I woke up yesterday morning with the phrase "100 Days" bouncing through my brain. I went to the calendar and started counting. That must have been a warning, because our 100th day in Okotoks is actually today.
In politics, 100 days into a mandate is an important marker, a barometer if you will of how a government is doing in terms of living up to its campaign pledges and realizing its vision. With that spirit, how are we doing 100 days into the biggest transition of our personal and professional lives?
I think that overall we are doing very well. We set out to get fully up and running by the end of the summer and we were able to do it. We also wanted to immerse ourselves into our new community and spent hours and hours walking and exploring. Most importantly, we wanted to embrace our new neighbourhood of Elma Street. In just a couple of months we have been grateful to have met some of our neighbours and are on a first name basis with many.
Heather and I are still trying to get a feel for Okotoks from a business perspective. The fact is that this first year will be an important period of discovery, trying to figure out how to connect with new clients and customers. We both had a strong footprint in Fort McMurray. Rebuilding that in southern Alberta is going to take time.
I was very keen to discover how a new environment was going to affect my creative process. Being in this beautiful part of Alberta has definitely influenced my paintings and will continue to blow me into exciting and different directions. Our daily encounters with deer have been the most notable difference. I'm also struck by the prairie grasses and marvellous vistas looking toward the mountains.
We really wanted to infuse a certain energy in Birdsong Studio and the Artists Loft above. I think we were successful. While we have had a few events to draw people in, we look forward to having more people discover this creative space and come and paint with us. However, it takes time to make those connections and earn a level of trust that will make people comfortable enough to pop in on a regular basis. We'll get there.
A tremendous amount of work has happened in our first 100 days. The renovations to the garage/studio, yard, and driveway were not insignificant. All of the stuff that the previous owners did not get to in their construction process had to be done before we were going to feel comfortable. The driveway, flower beds, and backyard needed a lot of love. Eighteen loads of gravel later, the driveway is going to be able to withstand as much moisture as Mother Nature wants to throw at it. The backyard is now fully Coco proof. And access to the staircase up to the Artists Loft is super safe and easy to maintain. Heather did a brilliant job with adding life to the front yard and flower beds. Her landscaping prowess never ceases to amaze me. As anyone who visited our Fort McMurray home will attest, she has a gift of creating natural beauty using flowers, shrubs, rocks and trees.
As I look forward to our next hundred days, I want to continue building connections and clients in the Okotoks area. I also want to complete commission projects that have been waiting for us to settle into our new space. I'm also excited to begin preparing for the 2020 market season and how those opportunities can strengthen our business model.