Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Blues

Good Wednesday to you all,

I am only working until Wednesday of next week. I think we are expecting a blog from Dr. Joyce on Monday, then me again on Wednesday of next week, and then that is it for the year. We have had some good times this year. It is totally crazy how fast things go.

I am reading a book called “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock” by Sammy Hagar. I loved Van Halen and I have always like Sammy Hagar, but I have to tell you that I am not that impressed. I wanted him to be different. He always seemed different to me. But he isn't.

I mean he is not strung out or broke, but he leads the same kind of lifestyle. I am at the end of the book and it seems that he is just trying to say that he is better off than the Van Halens, which is not hard because they are both raging alcoholics (a VH1 Rockumentary waiting to happen). I hate it when people are empty. You work so hard to be great, but then you are on the mountain top and look at your life. You see a couple of divorces. You see a bunch of kids that you haven't been around for 15 years. But hey, you got tons of money.

I am sorry to tell you that I watched the movies “Arthur” and “Hall Pass.” “Arthur” was nothing like the old one that was awesome; this one was okay. “Hall Pass” was just okay too. But I will tell you there are some funny parts in this movie. I fell off the couch laughing and am in the office still chuckling about the movie.

Okay, I can't go through the end of the year and not talk about Christmas and parties. I am a big Christmas party guy and I love having Christmas parties. I truly like my staff and I like hanging out with them. Having a party is a nice way to say, "Thanks for all that you do. I am honored to work with you and you all make me a better dentist and a better person.” To do this, I can't just have lunch; I try to make this party a to-do.

But making a big to-do costs money. And, no, spending money on dinner is not that big of a deal. It is the other stuff that is stressful. Living in Orlando is great, but land mass it is HUGE. Literally, we have staff members that live 30 miles from each other. Finding a place that can handle a party of 13 and is in a location convenient for everyone is tough. We did find a place, but it is not centrally located. I guess you can't have everything.

I am starting to put the finishing touches on the party and hearing about other dentists’ parties. Have you ever heard of Party Envy? My assistant has a daughter that is also a dental assistant and she works for a 4 dentist/17 employee practice in another state. Their staff was picked up, with their husbands, by a bus at 4pm. And not a school bus - a big luxury bus. They all were taken out to dinner, got back on the bus, and went to a piano bar. Then they gave all the staff gift cards. I was thinking about it and adding it up. Carry the one… we are talking about a $6000 night. Wow!

Which brings me to the money part. We usually take two weeks off and this is looming pretty large with me. That means we are not going to be working and I have to pay everyone for two weeks (if they have saved up vacation time). It is a perfect storm. I am struggling with money right now. It is going to be really close. We just had a new roof put on the office (we had to because water was coming in the office from all the leaks) and that was a chunk of change that we took out of the reserve tank. But I don't have much in the reserve tank and the pending vacation is looming and then I am going to go and spend money at the party. It is kind of hard to get festive.

In the past, it was so easy. We were spending our excess at the Christmas parties. But times have changed. Don't get me wrong. We are doing okay and things will be okay, but it is a grind. Week to week, nowadays. (I know all of you who read the "Pain in the Neck" blog think I am struggling because I am a terrible, don't care of my patients, kind of dentist.)

December is usually a tough month anyway. You know the "try to get patients to use up all their insurance" never works. They are all spending everything they have on Christmas and vacations; the last thing they want to do is go to the dentist for major work. Again, it is the perfect storm.

Listen, I love being a dentist and I love Christmas and I love my Christmas party and I love my staff. But it is hard, you know? I am just sitting back here in my office worried, that’s all. I guess it wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't worry about money or stuff. (I bet the guy that ordered the bus and dinner and piano bar is not stressed.)

I hope I am not the only one worrying. Are you stressed? I am sure Jesus didn't come to earth and do all He did to make us worry. See there we go screwing His plan up again.

Hope you are having a great week.



Anonymous said...

I relate so much to you! Our situations are so similar. I planned the big dinner for the staff and they said "why don't we just go to your house and open presents?" They are very aware of the financial burdens we are under right now, and luckily very understanding. They haven't had raises in 3 years- they were pretty top dollar earners before the economy crunch though. Thanks to our 16 yr. association w/ Pride management, we have always shared the numbers with our staff. They get it! I'm sure your staff will be very appreciative of anything you do for them- if's their problem, and nothign would be good enough! Have a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

All my big bills come in Dec. So I am not really festive either this time of year.

gatordmd said...

Thank you for your comments.

My staff has really been great through all this too.
It just is what it is.

Have a great Christmas I hope you have a great party.


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