Monday, July 25, 2016

Fifteen Years Ago (FYA) and NOW

Left: Fifteen years ago when we first came to The Frame Shop and Right: Today.
  1. Fifteen Years Ago (FYA): In our thirties.
    NOW: Can't remember our thirties.
  2. FYA:  9/11 can't be imagined.
    NOW: Imagining life in America without 9/11 -- how sad the permanent losses of freedom and innocence and hope.
  3. FYA: Raising teenage daughters.
    NOW: Raving about eight magnificent grandchildren.
  4. FYA: Snickers, our mighty Australian Shepherd, still patrols Veto Road.
    NOW: Stray cats of all sorts patrol Veto Road and Snickers bosses lesser dogs (which is almost all dogs) in Heaven.
  5. FYA: A new Grand Prix.
    NOW: That new Grand Prix has almost 300,000 miles.
  6. FYA: All our precious parents are living.
    NOW: Only our precious mothers are living.
  7. FYA: I can do flips on the trampoline.
    NOW: Trampoline is broken. Me too.
  8. FYA: New to wiener dogs, our Lucy is still sort of a puppy.
    NOW: Lucy follows Snickers around in Heaven while, down here on earth, Frankie is almost twelve and The Wheeler Byrd is our new puppy.
  9. FYA: Looking for a property to one day move The Frame Shop into.
    NOW: Working in that spectacular new Frame Shop location.
  10. FYA: New to frame-making.
    NOW: Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands-upon-thousands of our frames hang in homes and businesses throughout the Midwest.
  11. FYA: Dave Roberts works full-time at The Rolla Daily News and full-time at The Frame Shop.
    NOW: Dave Roberts works full-time at The Rolla Daily News and full-time at The Frame Shop. 
  12. FYA: Find looking into the future a decade from now to be impossible.
    NOW: Find looking into the future a decade from now to be impossible.
Love to all and thank you for the last fifteen years. See you soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"I told you so."

Yep. This is the life of your local custom framer! Husband Dave and I have been framing together for fifteen years.
After 34 years together (and fifteen years working together at The Frame Shop), my husband, Dave, doesn't offer much of an opinion once I've decided to do something. He was a boy when I married him right out of high school and it's not an exaggeration to realize that we grew into adulthood together instead of coming together as adults. I learned decades ago that he's not normally going to chime in his approval for any of my big ideas. He also doesn't criticize. Most difficult of all, he also doesn't say, "I told you so." As I believe he actually loves to utter those words when given any opportunity at all, I have to say, I appreciate his restraint.

Over these hundreds of years that we've been together, I have tried zillions of things. Coming up with some big idea is the most wonderful thing to do in this world. Beginning on a new brilliant project is also one of the greatest things in life. Getting just far enough into it that you realize it's way more complicated and difficult than you ever dreamed... well, that isn't quite so thrilling.

That's when a person who knew all along that another person would flop at whatever she was trying to do would delight in pointing out the obvious by lifting a brow and sniffling a well-timed: "well, I tried to tell you but you wouldn't listen."

Recently, I dragged old Dave Roberts on a few hours drive to go pick up an ancient piece of framing equipment  from a shop that was going out of business because I wanted to be able to easily cut oval glass. Our investment was merely fifty bucks for this old dinosaur-cutter but I knew it would be an awesome gadget to have. Good custom frame shops have a lot of gadgets because we do everything ourselves. So, even though we rarely-rarely-rarely frame with ovals (ovals go in-and-out of vogue... so they'll come back around...) I know I'll eventually think we were clever for getting this equipment on the cheap.

We dragged this old cutter home to the shop and I cleaned it, set it up, then started cutting. The mats cut easily enough on it (though I still have to go in and tighten it up and calibrate the settings), but alas, it doesn't have the glass-cutting head.

"I can cut it just as easily by hand," said Dave Roberts when I told him what I'd discovered.

"I know you can," I said. "But I wanted to do it on this cutter."

This is when he should have said, "Well, I told you we didn't need it."

But you see, he didn't say anything of the sort. Instead, he said, "You said you could get parts for it. Keep looking for the part. You'll find it."

And then he said something else that encompasses most of our life experiences. He said, "We've wasted a lot more than fifty bucks on things that didn't work."

Having a small business is hard in almost every way. You have to have nerves of steel (which I do not have), you have to juggle dozens of priorities (which I don't know how to do), you have to know how to do everything passably well (which who knows how to do everything or even wants to do everything?), you have to weather good- and terrible-times (and in the last decade there have been more than enough terrible-times for small businesses), and you have to never give up (which I dearly love to do).

Here's Dave, delighted to see me, as always.
This afternoon, after I showed him my latest big deal I'm making for the gallery ceiling, I watched while Dave Roberts quietly puttied several frames so I could fit them and get them out the door. It's a job I can do, but hate. So he does it. This week (and it's only Tuesday), while I piddled around figuring out how to use that oval-cutter and how to design my big fantastic idea for the gallery ceiling, he's also:

mowed the yard

emptied all my trash and taken the dumpsters to the curb and back again

brought me lunch every day

put away all the new mouldings

cut frames

cut glass

helped the Larson driver unload the truck

helped me relocate the crazy oval-cutter I bought

continued trenching a huge perimeter around our back-yard so we can bury an invisible fence that will allow our wiener dogs to return to the shop (our puppy keeps getting out even though we have a fence in the back and so we are adding another barrier)...

Each evening when I leave work (unless I'm mad at him for some reason) I call and ask what he's doing. He's always working at his real job and it's not usually a convenient time for me to call. After I ask when he's getting home I always ask him this, "What can I eat for supper?" And he tells me what we have or that he will be home in time to fix something.

Isn't it strange, isn't it strange, isn't it strange... our lives become so co-mingled over our lifetimes. How often I know this man would love to say, "Good grief! What were you thinking?" or more likely, "Good night! What in the world are you doing now?" Or best of all, "I told you that wouldn't work!" But instead, he does all the things a man does and lives in a quiet and fine way while I carry on to him about whatever great big harebrained thing I've dreamed up at any given time.

So isn't it strange?

And you know what?

For those who thought we were too young, too immature, too poor, too silly to make it all those decades ago: YOU WERE RIGHT! But, with God's help, we have. And, well, I told you so.