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Business Plan

So yes, my business venture is a coffee shop, but with a twist. I’ll explain more later….

I’ve spent most of today working on my business plan. And while that’s exciting, it’s also daunting. The more I write, the more sections I review, the more I realize the vast number of unknowns… I’m writing this plan at various coffee shops in the area, in the hopes of also doing my market research in the process. So far I’ve been unimpressed with several cafe’s I’ve visited… although I’ll admit I’m a tough critic. Below is a snapshot of a few notes I’ve taken so far. Don’t get too excited, this is all very, very rough!

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Happy Friday!

We made it to another Friday. Eric is on-call this week, and worked late EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I know I should be used to his schedule by now… but I’m not. I still get angry, discouraged, disappointed, overwhelmed, etc. when I hear he’s going to be late. Why is it the girls have to both cry and whine from 5-7pm?? Yesterday Nora and I were playing outside around 4:30pm and I saw several neighbors arrive home, I assume from work. Made me sad that scenario can’t be my reality.

Yesterday Eric was seeing patients at his Ft. Dodge clinic. Now I know this will piss some of you off, but… would I be a good blogger if I didn’t sometimes post controversial stuff? So I’ll just say it. I hate Eric has a clinic there. He is more than busy with his patients in the darn city where we live. I travel to Iowa City all the freaking time to see specialists, as I understand that some surgical specialties aren’t available in smaller cities. (Supply and demand people.) Ft. Dodge is small. Can’t those people travel for their care, just like I do all the freaking time with the girls? Eric going there a few times a month means even less time with him.

Monday is Eric’s birthday, and it sounds like for his gift he wants to spend the weekend away with his dad’s brother and family. I forget where now, but I think it’s a 3-4 hour drive from us. His uncle has a cabin on a lake and is inviting a bunch of people to stay the weekend. Not my kind of time away, and I have little to no desire to sit in a car with little ones for any length of time. Eric wants to go though, and mentioned this morning he would like to take Nora. Now, I personally think it’s a horrible idea, but I’m not going to tell him no. I just think once he gets there with her he might regret it. Kids out-of-town, overnight, are a lot of work. Plus, he wants to stop on the way back and spend time with some friends in Des Moines that he hasn’t seen in a while. The weekend would be easier for me with just Nadia… Another weekend alone though. I did purchase gifts for Eric, whiskey glasses and an aluminum wallet. Eric is very picky… so we’ll see.

In other news… I think I’m having a mid-life crisis. Am I in my mid-life?? Anyway… You know I still have the idea of opening a coffee shop in the back of my mind… But I have other ideas too. Maybe I have too many ideas. I need to focus and narrow down my options. But how? And are any if these good ideas when I have two little girls? And would like a third child at some point… which would probably be another high-risk pregnancy ending in the birth of a preemie…

  • There is the traditional job avenue. Meaning, what I was doing before I had the girls. I started updating my resume a few weeks ago, but I’m not extremely motivated to get back into boring finance/accounting work… Do you blame me? Also, being we are in the 39% tax bracket, and I pay our sitter $12.50 an hour, I might end up bringing home less than I pay our nanny. Depressing. Yes, something to be said for working and being happy, but still. Plus, the search for jobs in this area hasn’t turned up much. Seems this city is all about labor and manufacturing positions. Which doesn’t surprise me.
  • So new idea… And this might surprise some of you, but what about me opening a salon/spa? I have the business background with my undergrad in Finance and MBA, but I would obviously need the trade schooling. We have a couple of options here in town, my fear though, is that I’d be in classes with 18 year olds. Being 37 and having worked in professional environments, I just have a strange feeling I might be a little out-of-place. Crazy idea? I’m not so sure the idea of doing hair interests me as much as skin care/make-up. And I realize the money isn’t going to come from offering those services myself, but rather from owning the business. I have not mentioned this idea to Eric yet… I wonder what his response will be.
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Nadia – 21 Weeks

So I started a book club…  But first… Nadia is 21 weeks, 11 weeks adjusted!


Yesterday she had several fussy periods, but overall, she’s a much, much happier baby since we started adding MiraLax to her formula. More smiles from her! Her weight is 10 lbs 7.5 oz, and still a concern. Her next weight check is in a week or so, we’ll see. Otherwise, no real issues. She is cooing more and more, loves her swing, particularly when it’s in front of the TV, and has discovered her hands, which she appears terrified of at times. It’s actually quite hilarious, I don’t remember Nora having such a reaction.

Nadia has been sleeping for longer stretches at night, almost through the night. We put her down anywhere between 7pm and 10pm and she will sleep until 4am. In fact, this morning I woke at 4am and decided to wake her to eat, as I didn’t want her to go too long being I’m already concerned about her weight. And just when one gets into a better sleep pattern, the other has issues! Nora has a nasty cold though, so I’m hoping her night waking will be a thing of the past once she feels a little better.

So the book club… I got the idea after joining the MOMs Club, as it uses Meetup and while browsing the site, I noticed quite a few people have shown interest in a book club, but yet no one had been willing to step up and organize such a group. And maybe now I know why!

The site, which can be viewed here has been active for two days and so far we have 17 members, all women, as I titled it as such. Not bad I guess. More than I expected! Problem is, it’s already been a lot of work, although hopefully this calms down after the initial setup of everything. I’ve found the Meetup site to be a little difficult to use, and I’m in the process of setting up a Facebook group as well, but I’m worried that would exclude those who don’t have Facebook. And two sites is hard to keep up with anyway.

I’ve set one meeting so far, a week from today, so a Wednesday, in the early afternoon. So far 7 have replied yes, which I was surprised at as well, being it’s during the day, and I assumed most women would be working, but I guess not. And I know this sounds horrible, but I really hope it’s not all old women who show up. I mean, some fine, variety is great, but I was really hoping to meet some other women my age through this experience… So we’ll see I guess.

My time so far on the club has been spent setting up the websites, creating some polls to help decide our first book and best meeting times, etc. I guess my original thought was to meet twice a month, maybe the 2nd and 4th weeks… Perhaps read one book a month… Getting together during weekdays is probably best for me, but we’ll see what others prefer. Perhaps a Sunday evening or Saturday morning. A lot of weekends Eric is on call though, so I’d have to find a sitter.

Now… Does anyone have experience with a book club? I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m doing! I’ve managed a lot of projects at work through the years, which involved people, but I’m not an expert on books and the discussion of such, by any means! Do I need to have questions for discussion prepared ahead of time? Or do we just sit around and chat about the book? And what if the group gets too large to meet at coffee shops in town? I didn’t plan to have to pay for a meeting location. And I’m not inviting strangers to my home. Oh gosh, what have I done??

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Moments of Insanity

My moments of insanity are occurring more frequently these days…  Pregnancy hormones??

Yesterday Eric and I were supposed to meet our builder at 2pm an hour and a half north of our home to sign the purchase and construction agreement.  Eric and I had agreed to meet at 11:30am at home, as we were both planning to work the morning, and then drive together, hopefully leaving town by noon.  During my drive home from work my car started acting a little funny, wouldn’t always accelerate when I pressed on the gas, jerked forward a few times, sounded like it was going to die…  Keep in mind this car is not old enough to be acting this way!  I made it home by 11:30am though, beating Eric.  I called his cell to ask him about the car, no answer.  Sent him a text, no response.  Panicking about the car I called a few auto repair shops and found one which told me I could drop it off immediately and they’d take a look.  It was 12:15pm by the time the car was checked in, and still no word from Eric.  Long story short, he did finally text back, his case started late and took longer than expected, of course!  So he ran home, changed clothing, and picked me up to head out-of-town.  I’m panicking of course at this point, as I hate being late, in fact, I’d prefer to be early for everything!  Eric wasn’t nearly as concerned though, encouraging me to ‘just email the builder and tell him we’ll be late,’ as if the builder had nothing else going on today…  And he did, he needed to pick up his daughter from school by 3:30pm, obviously shortening our time together considering our tardiness.

In the end everything worked out…  We signed all the paperwork, handed over some cash, and left before the builder was expected at his daughter’s school.  And the basement will be dug this Friday!!  And we even made it back into town to pick up my car before the shop closed.  So where does the insanity part come in?  Well, while I was sitting at the auto shop waiting to hear from Eric all I could think was, working full-time right now is just too much for me with everything else.  I really wanted to call my boss and just tell her I was finished with work…  Granted, it’s not stressful, if you’ve been following long you know I’m basically bored at work, but it’s still time I’m required to be there, and thus not available to take care of other items, items which seem so much more important to me currently.  It seems I have baby appointments almost every other week, I’ve been to our new city weekly the past several weeks checking out day cares, God knows I have more organizing and preparation at home for baby’s birth and our move…  My work just isn’t a priority right now.  But every time I tell Eric I really want to quit, his response is always, ‘I know,’ even though his schedule doesn’t allow him to help me, ever, with anything.

Speaking of wanting to quit my job and insanity…  Sunday evening I was on Etsy browsing adorable baby girl headbands, hats, and other accessories when this idea popped in my head, I could make these items myself and sell them online.  I mean, most items are way over-priced, in my opinion, so the profit margin must be decent, right?  No really, I was seriously into this idea.  One minute it hadn’t occurred to me, and the next I was about ready to order a sewing machine and knitting needles online.  (Yes, this is often how I work, remember the high chair I splurged on?  This is also how I acquired my last vehicle, very spur of the moment.)  Anyway, I controlled myself this time, but the general idea hasn’t left my brain yet.  I added a new project page to my website, Stef’s Creative Side, which will have other pages under it, well, once I figure out my creative side.  Might even need to rename the page, we’ll see.  Maybe this will replace my other crazy idea of opening a coffee shop.  Or maybe not.

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Coffee Shop

I’ve been feeling a bit sad this week…  Our original IVF plan had tentatively scheduled our egg retrieval for either today or tomorrow, so I can’t help but feel a little discouraged.  I actually stayed home from work yesterday as I woke up with a TERRIBLE headache.  I’m not really one to get headaches though, well, aside from when I was on the Lupron.  (And oh yeah, so excited for that higher dose next time!)  My headache yesterday was different though, it felt like my skull was crushing itself, and it was difficult to focus, like I was strangely cross-eyed.  So odd.  So I emailed my boss and spent the morning snoozing.  When I woke around noon I actually felt quite a bit better.  I found something semi-healthy to call lunch and by 1:45pm my headache was pretty much gone.  Why is it though, that I always feel such an intensely guilty feeling whenever I stay home from work sick?  I mean, I guess it’s because I could have forced myself to work, I do sit at a desk all day, it’s not like I was physically unable to work.  Or perhaps it’s because some of my coworkers are there every day, no matter what.  They could be puking with a 105 fever and they’d be there with their ice pack and chicken noodle soup!  So yes, I felt guilty and weak for staying home, but it was nice to relax and catch up on some sleep.  And if nothing else, my sore leg muscles are feeling much better after rehydrating, as they’ve been aching since Monday’s and Tuesday’s workouts.

And guess who moved all their crap back home for good last night???  Yes, Eric is finally finished with his Mason City rotation!!!  He got home around 7pm last night, with bags of junk in hand that are now consuming any and all possible floor space in our bedroom.  And I assume they will be there for weeks, until I go through them, as we all know how organization isn’t Eric’s strong point.  Regardless though, it’s wonderful to have him home.  I am sad to give back his prime parking spot at the University though…  (Maybe next winter I’ll be home with a newborn!)

Eric actually had today and tomorrow, plus this weekend off, and I’m a little sad I didn’t plan ahead to use some vacation.  It’s month-end though, so really not the best time to be off.  One of these years I’m not going to work in accounting so I can use vacation any old week of any old month I want!  Ah, in my dreams…

Speaking of working, I have a new (somewhat crazy) idea…  In reference to my post about becoming a stay-at-home mom and how if my impression of such is not true, which I’m pretty sure we can all agree isn’t, then I’d just assume work outside the home.  But doing what…?  I’ve worked in Finance/Accounting for the past ten years since I finished my undergrad, and worked on my MBA along the way, so business is really all I know.  That said though, I can’t lie, sometimes sitting in front of a computer all day browsing countless excel files gets old.  There are only so many pivot tables you can make in one day or vlookup’s you can perform.  And no, contrary to Eric’s understanding, a vlookup is not a sexual position.  I need to feel like I truly make a difference, and closing the books every month just really isn’t doing it for me.  I want to feel personally responsible for the success of, well, something. But what…

I can only assume Eric’s and my new city has various institutions with financial roles similar to my current position at the University, in fact, those working on Eric’s contract already assured me there is a job at the hospital there for me, but I feel like maybe it’s time to go a different direction.  For the past ten years I’ve always picked the safe, secure route, which is fine, good actually, it’s the responsible thing, but sometimes being responsible only gets you so far.  I keep hearing Eric’s words in my head, that what I get out of this move is money, and if that’s true, I want to find a way to use that for good.  So I’ve decided, I’m going to open a coffee shop.  Now granted, this will require a sh*t ton of research, which I’ve already started, as I’ll need a business plan if I ever hope to be approved for a business loan.  And as much as I hated that class on business plans, I understand it’s necessary, in fact, it might be what either proves or disproves this is a good idea.  This will really be the first time in my life  I’ve ever had the opportunity to take such a risk, and for that, I feel very fortunate.  While I’d prefer to acquire a business loan, it’s somewhat comforting to know that Eric’s income could carry us until I get my feet on the ground and running.  Plus, making any real profit is gonna take a ton of lattes and mochas to really amount to much!  I think this will be a great opportunity for me though, it’s that something for me I was struggling to grasp in this move that is otherwise focused on Eric’s career.  I’m actually quite excited now… something I’ve yet to feel until just the past few days regarding this move.  And what’s even better?  Eric is supportive of this idea, he thinks our new city will be the perfect environment for such a startup.  I’ve added a new page, Coffee Shop, to the menu so I can track progress and jot down notes and such.  Don’t get too excited just yet, we have a long way to go, but it should be a fun ride!