I don’t know about you, but in these COVID times it is rare for us to venture outside the house at all. We stopped doing home deliveries for people in September of 2020. We have not done a trip up to Sydney or down the coast since then.
If we do go somewhere together it will usually be Aldi or Bunnings, but we usually do it after 6pm when most people have gone home. It is so rare for the two of us to go out together, most times when we come back I manage to set off the house alarm because I forget it is on.
We used to do the shopping together but for the last 6 months before the current outbreak only one of us would go. It would usually be me.
The furthest I can recall us going together in the past month was to the local rubbish dump to recycle cardboard.
On the majority of days, I never put on a pair of shoes at all. Because I struggle with cold feet in the house I wear socks with those sherpa lined slipper socks over the top. I have many many pairs of these JayJays tie dyed socks in a vast array of colours. I have been collecting them for months now. The guy in the shop knows me well enough by now to point out the new designs which have arrived when I walk in.
For some reason wearing socks makes people ask me if I want them to take their shoes off when they arrive here to shop. No, its ok! I just don’t wear shoes inside the house, it is fine for you to wear them.
I often wear a beanie inside the house during winter as well. I like to be warm and cosy but I don’t like to pay huge heating bills. So anything that I can do to keep myself warmer, I will do it.
Are you noticing a bit of a theme here? I’m obsessed with tie dye right now. I probably have 35 different tie dyed t-shirts in the cupboard and those are the only clothes in rotation presently.
I have not worn a pair of earrings, a bracelet, or rings since March 2020. That does make me a bit sad. I think I should make an effort to get back into wearing jewellery.
Overall, it is all casual wear all the time here. I can’t see it changing anytime soon, either.
In good news, finally yesterday I was on the website at the right moment to score a cancellation vaccination appointment. I had my first Pfizer vaccination today.
One of the problems with being accessible to other people is the constant interruptions they can provide. If I lived in a cave without a mobile phone or laptop and could focus in purely on tasks that need completing I can only imagine the huge levels of shiznit I could get done in a day.
But I do not live in a cave. I live in the world. And we all struggle with interruptions these days, don’t we? I hope so, I hope it is not just me. But for me interruptions cause a specific problem – the half done job.
I’ll give you a specific example so this makes better sense. Every piece of stock in our workplace has a home, and if we take the extra moment to put it back home when we’re done with it, we’ll know where it is the next time we need it.
Most of our stock has two parts – the canvas, and the kit. The kit contains vital sparkly parts without which the canvas cannot be completed. All our kits are put away in alphabetical order into storage compartments, like this –
One day a customer had asked me to show them the sparkly parts of a kit. It was the last one we had in stock. I went and grabbed it, showed it to them, and then they chose to buy something else. So the sparkly parts got put down somewhere. When someone else wanted to buy that kit, I couldn’t find the sparkly parts and for the life of me I could not remember what I had done with them.
Whenever I can’t find the sparkly parts, I search for a while hoping I will find it. After a bit I get frustrated and even though I know I am going to be mocked and snarked endlessly I ask The Other Half for help. And he always says “Half a job”. And the worst part is he is right.
Eventually we did find that missing part sitting on top of the mailing bench but it took far more time than it should have – and this was not the first time it had happened.
I don’t always have time in the moment to consider the future time when I will be looking for this thing. I need to deal with the customer who is here on the spot and I don’t want to stop and think about putting things back in their home in that exact moment. But I also needed a new plan. And thus, the no half measures box was born. Can you see it in the photo above?
In Breaking Bad, Mike tells a story of a time he took a half measure.
Mike tells Walt a story from his time as a police officer, when he confronted a chronic wife abuser . Mike intervened, and almost killed the wife-beater, but gave in when the abuser promised to change his ways. Shortly thereafter the man beat his wife to death. Mike’s mistake was to take a half measure when he should have taken a full one. “No more half measures, Walter,” he says.
Out of all the characters in Breaking Bad, Mike is one of my favourites. And now Mike sits on the mailing bench reminding me never to do half a job – this box is where things go in the moment when I don’t have the time to put them back where they belong – and every so often when I have the time I can go through it and put things back where they live.
**I noticed some of my pics did not come through in the feed – while I try to fix this you might want to click over and read this on the blog as some of the pics are needed for this post**
Like many Australians, I have been trying to get the covid-19 vaccine for a while now. Only there’s just one tiny problem – I had a DVT in the past and thus my doctor does not want me to get Astra Zeneca which is the vaccine available to most Australians due to the possible blood clot complication. I have to get Pfizer.
Every day for a while now, I have logged in to the NSW goverment website, clicked through 7 pages of previously filled in forms to get to the page that tells me if I can have an appointment to get the Pfizer vaccine. No. I cannot. I’m surprised it doesn’t swear at me and tell me to f**k off and stop coming back every day because that would be very Australian.
Today I got a new message that I had not seen before. There are no appointments for the next 60 days.
First of all why oh why oh why do I have to click through 7 pages of my personal details to get to this page each and every time?
Second of all why aren’t there any other options in the drop down for me to at least try and get an appointment elsewhere?
And finally, how the f**k did we as a country get this vaccination rollout so terribly wrong? Even America is miles ahead of us now – as far as I know there anyone who wants a vaccine can get one.
My doctors clinic was not allowed to have Pfizer. I’m not sure why. I’m on a waiting list at another medical centre which was allowed to have it but they have no idea when they might have more vaccine. They estimate maybe August.
For those of you not up on the news and who don’t live in Australia, parts of Sydney are currently locked down. But what is deeply bizarre is ALL the shops are all still allowed to open even though people are only allowed to buy essentials.
And now many of those who work in retail in Sydney are having to go to their jobs even though there are no customers because the government is leaving it up to the business whether they stay open or not. What kind of lockdown do you call this?
In the meantime while we are not officially in a lockdown in regional NSW, we are now made to wear masks indoors which means all shops – and that includes my own shop. If anyone wants to come in to my own home business, both they and I have to wear a mask.
This after our government spent a lot of time telling us we did not need masks back in the early days of Covid here – those of us who wore masks *chose* to wear them because we believed in them but the majority of people around here did not wear them.
At some point the government suddenly decided using masks is good, and there have been times in Sydney where it was mandatory but never down here where I live.
And then there’s idiotic stuff like this –
Why wait? This was announced on Saturday – so Sunday, Monday no mask days, Tuesday Wednesday must mask days? Why not make it mandatory as of TODAY?
Everything around this current lockdown has been done so poorly. I have a friend who had gone to Sydney for training on the 21st of June. She wore a mask the whole day. She came back here and worked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At some point on that Saturday, a 14 day stay at home order was issued for anyone who had been in Sydney since the 21st of June – that they must stay at home for 14 days after the day they were in the greater Sydney area. Bit late notice on that one!
The NSW government sent me an email on the 30th of June to announce – as of July 12th it becomes mandatory for people to sign in at businesses. Whether they do so via the QR code or via a sheet of paper manually. My question is why the heck has it not been mandatory before now?
And who is going to police this? I’m certainly not intending to become the Covid “did you check in” police for my business. As a business owner I have many roles but that is never going to be one of them. I have made the decision to stop classes until this current outbreak is somewhat under control even though once again we have no cases locally.
Did you know that you have to check out, as well? Most of the people I have asked did not – and when they went to look they had a long list of places they were still checked in at. We only found out when we went to check in somewhere and found out we’d already been there for 6 days since the last time we were there!
None of this is anything I was expecting over a year into this pandemic. I was expecting we would all be vaccinated by now and Covid would be starting to become a distant memory.
While we are extremely well prepared for any lockdown in this household these days – and in fact did not have to venture out of the house for the first week of madness while everyone locally stripped the shelves of toilet paper again even though we are not locked down! – and we have enough toilet paper stocked to last us 6 months at least – it is really disappointing to find ourselves in this position.
I feel very let down by the authorities whose job it was to source the vaccinations and get this job done. I feel angry and disappointed that we are back in this place again. I don’t know if it is just me, but I feel like most of us did our part when this began – we did mask up even though the government said not to, we did take all the precautions, we did our job. But the government has not done theirs.
Leave me a comment and let me know how things are going in your neck of the woods – and if you are in Australia let me know how you are feeling about all of this. Have you managed to get vaccinated?
I sit here and type on my new lappertopper which does not have Facebook. It does not have email. There is nothing business related on this computer. It purely has a web browser, discord for chatting with friends and for gaming, and a few of the games I like to play.
Next to me is my new phone which has a new personal phone number. Only three people in the world have that phone number – my parents and The Other Half. Again there is no Facebook, no email, nothing business related.
The old laptop is now the work laptop. It is locked in the work safe with the work phone and the work tablet. This is the path forward. This is the way to reclaim my time, but this did not happen overnight.
This is a process I began back in April when I made a decision to purchase a new phone as my current phone was starting to have less battery life. At that time, I decided to get a new sim card for the new phone and use the old phone – which was still functional – for the business.
I got the new phone but I had to wait for a case, the screen protector and other accessories. The new phone stayed in the box. I had no idea what was coming, but I personally hate change so I kinda sorta put it off for a bit. One day it was time. The only thing I installed on the new phone was discord and a game I like to play called Egg, Inc.
When 6pm arrived, I would shut the work phone in the safe. I’d still be accessible to people via the laptop in the evenings until I shut it down and went to bed – but when I went to bed I took only the personal phone. When I woke up in the morning I was not greeted by work messages and work Facebook and work emails. It was the best feeling!
I enjoyed this feeling of freedom. Of being able to *choose* my work start time. When I turned on the laptop I could choose not to open the email and not to open Facebook – if I wanted. I could have breakfast and enjoy my morning coffee in peace without trying to answer the myriad of messages and emails people sent me overnight.
You know most people get in the car and go to work and start at a certain time. I used to do that exact same thing. Why did I think now that I wasn’t entitled to my own personal morning routine, just because I have my own business? Why did I think I wasn’t entitled to evenings? To my own personal space? Even shower time was me mentally putting the trains on the tracks ready for a day of work.
So it was very clear to me what the next step of this process was – the business needed a laptop. Work needed to be done purely in the studio. I needed to commute there from the recliner after finishing my coffee and have a set start time – and a set finish time.
A new laptop was purchased and this time, I did not waste any time setting it up. I could see freedom just on the horizon there, it felt like I could reach out and touch it. That first night when I locked it in the safe, and went to my laptop which now had nothing work related on it – no Facebook, no emails, no spreadsheets, just Discord, games, my personal browser.. that was an awesome day. And a bit of a scary day at the same time.
To begin with, I really just needed some time off. I needed to zone out, to watch television, to read books, to just *be* – oftentimes the first thing I would do when I closed the studio would be to sit and stare into space while my mind mentally parked all the trains of the day.
I’d been working all the hours of the all days since July 2019. 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Yes, even Christmas Day. If someone messaged me, I usually replied right back. You don’t realise how that constant interruption steers your trains off their tracks until it stops. Constantly being switched on and in business mode, you can do that for a certain amount of time but eventually you do start to burn out.
The Other Half and I played actual games together in the evenings. I watched entire episodes of television without a single message from anyone causing me to pause the show and go to check if something was in stock or track their package to see where it was or answer a question I’d already answered many many times that same day.
I started getting back into cooking dinners – for the most part since Covid began we’ve been supporting a local business by purchasing meals they would cook for us. We do still buy dinners from them but we’re starting to make our own meals a few nights a week.
It is unfortunate that the way Facebook is, you cannot have a personal Facebook and a business Facebook. I never get to read my feed anymore because it is on the work computer or phone and during those hours I am working. It is impossible to use my personal Facebook without seeing work messages, so I choose not to use it at all in my personal time and space.
I have always been reading your blogs but I rarely leave comments anymore. It is not you, it is me. I always want to comment, I often open up the form, but most of the time I find it hard to write the comment. I think there is still an element of brain burnout.
Similarly I do not know how many times I wanted to write a post here but would end up staring at a blank page. It is time now, though. I need to start doing the things I used to enjoy so much before this “hobby” business took over.
Orders yet another cat tower, I think. Two more arrived since the first one. They have a dedicated cat tower out in the Nirvana now, though we will probably rotate them around regularly. There is nothing cats like more than furniture moved to a new place, except more cardboard boxes.
Or perhaps this button plays the next episode of Bridgerton on Netflix. I have seen them all now but certainly would not mind watching it again, that was just delightful.
Christmas was fine, we bought a new table especially so we would have enough room for everyone. Here you see the new table joined to the old table. We were 8 in the Nirvana this year and it was a big day of eating and drinking. Perhaps too much so.
My bestie and her daughter and I were at Aldi on Boxing Day first thing – masked of course – to attempt getting new teevees. There was a 55 inch smart teevee on special. We were successful and I have to say this is the best Christmas present I can remember in recent times – except of course my Lego version of Bunnings which I am to put together soonest. I have gone from three remotes to one and it is a lot easier to use.
The business is still very busy but we have started to put some things in place that free us up a little bit more, and hopefully we can tweak and fine tune that in 2021 to give us more time back.
We got solar installed a couple of weeks ago. If I had known that would be as fascinating as television to The Other Half I would have suggested we do it a long time ago.
The cats and chickens are all well and happy. Both very spoiled as always, of course.
We have been watching The Mandalorian and I love it which is weird as I do not like Star Wars at all. Maybe because it is shorter, maybe because of Baby Yoda, but whatever it is I am fully on board.
Looking Forward –
What is with everyone who seems to think New Years Eve will magically fix everything 2020 related? Do the fireworks in Sydney Harbour contain some magical virus killing properties we are presently unaware of? Do all the people who died this year magically return to life? It isn’t like a new (possibly – probably – more sane) president gets sworn in at midnight in the US, nor does midnight on NYE instantly solve world hunger or remove any of the things that vex us currently. I think a lot of people are setting themselves up to be very disappointed.
I will simply expect more of the same and I think that will continue for quite a lot of 2021. Hope is a fine thing to have but delusional thinking is another thing entirely and haven’t we seen more than enough of that in 2020?
The delusional thinking of those who think their freedoms (freedumbs perhaps) are more important than the freedoms of others, for those who think they are magically immune to things and thus do not need to mask, for those stuck in a country where the only safe plan is to hunker down inside ones own house because the people outside are determined to do whatever it is they want and f**k everyone else’s wants.. for those who think the colour of their skin entitles them to berate, belittle and outright murder those with differently coloured skin, none of that is going to magically vanish on New Year’s Eve either.
I can’t fix the world. I truly begin to think nobody can. All I can do is focus in on what exists within my own four walls and make that better. So my plan for 2021 is simply that – Home.
Unlike a lot of others home for me includes work, I am very lucky in that respect.
In these next few days between Christmas and New Year I am going to tackle some things at home which have been annoying me for a while. A pantry clean out and reorganize, a fixing of some shelves that have become a dumping place for things which need homes.. those kinds of small jobs that we put off till later but later never appears.
My New Year Wish For You –
I wish you all the best in 2021
If by chance (reality) we get the same kind of shyte we got in 2020 I wish you all the patience in the world to deal with it.
Now I press this button and we’ll see what happens next! ;)
To blog, to do things that aren’t work related, to read your blogs, to comment, to just sit and watch teevee. This photo is from my Hawaii trip in 2010 or 2011, I am not sure which one. Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit in the water on some kind of floating device and not have to.. answer messages or the phone or pack website orders for a few days.
But I do not have more time. Right now I have admin work that needs to get done and a bunch of new products that need to be added to the website some of which have been waiting two weeks already since they got here. I finally got the photos taken yesterday in a mad bulk photography session.
Where the f**k did August go? It was our Birthday Month here at the studio and thus it vanished in a haze of giveaways and general celebrations. We posted hundreds of packages and the reason I know that is I have a massive post bill sitting here waiting to be paid.
All of this is quite boring for you folks to read I am certain of that. Other peoples work is not very interesting. So let me mention the cats and chickens. All are well at the moment.
I fear for my oldest chicken. I do that every year when it starts to warm up. Here she is with her sisters on the day we first got them – both her sisters are no longer with us. I know I shouldn’t always see them whenever I see her but I do, I can’t help it. Those three were the ultimate trio, tackling chicken life together. I miss the other two every single time I see her, and I can’t help but think one day I will lose her too.
For now, it is extra blueberries, tomato, corn and tuna for this last sister standing who I adore. She will be ten years old at the end of November and that is a very long life for a chicken.
The kitties received a surprise gift this week. They got a new cat tower. They started playing with it before we even began building it. They are delighted.
Cuckoo kitten has been a godsend for us. She gives us endless laughter and joy. She is so funny. Happy has finally accepted her as a companion and they play together. I have even caught Happy licking Cuckoo from time to time, when she thinks we are not looking. That is how Happy does most things – she will play with toys but if she spots us watching her she stops.
The wonderful lady at the cafe we buy our lunches from did Fisherman’s Pie this week. I was so tempted to buy 7 of them and have it every night for dinner. I settled for four in the end, and the other half has four lasagne. So I do not have to cook dinner for four nights this week. I would have bought some to freeze but our freezer does not have any space to spare – we are doing very well at stocking up and not going shopping very often.
I’m still wearing a mask whenever I go shopping which makes it a chore I don’t enjoy so much. I find it makes me feel like my nose is running – it actually isn’t, it just feels that way. I think it is just having something so close to my nose and having that piece of wire holding the mask in place. I just topped up on fresh foods today so I won’t have to do it again for quite a while other than to get pizza bases and milk from time to time.
Hoping everything is good with you all. :) I better go do this admin work. It isn’t going to do itself lol. ;)
We’ve had to upgrade our storage system. I was using clothes racks with pants (trouser) hangers. Does anyone want a couple of hundred of those? I have many many many of them spare now.
Well. I wish I could say the workload has become less but if anything it has become more especially in the past week as we added Afterpay to the website and I was preparing to do a stocktake while setting up the new storage system. We did that Friday and Saturday.
Fridays are usually pretty quiet around here – I get why because I never go anywhere on a Friday, it is the day all the tourists come down and clog up the highway. But of course the minute one plans to do something on a Friday..
At one point I had three customers in the store plus my parents in the studio trying to count things.
I reached TILT point sometime Saturday afternoon not long after we finished the stocktake and thus took the rest of Saturday off and today, Sunday, I am steering clear of the business and using the day to catch up on some much needed housework.
I am actually trying to find a cleaner to do some of the things I just no longer have time for.
We had a lovely young man come in and mop the floors of the kitchen/dining/hallway and two of the bathrooms a few weeks back, they had just started to be very slippery and I could tell more expertise was needed than I was capable of putting together. He used some kind of special floor cleaner and the floors were so gorgeous for a while there. I’m hoping he can fit me in once a fortnight to do the spare bathroom and toilet plus the ensuite, and the floors.
But today I have to deal with my entertainment area which has gathered a lot of dust and needs a full on attack of wiping over.
This was meant to just be a hobby business to keep me entertained while The Other Half went to UNI. Something to give me a focus after my last horrible employment experience. Well it certainly has done that. And a bit more.
I hope you are all keeping well. I do not keep up with the news anymore. Enough was enough a few weeks ago, I have enough to focus on here.
I do sometimes get a chance to read your blogs and I always open up your posts to leave comments but then I get sidetracked and distracted and me typing the comment never seems to actually happen. I’m sorry about that. But know that I am keeping good thoughts for you all. **hugs**
getting somewhere.. and things will become less busy.. you find new and interesting ways to take up all your time space. ;) I want to take a lesson from the chickens – look only at what is in front of you, forget the past, forget the future, just deal with now.
We’ve been wrangling with our new posting plugin on the website. Everything needs sizes added and weights, so the website can work out what package to put things into, and then automatically generate those packages. Once I get all of that information added it will take a lot of work from my shoulders but.. it is a long process. We have hundreds of items that we sell.
Well I did get a whole day off last week. I went to craft, then to lunch, then determinedly did no work when I returned home.
I had orders to pack and post, I did not do it. The Other Half always says to me – you don’t have to post things the minute they are ordered. Well I know I don’t have to but I like to. It does make better sense to do posting in batches, for sure.
I’m not going to jinx myself anymore by saying I will have time to do things. I simply won’t no matter how much I automate or get better processes for. This business is time consuming and that is just the way it is. This is our new normal. I’ve got to accept it. ;)
How is everyone else doing? I am at least managing to read most of your blogs. I open windows to leave a comment but get sidetracked before I tend to manage it. Sorry! ;)
Those of you who commented recently will have received an email from me with a link to the website. So now you know what is keeping me so busy! It is an awesome business and lots of fun. But I’m finding the recent transitions a little.. difficult.
On May 25th we began workshops in the studio again. Pre-COVID, we’d been running at least two evenings a week, sometimes three, plus some daytime sessions. I have a differently abled client who was attending once a week privately – she can’t handle having other people around. My last session with her was March 9th and we shut down the evening sessions not long after that. I think by March 16th we stopped running as a studio.
So that was quite a bit of time – over two months – without people attending for lengthy amounts of time. We still had people popping in to pick things out or up, but not staying for two and a half hours as they do with a session. We’d got used to having our evenings back.
I didn’t need to have a tidy kitchen by 6:30pm, I didn’t need to have dinner eaten by then, I didn’t need to factor in time to get ready or set up the studio.. and now I/we do need to do that. It is yet another adjustment in a long line of adjustments.
Harder for me I think is to transition from running full pelt from 7-7:30am till 10pm at night as I have been doing for a couple of months now. It is 8:35pm and I should – and will – take the rest of the night off.
I’ve had a HUGE day, 3 sessions in the studio plus 13 clients attended to purchase items, a massive package arrived which I needed to open and get a couple of things out of and thus had to take it all out of the box, a couple of other deliveries, four packages packed and posted..
I’m pretty tired and know I need to take a break.. yet I know there is a lot of work sitting there which I need to do..
It is really hard for me not to just do it, as Nike says. I need to learn how to not do it. :)
And finally getting some time off. We did our Campbelltown delivery run this morning, and apart from sending one Paypal invoice and a very short 20 minutes of loading something important onto the website when we got home, I took the rest of the day off.
I could have packed up tomorrows post but I didn’t. I could have gone in and cleaned up the studio – it is in a bit of a state at the moment and I have class tomorrow night – but I didn’t.
I cooked vegetable soup from scratch while listening to Judge Judy in my cordless headset, and then we ate soup while watching a Seinfeld, and then I watched The American President. And now I type this, then off to bed. Next weekend I might take an entire day!
The website has made a huge difference – sorry I didn’t get to emailing the link to folks yet. Definitely this week I will do it. :)
I’m not having to have the same conversation over and over again. People can see what is in stock and they can order it themselves. The website sends me an email to let me know what has been ordered, I go and find it, and then send it. It will get even quicker once I work out the Australia Post modalities. :)
I have a mani pedi in the morning yay! This was my conversation with my nail lady. And not before time. While rolling up a canvas last week, I cracked a nail. Not badly, not to the point of a problem but enough that I was a bit worried. They got so long in the last couple of weeks. I have trouble typing now. I will definitely be going short tomorrow. And a different colour too.
I hope you are all well! Bedtime here.
Catch up with these other folks blogging about our new normal. :)