

  8. Phil Boncer Says:

    Keep plugging at it for as long as the possibility is still open.

    Although a somewhat smaller scale (but not as much smaller as you might think), I went through this with my first big artwork purchase. I fell madly in love with a painting and discussed the financing with the gallery. I knew I could make the payments, but they needed a 10% down payment (about $3000), which I didn’t have at the moment, and there were other people interested in the work. I was at the time recently self-employed, and although I was doing very well, with all the consulting work I could do and no end in sight (which is still true 8 years later), the bank wouldn’t touch me.

    I asked my father if he would lend me the down payment, and he said yes, so I called the gallery and said they should hold it for me. Then when I went to get the check from Dad, he had changed his mind, so I had to call the gallery and let it go. A few days later, I was lamenting this at a dinner party, and a friend said she had a CD maturing soon, and would be happy to lend me the down payment for the same interest rate. So I called the gallery to have them hold it again. And then she changed her mind and I had to call and let it go again, fearing that the gallery would think me a total flake and not be willing to deal with me anymore.

    But by this time, I actually had managed to nearly save the down payment, so I went in the following week with it in hand and got it, with the remaining payments to the gallery (of about 1/3 of my gross income) over the next 16 months. About 4 hours after that, one of the other people who had been interested showed up with his checkbook to buy it outright.

    The painting still brings me great joy.

    PhilB

  9. Neil Anderson Says:

    Take back the HP and buy a MacBook along with Windows XP Home edition. The guys at Simply Computing in Kelowna installed it along with Boot Camp when I purchased an iMac from them. Works marvelously. It’ll be the best Windows machine you’ve ever owned! 🙂

  10. Sara Says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you have to go through all this with the bank. I know how you feel. David and I had to find a completely different way to get a mortgage. We had a down payment but no way to prove our income since we were both self-employed. They did eventually approve me by going by my credit rating but that meant a higher down payment and extra insurance on the mortgage itself. It was the only way we were allowed to do it.
    What a stressful thing to have to do. It sure freaked me right out (it was my first time though) 🙂
    I’m still sending you best wishes and good luck. I hope it makes it over the mountains from Vernon. 🙂

  11. Jen in Regina Says:

    Wow, look at all the techies with the great ideas?!?

    The right house will come to you, at the right time. You are very correct when you say the market in Calgary is slowing down… This gives you (the buyer) a LOT more power, so hopefully the seller will give you an extension on the financial conditions.

    And, if not, well then it just wasn’t meant to be. And when you find the house that will become yours in a few weeks or months you will know why this one had to fall through.

    Good luck!

    (PS – I’m doing the best I can to keep your yarn store highly profitable… maybe I need a second job?!?)

  12. Shelley Says:

    Try the Federal Business Developement Bank. They deal with small businesses all the time and a mortgage for a house is small financing for them. We dealt with them years ago when we had a hard time getting a mortgage and they were great. I think there rates were lower then too.
    Good luck. I have a yarn shop too and it is hard to show much profit when you are continually buying yarn to stay current etcccccccccccc.

  13. caro Says:

    Hang in there. The people who say that death and divorce are the top 2 life stressors have never arranged a mortgage! It will all be worth it in the end. You’ll even laugh about it . . . in a year or two. Good Luck and may wherever you finally hang your hat be a happy and content home!!

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