These Things Don’t Celebrate Themselves
Well, it happened today. We signed on the line, several times, and closed the sale of our last Assisted Living location. And, yet, no exclamation points. For the size of this deal, and the impact it will have on my life, I had thought that there would be. I can see why companies plan parties, or at least dinners, to celebrate big milestones: these things just don’t celebrate themselves.
I should have expected this anticlimactic letdown after signing a bunch of documents. It was the same way just 7 months ago when we closed on the sale of our other businesses. But this one just snuck up on me.
A Tale of Two Transactions
When we started our first transaction, they promised that they could close in 90 days. That seemed great. Until the first extension, then the second, then the third, then the I-forget-how-many-this-is. I learned to just treat each coming deadline as an opportunity for the deal to take an extra month or two. Eighteen months later we finally closed, in a surprise failure to extend another time.
When we signed the papers on that day, there was a palpable feeling of relief. Not excitement, but relief. It was done. We had survived. Even picking up the checks a week later – yes, we’re old fashioned like that – seemed more a formality than a cause for celebration. I couldn’t even spend it since my bank put another hold on the check to make sure it cleared.
With that experience as background, I approached this sale ready for a marathon.
I had a brief burst of energy gathering all of the due diligence information before leaving for a week at the end of April, even before we had signed the actual sale agreement. After that I settled in and started doing my warm-up stretches. I answered a few emails and got the last few items the buyers requested. But I had done all of that before – a long time before. I then settled in to await the first extension request.
On Tuesday, I came in to work after the holiday weekend, and heard that we were not signing documents on the 31st. “That’s okay,” I thought, “there was one extension provision until 28 June.” Then I got the shocker: we were actually signing a day early, on 30 May. (That statement may have warranted an exclamation mark.)
So, two days later, in we went to sign away the rights to our last remaining assisted living business in exchange for a few numbers jumping between one bank and another. In a final lunge of anticlimax, the title company had all of the documents ready except for the settlement statement. So, we efficiently signed everything in quadruplicate and waited. And waited. After half an hour, our attorney suggested that we head out and they would send the last pages to us to sign and return via email.
So, here I sit with my lunch of pistachios and soy nuts, instead of a celebration meal somewhere, because there is still one document left to sign. And I’m waiting for it.
What Is Real?
As I drove my dad back to our office, he commented that the whole experience seemed surreal. When does it become real that I won’t be driving down to Orem any more Mondays for our meetings? When will reality set in that I have almost nothing to do at the office? What will this new reality feel like? If the last closing was any indication, it will feel a lot like the last month, and the month before that. There are final bills to process, files to get to storage; there’s that last payroll on Monday. My task list will still be filled for another month, at least. Maybe not full-time filled, but still part-time full.
And, lest I forget, there’s next year, when for another four months we’ll have employees calling to find out where their lost W-2 forms are, right up to tax day.
So, at around 11:30 this morning, my life changed in a huge way, to be just about the same as it was.
I guess the first thing that I should add to my task list is to celebrate that.