Off duty

Changed the look of the blog for Fall.
DLJ is downstairs with Derek. My Mom left today to go back to Arizona, it’s amazing how the time has gone. I remember the day they arrived in Oregon, and thinking, when they go home, I will have a baby! And here I am on the other end of that.

Derek is a really good baby. He fusses, all babies do, but so far, no colic, he’s usually pretty happy, and when not, we are getting better at figuring out why. All the stuff I thought I wouldn’t be able to sort out, I am starting to. I know when he’s pooping (it’s kinda cute actually, the look of concern he gets, and the zen face he has when he’s done), DLJ can tell when he’s peed. We usually can calm him down with some whooshing noise, swaddling, and jiggling him on our knee.

Getting up in the night is hard; but I sort of enjoy sitting with him in the dim light looking out the window at the blackness. When I am not so tired I am falling over, that is.

During the day I watch the leaves fall and think about the coming chilly weather. It’s fun to take him out in the Moby, I can do longer walks now and we have the thing down in terms of getting him in it. Even DLJ took a try and looked so cute carrying his son around.

Not all is perfect  here, the hospital bills are bad and I am not sure how we will get to the other side of all the financial things right now. I know we will, but I am one of those “always pay in cash” people, so any sort of debt drives me crazy, and add that to my hormones and any finance tension is very difficult for me right now. I am very bad at asking for help from friends and family, and worse at accepting it unasked; like somehow I am a failure for not being able to dole out several thousand dollars right NOW to pay the bills.

I take it to an extreme, and I know it, but I would rather stress on this side than stress on the side of owing money everywhere and living above my means. Usually, we don’t, but until the hospital bills, property taxes, and 2007 income tax are figured out, it’s going to be hard on my pride.  One step at a time, I know. And cut myself some slack, since I just had major surgery, my body is still going a little nuts (I have lost 30 pounds in the past month), hormones are crazy and  Derek and I are learning about each other, and DLJ and I are trying to help each other out and still get a little alone time in the process. He’s a great Dad. I’d love an hour or so just to snuggle up with him, maybe when Derek goes to sleep next. :p

dereksept907.jpg
Our boy.

Year’s End.

Almost the end of 2006, and it looks like it will end nicely for us. We are seeing Pink Martini at the Schnitz on NYE, just like last year. DLJ got a raise and a bonus today, which is wonderful. He’s finally making somewhere in the ballpark of what he should be for all the work he does.

It has been really nice to be home. I have some glass cooking in the kiln, I need to clean up the bedroom, but the cats are happy to see me and it is wonderful to be back in my own bed, home, and neighborhood. Cooking is enjoyable, sleeping is grand and DLJ have been taking nightly walks so that we can see the holiday lights together before folks start taking them down. Being gone for the Christmas season kinda sucked, in many ways. The tour was excellent and I am glad I did it, but I wish it hadn’t been all of Dec. up until the 24th.

Tonight we will celebrate DLJ’s raise. =)

Sunday Evening….

Books, Papa Murphy’s pizza (we didn’t think ahead and take out some of my frozen homemade dough) and tea. A cosy night.

I’m on Advil for womanly cramps so I don’t know how my arm is doing. Tomorrow I will torch sans pain blockers and see.

I had a lovely time at brunch today with some local women, we go out to eat every now and then. Then a friend from Livejournal came over and she made her first beads. I have never tried to teach anyone to lampwork before…I hope I did well. She had fun, but I hope I imparted information that was helpful.

This weekend is our Halloween getaway with 20+ friends here. Last year I did this and was reading The Tightwad Gazette and dreaming of my job ending. Here I am a year later. The question “what do you do?” is no longer “web designer.” Now it’s “Glass artist and Tour Manager/Whatever is Needed for Thomas Dolby.”

The deal with the universe is going as planned. I make WAY less money than I did a year ago. But all that living I have done in this year! The money thing is tough and it will get tougher before it gets easier. DLJ is so wonderful to support me in all this.

So with Halloween being THIS coming weekend for me, I must work on that costume. That means a trip to used clothing stores and the like this week.

Change of pace

I haven’t written much in the last few days here, I was in California and the internet access was a little spotty.

I was down in the Bay Area to talk to a friend about his tour. I have managed his website for many years now, and it needed updating before he went on the road. A few weeks ago he decided I should come along, to update the site and also sell merchandise.

I agreed, and so this meeting was so that we could go over site designs and nail down details.

He had a gig in San Francisco on Thursday night, so I flew down on Wednesday and spent a few days sleeping on an air mattress in his garage, which had been converted into a sort of tv room/office for his wife.

The show was excellent, and before it I had dinner at my old haunt, saying hi to my old friends and eating really good Italian food. Then we met up with my friend at a nearby bar before walking down to the gig.

It was excellent, as was the performer after him, GianLuigi. I really enjoyed his set, so much I stayed after my first ride back to the house left. So I went back home later, arriving at 2:30 and quickly hiding under the covers to combat the cold.

Friday we sat in a small diner for brunch and talked, and I agreed to be the tour manager. I’m freaked out but sure I can do a good job…most of the time I’m sure. ;)

I have a lot to learn but I think I can swing this. Mostly I am happy that he trusts me to this. His wife thanked me, saying if I hadn’t agreed, she’d have to do it. Heh.

It will take me away from glass a little, but I can work it out, and it is only for a month. Worth it for the experience and a chance to watch my friend get back into the music game after so many years. One of those things to remember when I’m old and grey.

More soon, as the journal is sure going to take a swing to the different from now till mid May.

I made that deal with the universe, giving up the monetary greed for freedom. I guess the universe is listening.

first steps

So here is what will happen:
The room will be sealed off to prevent further contamination. They will clean every single thing in there. Every CD. Every book. Everything. It all gets moved out.
Then the wall on either side of the fireplace comes down. Panel, sheet rock. The carpet comes up, the padding, the wood the carpet is nailed to, until there is just concrete. Then the fireplace front either is taken down and salvaged, or demolished. Everything is cleaned, every hint of mold removed.

Then the masonry guy comes in and finds the leak and solves it. He is coming over today or tomorrow just to get a look, and we will decide if he will demo the fireplace, or the mold guys will salvage it for putting it back up later. Anyway, eventually he will find the leak, outside, inside, who knows right now.

Then the walls, fireplace get rebuilt,carpet reinstalled.

Oh, such a joy.

quick, bad update

leak in the house. mold. Mold guy came. They will need to break down a wall and a front of a fireplace. remove mold. A masonry guy will come solve the leak issue. Rebuild walls,redo fireplace front.

FUN, huh? I’m thrilled to the tune of thousands of dollars. This was previously a problem before we bought the house. There might be something we can do about that. We shall see as things unfold.

Well, this is it.

The last day at work. The last day of commuting, of a full-time job. Of getting up before 7 am.
I’m very nervous. This money thing, man. It’s a tether. It’s a cage. I sit and wonder how the @#$#$% we will make it. Touching savings and such, we could go a long, long, long time this way. But I want to save, not deplete. We aren’t huge consumers, especially not me. It’s not like I can make a huge change to rapidly lower how much money goes out. But things will help. The new way I will shop for food. Less gas. Less eating out since I won’t be at work. I can lower the insurance on my car as it will no longer be driven so much.

But then I sit here and listen to the whiny call center woman behind me, talking babytalk into the phone, and look at my beige walls like the thousands of other beige walls around me…

The thing that really started, or cemented my decision, was this guy about 500 feet away from me. His cube walls that face the hallway are coated in photographs. Most of them of his young son, but also of trips, waterfalls, fishing, posed photos with friends. But yes, mostly his son, eating, playing, sleeping, smiling.

I started looking at other walls of cubes. Dogs, calm scenes, vacation spots, pictures of people’s homes, gardens, families.

Everything they have to leave every day to come here.

Work is necessary. The trick is to do what you love for work, or what you feel contributes to the overall good. I looked at a job at once…terrific pay, great environment, excellent situation. Except they made infared imaging products. Helping to protect our soldiers. Yeah.

There’s no way I could have ever worked that job. Some may be able to sleep at night if their job does not directly cause harm, but even as a webmonkey, I would be working in a poisoned factory in terms of the effects of that company’s products.

It is necessary I work. It is not necessary I work here. I will not be in a cube that I plaster with images of every other place I want to be. To those who want to be here, and love their work, I salute you. And I leave my space in the hopes that someone who loves it will take it.
My cube has photos of glass, beads, and our cats.

The money will follow me someday. We can do this, terrifying as it is right now. So I will take my photos today, walk out the door and be locked out. And I will go to where the places in my pictures live, and live with them everyday.

I really am scared, you guys. The drop in pay for a while, or for a long time, will be HUGE. But we were doing really well financially before this. With saving techniques, simplified desires and the energy to find deals and work the systems to my needs, we can do it. And if we can’t…well, I can jump back in a myriad of ways.

I keep watching the websites of companies in the art biz, in the glass biz. I’m making connections. As I grow my skills will grow. Maybe I will try to teach glass art someday.

I’m scared.

But I’m thrilled, too.

Wheels Do Turn

Time can’t go fast enough, and I wish it would slow down. I want to be past the holiday hump, the travel, the hurdles. I want to be past this job, yet I am terrified. I put on a good show about this change I am about to make…but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary.

Ten more working days now, not including today. It’s time to start gathering the spreadsheets and things to start keeping really good records.

I need to get the post office to stop putting the mail from previous owners of my post office box in there for me.

I got my first biz spam junk mail in there yesterday. It’s only been two weeks. Now that I have registered the biz name, I’m sure the onslaught is about to begin. I will take some steps to lessen it, if I can.

Tomorrow I will start cleaning out my cube, since I will be sharing it with my friend for the next two weeks while we transition. Should be nice and cozy. I tried to get him a different one, further away from the gossipy call center women, but oh well. I made my point and they might keep looking for him to be somewhere else anyway. It will be fun! Lots to do, but I get to work with a friend for two weeks. Neat.

I SO need to dip mandrels. It’s just too dark and cold at night but I gotta do it. This weekend we will polish off the light switch in the studio and then I can make my calls to the local fire marshall, etc., to get things signed off ok for my biz license. We also should get a tree if we are going to get one, heh. So busy.

So much to be done in the house. The front door sticks a little since we put the new kick plate on, needs to be sanded down, which means more hours with the front door wide open.So fun when it’s so cold! Really need to finish the shower, too. I miss taking a shower in the bedroom, instead of going downstairs. =)

I’ve been trading emails back and forth with a nice guy from SCORE, a volunteer effort that helps small biz folks with advice and resources. They set me up with this guy and we will start meeting in the New Year. He has experience with glass, jewelry and retail, which is perfect, of course. They really try to set you up with someone in your field of biz. I am looking forward to his crits and advice. There are some papers and things he wants from me before we meet, so I will work on polishing off more of my biz plan, as well as some other materials he requested.

I’ve been spending money stocking up on things for the biz while the cash is still coming in at the “usual” level. Glass. More glass. A few tools. The more I have now, the lower my costs as I start out. Ant vs. grasshopper mentality. The last really HUGE purchase will happen right after the new year, of the new kiln. Then that painful seperation of money will be over and it will all be smaller from then on in. Especially once the tax id gets here. =)

Last night we did a little holiday shopping. I’m a Jersey Girl, the mall is home turf but I was antsy after about 40 minutes of it. I did my shopping and got out of there. I’m done. It was easy this year. Now I just have to wrap. I wish I could wrap in newspaper…but I need to break my family and friends into the old “new” me gently. :p

I’m a sellout

Work requested I take an extension to the end of the year, and I agreed. Today should have been my one week mark to the end, but now Dec. 30th is my exit signpost.

I have very mixed feelings about all this.

Math shows me that DLJ’s income is pretty low for what it should be. I have to keep that in mind for now, that this is truly a wronged situation that will be made right one way or another. Hopefully that will change soon, but I cannnot be certain when that will be. It eats me up inside. Makes me angry. He deserves more for what he knows, and what he does. Plop that on top of $3,000 in dental bills by the end of the year…

So I had to take it. What we will do is live like I didn’t, and stash as much of it as we can to recoup the dental bills and put more away in the emergency fund.

I have to remember that when I stop working fulltime, that doesn’t mean I’m stopping working. I’m just not working for anyone else anymore. Glass will take awhile, but yes, I might actually make money at it. Getting my larger kiln will significantly up my production levels. And I will still look for web gigs on the side. I will sell things on Ebay. I will work at lowering costs everywhere else in ways that aren’t possible when you work all day and are tired and have no time. I will be earning money buy spending less of it over time.

But I forget all that and focus on DLJ’s paycheck and feel trapped and saddened. It will pass, I know it will…but it makes my plans cloudy and more uncertain. On his salary, we really couldn’t get by unless we ate ramen and sat at home in layers with the heat off, never made phone calls and got entirely rid of cable tv. But it will work out, one way or the other, because we will fix it. And if we save up the bulk of the money I make by staying here until the end of the year, and take a chunk of that and use it to offset the hard times by just adding enough to get by with no problems…hopefully that will be time for me to ramp up the glass, the ebay, get the other projects going and find the sweet spot of making enough to get by without stress on the basics…which is my goal right now.

But I still feel like a total sellout, sad, and my momentum is screwed up. I was amped, I was pumped…and now I guess I’ll go get some coffee and bring it back to my cube. My choice was the right one for our circumstances right now…but I feel lost. And I admit that there is a part of me somewhere, as a woman, as a Cancer, who wants to stay home, take care of the house, provide warm safe home, and be taken care of. But that has never been my role in this marriage, and maybe it never will be. I’ve always an extrovert, a go getter, loud, brash, independent, a grrrl instead of a girlie girl. What’s the solution, marry a rich guy? I didn’t marry for that. I married someone who will let me do what I want, be who I want, and who loves me. But what I have achieved over my grrrl years is now a pair of handcuffs. And that shouldn’t be! So I feel bad but I know it won’t be this way forever.