I opened the door dead tired. I made sure I was quiet coming in because it was 2 AM and my daughter was sleeping. My wife was too but I knew I had to wake her.
Even though I took a hot shower before bed, I had a cold sweat because of what I had to tell my wife, Juli.
“How’d it go?” She asked me half asleep as I crawled into bed.
“Not good, I have to tell you something…” I replied. Now she was fully awake, “What? Did something happen?”
I unloaded. . .
“My business is failing. I haven’t made money in almost 5 months, we’re burning through savings, my clientele terrible, the cars are getting banged up, and I’m getting legal threats for an accident that happened last year I didn’t know about.” I broke down. I started crying, “I’m sorry, I wanted to tell you but I thought things would turn around. I don’t know what to do. I haven’t seen you in almost two weeks, and there is no end in sight to this mess. Please forgive me.”
I thought for sure we were going to have a big fight right there and I may hear the word divorce in the near future. What happened next shocked me. . .
Let’s Back Up A Second
Before the events that night, I had spent the past 18 months trying to build a rental car business that serviced Uber and Lyft drivers. It was administered through an app like AirBnB and done mostly on your phone with the exception of maintaining the cars and meeting the people. In the beginning, I was making good money and working about 3 days a week. When all the cars were rented, which was often, I just hung out and watched the money roll in.
The Best Laid Plans. . .
When we got pregnant, I had 5 cars in the fleet and was growing exponentially. We projected that I would have 15 by the time Elizabeth was born and 25 by the time she was 6 months old.
At 25 cars, I would be making enough money for Juli to quit her job and be a stay-at-home Mom. She would have 3 months of maternity leave, and I would be a stay-at-home/work-at-night Dad for the 3 or 4 months that was in between.
I knew I could take Elizabeth to meet people for pickups and drop-offs, but I couldn’t take a 3-month-old baby to the shop while I worked on the cars. So we had an arrangement that when Juli got home, I would go to work on the cars at night when I needed to. With 15 cars on the road, this turned out to be a 4-5 night a week thing. We barely saw each other because I usually was out until 10-11 pm, often after midnight.
It Started Hitting The Fan
When April came around I was still 10 cars short of the goal and making much less money than I projected. I got hit with a whirlwind of issues every single month it seemed. I had 2 transmissions blow up at $3,000 apiece, someone hit a car with no insurance, caused $4400 in damage and the renter stiffed me on the bill, I had another accident that did $2500 in damage, a car was used in an armed robbery, the list just went on and on.
I was always just making enough to cover the damage bill each month. This happened for 5 months in a row. The first 2 I thought were just bad luck, the 3rd and 4th I was in denial, and the 5th month in a row I had to come clean. We were about 3 months from being out of money and going into debt. I couldn’t hide this any longer.
The Turning Point
This is a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. It was a hot August night and I was coming home from my shop. It was 2 A.M and I was coming home from doing damage repair work on about 3 rental cars. I hadn’t seen Juli in weeks and I had no idea how it would turn out after I told her. It was in this moment that I knew I had someone special.
When I Realized I Had A Life-Long Partner
I’ll never forget what Juli told me that night as she embraced me while I sobbed, “You’re not a failure. You’re still an amazing Dad and I still support you. We’ll get through this like anything else. I’m committed to you for life. For better or worse, for richer or poorer.”
I remember feeling like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had been carrying this burden around for weeks making myself sick over the thought of telling my wife I wasn’t providing for the house. Luckily she had job stability and benefits, but we still needed my income to pay our bills. Full-Time stay-at-home Dad was not an option for me.
I can’t really remember how the rest of the night went, but I remember waking up the next morning knowing that I was at one of life’s great crossroads and that what came next would not be easy and would require pain of some sort.
Thank you for reading this long story, it took a lot to share it with the world. I’ll share what I ended up doing next.
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