Weekends Revisited

Sat 07 May 2016

It's Saturday morning. It's been a while since Saturday has been a “Saturday” for me. But with the new schedule — working four and half days a week for a client — the standard weekend is back.

After a long period with the freedom to schedule my time as I saw fit, it may seem restrictive to wrap my personal project time around client obligations. But there are benefits. Scarcity encourages prudence. I am forced to focus.

Each week, I know that my plans need to be accomplished during this two and a half day span. Adjusting to this new reality took a little while. And given the nature of client work, I may be forced to readjust the other way as soon as next week. But for now, the weekends are “my time”.

Our Annual Retreat

Sun 17 January 2016

Things get busy. Coordinating two sets of business calendars, family obligations, and a shared social calendar can get pretty crazy. This year, we’re grabbing the bull by the horns.

The Year Past

We started our first year of marriage, our first sharing a home, believing we could continue our lives from where we left off as separate single people. The first few months were fine, but when a couple of unexpected things came up (family emergencies, business emergencies, health issues, etc.), things started getting away from us.

However, we were able to manage. It’s not the most romantic thing, but we used a few tools that people normally only use at work to get things under control at home. Yes – we started using shared calendars, to-do lists, and even regular “meetings” (separate from date night, of course) to keep things on track.

Those tools helped us get out of the hole in which we found ourselves. I’ll blog more about those tools in future posts. But our first priority this year is to avoid the hole altogether.

The Year Ahead

We decided to take stock and plan things out before the new year revved up. To achieve this, we scheduled time away from both of our families to conduct a retreat.

A Retreat

After we got back from our first annual Mammoth Mountain Christmas in January, we booked a room in a hotel on the other side of town. There, the two of us spent a night making plans for the year, discussing our budget, and telling each other what we hoped to accomplish.

Again, this doesn’t sound romantic at all! But I think doing this on a regular basis can do nothing but help our marriage. Our discussions brought out truths about each other’s goals that we could only have assumed, possibly never even have guessed.

When we drove back home the next afternoon, we both agreed that it was time and money well spent. We had discussed and planned for things like:

  • how to stay healthy (I was working too much, not exercising enough)
  • combining our finances into one budget
  • aspirations for her business
  • aspirations for mine
  • family and friends

There were tough moments about some topics, but those were best broached when we did, before they grew into large scale problems. I’m glad we addressed them.

We now have a clear view of how our year should progress, if everything goes to plan. Of course, plans are meant to be broken. But now, we have a reference for getting back on course. We’re now ready for the year and to see what we can accomplish.

The Years Ahead

This year, we’ve established two new traditions that I hope continue into the future and help us form a strong family and build strong businesses.

We have an annual January trip with my family to go along with the annual September trip her family has always taken. We also initiated a separate retreat, for just the two of us, to help us take stock and plan ahead.

It’s just the beginning, but we have to start somewhere. I’m looking forward to many more years of this!

Christmas in January

Sat 09 January 2016

We celebrated Christmas in the mountains last week, the first week of January. My wife and I drove up to Mammoth Lakes to meet my mom, sisters, and other family for a few days of bonding time in a mountain retreat. We exchanged presents, some people got on the slopes, we enjoyed the heavy snowfall, and everyone participated in a potluck night.

Not everything went according to plan, but we all had a great time anyway! I hope an annual trip becomes a family tradition.

A Snowy Road to Mammoth

The Road to Mammoth

Why January?

But why did we celebrate two weeks later than normal? We did it for some of the same reasons I started this blog.

My wife and I got married about a year and a half ago. Aside from the wedding being a great party, it also marked the beginning of major changes to our lives. Although we had practically been living together for over a year, the reality of combining the households of two independent people still required a lot of work, foresight, and patience on both our parts.

Complicating matters further, each of our households came attached to home-based small businesses requiring additional space in our home and time in our lives.

The Dilemma

One high priority scheduling task (as it is in many homes) is the holiday season. What makes it more difficult for us is that my wife’s highly seasonal family business peaks during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s such a busy time that they recruit the help of family and friends to help out every year.

Before I married my wife, I would make an annual Christmas pilgrimage from my home in Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area – where I grew up and most of my family still lives. Today, that old plan is out of the question: my wife would be unable to accompany me, and I would have to cut my trip short.

The Compromise

So a little bit of planning and compromise led us to our new plan: Christmas in January! With the approval of my sisters and my mom, we decided to celebrate with them a couple of weeks later. To make it more exciting, we would travel to a different locale. This way, my wife could fully concentrate on her business during the busy season and I would be able to help out if needed. Afterwards, we would spend quality, non-rushed, time with my family. Getting a white, snowy Christmas in the California mountains was just icing on the cake!

This Blog

So that’s the story of our Christmas this year. But merging our lives and businesses together has required lots of other little adjustments, tools, and tricks. It is an ongoing affair.

That’s what I plan to write about on this site.

More and more people are working from home these days. And more and more couples are running side businesses for fun, ambition, or just to make ends meet. Hopefully, some of the things I write about can be of use to someone else.

See you next time!

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