Saturday, March 02, 2013


I just realized how long it has been since I've written here....SHOCKING!  WOW!

It has been a long and arduous road but I can say....finally, there is light.

Thursday, February 28 was the 3 year anniversary of Aaron's last day of work.  For two years, he worked tirelessly trying to find himself a new position in the semiconductor industry.  He was ultimately unsuccessful.  He had barriers, not the least of which was being over 55.  As the months dragged on it became apparent that he had also fallen into the abyss of being "long term unemployed". 

As we passed the second anniversary, we started to look seriously into buying a business.  Our primary parameters were not the industry but what we could afford and what looked to return what we need to maintain a standard of living close to what we have always enjoyed.  That eliminated a lot of options and through 2012, we looked at a few business we never dreamed we would find ourselves involved with.  They ran the gamut from flood and fire remediation to a modeling and acting school.  We made bids on a couple of opportunities that we did not win (one was mosquito worst nightmare).  On the day after Thanksgiving, we received a call that a deal we had bid on and lost had fallen through.  We were offered the opportunity to revisit....and we did.

January 29th, we closed on the purchase of a new franchise with S.W.A.T (Soil, Water and Air Technologies) Environmental in Pennsylvania.  The company does residential and business property radon remediation.  The business is established and was being run from Lansing Michigan.  The founders had beeen establishing locations throughout the country in areas where radon is of concern, and had decided to spin these locations off as franchise opportunities.  If you're not familiar, Radon is a radioactive gas that is generated through the breakdown of bedrock.  This gas enters the home through the foundation and is recognized by the EPA as a class 1 carcinogen.  It is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.  It is mitigated by the installation of a vacuum/venting system in the affected building.  Our business sells, installs, and services these systems.

So we are a month into the new venture.  We are still on Long Island for the time being and Aaron's commuting to PA.  Joel is on track to graduate this June so we couldn't consider relocating before then.  But, ultimately, we will relocate back to PA.  We'll locate our statewide office in Allentown and will eventually be going HOME!

I'm not planning to taking a long term role in this business however at the moment, I'm doing what I can to help Aaron as we learn the ropes.  He understands and supports that I want with all my heart to finally make photography my profession.  I am dabbling....mostly working on creating a portfolio so I can market a business doing lifestyle photography featuring pets, children and families.  Pets are my primary interest but I may have to work a little more broadly as I get myself launched.  The timing could be better as there is a move in the future.  So I'm thinking of this time for myself as portfolio building and just learning what works and what doesn't.  I'm not doing any work for money at the moment but the portfolio is coming together, as is a new website.  I spend a lot of time working with and learning advanced editing techniques.  My mind is continually blown by what one can do with photoshop and some curiosity and creativity.

So, we have rounded a bend and I like what I see in the distance.  Unbelievably, Aaron and I have come through this intact.  We have stood the tests of some agonizing challenges.  There's been more than enough stress and tension and depression in our home over the last few years to last a lifetime.  I've experienced a full blown panic attack that landed me in the hospital overnight on a heart monitor.  There have been tears, times of extreme anger and frustration and overwhelming self doubt.  We have more challenges to face...selling this house in NY is going to be a big one.  The market here is still dismal and we're still upside down.  But now, there is hope, a glimmer of light and FINALLY, a sense of direction.


Jon said...

Kat, this is truly wonderful and encouraging news. I knew you were going through very difficult times and I often thought about you.
I'm so happy that there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel - you definitely deserve it. And it would be fantastic if you could actually move back to Allentown!

I've had an extremely bad winter with a multitude of problems - - mostly due to the fact that my house hasn't sold in two years. I've lately had my share of horrible panic attacks and migraines (and it's not easy caring for twelve abandoned cats).

Now that the weather is finally warming up I feel a LITTLE more optimistic - although sometimes I think I was cursed.

Sorry this comment is so long, but I'm really happy for you. We've both been through hell.

Lisa :-] said...

Kat, I'm so happy for you. Sometimes it seems like the bad times just have no end. Like, "Been down so long it looks like up to me..."

I hope the best of all things for you! Keep us updated if you have time.

kath said...

First, welcome back! I wondered how you've been! I'm glad to hear that things are starting to look up for you. It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate, but it will be leading you home to PA! Your family must be thrilled to be going back. I'm sending good thoughts, positive energy and lots of prayers to you for selling your home and starting your businesses. Please keep us posted!

BosieLadie said...

I'm so happy for you and Aaron! I've often thought about you and wondered how things worked out. You're already a great photographer, so when you finally get started doing what you love, you're going to be fantastic!

Christina K Brown said...

You have no idea how often I have thought of you.