Saturday, November 27, 2010

Are We Really Good Business Partners?

I've always found that work helps me forget my worries, so I decided to focus on something that I've neglected for a while, my "working with your partner" series.

Last time I posted on this topic we discussed how to judge if going into business with your spouse is a good idea. We focused on a series of questions/potential-conflict areas that would help us judge the suitability of such a decision. I had promised to give my answers to those questions and that's exactly what I'm going to do here.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the list when I decided to embark on this journey with the techie, so my answers may be (a lot) less than perfect. Anyway, I'm taking the plunge now:
  1. Is this what you really want and is it right for you?: The first part of this question is pretty easy. The techie and I have discussed this since the day we got engaged. The desire to go into business together was the one thing we had  in common (probably the only one, till today). With respect to the second part of the question, it seems right most of the time because both of us are excited to face new challenges everyday and we can play devil's advocate without getting personal (well most of the time). 
  2. Why are you starting a business?: We both seem to have the appetite to take on risks and we have a shared dream to help the less fortunate through our social business. 
  3. Who's vision is it?: I'm not ashamed to admit that the vision here is the techie's. I'm more of the getting things done kind of person. However, the vision grew from our desire to start a social business and all the research we put in to determine where there was a market gap.
  4. Are your expectations of work life-balance the same?: We are aware that this is going to be a big part of our lives for the next decade, at a minimum, and have tried to plan our personal life accordingly. In terms of priorities we see eye to eye about 80% of the time, which I think is healthy and partly because we are sharing our life on all fronts.
  5. Map out areas of management and responsibility: Based on our core strengths, experience and qualifications, we have divided up the work-load as - the techie covers marketing, projects (expansion) and IT, while I focus on operations and finance.
  6. Can your relationship handle this arrangement?: This is undoubtedly the toughest question of the lot (we seems to have started with the easiest). Initially, I didn't give this much though since we seemed to be compatible on the big stuff, however, it's not all plain sailing. There are days when I really appreciate the fact that we can complement each other both at home and at work, while on other days divorce seems inevitable (luckily these are few and far apart). 
So those were my two cents on what it takes to work with your spouse. Though I think it's useful to ponder all the above points, you also need to trust your instincts. Do you think we are really good business partners or just good partners? Let me know if there's anything I missed out or  if you need help formulating your answers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Medical Break

We've had a horrible week:
  • The munchkin has been prodded, poked and scanned to diagnose her three week long fever
  • My maternal grandfather is in the ICU waiting for his angiogram this morning
  • My paternal grandmother is getting her MRI done for a suspected dislocated shoulder, right at this moment
So, please don't go away if I'm missing for a while. I'll be popping-up in all your comment sections for sure in the interim.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Zen

I realized one thing this week. It doesn't matter how many brilliant posts you write in your head, you need to put it out in the blogsphere for it to have any sort of real value. So before the next weekend starts, here's a post I've been meaning to write for the past seven days. This is not one of those brilliant post (you need to hang out here regularly to get to read those), however, it's a special one.

Last week I decided that I need to be more like the techie. When he's with the little one, he completely enjoys her. I understand that I can never be the same, since a mummy's balance of fun versus responsibility is different from a daddy's (at least in my limited experience). However, I have also understood that sometimes you just need to have fun and throw caution to the winds, because this time with my daughter will not come back. So, I attacked the weekend with this learning in ,mind (yes, I can plan a fun day too). Surprisingly, just the intention to have fun lead to a spontaneous zen-inducing day.

On the weekends our whole family gets together to relax. So, we have about 7 kids ranging from 1.10 years to 15 years throw together. The first half of the day was pretty much par for course. Grocery shopping, family lunch and a movie in the home theater while the younger ones napped. Post naps we stepped into the driveway to perfect weather conditions, bright sunshine and a cooling breeze. That's when I hit on my first idea, hopscotch. This may seem a bit silly to some of you, but today's kids either play organized sport or spend time on the phone, in-front off the computer/television. 

When I asked for some driveway chalk they were all intrigued. By the time I had the first box drawn out, I had 10 people helping me. We ended-up with 2 different layouts and marked them as level 1 and level 2. This has to be the most fun game of hopscotch I have played in years. The little ones just had fun jumping, while the older ones loved the challenge and the adults actually got some decent workouts.  The perfect way to enjoy the perfect day.

We didn't end with hopscotch. The enthusiastic competing gave all of us a big appetite and I decided to make my favourite spaghetti arrabiata (I know it's nothing special, but we love it). My 12 year old niece loves cooking and wanted to help me out. My toddler is my current kitchen helper. So the three of us set off to blanch the tomatoes. By the time the tomatoes where ready for peeling I had 5 kids in the kitchen (2 of the boys joined in and the littlest boy decided to keep pulling stuff of the workspace). They all peeled and chopped the tomatoes, smashed the garlic, and halved the spaghetti sticks. (Breaking the sticks was their favourite activity, thought the flying pieces of dry spaghetti  almost caused a few injuries. I finally had them close their eyes every time they snapped the sticks.) Everyone had a turn at stirring the sauce and tearing up the herbs. The troupe even enjoyed the clean-up part. All this fun also resulted in food that everyone loved (there were about 15-20 of us that evening).

The best part of this experience - I spent a fun, stress-free day with my baby.

This is what I've planned for tomorrow's zen experience - jump rope competitions followed by tofu and vegetable stir-fry with buck wheat noodles. (The little one's running a fever today, so don't know if this will actually materialize.) 

What do you do for family fun? I love new ideas and am always willing to use my husband and child as guinea pigs (just kidding).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eat Pray Love

I've read the book and, finally, watched the movie*. I totally enjoyed both. If you thought I'm going to add to the plethora of reviews out there and bore you to death, I have a pleasant surprise for you. I'm not.  This is more of an observation post. We can call it "Eat Pray Love and the Crazy Mommy":
  • I read the book in three installments, with a week break between each city. A book that size would normally be devoured by me in less than 48 hours. (I started speed reading way before the concept became common. Since I was reading Enid Blytons from the age of three.) I initially started reading it like a normal book, however when I got to the end of the Italy chapter I started reading up on the stuff referenced in the book. Let me tell you I had hours and hours of online fun. That's when I decided to do the same with the other cities. The end effect, I felt the movie was way to short, with not enough focus on the writer's descriptions of the cities. This didn't stop me from enjoying the movie throughly, I would have just liked more of it. 
  • I dragged V along for the movie (she's loves going to the cinema and actually watches most of the movie). Halfway through the techie and I wished we hadn't brought her. In the scene where Julie Roberts and her beau are romancing, she insisted on explaining to the whole theater that "mummy and daddy are doing cozy, cozy"! I swear we only kiss and hug in front of her nothing more. V also learnt her new favourite word - "sexy". She kept saying "mummy, the daddy in the movie said sexy" and giggling throughout the break. Lucky, everyone around us thought she was cute and entertaining. My ears were red by the end of the show.
  • The major outcome of the book and movie has been that I'm drooling over totally unaffordable houses in exotic locations. In fact, I now have 5 dream houses instead of one! I've also gone back to planning my post-retirement world-trip. (I hope to retire by 40, at the latest).
What effect did the book/movie have on you? Did everyone enjoy and analyze it as much as me, or am I just a one off case?

*I actually started this post on the 28th of October (we are not that behind with movies here) and didn't want to change it for authenticity sake. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bloggy Inspiration

Life has been so mad, that I actually forgot I have a blog. How lame is that!

Towards the end of October, I kept getting these amazing ideas for posts, however I didn't have the time to actually write them down. Now when I've finally logged in, I don't know what to write about! If this isn't a perfect example of irony, what is?

I think I read somewhere that most bloggers tire of their blogs within the first six months. Now, I definitely haven't gotten bored, just very busy and I absolutely don't want to give-up on my blog or lose the few readers I have. So I've decided to go and spend sometime reading the blogs that keep me going through the week and look for inspiration. Why don't you all come along and enjoy yourselves. I promise you some great reads:
  • More Than Just A Mother* - This is the first mommy blog I ever read and till date it's my favourite. I dare you not to laugh out aloud. Infact, I would go so far as to say, that this mother got me to start blogging. If I spent as much time writing as I do reading her blog and thinking up interesting comments, I probably would have a book contract by now. She's pretty famous now, however, she still replies to most comments!
  • Lost in translation - This is one tongue-in-cheek mommy blogger who loves poop. Her babies are bi-lingual and pretty entertaining. I found her blog after I started my own. I really appreciate the fact that she always takes time to visit and comment on her reader's blogs. This despite just having had her third baby!
  • A Girl In Asia - This adventurer is truly awesome. She not only gives us great food insights of the cities she's lived in, she also connects her readers to other amazing travel and food bloggers. My personal favourite read, on this blog, is her aptly named 'Cafe Crush' series.
  • Fashion Butter - When  I'm feeling down and dowdy, I turn to this greek girl for a bit of glamour. Her wedding pictures are dreamy. She can convert a regular cardigan into a glamorous dress! Trust me I need a lot of help in the glamour department, so if I can use her tips, so can you
  • COCOCOZY - If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I've been planning my dream house for ages. Well, this is where I go for a lot of my inspiration. I don't know how she gets around like she does, but you really do get a lot of tempting eye candy here. Though occasionally I am tempted in the direction of bank-robbery or grand fraud (just kidding, please don't hand me over to the authorities yet).
  • It's a small world after all** - This is my dream life. I've been planning something like this since I was 18 and now she's gone and done it. Yeah, I'm referring to becoming a world resident (remember my one month in one country plan?). A couple and their three children take 9 months off real life to traverse the globe. How much better can it get?
  • The Yummy Mummy** - Is about having a really good time with your kids in the kitchen (and not walking around in 6-inch heels). I found this lovely read when I was looking for ideas on weekend activities with my 2 year old. We love messing up the kitchen together, though to be fair, the toddler also enjoys clearing up! This lady is also one of the most generous bloggers I have ever come across and she's currently working on her soon to be published book.
  • Just Another Mommy Blog - I heart this woman. There's this warm feeling you get when you read her posts. I think it's because she truly enjoys her role as a mom. Get this she has three blogs and homeschools all three of her children!
Now there are loads more blogs out there that I enjoy, however, this post was taking too long, so I just decided to go with the names that came to me first. I'll definitely be adding to the list going forward.

*I didn't not copy her blog name. I had already registered my blog and was searching for mommy blogs to understand how blogging worked when I came across this lovely mother of three.

**I have a confession to make. I read these blogs on my iPhone, when I'm patting my daughter to sleep every night. So even though I love them , I don't comment quite so much as I should. Sorry to you lovely bloggers, I adore you girls.

P.S.: I just realized I have no idea how blogging protocol works. I didn't bother to take the permission of these lovely women, I just linked their blogs and left a comment letting them know. Hope they don't get mad and ban me from their blogs. I doubt I'll survive the shame if that happens.