Monday, May 4, 2009


When the kids were young, their mother used to make an emergency meal dubbed SOS after the famous army meal of chipped beef on toast. In our house, SOS stood for Swill on a Shingle. In the army, it was a bit more pungent. SOS was fried hamburger (usually thawed in the frying pan), canned mushroom soup, (frozen) peas and lots of pepper. Served on toast, we all enjoyed it thoroughly.

Tanya and I had no breakfast and a light snack at noon. She was busy transplanting bedding plants and I was busy working on a business plan. At 8:00 I realized I was hungry, Tanya still had daylight and so I better make supper. So Ukrainian SOS or in Cyrillic COC, it was. No canned soups here, all Knorr type dried packages, so I faked it. Pulled 650 grams of ground beef out of the deep freeze (cost $4 CAD by the way). We were out of bread so macaroni had to substitute. By the time Tanya came in at 9:00, supper was on and we didn’t care what it tasted like.

Draft 1 of the business plan was to be emailed before 5:00 pm my time, to be on a desk when my associate came to his office in the morning. I still had one page to write but fired it off anyhow. Never assume an uninterrupted day. Two guys came this morning to give us an estimate on some body work on the Kia. The dent was a year old so Tanya figured maybe we should fix it. That took an hour. (Lesson: Never try to drive into a narrow garage at night without your glasses).

The car had a terrible squeak on the right rear suspension that was getting worse and on these roads could drive you crazy in anything over 20 minute drive. Neighbour Zhenia decided he could find the squeak and fix it. He used to own a Zhigouli which had a similar squeak. Take a Lada, divide the performance and reliability by 2 and you have a Moskvich. Take the Moskvich and divide by 5 and you have a Zhigouli. Nice to know the Kia fits in here.

I helped him for over an hour in his 1950’s style garage with a pit in the floor. Tanya came and rescued me but Zhenia wouldn’t quit. Two hours later he had the car home, with silent suspension, proud as all get out. Amazing what a mix of kerosene and motor oil will do when applied with a syringe and needle to a spot that needs lubricating.

Finished the Business Plan (my share so far) by 8:00 (when I decided I was hungry). My associate will do the Financial Projections in Excel and send them to me (if they ever balance) to write up the rest of the BP. The feasibility studies and business plans I have been working on this year are quite a stretch from cows. I love a steep learning curve but ethanol from sugarbeet or processing farmed oysters takes some serious learning. But Bovine, Ovine or Oyster, the questions are the same, just the answers are different.

The ethanol/sugarbeet one was fun. More policy than agronomics. I am no ethanol fan unless it is disguised as Glenlivet or Jamison. The oysters were even more fun, but at least it was food related so I knew some of the websites and my associate provided a bunch more. Google is the best invention EVER.

My problem is I write S.L.O.W. Type 20 wpm but can only think 15 wpm. Fortunately clients are not interested in original writing, just information. If they want original and imaginative, they can hire an accountant. So I cut and paste a lot, credit the source, adjust the language to fit and go from there. Having been trained in science, I just cannot bring myself to use data or conclude things that I am not 95% sure of. A hindrance in the real world because I tend to say NO when the client wants so badly for me to say YES. I have saved a few people a lot of money over the years, saying NO. But made few friends.

This last BP is sort of related to food too but thats all I will say, other than it is a YES, YES, YEEESSS!.


  1. We also used canned tuna. Occasionally I still crave it.

  2. You are right. I had forgotten the creamed tuna and peas on toast.

    Also I should add that my associate has serious accounting training but he is also one of those nay sayers who will not fudge the numbers just so make a business plan look good. It is why I like working with him.

  3. A business plan related to food? With you, how could it be otherwise?

    Beef stew, perhaps?


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