Skip navigation

Category Archives: Budget


Remember in the first several posts, I had mentioned leaving the new department of that one company to work part-time for my old boss? Well, thank God and what a blessing, but the company wanted to hire me full-time. I could still work from home but had to commute an hour+ or so north for meetings, training, or to make an appearance now and again in the office. That was the end of October 2007. This couldn’t have come at a better time. We were losing so much money from this fitness facility and needed the extra money. I had no desire to be at the business anymore. Membership was still dropping like flies, none of the women members were interested in helping out by having their friends join, “Devri” was still being “Devri” – a diva, complaining, self-fish etc. I HATED going there. I was depressed and felt like a fool. I blamed myself for all of this. Now with a full-time job, I had an even better excuse not to go there unless I just wanted to pop in and make an appearance or drop off supplies. Of course “Devri” didn’t approve of me, the owner, having a full-time job. It was okay for “Kevin” but not for me. Why would I want to go to a place that drove me into more of a depressed phase and recluse? If the business was thriving and I had employees and clients that actually cared about people other than themselves, I would have been there all the time. That wasn’t the case. My marriage was being strained because of our finances due to this horrible mistake and being taken advantage of by “Kevin” and crew. 

When I started working full-time, we put the business up for sale. We didn’t have the money that was needed to advertise consistently. We never had enough money to buy the business period but “Phil” was another one who was only worried about his pay day and not his novice clients. I’m not saying none of this is our fault because I could have handled myself differently after losing my job after the promotion and my husband could have stepped up and said we couldn’t do this; however that is not an excuse to be preyed on. We tried to make the best of the situation and tried to refinance our business loan that we received from “Phil’s” guy. We went to the local branch of the bank we received the loan from. When we discussed with one woman higher up in the branch, she had the ordacity to say to my husband and I, “How did you get this loan? You should have never been given it in the first place.” YA THINK? When we explained “Phil” and “Phil’s” connection, she made a call  to the branch where “Phil’s” guy worked to get his assistance. It turned out that the individual that got us the loan no longer worked for this one particular bank. Hmmmm You don’t say  . . . Maybe all his “friendly transactions” finally caught up to him.  She had us sit down with a woman in charge of Small Business loans. We will call her “Barbara.” When we explained the situation to “Barbara” she had the nerve to turn around and blame us! She told us we surrounded ourselves with the wrong people and why would they refinance a loan for a business that has negative income. UM maybe because you had a crook in your loan division that qualified us without any collateral to begin with? She told us the only way we could refinance the business loan was to default on it. Please someone out there tell me how that makes any sense. WHY would we default on a loan that is automatically withdrawn from our business checking account #1 and #2 Why would we lower our FICO scores? This made absolutely no sense to us. They wouldn’t take any responsibility. So we left. In the next couple of weeks we tried again. We tried to reason with her by telling her that we are people that stick to their commitments and want to pay our debts but need some assistance like a lower payment. SNAKE EYES! We backed “Barbara” into a corner, so what did she do now? She blamed SBA and said you cannot refinance a SBA loan. I told her we did not have a SBA loan because SBA said the particular gym we bought discriminated against men and didn’t allow loans for this purchase. She insisted we had a SBA loan. After that meeting, I called SBA. I spoke to the Assistant Director of SBA who searched every record in the SBA database. You ready for his reply? “Maam, you do not have a SBA loan. I don’t know who told you this but I hope you are documenting everything.” Oh my God it was getting worse.  I felt like “Kevin” was a dark cloud following us around puppeteering these people. The only thing we could do at that point was wait to see if maybe we could sell the business. In the meantime, we would pay down our business debts with the extra money coming in from my full-time job.   

There may be a second post tonight to continue. Keep following and checking back!


Had orientation today at Kean University for my upcoming one day a week internship. I got a GREAT Supervisor. He seems very cool, very laid back, and eager to help. THANK GOD! The last thing I needed was some stuffy suit! I am a nervous wreck as it is!

Back to “Rachel” and her husband’s lawsuit against “Kevin.” After heading towards a court date, “Rachel” and her husband
hired a private investigator to check on several of “Kevin’s” dealings. Turns out the couple that bought TWO gyms from “Kevin” were taken for over $400,000 on their deals. Same pattern as with all of us but thank GOD we didn’t spend that much money. There were also other issues as well that we weren’t privy to. The private invesigator tracked down all of “Kevin’s” former employees and looked into his back dealings. He was even looking into whether “Kevin” really had a baby son that died. Can you imagine if that was a lie and he used the same story with all of us? What an absolute DISGRACE! When it got back to “Kevin” about the hiring of the PI, he settled quickly with “Rachel” and her husband. The one thing that was thought about and that was being looked into with “Kevin” was why did he separate himself with so many layers on the gym businesses? The answer was to protect his license. IF he really was sending patients to the fitness facility for treatment as I had said in a few posts ago, he would have been in A LOT of trouble. Needless to say, the private investigator scared the hell out of him and the call to settle with “Rachel” and her husband was within a week them hiring the P.I. They got their deposit back and “Kevin” dropped his lawsuit against them for Breach of Contract. During all of this we contacted “Phil” because we thought about suing him too. Why didn’t he catch any of this? I don’t even think he looked at “Kevin’s” income tax returns.  It was obvious now why “Devri’s” accountant was against her buying the place. Her attitude through all this was not to get her involved because she would have a panic attack on the stand and that she didn’t know anything. COME ON! You worked for the guy all those years and you are gonna tell me you knew NOTHING? She probably did and used the panick attack as an excuse. Regardless of what she wanted, she would have been called if we had gone forward.

My husband and I obviously stopped going to “Kevin” in the chiropractic sense the minute we closed on the gym. After a while he sent us a “final” bill which was ridiculous. While the amount was small, he had given us a fixed rate at the office and then turned around and billed us for the balance. He also insisted that monies we got back from the insurance company were to be signed over to him. We tried to file a complaint with the Sheriff’s Department but he covered all his tracks and made the insurance fraud look legit.  The man is and always will be a crook and a snake. I don’t know who he had cooking his books but what a conartist and fraud. According to our second attorney we had no case with either situation. I’ll never understand that. He probably said that because he knew we didn’t have the money for a long drawn out court battle.

The whole situation with “Rachel” and her husband went on from about September 2006 through Novemebr 2007. We unfortuantely lost touch with them. I still have their contact information but I don’t know if they really want to hear from my husband and I. If they did, they probably would have contacted us.


The hubby and I utilized our Optimum Rewards Card for free movie day at Clearview. We saw Inception. GREAT movie! I highly recommend it. Be prepared for one million dollar question at the end – Is he still dreaming?

In the last post I told you about all these women drinking the Koolaid down in Texas. Time to discuss when we took over the gym.

When I got home from training, we closed on the business. I had my husband’s power of attorney because he could not get off work. At the closing, “Kevin” was not there. He gave his attorney power of attorney. Every last cent he could get from us he did – for little things. Keep in mind we got a shady no collateral loan from one of “Phil’s” connections at a big name bank based our gym having 275 members and the income that would be generated from that number.

As soon as I got the keys to the gym I drove up there that day to get things going. The place needed to be deatiled clean, painted, new blinds etc. “Kevin” did nothing. When I got there, the manager who we will call “Devri” (more on her in a bit) said there was a message for me already about the water cooler needing to be serviced. When I called the individual back, he had explained how the cooler was supposed to be serviced five months prior but that “Kevin” said he was selling the gym and to “let the new owners deal with it.” This is when one of many domino effects took place. I spent the rest of my time that day meeting members and having them fill out surveys to see how I could have made the place better in addition to the cosmetic aspect. What I started to realize when I went through these women’s surveys was they all had a bond with “Devri.” Every survey said how wonderful she was, that I needed to give her a raise, so on and so forth. The horrible thing is that I never checked how many members we had until three days later. When I did check them, I didn’t even print it out. So stupid. The number was astonishing! The actual number of members was 245! Not 275 that we were told but 245! That was 30 less people! That number dwindled even more when all of “Kevin’s” chiropractic patients started dropping their memberships when we took over the gym. What he did was send his patients to the gym as therapy for their backs and to inflate the numbers! He must have told them once he sells to drop their memberships! We got that loan based on income generated from 275 members! We knew right there we had been had. There wasn’t anything we could do at that point. We didn’t have the money to sue him. He knew we didn’t have a lot of money when we bought from him. He hatched a plan for us in the way beginning. He looked at us as suckers. We got played. The lemon was ours and now we had to spend a lot of money immediately to try and generate memberships on our own. It started to put a strain on my husband and I not only financially but in the marital aspect as well.

I tried using strategies they taught us during training. I had my husband bring an easel from his school so I could display a picture board that was created by the art teacher at my husband’s job. It said, “COUNTDOWN TO A NEW PIECE OF EQUIPMENT.” It basically said we needed X amount more members to be able to buy a new piece of equipment. We hired a painter, we bought new blinds, we scrubbed the place from head to toe, we got a new computer and the list goes on. We even had to have the equipment serviced because “Kevin” wanted to leave that to the new owners as well.

Besides “Devri”, I had to clean house of old employees. The ones I did keep were high school and college kids who didn’t care diddly squat about doing their job or making money for us. They never took part in the promotions we set up. Neither did “Devri.” Little did I know that these women and “Devri” all became close friends and hung out when “Devri” was not at work. That was another pitfall because for the two years we owned this albatross, “Devri’s” loyalties were never to us. It was always to the women. There was never a client/employee relationship. She never tried to push them to get their friends to join. She had no interest in pushing the sales aspect of the business on them. She cared more about maintaining friendships with these women than doing her job as a manager to help turn a profit. In her mind, we were the owners and that was our job just as long as she got a paycheck. Did she ever come out and say all this verbally? No, but her actions spoke volumes. The problem was if we fired her, we lost the whole morning clientele because they were all her “cronies.” This whole thing had become a disaster. We never even met the landlord or the super in charge of the building. Everything was discussed over the phone or through mail. It was my own business and I couldn’t even call the shots. “Devri” claimed she could only work the morning shift which meant if I worked in the gym to cut down payroll it would have to be at night from 4 p.m. -8 p.m. She even tried to pull the whole “I can’t work the day before holidays” line because she had to cook. HELLO? So did I. She didn’t think it was right that I made her work so I, THE OWNER OF THE PLACE AND HER BOSS, can cook for my family for the holidays. We called “Devri” a princess even though she was a short chunky older woman. Her and her husband had money as did her morning client buddies.

More to come . . .


As the closing on the franchise got closer “Phil” who told us in the beginning he would work with us every quarter to make sure we were on the right track, removed himself from our situation. He kept asking for the balance of his money and expected us to buy him an expensive bottle of scotch. The money we gave him. The scotch? Uh no! He turned out to be just like everyone else involved. 

“Kevin” forgot to disclose the fact that training for the franchise was mandatory and that I would have to go to Texas for 5 days for training on my own expense.  It seems “Kevin” forgot to tell us a lot of things.  I found it odd that a corporation would not pay travel and board expenses when they made training mandatory. I had to pay for my own airfare, my own hotel, and my own food and transportation. Do you know at they even charged you a quarter for water at the training facility? A quarter for a water! Anything to make another buck!

On my plane ride down to Texas I happened to notice that the woman sitting across from me on the isle seat was studying the same material I was for the franchise test. So I made conversation. It turned out she was staying in the same hotel as I was so we got to know one another. Let’s call her “Rachel.” It turned out she and her husband were buying one of “Kevin’s” other gyms in a different city. What were the odds? As we started talking, our notes were very similar. He used the same story about his son dying with them. He also told them he wanted to downsize. The only difference between us and them was they had business experience so her husband was one to play hard ball and not take “Kevin’s” shenanigans. If only we followed suit. On the last day of training we both couldn’t wait to go home. “Rachel” and I were meant to meet one another. God puts different people in your life for a reason whether that is a specific stranger, teacher, friend, or partner.  

The funniest thing was how every woman in the training room except “Rachel” and I approached the CEO of the Corporation. Women were lined up with the line wrapped around the room to shake hands with this guy like he was the second coming or something. They were getting autographs and taking pictures with this man. It must have been our New Jesrey attitudes because we wanted no part of that and found it very cult like. Kinda creepy how everyone was drinking the Koolaid. 

When we returned home our spouses happened to be waiting in the same area of the airport so they got to know one another some. We exchanged phone numbers and emails and said we were going to keep in touch. We were going to let each other know what was going on with our respected gyms.  

What happens next with our business and what happens with “Rachel” is unbelievable. Stay tuned!


Sorry for on and off posts but my hubby has been sick. He starting to feel better now :-). Depending on how the hubby feels today, we are supposed to go friends’ annual end of the summer party and then to the Giants preseason game against the Steelers. We are season ticket holders and spilt the season with my brothers. Looking forward to the new stadium. I am one of those crazy female football fanatics! Trust me. What you would see of me is nothing like what you would see when I am at or watching a football game. Just call me one of the guys without the beer!

Last I mentioned we borrowed $10,000 from my father to give to the landlord as a 6 month security deposit. There were so many things that happened that were definitely signs from God or a higher power whatever your preference, but we ignored every one of them.  Did you ever hear that story of the man standing on the roof with the floods coming? He was initailly warned beforehand and told to evacuate but he didn’t heed the warning and said no no God would save him. The waters rose to a point where a boat came and told him to get in. He said no no God was going to save him. The floods got worse. Next a helicopter came and he was on the last part of the roof that was above water. The man said no no God was going to save him. The helicopter flew away. Meanwhile the house went under water and the guy drowned. When he got to the pearly gates, he asked Jesus why he didn’t come and save him. Jesus explained how he sent people to warn him, a boat, and a helicopter. The moral of the story sometimes we are being saved from a horrible situation when we don’t even know we are being saved. We are always looking for a big miracle or the big sign when it’s the little miracles or little signs that save us.

As time went on, things got more and more hectic. I was going to work in the department I hated but I still kept in touch with my old boss. She and I would IM throughout the day. Right before the closing on the franchise, she offered me a part-time job doing what I did when I received my promotion but working from home for the associate company. It was very convenient. I would be able to work from home doing the job I loved and if there was an emergency at my business, I could drive 10 minutes and be there or work the late afternoon shift at the business. We thought it was a win win situation so I quit my full-time job to work at the associate company part-time from home. Our small business consultant didn’t approve. It was this decision and one other big one that pushed “Phil” over the edge. Remember in the last post I mentioned how “Kevin” did not want to give us the money from the prepay memberships? Well my husband and I set up a meeting with “Kevin” at the gym to discuss this. We figued without the prepay memberships we would not have enough money in our business account to cover the beginnings of expenses. While LEGALLY all prepays were ours, we didn’t know that and thought this would take a legal battle which we really couldn’t afford so we agreed to split the prepay memberships with him. That knocked about $6,000 off the purchase price. We negotiated this into our Intent Letter. No one thought this was a smart move. Again what did we know? We had zero contact with our attorney who, if we did contact her, billed us for every email, every phone call, and every question. She even had the audacity to bill us for my husband doing her a favor. My husband dropped off documents to her. She billed us for my husband walking into the lobby and her walking out to receive the documents. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Our small business consultant wouldn’t get back to us quickly when “Kevin” wanted immediate decisions so we felt forced to make decisions on our own. “Kevin” knew that and that is why he did it because he knew we were emotional and would make the wrong decisions. He just LOVED to tell my husband how I wore my emotions on my sleeve and didn’t know how to “keep my cards close to my chest.” Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a game player. I say what I feel. I act how I act. You like it great. You dont? That’s great too! I am not manipulating, a liar, a cheat, or a sneak. Neither is my husband. This in turn is why we would never make good business owners.

To be continued . . .


After calling and inquiring about “Cardinal Unsecured” we decided to definitely NOT go in that direction. Turns out they wanted to offer us 3 different loans at various variable interest rates and add the interests rates together. Sounds like someone was slumming in their basement with this one!

We called our accountant at the time (Another crook – we no longer use him – go figure) and made an appointment to meet with him to see if he can offer assistance with investors. During our meeting he suggested someone for us to call. We will call him “Phil.” Phil was a retired CEO who now worked as a small business consultant and business professor. Our accountant set up a meeting with Phil. Prior to our meeting, Phil called us and wanted us to bring our credit reports, bank statements, etc. In turn he was going to do due diligence on the franchise and bring us the information.

Fast forward to the day “Phil” agreed to be our small business consultant for a lovely fee of $2,500.00  because he thought the franchise was a good investment, the price we were offered was lower than most being sold, and because he knew for sure he could get us a no collateral loan because of his “connections” at a certain bank. The catch? My husband and I had to show we had at least $25,000 on hand which we didn’t. He said everything we bought for the franchise to keep the receipts and add that to the total. He also suggested if need be, we were to “withdraw money from our credit cards and put it in our savings account so the bank can see the money and then take it out of savings and send it back to the credit card company.” – Have you all seen how many red flags there have been? We were so trusting, so nieve, and such novices that we thought this was how things worked in the business world. Don’t they say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? That totally back fired.

As time went on, “Kevin” and his actions became more and more shady. He told us the gym had 275 memberships. Games started being played of him allegedly shopping the franchise behind our back for a higher price or to move the sale along with us. He tried to keep prepay membership monies. He wouldn’t let us in the facility to verify anything. Because we were novices, we thought we were going to lose our sale and kept making our own decisions based on emotion. Where was our attorney you ask? She was another shady character given to us by none other than our former accountant. She charged us an arm and a leg for doing practically NOTHING. We never even had a face to face meeting with her. This was another reason we started making our own decisions. If we did bring up a concern to our small business guy, he would say “Don’t worry about it.” So we didn’t. We thought he was on our side. He was just another one taking us for a ride and wanted his money.

Meanwhile, after all the paperwork was submitted to the franchise headquarters, we were initially declined. All it took was us begging and the seller calling them for them to change their minds! WHAT!?!?!?! Again I say, ANOTHER red flag. Then there was another red flag – Monies were needed for the landlord. We didn’t have it. How did we get it? I borrowed it from my father. Because we didn’t have any collateral, the landlord wanted a 6 month deposit that was in the realm of a little over $10,000.00 Without that money from my father, the deal would have probably fell through. There was one point in time when my father said, “If I hadn’t given you that money then maybe. . . “


There will be no posts from Sunday Aug 15-Wednesday August 18. The hubby and I are going on a mini getaway to Mystic CT. It’s a much needed mental health vacation for a little R&R. Posts will continue on Thursday, Aug 19.

Whenever you can get away and clear your head, I suggest you do so. It is a good time for perspective and reflection. Plus everyone needs to stop and smell the roses now and again.  Have a great week! Until Thursday . . .


 “Kevin” claimed the gym had been on the market for $125,000 and he had a deal in place but it fell through. He said the former prospective buyer kept dragging his feet and seemed like a shady character. The former buyer was a shady character? “Kevin” made Fabin from Oliver look like saint. Talk about picking pockets! “Kevin” commented that because we were his patients that he would sell it to us for such a “great price.”

As we were discussing the possibility of buying the business, “Kevin’s” phone rang. It was his wife. After having a minute of personal conversation, he began to tell her about our interest in the fitness facility. He told her how he offered it to us at the “great price.” It seemed his wife had offered the facility at the same “great price” to the current manager at the gym. The manager had apparently not come back with an answer yet. She was having her accountant look into it. Despite of the offer made to someone else, he presented us with a Letter of Intent and said, “Whoever gets back to me first with paperwork and the deposit will get it.”

That statement was kind of odd. A business deal should not be a race. How did he not know his wife offered the facility to someone? Was there a lack of communication between them? He handed us the Letter of Intent and asked that we touch base with him soon. We stood up, thanked him, and left. It wasn’t until we got in the car that we looked at the Letter of Intent which stated that he wanted a $10,000.00 deposit within two business days, the buyer to pay his transfer fee of $3,000 to the corporation, and to pay the attorney fees the landlord would incur to either transfer the lease over to us, or make a lease that assigned “Kevin” as the individual to sublet. We both started questioning where we would get $99,000. We had nothing at that point except $14,000.00 in a savings account to go toward a down payment on a house. We didn’t own property. I just found out I lost my job and was being transferred to another department again. In our minds, if we took out a loan for a so called profitable business, we could treat it like a mortgage payment. It would give us practice. We would make extra payments on the principle from the profits of the business to get it paid off faster. But the business had to stay and be profitable or this wasn’t going to work.

Every bank I called inquired if we owned a home or if anyone could co-sign for us. We didn’t own a home. The two cars we had were paid off but weren’t worth anything. Both of us had over 100,000 miles on our vehicles. Each bank I spoke with acknowledged our high FICO scores but stated that without collateral, there wasn’t anything they could do. It seemed everyone was concerned about the almighty dollar or what you had to back a loan. No one asked about the income on the business. At that point, it seemed no one would qualify us for a loan. We should have taken that as another red flag but we didn’t. However, I was on a mission. With my department shutting down, I had to make something happen before transferring to the new department. I wanted out of Corporate America and all the political and cut throat bullshit that was associated with it. I started performing searches on the internet. I typed ‘How to receive a no collateral loan’ and ‘no collateral loans’ in the search area. I came upon a website for a company we will call “Cardinal Unsecured.”  I clicked on the link and started reading about the company and the services it offered. After showing my husband, he decided to call and see what they were about.

 


Good Morning everyone! Sorry about not posting yesterday. It was a busy day and the hubby wasn’t feeling well at night. To continue:

Made a Deal with the Devil

Monday came quicker than I would have liked. Going to work was not exciting anymore. I still had two months left in the department. I thought the work I was doing was a total waste of time considering. After talking with my husband, we thought it was best if I took the transfer to the other department since the salary and benefits would stay the same. I honestly didn’t want that but there are two people in a marriage.

After leaving work that Monday, I met my husband at our chiropractor’s office. I will refer to the chiropracter as “Kevin” or other various words. My husband had arrived before I did. We were both early. He sat in my car until we had to go inside for our appointment. I picked my husband’s brain to find out what he thought about looking into one of those women’s circuit fitness centers. While we knew nothing about them, we knew our chiropracter owned a bunch of them. Let me just add that when we first went to this specific chiropracter for a consultation, we explained we were interested in working with someone who was going to be up front with us, someone who had no hidden agendas, or no hidden costs. We gave him a brief synopsis about what had happened to us at our prior chiropractor’s office in West Jersey.  We explained how we were being over billed and how he didn’t let us know when we ran out of insurance money and then handed us a large bill.  The only thing this snake oil salesman said in response to that was, “I will always be straight with you but I can’t promise you that we may not have to do some different things.”

Weeks went by and discussions started heating up between my husband and I about a women’s fitness facility. We started performing internet searches. We found forums, the company website that detailed a purchase, and different reviews. Top business magazines were rating it the #1 facility to own.  From what we were reading, it sounded like a good investment. It seemed very popular. The idea was that if we did this, I would continue to keep my job in client services once I was transferred. I would eventually work in the facility full-time and quit my job.

It was a Friday night. It was time for our weekly ritual of Chinese takeout, a nice bottle of wine, and Ghost Whisperer. During our dinner conversation my husband suggested we go in and look at one of the women’s gyms. He also said he was going to feel the waters with this chiropracter to see what he had to say. 

You can imagine the irony of the situation when my husband told Kevin that we were interested in one of these gyms. The snake oil salesman told him he just happened to be downsizing and selling off his gyms to quote “Spend more time with his family.” A Ha Interesting . . . In any case, my husband set up a meeting with him for the end of the week so we could sit down and discuss this possible business venture.

When the end of the week arrived and we met with the good doctor, what he said to us to lower our guard was terrible. To start off, we sat in his office for fifteen minutes before he came in. When he entered, he apologized and made a comment about an insurance blip. “Kevin” sat down and started explaining how he owned six of the fitness facilities and how out of the six, he just sold two of them not too long ago. He said he was trying to sell them all and focus on chiropractic. The story he told next was the heart breaking tale. He explained how the picture hanging on the wall over his desk was of his baby son who had died. He went on to say how sick over it his wife and he were, how life was too short, and he didn’t want to own a bunch of businesses anymore. He wanted to just focus on one so he could spend more time with his wife and other kids because you never knew what life would bring. “Kevin” explained more about the business, what kind of profits he had made, how many members were in the facility he wanted to sell us, and what the cost would be. He referred to it as “This great price of $99,000.” Great price of $99,000? Sounds like an oxymoron to me now. 

To be continued . . .


Forward to that weekend of November 2005. It was teacher’s convention weekend. It was supposed to be a fun get away with friends to New Hope, Pennsylvania. We were so aggravated. Since my husband was with our friend Frank when I called him, he and Melissa, my best friend since birth, already knew. They called me several times that night in disbelief to make sure I was okay. They asked similar questions as my husband did, for example, why bother promoting me. I didn’t have any answers for them. It was embarrassing and humiliating for me. This is the second time this had happened. (Nice career Lisa! Way to go!!! Way to use that college degree!!!)

When my husband and I woke up early the next morning, we packed our car and headed over to Frank and Melissa’s apartment in Montclair.  I was cranky because of not only what transpired the day before, but because I hadn’t had my French Vanilla coffee yet. One thing about me, when I go away or if I’m at home, French vanilla coffee is a MUST. Not regular, but FRENCH VANILLA! I made nasty comments for most of the ride to Montclair. When we arrived to their complex, we unloaded our overnight bags into their car. Melissa asked me if I was okay as they both gave me a big hug. I wasn’t going to lie. I wasn’t okay. Would you be if the same department you worked for went under twice? They knew how I got when I was angry. They knew what they were in for the whole ride down. I did nothing but complain and curse the whole time in the car. Everyone just listened. No one said a word. None of them knew what it was like to be in my shoes – my husband included. This was the second time this happened to me with the same company. How could I have been so naive and blind? Melissa suggested I forget about it for the next couple of days and try and have a good time. All I could think of was how can I have a good time and not think about the fact that this company did this to me again? Out of nowhere and more than likely to lighten the mood, my husband said, “We should open a restaurant!” Frank agreed in a playful but enthusiastic manner. We started kicking around names and I blurted out, “Shanizzi’s Pub!” Everyone started laughing except me. I kind of cracked a smile. A few seconds later I asked them dead serious why they were laughing. I thought we should have seriously considered it. Melissa had a degree in Food Service. Why the hell not? I was so done with Corporate America. My attitude at that point was that all Corporate America could go to hell. I felt like an entrepreneurship was the way to go. This way people couldn’t hurt me or my family anymore. Melissa commented that I was hurt and angry and that I needed to be careful. She suggested I didn’t make any rash decisions because I was being overemotional at that point. In my head I was thinking, Overemotional, REALLY? I had  just lost my job AGAIN! It was worse this time because I just got a major promotion and a $10,000.00 raise. Now it was going to be less money on unemployment or be miserable in a department that had nothing to do with my degree. I didn’t think that I was being overemotional.  I felt like a champagne bottle ready to burst because none of them understood.

No one said anything. There was no doubt that everyone was getting annoyed with me but I didn’t care. Horrible to say but I really didn’t care. Until they were in my shoes and feeling the way that I was, I had no sympathy for anyone being annoyed. That included my husband.

We reached New Hope, PA – a town in Bucks County. It was known mostly for its tourism. There were many restaurants, bed & breakfasts, bars, and shops. If you stayed in the center of town, you could walk anywhere. If you crossed the bridge you  ended up in Lambertville, NJ. Speaking of Lambertville, if you ever visit there,  a restaurant named No. 9 is a MUST! The short ribs there – oh my God! I am not even a red meat eater but oh dear God DELICIOUS! 

We checked into The Logan Inn, went into our rooms, and freshened up. After we freshened up, my husband and I walked up the stairs to Melissa and Frank’s room. Melissa was opening a bottle of wine she couldn’t wait for us to taste. Wine was sounding very good to me right now. In fact, a lot of wine was sounding good right now. As she poured, a Trident wrapper fell out of the bottle and into one of the glasses. True story! A freakin Trident wrapper felt out of the bottle of wine! We started to laugh but at the same time felt kind of repulsed. How the hell did that get in there?

As the weekend getaway continued, I tried to have fun. Inside, I was still simmering. The idea of owning my own business was sounding better and better to my psyche. I was rationalizing in my head all the benefits of being my own boss. I had to find a profitable and secure outlet.