Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

When I first met Angela coming up on 6 years ago one of the first things I told her was, "I'm a traveling sales guy, that's what I am."  Over the years I have spent a lot of time on the road.  Towards the end of my career with Madacy I still traveled but it wasn't very much, more like 2 nights a month instead of 3 or 4 a week like I had done at one point.

I started my new business life one year ago this past Tuesday.  We knew immediately that I was going to spend a lot of time on the road.  It's something we both realize I'm good at and it provides us a pretty good living.  There are benefits to traveling a lot on business, like virtually free vacations.  This past August Angela and I went to New York and Philly and didn't pay airfare or hotels. 

That really does make it alright, its tough but I am what I am.  The travel was tough last year as I had 2 different territories, neither of which included the state I lived in.  I spent 119 nights in hotels last year and I didn't start traveling until February 1st.

Angela and I both felt the travel would ease up once I got established in the territory.  The problem with that logic was that just as I was getting established the territory changed and at the end of 2010 I was assigned my 3rd territory.  Now each new territory has been an upgrade for me which means the potential for more money.

I am now the SouthEast Division sales manager for Buffet Crampon covering Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. 

Our house has been for sale since the beginning of September and we haven't had a single offer yet. 

I am finally comfortable in this job and am starting to see results.  I've been saying for a year that the money is great and it's needed, but the lack of it last year was not what kept me up nights.  The constant failure subtracted years from life and added quite a few pounds.  (OK, I know the pounds are my fault but I have to blame something).

Having recent success has helped but not quite as much as I hoped.  I left home on January 7th of this year and tonight is night 24 in a hotel.  I'm beat and it just seems like life won't give Angela and I a break.

She says it's my fault, for years I kept saying that everything was going our way and then she got put in the hospital on bed rest with the boys, I got laid off from Madacy, her grandfather died, the suburban blew up,  money got tight and I took this gig.  Right after I started with Buffet the suburban died again, Haslet got 17 inches of snow and we had to put Dusty down - all of which happened when I was away from home.

My parents moved in with us in May and they have been a great help with me gone so much.  Of course they would like to have their own place and anytime you live with anybody there are small things to overcome. 

As we try to sell our house small issues with the house seem to be rearing their ugly heads at every turn.  We had my buddy Noel and his merry band of Mexicans out recently to help fix all those things and from what I hear, he did a great job but that was an expense we could have done without.

Hopefully those changes will help us sell the house though because I need my family closer.  It will be tough on them because it will separate Angela from her family and we aren't sure if my parents will come or not.  Selfishly I want to move today which is a bit unfair to her because I'll still be gone alot, but not as much which to me is a plus but to Angela it's an empty house.

This particular trip has been a rough one on me as I've slept in a ton of different places (Anaheim, CA - Jacksonville, AL - Athens, GA - Atlanta, GA - Hattiesberg, MS - Talahasse, FL - Jacksonville, FL - Savannah, GA - Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Charleston, FL).

Our boys are getting more and more active which of course means fun, I feel like I'm missing a lot.  As I stated, I'm getting a better grasp of the gig but little things keep nagging me and I'm having a tough time with that.  All those things mean I'm tired and not as sharp as I should be.  Paying my own expenses this year means I'm trying to cut corners or ie, not eating well, so my belt is getting even looser than before which is a bad thing.

Last night in South Carolina I was taking a dealer and a Buffet trumpet artist to dinner and made a really bad decision.  I decided to make a left turn in traffic.  It was 2 lanes I was crossing, the first lane had stopped and I thought I was clear.  I wasn't and got t-boned.  I was in the company truck and it got messed up pretty good.

Luckily nobody was hurt but man do I feel like crap.  Not physically, just mentally.  It was beyond embarrassing and I couldn't help but wonder what the hell has happened to my life.  It seems to be going out of control even though I may finally be getting command of my life again.  At least there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. 

Today I drove the very wrinkled truck back to Jacksonville, FL and had all kinds of issues with the tarp that was covering the instruments in the back of the truck.  It took me less than 4 hours to get there on Thursday.  Took almost 6 hours today to get back to the office.

I'm flying home first thing in the morning (assuming DFW is open that is) and can't wait to get home.  I'm very excited about spending a week at home before I have to head out again.  I took Monday off so I can spend a whole day with my family, something I'm just damn near giddy about.

It is imperative that I enjoy Monday and get a clear head for Tuesday because I'm close to fixing things, this is no time to feel sorry for myself.

So yes dear reader, if you made it this far, the purpose of this post is not to gain your sympathy but merely to act as a reminder to me to keep my head up and damnit, make things work.