Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friends and Family

Like everyone else, we have had a LOT of get togethers lately, starting with Thanksgiving at the Pond's:
My Dad's birthday:

Carson's work party at Rhonda's house:

a white trash Christmas party (cheesiness intended)
and a pajama breakfast for our ward Christmas party

And for the Maple Valley crowd here are a few pictures I couldn't resist:

Remind me not to call the Blues very early in the morning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You don't want no drama

I have not posted for almost 2.5 months. I decided not to post until I had a firm start date for the new practice for 2 reasons: 1-It's been too depressing to post about anything else while having so many delays (explained below) and 2-I've been very busy with my current job, fixing problems for my startup, my calling at church and getting the final things ready/purchased for the startup.

So, an official start date...unless other unforseen problems arise or the city delays a final 'permit for occupancy' we are looking at Monday, December 22nd! People often ask why it has been delayed so long, and it is hard to quickly explain. Therefore, unless you like drama and want the whole depressing story, you can skip this entire post. It's one big, dark cloud with a couple areas of silver lining. Even if nobody reads this, it will be good to get it all out.

All through school Marisa and I researched where to do a startup. We found a location that had a great patient to doctor ratio. The one dentist in the area was so busy he gave most of his restoration placements to his hygienists and still didn't have enough time to do things that he wanted such as Invisalign. It was a golden opportunity.

After graduating and working 6 months (a little over 3 years ago) I worked on a lease with my lease negotiator to get a building in Snoqualmie. At the end of the 'letter of intent' negotiations the landlord backed out because he didn't feel comfortable paying out such a large tenant improvement allowance when I hadn't been out of school for very long. My bank who was ponying up the money said there is less than 1% default on dental loans, but the landlord still backed out. Later, someone came in who bought up the entire 10,000 s.f. office floor. It was hard not to believe he backed out because he had a better offer. Either way, it still hurt.

At that time there were no other locations available for a business in the area. Two buildings were under development. Building A was beautiful, as good of a location as possible, and about 6 months away from being approved and finishing construction of the shell. Building B was a mile away, not as attractive, but only about 3-4 months from being approved and finished with shell construction.

The choice of which location seemed pretty obvious, although at that time the 2-3 months difference did seem like more of a factor because I couldn't wait to get started! I had been anticipating running my own office since the days at BYU when I borrowed the Howard Farran Dental MBA in 30 Days cassette tapes from the dentist I assisted for. All during dental school I received the magazine Dental Economics, read it and loved it. Many fellow students in dental school said I was stupid and over-confident to go straight into private practice instead of doing a Residency of some sort. In hind sight, the big blessing has been that I've had a great job financially speaking, but a long commute. I only expected to do that long drive for a few months though.

Unprecedented Delay
From the time I signed the lease with building A, the landlord told me it would only be 6 months until I could start my construction on the inside. Every 3 months I would check in to see how the next three months were going to go so that I could get ready to get bids for construction, etc. Every time I called I was told that the city was being very slow and it would be another 6 months. Do the math, checking in every three months for 2.5 years means I was erroneosly told "6 more months" 11 times including the initial! It wasn't that my landlord was feeding me a line to keep me hanging on. Eventually, he got his attorney involved and they sued the city for making this project take FOUR TIMES longer than the average King County project time. Even the state came in and did an audit of the city to see if they were purposely adding on extra permits and resubmittal permiting fees to inrease their profit. Amazingly, things started to pick up...

In addition to the difficult pill I had to swallow from my landlord every 3 months I had to tell this story about 5 thousand times over these past couple of years. Everybody asked how much longer: everybody from dental school, all my family, everybody from our old ward before the split, everybody from our new ward after the split, all my neighbors, all the specialists that I meet with periodically, all the dentists that I have gotten to know in the area, all my friends from growing up, everybody! Because there were a lot of people who genuinely cared, I was unfortunately asked quite frequently how the new practice was going. It was the logical assumption to think I had already started when 7 months ago I told them it would be 6 more months.

From Perfect to "Just Good"
Things began to slowly break down during this long delay. Another guy decided to come in and set up a practice. Like I said before, there were only two locations. The location I chose not to go with, is what he chose because it was all that was available. As luck would have it, that building didn't have nearly as many delays as mine so it was up and ready for him. Now the situation would go from 'more than enough patients' to 'maybe some competition.' I talked to the guy a lot at first, but then he stopped answering my emails. I was quite surprised because I thought he was a pretty nice guy. He even started advertising at my building since I share it with a gas station. Now, not only was there another denist in town, he wouldn't talk to me. He was also going to open before me and steal my thunder that I had been anticipating for 2.5 finally give the people in the area a choice! The one practice that was already there wasn't very technoligically advanced so I was going to really shine.

Last July that first (and used to be only) practice was sold to a dentist that (rumor has it) not very many people liked. All of the sudden the practice started hemorraging patients and staff like crazy. How great would that have been to be open and scoop all them up? Too good for me I guess, in the end they all just went to the other new guy since I wasn't open yet.

Because I had so many delays I tried to forsee every problem and prepare for it before hand. Sometimes this was not enough. In the end I had many people say, "That's weird" on the phone because I was the 1 in a 1000 person too often. The city lost my business application, which they said has never happened. The energy company lost my gas meter permit that I called on specifically to make sure it was going according to plan. After my call, they lost it and delayed the project 2 weeks. Isolite (equipment) lost my order and they are running 3 months behind so I won't get it until after opening. My sign company that I first worked with forgot about me and completed two other jobs before "remembering." My water feature was done incorrectly and shipped at the wrong time and wrong place, twice! I'll spare you the rest...except for the fact that if I don't open this year it could cost me over 20k in tax write-off on my loan. We'll see what happens.

Silver Lining
There had to be some good right? There were a couple of big ones. Because the delay was much longer than the landlord had anticipated, my contract timeline window passed. I had the opportunity to get out of the contract. I didn't want to because this was still the best location around any desireable commute from our house and we didn't want to move. To entice me to stay the landlord offered to give me the first year rent free! I actually felt a little guilty saying yes to the offer. I guess he really liked me and wanted me to stay.

Also, I was able to do a lot of research during those 3 years. I found the cheapest way to do many things and not cut corners on quality. For example, I found a custom dental cabinet company out of Oregon to do my dental cabinets for 30% of what the suppliers charge for their cheaper lines. This company not only did them 3 times cheaper, they also made them higher quality. That and many other things have allowed me to do this startup for about 50% of what others have similarly done in the area. One Dr. I used to work with did a start up in an office almost the same size with very similar quality for 180% more. Another larger practice in the area was 220% more than mine!

I was able to do a lot of the work on my own. I designed my own website, sign...

business cards...


That has been both a money saver and satisfying. In the end though, despite having a well paying job with tons of great experience for the last three years and all these money savers, I would have preferred in some ways to start up a long time ago. One good thing is that we are booked for the first two weeks before even opening our doors. Hopefully that will continue. In the end, it was probably meant to be, but learning patience is not fun. Especially when your number one personality disorder is not being able to handle things out of your control very well.

I'll post pictures soon when it is open...hopefully in just a couple weeks!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just Dance

I looked back and realized we haven't posted anything about what's actually going on in our lives for over 2 months! Just so you all don't come to the conclusion that I'm pregnant (which I'm not), I feel like I should catch up...

Anna, my best friend since I was in the 2nd grade (the same age Trey is right now!) came to visit in September with her first baby Kristina! This is the first of my close high school friends to have a baby... and I have a 7-year old!
Beckham started preschool with Mrs. Cloud and loves it. She is like the grandmother who makes every grandkid feel like they're her favorite. He also has a weekly playgroup: here are Nate, Caeden, Beckham, Eden and McKenna having a snack: Trey and Becks both played soccer again this fall. Trey had an awesome team and learned how to play positions and work together. Beckham's team was the worst ever. His 2 coaches had permanent PMS and mangaged to make most of the parents so mad that by the last game only we and one of the coaches daughters even showed up to the game. Beckham didn't seem to mind being a 1-man team; if he was throwing in the ball and didn't have anyone to throw it to, he just threw it out there and ran it down the field himself. He did get a little tired of never having subs, good thing the 3-year old games are on small fields and only 30 minutes. Near the end of the summer the boys discovered they could make a slip n slide with the hose on the playset.
We got Carson the game Rock Band for his 32nd birthday last month. True to form, Trey immediately made a rock band out of legos. If you live here you should invite yourself over to play it with us, it's a ton of fun. Carson shaved a trucker beard for Halloween and tried to dress up Idaho for the party with our friends.
Monkey see
Monkey do

Trey was sad on election day because he didn't realize until Carson and I went out to vote that he was too young. He got tears in his eyes and asked why he couldn't vote for the President. I asked who he was going to vote for and he said "You know, that guy you are voting for."

One problem we don't have with Becks is confidence. The other day he said "Everybody thinks I'm awesome." Then we were leaving McDonald's last week and he climbed up on the roof of the Jeep while I was putting Caeden in his carseat and said, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" (From the commercial.) We really do love our kids a lot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lame, I know

I saw this on one of my favorite blogs and I wanted to know who I would be, maybe someone super fun like Alice or smart like Bella.... no.

I'm a Esme! I found out through Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!

Ugh, I'm so MOM-ish!

If you haven't heard of Seriously So Blessed you should seriously go check it out. It's a spoof on Mormon mommy blogs... like this one. But I hardly ever post, so this is really a Mormon daddy blog. Basically it's everything funny about a branch of Mormon culture in our generation, particularly girls who use apostrophes where they shouldn't, who know more about pedicures than they do about politics and who have to appear 'practically perfect in every way' ALL the time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rest of the movie

When we made this movie (2006/07) we decided to make them a little more boring and include more video of the family in a documentary style rather than a pure highlight film that would be entertaining for most anyone. So, don't feel obligated to watch these in their entirety. This is mainly for my parents, brother's family and sister who all live out of state.

Remember to see these in HD, you have to click through to the website rather than watch them in standard definition here. Video 7 is outtakes and credits. A few have asked me about the various songs in these videos. They are listed in chronological order at the end of video 7. Enjoy!

Video 5 from Carson Calderwood on Vimeo.

Video 6 from Carson Calderwood on Vimeo.

Video 7 from Trevor Calderwood on Vimeo.

Friday, October 03, 2008

More Videos

Video 2 from Carson Calderwood on Vimeo.

Video 3 from Marisa Calderwood on Vimeo.

Video 4 from Marisa Calderwood on Vimeo.


As many of you know video editing is my favorite past time. Things have unfortunately been too busy for me to stay on top of my 1 video per year schedule as I have for the past 8 years or so. I am finally finishing the 06/07 video. Here is the second to last cut. I rendered it out to see if any small changes need to be made. To see the video in high definition (which I strongly recommend since it was filmed in HD) go to via this link. You don't neeed to sign up or anything, just click play on the page that pops up. I'll post the other 8-10 of these as I get them rendered and uploaded over the next couple of days.

Too see it in standard low definition if you're lazy, watch below...

Video 1 from Carson Calderwood on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm a proud father

Last night Bex grabbed a pen and note pad while we were sitting down for dinner. That was a little weird because we're used to fighting w/ Trey to get him to stop drawing or being creative in some way, but not Bex. After asking him to put it away a couple times he said, "Wait, I'm writing BYU." What! This kid can't draw a single letter let alone a word. He can't even draw a face like most kids his age. He is all about sports not art...then I looked at what he drew. He really had made his first letter B, his first letter Y and his first letter U. He drew it Davinci style - backwards, but hey, for your first word, skipping over learning letters we were impressed!

Maybe it is because BYU isn't really a word and there is a lot of the following around our house. Needless to say, I was pretty happy. The irony though is that he was wearing a U of U shirt while doing it. I know, I know, how could I even allow my child to wear that shirt when I myself only own one red shirt, that was given to me, and I really never wear that? I guess growing up a U fan, converting as a senior in high school to the correct team after "seeing the light" and liking to be antibandwagon...I don't mind keeping the little red shirt around that my brother gave Trey a few years ago when he was attending the U.

What happens at the Y

What happens at the U

Answered Prayer

Still Open!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Our friend Jodee got us hooked on frozen yogurt and our local version of it, Red Mango. Being cheap like most of you are...c'mon admit it...we wanted to make our own version at home in our ice cream maker. I did a lot of googling to find a recipe which I couldn't. Fortunately Red Mango posts their ingredients online and at the store. We listed them out, used our science nerd skills obtained in college, broke the ingredients down into binders, tanginess ingredients, etc. and compared this to regular yogurt. We came up with our own recipe take 1. It was good, but not exactly the same. If you try it out and get something closer let us know.

Trial #1
8 c nonfat yogurt
2 c sugar
1 c powdered milk
2.5 tsp citric acid


Wow! That's all I can say about the BYU game. So glad I flew out there and was able to go with one of my best friends from high school and my dad.

While there I got to see my sister's condo that she recently bought and is remodeling.

The week before that we went to Marisa's 10 year high school reunion. The pix are bad, but that's all we had.

My parents flew out the weekend before to see the UW/BYU game. While here we were able to enjoy some great weather.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Squeezing it into summer

Things have been pretty busy as we have been trying to fit some fun things into summer before Trey headed back to school yesterday. Last Monday we went to the Mariner's second LDS night. I met up with a buddy from the mission and had a great time talking about the good old days from 13 years ago! My phone's camera took some weak shots...

On Friday Marisa and I went on a date night to get her some clothes for her class reunion next week. We got teriyaki before driving to the mall and had to wait 15 minutes for them to cook it so we walked next door to the Goodwill store. Goodwill was awesome, (I found a juicer, see below) except for the Barbi doll bin. That was kind of freaky...

On Monday we went with our friends the Chapmans to Bumbershoot. It is a Seattle music festival with multiple concerts all going on at the same time. We went to see Paramour so that I could hear my favorite song of the year, "Misery Business." I was a fan before all you guys became bandwagoners. We also hear offspring.

Saturday I went blackberry picking with the boys and we made blackberry popsicles and sorbet easily with my new juicer. You just drop in your fruit, spin the handle, the juice comes out and the pulp/seeds go out another way. So quick and easy to strain out those stupid seeds. Here are some pix of the boys doing their much anticipated yearly wild blackberry picking.

Bex loved the concert and his shirt that said, "Future Rock Star." He really thinks that is what he is going to be when he grows up. Here he is on Ronnie's shoulders.

I tease the boys when they are bad that I will spank them with the "spiky belt" and now it has become a family joke that anyone will get it if bad, including mom! There was a large paper at Bumbershoot for people to draw and be artistic on. Bex drew the following pictures and when asked afterwards what they were he informed us that they were the spiky belt. The hypothetical belt wasn't quite so scary in my mind.

Bumbershoot was a little too hippy for me at times. Trey kept asking what that sweet smell was. I didn't want to explain the whole MJ thing so I brushed it off. I started to get worried when he said he had the munchies...ok, he just said that he was hungry, but it made me wonder...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The beach and other stuff

Last weekend we took a trip to Pacific Beach with 11 other families. The weather was great (for the coast) and we all had a great time. Caeden thought this girl needed a hat like his: The guys playing bocce ball:
Trey and Becks making a sand pit with Eli:
It's never a boring trip with Jeff Allen. Some kind of hawk was trying to snatch our snacks so he held up a Cheeto (is that really how you spell it?) to see if he would come close enough to bite it out of his hand:
The hawk circled around for a few minutes but never worked up the courage, so Rick decided to sneak up on him:

A few weeks ago Beckham, Caeden and I went to visit my grandparents in Shelton while Carson and Trey were at scout camp. My grandpa has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home, so my grandma took us to see him and then took us out to Denny's for dinner. When we got to the nursing home, Caeden took one look at my grandpa and burst into tears. I was mortified but there was nothing I could do - I was holding him and telling him it was okay in a happy voice but he kept peeking around my shoulder at my grandpa and screaming again. Beckham saved the day by being totally comfortable and making everyone feel better, including me. I wanted to take pictures with him but of course Caeden would have nothing to do with it. Grandpa kept shading his face since he was looking into the sun, and Beckham copied him:
Here's my grandma with Caeden, notice the wary look in my grandpa's direction:
Speaking of Caeden, he has been exquisitely adorable and unbearably frustrating at the same time lately. He is just at that age. I almost forgot that Trey and Becks figured out how to get out of their cribs at 19 months until Caeden did the same thing right on cue. At least he didn't launch himself out onto his head like Beckham did, but then again, Caeden is not the average height and weight for a 3-year old at 1 1/2. But he can climb out now and will not stay in that thing for one minute. So we did what all good parents do (right?) and put a doorhandle on his room that locks from the outside to keep him in, just like we did for the other two. He is such an impossible little stinker. He throws fits and says "NO!" and hits his brothers at the slightest provocation. He hates being in time out but it doesn't seem to be improving his behavior. And he has ruined so many surfaces in our new home from his constant banging with whatever he can get his hands on, I don't even want to think about it. The flip side is that he can be irresistable, playing peek-a-boo, speaking in his high little voice, always wanting to ride bikes and play outside. He has sparkly eyes and an impish grin and is as mischevious as he is short-tempered. We love him to pieces.
And last, I finally read the Twilight series, all 4 books in 10 days (yes, my house is dirty) and I loved it. What a great story!