Friday, February 28, 2020

Still slacking, LMBO

I have to laugh. Things have been kind of crazy-weird around here lately, and the shop's kind of taken a bit of a back seat to everything I want and need to do. I'm getting back on track slowly, but it's a bit difficult to focus. I started losing mine a few weeks ago due to various things going on, but I'm getting back on track a little at a time, and that's a good thing.

So some of the nice things ongoing...

Work decided to start incentivizing our work. Another department has been getting incentives/bonuses for cutting weight and yield for years. Our plant boss finally decided to try it with us. Instead of telling us how important we are and how appreciated we are, only to yell at us for screwing something up, they decided to start giving us extra money if we meet certain goals. They weren't expecting it to work right off the bat. We hit the lowest level goal in the first week they did it, last week. So now they owe the department more money on our paychecks, haha. It's a three-tier bonus thing, so the better we do, the more extra money they give us.

The shop though...it's becoming so much fun. I've got the baby quilts and table runners in there, my handmade jewelry which I'm selling at clearance prices to get it out of the shop and into customer's hands, my candles which I absolutely LOVE doing, my knit dishcloth patterns, and Print On Demand for everything else. Everything else being drinkware of all kinds (mugs, camp mugs, magic mugs, black mugs, water bottles, tumblers, wine tumblers, beer steins, latte mugs, fancy coffee mugs, etc), Christmas ornaments, engraved and printed jewelry (including CUFFLINKS!), and pet products (bowls, bandanas, ID tags, beds, placemats, blankets, shirts). So there's going to be a LOT in there. I grant, the majority will probably eventually be pet products, because I can slap just about any pattern or design on those and have it look cute, but the rest are pet parent stuff and breed-specific stuff, going in the shop slowly but surely.

But for those interested in the knit patterns, as I do them, I'll post a link to their Etsy listing here and you can shop them there. They are only $1 each, and some will come in bundles that are more expensive but around half the cost of the patterns individually. For example, the numbers 0-9 will probably be a set for around $5, the alphabet will probably be a set around $10, and similar. In the meantime, here's the few I have up already.









I hope you enjoy them! They are so much fun to whip up into dishcloths or afghan squares, and so quick to make, too! When I have time, I can knit up 2 or 3 in a night of TV binging on Netflix. Speaking of which, it's time for a little relaxation before bed. Peace out, yo!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I'm slacking....

My only excuse is I'm busy with the shop and life in general, and keep forgetting.

Updates on various things.

HE had his January and February probation appointments, which were disappointing to him, to say the least. That he's barely looking for work at all is disappointing to me, but not good for him, as if he does not have a decent job by the 24th of this month, it's back to jail for him for a while. As he doesn't really try at all until he gets to the last coupe of weeks before appointments, is it any wonder he gets nowhere, along with the felonies he has? I love the man, but ... there's a part of me that hopes he ends up back in jail, and a part of me that hopes he gets a job and stays out. Depending on mood, his or mine, determines which way I lean.

Bandit was sick a couple weekends ago. Started out that Thursday with her just plain looking at her food bowl and sticking her nose to it, then backing off with a look that I can only describe as a human toddler going, "Just the smell makes me sick." She spent a few days drinking what water she could, and doing a lot of puking, but no eating. I tried to get with a vet, but none take payment plans but one, and that one, the person in charge of payments wasn't in until the next day. At that point, it was Monday, and she hadn't eaten anything solid for going on day 5. She was back to drinking lots of water by then, but still not eating, so I made up a horrible-smelling slurry of meat baby food (chicken), plain yogurt, baby oatmeal cereal, one raw egg, and chicken broth, all mixed together, then force fed her with an oral syringe for horses. One syringe full at a time, wait an hour to see if she kept it down, and then more. I had to call out on work that Monday because I'd been up for nearly 40 hours solid at that point. Natch, HE was no help with it. Bandit finally was sleeping some and drinking normally, plus keeping the protein/meat slurry down well, so I napped when she did. It took her a full week to start eating anything again, but within a couple days after that, this past weekend, she was back to normal.

Bouncing around, eating, drinking, puppy face washes when I get home from work, playing tug rope, chewing her bones, etc. The etc. including trying to hog the whole bed for herself. I did a lot of research at first and was worried it was about a zillion different things, but I was finally able to speak directly with the payments vet and they told me the slurry was a good idea to get liquids, semi solids, and high protein down her to get her gut working again. Bringing her in would just stress her out and she seemed past the worst of it, so likely it was just a horrible case of puppy gastroenteritis...stomach flu in common parlance. But she is well again and back to normal.

Work is about normal, just they installed some new machinery this past weekend to "help" us do our jobs better, but it is complicating things and people are getting sore hands a lot. Nobody is happy about it, but what can we do? Not a darn thing.

Only bad thing of late is my Mom. She texted me early this morning to tell me she'd been in the hospital since Saturday night. She called 911 to come get her because she didn't feel well and the emergency room diagnosed her with low potassium (which she's had before, oh joy), and a previously undiagnosed UTI which had spread to her stomach and blood. So, she's septic, and they're pouring mountains of antibiotics into her through IVs. Problem is, my daughter stays with her and is not there as she is out of town with friends closer to her job. So the animals have not been fed or watered for days that I know of, unless Brat got a ride home and took care of them. Mom doesn't know and it bothers her. So I have been working on making arrangements for her as best I can from four states away.

It broke my heart though, when Mom said, "You need to come home." Problem is, there's no job there, no place for me to stay (Brat has made Moms house a disaster zone, I think from what Mom has said over the last few years), and nobody and nothing there for me anymore but Mom. The economy isn't too good yet, and I just can't pack up and bail to go home with my responsibilities here and the furkids. When I moved down, I didn't have furkids to worry about. The only cats we had were Mom's one and Brat's two. I literally just packed everything I could into the car and hit the road. No can do that now. Plus I'm pretty sure my car wouldn't last the trip.

So my and my bestie here have hatched a plan. I need to get things organized financially to do it, seriously organized, I mean. I'll be looking for a 4-bedroom, 2 bath house with a back door near to the second bathroom and nearest two bedrooms. One of those bedrooms will stay a bedroom, the other will become a kitchenette and sitting area for Mom, and the hallway will get a door that locks on her side so she can have independence of a sort and privacy, yet still can just open a door and walk into my side to say hi or visit if she wants or needs anything.

She swears she is fine (this is about the fourth or fifth time she's been in hospital in about as many years, yeah right, she's fine) and she is NOT moving. She can't take care of the house herself anymore, and if my suspicions are correct, it's a disaster of Brat's making anyhow. She has trouble mowing the tiny yard and shoveling her short driveway, and Brat is literally no help at all if it's avoidable. She is 27 and still "at home," so in the next few years with luck and hard work, she'll have a choice of homeless or lose the freakin' zoo she was told not to accumulate to begin with and find someplace she can afford to live in. Mom's house will be sold, Mom will be moved down here (besting and her hubby have already said they'd go with to help move her and her things down here). Mom will have me and instant extra family that will love her in my bestie's family, and if something happens to her, there are two good hospitals nearby and a three good nursing homes if need be. My bestie works at one, and it's pretty decent. The residents there seem happy anyhow.

Plus being as close as I am to Branson, it means Mom and I could do shopping days to make her happy, even if all we do is get lunch somewhere and window shop like crazy. The hard part is going to be convincing her to pack up and move down, as she has been convinced for four decades that she was going to die at home, like my great-grandma did. I'm not so sure about that at this point. Mom needs help and the best way to help her is get her out of Michigan with it's horrible winters. I will always love my home state, but even I recognize the flaws there and how hard it is on an older person alone to stay there.

Granted, Mom's brother and one of her sisters are nearish to her, but they don't get together often and so nobody actually checks on Mom at all. I've wanted for a while to have her living with me, and it looks like once this mess with HIM is done with on the 24th, I'll be able to start doing something about getting it set up to where I can get Mom down here to live and be a bit more comfy, especially during the winter.

For now, I'm off to bed. I may be second shift, but my "morning" wake up call of 2PM still comes pretty darned early for me!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Been a bit!

I haven't written in a few weeks, I know. Between holidays and work being super-crazy and just a lot going on, it's been a bit insane.

The furkids are doing great. Bandit is hysterical. She loves stuffy and squeaky toys but destroys the heck out of them in no time flat, and then the house is a disaster with freaking stuffing all over the place for days. So this past week, I got her a smoked shin bone from Wally World. I don't normally like shopping there, but they carry her brand of pet food and she was out. I forgot to order some online in time, oops. She loved the thing, and when Stars and Bouncer just wanted a sniff, Bandit was quite protective of it. GRRRR. They backed off.

Of course, she antagonizes them daily, not a lot but trying to play. They lay on their backs and swat her. She knows to keep away when toe razors come out and smack her poor nose. Everybody but me is sleeping right now. It's kind of funny that they are all snoozing and here I am, pushing my way through a crap ton of stuff to do for the shop. I'm not making a ton of progress, but every inch helps.

Do please visit the PTR page and click all the links. Each click gets me a tiny bit of money to help keep things rolling around here. Most of it goes to help promote the business, so anything helps with that. Hey, free advertising, I'm all for it.

Merch By Amazon turned me down. I'll have to revisit that later and try again. I'm pretty sure I can get approved for just general selling and go from there. May have to do that and eventually go for a pro account so I can sell POD stuff from my various suppliers. One of them actually integrates with Amazon as long as you have a pro account, so that is a possibility for the future as well.

HE is still being an idiot. Can't find a job to save his butt, and gee, I wonder why? When you won't put down work history in an online app because it's too hard to copy and paste, and you put your spouse down as your only personal reference and note that it's your spouse, you aren't going to get phone calls about interviews unless someone is really, really desperate.

Business is starting to pick up a bit. I'm separating the Etsy stuff between candles, handmade jewelry and digital products on the Etsy side, and the pet lovers gifts and pet products into the Pattern side of things. The pattern site, being my own domain, is the part I'm promoting as much as I can even as I separate stuff. I'm letting Etsy do it's own thing on promoting my stuff on that side. I've actually sold a few digital things, too! A couple of graphics and a dishcloth pattern that is sort of popular - 2 sales and 3 people have it in their carts. So that's going okay to start. It will get better the more I get listed.

People at work think I'm nuts to work my business in addition to my job, but for me, it's a matter of getting the heck out of there before it kills me inside completely.

With that said, time for a nap. I'm beat to heck, I've got a new neighbor next door who's a bit bossy. He thinks he is going to tell me what I'm going to let him do in my place, he better think again. He wants to bomb all the apartments at his expense for bugs, which is fine. Except that a - my place can't be bombed because of my pets which he's all "OH, I'll just move them out for the day." and b - I'm highly sensitive to that crap and can't be around it. So, dude, 1 - no you are NOT trespassing on my place to bomb it, 2 - my pets are not getting moved out so you can invade my privacy and 3 - I'm ALLERGIC to that crap, so unless you're going to pay all my bills for a month while I recuperate in the hospital, I don't freaking think so. He's got an attitude that doesn't want to quit. I understand where he's coming from, but he is NOT going to run roughshod over me.

Q runs him to work every day because the guy doesn't have a car right now and he's my bestie's BF. The guy griped today in front of me that Q never lets him drive when they're together. I said that's because it's my car and me and Q are the only ones authorized to drive it. "Oh, I wouldn't hurt it or anything, I just want to do the driving." I literally said, "Not happening. It's my f**king car, b***h."
Boy has a LOT  to learn about not running roughshod over me, because it ain't happening.

Other than that, it's getting towards time for a bit of a nap. I feel the need for a bit more sleep.

Monday, December 16, 2019

It's chilly today!

But not too bad. Mostly wet with sprinkling rain and it's driving me nuts. HE is driving me crazy. The car broke down back on last Sunday, sort of. Didn't know quite what was wrong with it. Put a bunch of oil in but the light for low oil and the oil lamp wouldn't go off and stay there. HE had a one-day job Monday so I stayed up and took him to the meetup in town at the shop for his job, came home, and was ready for bed. But nope. Lights still on. Check the dipstick on a hot engine, as in so hot I had turned the car off less than two minutes before. Despite all the oil HE put in the day before, the dipstick was reading add oil. Oh, dear. So I called our landlord/the car lot guy I'm getting the car from and talked to him. By the time everything was said and done, I had to call out of work that night, or try to cut chicken on two hours sleep. Not happening. The car guy got me a loaner until they can come out to get mine and get it fixed. Been driving that all week. It's a nice car, but sheesh. I want mine back. Darn oil pump!

So ...

The rest of the week went pretty much as usual, but I decided early on that with all that Etsy has been pushing on us US sellers and those who sell into the US for that free shipping, and how bad my traffic has been since I opted in to see what happened, plus a review I got on a freakin' candle, I'm done. I'm moving to Shopify. I'll use their paused site plan until I can get everything moved over and edited and the rebrand done, which will take a few months, but worth it. I can leave Etsy rolling and let everything gradually expire there while I shift things. The import of my Etsy products went fine, but apparently, Etsy's export product thing doesn't work quite as well as it should, because it didn't export my SKUs, and half my products are missing completely. Really, Etsy??? The Pattern site will stay up until everything that is in Pattern only has been shifted and then it's poof, bye bye Pattern bill. With any luck, I'll have that done well before the Etsy only stuff has all expired as well.

With Shopify, there's a ton of apps I can install as well. My POD suppliers all integrate into Shopify, making creating new products and pushing the orders through to them for fulfillment rather easy. There's also an affiliate app that I'm setting up, so people can promote my products for me and make a little money if they get me any sales. AND there's a crap ton of shopping channels where I can push my products to, so they can show up and sell THERE. Several are completely free, including the Facebook page app to shift my shop to a page on my FB business page. And everything integrates with Shopify for tracking inventory and the whole shot. So that's going to be busy-making and kind of exciting. I'll still do free shipping with the cost rolled into the product prices, but there aren't a lot of people who buy a half a dozen items at once, which is where it would hurt them. Considering that all my POD suppliers have their own shipping costs and don't include them in their pricing that pushes to the shop, I either have to have a zillion different shipping profiles set up, OR I can include shipping costs in the final price and go from there. I'm taking the easy way out.

Oh, that review? A lady ordered one of my small candle tins off Etsy. Left me two stars because she expected it to be a SHAPED candle, even though the listing is titled as a candle tin, and the word tin is in the description several times. Size is mentioned, and she complained it was "tiny." Just how big do you think a candle that's described as 7/8 x 1 1/2 inches is going to BE, lady? Those were my thoughts. She never contacted me to ask if it was shaped or anything. So I ended up locking the thing in by rebutting her in a response, and so my basically perfect Etsy stars record is shot. Guess I'll never become a top Etsy seller then, because that's nuts.

I may keep Etsy going for just digital files, but that is up in the air right now. At least those, folks can't say they didn't get their order with instant download, and I wouldn't have to do refunds because that's against Etsy policy on digital products. Overall, though, Etsy and I are done.

Got chores done today barring putting up the laundry. I'll do that later if HE wakes up from his nap. He's been napping for about four hours. I'll make dinner in a couple hours for me, HE can eat if HE wakes up for it. Considering we have to be out of the house by 8AM or just after tomorrow (well, today, actually, looking at the time) for HIS revocation hearing on HIS probation, and who knows how long that will take, I probably won't get much done today. Tomorrow night will make up for it, though, because I used my last vacation day for tomorrow, since court could go all day.

HE hasn't been doing his probation requirements for fourteen months, mostly the job and thus, not paying on his fines, so HE's liable to go away for at least six months in county, if not straight out to prison for half or more of HIS thirteen-year original sentence. Fine with me. HE has been a complete butthead for months now, and come pretty close to me calling the cops and having HIM removed for yelling at me several times. Oh, did I mention that "no inappropriate contact" with me is part of HIS probation as well? It amounts to HE can't get drunk or high, since drugs were what got HIM into this mess, and HE can't get into fights with me, either. That apparently includes yelling. Oops. I'm going to HIS hearing because one, the car is mine, even if it's a loaner, and I don't want to have to try to fetch it out of impound or somethimg, and two, I've already let the prosector's office know I'll be there if they want to ask me anything. I'm not trying to send HIM to jail or prison, HE's doing a pretty good job of that on HIS own, but I'm not going to try to help keep him out of there anymore, either. So there's that in the morning to goodness only knows when in the afternoon.

HE thinks HE is just going to get a slap on the wrist and be sent home with a chewing out by the judge. If HE had a job, probably. No job, not too likely. HE lied to HIS public defender last week, too, "Oh, yeah, I've got a part-time job!" No, HE doesn't. HE had a job for ONE DAY. That does not bode well for him.

So anyhow, for now, I'm off to cuddle Stars, and then I have to get some serious work done on the shop some more. Go me?

Sunday, December 8, 2019

I (well, the farm) won an award!

How do you like that? Bountiful Farm somehow won an award of "Best of Green Forest Awards" in the Farms category. Despite the fact that right now, the "farm" itself is a stagnant idea. Huh.

This is the press release that they did up automatically for me over it. The award itself (plaque and crystal award thing) is $230!!!!

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bountiful Farm Receives 2019 Best of Green Forest Award
Green Forest Award Program Honors the Achievement
GREEN FOREST December 1, 2019 -- Bountiful Farm has been selected for the 2019 Best of Green Forest Award in the Farms category by the Green Forest Award Program.
Each year, the Green Forest Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Green Forest area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Green Forest Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Green Forest Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Green Forest Award Program
The Green Forest Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Green Forest area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Green Forest Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Green Forest Award Program

CONTACT:
Green Forest Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@award-selection2019.net
URL: http://www.award-selection2019.net

Saturday, December 7, 2019

New week, long last week, new page

It's sort of the start of a new week, in about fifteen minutes, lol. The whole second shift thing really throws your life off kilter on time frame for when a day starts and ends. Officially, by the time I finish typing this post, it will be a new week. Unofficially, because my Saturday hasn't really ended for me, it will not start until I go to sleep and get up tomorrow.

Last week at the Just Over Broke was long. Nearly 47 hours again. But I had an interview for a lead job in another department I would really like to get. I'm one of only two, I think, people who put in for it, and I really, really want it. It would mean a minor schedule change, in that I'd start and end earlier, and a slight pay drop back to what I was making before the pay raise, so not really any different pay wise.

The shop is coming along. Nearly 500 products right now, and looking to hit that by the time I go to bed tomorrow night. I'm adding pretty much anything I can, because who knows what people will buy? It makes me not a niche shop but a general merchandise shop, though the only things I'll be making myself being the candles and the last of my handmade jewelry and mini ornaments. The great majority of products are Print On Demand, so I don't have to fuss with making anything. The candles are a lot of fun to make and take next to no time to do, but the handmade jewelry is getting time consuming. Once that stuff is sold out, I'm done making it. It's fun, but not that much fun. I can't scale up easily with it. I CAN with candles and POD products. Especially the POD products, because I don't have to make anything, just push the orders through to the supplier, pay them for the items in question, and then let them do the work and packing and shipping. Already sold a coffee mug this last week, so progress!

As to the "new page" bit, I'm getting back into something I did years ago for extra pocket change. Paid To Read Emails. Only thing is, I'm using the cash and points from them for advertising the shop instead of cashing out now, leading to more traffic. It takes time to do things in the programs, but not a ton, and if you limit yourself to a handful of programs, you can do pretty well for yourself. Check out the page in the top bar links!

As for HIM, he has court on the 16th, and I can only hope that he goes away. He's been really cranky lately and I'm tired of it all. Unfortunately, that may end up being a slap on the wrist for him, because his P.O. found someone who needs an extra pair of hands for building fences in their business. Nobody thinks he'll last because his record this past year has not been good. The last job of packing eggs lasted four days basically, and he quit/walked out/whatever you want to call it after his back gave out on him. Like my best friend says, and she has known him longer than I have, if he can't handle packing eggs, building fences is going to have him keeling over and face planting in the dirt. We shall see.

But for now, Bandit wants to play tug rope and I'm going to have a little fun getting my arms yanked out of my sockets. Talk to you next time!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Quiet Sunday

It's the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I'm sitting here, a bit sleepy yet, working on a few things before feeding the zoo crew and then back down for a bit more sleep. Working second shift pays better, but your sleep sure gets messed up, and for whatever reason, I couldn't get sleepy till 8AM, and I've been half-awake since half-past noon. So I really need more sleep so I can get into work tomorrow. Three days on, four-day weekend, and a slightly short check next week due to the holiday. At least I'll get four days on the clock, and hopefully enough hours to make a full check, but I won't hold my breath on it.

This last week alone was really crazy. Everything was going nuts at the plant, to where first shift got scheduled to work yesterday just to run totes by the end of their day on Tuesday. Then management decided to cut back on our trucks for Thursday and Friday, so we could run all of them. Still over 100 totes run on Friday. It sucked. Three-day old birds, despite being kept cold and near-frozen all that time, really don't smell that great. If I pulled meat out of my fridge that smelled like that, it would be getting fed to the dog. But considering all the dip tanks the stuff goes through before processing and packing to kill off any bacteria, it's okay once we're done with it. It's just, in the meantime, that stuff is kinda WHEW.

I'm getting quite a bit done on the shop, separating the Etsy stuff from the Pattern side. Etsy will hold my candles, the embroidered stuff, beads and charms, and all the digital files. The embroidered stuff and beads and charms will slowly disappear as they sell, and will not be relisted or anything, so that the Etsy side of the business eventually will be just the candles and digital products, which are knit and crochet patterns and graphics files. The Pattern side, which is my top-level domain, will be all the pet lovers gifts and pet products like pet shirts, food bowls, pet placemats, pet beds, ID tags, and the like, plus the gifts of shirts, mugs, ornaments, and so forth for the stoopy hooman slaves to said pets.

It took me a whole maybe ten minutes on a site called Canva to rebrand the Pattern site. Poof, it's done with no agonizing. They've got a lot of templates, including for Etsy, so it was super easy to do and looks quite professional. All these people who are on various Etsy groups I'm in, grousing about their branding and how it's got to be just right and having an existential crisis over a freaking font need to go there and throw something together. Quit having kittens, brand yourself, and be done with it so you can get on with the business of running your business.

I'm also looking into getting into a bit of retail arbitrage once HE is back behind bars in a few weeks. Considering his ongoing lack of a job even now, he's probably going bye bye for a long time on the 16th. It's not that I'm happy about it, but I'm at peace with it and accept it as a quite potential fact of life. He did a lot against me personally and against our marriage in the last couple of years, and more against me and our marriage even before that. He chose to leave me and use the drugs. He chose to threaten my life while high. He has continued to choose being lazy over getting and keeping a job while on probation. So as far as I'm concerned, and his family agrees, he's choosing to go back to jail or off to prison. No skin off my nose, and likely I'll be in better shape without him. It's going to be a tough adjustment, but I'll manage.

Anyhow, retail arbitrage. What it is, is you buy something at a low price and resell it higher, for a product that you can resell either in your own storefront locally, or most commonly, on Amazon. There are a number of YouTube videos on the subject, and on various ways to work it. One of the best ways is to hit up your dollar stores and use the Amazon app to scan the barcode to see what the product is selling at on there. If you can make a reasonable profit, selling the product for at least double what you are buying it for, you buy it and then take it home and list it on Amazon for sale. It may take a little time to unload the thing, so you'll need a little space for it all, but I've watched several videos now, and it's not difficult. One fellow spent about $10 and profited about $60 for what was essentially a couple of hours of effort, including the shopping and listing. Now, personally, I'd stay away from things like lotions and powders, because they require special packaging to ship them like extra baggies and tape and things like that in case they explode in the mail, but there are a LOT of products you can get and resell for a good price. So once I'm on my own again and have the time, I'll be looking into that for a bit of extra income over and above Etsy and the Just Over Broke.

Right now, it's closing in on 2PM and my usual get up and feed the zoo crew time, so I'm off to take care of that and then deal with a bit more of a nap, before I get up and work on the shop a ton today. Be safe until next weekend!