Friday, January 25, 2008

The Week In Review

Chug-chug-chugging along! Amid flyers getting mailed (having to run to Wal-Mart for envelopes, a local grocery store to have them weighed and stamped), phone issues still being ironed out, forms needing tweeking, cover letter needing to be done, business cards needing to be created (notice how I'm saying needing to be.. meaning, not done yet)...I've taken back my earlier statement that I don't feel like this business will necessarily show up in the condition of my home. It has, not as much as I thought before I began but more than I thought last week. But more so, I notice that as fast as my brain is churning up all these ideas and making mental checklists for "when I get a chance to sit down" or "when the kids go to bed" it's been very difficult this week to sit down and put my ideas to computer. I had a lot of the forms done already before we hit this busy streak but some of them need tweeking and it just ain't gettin' done!!! I finally sit down at the end of the day, sit there trying for a bit, and end up falling asleep sitting up....or with my head down on the table, to wake up in a pool of drool and wondering, truly and sincerely wondering, where am I??? Once this start up stuff is done, I really think that it may be pretty busy but more in physical doing, not so much creating.

On an Isabella note: had her 4 month well-child (or "wild child" as we typically call it) check today. I've been very concerned with her "spitting up" or more accurately "gushing". She, however, has put some of my concerns to rest. She has grown in height from 50%-ile (non-corrected to her due date age) to the 90th%-ile. In weight, she went from 50th%-ile down to 30th%-ile but so much of her calories went into height and she still has her rolls and padding so the Nurse Practitioner wasn't too concerned. Then we briefly talked Zantac but from what I understand and she confirmed, Zantac more controls acid but not vomiting. I told her that despite the fact that she can be pretty crabby still, although much better moods than before, the crabbiness doesn't seem to correlate at all with her spitting up. As we spoke, Isabella gave a fountain of spit up, smiling lovingly through it all. We both laughed and concluded that it wasn't bugging her that she's spitting up!!! So, all in all, she received a clean bill of health!!!! We like that!

Could continue on with updates on the others, the funnies that come up during the day, etc. but am at work and my client isn't feeling good so is needing a little more than normal tonight. Maybe later!

Monday, January 21, 2008

One More Step Forward!

We got our phone system up and running! It took half the day...actually, Joni started the hookup process already last week but finally today, after many phone calls to the phone company, trial calls to the business phone, it was finally set up. Our little tricky piece now is, with Joni in her seven-child household and me in my six-child household, and having the official office for now, at Joni's with the backup phone answerer being me, we may have a little difficult time sounding professional. We already have it planned that if a kid lets out a war-whoop or "MOM!" in the middle of a phone call, we will laugh and say, "Sorry, I'm working out of my home office today!" (....and every day....) We just want to make sure that we aren't starting in over our heads with costs. Then, when we get so busy that we need to start hiring outside help, we actually have a hand full of people that want to work for us when we get to that point. Then about the time that we need to start thinking about hiring people we don't know, we will have to have some office sites picked out to look into leasing.

One thing though that we both want to make sure is that we don't let our business come in front of our families. Actually the reason we decided to go ahead and get into it now is to hopefully get to the point we can get our husbands home full time and then hire good enough office staff that we can just be in and out, doing marketing, opening clients, and then working some out of the main office and lots out of our home offices. It will be interesting to see how it really goes though. I'm pretty sure we are realistic in thinking that it will become very busy at some point because I know that the need is there. Just to see though how it unfolds will be interesting.

Another thing we've decided is that our kids and husbands will always be as much a part of this endeavor as possible and as much as they want to be. My oldest daughter already has designed one of our flyers...I have to say, it's pretty cute and we've already put some of them up, along with ours. We will have them help with tasks such as stuffing envelopes, putting labels on envelopes and folders, printing and copying things, stamping envelopes, etc. Even tasks such as running down to the office and turning the printer/copier on to warm up or carrying the laptop to the office for Mom has been a high-esteemed job to them. It makes them feel a part of it all from the start and makes them feel important. That's how we hope to have it!

Well, on to business!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's Official!

We're official! I guess, we were official before, but now our agency is officially listed and registered with the MN Department of Health as a home care agency. Tomorrow we will be pounding the pavement with flyers and our mouths, visiting senior high rise apartments and grocery stores, coffee shops, etc., letting everyone know we have arrived!!! Well, we will probably be a little more low-keyed than that, but we will do a little dry run, leaving flyers here and there and see what kind of response we get. We also got ourselves cheap laptops (and I say that quite gleefully..about being cheap, I mean) that are pretty darn good laptops at that, so now we need to shop for a printer/copier/fax machine. We're trying to keep our overhead down to as low as possible but those were purchases that were unavoidable...and so fun! Next week on Tuesday (btw, Joni..:), my husband is going to take the day off so we can then go visit more senior residences and hope to talk to some of the office people, just to put our faces to our name.

One thing I have found amazing through all this whirlwind of activity that has accompanied this new venture, I don't feel like it's been so overwhelming, only stimulating. And I don't feel like my household has slid any farther than it usually does! Now, that could mean one of several things. It could mean that this new adventure has kick-started a new level of energy and focus that can keep me going at an even higher level than usual to be able to keep up with the needs and wants of a family our size as well as all that comes with trying to start up a business. That one is the flattering thought. Or, it could mean that before this, in any spare moments of opportunity I had to spent getting my house in order (that are now used towards starting this business) were instead spend staring blankly at the the nearest wall, on the internet (updating my blog, for instance), or drinking coffee and talking on the phone. I actually think that it's some of both. Probably equally so. I can tell that every day, I get up and my brain starts (slowly at first until that first cup/pot of coffee, then picks up speed) prioritizing different activities into slots of most important to least, involving both research, phone calls, and the like pertaining to the business or my household, and I start hitting it! It sure has been an interesting process though, and we are both, along with our husbands, so excited to get this going. The best part of it all is, I've always thought that someday I/we will have our own business, and have brainstormed many times, what would it be. Home care seemed the natural thing for me but I always before this just thought it would be too much. My sister has simplified the whole thing so it isn't too much. Now when we have decided to go ahead with this, I know that this is one that I could always have a passion for and truly have fun doing! That's the best part!!! It also is a type of business that shouldn't, once it's off the ground and running, take too much from our families. We both hope to get to the point that our husbands could quit their jobs and be at home with the kids during the day and with the nature of this business, we can be in and out during the day, home every evening, weekend and holiday, cover for each other if vacations need to be taken, and work around our families' schedules. I am one to stay up late into the night if need be and get paperwork or housework done. I can be more productive that way anyway, with no one else in the house up. Surprising, I know! ;) I'm sure you all can relate!
Well, it's time to go and google area senior apartments/condos and stores/coffee shops, etc. Time to route tomorrow's drive to make the most of our outing. More again later!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Okay, Here's the BIG NEWS...

My sister and I decided to open a home care agency!!! Years ago it started with my sister saying that we should open a home care agency (shortly after I began working as a nurse...maybe even after I had begun as a nurse case manager) and I thought, "Oh, is a huge headache!" (all the paperwork, compliance, etc.) Since then, there have been a kajillion times that my husband has said that with all the years I have been in home care and having experienced nearly aspect of home care possible, AND with the booming need for home care with all the baby boomers getting up there, I really should consider opening my own agency. Well, one day my sister and I were just chatting and she brought up the home care agency idea and somehow it just took! By that night we had our first business meeting, since then we've done hours and hours of research, poured over names for days, came up with a name that we both just said, "That's it! That's our name!", checked it out in the home care directory and business directory for our state...the name wasn't yet taken.. and we've since tweeked and jiggled it, have pulled together all of our dreams and visions, and I think we are really onto something. All we are waiting on now is approval from the Department of Health, which should be middle to end of next week.
I have worked in home care since 1991. All along I have just kind of quietly observed and observed from one agency to the next, noticing some really good things and then noticing things that I would feel are a glich or gap in the system. It's a terribly remote, fragmented job. It's difficult to truly supervise those that are out working with these vulnerable people. Because of the huge need, between seniors starting to need minor assistance to remain safe and independent in their home, to young children with special needs, to young adults with debilitating disabilities...many agencies grow so big so fast they suffer huge "growing pains". Inevitably the clients and staff begin to feel neglected...Well, adding all the factors together, we decided that we would do everyone the most justice to just focus on one area and specialize in it. I feel strongly about catering to the needs of Seniors. They have worked hard all their lives and deserve to be treated with much respect and dignity. The first link that starts to break down are the simple tasks that become too hard for them to safely perform on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we have decided to service the Seniors with light housekeeping, laundry, light meal prep, and grocery shopping. Those are the areas that,with arthritis, overall increasing weakness, balance issues, etc. (and not to mention Minnesota ice in the winter) make it begin to be difficult to stay safe and independent in their own homes. Oh, I could go on and on about this but would probably fill this whole page with such information and not be finished, so suffice it to say we are extremely excited, have some essential people very excited for us (our husbands and kids, a banker-we went in without a business plan and just asked him what he would like to see from us in terms of numbers and business plan and we left with him backing us already without a business plan), and truly feel like we will make a go of this, having the hayday of our lives providing high quality services to those that deserve it the most, our Seniors!!! I will keep you posted! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mmmm, It's Passed?

Well, maybe not so fast....she still can be a pill but Isabella had a pretty good day yesterday, a wild evening, then slept through the night!!!!! I first took her for a car ride to the grocery store, which always buys me a couple hours of sleep for some reason, then got home about 11pm. She slept from then until 5:30am! Then today we have had a pretty good day. I would venture to say maybe the best day we've had since she started all this riff-raff fussing! I think she heard me tell my husband about a week ago, "Okay! Now I think I am seriously going to pack up a bunch of frozen bottles (of pumped breast milk that I have in the freezer), call Becky (my sister who has all older kids, youngest is 11 1/2), and see if she will take her for a day or two! I am so tired!!!!" He just kind of looked at me and continued on without really commenting. Something tells me that he's used to my drama and it doesn't really phase him! My sister had actually told me once that if I ever need her to take Isabella for the night while I am working a night shift, she would be happy to take her. That is what planted the idea in my head in the first place. Isabella probably heard my comment to Eric and tried to fuss another whole week, hoping I would drop her off with Auntie Becky! There are 4 girls there and one boy and they all love holding babies!!!! When she realized that I wasn't going to make good on my promise, she decided to quit all the fussing and just keep it at a minimum, at least for the past 24 hours or so! They catch on quickly to our bluffs, don't they?