The Universe Has a Sick Sense of Humor

Everyday Adventures

I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day. I like to think I have a decent sense of humor, but I don’t like practical jokes in general. Maybe it’s fallout from being teased as a kid, maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my dislike of pushing people’s buttons to get a rise. Maybe I just hate the embarrassment that comes from being taken-in. At any rate, not a fan of the day or the shenanigans (though, okay, I did participate in one small bit of subterfuge today on the Helmar blog, but that was by request and, hopefully, not harmful to anyone).

The last two weeks, though, have been like one long, surreal, joke. One of truly questionable humor.

Most things have been small annoyances. My phone is glitchier than normal (I never named it, but it’s begging to be called Vanellope from here on out) but it’ll have to hang in there for a while longer. The freezer has started this *really neat trick* of popping open just a smidgen when you close the refrigerator door. Not every time, that would be too predictable, but it’s resulted in a couple of mornings coming downstairs to melting this or that. This very site has gone down twice in the last week due to issues with the cache something or other and attempts to get an answer as to why keep leading me in a Sisyphean loop (though I think I might finally be getting somewhere, maybe, I hope).

But no, the real fun began on the 22nd, when the boss announced that we were closing in a little over a month (that would be the news I mentioned a few times in the last post).

Now, on it’s own, that’s not a joke, it’s just bad. And as the bookkeeper I was all too aware that it was a possibility if things didn’t change. Change was being sought, we’d pulled out of slumps before and survived the economic downturn/great recession where other shops did not. To go from high possibility to startling reality, well, that took a little getting used to.

The joke comes with a bit of a history lesson.

4 years ago… things happened. What and why and by who aren’t really important, water under the bridge for the most part and all, but I almost gave my notice. I didn’t (obviously), but I realized that I didn’t want to be here forever. I was, at the time, 36 and had been with the same employer for all of my adult life.* I had never set out to become a bookkeeper, it just turned out to be something I was good at. But I’m good at other things, too, and so I set a goal for myself that I’d be at least 50% self-employed by the time I turned 40.

Our last official day open is 4/29. My 40th birthday is 4/30.


Of course it’s not quite so cut and dried. While the company will be closed for business there are still a lot of loose ends to tie up and, since I’m the one that handles the paperwork, I’ll be around for a few months after that. The boss and I’ll be roaming the ghostly halls as we basically dismantle the company piece by piece. While I’m grateful for the slightly extended stay of unemployment, it’s a weird sort of limbo to be in, too. And if I find a new position before it’s all done I’ll be doing both for a while.

Everyone’s taking it as well as can be expected (well, almost everyone, but that’s not a story for today). It’s weird to know that certain tasks or projects you’re working on for the last time. The end may be nigh, but we’ve still got jobs to do, and most of us are getting on with getting on.

What will I do come August? Still very much up in the air.

Part of me says take this time to cultivate more freelance clients, really invest in the blog and products that I already have, and embrace self-employment. That part of me conveniently ignores the bills that I pay every month, says the other part of me, and urges to get a job, any job, maybe two jobs if necessary.

It’s very house-divided in my head these days.

Chances are it’ll be some combination of the two. I’m looking for another full-time position while also creating contingency plans if nothing pans out or it takes longer than expected to find the right fit. Todd and I have talked about how we’ll handle the finances should I end up on unemployment (which would only be about half my take-home pay, max) or worse. It’ll work out how it needs to, things just might be tight for a while. But we’ll get through it.

The moral of the story is: be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

*I’ve worked here since the week after high school graduation, minus a 5 month leave of absence to finish my Culinary degree in 2000, coming back because my replacement didn’t work out and I have this pesky need to be able to pay my bills. All of them. In the same month, even. I know, quirky, right?

Curiouser and Curiouser…

In The Studio

Click the image to see the rest of the project!

Isn’t it awesome when a project comes together and turns out the way you want?!

I’ve been plotting and planning and dreaming up this month’s Gauche Alchemy project for months and finally made the time to put those plans into action.

Taking action is a big thing in life right now–we closed on the house, the convention schedule is heating up, I’m about to wrap up my wedding recaps which means I can get back to a more steady, regular blogging schedule, and my birthday is coming up at the end of the month which always gives me a bit of a boost to get things done.

The Video Summit, in it’s last days for this year, is always inspirational and makes me want to focus on my personal business plans–all of them, not just the cookbook side–and with the move coming up it means that our finances will be getting a little shaken up, but in a good way that means I can continue with my timeline to be more and more self-sufficient over the next few years, eventually working “for myself” more than someone else. (Of course, being in business for yourself usually means working for/with lots of someone else’s, but it’s still a different dynamic when you’re running your own show!)

Lots of change, lots of progress, lots of making things happen. I like it. A lot.

What’s going on with you?


Dreaming of a Future in the Past

The Gingerbread Diaries

My plans for this week have been derailed. Deliciously derailed by the sliver of a chance that Todd and I have any hope whatsoever of owning a 100-year-old home in Thomasville. There are actually two candidates for our TLC and Todd’s handiness with tools. Two Victorian treasures that we could spend the next several years of weekends patching and painting and making into a home.

Either would be lovely, but I really love the Pink Lady better at this point.

Either would be lovely, but I really love the Pink Lady better at this point.

I am writing this both to get some of it out of my head and to really just put it out there to the Universe as a wish, an intent, maybe even a demand?

No, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to demand it, but I’d like the powers that be to seriously consider this request.

True, we weren’t actually planning to start the home-buying process for at least another year, so we don’t even know if it’s feasible from a financial standpoint. (Of course, the mortgage on either home would be a small fraction of our current rent, so I hope that works in our favor when the whole picture is perused.) Or, rather, we know we could swing it, it’s getting a bank to agree with us. True, both homes up for consideration need more than just cosmetic work. But they’ve both been lived in before being listed–these aren’t foreclosures–which tells me that they are each livable, though with some potential for major repairs needed in the not-so-distant future.

And, true, this has the potential to turn our life collectively on its ear. I take that back: there’s no potential, it would definitely turn our lives upside down seven ways from Sunday.

But that’s not such a bad thing.

Todd and I have been together for 6 years. We’ve lived together for 4 1/2 of those years. We exist in a happy little rut of work, friends, and small pockets of downtime. And it is happy. Getting married was, honestly, a nice little party to celebrate 6 years together, but it didn’t change our lives very much.

Change can be a good thing!

And as far as changes go, this one would be mild as far as the day-to-day is concerned. Todd already works in Thomasville–it’d be my turn to have a commute, which I’m okay with–and since it’s just over the state line it’s not like we’d be leaving our friends and family in the dust. True, it wouldn’t be quite as easy to pop over to Hobby Lobby or Trader Joe’s (both currently 5 minutes or less from our front door), but they’d still be on my way home if nothing else!

For those who don’t know me well, when faced with a new proposition I go into research mode. Back in the day that meant a trip to the library or, later, the bookstore. Now the Internet is my research playground and for something like rehabbing a century home I’ve been on the hunt for blogs written by people who are doing the same things. Not the professional preservationists, but the everyday average humans who are muddling through it. So I can learn from them before Todd and I get knee deep in plaster dust, crown moldings, and who knows what’s behind the odd panel in the wall.

It’s going to be hard work, but that’s okay. It could be is going to be expensive, but if we’re smart about it and invest in sweat equity we can keep some of the expenses down. And if we’re not in a hurry this could be the project of a lifetime.

I want that chance.

I want it bad.

Bad enough to write this post for a bunch of “invisible friends” (as the Blond Duck would say) to hope right along with us and cross their fingers.

On Saturday we’ll actually get to see the insides of the houses for ourselves. See if Todd thinks either of them is fixable by us (as he has far more construction know-how that I) and worth the risk/adventure (me? I’m already sold, termites or the like notwithstanding). We’ve started the process with the bank, I’m just waiting on the next step (and hoping that their response to the initial information isn’t to laugh us out of the building).

Of course, being the “practical optimist” that I am (i.e. the self-proclaimed queen of the worst case scenario), I fully realize all of my dreaming and scheming could come to absolutely nothing. I’m trying to keep a silver lining in mind, though. If nothing else, this has given us a definite direction to look in for the future, if this go-round doesn’t pan out. And if it comes down to a financial issue, then at least we’ll know what we need to work on so we’re ready when the right opportunity does come along.

But until the Universe gives us an unequivocal ‘no,’ I’m going to go back to planning for the ‘yes.’

Cross your fingers for us, won’t you?