la sob story

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Miss Winn & Maggy Sue at the base of the lighthouse

The sky is dark & stormy and a deep slate blue colour outside my office window. There's snow in the forecast for this evening and I think spring is on hold for a few days.

I'm in overwhelm. 90% of the time. It's a combination of things but it's mostly financial. It's like I've just become wide awake and I'm thinking to myself How did I get here ... in this place. Well, I guess I've made a few bad financial decisions, over the last few years, however those decisions were always arrived at with the smiles and blessings of my bank manager, funny how that is. I am a single income, sole proprietor of this life ... and therefore all the doing, all the paying, and all the fretting falls on my shoulders. And lately I feel totally exhausted and overwhelmed and honestly not sure who to turn to or what to do. I do hope this doesn't sound like I'm whining or complaining, I have been open & honest on this blog since day one, it is a personal journal kinda blog, and I am a heart on my sleeve kinda girl ... I'm not a good pretender and God knows I feel like I do enough pretending in my day to day life. This is the last place that I want to pretend or be in some haze of denial. Speaking about this is what's on my mind at the moment, and I'm hoping that all this thinking and processing will ultimate help.

I'm in a tricky situation and I need to figure out a solution(s). I've been speaking to a real estate agent and I now know that my home and my giant (possibly divisible lot/land) are not the Antiques Roadshow financial fantasies that I had hoped for. Les Market in this seaside village apparently is pas de hot at the moment. So ... for now scratch that idea. I received an oil bill yesterday that completely floored me - it's very cold here in the winter, you gotta have oil. Although I should have an energy audit. I know this house is terribly drafty and not at all tight. I'll add that to The List. My neighbours are offering to clean up a big broken willow tree in a far corner of my yard which initially made me feel much shame and embarrassment (although a friend assures me that I should welcome that gesture as an act of kindness). I have been (and continue to be) historically very self conscious about my inabilities to keep up with all the yard work that is required on my giant yard/lot. Sigh. Taxes are due next week and really, we won't even go there. And ... on top of everything my best friend ever, my big ol' comfort & joy in life - Jake is gone. F&ck !

So ... I have a lot on my mind and it's mostly yucky stuff. Stuff that can make you feel like you can't breath. I do suspect that I will find my way out of this ... somehow. I always do.

The sensible thing to do is to breath, deeply. Have a hot smelly bath. Go for a long walk with Miss Dixon and begin the scheming and planning of ways to build my Creative Empire. Smile ! See, no matter what, there's always a little tiny gem of hopeful optimism buried in there somewhere under all the piles of yucky stuff. But I had to write the yucky stuff to uncover that gem. Blog it seems = very therapeutic and blogging is, lucky for me ... talking to friends. Thank you !


  1. One thing at a time, mon ami.

  2. Financial worries can definitely wear you down. As Patti said, one thing at a time. It will all work out.

  3. You live in a lovely setting with a summer/tourist trade season. Can you capitalize on this market? You mention Harry's Home D├ęcor & Gift shop. Can you sell some of your photos, original paintings, or limited series prints there? I think prints like “Bleet & Miss Winnie Dixon ready for rain” would be snapped up especially if you include the local atmosphere.
    What about a series of postcards featuring Jake, Winnie and/or the cats in local or NS settings. You know like Winnie at the golf course, rock collecting, Jake at the Halifax town clock, the cats fishing…

    I know this may seem like a small $$ generator at first, however it also gives you exposure in the local marketplace; you never know who that tourist is in real life and they may have connections….

  4. Patti, Mary D & Paula, A BIG huge thank you for words of comfort and encouragement and Paula your ideas are all fantastic. Harry for sure would sell my stuff and customers often are often looking for things by local artists . I must also get some stuff (small prints & postcards) up on Etsy, I think with a link to my blog I'm hoping people might get to know me and the clan (past & current) and maybe like to buy a tiny slice of 29 Black Street. A red dog, yellow dog print or Winnie & Bleet ready for rain.

    I just need to get moi shit together. My problem is I SO often become totally paralyzed by all the other - the non design related stuff, home & garden upkeep etc. And I do have a tendency to make monsters out of tiny molehills (but you all probably already know that about me). I think if I had a lot less of this big old house, homeowner stuff to do I could be so much more creatively prolific. I dream of living in a sweet little bedsit with a tiny yard and a big tree with my gang of 5.

    I hesitated to be so honest on this morning's blog but you all have proved to me what I did already know in my heart. There's no judging here ... only kindness & loving help and support. I thank you all SO much for it. You have made my day and it's only 1pm. Smile.

  5. This unrolling of encouraging comments is the very best thing about a blog. Paula, your ideas...just the best. What a girl needs sometimes is hard core practical ideas. Being similarly concerned about my financial realm due to my impending divorce, I spent yesterday browsing the bookstore for "women and money" books. Some of these look trite, Susan, too many exclamation marks!! But others have potential: I got one,"Nice Girls Don't Get Rich" and don't let the title mislead you. It is about how sometimes the way women think about money keeps them from prospering. There are loads of PRACTICAL ideas and some good psychology.
    There is a new book for women that looks good from Suzy Orman who writes the financial column in Oprah magazine,
    but I'll get it from amazon, where books are always cheaper even with postage.
    You might want to rebrowse "The Secret", the chapter on The Secret and Wealth or something like that. True it is hard to think like you are already wealthy when you aren't, but I'm practicing.
    My final bit of advice, Susan, is let those guys get that tree. I've worried too about how much I can allow other people to do stuff for me, but if my neighbor who loves his chain saw more than his wife wanted to remove some of my dead wood: I'd say go for it and make him some cookies.

    ps..don't forget that "big thing" percolating: your children's book illustration. You write well enough that you could write it yourself, but why not do up a portfolio with story line ideas and approach some already published authors. Might be a faster track and more money too.
    hugs...I always comment late, hope you get this.

  6. One more comment:
    Remember, Susan, you have primo credentials...use them!

  7. I can TOTALLY relate to the financial worries. Remember that it's okay to ask for help, or accept if it's offered, when you need it. I know that pride can get in the way, but would your family or Harry want to see you eaten up with anxiety when, quite often, people love to help?! You have talent, you're thrifty, it's not like you're wasting your cash on hookers and blow. So maybe you let others shoulder a bit of your burden.

  8. merci Anya & J. More great support and suggestions. I've actually had a super afternoon. Housecleaning, purging and cooking. This time yesterday I couldn't breath. I'm not close with my family so that's not an option and BFF Harry bless him will let me peddle my wares (if I just would get my wares together) at his store - where I also work part time in the summer. I think the reminders and suggestions left on this comment section today are the key. I really do want to grow my business and I am very confident that there is loads of potential there.

    I just need to figure out a way of dealing with all the other stuff. Like affording to pay someone to paint or mow my lawn.

    thank you ! thank you ! for such wonderful moral support xo, S.

  9. The other thing I wanted to mention as well was... If your house is really BIG than offer a room to let for the summer only. Make the advertisement something creative - Only the artistic or handy need apply. The artistic would be off doing artistic things for most of the day. The handy get a break on the rent if they do odd jobs.

  10. It's about a year ago that I took two crushing financial blows in two days - a car that suddenly needed a new engine, and a HUGE income tax bill. At the time it was almost unbearable...but looking back on it with 12 months' distance, I can see that it was those two things that forced me to re-evaluate and start looking for work elsewhere. I'm happy now, enjoying my new job in Toronto, revelling in being car-less, and just about finished paying off the income tax. I'm not saying this to brag, but to try to encourage you...sometimes you have to sift through ashes to see the sparks of opportunity. Day by day is sometimes the only way...but you'll get there.
    Things I was wondering...can you burn the wood from the willow tree next winter? Would someone be willing to do a swap for yard work (they'd cut the grass, you could trade for a piece of art, a photograph, a jar of homemade jam)? Oh! And it's worth checking with your accountant, but I read somewhere that if you run your own business, your income tax doesn't need to go in until mid-June. Whether that's good news or just delaying the inevitable, I'm not sure...but it might help lift the immediate pressure.
    Thinking of you and sending good vibes!

  11. WT and I sure do know what it's like to have financial troubles. He is a sole proprietor, much like yourself, and many times it is feast or famine. There were several times, in the 20 years we've been here that we thought we would lose our beloved Manor. All I can say is not to let the waves crash over you....just try to float on the top and you will ride them through, dear friend. Hang in there.

  12. I can so relate to your financial anxieties here (they can so easily takeover one's mind and peace) and how all the non design things take away from what you really want to do.

    I'm so glad you had your friend come out and help you, cheer you up with your loss, and give you a fresher start in your office area. That will help tremendously.


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