I’ve heard from a few people recently who wondered why I never update WPz anymore…so I’ll lob in a little something for the 5-6 total readers that still swing by occasionally…

1.  I still live in Austin, TX having purchased a small dog training business late last year.  That has been a very successful venture despite the fact that most of my due diligence conclusions were incorrect.  Just happened to inherit a very solid manager and then learned to hire every good trainer we could find.  Very tough business (the only barrier to entry is pretty much thinking of a dog-related punny name) but have been running a pretty consistent looking ROE of about 80%.  Great potential for expansion, etc, just need to regain motivation and get cracking.  Have some non-traditional ideas to achieve that growth.

Owning a small business is very rewarding in non-financial ways, too.  Pretty interesting to work with folks that are actually passionate about their craft.  99% of investment bankers are solely passionate about their bonuses (I was not in the 1% of that sample set).  Basically everything is pretty much banking divided by 10 – the people that work for me are paid about 10% of what their roughly equivalent banking counterparts would make (and I make about 10% as well).  My formula is to hire the best people, pay them very well (compared to competitors), don’t nickle and dime staff, charge high prices, provide the best service, don’t nickle and dime customers, profit.  So far, so good.


2.  Sadly, my mom passed away in April.  The last few months of her life were very difficult.  In some ways, the fact that my dad had a stroke and really didn’t know what the hell was going on made things easier.  My mom was pretty lucid up until the end.  She had a surgery on Tuesday afternoon, I drove through the night to get to Arkansas by 7:30 AM when the ICU opened.  I stopped to get gas and a bite to eat at 7:25 AM.  I let my dog out for about two minutes before walking into the ICU.  I knew what room she was in so went directly there and saw here laying naked and not directly attended, although there were nurses in the room.  I was told family was in the waiting area, so went and found my sister – she had passed away literally while I was in the parking lot.

In some ways I think that was better for me, as she was awake at 7:30 and communicated (via her eyes) with my sister before going into cardiac arrest.  She was crying at the time – my lingering worry was how scary that moment was for a non-religious woman and whether I’d have been a comfort to her then.  My sisters said the fact she knew I was on the way was enough.

Her service was done by the same preacher who did my dad’s service, although for unknown reasons, this one was about as religious as possible – a direct contradiction to her beliefs and the way she would have wanted things to go.  Probably appropriate since she was usually pissed off about things like that – I told my sisters she would have cussed us all out big-time for it.  I gave a little additional speech at a family dinner which in hindsight was probably too heavy on negatives – my mom was to put it mildly “difficult” and it was tough for me not to try and be somewhat truthful as her oldest child was in attendance and had not spoken to her in over thirty years.  She was a conflicted person who I hope has found peace that eluded her in life – she did have six successful (well, not sure I’m in that bucket exactly now) kids and that counts for a lot.


3.  I’ve been without an SO for about six months – first time in around 16 years with more than about a two week gap…if you do the math on that you can determine there were some times of overlap leading to damaged/ruined friendships and/or relationships, violations of trust and tarnishing of reputation(s).  Probably was time for me to take a break and take personal inventory or all that stuff you are supposed to do.  Hadn’t really started that process until recently and has not been made easier by significant structural changes to my life: family, career (ha?), physical location, among others.  Have been roughly as emotional as a pubescent teenage girl (that’s probably redundant now that I type it) which is an odd thing since we try to keep it  pretty stoic in Chillyville.  Supposed to be good for you if the back of my Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul dog food bag is to be trusted.

Currently drinking box wine and a Super Big Gulp of sweet tea, just in case you thought I was gonna class it up too much.  Feel free to drop me a line if you want to hear more of these non-amazing adventures.  I will hopefully perk up for future updates as there are probably a few posts about the small business purchase alone that would be interesting.  I know a lot of people think of getting into something so I’ll be happy to share my experiences.  It is actually a little weird to be making decent money (disclaimer: for Texas) off of other peoples’ hard work (I mainly do back office type stuff so only work a handful of hours a week).




8 thoughts on “Update

  1. That reality show would be approximately 1000% consumed by the sound of barking dogs…I rarely actually go to the center during the daytime, it’s a delicate balance and adding a rarely-seen dude to the mix causes quite the canine commotion. It is very cool though owning something, I must admit, feel like I’m contributing a little bit more than when I was just working on figuring out ways to make already-rich dudes even richer.

    Bonus interesting fact about South Austin: one of the best pizza places (maybe the best) in the city is located inside a Valero station (which also has an absurd wine selection). Somewhat odd.

  2. Great to see you back, Chillz! Very sorry to hear about your mom 🙁 But excited to hear about your new venture. Being a dog lover myself, this sounds like a really cool business to own. P.S. i have an 8 lb yorkie that could use a stern talking to …

  3. Thanks KitM – Good to hear from you. Dog biz is awesome, key turns out to be hiring great people and not screwing up yourself! Send that Yorkie down to Austin…I have some major other news coming soon, Chillyville is abuzz with excitement! Hope all is well in NYC – Chilly

  4. Hey, sorry for not acknowledging the passing of your mother. Having been through that I can appreciate how difficult it is. It changes you forever. Just know that you are appreciated for the humor you share with others.

  5. Thanks, ST, much appreciated – sorry for your loss as well, not good times for anyone. As for the guitar lessons, my perforated-phone-numbers-at-the-bottom fliers never drummed up the traffic I’d hoped, despite posting them at all the prominent Greek restaurants in town!

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