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There’s always something to howl about

What am I thankful for? That we surfed the payables and survived!

This time last year, I crashed my car, totaling it. We used the insurance money to pay off our most urgent bills, so we weren’t able to replace it for quite a while. We had an old Mercury that I used until its lack of a working air conditioner made that impossible. After that, I rented cars when I needed to show. For three solid months I escorted buyers in an amazingly awful rented Ford Taurus. It was literally painful to drive — backache-inducing — but it was only $500 a month to lease.

The last two quarters of 2008 and the first two quarters of 2009 were all action, no traction, so we lived by surfing the payables — paying nothing before it absolutely had to be paid, and paying nothing at all on bills that didn’t have to be paid — including the mortgage.

And that’s a story that had a deferred happy ending. We got hit with a foreclosure notice much earlier than I was expecting. Business had picked up markedly by then, so we redeemed our pawn ticket earlier than we absolutely had to. Even so, it’s not an experience I would commend to anyone.

We got hit with a couple of judgments over very late debts, but that’s just business. We’re current on everything current, and we’re chopping down the old-growth debts one-by-one. It’s not pleasing to me to be a dead-beat, but, while we might be late, we’ve never skated on a debt and we never will.

Meanwhile, the world is young again. In the first five months of 2009, we didn’t make enough to pay the pet food bills. In the last seven months, we made enough to get current on the mortgage, to get current on our current accounts, to retire a bunch of past accounts, to buy me a new laptop and (as of today) a new iMac, and to put a decent used car under my buyer’s butts.

Better still, we’ve been rolling on a six-figure pipeline for months — no hopes, no maybes, no blue-sky wishful thinking — and it’s been rolling along nicely. This year ends up being the second best year we’ve ever had, and next year promises to wipe the slate on our past, turning it into so much pre-history.

I’m not bragging. We’re good at the things we talk about here, but I’ve never represented myself as a top producer — nor am I doing so now. We’re hard-working grunts on the ground, and we’ve been getting better at what we do just as the real estate market has learned to need better efforts. If we just keep at it, we may actually be able to retire someday. And if not? I don’t care. The idea of not working is alien to me, anyway.

I love the woman I’m married to, and I love working with her, too. Even better, she loves me, and very often she even likes working with me. I love the home we live in, and I’m very grateful we didn’t lose it. I love my dogs and my computers and all the stuff I surround myself with. And I love you all, as well as I can (I know I’m a bad friend), the people who write here and who read and comment here.

I have a great deal to be thankful for, this year in particular, but here’s the item at the top of my list: I am very grateful we didn’t go broke this year. It could be that next year we’ll be so prosperous that I’ll be bitching about my taxes. But for now it’s enough that we surfed our way through a tsunami of accounts payable and lived to tell the tale.

My very best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Thanksgiving!

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