Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life as a Loose Dog

I have been MIA quite a bit here in the blogging neighborhoods that permeate the Internets.  It certainly was not a planned absence.  Everyday I miss out on my fix, I have regrets.  But I made a promise to myself this year.  Not a New Year's resolution type promise, but a promise nonetheless.

As 2011 wound down and I sat looking at the sales figures for the year, I was rewarded with confirmation that all the work and effort had paid off with what would be my best year in 5 years.  "Finally", I thought, "There is some light at the end of this financial tunnel I have been in for so long."  I knew the hole I had dug had been a deep one and one good year was but a small dent made in the overall debt I was carrying.  That is when I promised myself I would take this positive momentum and see what I could do with it in 2012.

I still expected the typical winter at the bike shop.  There would be plenty of time for me to play on the internet while the cold wind blew.  I was sure it would be mid February before things started to hop at the shop.  Winter 2011/2012 would allow me to make up for all the fun internet time I lost last year.

I was wrong.  Maybe it was the warmer than normal winter.  Maybe it was a more positive outlook people seemed to have about the economy.  I do not know what it was, but January started out like it was mid summer.  Instead of whining about being bored, I am now whining about lack of sleep as I try to keep up.  Even if February ended today, I would be enjoying the best two winter months I have had I think ever at CRUM  Cycles.

The larger than usual gross sales did come at a price though.  To compete, I have lowered my expectations and cut my mark up to levels approaching the Internet whore pricing.  I am working harder to make less.  But as my wife says, it is all about cash flow.  Keep the cash flowing in even slightly ahead of the cash flowing out and things will work out.  And so far, it is.

I often look back now to where I was 40 years ago.  Young college student floating from one major to another while my friends were beginning to focus on majors they might actually use in careers they hoped would last decades.  I had no such thoughts.  I had no thoughts of my future other than what fun or trouble I could get into tomorrow.

Many of my friends found those 35 year careers and are now considering retirement or already have retired.  True to my loose dog roots, I still look at tomorrow as a new day to find trouble or fun.  I might think of retiring, but then I realize that I retired 40 years ago.  My whole life has been one retirement scenario after another.   The fact that I worked my ass off for others and then myself is beside the point.  I followed my nose and my interests.  If I was bored with what I was doing, I found something else to do.  If I was going to work like a dog, I damn well better enjoy it.

The price I paid for living loose is I do not have the security blanket my friends have from their predictable and well paid careers.  I have no illusions the next 20 years (if I last that long) will be easy kickin back watching sweet young things wearing thongs on some beach south of the Mason Dixon Line.  No, I will probably work until I can't and then die.  And that's just fine with me. 



Kulkuri said...

I've lived what at times I've called the "Travis McGee"(a series of novels written by John D. MacDonald)lifestyle. I would work for awhile(never enough to amass a huge stake) and then be unemployed until I needed money again and would go back to work. I was always searching for the good paying job that would allow me to live comfortably and never quite found it. But I survived and now will get to see how we'll survive retirement!!

The Blog Fodder said...

Your wife is right, no one ever went broke with a positive cash flow. I hope the momentum carries through the summer with better margins. Doing what you like and having a good time doing it - what is to retire from?


I want one of those bicycles that has the basket in the back..but they cost too much..I'm thinking the guy that fixes bikes here for kids and sells them cheap might be able to build me one..what do you think?

BBC said...

I figured out how to get by just fine with my SS money, it isn't much but it's all I need.

Ol'Buzzard said...

I am retired, but just barely able to keep the wolf away from the door. I have occasionally had to go back to work when ends couldn't meet; and I could have been much more comfortable had I continued working instead of retiring...but the quality time my wife and I have had together is worth more than the money.
the Ol'Buzzard

Randal Graves said...

If you ever get desperate, you could not shave for awhile, get a hat with stars on it, and be the Wheelie Wizard, playing children's birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs, and foreclosures.

Demeur said...

Must say you picked the right job. When gas hits $5 a gallon you'll be the most popular guy in town.

MRMacrum said...

Kulkiri- Some of us just are not suited to slaving away in the same place for 40 years.

Blog Fodder - Exactly. It feels good to be enjoying it again.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY - There is always a way to attach a basket to the back of a bike, even the cheap reconditioned ones from back in the day.

BBC - Isn't that all we should be asking for? I think you have the right attitude.

Ol'Buzzard - I have never been able to put a price on "quality time". Definitely not something money can buy. Money can only enhance the time and not even then most of the time.

Randal Graves - Nah. I can only take the little tackers for brief periods of time. The recent local crew of pre-punks call Mr Grumpy. A title I wear with pride.

Demeur - One would think so. But Americans are going to drive no matter what.

A Midnight Rider said...

Luckily my whole working career was a union job. Cash flow has always been in the black and Social Security has not kicked in yet. I feel very fortunate and blessed thanks to the union.
Now I ride every day without a worry in the world.