Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gentleman Lavender Farmer

Hello All,

I just realized how long it's been since I updated this danged thing. No excuse for that, other than I'm a louse—a dirty stinkin' louse, to the core. I could tell you I've been busy with the day job, with the 10-month old, with edits to a few books and stories and magazine articles, all of which is true, but face it, I'm a louse.

FACE IT!

Anyhoo, I wasn't always this way. Back in 2010 I was living in Fredericton, working at a newspaper and thinking maybe I need a change in my career. I need to chart a whole new path, damn it! This is something I think about frequently but never quite have the gumption to follow through with, as yet.

But I was saying to myself: To hell with this racket! I'm going to get into biz for myself! F the man! Etc. 

So I decided to buy a business. Why not, right? It's totally up my alley. I have zero business accumen, can't do any handyman-ish stuff, no math skills, no horticulture skills (I ripped most of the shrubs out of our garden and put down low-maintenance stones), no cooking skills (I threw most of the pots and pans out of our cupboards and put down low-maintenance stones), no real skills to speak of so yeah, going into business for myself seemed the ticket.

Of course I had the idiotic ambition most guys do (or maybe just me): start a brewery! A jazzy little microbrewery, with the small-batch copper kettles and all that razzmatazz. How hard could it be? I researched this for all of 7 seconds before discovering it was very hard indeed, and expensive, and I had no brewmasters skills and couldn't afford to hire one.

Thus, this dream died.

So instead I went here:

BUY A BUSINESS

I figured I could buy a business that was already thriving, a going concern—which, of course, is exactly the time a canny businessperson would sell it to me, most likely at a dire personal and financial loss to themselves!

I toyed with the idea of a bed and breakfast. But then I'm not always hospitable, especially in the morning, and don't like baking (ie: can't bake) and making beds isn't really a gas, so that dream died too.

Someone was selling a go-cart track way up in the sticks of northern Ontario, which at the time suited my isolationist notions, but I wouldn't know how to fix the go-carts should they break so within months I'd have to rent the track out to backwoods joggers who didn't want to get mauled by a bear on their daily run—thus, this dream swiftly died.

As did the notion of taking over the beleagured pizza parlour in the boonies (can't make pizza), the convenience store in Oshawa (who really wants to run a convenience store? Apologies to all whose dreams I just trammeled with that last sentence), the Pita Pit knockoff and others.

Then I saw it. The perfect business. Xanadu.

A lavender farm.

Yes, just outside of Couburg was a little parcel of land near the lake just teeming with lavender. There was a little farm, a little store, and acres and acres of lovely lavender. The little store sold lavender soaps and candles and sachets (all lavender, in case you were wondering although surely you weren't). The lavender grew as high as an elephant's eye.

I had to have it. I had some $ ratholed away, actually, after selling my house in Calgary. I want to make sure you understand that I seriously considered it. I was willing to put down cash on the barrelhead. I wanted to own a piece of land. And I wanted that land to be carpeted with lovely, lovely lavender.

I know what you're saying to yourself: You fool! Why didn't you DO it? DID you do it? Did you buy the farm on the sly, stashing it away in one of your many shell corporations, and do you go there on the weekends and romp through the fragrant lavender, laughing like a schoolboy?

No, no, you're likely saying: You just admitted to having no skills. Did you actually think you could run a farm, not to mention one that solely produces lavender?

Well, it was a near thing. I called my father, who is my de-facto advisor on all such things. The conversation went something like:

DAD: Say again?

ME: A lavender farm. I want to buy it.

DAD: Are you a moron?

Dad advised me to buy a Tim Horton's franchise. There seemed a much smaller percentage I'd screw that up.

Anyway, I became much more serious with my girlfriend, got a job offer in Toronto, she agreed to come with me (thank God) and as such the idea of the lavender farm faded. But some nights I wake in a lather, the phantom scent of lavender on the breeze and I ask myself what could have been ...

Then I see myself living in a radiator box in an alleyway, penniless, a dead lavender blossom stuck in my hatband—a caustic reminder of my folly—and realize I am a lucky man indeed.

Now, as the old gypsy woman in The Simpsons says:

You buy! You buy!

CATARACT CITY (BUY IT NOW—OR RUE YOUR FOLLY!)

All best, Craig.

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