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
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

Green Forest Award Program

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!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

No more microwave!

And about darn time, too. I've never been fond of the things. I grew up without one in the house, and have never really seen the need for one. Cooking should be done on a stove of some kind, not with microwaves. It just doesn't sit right with me. Besides, I like cooking and doing dishes so it's kind of fun for me. HE isn't happy about it because he absolutely LOVES the thing. I don't much like how much counter space it takes up. I refuse to replace the thing now. HE is likely going back away for a long time in four weeks anyhow due to all his messing up while on probation. Mostly it involves him not keeping a job, leaving me the sole provider for us both, and I'm not happy about that, nor is his P.O. She's really mad because the last job he had, SHE found for him and he quit it after just four days.

So the microwave ... He went to use it to heat himself some canned chili. A few seconds into the cook time, it made a loud pop, like a .22 going off. I heard it all the way back here. The microwave still lights up and all, but it's unplugged and staying that way until it gets moved out of the house. It will free up some counter space which I desperately need anyhow.

The only thing I really used it for was melting wax for candles. I can gin up a double boiler to do that from now on. Might be a bit slower, but at least I won't have to worry about things going BOOM and blowing up the kitchen. A quick and dirty double boiler can be worked up with a large saucepan and a metal mixing bowl that sits on top of it. You don't need an official double boiler. It will hold me until I get the melter doodad I want for making my full small batch stuff instead of really small (one freaking candle at a time) batches. It's $70, but worth it! If I ever get into soapmaking as well, I could get a second one for melt and pour soap base.

Work goes apace. They've made a few changes of late to things, so that helps some. A small raise on the hourly by a whole 50 cents an hour, and they've finally realized that the point system is useless as it is, because we've lost too many people to quitting and pointing out. It only took them two years to reset points to where they were at 14 instead of the current 6 and you're done. They left the roll off to 90 days to work one off or a year to wait and it falls off on it's own, instead of giving us back our 28 day rolloff, but at least now people won't point out so much and maybe we can keep some experienced workers around. They're also rolling everybody's points they have now back to zero as of Monday the 18th, so that will help a bit, too. It means I don't have to wait until January to bid on jobs off the line, but can put in for them NOW.

So I did. Tyson uses Workday to do a lot of things for the employees now, including internal applications for jobs you don't just go to HR and sign for. Ones where you HAD to put in a paper application before, now you just log in and go to careers, and search for your plant, then fill in the required questions, click apply and you're done. If you're smart like me, you save your answers to the required questions as a WordPad file, so no braining about it. Just copy and paste.

The furkids are doing great right now, despite the colder weather. The cats, of course, absolutely love the bed ...

And Bandit just wants to play tug rope ...

Me? I'm busy collecting graphics and digital papers to make pet lovers gifts and pet products for the shop. The Pattern side, the .com, will be getting a lot of pet lovers products. Everything from tees for adults, to ornaments, drinkware, and more ... and then doggie tees and bandanas and pet placemats and beds. Everything will be print on demand, which makes it super easy for me to deal with production and processing orders. I don't have to do anything other than design, list, promote, and push orders to the various POD suppliers. All while basically collecting free money.

Okay, I could easily sell a lot of graphics as well, and make easy money $1 at a time that way, but it just isn't me. I'm not really thrilled with that idea. Maybe down the road, but I love my critters, and want to make gifts for other animal lovers, from dogs and cats, to horses, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles, birds, farm animals, and so forth. So I will be busy with that as much as possible. The digital papers alone will make for really nice doggie tees and bandanas and pet beds and placemats. Once I have a good chunk of product in the shop for those, replacing what's already there, I'll post a link!

For now, I need to get some rest. It's after 6AM here, and while being on second shift means I don't usually go to bed until everyone else is up and running, I'm kinda pooped. I'll write more next weekend.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A new life, long since due

Well, I haven't posted in a long, long, time. There's been no reason.Things have been slow crazy-making in so many ways. So, instead of making this a TL;DR post, I'll make a list of what's happened as short as possible.

* - I did lose the cabin and land just before Christmas that year. Ended up in a tiny motel room/cabin thing for a while with just Stars. All the other cats but Bouncer were killed by the folks he and the dope ho were staying with. Lucky to have saved these two.
* - She got him hooked on meth, then when his job went somewhat south because of being suspended for drug use, they split up and he came back to me, addicted. Stupidly, I took him back.
* - By that time, I'd found a small, 1-bedroom, on-grid apartment where I could have Stars and Bouncer without issues. Still there over a year later. Not the greatest but it's a solid roof over my head and only a few miles from work.
* - Three months after he moved back with me, he got so high on a batch of meth that I highly suspect was mixed with PCP or something similar, he ended up threatening to kill me when I told him to get out. Yes, I got the cops involved and he was arrested and charged with terroristic threatening, simple possession, and drug paraphernalia possession.
* - Getting him through court took forever. I had a no contact order going at that point so I could get myself together and he could get clean, the hard way. Turns out, he took almost two weeks to purge in jail, and they nearly sent him to the hospital's jail ward because of all the issues. But clean he got. Finally got released last year in early October for three years probation, but nobody could take him in but me. He has to stay with relative or friend in the state, and I'm basically IT. So they amended the no contact to no inappropriate contact and dropped the TT to a misdemeanor. He pled out and so came home.
* - Then the fun begins. He's somewhat who he used to be, but changed so much. He's been home just over a year, and there's no hope. He's lost four jobs. I got him the first one. He lasted two days. A temp service found him the next two, which he screwed up by calling in all the time. The last, his probation officer got him and he walked on that one after four days and never went back. He's on no rehire at Tysons and the last one, which both would have been good for him.
* - So, Mr. Lazy But I Don't Wanna Go Back To Jail got his probation revoked and had court on that back on the 4th of this month. It got continued to December 16th because the public defender argued, predictably, that there's NOOOOOO reason he should have his probation revoked. I am given to understand that once the actual hearing is done next month, he will likely end up with at least six months in jail if not going straight to prison for his full sentence.
* - Either way, divorce will happen once he's locked up and I've got the money together. It will destroy what's left of him, but staying with him will destroy me. I'm NOT going down with his ship.

On a brighter note, I'm doing okay in the apartment. I slept on a camp cot for about six weeks after he was picked up, all the way from when I moved in. Finally got things organized and my head straight enough that I went to the local rent to own/pawn place and got a bed. They delivered a few days later. So there was now comfy sleep! Took me forever and a day to pay it off, seems like, but I did and it's mine and I still love it. HE, on the other hand, seems to think a queen-sized sheet isn't big enough for a queen-sized bed. All because he tosses all night and pulls it off his side. So of course, I am to blame for that, because if I'd gotten a king-sized sheet, it would stay on better. It would stay on better if he'd not kept pulling the sheet keepers off and letting the dog chew them up.

Oh, did I say dog? Yes, I have a doggo, too. My bestie, Kat, bred her and gave Bandit to me. Kat is a huge blessing, along with her family. I have been through so much, but they were there for me for everything and still are. Her dog Pepper got pregnant by her other dog, Diesel. Pepper had to be rehomed because the entire litter ended up with some sort of inherited skin condition. Bandit was no exception. She ended up looking pretty mangy and had a horrible case of pyoderma before HE would admit there was anything wrong.

So thank goodness for grain-free kibble. I did some research and a raw or grain-free diet was recommended. She's on Pure Natural kibble and wet food, and everything she gets, I read the ingredient list or she doesn't get it. Turns out they have cat food too but I have to order that from Amazon. At least for Bandy Butt I can get it at WalMart. It's taken about four months of the stuff, but Bandit has completely cleared up the pyoderma and the majority of her fur has completely grown back. She's about forty pounds of pure muscle and love pibble puppy. Yep, she is a pit bull, purebred blue nose, no papers. Beautiful conformation, too. Too bad about no papers and the skin condition, as I could easily breed her when she's older and sell the puppies. But nope, with the skin issue alone, she's getting fixed ASAP after the vet will let me. For some reason, around here, they don't want to spay or neuter till a year or older. She's more than big enough, and I want it done before she ever gets a chance to come into heat.

Like most Pitties, the only things vicious on her are her tail (wag, wag, thump!!!), her breath (forget the Milk-Bone, she needs the whole factory!), and her farts (she farts and it makes the local skunks go PEEEEE-YOOOOOO!). She's a love, loves playing tug and fetch, and actually doesn't bark much. She also is a great squeaky toy killer. So far, in the last month, three of them have had their squeaky guts ripped out. She crates beautifully for when I can't be home to supervise her because she has chewed a couple of biggish holes in the hallway drywall. Ooops. Going to have to fix that eventually.

I will be homesteading again, somehow, some way, eventually. Not where I was, as someone else bought the place, which makes me want to cry some days so much, but someplace with no memories of him or us, where I can do what I want the way I want without any interference.

I've still got the Etsy shop going, and I'm constantly working on that. I'm not doing jewelry now except through Print On Demand, and what I had is either getting taken apart and sold as components or being made into miniature Christmas ornaments. I did sell at the local farmer's market this summer and did pretty well overall for the weekends I could make it. Between some Saturdays where I had to work, some where weather was horrible, and others where HE was being a jerk and wouldn't drive me after I'd worked all night Friday...I missed about half, but still made out good. I did every one of them on literally no sleep. Come home after Friday work, make and eat some dinner, load up, go set up, and sell till noon. Errands on the way back, and unload and sleep for several hours. It was exhausting but so much fun.

If he does go to jail or prison in a few weeks (37 days and counting to court), I've got a few ideas for the winter that I want to try to get done.

One is get his stuff sorted out and either disposed of or sold or packed away. He's got stuff he never uses that's in good shape I'll sell. The man has five pairs of sneakers and never wears them. Ditto a zillion t-shirts. He wears maybe a dozen. Things are going to get streamlined seriously, and his things that he uses frequently NOW will be put in totes for him for whenever. Everything else of his will go away.

Another is to keep building the shop so it can make me a nice income to supplement or replace the plant. It's a good job, but I'm so tired of the cold and misery there. I go through every day literally counting the hours until I clock out and come "home" to the apartment and the furkids.

And finally, to get a shelving unit, some small lumber, some chicken wire, latches, hinges, grow lights, and seedling flats. I want to build a small seedling grow setup in here but I have to keep the cats and the dog out of things, so it will get enclosed in chicken wire with a handmade door of sorts that latches so I can get at things without the critters getting in all the time and messing with stuff. The plants can be sold next year at market that way.

For now, I'm off to do more on the shop, watch a little TV, and figure out my dinner. I rarely cook anymore, because it's just me who cares and if he does eat, I get no compliments, so why bother? There's a lot of nights we "batch it" because of that. So for me tonight it's likely microwave meatloaf just to fill the belly.

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