All three of us survived The Big Weekend. Wow. How to even sum it up? It went well. In fact, everyone said it was the best one ever, and I am inclined to agree. The energy was amazing, I had the most/highest level of competitors ever, and it all went off without a hitch. Apart from the first long day there where I *kind of* felt like jumping off a cliff, the rest of the time I did not - contrast that with years ago when I felt like jumping off a cliff from beginning to end and then suffered a massive depression for weeks afterwards, I think you can say I've come a long way! I also have come up with a couple of ways to lessen some of the stress early on - cut off registration a day early so I have a day to relax and pack and do last minute paperwork rather than having to do all of that at 2 AM the night before the event; and only allowing people to sign up for contests that are happening that day so I don't get a huge rush on opening day.
I'm a big believer in kaizen, the Japanese principle of continuous improvement. Every year I keep lists all weekend long of things to do better the following year - everything from moving bands to getting more dollar bills in change. I've got some good ones for next year.
But mainly my job for next year is to cut the budget in ways people won't notice. Like not using international teachers, or cutting one of the late night bands in favor of a DJ, since the late nights always get interrupted by spontaneous dance contests anyway. As predicted, I WAY overspent this year. And despite my stellar numbers, I am positively destitute at the moment. It's a little frightening.
So, with property taxes coming up next month, I have just enough money to make it until about Christmas, and then I'm out. Which isn't horrible when you think I only have to make it until Feb 1st when registration opens again and we start fresh; but still, puts me in the hole several thousand $$$ just to stretch that one month, which is debt that will have to be paid back. And let's not even talk about hospital bills in March-!
Anyway. So I think I'm handling this news pretty well - to be honest, I'm way worse off than I anticipated. I'm trying not to be mad at myself for such bad budgeting (remember, had I not had that $12,000 sewer repair I'd be just fine right now), nor get too bummed that I'm worse off than I was in 2001 when half my attendees evaporated. This is the nature of small business - it's up, and it's down. The important thing is the event has a bright future, moving my dates to Labor Day was a huge help, and the buzz is terrific. I just need to get past this year and we'll be ok.
Now I just need my car, washing machine, plumbing, electric, and refrigerator to last one more year, to not have any surprise medical bills (still have no bill from B's emergency room visit last Feb and I am terrified), no audits, lawsuits, natural disasters, or anything else unforeseen in the next twelve months. That's asking a lot, I know. And life never goes that smoothly. But I'm just asking that just this year Murphy's Law goes easy on me.
At the moment I'm debt free. I won't stay that way, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. I don't need anything, nor do I have any desire to shop for myself, since the children have filled that hole that used to make me want to compulsively shop. Baby #2 still has a heartbeat at 13 weeks, and my NT scan is tomorrow, so I will get some sense of the baby's general health. And I need pretty much nothing for the new baby. I'd love a room to be built for B, but hey - you can't get everything you want. We'll make it work.
Here are some pictures of the event. As you can see it's very costume oriented. B delighted everyone and became somewhat of a mascot. It's crazy to think he may run this thing one day.