with a few hiccups of course
We drove back south to portland feeling energized after a weekend with friends and looking forward to the final week push before delivering our first full van build. We felt great about our newfound pace and the way things were coming together. Feeling great that is… right up until my back went out the week before delivery was scheduled. We didn’t allow time in the calendar for that! =/
I honestly can’t say what happened. Yes, I have a long history of back problems and yes, stress is usually the thing that triggers it, but we’ve been feeling great and stress has been low since the push before expo (and…we’ve been working under the realization that all of this is very much in our control, which has helped keep smiles on our faces). If the back was going to rebel it most certainly should have been back before expo rather than now!
We did have some difficult decisions to make as karma went under the knife for a bump on her eye (something we swore we wouldn’t do again at her age)… so maybe that was a factor, or maybe my back just wanted to give a good solid reminder that there’s a reason we work so hard to focus on happiness and remaining stress free (except for the last couple months of course).
I kept trying to work though the pain and stay calm and relaxed enough for the back issues to subside…but it continued getting worse rather than better. At one point the back seized up completely and I ended up on the filthy concrete shop floor flat on my back unable to move- and it seemed clear I wouldn’t be checking any more items off the list. Jen and Thomas really took up the slack and saved the day. The van came together in the end and the client not only picked up the van a day earlier than arranged, but also seemed very much thrilled to do so!
I can’t explain the huge relief (and pride and joy) we immediately felt. We actually had allowed a few extra days to finalize and refine things the client may have found in his final review/walkthrough (and we know from prior conversations that this particular client comes with a very detailed eye and a very high standard of design/finish excellence bordering on perfection), so to have him sign off on all the details and drive away early was a HUGE win for us!
Over the last few weeks we had also been simultaneously trying to finish out other kits for delivery and trying to sell the 4th van. Literally a day before we were scheduled to deliver the first van we got a deposit for our van+kit package in that van and things seemed to somehow miraculously fall into place.
It ended up being a week of epic proportions. We have been talking the last few weeks about backup plans, about where we would store an extra van while were away in Alaska, about what would happen if we had an interested buyer while we were away and how we would handle any of these possibilities… but in the end we delivered a complete van on Tuesday, loaded up a client’s van with a full DIY cabinet kit on Wednesday and delivered the 4th van+DIY cabinet kit with all wall and ceiling panels he will need to complete his build on Thursday.
It seems rare in a “normal” work environment that you get a large win at the end of a big push/project. Maybe the gratification of completing the project or a year end bonus, but the typical end to one big push seemed to always be the beginning of another big push (at least in our corporate jobs)… This was very different.
This was like a giant, theraputic celebration that all came to one perfect culmination at the appropriate time. The fact that this project (and the initial phase of our business) seemed to wrap up into one big week of deliveries and pickups is not lost on us. The fact that as the last van drove away we literally found ourselves free again (free of the payments on multiple vans, free of figuring to how to juggle and store and move multiple vans around the city, free of the never ending lists of projects and to-do lists, free of all the stresses and deadlines that accompanied them)… free to take some deep breathes and some time to ourselves.
Free to hit the road again. Free to do… whatever the hell we wanted. And…to be clear…we’re enjoying (and grateful for) every single second of it!!