In 1978 our company had just started. We were building a new house in San Francisco. I was totally committed to making the house project and our company successful.

An invitation to my 10th high school reunion came in the spring of that year. It was going to be held in the summer. I made the decision not to attend and not to go back to Long Island to visit my parents because I had to work.

That July Nina went to New York with our children. She visited her parents and my parents. Our second son was very young. We have a picture of my mother holding him.

In September my mother died from a heart attack. She was 58 years old. I did find the time to go to her memorial service.

Ever since that moment I have tried to make decisions about work that did not entail sacrificing my own personal and family needs. I wish I could go back in time and travel with Nina and our children to New York in 1978.

But I can’t.

Work should never be so important that it prevents you from spending time with your family. After all, time just keeps slipping away.

So have a Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends next Thursday. Treasure the time you have with them while you can be with them.

There will always be work to do but you won’t always have the time to spend with those who you love. 

—Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. Contact him at