Wednesday, March 31

What’s The Hold-Up?

For the past couple of month’s I’ve been working on a custom built Grandfather clock cabinet. It has been slow going because it is not the traditional style of cabinet and there are lots of quirks to work out as I go along. But, there are other reasons for the delays, especially lately. About 7 years ago Marie and I assisted my mother and step-father in moving from Nebraska and building a home on our property here in Tennessee. This was done because Mom and Pat were getting on in years and I wanted to be sure that as they got to where they needed help, someone would be close at hand to give that help. Six years ago Patrick became very ill. Terminally ill in fact. He preferred to die in the comfortable, familiar surroundings of his home than in a hospital or nursing facility, so when the time came, Mom assumed the role of full time, live-in nurse. A few months ago he got so bad off that Mom could no longer handle his care unassisted, and I began to step in to help out as needed. A few weeks ago he began to decline rapidly and my visits to their house went from one a day to three or four as I helped with the more physical aspects and in sitting with Pat so Mom could get away for a provisions run, or some fresh air, or just to take a hot bath and relax for a few moments... or just to give her someone to talk to. Patrick passed away a little over a week ago, and much of the time since then has been spent seeing to Pat’s final arrangements, both funeral and financial, and looking after Mom. Family began arriving within days and I was able to step back and let them visit, help, and be a part of the process. But there was still a need to be involved when I could, and though I was able to spend more time working the wood, I was still very distracted by the whole thing. That's only natural. Pat’s memorial service was the day before yesterday, the familial troupe departed for their own home towns yesterday and Mom went with some of them to visit her friends and family in Nebraska who could not get here. She will be gone a week or two… maybe more. In that time my only responsibilities will be to care for her cat and water the house plants, (and do some yard work, and some basic repairs, and get the tracked-in mud out of the living room carpet…) so I should be able to pretty much get back on track and begin putting in full days of woodworking once again. I want to thank Harold for his patience and understanding during these delays. Hopefully the finished product will be worth the wait. During this time, Marie and I have again been discussing the prospect of shelving the Custom Furniture aspect of our business in favor of building a “line” of our own products, building them in a semi-production mode that will allow us to streamline the process by building in batches and thus keep the pricing lower. With the economy as bad as it is, the demand for full custom furniture has fallen off sharply. Where we used to have a waiting list that averaged 4 to 6 months long, we are now working on a job-to-job basis. This is not the direction I had envisioned us going, but it appears to be what we will need to do. If we don’t adapt, we will perish.

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