Hello again; It was six years ago this week when I decided that my future in the amusement industry was not on my uncle’s midway working a couple of kids games. His show was growing, and they were adding newer games that mine couldn’t compete with. I also lacked the income or financing it would have taken to invest in something that would have been able to succeed. Also being blind, there aren’t a lot of games that I can modify so I can operate them. And often after you modify a game so a blind person can run it independently the customers aren’t interested in playing it.

So, I filed for my domain name and threw myself into building the website and the business of helping people sell their surplus rides, games, inflatables, concessions, etc. For that reason I have not been away from my house for an extended amount of time since then. I have gone to visit friends, and I have had many doctor’s appointments, but I was always home by the next day at the latest.

And I should mention that being off of the road has been good for my health. I had gastric surgery and have lost over 240 pounds since February of 2012. I am off of all my prescription medicine, and I hope to soon be free of my cpap machine.

So when I decided to attend my first festival last week, I saw it as a test. The site is growing, and I am making more sales; and soon I hope to be traveling more. I plan to attend trade shows and conventions, meet with clients, tour manufacturing sites, explore famous tourist attractions, etc.

So last week I went with my family to Groves Texas near Beaumont to represent the Ivey’s at the annual Texas Pecan Festival. My family has been providing the carnival rides for this event for over 40 years now. And this was the 45th annual event. They had to postpone it to November the year of Hurricanes Catrina and Rita, but they still had the festival. Brad Corley, his wife Molly, Dennis, Karen, and the rest of the committee are great to us. They are all like family after all these years. We have always looked forward to going. To show you the kind of people we work with in Groves they still continue to have a dinner for all the carnival employees and their families on Wednesday night. I haven’t been since starting the site. But this year I was looking forward to it for months.

Since this was a first for me, there were lots of preparations to make. First, we had to get our doggie Miss Penny ready for the kennel. She has never been in one before, and I have actually avoided going to events like this with the family because I didn’t want to put her through that. And it was just easier for us two to stay home and watch the house. She had to get her shots updated. And we had to get her nails trimmed. My brother Patrick keeps saying he is going to paint Penny’s nails. Luckily, the man in charge of the festival knew the owner of the kennel. This made me feel lots better about leaving my good friend there for a whole week.

Next, I had to address my new lifestyle as it applies to my diet. I am part of a support group online for people who had gastric surgery at Texas Laporoscophy Consultants so I went to the TLC face book group and asked for their suggestions. They said that I should go to the grocery store when I got to Groves and load up on healthy snacks. So, we bought low fat string cheese, lunch meats, peanuts, whole grain serial, low fat milk, grapes, whole wheat crackers, etc. The motel room had a pretty large refrigerator, so we also got some low calorie microwave dinners. The group doesn’t recommend these as a rule, but they can be okay for a short term solution. We even decided to get a can opener and some tuna. During the week I ate several meals from local restaurants. I had the dinner on Wednesday which was chicken spaghetti, salad, and french bread this year. I only ate fast food twice. And the only food I ate on the midway was a very lean pork kabob. So as far as my diet was concerned, I think I did very well. In future I will also bring or purchase protein bars. And I will buy those flavor mixers so i will drink more water next time.

I know you are thinking that covers diet but what about exercise. The motel we stayed at did have a work out room. It actually included some very nice equipment that appeared to be brand new. Unfortunately, I hadn’t counted on it all being electronically controlled by touch screens. I should have expected this because almost all the newer appliances, gagets, and machines are going to them. I didn’t bring my braille labeler with me. The rest of the family was focused on getting ready for the event. Since I didn’t have a work out partner either, I didn’t do any exercise last week. So, the question is how did I do over all. When I weighed in yesterday morning, I had gained two pounds. I feel this a great success for my first trip.

As for the event itself it was a bit of a disappointment. Thanks to two tropical weather systems in the Gulf of Mexico and a slow moving cold front we lost most of the weekend to rain. Thursday was relatively clear. And Sunday was beautiful. But the two main days of the festival Friday night and Saturday were almost total losses. Many of the independent food operators didn’t come or waited until Sunday to set up. This was the same for the crafters and other people who sell novelty items. I didn’t get to meet as many of the vendors as I would have liked to, and I didn’t get to hand out a single business card. I did get the name of a show owner who brought a few rides in for the week, so that is something. As far as the business part of this week it could have been much better; but it was my first attempt at face to face networking in a long time.

and as for the website thanks to the rain outs I was able to keep up with the website. The internet access at the motel was broken the first day, and it ran very slowly the second day; but it was perfect from then on. It actually ran faster than the internet at my house does once they got it going. I was able to finish adding the rides from india as well as a pair of NASCAR simulators and a 360 degree video sign board. I sent out the weekly emails to most of my groups. I didn’t send out any to the party rental companies because I didn’t have any items to tell them about. This was a short fall on my part as I had new items but didn’t have the time to get them added. I am hoping to make up for that this week. I have a responsibility to the people who entrust their equipment to me, and I will do my best to justify their faith in me.

All together I feel pretty good about my first trip away from the house. I did well on my diet. I know what to do in future so I can keep up my exercise schedule. I have a good new business card design that I can be proud to hand out. I managed to keep up the website adding new listings, sending out the weekly emails, writing a blog post, posting to social media, etc while traveling. I got some good practice for meeting people and talking to them face to face. And I got to spend a weekend with family and old friends. I would appreciate any suggestions you have for techniques to use on future trips. And if you liked this post, please share it with your friends, family, and coworkers. Your comments are welcome, and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks and take care, Max