You guys, the swim school has risen again from the splashes of its former self! James has a pool and reopened for business today and I am so happy and relieved that I can't even share his stress over the fact his registration numbers are down from this point last year. All numbers are higher than zero and he has a pool!! A beautiful, 8-lane, indoor, year-round pool that is exclusively his from 3:30-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. HE HAS A POOL! The swim school lives!!
It's been in the works for nearly a month, which is why I've probably sounded less stressed and sad lately, but it's also been sloooowly working its way through all those works for a month and after being burned twice on other pools that "had room" only to actually not, I just couldn't announce or celebrate until it was final and it's FINALLY final! There are some hurdles, some (several) additional expenses, his margins will go down, blah blah whatever HE HAS A BUSINESS! I've already had a few glasses of champagne to celebrate for him since he's too busy answering registration emails to do so on his own behalf.
Remember when I would sometimes complain about the swim school? about his evening schedule? his endless late nights working on registrations? the uncompromising nature of teaching private lessons and a lack of room to reschedule them for anything ever? Well, staring down the road to a dark swim school-less future has really shifted my perspective on that. All of sudden I realized how much I loved the swim school. Obviously, I love that James loves it and that he built it from nothing and poured his heart into something he's passionate about and incredibly good at. But I also love that it enables him to be home in the mornings. That he gets the kids off to school and can then be home for deliveries, doctor appointments, and other home-based to-do's. I love that he never ever travels and is home with us every night and weekend. I love that all his nighttime work can all be done on the couch while sitting right up next to me. I love that he was making good money and we were killing our grad school debt and growing our long-term savings and contributing everything I wanted to the kids' college accounts. I LOVED that he coached our own kids and that I could trust him implicitly to improve their technique and build their strength while still fostering their love of swimming. I loved that I didn't have to take the kids to swimming or pick them up. I loved that "Coach James" was known by so many in the community and we ran into clients everywhere we went. I loved seeing the fruits of his labor and love of swimming pay off, literally and figuratively, and I was truly devastated that he was losing it. After years of the occasional bit of complaining I now wanted to give the swim school a bit sloppy kiss and it was disappearing on me before I could do it.
And of course, watching James watch his dream circle the drain was terrible. The one good thing going for us this time around was that it wasn't financially stressful. Back in 2012 when he was a victim of the Dell layoffs, it was awful on so many levels, but particularly the financial. I had just taken a job with a substantial pay cut, we'd just paid to move here from Austin, and we'd just used our savings to renovate the new/old house we'd just bought in our new city. Nothing makes an already emotional and difficult situation worse than staring at your bank account and calculating the number of months left that you can pay your mortgage. It made it impossible to be the supportive spouse I wanted to be during his job hunt because I was as stressed as he was depressed and oh my god it was fucking awful.
SO! This time was better. The swim school situation sucked and it was sad, but it wasn't stressful (for me; James was totally stressed, but that's okay when only one of you is at a time). We're in a totally different place than we were in 2012 and I didn't have to worry about anything other than James himself; I could just be supportive- positive, calm, long-term looking... basically the partner I've always wanted to be and that James always is for me. So that was nice. And then he found something! Or rather, the wife of the law school best friend of a partner I used to work with in Austin who is on the board of a local community college found something. Huzzah! It was a long process with a lot of back and forth and then a lot of waiting, but lessons started up today and they can't kick him out now ! (At least not without 90 days notice...)
And because the swim school can continue on, so can Fike Swim Products! The swim school funds all the prototypes and large order minimums for the swim products business, so the death of one meant the likely death or at least a total lack of growth for the other which... sucked. But no more! Which is great because James's sales of The Brick continue to be brisk and his (amazing!) swim bag is getting great reviews. In celebration of the new swim season he made a new commercial. Given that it was made on an iPhone and Landon was the cameraman for much of it, I thought it was pretty awesome:
And in final James news, he's on the board of the non-profit Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition and they had their annual banquet last night. It's such a great organization doing such important work, I'm so proud that he is part of it.
Their programs have become a model for other organizations around the country and this past summer they reached over 1,000 kids and adults and got them life vests and time with instructors in the water. They've also started a pipeline for teens who show an interest in the program- learning to swim, gaining comfort, and ultimately earning an option to obtain their lifeguard certification from the Red Cross free of charge so they have a path to a summer job at one of the city pools or local YMCA's, continuing the cycle of saving lives through water safety and instruction. Pretty awesome.
So it's a happy day around here today! Our beloved nanny Tara is back in our lives, we're back on a regular after school schedule, the big kids are back in the water and Cora starts back up with her own lessons on Thursday! Yays for everyone! But especially James, I'm so incredibly proud of him and all his work in and out of the pool. Cheers!
Spring break days 5-7
12 hours ago