It’s been almost a year since we’ve posted, so that we can continue to post here more, I’ll try to briefly summarize the last year. There were only two events, but both life-changing….
In April, we had a baby girl. She was a week late so we were scheduled for an induction, got to the hospital at 8am and watched TV for several hours waiting for the labor to start. It did eventually and by 7pm she was born. Labor’s not that bad, for men at least. She’s perfectly healthy and happy. We named her *Havana Elle Hakala*.
We liked “Havana” because it’s pretty, feminine and unique. It also starts with an ‘H’ giving her the alliteration that her mother likes about her own name (and the next letter in the alphabet, cute!). Oh, and every other letter in “Havana Hakala” is an ‘a’, which I really like, although I don’t know why. The middle name was much tougher for us… we needed a one-syllable name to go with the other 6 syllables, but nothing worked for us. I got a hold of some Cuban cigars (Cohibas!) to celebrate her birth, which were made in Havana, Cuba, or “La Habana” as the packaging says. I thought “La” might be a good middle name, but I still didn’t think it fit well. Then I thought of “El”, which is kinda the equivalent of “La”, which I liked the sound of. It didn’t take me long to expand it to “Elle”, which is French for “she”. I text-messaged Gay, who was driving around in Seattle, with the idea and she loved it. Done!
By 6pm the next day she had all her tests done and we were on our way out of the hospital. That night, Gay & I were both up at 1am with Havana crying and we didn’t know what to do to get her to stop. We suddenly felt overwhelmed and wondered if we could do it. Somehow I remembered from the experience from my niece and nephew 17 years ago that babies can’t burp themselves, you have to burp them yourself. Crikey, babies can’t do much of anything on their own! That worked and she went to sleep again… for an hour.
After that, I was great with her the first two weeks, not minding the sleepless nights or the frequent cries. But after that, I’d had enough. Fortunately, Gay turned out great as a mom and stepped up to do all but the infrequent diaper-change, about all I could handle. Havana could easily push me to the limit of my patience with a good bout of crying and I swear she enjoyed doing it! From what I’ve been told, she’s been a good baby. I’m just a lousy father.
During the final months of pregnancy, we were approached by two companies wanting to buy our company. Our lawyer suggested we involve an investment banker. Several weeks later we had a couple written offers, spent a weekend (and then some) trying to make the final decision on who to sell to or to even sell at all. We decided to go with Scripps Networks. We signed an agreement to sell and then the bankers and lawyers spent the next 90 days ironing out all the details. I’ve never had so many calls and meetings (and frankly, boredom!) in so short a time period. Once the deal closed, we were excited to get back to work on the site, but it turned out differently. I don’t regret selling the company or selling it to Scripps Networks — we made a good decision based on the information we had at the time. But something changed the day the deal was done and we still don’t know why. Two months later, we took a week’s vacation in Hawaii and, being away from home and work, it was clear to us that we’re software people and we’d be happier not working in a media company. So we came back from vacation, told the people we worked with that we were quitting and the next day called our boss and resigned. 30 days later, the chapter of Recipezaar in our lives was over. It just goes to show that you can’t plan your life.
Havana’s now 6 months old, is much more interesting than she used to be and is starting to develop a personality. She and I get along much better than we did a few months ago, but Gay still does almost everything. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
I turned 38 a few days ago and am spending my days doing all the things I’ve put off for years around the house and in our personal life. I plan to spend the rest of the year playing around on the computer like I did when I was 12, drinking the seasonal beers (not like I did when I was 12), brewing my own beer and trying to avoid Havana’s crying. Sometime next year we’ll figure out what new business we’ll start.
One thing we’ve realized since leaving the company is how stressful running a business is. We knew it was stressful, but when the stress was completely removed, the level we were operating under is apparent. Part of the stress was self-inflicted, I admit — in retrospect, we should have worked less when we thought we should be working harder. Since selling the company, we’ve taken as many vacations as we did in the previous 8 years! We went out to the Washington peninsula to Alderbrook Resort for a weekend, to Hawaii for a week, to Walla Walla, Washington for a weekend and to Oregon’s wine country for 4 days.