Taking Back The Reins

silhouette photo of person riding on horse under twilight sky
Photo by Arvind shakya on Pexels.com

When we did the business tax in June, my accountant had said to me – well you did carpet in the studio, you did a new laptop and phone in 20/21 – I want you to start thinking about what you want to do in 21/22.

I said I already know – I would like to get the studio painted. But to do that I would need to close the studio and take everything out of the room. Maybe I could shut down over Christmas? But would it cost more to get a painter then? Would there even be anyone who would be willing to do it?

It has now been 4 weeks since we were locked down for 7 days, and there are no signs we will be let out anytime soon. Our area, the Shoalhaven LGA, was doing well. Then we got a couple of cases right before regional NSW was due to be let out of lockdown on the 10th of September.

Personal wise, we actually do extremely well during lockdowns. Home is our happy place and where we like to be. We’ve got everything we need here and whatever we don’t have we can easily get.

Business wise, we had switched to click and collect or post only before we went into the lockdown. We had planned to reopen the studio to workshops and customers on the 14th of September. I particularly miss my Thursday morning ladies. We laugh so much during those sessions!

Even if we had been let out of lockdown, snap lockdowns could happen at any time a regional area gets a case. That makes planning things incredibly hard, especially when you have to organise catering, milk for coffees, tidying up the room ready for people to come in, etc.

So this latest addition to lockdown was a bit of a kick to my mental health. On thinking about it, what was really bothering me the most was feeling like I had no control over the situation. I need to take back the reins.

Then we were told that businesses would be fined for serving people who are not vaccinated. How they plan to implement this, I have NO clue. Why I get to become the vaccination police I do not know. I don’t know how it is going to work. I actually don’t really want to know, either.

I’ve decided we are staying click and collect until the end of October regardless of what happens. That way I am not subject to the whims of our Government Overlords. If NSW overall does come out of lockdown mid-October there will be a couple of weeks for me to see what happens with the new system(s) in place, and decide whether or not I as a business owner even want to open myself up to dealing with it.

If I decide I do not want to deal with it, we will stay click and collect until the end of the year and then reassess the situation. This is my business, and I am in charge of what happens here.

In the meantime, everything has been emptied out of the studio. One carpet tile around the border of the room has been removed. Preparation for painting begins 9am tomorrow. I absolutely am not doing that myself. :) One of the Thursday ladies has a husband who paints. Colours have been chosen but I will keep that a surprise for a later post.

Hope you are all well! :)

COVID-19 2020, work

From Bad To Worse

It began with one limo driver who transported some flight crew to their hotel in mid June. He was not vaccinated nor was he required to wear a mask. This is an older article that details some of the happenings after that.

Should we even talk about the failings of our federal government to organise some facilities for flight crew to quarantine and safe ways for them to get to and from those facilities, not to mention travellers coming into our country?

Should we then talk about the failings of our state governments to say no, we will not allow people in unless you build these purpose built facilities? Or say if you won’t build them we will?

Should we talk about the failings of a prime minister whose one job was to secure enough vaccinations for the country who epically failed at that one job?

No, we will not talk about those things, as angry as we might be about them. We will just talk about what is happening here right now.

I live in the Shoalhaven local government area. We presently have no cases in our area. We were locked down for 7 days on Saturday the 14th of August. The announcement came quietly via the ABC covid blog around 2:30pm on the Saturday and when it was officially announced at 3:45pm it was on Gladys’s twitter, FFS. Are we regionals not important enough for a proper press conference?

The first person I contacted at 2:30 was my nail lady – I had an appointment for the following Monday, and I wanted to see if she could fit me in before the lockdown began at 5pm. She could not, sadly.

The second thing I did was ring my parents to see if they needed anything which of course they did, so it was a very quick trip to the shops for me. Luckily I made it there before most people had even heard about this lockdown. I got in and got shopping – by the time I left there was a steady stream of people coming in and all the trolleys were gone.

In this house we are mostly prepared to go into lockdown at any moment. We didn’t really need much here. We’ve got enough toilet roll to last till 2022 and we keep stocked up on things like tissues and paper towel.

We have our local cafe who has been making all our lunches and some of our dinners for 64 weeks now since the first lockdown way back in 2020. Once a week they do a market day menu, we order on Sunday and collect on Thursday. It supports their business and I am not going to lie, there is no way I could do all the work I do without the work they do. I simply would not have the time to cook for us and run the business.

I work from home all the time and the other half normally does one day in the office but they switched back to completely from home once the latest outbreak began in June, so the only thing that tends to change for us with a lockdown is my business gets a lot more busy.

I banned the parents from taking the mail to the depot or going anywhere. They were to ask me if they needed anything – as I have had both my vaccinations. They had not had any vaccinations at all. Mother was very anti- Astra Zeneca and she wanted Pfizer. Understandably so, there was a lot of bad press about Astra Zeneca and a lot of mixed messaging. They have now had their first shot this past week.

Having rescheduled my nail appointment, of course the lockdown was extended for another 7 days.

I rescheduled a second time, in fact I should be having my nails done this afternoon. But of course the lockdown was then extended another two weeks. And we still have no cases here. We have not had one yet.

I feel terrible for all the businesses who are trying to get support from the government. A friend of mine is a hairdresser and it has taken the full two weeks of regional lockdown for her assistance package to be approved.

I feel even more terrible for the people who have been locked down endlessly in Sydney with no real end in sight yet. Their lockdown was extended to the end of September and we all know it will likely be even longer than that.

We’re ok here. However the anger and frustration I feel – we maybe all feel – towards the people in charge is growing. I can’t listen to another press conference because all I want to do is throw things at the TV. I can’t hear any more news right now. I’m just focusing in on the things I can control – my business and my work and making sure both our households have everything we need.

I think this tweet from Paul says it all.

We are the gold stranded.

I hope you are all doing great! :) Whether you are stranded or not.

COVID-19 2020

Fully Vaxxed

Got the second Pfizer shot yesterday. Definitely feeling not the best today but I had planned ahead in case that happened. Can confirm I have a very sore arm. The Other Half had his first Pfizer last weekend.

Hope you are all well! :)

COVID-19 2020

No Vaccine For You – Or You Or You..

**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?

COVID-19 2020, Uncategorized

A Month Later

And a couple of days but who is counting?

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**

COVID-19 2020

Just when you think you’re

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! ;)

COVID-19 2020

Still Running Forward

I got my nails did yay. :)

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. :)

COVID-19 2020

All Is Well

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. :)

Moving With Mitchell
Dkzody’s Weblog
High Riser
Sean at Assholes Watching Movies
Joanne @ Cup On The Bus

Should your blog be listed here? Leave me a comment and it will be next time. :)

COVID-19 2020

And just like that..


And for the most part I cannot tell you what I did other than work and a delivery run to Campbelltown with a stop at IKEA to pick up Kallax shelving for the studio. That is the secret IKEA back alley you see up there – make use of it and your trip will be a lot quicker!

I did manage to get some of the rainbow IKEA bags at long last.

Plus also work, more work, and work. Oh and we got tested for COVID – all clear.

Since we last talked, I have posted 40 packages, 4 of those international to the USA with a 5th to head that way tomorrow. TO ALBUQUERQUE I nearly lost it when she gave me the address being the huge Breaking Bad fan that I am.

And I anticipate more work as I now have three DHL packages packed full of essential items due to land in the next couple of days. Plus a website about to go live in the next couple of days. If you want a link to it when it goes live leave me a comment on this post and I will email it to you. :)

It feels like no time passed at all. I do not understand what is going on, am I trapped in some kind of Delorean but it goes forward instead of back in time? But I did get an awful lot of awesome stuff done, such as new shelving in the studio –

Plus all the old shelves went into the storeroom..

Just like that, a room I hated to go into at all because it was such a disorganised mess is now a pleasure to visit.

These Kallax were already here. There are two more in the house in The Other Half’s room. Everything business related now has a home and it feels amazing. And maybe this means once I launch the website I might have some spare time again.

But you know, today it all caught up with me. I usually go to a weekly craft group on a Wednesday and while we aren’t allowed to go back into the hall, the ladies set up a coffee morning in a local park, and groups of ten were allowed to sit in circles and chat and have coffee and snacks.

I was so thrilled to see everyone. It was such a great morning. Absolutely gorgeous day out. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that the reality of our new reality hit me like a freight train. I was able to keep it together until I got back in the car but I drove home with tears running down my face.

I think I have been so busy and focused on looking after everyone else – the parents, the other half, the animals, the business, doing what needs to be done in the safest way possible, the masks, the hand sanitizer, decontaminating.. it has all been go, go, go. I’ve had no time to think about what we’ve lost. The normal, the usual, the people we’ve not been able to spend time with.

I really missed those ladies. I wanted to hug them all and of course I couldn’t. But at least I got to see them.

And I really missed you all. I haven’t even had time to blog read, or watch teevee, or do anything even remotely like relax and catch up.

But the next 3 days are mine. I’ve closed the doors to take a time out before we reopen the studio next week to clients. I’ve got stuff to post and the website to sort out but I am quite determined to business only from 9-6pm for the next three days – the rest of the time I will be relaxing, reading your blogs and commenting on them, and watching some teevee at last. :)

Plus spend some time in this newly awesome space.

COVID-19 2020

Quick Bite

Well. I had got into the habit of writing down the days events each day so this post was all ready to post on Wednesday or Sunday. But holy cow, have I had a few days of insanity.

We make a product ourselves here at home using our laser engraver. And in normal times we do reasonably well with it, it is a big seller among our customers. Over the uni holidays last year I suggested to the other half we try to make some stock so he wouldn’t have to be making them quite so often, and we had built up the stock levels to an OK place..

But then someone ordered one of those items, they posted it on Facebook, it got reposted and reposted and went a bit viral. We’ve got over 40 of these items in the queue waiting to be made now. So pretty much all we’ve done for the past couple of days is make them or take orders for them, except for those times when I ran to the post office to post the ones we made.

I did go to Woolworths once on Monday to get potatoes, cream, bread and tomatoes for the parents. I dropped into the post office first and ended up buying 200 post bags – nearly $200 dollars worth! – so that I could just not have to worry about buying them all the time. If you buy in bulk you get a big discount too. But I hadn’t been expecting to do that and I had parked some distance away, and I had to walk with these enormous boxes quite a long way.

We got our donut delivery – all eaten.

I got a delivery of Bath and Body Works – they were doing postal deliveries now in Australia YIPPEE :) but now it seems all that info has vanished! I can’t believe it, I was so excited to be able to order and then tell you about it too.. :/

Oh and in amongst all of this insanity we have been trying to build the business website. I remember now why we stopped building websites for people.

I am going to post this and take a well deserved evening off, if I can. ;)

Catch up with these other folks blogging about our new normal. :)

Moving With Mitchell
Dkzody’s Weblog
High Riser
Sean at Assholes Watching Movies
Joanne @ Cup On The Bus

Should your blog be listed here? Leave me a comment and it will be next time. :)

COVID-19 2020