Sunday, August 20, 2006


So, it has been a long time since my last post. I make no apology for this: just an excuse. I was working two jobs, trying to stay fit, and still trying to spend time with my new wife. All of that meant something had to suffer, and this space was the easiest.

But enough "stuff" has happened from then til now that I feel compelled to write about it. Let's start at the begining:

I took a new job at Play it Again Sports. I am the manager. The idea of starting so low again was a bit frightening, but it turned out to be the right choice. Already I feel like I am doing more, getting more from it, than I did in the two years at GOAL.

And I got to go to Chicago! We had a buy show in Chicago and my owner (or rather the owner of the store) thought it would be smart for me to jump in feet first, and get some management experience right away. And I got to go to Chicago!

So the buy show was two days long, and I had a third day in town. I arrived (VERY early) and went straight to a meeting on market possibilities. I know how fun that sounds, but really, it was. We had just been talking about going heavy into fitness gear for the winter, and lo and behold, that was what the marketing seminar was about. It was nice to know we were one step ahead of corporate (this will be a theme throughout my working tenure). Then there was a 6 hour lecture from the bowflex people. We thought it would be about the new product line, and how to use it/sell it. It was more of a health and fitness seminar. Not that I am complaining: free advice froma top trainer is better for me than telling me how to use a product I already use.

Then the free food and booze started flowing, and there was a HOT SHOW. All that means is a bunch of product discounts on stuff people probably don't want. We found a few things, but mostly it was junk. I think that's why all the free booze. We weren't fooled.

But the next day was awesome. Literally an event center filled with sporting goods. Not only did I get to play with every bit of next year's sports toys, I got to see the inside process of purchasing, and speculating on the year to come. It is a lot like the stock market, in that you are investing with the hope that the return will grow. We took last year's sales, and the trends we thought we saw int he industry, and planned accordingly. Hence going heavy into fitness: there is an 83% growth in the industry amongst women, and it just looks to get better and better.

I can't talk about the products, what we paid, or any of that. But I will say it was fun to find all that out. And the first products are arriving in the store now, meaning I am starting to see my hard work pay off.

Of course, I had the rest of the night to wander the streets of Chicago. I ended up, much like last year, at Buddy Guy's. The same band was playing, and the same bouncer greeted me. I stayed through a set, met some nurses from a nursing conference, and left. Don't worry, they were old ladies, not hot nurses.

There was a dance in the park, so I spent awhile there, watching people, writing down bits of conversation I heard, and drawing shapes of people. Terribly nerdy, I know, but it gave me some way to take in the city (I forgot my camera). I met a lot of people that way, actually, proving that the mysterious is always the curious.

Then I got back, skip a few days, and found out I was being fired from GOAL. Long, horrible story short Linda did not like me, that did not improve when I reduced my hours (voluntarily, I might add), and she kept harping on it until Laurie said it wasn't worth having to defend me. THat all sounds horrid, because it is. I have never been fired from anything in my life, and this was bad. I know I was fixing to leave, but it is like being dumped before you have a chance to do the dumping.

The good news is, we are buying ahouse now. Being that the apartment is provided by GOAL, a fire was lit straight under my ass to finally buy a house. And we now qualify for a first time homebuyers loan (with two jobs, I made too much before). That means we will pay zero out of pocket to move, instead of 20%. It also means we get a better rate. SO things have a way of working out (maybe, I don't want to jinx it, we still have not signed a house, meaning we cannot process our paperwork for the loan, meaning we can still be turned down).

We might have found the house, but I won't post pictures or details until we sign an offer sheet. Maybe not until we close.

Anyway, that's that for now. Next time I hope to talk about Team USA, and what I think fo their chances. But, of course, I don't want to jinx THAT, either.

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