Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Major Life Change and NaNoWriMo 2013

It's not like it arrived unexpectedly.

Maybe it's like knowing that during the winter someday that big snowstorm is going to arrive. Sure, most sane people hope that it never comes, but honestly, in the back of our minds, even as we are dreading it, we know that it can come anytime. That's right! What are we supposed to expect during winter here in the Midwest? Warm, sunny days?

The crash of 2008 was a wake-up call for the MFA in Freeburg. The co-op posted a $120K loss that fiscal year because of it. Yes, it was nice that the wholesale cost of fuel fell more than 100% in less than six months. But the big problem was not moving the over-priced fuel fast enough to make room for the cheaper stuff.

It's not like it wasn't unexpected.

In fiscal 2012, Freeburg MFA posted a modest $17000 gain which was a bit of a surprise to those interested since gross sales of feed and fuel had either remained constant or had decreased from the previous year. Management attested the profit to major reductions in operating and overhead costs. It made sense at the time.

Last month, in September, the accounting firm told Freeburg MFA's board to expect a loss of close to $80K for fiscal 2013. Feed sales were down ... the fuel business had been sold to MFA Oil a few months before ... there was nothing else left to cut. Or was there?

Staff reduction ... that's what it is called. It even sounds nicer than "layoffs." But with a layoff, there's the essence of hope that when business picks up, the laid-off employees would be welcomed back with open arms.

But this is not a lay-off.

As of October 31, a mere two days from now, I will no longer be employed as the book-keeper of the Freeburg MFA. Come January 2014 I would have been working in Freeburg eight years. Is it simply coincidence that the 31st is not only the end of my tenure at the co-op but is also the cut-off for fiscal 2013? I don't think so.

So, as of October 31, I will be a self-employed window-cleaner, a job that I was doing since January 2011 in conjunction with my book-keeping duties at the MFA in Freeburg. The beauty of this new situation is I will not have to arrange my window-cleaning schedule around the days required to be in Freeburg to take care of "the books."

It also means that if I don't want to battle the cold wintry weather that's coming to clean windows, then I don't have to! Yes, the cash flow will be a little tighter, but it's not like it wasn't expected.

It also means, for the entire month of November, I can arrange my window-cleaning time around something I have been looking forward to since last winter: NaNoWriMo!

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