My year of living dangerously


PFG, Picture Framing God
Nov 2, 2001
Centennial, CO, USA
I'm in my store today on a Sunday for the first time in about 3 months. I've got the music cranked up with my favorite CD's. I'm getting ready to disassemble my workbench because I'm getting a new one. Got it from Michael's free of charge, sometimes it does pay to know the Big Boys! :D Being here by myself has gotten me thinking about my future.

I love my store so much. It has really come together this summer, it finally looks like me. I've worked so hard this past year (almost). I think by now you guys know I threw myself into this little venture without much thought of the consequences. I don't think anybody could have made more mistakes than me when it came to buying this place. I think the universe threw this frame shop in front of me because I needed to make a move. I'm not the shoot first ask questions later kind of person. Impetuous would not be listed as one of my qualities. But none the less I am here, trying desperately to make the best of it. I'm taking crash courses to learn how to run this place, which I am very well aware I should have known before I even started. At least my framing skills are intact. I can brush up on new techniques along the way.

The next four months are my do or die time. Am I ready? I've done everything I can financially afford to do. I want this store so much. It hasn't been the best of experiences but I've had glimpses of being in the "zone" so to speak. Having my own business, doing things on my own terms, sink or swim by my own decisions. That is why I'm here. The one thing I had no idea about was the daily struggle and the ups and downs. But I know the rewards are there. I've never done anything that has ever meant this much to me. If I could pay my bills with determination I'd be debt free. I guess if wishes were fishes we would all be rich.

I'm losing the support of my friends and family. I know they are all worried about my future and none of them can really help me now. They are all probably taking bets on who's basement I will end up in when this is all over. At least you Grumblers have experienced some of the same trials and tribulations, some of you have been there. Right now the next four months are just looming over me I hope I've done enough to keep this gravy train rollin.

Just felt the need to put this out there in cyber space. Some sort of positive affirmation as to my committment to the cause, thanks for reading.
Sometimes the most important decisions that we make in our lives are the 'tough' ones. The roads we choose that have no guarantees waiting at the end of them are often the most rewarding. Congratulations on having the courage to make such a fantastic change in your life; judging by your determination I'm willing to bet that you'll make a successful go of it.

Speaking from experience, I know what it's like to make the unpopular life decision and have your friends and family question your sanity. Unlike you, I've always been the one to leap into life headfirst. Which doesn't mean I don't think things through. But I do have a great deal of faith in my own ability, and try to live fearlessly. I'm 35, and so far I haven't been the worse for it!

So Kathy, go for it!!! You can do it!!! Keep a positive attitude, and try to surround yourself with others who are positive and motivated. The next 4 months will be the busiest of your life, but will also be the most rewarding for your business. The customers who come to your shop during this season will be the ones who refer their friends and family to you next year.

If I was closer to you, I'd volunteer to help out when things get hectic, but as I'm a million miles away (and will be even further away soon), all I can offer is moral support. You've got it, any time; I'm in your corner
What is this four month do or die thing about? One of the keys to succeeding in business is never quiting, no matter how tough it gets. Forget this do or die nonsense, just run your business, cut corners, have sales, mow lawns if you have to, but DON'T QUIT!

Years ago my CPA told me to throw in the towel things were so bad, I solved that problem by firing him and getting a new CPA. Screw that quiting sh-t. Hang in there and you will make it.

Hang in there, Kathy. I know what you mean about friends and family, and I can't blame them, but all of us here have had to bite that bullet. Family will always be there when you are able to devote more time to them and you'll make new framer friends. I don't think anyone else can understand what goes on in a business like this except other framers. You sure came to the right place to find people to support you.
Oh Kathy! I know you are going to do fine, because you are doing something you LOVE! That came through so loud and clear and if we can pick that up through cyber space, then I'm sure your customers are getting the message loud and clear! Are you getting plenty of customers coming in now? Are they returning and/or referring their friends? If that's happening then you are on your way. When I opened my storefront, I did a P&L sheet at the end of 4 months. I had been very busy, but that was an eye opener. I was making money, but not enough to make the living I needed. I stayed up all night long redoing my prices, so that I could continue my business/dream. At the time, it was a scary move for me, because all I heard was "How Much?..." well I Still heard that, and I kept getting busier and busier.
You're working long hours, doing good work, still learning (all the good ones are always "still learning") and you deserve to make a decent living. You Deserve It. And Jo's right, this is the place to bring this. People outside the framing business can't quite give you advice. They can support you, but they can't know the possible pitfalls and tips for success.
The brass ring is there. Grab it!
Things can't be too bad if you can buy a new bench!!
You have to see the positive side to every angle even if it is cut a little off!! I launched myself into the selfemployment world last september and have not regretted it once (well, maybe the first week I didn't get a paycheck after 22 years of getting one every week!) - I have worked harder in the last year than I ever worked in the last 22 years and have loved every minute of it. Its scary sometimes, but I am in control of my own destiny and need to put measures into place to make my business successful - no one can do that for me. No business makes it/breaks it in the first year - it typically takes up to 5 years to grow a business to a successful point - sometimes less, but you won't get there by only counting on the next 4 months! Plan for the next 4 months and then plan for the next 4 months and so on - 5 years will be up before you know it! Listen and learn from the advice on The Grumble and The Hitchhikers; implement the things you can that don't cost a lot of money - keep plugging along, you will always have the support of the rest of us framers out in cyberspace.

Best of luck, I know I'm planning on being around for a long time!

The best thing I can think to say is, "You GO, girl!!!"
I know exactly what you mean about the lack of support from family and friends. The problem seems to be that they don't understand the massive time commitment involved in starting a new business, especially a "sole practitioner". As others have said, no one but another framer could possibly understand the amount of work involved, the lack of income at first, but also the intangible rewards. I wish you lots of luck, just know that whatever happens we are all here to listen.

I am seconding what JRB said...
No spread sheet can measure the fortitude and resilence of a small business owner with a fire in her belly!
It is nice to have the support of friends and family, but you don't need it.
You just need persistence and follow-through and flexibility. You will always need it. It's in your job description! (didn't you see it there?) That's is what truly sets us apart and determines your success.
It is one of the earmarks of a small business and indeed part of it's beauty- the ability to be "lean and mean" and to be able to stick out the tough times.
When I first opened, my shop was in a crappy(hard-to-find) location in a fabulous downtown neighborhood. I worked alone and it was incredibly difficult getting the work done and trying to promote my business in waking hours! It was tough. After 11 years of that, I was finally able to move my shop to a very visible location in another great neighborhood. Things improved immediately. My business had lots of credibility from being downtown, that is about the only upside to that. I wish there had been a Grumble back then- I would have had the wherewithall and the b@lls to make the move sooner. At the very least I would have had more of an insight on how to more effectively promote.
Enough of that.
You know what you need to do- just keep at it. Forging ahead is much easier than quitting and going back to working for someone else.IMHO!
edie the persevering goddess
Well, Kathy, I know exactly where you're coming from. I've been at it since December of 1993 and it is still a struggle. I learn something new almost daily. Many of my friends are still supportive, we just don't see each other much. I made a lot of new friends...other business owners who fully understand the trials and tribulations as well as the triumphs of owning a business. At this point in your life, you need to spend more time with people who will build you up, not drag you down. A positive mental attitude goes a long way toward success. When people tell me I can't do something, it makes me want to prove them wrong. Visualize your success. It really helps! I've grown from a one-person, 600 sq foot shop to a 5800 sq foot gallery, gift shop and frame shop. You can do it! If you've made it this far in such an uncertain economy, I'm believe you'll be in it for the long haul. What's important here is that you have a passion for what you do. You care about your product and your customers. Be patient and take satisfaction in every little success. Know that we are all rooting for you!

You seem to have the drive that it takes.
But, you also have to be honest with yourself.

You probably already know the answers to your questions. You will survive one way or another. If you don’t at your current location, then pick up and find the right location.
If you truly believe you have a good location, then time, smart marketing, and great service is the answer.

But, the hard truth is that when building a business from the ground up or rebuilding a damaged business you have to have money saved to survive on. If you don’t then you have to ask yourself, what is your best option for survival. I’m not sure borrowing money to keep a sinking ship afloat is a smart decision. If you have a good location, then fight the good fight where you are. If the business had a bad reputation did you change the business’s name?

It’s not to late to change your business name. It may be the kind of boost you are looking for and will make a great press release. KATHY’S WORLD CLASS FRAMING – grand reopening - anything to separate you from the previous owner.

If you get to the point where you need to borrow money to survive and you know the problem is location, then make the best use of that money and RELOCATE NOW.

All the advice is here in the Grumble from knowledgeable people like Bob Carter and others.

The one common denominator is Location, Location, Location, no matter how good you are.

I started a ground up business in a decent location and have had good growth until the economic downturn. But, I have always known that the quickest way to improve my business is to relocate to the best possible location. I was just to scared to take on the big rent so early in my learning curve. I did however have several years survival money to learn my way. I believe I have learned enough now about framing and being in business to take it to the next level. I plan on seeing what affect a better location will have on my business shortly. I don’t plan on waiting for the business to come to me.

Even if I do not survive my first time out, it will have been a great personal success. I'll take what I have learned and come back stronger than ever.

Grumble on!!!
Thanks everybody for the input. Honestly the only thing that will stop me from going on is money. I just know if I don't have a good amount come in to bring me into next year I am tapped out. I have exhausted all my resources. Somehow I need to make enough money to pay myself and support this place. Since I haven't paid myself yet, it ain't looking good. I know you aren't expeceted to make money in the beginning but my convoluted logic thought this was an existing business and I could live off the paltry amount she was making. Since I'm not yet making that paltry amount that theory went out the window.

My friends and family were incredibly supportive in the beginning. They don't know what the heck to do to help me. They also don't understand some of the decisions I've made. I know they care but my family in particular I know thinks I should throw in the towel. They just see the huge debt adding up. They see the daily toll it takes on me. I've had to have a certain amount of glibness and stealth determination to carry on in adversity and I don't think they can see it because they aren't in it. I know they see my ups and downs and can't really help. So at this point I am keeping it all to myself. I do have a couple of friends who are framers who I can unburden on, but the bottom line is this is my shop and I have to deal with the consequences either way.

Oh and JRB I am working part time at Michael's in the morning, surely that is the equivelent of mowing lawns? (Just kidding Carrie)

I've got very high hopes for the fall season, I just hope the economy keeps going up and people feel like spending money this year. Thanks again everybody, This Grumble thing has turned into quite a support network!
The roller-coaster never stops, you just get use to it and the worst parts aren't nearly as scarey. Relax, you don't get jaded. I still get a kick when one of my long time customers calls up and says that they are coming in "with a real challenge" for me (kid in a candy shop).
Don't let your detractors get you down. Let them know that you appreciate their concern, but their unconditional support would be a lot more helpful. After all, how many of them have ever jumped on a roller-coaster like this?
Keep us posted.
Family and friends??? Those are the people you want to avoid the most. Everyone of them has at one time or another wanted their own business, why should you succeed where they never had the balls to even give it a shot?

Just ask a recovering alcoholic what he/she thinks of family and friends. What do you think family does the most of when one of them is trying to stop drinking, they drink even more when the one trying to get healthy is around, you can bank on it.

Your only real friends are your customers who are willing to pay you full retail for your work. Your family and friends expect it for free or at an outrageous discount, don't count on them for anything.

Your working at Micheals in the morning is not going to help you build your business. Building a business is a full time comitment, you have to be in your shop eight hours a day. You have to be open regular business hours and ALWAYS be there when your hours sign states you will be there. How do you know when a $2000.00 sale is going to knock on your door? I'll guarantee you it will only happen when you have your back at whatever time, note on the door. It takes a lot of commitment and self discipline to run a retail operation. Customers will not want to leave their work with you if they think they will have trouble trying to pick it up.

I showed your post to a friend and he thinks you have already given up, have you?

John, My hours at Michael's are 6am to 10am. I have my store open at 10:30 til 6 everyday except Sunday. I'm usually here until 8 or 9 in the evenings. I've only altered my hours in this store from 10 to 10:30. The person who purchased the restaraunt next door is adding coffee and opening at 6am. I've told Michael's if I see more traffic here as a result of that I'll have to open here earlier. Believe you me I would gladly give up the part time job. But it pays everything but my mortgage every month. I've allowed myself to take Sundays off this summer because first of all there hasn't been much need. I was in this store seven days a week the first 6 months I owned it. I couldn't leave, even if that time wasn't productive time I couldn't physically pull myself away.

As far as giving up, I hope not. I AM for the first time panicking. I've had somebody recently tell me I need to check into bankruptcy laws and ways to protect myself.
The person who told me that doesn't have a clue what I am trying to do. I promise you I am the first one in my family to go outside the box so I do understand your comment about them wanting to see me fail. I think if I make a go of it they will feel left behind and have to re-examine their own lives. I have not once until the past couple of weeks even considered I couldn't make this fly somehow. I got into this deal with nothing to fall back on, just sheer will. There's no way I'm giving up voluntarily. What is it the NRA say's? I hate it but something like "from my cold lifeless hands" Well from my cold lifeless hands thay can pry this store away from me. Does that sound like I've given up?
Kathy, now your cooking, don't lose the faith and you will make it for sure. Don't be afraid to go and knock on some doors either, you will be amazed at how well that works.

You don't have to be open seven days a week, heck, try closing Sundays & Mondays if you want. Give your customer base some warning, post your schedual on your door and stick to it, Don't ever not be there when your schedual says you should be there. If you say your open at ten thirty don't open at ten thirty five.

Don't put notes on your door saying you will be back in ten mins or whatever, that is for losers and retail hobbyists, not anyone serious about their business.

Remember, don't quit.


I agree with the posting of your hours and sticking to those hours. But, I wonder who goes to the bank or the post office for you. If you do that on your lunch hour, that works out fine. But, if you are a one person operation, you are the janitor, the go-fer, the design consultant, the matter, the framer, the CEO, and all the other little job tags in between. You have to mail something that is called for at 3 P.M. and the post office closes at 5 P.M., then you have to do what is required and sometimes that includes posting a note on your door and just going and getting the job done.

When you have employees and can send one of them on that errand, it becomes an easy process to stay in your business and attend to it. But, Kathy like alot of us, run single person operations and we don't have that luxury.

....and some of us, such as myself, offer delivery and installation. This means inevitably, when a delivery cannot be scheduled after business hours, it has to be done during the day. It does not make for a perfect situation as far as leaving the shop unattended, but it is what I choose to do in order to offer extended customer service. If I run the risk of missing a customer and they go to someone else, then they will soon find that they will not receive the extra service that I am able to offer.

-The Other Mike.
There are always ways of finding an excuse to close your store. Plan ahead, figure it out. Offer hanging services on Mondays or evenings only.
Once your in the habit of using notes to cover yourself it's almost imposible to break it. I use a note to run up to the corner and pick up my called in advance lunch order, it reads " I'll be back in LESS than 5 mins." This is only used on Mary's days off, Sunday & Monday & I stick to it, not more than five minutes, period.

Wow, talk about a cold dose of reality, I wrote this two years ago and I'm still in the same position, that makes my heart sink.

I guess I'm still here. I know I'm smarter now, I know I have more customers now, I know that blasted table I added coincidently I just last week moved and cut down because it was way too big for the room. That's about all I know.

Funny, I said then I was all out of resources and damned if I'm still all out of resources. I must be being held up with smoke and mirrors......

I don't know if this is good or bad, I've weathered a mighty storm but I can't help but ask why. I know I've made progress but I still haven't set the world on fire. I know my number one problem is still no money........

I swear it made my stomach do flip flops reading this..............Lordy, Lordy, I think the life has just been sucked from my very soul, better go read something funny.....

I didn't realize until I read the last entry this thread was 2 years old.


Whether you're still on the brink or not shouldn't matter. The fact is that 2 years ago you thought you were done. Finished. End of the line. There's nothing like the sheer terror and fear of losing everything you've worked for to either 1)give you a kick in the pants or 2) make you realize how tough you have to fight to get by.

It certainly isn't easy, this self-employment gig. Three or 4 weeks of bad sales can send you into a tailspin that may prove fatal. I've never been big on faith, but invariably when things look the darkest the turn-around (even if it's temporary) IS right around the corner. We go through it now and then, when a big job walks in the door to carry us through.

Who cares WHY you made it through? What's important is HOW you've made it - through sheer determination, persistence, luck, skill, and whatever else Out On A Whim stands for.


If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, then you know it by now. You're prepared to see your business through whatever obstacles come along, no matter what it takes.

Or you're not. There's no shame in avoiding torture, you know. Indeed, some small business owners who have made The Big Mistake should find their way out long before they do.

Making a business work is a lot like rearing a child. It takes hard work, more hard work, blood, sweat, tears, tenacity, sacrifice, discipline, and there's no gratitude in sight.

But when it grows up by your own hand and satisfies your vision of what it should be, there's no greater satisfaction on this earth.


This original post cannot be 2 years ago - ALREADY!

I can't believe it. It feels like just yesterday I was reading the original and feeling some of the same pain as you... and here we are - still at it!!

Wow. What an accomplishment!!

Just keep doing what you are doing and improve it here and there and it'll be another 2 years before this post reappears!!

Making a business work is a lot like rearing a child.
Except that, when raising a child, you're not allowed to give up - however tempting it might be.

I respectfully disagree with the frequent Grumble advice: Never Give Up. Certainly, an orderly retreat is preferable to unconditional surrender but, for someone who's been pounding their head against a brick wall for some time, the realization that the wall is going to win is a real eye-opener and a healthy one.

I would never suggest that Kathy is in that situation. That would be as presumptuous as saying, "Never - under any circumstances - give up." But I wonder how many thousands of small business owners are being unfair to their families, their suppliers and themselves simply because they are too proud or stubborn to know when to move on.

For what it's worth, I think Kathy has a good shot - if determination counts for anything at all.
Ron, Kathy,
I have to say that there have been many, many times over the past 16 years that all I had going for me was determination.

A fellow small business owner friend of mine once observed that things don't always get easier, but that we get better at dealing with them. Or at least getting over it after we've dealt with 'em...

Kathy, you may be out of resources, but you're still here. That puts you in minority small businesswise. Don't ever forget that.

edie the somedayimgonnagetmearealjob goddess
I've been away for a few days tending to an ill parent and it was a real eye-opener to spot this thread again. Looking at mortality prompted me to dwell on some of the same things I am sure you are considering. The photo segment of my business has shrunk over the past couple of years as more people in my market have moved to digital and I am not willing to invest big bucks in photo equipment to compete for small 4x6 print business.

Framing has been growing slowly and is making up for the loss in photo work, but my main employee will be leaving in the Fall so I'm trying to figure out what to do--hire a newbie; move to a cheaper, smaller, less expensive location and drop most of the photo biz (but I love photography, and supporting that habit is why I started the business); maybe even just close the retail shop, enjoy my new free time and go sailing. I could put some air conditioning in my barn and become home-based.

Well, Kathy, I have sort of figured that between the shop, my day job and the commute between the two, I have somewhere between five and seven hours of time every day to sleep and do other things. I started closing the shop Sundays about nine months ago. I'm thinkg about closing early on Saturdays during August.

A bit of time off is good. I think if you give yourself a little free time you will realize that your life may be a bit empty if you gave up your desire to make your business work. If it is getting a little easier every month to see the bills will be paid on time you are making progress. What I have learned from the advice offered by so many others here, who have developed their businesses over many years, is that quick financial success is rare.

Decide to do an orderly retreat if that is what you really want to do. Otherwise, look forward. I do like the fact that now I have repeat customers and new customers who were referred. I think you do, too.
I've been thinking about my problem with "never give up." Maybe I misunderstood.

When I first opened my business in an old church with five other specialty shops, there was a bookstore across the hall from me. It wasn't large, but it was very cool. They had book signings and special events for kids and all these little places to explore around the shop and sit and look at books. The people that worked there all loved books and it showed.

You could see, almost to the day, when the owner lost interest. The place collapsed and he literally moved out in the middle of the night.

I'd say he gave up and committed business suicide. He would have been way ahead to make a conscious decision to sell or close the business. Instead, he chose to fail.

If that's what you mean by giving up, I am in agreement that it's an ugly way to go down.

There is a fine line between having a plan 'B' in case things don't work out and actually expecting things to not work out. Customers can smell fear and desperation and they will stay away in droves.
You speak with straight tongue, white brother!

Failure comes in many forms. Sometimes it simply is a lack of knowledge in what they started out to do or just a failure in managing their business and their money sensibly. These people generally give up and close within a short period of time and go on to something else where they don't have to worry about the day to day operation of a business.

Sometimes it can be the work environment that causes them to fail. Bad location, poor advertising, poor workmanship, or a lack of commitment to making things happen or a combination of such can bring about a lack of growth to the point that you are forced to close a business. The charisma (or lack thereof) that you have with your customers can doom a business no matter how efficient or skilled you may be.

Many times it can happen if you don't plan out your business from the start and have some kind of blueprint to follow. You bounce around from one attempt to bring in customers to another and never have a real focus on how to attract people through your doors.

Sometimes it is an inner fear of actually succeeding, and the responsibility that goes with success. That can be the worst type of failure to some people because they live and breathe in the hope that sometime, somehow, something will happen to cause them to become prosperous and still be able to have the simple uncomplicated work environment in which they started.

Once in a while, you find a person that is just too stubborn or hard headed or so focused on a dream that they won't quit until that last dollar leaves their hand and they have no other alternative. (I tend to think sometimes that I fit in this category.)

But the real root of failure, in my opinion, is an inner lack of drive to accomplish those things that we all have the ability to accomplish in our lives. When I see someone who is wheelchair bound, blind, or speech impaired operating a successful business, I think about how much harder it is for them to function in a world that we take so much for granted. And it does give me hope that I can grow and become as they are, peaceful and happy with their lives.

There are so many tales of poor people who have risen above the patterns set by their poor parents and family to become successful and, behind most of them, is some force that compels them to become something better than what everyone tells them they should settle for. That is the key to success, finding out what that drive is and using it to your advantage.

I don't claim to know where any of us fit into this simplistic breakdown of success vs. failure but I do know that, within each of us, there is something that some of us have already identified as our keys&nbsp to success and others need to find those keys. It may be different for each of us but it is surely there if we take the time to search our souls and find it.

"Never give up" may simply mean "Keep trying" until you find that combination of inner drive, belief in yourself and in God, and a couple of points that will come together to provide for you a path to happiness and peace. I believe that without happiness and peace in your life all else is mundane expectations that may stay forever just beyond our reach.

Sssssooooo well put!

Hey, I'm not in church am I? Church of Grumble?

I don't want smells and doesn't wash out.

Great thoughts.
I'm sorry...I thought this was a new post and was being a bit play-full...

A very interesting and heart felt thread.

best to all of us and Kathy your a Champion.
Just for the record guys, I didn't go back and review this post, somebody linked to it on another thread and I made the mistake of clicking on it. A good example of why clicking on links is not always wise......

As far as Jim Miller's comments I do believe I possess that entrepenurial spirit required to do this. I don't think I could have held on for nearly three years otherwise. Let's not forget I have been underfunded since the day I took over this store. I have had to find a way to hold on since the very beginning. There are a lot more people out there that got started with a plan and plenty of funding who have gone belly up in less time than this. So, considering the odds, it is amazing I am still here.

Plus, it isn't like I haven't grown. I'm not sitting here stagnating. I've reinvented the shop and reinvented myself by learning everything I can and making the changes I can. I've got a nice little store here. It ain't much compared to a lot of youse guy's but I get a certain amount of satisfaction the way people respond to it. I've created a happy little environment that I think is a viable little business.

The thing that struck me most about rereading what I wrote two years ago is that I still am suffering from the same difficulties. The past few months have been very difficult, very difficult, and even though I have rallied in June and am getting caught back up this time around has taken it's toll on me personally, I am so tired. I just don't seem to be able to rise above my bad start and move forward. Reading this thread made me realize how long I have been trying. It appears I am spinning my wheels.

I guess one thing that has kept me going is I assumed we were still in a bad economy, I bought this place during the 9-11 happenings, and the economy has not been stellar since the day I got here. But, after reading the thread about "Where do we go from here" and seeing how much is at play within our industry that I have no control over. Somebody commented the economy has recovered, it is our industry that has changed. That is fairly disheartening to hear. Considering my financial situation, I don't stand a chance of being in the two thirds who will survive over the next five years.

I cannot imagine disassembling this place and going home, it has become part of me. Somebody suggested owning a business is like raising a child, I don't have kids but, imagine realizing your child is never going to pitifully sentimental is that? Yikes, am I feeling sorry for myself or what?
I'll try to remember that when I'm forced to pick up my tent and go home......
No, Cliffie, no church sermons, although it does me alot of good to check out the inside of a church each Sunday. (I need all the help I can get in most instances!) ;)

Kathy knows more than anyone else on this forum how many trials I have faced in my framing career and she and I have spent countless hours on the phone trying to brainstorm, flogging each other when it is needed, and generally trying to keep that positive attitude alive and growing in both of us.

There is so much more involved in some of our lives that make us falter and doubt our abilities but all of us have the potential&nbsp to succeed in our endeavors. And I, for one, can't do it all by myself. That is not to say that I am not working and living alone. But I don't feel that I am alone as long as I have others to help me when I need that emotional crutch or can get somewhere by myself and lay into some serious prayer when I feel the need. But that is how I get by. And it works superbly for me!

I simply hate to see perfectly good talent wasted for the lack of a few little pieces of the puzzle of life that may be lying under the couch. We all have faced problems in our careers and it just takes some extra oomph sometimes to step out of that line of conventional ducks and try something new.

I have a little drawing over my desk that was given to me many years ago when I first opened my art gallery. It has been hauled through 2 major moves since then and is still there reminding me of that old worn out line,


It has become my little "totem" and is a constant reminder to me that, no matter how bad things appear, you still have that thin thread of survival to cling to.

There IS a way to make it happen!

when Less gets down, he opens a new can of Unseal.

Puts a wonderful new spin on the world

best wishes to dem fishes

thanks for sharing
Tom, you are such an inspiration!

Your picture is now mine...hanging on my wall...and the message is clear...the frog can't hang on forever...wink.

P.S. so give me your telephone schedule with Kathy so I will know when it's my turn...ha, ha...ho
I tried calling Kathy to offer some advice and inspiration, but she refused to accept the charges.
You should have told the operator your name is "Kathy ItsAlrightAndImHereForYouIfYouNeedAnyHelp"
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
I tried calling Kathy to offer some advice and inspiration, but she refused to accept the charges.

That can't be as bad as calling collect ............. from a pay phone!!

Actually the Florida contingent of Grumblers has been responsible for propping me up emotionally. Between Tom, Wally and Deb they manage to keep me propped up for appearances sake. They have worked out days off and know in particular to remain vigilant when the end of the month approaches and I have to pay my bills.

I am particularly concerned though because Deb has gone on vacation and neither one of the boys has picked up the slack........

Plus, I fear they may all abandon me if they all go to Atlanata in September. So, there will be an opportuntity for a pinch hitter during that three day period where somebody may need to be on the alert. So, if you are good with people, don't mind constant whining, recognize all signs of bi-polar disorder and are up for the challenge please send all inquiries replete with resume to .

Thanks very much!

I was just going to make a cash donation to help defray expenses for your recruiting campaign but the <font color=blue>link</font> was down.

Oh, well, maybe I'll go have a nice seafood dinner tonight with the money and just send a happy thought your way as I am cracking open some King crab legs or tearing into a fresh caught fillet of seasoned steamed amberjack! (They only catch the fillets down here.)

Ah shut up Framerguy. You're making my hungry and I can't eat for another 43 minutes on this dumb diet. I need to be down another 40 pounds by the time Stone Crab and Grouper come in season. Then I'll be down.

Except, I think we're headed for Marathon or Cancun this year. I NEED snorkle and sail time.

It ain't happening here on the mighty Columbia River. The water is a tepid 43 degrees.

Kathy, hang it there and go open a can of Unseal.
or if you're into a more gentle approach, cut and smell a fresh lemon. Looks silly but it is jamin on the brain cells.


Keep it up……you are there now…..just grow on your experiences….

….despite my positive attitude at times… is not all a bed of roses for me with my framing business…… it has for the most part been dismal ….but I have persevered and I do now feel that I have found that magic formula that will work for me……it’s been a long struggle…..

…… though when I hit brick walls all I have had to do was think of you and your struggle…..and my business/framing problems become quite insignificant….

Well done….and give yourself a big clap on the back…..