I have always found the phrase “be prepared” of special interest, perhaps due in some small part to my enjoyment of musical satirist Tom Lehrer’s song parody from the 1950s. If you are not familiar with his work, here is a link, hope you find it enjoyable – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSwjuz_-yao.
Recently I had a birthday. I had stopped celebrating several years ago as the candles were setting off the smoke alarms. But this year promised to be something special as my son had flown in from Boston with one of my grandsons to celebrate with us. And “special” it was, although not quite as I had envisioned even though the cards and emails from over one hundred of my social media friends were certainly appreciated.
Several months ago I had coincidently scheduled a doctor’s appointment on my birthday as I try to make those appointments early Monday morning so that I may travel to clients Monday afternoon. This appointment was for my regular six month check-up but when the doctor looked at my chart and noticed that it was my birthday he decided to do something that he thought was “special” so he drew a smiley face on his exam glove for my prostate exam. He found this quite amusing; I did not and should have known then that the day was not going to go as had been expected.
After the exam I returned home to pick up my son and grandson to meet my mother-in-law for breakfast. The meal turned into an unanticipated extended event as, after waiting for our food for forty-five minutes, an “extra-special” treat when one of the diners is a three year old, our server realized that she had not turned the order in to the kitchen.
Now rushing to complete a few last minute errands before taking my son and grandson to the airport for their return to Boston, a phone call from my wife informed me that my mother-in-law had fallen on returning home from breakfast. As she had struck her head, the paramedics were taking her to the only level-one trauma center in the area, the county hospital 35 minutes away. I drove the kids to the airport and raced to the hospital to join my wife where I sat for the next seven hours while Grandma was immediately examined but then left virtually unattended for the next five hours until admitted for overnight observation.
My mother-in-law is fine, a hairline fracture of her nose, some bruising and injured pride and vanity. But the day was shot, no “special” birthday celebration for me. All I had time to do was snarf down some fast food, race home and pack for my 6 AM flight the following day. Fortunately, I am a follower of the creed “be prepared” and had updated all of my client files and materials for my trip several days in advance so that no serious harm was done, just minor annoyances in the great scheme of things. And I did have the opportunity while at the hospital to make some new friends – but more on that subject in a future blog.
The point to this lengthy introduction is that the world will constantly throw things at us that we do not expect. To survive we need to be adaptive and flexible and that can only be achieved by being prepared. That is true in the homebuilding business as well as in every other aspect of our lives. Continue reading