Monday, February 13, 2012

Here We Go... Again!

I am so sorry that I've been AWOL for so long. Things have been pretty bad around here, but I'm working hard to set things straight. Please don't take the following as a bunch of whining. I'm trying to figure out the best way to lay it out for you so you can understand without sounding as if it's the end of the world. It's not.But I want to be honest about this stuff, too. Just know that, while these things weigh on me every day, I won't let the bad dominate the good. Sometimes just acting cheerful can help bring up your spirits to where you're no longer acting.

Here goes:

 Our power was out. I think you knew that from my post last week. Yes, there was a mix-up on reading the bill. But that just meant we had another month before all of this would happen. We didn't have the money to pay it, whenever it was due. Luckily, social services has an emergency fund for situations like ours and was able to help us out by paying the past due amount for us and getting our electricity turned back on. Great timing, too! The weather had been pretty mild while we were blacked out. Two days after we were turned back on, it got cold and windy here. Whew!

We're also facing an eviction. Our landlord has really been a great guy. He's allowed us to fall behind because he knows the situation. Unfortunately, you can only allow someone to build up IOU's for so long before you have to do something about it. A few days before the power was turned back on, he came by to have "the talk" with me about needing money or he'd have to file for an eviction. This just threw me into total panic.

You see, I cannot go out and work. My husband's mental and physical disabilities make heading to the grocery store for an hour and leaving him home alone an exercise in anxiety for me. Most of the time, he's OK. But he hits these "patches" of time where he just does stuff and then forgets what he's doing. For instance, one day I returned from the library with Little Guy and there was an empty pan on the stove over a burner turned on High. The pan was actually glowing red! He said he wanted to make grilled cheese, then forgot about it. Or, the time the kids and I spent the afternoon downtown. When we got home, hubby wasn't here. He had decided to go for a walk. He walked all afternoon and most of the evening. He said he forgot where he was and got all mixed up on how to get home. He eventually wandered back toward our house in the evening - after I had a zillion panic attacks and had every one of the neighborhood kids on the lookout for him. As I said, he's not always like this (thankfully!), but I never know when it'll happen.

So, I had an idea. I wrote about it on my "Please Stand By..." post if you'd like a little more detailed information.Basically I am working hard to create knitted items to open an Etsy shop.Not sweaters and scarves, but things that people might actually use. I started out by taking apart a wool sweater that I'd bought at the thrift store to wear for Christmas. I wore it, it was not all that comfy, so it ended up in a drawer. That one sweater got me 7 huge balls of wool yarn! I also cut up some mesh onion bags and plastic grocery bags and turned them into yarns of sorts using my drop spindle (thank you, Michigan Spinning Co.!)

The plan is to create USEFUL items from recycled items.I have been very busy developing my own designs, trying out patterns to see if they look good and work well. I just finished making my husband an arm sling from yarn I unraveled from a hat and scarf set that no one ever uses. I lined it with a piece of denim from a pair of jeans that my oldest outgrew a few months ago. He loves it - it's made with colors he likes and " isn't ugly, like the one from the doctor's office." I have lots of other designs and ideas that I'm creating. It takes time to knit and crochet, so I've been very busy making tester items. I want to make sure that what I sell works and will last! As soon as they pass, I start working on stocking items for the shop.

One of my biggest problems with getting this business off the ground has been having the needed supplies. I was working with two sets of knitting needles (I made one set from dowel rods & a pencil sharpener!) and one crochet hook. Even the thrift store costs money and, when you only have $5 in your pocket, that $2 sweater seems expensive! I told my friend Bernie, One Mixed Bag & Budugalee, about what's been going on - I poured my heart out and gave her much more detail than I've given you here (the amazing woman managed to read it all!) The next day, THIS POST appeared on her blog.

I'm still speechless over the entire thing. I never, ever expected this from her. And, here's the thing: She's had a great response to this post. Go check out the comments... I'm just stunned that so many people are willing to help out someone they don't even know. I received the first box of goodies from one of her readers (I'll have a nice thank you post later so I can publicly thank everyone) on Saturday. Inside were 4 skeins of yarn, three skeins (?) of fine cotton crochet thread, lots of tulle (you'll see what that's for soon!), two sets of crochet needles, and chocolate (that last addition just made opening the box all the sweeter!) I've been busily working away since I opened that box. [Today I received a second package! MORE possibilities!!!]

Now, I can look at things realistically. I know that an Etsy shop isn't going to be the answer to all of my problems. It takes time to get a good following of customers and sales can be pretty sparse - especially at first. But, I am looking past the next few weeks and further into the future. I know that I can do this and I know that the quality of my work and the usefulness of my designs, along with the idea that I am repurposing items that are usually just trashed, will build up my business. In the meantime, my landlord has agreed to be a little more patient with me. He's willing to take small payments, as I make a sale here and a sale there. Showing good faith means a lot to him.

So, that's where I've been. Sitting in my computer chair, weaving old things into new things. Hoping that I will be able to make a difference in my family's life and changing the path we're on.

 I keep thinking of something a friend told me recently: " day I stopped thinking 'when this happens, when this gets better, when this changes' and thought the very sobering thought 'what if it doesn't get better?'" She went on to tell me that she had to face the fact that things weren't going to magically change. Things sometimes don't get better and you need to be prepared to face them or risk being completely devastated by them. I can't be devastated - I have a family to take care of. I cannot sit here and say that I'll do more with the kids when things get better. Whether things change, or not, I'd be wasting precious time. I will never get this moment, with my kids at these exact ages and these exact interests ever again. All the while, I am preparing myself mentally for all of the possibilities... just in case. I still have my hopes, though!And, having something to work at rather than sitting here with nothing to do but worry has been just what I need.

BTW - I went through a ton of possible names for this shop and finally just decided to call it "McCrenshaw's Newest Knits" It's simple and, if you read my blog, it's easy to remember! I am adding the tagline: "Serendipity, Recycled." (Serendipity = accidental discovery.) I think that just describes what I am doing on many levels! 


Bernie@OneMixedBag said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love the tag line!! I'm so pleased you are getting boxes. That is wonderful. You are going to be up and running in no time!!
I admire you for sharing parts of what you are going through on your blog. It takes a brave woman to do that. *hugs*

Vanessa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I admire your strength, perseverance and determination!I am certain that your hard work and crafty talents will make a big differnce to your family. Keep on going Mama!

Beth Ann said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You are awesome! I am so excited for you and your new venture! You have what it takes in this tough world. I am praying that all those around you can see that you are a woman of substance and give you the breaks that you might need just at that moment---like an understanding landlord, etc. You are an inspiration!

Coupon Queen said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am so happy you are having some doors open for you! My package is on the way this week, I just have to get it put together and then off to the PO. :) I hope you have fun with all the fun things folks are sending your way, you certainly deserve it. xoxo