Ahem. Regardless: Hello world! This is going to be a rather lengthy, text-filled update, so bear with me. I promise to get back to the shines and pictures and all that goodness following this post, but I felt the need to update everyone on my situation.
First off: Many apologies for being so absent. Things have been crazy. Really, really crazy. Lots has happened since my last post for the BSBP. Some good, some bad. It's been a insane ride, but I feel fortunate to have come out mostly unscathed from it all.
For those who might be new to the blog, here's the chaos I've been dealing with. I had been meaning to post and update in the many months since then, but it's been a strange and difficult ride. It's sometimes hard to share, hard to think about, and difficult to put into words. I figure, since I posted everything publicly in that fateful blog post and in a few others, that those that read this blog are quite deserving of an update.
So here's what happened starting back in December:
Business for me really picked up after this post. A lot of friends, family, and even strangers came through for my mother and I. We made enough money to afford groceries and all of our bills for the remainder of the month. I seriously was brought to tears by the generosity of some of you folks (I'm looking at you Zedre ♥).
It was a helluva lot of work keeping up with orders and there were a lot of sleepless nights, but I survived it. The sleeplessness was largely due to stress, insomnia, and the fact that at the time, I spent 4 hours a day commuting to work, 6 hours at work working, and then 2 hours (or more) at home working additional hours. That's 12 hours. So, 12 hours of my day was spent on just work for my Day Job. Then I got to come home to try and run a business + do all the other little things that seem so utterly insignificant that life dictates you must do on a daily basis (clean, eat, shower, sleep, etc).
Chaos. I had it. I can't tell you how I slept, when I ate, or really much of anything I did other than work, work, work. My mentality was that if I just worked hard enough everything would be okay. Everything could be fine. If I just had more hours in the day to work even more, I could do this. I could support both my mother and myself.
But I was exhausted. Totally and utterly exhausted. I had been maintaining this insane schedule for a year as of December. A year. A whole freaking year. I suffered through this because I love my mother, and I wanted to take care of her. But suffering, eternally being broke, having clothes and shoes that are ridden with holes, is a difficult thing. It wears you down.
Then relief came. Or at least seemed to once again. She was re-hired at her old job that had laid her off no less. Two weeks later, they fired her. Our world crashed again, but this time it was so much worse.
My mother called me at work and said, "They just fired me."
I was dumbfounded. Why, why, why? That's all I could ask. It was some b.s. reason; this company has become rather shady as the years have passed. Basically, they were trying to get her off their unemployment rolls. It didn't work, she got her unemployment back, but not before our lives were once more thrown into a tailspin.
It was the end February. Rent was due on the apartment on 03/05/12. Rent was a charming $1100.00, and Mom also needed to pay her car note. She didn't have enough money to pay for both the rent and the car. We had to move. Immediately.
I went and talked to my boss. She looked as terrified as I felt. I told her I had to go home to help my mother pack so we could move. It was a Monday, we had through the weekend to get everything in our three bedroom apartment packed and to... somewhere. Anywhere.
I told her I would work from home, but I ended up using all of my vacation time instead. It seriously took all week from about 8 am until 8pm or so every night to get all of my mother's things packed. Fortunately enough for me, most of my possessions were already in storage, and I had been living out of boxes for about a year prior to this. My move-in with my mom was meant to be temporary, but ended up lasting longer for obvious reasons.
I called everyone that day, and so did Mom. I called my dad as I drove home from work, and that's when I started to cry. I kept it together at work, but for whatever reason I can't ever hold back what I'm really feeling with Dad. Ever. He's my hero, and I am very much daddy's girl. I told him what had happened, and that we had to move.
I remember crying as I was driving. It's really not a smart idea to be on the cell phone, crying and driving all at once on a highway in Dallas, but I digress. I had to tell him I had no where to live. I was essentially homeless.
Can I come stay with you for a little while? Of course I could.
Trouble is, Dad lives in Oklahoma. I live in North Texas. My job is here. My life is here.
I called my boss again. I think I called her three or four times. She said it was okay if I worked from "home" for a few weeks. So for most of March, I lived in one room with my Dad. It was cramped, but Oklahoma is my safe place. It's where I'm from originally, and I hope to be able to move back there someday soon.
Meanwhile, my mother moved to Athens, TX which is a very small town. She moved in with her boyfriend whom she eloped with. He's a great guy. They were actually high school sweethearts while she was in school in Dallas before she met my father after having moved to Oklahoma.
Her cost of living was reduced significantly. So much so, that she could save a bit of money instead of being $400.00 short every month.
I saved up a bit of money while living with Dad for a few weeks. Somewhere in the midst of the rain-filled blur of moving (oh yes, it rained the whole time AND I broke out in hives during this... awesome), I posted on Facebook asking friends if they knew of an affordable apartment complex in Dallas where I wouldn't get robbed at night. That's very important. The last apartment I had to myself was on the edge of Arlington. My truck was broken into multiple times, and the locks on my toolbox are still jacked.
A darling friend of mine that I have known for about ... wow... 14 years now?... owns her own home, and she had been looking for a roommate for quite some time. She offered me a room in her home for rent to include all utilities, internet, etc, plus she adores animals and doesn't mind my dog or bird.
|This workspace will never be this neat again. Already I have wrecked it.|
As it turns out, we are perfect roommates because we are neurotic and OCD about the exact same things. She also quite enjoys helping making jewelry and loves that I cook and bake. It's beautiful! Plus, look at this fabulous room I have. It's like a miniature artists' studio. I freaking love it. I will live with her forever... or at least until I save up funds to buy a house in Oklahoma.
Anyhow. Things were going pretty smoothly at this point. At least until I also got a phone call from a collections agency at work about a month ago. I had a small panic attack/mental break down in the middle of the office. Awesome.
My mother and I had both been sent to collections for debt related to the apartment we moved out of. We had been told by the apartment manager that so long as we stayed in contact with her, she would let us pay down the balance and she would work with us. Apparently, written letters directly to her attention including all our new contact information was not sufficient. We were sent to collections for about $1300.00 without even a single statement, which by the way, is illegal.
The rep told me that, "Well, they'd have sent a statement to your last known address if they didn't have your new address on file which would've been your apartment." Uh. Yeah. And I set up my mail to forward via USPS as soon as I knew my new address. Which was effective immediately, and I had been receiving mail.
Regardless, I am saddled with this debt despite the apartment complex being full of lies as I was signed to the lease. I had to be as I am not a minor. I borrowed money from Dad, and had Mom send money for the other half of the initial payment. She agreed to send me $100.00 a month to help pay down the debt since I'm currently living paycheck to paycheck as it is. Mom's unemployment wiped out my savings and the cushion I usually have in my bank account, so I'm struggling already.
To top things off, last Monday I got a text message from my mother around 9pm saying that she got a letter from Texas Workforce Commission in the mail stating that her benefits had termed. We were under the impression she had benefits through August. Apparently not.
So now, I am paying down this rather large debt by myself. Oh, and I might also be held liable for her vehicle. Charming. I am cosigned to that, too. At this point I'm rather bitter about the entire mess for reasons I'm not especially willing to delve into on this blog. I'm just tired of being broke, working my ass off, and having nothing to show for it. I'd really like to be able to buy shoes that don't have holes in them, take my dog to the vet, and get an oil change for my truck before the engine locks up.
Yes, at this point I'm feeling a bit bitter. This has been going on for 18 months now. But there's good news! I have an epic plan. I always have a plan. I'm pretty good at solving problems. It's part of why I have managed to survive all of this crap so far.
I have decided to re-focus my business on a handful of very elegant, high quality designs that I can easily reproduce myself so that I can sell them wholesale to local boutiques. Dallas is covered in boutiques. I freaking love Dallas.
These designs will also be available for sale in my Etsy shop at retail pricing. I also hope to be able to create enough extra pendants/findings to sell extras in bead kits in my supply shop. I have also started up another shop (yes.... another... I'm in Etsy listing hell) specifically for easy, cutesy things. These are the sort of designs I sell in bulk at anime conventions and the like. Kids like the cutesy stuff; their moms like my gemstones. It works out beautifully. ♥
I ordered all the supplies (mostly findings and seed beads) I need this past Saturday to get my wholesale designs made, and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival so I can get to work. I've also been working 10 hour days for the last week at the Day Job to help make ends meet in the interim while trying to establish a more stable second income stream from my jewelry business. Doing so isn't nearly as hard as it used to be since it now takes me only 20 minutes to get to work.
So, that's where I'm at, my darlings. Life has been difficult, but I'm okay. Things are working out, it's just taking a bit of time and trying my patience. I have beautiful new jewelry designs to look forward to, and I can't wait to share it all with you.
Be on the lookout for those new handmade pendants and findings. I'd like to host a giveaway of sorts to test them out on other beaders. Also, if you haven't heard, BSBP is just around the corner once again. I can't wait!