Eight short months ago I was working at home, writing for twelve hours a day with lots of breaks to vacuum, eat, contemplate life and deal with the fear of what the next chapter would look like. The reconstruction of my life from corporate America to hermit-style author, to retail bliss has been fraught with pitfalls, financial as well as emotional. The lessons, in humanity and how to structure my life for happiness, are priceless.
How could I have predicted the first chance meeting of Korey and Kim at beginner bee keeping (followed up by Korey winning the Jeop-a-bee contest at the annual meeting,) would lead to them ask me to for some marketing advice on their new venture? I could never have foreseen the reconstruction of my life, the explosive demand that little store has experienced, and the intermingling of our paths to growth.
My own journey has made me aware of the little things that make me happy in my day. It has evolved into the song I sing to the dogs and cats every morning as we unfurl from the warm tangle of blankets and stretch aging muscles to start our day. Yesterday, the store stated to stretch its young muscles.
Korey and John began the demolition/reconstruction of what was Deb’s book store behind us. Korey hired Deb when we heard she was closing after thirty years and he rented her space. The growth is organic as well as structural. Deb and I watched in amazement over the first two days as Korey and his 80-year-old sidekick, John, worked out every detail in their heads and set about the task of reconstructing the space to match the elegance of the current store.
There were moments of hard labor when we all emptied out the stockroom. Each cube of oil or vinegar is hefty and the ones that will drag your arms out to ape-like lengths are the dark balsamic. For some reason they weigh twice what an extra virgin olive oil cube weighs. There were also moments of hilarity and rejoicing over small stuff, like when the wall was first opened between our tiny stock room into the new abyss of space we will soon occupy.
How can you not love your boss when he shows up to work like this?
And then the serious transition started, and walls came down. In their place, lines for future structures appeared, redefining the space and outlining the new store. Korey and John seemed to have it all pictured perfectly in their minds’ eye and they worked to the low drone of really old country-western tunes on a tinny-sounding radio.
The sincerity and humanity I have been shown in this chapter still stuns me. From the first “thank you,” a gift bag stuffed with homemade jellies, pickles and sauces in the dead of winter to the those nights I drove home with tears in my eyes from the generous and totally unexpected financial bonuses. I have fallen into an amazing sand box and been given all these toys to build a castle.
Deb has found a new job, a new home for the working hours in the space she occupied for so many years, and it is right where she wants to be.
Korey is contemplating what he will finish by tomorrow.
I have found a wonderful world where I can tell the same corny jokes all day and not be bored by it. “I just put out this coconut white balsamic and my greatest fear was it would taste like suntan lotion but I was so pleasantly surprised that I cooked shrimp in it the other night. If I’d had a beach and someone serving me I would have thought I was in the tropics!”
Yes, it’s a far cry from Wall Street, but I just hit delete when my email pops up another NASDAQ daily report. I can’t truly influence that world if I don’t take responsibility for my reconstruction.
Rebirth is an oxymoron to me. You are only born once, just like you only really die once. Reconstruction seems a better tag-line to me.