Monday, March 7, 2016

Hooray - The End is Near

Yup, that's us - two crabs with ice cream
In a few days (Friday) our ice cream shop, Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream, will open up for our 16th Season.  I usually greet this time of year with a mixture of dread and anticipation.  Anticipation because it’s been five months since we’ve made any money and as the spousal unit says, “our balances are dropping dramatically.”  Dread in that I haven’t been actively working for five months…and I like that.  Really, I do.  But work we must.

I suppose this post is as much a pep talk to myself as anything.  The days that I truly worried about the upcoming season are long gone.  We’ve faced damn near everything in our time here, and whether it was increased competition, bad weather, slow tourism, power outages, or equipment malfunctions, we’ve survived and thrived.  Last year we joked that we finally wouldn’t have to worry about any equipment breakdowns because we had finally replaced everything with moving parts in the store at least once.  And then we learned that our one year old display freezer needed new moving parts.  Add in a freak city-wide power outage on Independence Day, our busiest day of the year, and 2015 was a year to “remember.”

But there is one additional aspect of this year (aside from not worrying about more breakdowns) that makes me giddy and eager to start:  I won’t have to do this much longer. The end is near.

We’ve joked about having five year plans to eventually put the business up for sale, find a piece of property, build the “dream home” and move on with our lives in what some folks call retirement, as we refer to as “progression.”  We truly mean to “progress” to some other aspect of our lives, but until now it’s been a hazy vision.  Over the last five months, however, we’ve “fixed target” and we’re headed to the promised land:

And the promised land is about 90 miles east of here, in Warren, Oregon. 

We have two perfect acres of land, suitable for a small house with solar, a small orchard, a large garden, room for dogs and us, close to groceries and services, yet far enough from everything to be considered rural, pastoral, quiet, and perfect.

I said perfect twice, didn’t I?  Well, it’s an apt description.

We had been looking for the right combination of land and home for more than five years.  Everything was either too big, too old, too sloped, too wooded, too far away, too close by, too…too much not what we wanted.  Or too expensive.  Finally, last year we found a property that could work, and the very next day we found an architectural firm that specializes in small, pre-fab homes that had everything we wanted, and needed, and at a price that was…perfect.

Then this winter we sat down and ran numbers on the business and figured out much it was worth, and it was better than we expected.  We’ve made arrangements (legal, broker, etc.) to move forward later this fall in putting all the information together to get ready to sell.  We already have people who have told us that they’d love to “take over” Zinger’s when we’re ready to let go.  And we’re about ready.  This year, then next year, and that’s it.

So the plan really is a plan, after all – a two year plan where we put the business up for sale, start working with the architect, find a buyer, clear the land, build the home, sell the biz, move and put the old home up for sale, and…by this time in 2018, we will be “progressed.”  That’s the plan.

So this year, as we head back to work, there’s dread, and anticipation, and a bit of “short timer’s” disease. If it seems I have a bit more spring in my step, it’s not the Geritol.  

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