Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Updates

It's Friday, so I thought it might be a good time to update you on some things that I've mentioned on this blog. (We're watching our friend's kids--lots of fun, but I don't have time to thoroughly edit. If you find anything glaring, let me know and I'll change it.)


Business is booming! We changed the name of our company. To accomplish this successfully, we are using both names during a transition period. The reason for the change is that the first name was very specific in nature and the new name better describes our business as a promotional products company.

My husband bought a training program by David Blaise (NOT a sponsored link), which was recommended by one of the associations that we joined. He had told me all about it and was anticipating it's arrival. The whole time I thought he was talking about the illusionist, David Blain. It was a total disconnect for me. All I could think was, "Why is my husband buying a promotional products training program from a magician?" It wasn't until we started listening to the CD's and watching the videos that I realized my husband wasn't nuts, and David Blain hadn't changed careers.

This program is amazing to me because every time David Blaise discusses the promotional products industry and our duties, specifically, it's as if he works by our side and observes what we do. He understands the uniqueness of the market and everything that we, our suppliers, and clients need to reach our goals. I've never heard such an effective training program as this one. We have been implementing everything that we're learning--and it has made a difference already. We're not even done with the series yet. Good investment, hon!

We've been accomplishing our goal of servicing large clients. We have many major accounts throughout San Diego, Temecula, and further north. We're keeping our small Temecula retailers because there are some massive wineries and hotels slotted to open in the next couple of years and we want to keep a presence out here so that we can win those accounts. Ideally, I'd like to have our company manage the gift shops altogether, but it's yet to be seen as to whether or not we want to expand in that direction.

We are determined to grow every month, and this has happened. We have more and more clients and a larger profit each month. Now, when we're working on a few big orders, my husband slows down with taking on new customers. He picks it up again when everything has been approved and we're waiting for fulfillment. It's a nice system, and we're able to deliver orders much faster than when he was collecting as many clients as possible--and it's more profitable.

We would like to become a presence in more industries, but don't have the time or people (just us!) to do that yet. We've been advised that we need to solidify our system before hiring any commissioned contractors. And that, by the time we do this, our volume should be sufficient where we will make a comfortable living without more personnel. We don't want to complicate our lives or be billionaires. That's never been our goal. We'll just keep moving forward until we have to revisit our plan to take it to the next level.


In February, I told you about our first strawberry from our own garden. When we bought the plants from Home Depot, I got little cheap ones and big expensive ones. The cheap plants started to produce right away, but the berries were little--some the size of a pea. The expensive ones dind't produce at all, at first. As a matter of fact, they didn't even have any flowers on them. Yet my son has faithfully watered them everyday.

All of a sudden, we saw these big strawberries starting to ripen on those plants. This week we picked several that rivaled the size of those found in the supermarket. And they're much sweeter to boot. It must be those worm castings that we used for planter soil. Anyway, the bumper crop that I told you about is well on its way.

Bee Hive

A few days after the exterminator left, my husband climbed up the ladder to remove the hive. We had noticed that a few bees kept buzzing around, and, when he got up there, he heard a lot of activity. The bug man returned (for free) and blasted the hive to oblivion.

This week my husband removed 14 combs. That's more than we got the last time (9), so we think it was there all along and not just days old, as we had assumed.

In order to ensure that we don't spend another dime on these pests, my husband sprayed the compartment with KILZ and spread the expandable foam on all openings. But, seeing that they seem to be smarter than the average insect, it shouldn't be too hard for them to find another way in.


We LOVE our new old car!

Friends' Rental

Remember my friends who moved out of town and then were burned by their tenants? She called and told me that, after having the house professionally cleaned, they rented it to another military couple. The best part is that the tenants wanted the house "as is" because they needed to move immediately. These renters were having a very difficult time because they have three dogs and a ferret. Since the carpet needed replacing, they were fine with it, so that they wouldn't be charged for any pet stains when it was time to move out. They also didn't mind the dead grass and weeds in the backyard. The man said that he was happy to perform handyman duties around the property.

When my friends moved, they had a huge house that they rented out almost immediately. They've done so well from a distance that maybe they should have been the ones to buy the apartments. Some people just have the knack, I guess.


Back at the end of January, I told you about a purebred Dobie that we were going to meet, and then subsequently adopted. He's been working out great. He's not yet a year old, but he's HUGE, and he's now the boss of the girls (dogs, that is). I can tell you, they don't mess with his pillow. He's also an escape artist who can open doors and slide through fences. He always stays close to home, regardless of the temptations out there. It's just odd to see one of our dogs waiting by the front gate to get back inside. He scares the bejeebies out of the neighbors, but he leaves them alone, if they don't bother him. He just waits loyally by the gate. The other day, I'm almost certain that he smiled at me. If he does it again and I snap a picture of it, I'll share it with all of you.


I mentioned in passing about a month ago (no link--can't find the post) that I was getting some egg-laying chickens from a friend who was moving. I used to buy eggs from her. I thought that maybe hers would show my non-laying egg layers what to do. Well, the new chickens do lay, but not as prolifically as we'd like. They're molting right now, so we're hoping that, when that's over and it warms up, we'll have more eggs to give away. Currently, we're eating most of what we get.

Yesterday, my kids wanted "Egg McMuffins" for lunch. We had two huge (like miniature ostrich eggs huge) eggs, and the children were certain that they were double yolkers. With our last batch of chickens (that were killed by a critter), one of my sons and I were surprised by a double yolk in an egg. However, the other kids weren't around to see it. Ever since then, they've been hoping to find one. Well, they all gathered round the stove as I broke open the two giant eggs. This is what we found:
My little crowd burst into cheers--double double yolks. It was just too much excitement for one day. When I started the second batch, my eggs were much smaller (I think our non-layers are starting to lay microscopic eggs). However, I broke one open and was really surprised:

There on the right is a likeness of Big Bird's face. I mean, it's another double yolk! Three in one day. The kids were dazed and had to sit quietly for a few minutes to regain their composure.

Maybe I'll give the next Big Bird egg face that I get to my smiling dog.