Apr 26, 2012

How're Things: Work Edition

So.  Wanna know what else takes a LOT of time and ISN'T home schooling?
Starting a new business.
That takes a LOT of time.
And energy--both physical and mental.
And faith.
And prayer.
And me struggling--after a 10 year hiatus--to do "design work" for ads and mailers and fliers and Pinterest graphics!
And desperate pleading with friends and family to please, PLEASE just write something nice on Facebook or Yelp about Doug and "the practice".

It's exhausting.

Never in our entire marriage--and this includes when we lived through a major natural disaster--have we been so stressed for such a long period of time.

Sure Dental School was "challenging".  (I used to think it was "hard", now I've revised my opinion.)

The two-year residency in Rhode Island was definitely "busy" and there were some long "on-call" nights.

The three years in Japan for the Air Force were hard at times because of the distance from family.
The last four months were definitely stressful and well--more stressful--because of the whole triple threat*.  But for the most part--in hindsight--it seems to have been a cake-walk.
(I mean really-- Doug just had to show up for work and get paid.  No problem.  Easy-peasy.  And sometimes he was done by 4:30 p.m.)

Now, life is challenging, and busy, and hard, and stressful and repeat x1,000.

Now, our kids who have always been male and always been messy and always been loud are somehow now MORE male/messy/loud!!!  Much more!!!

Now if Doug comes home at 4:30 (which he doesn't, but if he did) it means he has no patients which means he's not earning money which means we might not have enough to cover over-head for the extremely expensive practice we started.  With all that implies.

But he DOESN'T come home at 4:30.  He leaves early and stays late.  And three days a week he works in a city an hour away (while he works to build up the practice closer to home.)  Which adds 2 hours to his work day.

But it's not the hours.  Many others have worse hours.

No, it's the fact that for all those hours he's putting in, he may or may not be getting a lot out.

If Doug works all day, but only sees patients who come in with the $39 New Patient Visit coupon, he doesn't make any money that day.

If he works all day in Temecula, busting his...bottom, seeing a million patients--but all those patience have Medi-Cal, he makes a pittance--pennies on the dollar what the proceedure is worth.

There are some discouraging, overwhelming days.

BUT, with all that said, things aren't all doom and gloom.

*Doug's staff is awesome!  Holly, who sits at the front desk, is amazing.  Truly amazing.  She's nice, helpful, knowledgeable, charitable, and kind.  She does her best to make sure every person who walks in the door is taken care of.  The assistants, Natalie and Yesenia, are also great.  Happy, friendly, and hard workers.  It's a huuuuuge bonus that we were lucky enough to find employees that actually care about the business as much as we do.

*Our brand is awesome and the website looks amazing and really impresses people.  We've gotten new patients simply because they liked the website.  (Thanks Shawn!!!)

*Despite the commute, the job an hour away is a HUGE blessing.  HUGE!  We couldn't have survived without it.

*We broke even last month for the first time. We're set to break even again this month!  WAHOO!!!!

*Patients ARE responding to the advertising and coming in.  And although some will inevitably follow the next coupon out the door, others will stay and become regular (hopefully paying) patients!

*We've gotten some really great comments on the FB page and on Yelp!  One review, from a total stranger, was so nice I may have gotten a little teary.  (I might be, possibly, a little teeny-tiny-itty-bitty-bit overly hormonal these days also.  Might be.)

So yes, things are looking up.  We're no longer stressed about going bankrupt every single day--just once a week now.  And although paying off all those bleepin' student loans and actually buying a house still seems like an impossible dream, every once in awhile I have a glimmer of hope.  And I think we're going to be okay!

So that's how things are going with us.
What about you?  
Started any new businesses lately?
Have any kids with rotten teeth that you want to bring for a visit?

*(The earth quake/tsunami/nuclear threat thing was obviously extremely stressful and traumatic.  But at the same time, there was a sense of hope and camaraderie as the Americans worked with the Japanese for the common good.  We were all in the same situation dealing with the same terrible things so we supported and helped each other to get through it.  There was also a sense of accomplishment as we worked and volunteered and saw the immediate fruits of our labor--even if they were just a drop in the bucket.)

Apr 4, 2012

Shades of Gray

(I would like it noted that I wrote this post approximately 1 week before hearing about the smutty book by the same title...I thought I was being very clever!!)

Our baby is officially a toddler now!
Gray-Gray (no, not Gregory) turned TWO!
And although my other children have had a friend party upon reaching the ripe old age of two, poor picked-on #4 only got a family "party" and a very hastily frosted cake.  (Not my usual multi-hour effort.)
Monster Cake for an adorable little monster

Poor thing.  Great thing about two year olds though?  They don't know the difference.  BUT, to avoid leaving this blog as void of his presense as his baby book, I want to mention a few of Gray's charms.

His bottle.
Filled with milk.  Even if it's severely watered-down, he still prefers it to any other beverage in any other beverage delivery apparatus.
His Mama.
He likes to follow me around.  He likes to sit on my lap when I'm sitting and hang on my leg (begging to be held) when I'm standing.  (Super fun when I'm making dinner.)  And although he does leave my presence occasionally, if he hears my voice he'll come right back.
His Daddy.
As soon as he hears D's voice, he runs to the door squealing "DAHDEEEEE!!!!" at the top of his lungs.  He loves to swim with Daddy.  He loves to snuggle and read stories with Daddy.  If I weren't around, and Daddy was always around, that would be just fine with Gray-Gray.
His brothers.
The only thing that can tempt Gray off of my leg when Daddy isn't around, is the possibility of playing with his big brothers.  He loves them.  He mimics them.  He follows them around.  It's cute.
(Except when he's mimicking violence or extreme noisiness.)
Reading and being read to.
Just like his big brothers.  It's pretty cute to find him looking at a book or cuddled up with Daddy and Gabe listening to a bed time story.
Living by his Aunt, Uncle and Cousins.
He likes playing hard-to-get around Aunt Laura and likes when Uncle Jeff smells his "stinky feets".  He especially loves his cousin babysitters!

Other great things about Gray:

Gray eats salad and loves spinach smoothies.  (When milk isn't an option.)
Gray sings in the car.
Gray sits on the counter when I cook and likes to sample dinner before anyone else.

Gray has a naughty streak similar to Maxwell's as a baby!

Gray was born in JAPAN after a very long, very GRAY winter.  
(And he's been a ray of SUNSHINE ever since.)  
(No, he does not have dual citizenship because he was born on an American base.)
(But he does have some adorable Japanese clothing.)
"Power of Beetle"!!!
Gray folds his arms and fake closes his eyes during prayers.
Gray has a very adorable mischievous smile...

and even more adorable angry scowl.
"Sammy, I said..."
Gray is just a cute kid and we love him!!!

Happy birthday sweet boy #4!!!