Dissecting The Committee…

The other day, a friend of mine and I were talking about the power of positive thinking. What seemed to come up the most was the need to eliminate the negative thoughts surrounding whatever area in your life you are working on improving in order to get out of your own way and actually move forward. It led me to think about how often I have run at something, or faced a challenge, with the complete belief that things would be ok only to end up with things blowing up in my face. It makes it hard to eliminate those negative thoughts in other areas.

For instance, about 6 months or so before we lost pretty much everything when the economy crashed, I started seeing the pattern of lack, or at least less, showing up. I tightened up the out-going money, but never once believed things would get horrible for us. Sure, tight, maybe, but we would catch it before certain catastrophe hit. I didn’t worry. I’m not sure how worrying would have helped us at that point with the upcoming crash, but it makes me wonder how things would have turned out if I had worried, paid attention to any negative thought about the situation, gone into panic/survival mode. Honestly, I doubt it would have changed much at all, possibly only postponing the inevitable. Or maybe it would have given me more time to plan how losing everything was going to go and where we would land.

This not worrying when the signs are there that it’s time to possibly start putting a bit of angst into the thought processing is something I have come to realize I do, a lot, and despite the horrific outcomes, can’t seem to change. Ok. Wait. That implies I’ve tried to change it and I’m not sure that I have actually¬†tried to change it. I’m not even sure that I recognized the pattern that much until recently, as part of my processing my life to this point.

Silhouettes of Business People Meeting with Business Symbols

I’ve mentioned The Committee a number of times, those voices in my head that tell me not to do something, to do things this way, the nay sayers, the unrealistically optimistic, the overwhelmingly abusive voice(s) telling me I’m not good enough, reminding me of mistakes I’ve made in the past to support its negative opinion. I’ve named a number of these voices, if for no other reason than to have a name to attach to the STFU statement of defense I make in an attempt to quiet The Committee to a low drone so I might actually be able to think something through.

doubter

There is, of course, The Doubter, that voice that believes everything is a bad idea and doomed to fail, no matter what. The Doubter is best friends with The Jerk/Asshole, who is the one that makes sure I never forget every last mistake ever made by me, and spews some of the worst words of ridicule and meanness ever heard. If there is even the remotest sign of there being a possible error in my thinking or planning, these two are sure to jump on it with the manic vigor of a toddler on a sugar high and the meanness of an abuser determined to destroy someone completely with words alone.

i_run_with_scissors_decal

Then there is Psycho. Psycho runs with scissors, destroying at random, picking fights, shoving instigating words out of my mouth before anyone has a chance to proofread and edit as necessary. Psycho lives in a cage these days since he has proven to be untrustworthy, but, sometimes, the little bastard somehow finds the keys to let himself out and wreak havoc.

crazyeditor

The Editor has listened to every last person that has ever said “You can’t say that” or “Don’t say that” or “You shouldn’t say that” in my presence and edits what I want to say accordingly. She believes in hiding, blending, not being noticed, never revealing the truth about anything less than positive in any way. (Right now, The Editor is losing its mind with this post alone). So many things have gone unsaid by me due to The Editor, things that I probably should have said and, many times, have regretted not saying later. Errors in her judgment do not deter her from admonishing my open mouth. Too many silences have been a result of The Editor withholding the words I’ve wanted to say, even in something as private as a journal, for fear that someone could read it, regardless of the unlikeliness of that happening. I could be ‘found out,” and that would be disastrous.

hopeful

Then there is Hopeful, a shy, meek, quiet little thing. She holds her hope close to her chest because there have been too many times she has just glowed with the level of hope she was holding onto only to be disappointed. Now, if she doesn’t protect the hope she has, the others will admonish her for being so foolish. This doesn’t stop her from hoping, though, which, I have to be honest, surprises me. It also gives me a deep admiration for her. As many times as she has been trampled to the ground, pummeled with defeat, it’s amazing she still hopes as deeply and completely as she does. I am certain it is because of Hopeful that I have not become a bitter person, that I have not lost faith in people being genuinely good at their core.

Despite all of Hopeful’s good qualities, there are a few things that leave me wishing I could drown her sometimes. How many times does one hold out hope for the same thing, the same person, the same situation? Hopeful is up to the task every time, it seems, bubbling over with hope with things, people, etc. that have shown that having hope is basically setting myself up for disappointment or more damages, sometimes both. Yet, Hopeful perseveres.

I’ve been working on trying to develop new Committee members, ones that are a bit more positive than the ones I’ve got on the board now. Yes, Hopeful is positive. Psycho can even be positive, sometimes, through his ability to be loony when things get too serious. The Editor means well, but its time for her to take a back seat, at the very least. Doubter needs to learn to be a bit more discerning so she is more useful when I’m making decisions. As for the Jerk/Asshole? Well, I think he just needs to go, completely, but I am assessing if he holds any value at all first.

 

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Spring is Almost Here!

https://days.to/until/spring

Spring is almost here! I can hardly wait until the weather starts getting warmer and sunnier. The dreary, dark gray, wool blanket of sky that has taken up residence for oh so long has become obnoxious to see every day and I am more than ready to kick that blanket to the floor, throw on some shorts and a tank top, and get some gardening done.

One huge benefit to the continual downpour is that it is giving all my bulbs and perennials much-needed water, indicating to them that it is time to start growing, again. YAY! My catnip, lemon balm, hollyhock, wild bergamot, peppermint, and feverfew are all getting little, green, leafy slippers on (ok. the bergamot’s slippers are more of a deep purple), and I have tulip noses poking through the ground. It’s exciting!!

There is so much weeding to do, but I have absolutely no desire to go kneel in the puddling ground to pull them. I know I will eventually not care about the wetness and will find myself out there beautifying the growing areas so the show stoppers can do their thing, but, right now, no, no way. Come on, Spring!!

Speaking of gardening, have you seen/heard of Garden Genie gloves?!? These gloves look so cool and absolutely perfect for me.

Garden Genie Gloves

Garden Genie Gloves

I think I am going to need to get me some of these. If you go to the Garden Genie gloves site, you’ll find the best price (two pairs, $10 + $6.99 p&h per pair). Sure, you’re paying shipping twice, but it still is the best deal I’ve found so far. Unfortunately, as of this moment, when I click on the order button, nothing happens. I’ve contacted their customer service about this and am sure I will hear back from them soon. (as I was only trying to verify the deal, I’m not too upset about the order button not working. I’m sure it will be by the time I’m ready to place my order, whenever that happens to be)

I’ve been running headlong into whatever work I can find. So far, it’s kept us alive and bills are being paid (mostly. payment arrangements have been made on some), though it is not leaving much left, if anything, to feel like there is a little bit of a cushion. In my world, $20 is a little bit of a cushion. I’m grateful for at least being able to cover what I am, though maybe not so happy about the stress level of chasing it down.

I’ve been doing some cleaning, though that has been up north, so it’s a lot of driving. I’ve also been helping with a lead paint abatement…a lot of scraping, Tyvek suit, respirator, gloves…and the repainting of the exterior of a house, which we are doing by hand (brush and roll) since, with the weather, we are doing one side of the house at a time. It’s been a while since I’ve painted much of anything and am finding that, though I can still paint really well, my hands and wrists are not so happy with long-term holding of a paint brush, especially my left wrist. At least its work, money coming in. I’m not really being too picky about what I am doing for work…something is always better than nothing.

With the higher level of stress due to chasing down that next thing that will bring more money in and the approach of Spring, I am finding myself in kind of a weird funk. It’s not really depression, though I know there is part of that included. A lot of anxiety, sure, but I also seem to be in a zone of searching. What am I searching for? Well, a lot of things, such as a better way to make money, better ways to promote Dog & Den, better ways to juggle money so each penny goes farther, better ways of doing TONS of things. This seems to be a Spring thing I go through, with small variations each year.

The one thing that is really different this year with my Spring crazies….they don’t seem to really be making me crazy. Yes, I’m stressed, many times riddled with anxiety, but I don’t feel like its all too much. I guess I just don’t feel like I’m drowning and the difficult feelings over the finances at the moment aren’t seeping into everything else. This is a really great thing. I guess I’m growing up. ūüėČ

Well, I’m off to go see what I can hustle up for today. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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The Fine Art of Juggling…

Ok!! I’m back! It’s been a busy month, though a lot of it seems like it was just spinning my wheels in the mud, trying to go forward. In all honesty, not much has changed since I posted last.

I have done a couple of pet sitting gigs Рone farm sitting (chickens, ducks, quail, and a little dog) for four days and one dog sitting for the weekend. The dog sitting was for the two dogs I sat with in December Рrepeat business!!  I am indeed loving this aspect of my life.

Still no running water. Neither Lance or I have ever done any work involving a well system. We are learning, but it’s a slow process. We have also discovered that our network of friends and such does not include anyone that can get a well pump at wholesale pricing. Bummer. Oh well. Once we get the darn pump out of the ground, we can actually do some real pricing. Getting it out of the ground is proving to be a bit more challenging than we were thinking it would be. Sure, we knew it would take some work, no problem there. It’s the taking things apart in order to be able to start the process of pulling the pump out of the ground that has really slowed things down. Lance has watched some YouTube videos about it but we both seem to get a bit cautious, probably over-cautious, when we are doing something for the first time. We don’t want to make the situation worse. Anyway, we are still working on that.

My laptop decided it was done with the abuse of use I was giving it and died. It was a depressing moment, though I have to admit that I didn’t really feel depressed. Not right away. Once I thought about everything I am trying to accomplish, learn, do, the lack of a functioning laptop caused me a little bit of panic – for a few moments. Panic is not a good thinking spot so I put it down so I could attempt to come up with a solution.

The solution was a matter of coming to terms with my reality, pricing laptops, seeing what my options were for fixing the problem, and then having to move forward with the belief that things will work themselves out. Ok. With the belief that I would just have to make it work. Work has been beyond slow which of course means money has been just passing through my hands to the bills and groceries, to the best of my abilities. How is this different from any other time? So much less money to do that with.

Work has been beyond slow which of course means money has been just passing through my hands to the bills and groceries, to the best of my abilities. So much less money to do that with. It’s been stressful, but we seem to be balancing things ok, with a lot of extreme focus on where each and every penny goes to. Definitely have had times of borderline panic, but I’m learning to have faith that the universe will bring what is needed. Not easy to do since I tend to feel better when I am death gripping things. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Anyway, I ended up ordering an ASUS Chromebook (thank goodness for credit!). I won’t have payments on this until May, and my thought is that work will be in full swing by then and it will all work out ok. It’s a bit of a gamble, but I WILL make it work one way or another.

So, my Chromebook came yesterday. I haven’t had much time to mess around with it but, so far, I can say that it is going to take some getting used to. It is so much different from what I’m used to. I may do some searching around the web to see if it will help me to better understand how Chromebook works best and how to get it to do what I want most, besides writing. For the four days before it got here, I don’t think I have ever wanted to write more in my entire life. Pen and paper hurt my hands too much, though I was beginning to start thinking I may just have to muscle through it. Now, the laptop is here and all of those great ideas I had seem to have been stirred back into the mix. I’ve made some notes on those to look at later, but that was all I could get out of those, at this time.

The real estate stuff has been put on hold for a minute. My friend has some things she needs to attend to in her life, so we have rescheduled some of the training. That’s ok. I needed to take a step back from it, myself, to attend to some of my own.

Well, I’d better get working on stuff. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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New, Exciting, Terrifying, and The Normal Stuffs…

Where does the time go? I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted last. Its been a busy almost 3 weeks.

I have the Dog & Den website up (dogandden.com). I’m not sure it exactly the way I want it to be, but I think I may feel that way because I’m not a “professional” website builder. I like the site though and feel that I will be able to add to it as I finish more of my trainings, such as animal first aid and CPR and dog trainer training. This is all a bit overwhelming and oh so exciting.

I’ve started my volunteering/apprenticing with the trainer my friend recommended me to, and I’m absolutely loving it. Though its only been a few days of it, so far, I am starting to remember how much I love the feeling of being around a bunch of dogs. Sure, I have my three here, and I am in heaven with them, but it isn’t the same thing. My dogs are my dogs, family. The dogs I am getting to interact with while I’m apprenticing provide a whole different feeling, a detachment¬†of sorts, and this is a good thing.

To help get things going with Dog & Den, I have signed up with a few dog walking, pet sitting, and house sitting apps, such ¬†as ¬†Wag, DogVacay, and Rover.com. Nothing, yet, but I’m there, and, like a lot of things, it’s just a matter of time before things get rolling. Again, super exciting.

I just spent the weekend at a real estate investing training class. A very dear friend came to me saying she wants to do this and wants me to do it with her. She knows my financial situation, so no surprises there. She is funding us to go through all of the training and her credit is sooo much better than mine so she is also the one that will be utilizing the funding available with the investing company we are signed up with. We are working out the details and specifics, yet, of duties and profit splits, but I have to admit this is also an exciting thing happening in my life.

Now, I know what most people think when they hear¬†about real estate investing courses and such. That’s ok. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, right or wrong (I’m not saying either). There was not a single time throughout the whole weekend that I had any feelings of being sat in front of a used car salesman trying to manipulate me into buying the clunker, and this is not the first real estate investing training that I have looked into. In the past, I could hear some potential, but I had also felt like there was a scam there. What’s different this time? I’m not sure. It doesn’t feel icky, I guess.

At any rate, my friend signed us up for the advanced training, which includes mentors to walk you through your first finds and sales transaction. The mentors are something we have access to for life, any time we feel we need them, which will probably be for quite some time. Our next training is in three weeks.

In the training coming up, a group of mentors come here and walk us, physically, through the process of finding the right properties, checking them out, crunching the numbers to make sure its a good deal, making an offer, and finding a buyer. I’m excited to see this part. After that, it’s the expo in Las Vegas at the end of March, which they pay for the travel, three-night stay at the Luxor Hotel, and breakfast and lunch all three days. I’ll, of course, be keeping you all up to date on how this all works out. And, yes, I’m terrified, but also extremely eager to see the outcome. This could turn out to be really great.

We had the water back for about a week, and the well pump went out. The major bummer to this is that the landlord is in Mexico until March and we will have to deal with this ourselves. We had had a feeling it was about to go and informed the landlord, but I had decided we would try to see if anyone in our network could find a new pump at a wholesale price for us, or at least a discounted price. Just trying to save the landlord a little on the cost of replacement since I truly believe that if we weren’t living here, he probably wouldn’t bother replacing the pump. I let him know we would do the labor part of the replacement, too. He said he would pay for the pump if I found one. The pump is only about 85 feet down, so not horrible. Still a lot of work, but doable.

Of course, as seems to be the case more times than not, the pump going out comes at a time when we are very cash poor, so its bottled water for now. This is not an inexpensive way to go, but it could be worse. Again, I am gaining an even better appreciation for running water. We will figure this out.

Well, I had better get to doing some things around here. There is much to do. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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Down with the Crud, Putting the Business Together Little by Little…

Well, the last couple of weeks have been such an unproductive time. This is not to say that progress in any area hasn’t been made, it just has felt like there was so much more I could have done, though I am unsure exactly what that would have looked like. Perhaps I am just a bit anxious over the recent financial changes and dueling with my inner demons.

I have spent the past two weeks with the nasty crud that has been going around. I have a day or two where I feel pretty good, followed by days of wondering if my stomach is ever going to stop feeling horrible, along with being tired. I’m so sick of being sick.

One positive to being down is that it has given me some time to read some books about starting a dog industry business, work on the business website, come up with a name for the business, and get a better grasp on the direction I am pointing myself in. Better finances would make this a bit easier to do, but I am doing what I can as I can and that is better than nothing.

The name of the pet sitting, house sitting, and dog walking business I am starting is called Dog & Den. There will be a LLC at the end of that, hopefully in the near future, but it’s a start and won’t cause huge problems to add later. I’ve looked into insurance and the cost isn’t that bad (about $200-ish), but is also on the back burner waiting for its own funding.

As I said before, I want to have dog training be a part of this business, but I have not been able to move forward with that part, as of yet. I have reached out to the trainer that my friend referred me to, but I have not heard back from her, as of yet. I’m so anxious to get going with it that not hearing back is giving the doubters on The Committee more fuel to throw in their two cents even louder. God, I wish I knew how to shut them up.¬†I am ignoring the feelings of defeat that want to try to take over because of it. I will move forward one way or another, whether with this trainer, another trainer, or finding/coming up with the funding for school. This is happening and is something I now realize should have happened many years ago.

We had almost a full week of frozen pipes here. Running water is such a wonderful thing, and something I have come to take for granted. Frozen pipes meant no showers. Unfortunately, as the pipes thawed, one of the pipes in the 5th wheel burst, so there is still not running water in there to take a shower. Right now, even if the pipe hadn’t burst, I still wouldn’t be able to shower since we are out of propane. Thankfully, Lance has found work and we should be able to start taking care of all that needs to be taken care of in the ‘keep moving forward’ category, like propane and such.

I wish some cleans would come along, though I get the feeling that run is over with for whatever reason. I could be wrong. Either way, I am still going to need to find an income to either go along with the cleans as I build the business or replace the cleans altogether.

I’ve been trying to come up with some fundraising ideas, but this has never really been one of my strong areas. ¬†Ok. That may not be completely accurate. I’m not familiar with how fundraising works, what types of things work for raising funds, and how to actually promote the fundraising in a manner that makes it do what it is supposed to do – raise funds. There are about a gajillion things online about it but so many of the stuffs I have found that way either require funding to start fundraising (??) or sound completely like scams. The others that don’t fall into these two categories seem unrealistic and/or I just don’t understand how to make them work. I could be over thinking it a bit since it is something I am unsure of, something new, but I don’t know. Maybe it sounds overwhelming to me. New stuff usually does.

Well, I should head over to my business site and work on that for a bit. If anyone wants to give me some suggestions about fundraising, please leave me a comment – I’d love to have someone, or a number of someones, to brainstorm with.

Have a great day, Everyone!!

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End of One, Beginning of Another…

The New Year is upon us and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of great memories. 2016 was a less than awesome year for me, though I can’t honestly say that it was completely horrible. Sure, there were a lot of challenges that came along to be dealt with, but it could have always been so much worse and there were a lot of really great moments along the way. That said, I am hoping 2017 turns out to be a much better year with less challenges and tons more great moments along the path.

I am still looking for ways to replace the lost income from the common area clean. Thumbtack has not turned out to be successful, at this point, and I am now out of credits to place quotes on requests, without having earned even one¬†job. Maybe I’ll try again at a later date. We shall see.

I’ve looked into the pet sitting idea – what it takes to get started, how to move forward with it – and am going to go ahead with that as I can. Funding at this point is the main barrier between me and moving forward with pet sitting. I could always just start going with it without the business license and insurance, but that just seems like a way to invite the not so good things right in the door. It could be just fine without any bad happening, but, with the way things have presented themselves over the last 8 or so years, I feel that making sure all of the important things need to be in place before getting started. Maybe I’m just scared, though I don’t think completely unnecessarily so.

A friend of mine referred me to a dog care and training facility near me. She has known the owner of this place since she was a kid. Anyway, the center offers grooming, service dog training, dog obedience, a training camp, and an assortment of other dog-centered¬†services. My friend said I should go talk with the owner about wanting to learn how to train dogs professionally and about wanting to start a pet sitting business. She doesn’t want to see me spend money on a dog training school when she knows I can get the same skills without spending money, plus there would more than likely be a lot of referrals for dog sitting. Another bonus would be that, if there is a position open, I would be able to make money at the same time. Sounds like a win for me. I am going to go talk with the owner of the dog center this week, once I am not feeling like I may just empty the contents of my stomach at any moment – not the first impression I want to make.

Have you heard of Teespring? It’s a site where you can create t-shirt designs and sell them. It costs nothing to do, you promote your ‘campaign’ on social media and such, Teespring handles all the shipping and stuff. I decided to give it a whirl. I have nothing to lose and possibly a little money to make. Do I believe I’ll make it rich, or even be able to support my family, this way? No, not at all, but something is better than nothing and maybe this will bring a little something into the budget. I’ve created one¬†shirt already. You can find it here. (feel free to buy one – or a few. You know where the money is ending up) ūüėČ

For the most part, I am not succumbing to panic over the loss of income. It’s really hard and I know there is at least one Committee member that is in there screaming at the top of their lungs, endlessly, but panicking is not going to solve anything. I have had a few moments when panic has started to rule the nest, but I shut it down as quickly as possible. If I’m panicking, I can’t think, and if ¬†I can’t think, then I can’t figure out the solution. Deep breaths, which don’t always work. Just saying. Sometimes, I have to just stop thinking for a moment or so in order to get back on track.

Anyway, that’s really all that is going on here. I have to admit that I have started thinking about Spring, though I suppose that really isn’t a surprise from me. One of my Christmas gifts this year was basically Spring in a box – bulbs, seeds – and I am super excited to get those growing (Thank you, Lauren!). One of these days soon (hopefully), when the ground isn’t frozen like it is right now, I am going to throw the bulbs in the ground. I now have a few different types of lilies that are going into the mix, and more tulip bulbs. The addition of these items has started the mental image to form and it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous!!

Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Pet Sitting Gig Completed, Future Planning….

Well, my 17 days of dog sitting is complete. I have to say it was definitely a new experience, with a couple of out of my control snafus, but I have to say that I enjoyed it. Sure, it definitely shook up my normal routine and there was a whole lot of time spent away from home, but it was good. New things always mix up my normal routine, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I said goodbye to the girls last night after giving them their dinner and taking them out to go potty. I’m going to miss them for a bit, I think, especially the pit bull mix. She is such a sweetie with a really fun personality, and the chihuahua mix is somewhat of a bully to her, nipping at the pit bull mix’s mouth and face whenever the chihuahua mix felt like the attention wasn’t centered on her or whenever the pit mix came over for loving. She really is a brute, though sweet in every other way.

The radiant heating furnace went out a few times while I was there. This meant staying over with the girls a lot more than I had planned on so that I could keep a fire going in the wood stove to keep them and the house warm. Of course,¬†the heater went out on the coldest days we have had so far this year, with snow. The couple I was dog sitting for had the heating guy come out and he did get the heater going for a couple of days by cleaning the ignitor, but then we had temps that didn’t get above 34 and went as low as the upper teens, and it went out, again. Bummer. Thankfully, there is a large ‘shed’ stocked full of wood. The girls and I stayed nice and toasty, though¬†the mornings were super chilly to wake up to. We survived just fine.

I have to admit that being in a house was a bit weird, at first. I’ve been living the RV¬†life for so long, coming up on 8 years now, that all the room was pretty uncomfortable for a few days. I did end up settling in and I am reminded, boldly, just how much I miss living in a house and all the conveniences that come with that. Sure, there is definitely a lot more to clean, but…well, more to clean seems like such a small thing in comparison to the conveniences. Eye on the goal completely refreshed.

I have given the pet sitting thing as a new career move a whole lot of thought over the past 17 days. There are some parts to it the I would need to either make peace with or figure out how to handle better if I am to do this. Mainly, being away from home, away from my dogs, Enzo mostly, for so much of the time. They missed me just as much as I missed them.

Enzo cuddled me all night last night, shifting closer to me any time I moved so that he was still touching me. Before going to bed, Achilles laid across my lap the entire time Lance and I were watching TV. Luna shoved her way in to me for loving as often as she could, regardless of whether or not whoever was cuddling me at the time had a problem with it. She can be so uncharacteristically bold sometimes. Silly girl. I was snuggled by the dogs and my husband well enough all night that I was incapable of moving. I love my family, though being able to move while I’m sleeping is a lot more important than I had realized before. It’s good to be home.

I have started researching what it is I need in order to make pet sitting my job. There really isn’t much to get it started – business license, insurance, marketing. I’ve been looking at pet transporting, too. I would need a better vehicle for that, but I’m not ruling it out as an option. I mean, if I’m going to go as far getting a business license and insurance to do pet sitting, I might as well round out available services. I honestly would love to do long distance animal transporting. I’d get to do a little traveling, see some things, maybe, take some pictures. Then there is always pet taxiing – taking people’s pets to the vet, the groomer, and stuff so they don’t have to take the time off of work or spend their valuable weekend time doing so. If I could get the damn van running right, it would be a great vehicle to do pet transporting with – more than enough room to put a few kennels in the back.

While researching pet sitting, I found a company (Home Business Forms) that produces all of the client forms I would need for pet sitting, and pet transporting. They offer different form packages, with one including 63 different forms for $130, or you can purchase individual forms. You receive the forms through email or a CD, then just print them out when you need them. I like this idea because I won’t lose the forms by putting them in a ‘good’ place.

I’ve also looked into dog training, as in going to school to be trained to be a dog obedience trainer. I’m pretty good at the whole training thing to begin with but this would give me some credentials to provide, help promote my services, and round out my knowledge in the area. The school that I spoke with also helps you with writing a business plan, for those that want to start a pet services business, and offers a bunch of other classes that you can add on after the dog obedience courses are completed, such as cat behavior training.

If my credit score was better, or I had a co-signer, there would be no down payment to start classes, and monthly payments would be $130 a month. With my current credit score, I would need to come up with $1000 down and the monthly payments would be about $180. I’m going to have to give this some thought and come up with a game plan¬†on how I would make that work before I can completely commit to this. For now, it will sit in my head, circling, prodding me, until I do something about it.

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Pet Sitting Update, Loss of Income, New (to me) Vehicle…

It’s been 9 days of pet sitting, so far, and I have to say I still think it’s a pretty sweet gig. I feel like I’m running a lot, never home, but the pet sitting part is a breeze and these two dogs have won my heart, not that that is a hard thing for a dog to do. The pit bull mix is such a sweetheart…she is my little pal. The chihuahua mix is a sweetie, too, but, as tends to be the case with so many of the little dogs I’ve met, she has a little bit of a Napoleon complex. She tries to ‘correct’ the pit mix by nipping at the pitty’s mouth. Another tribute to how sweet the pit is…she just stands there and lets the chihuahua do what she does and waits for her escape route away from the nipping. Sometimes, these ‘corrections’ are to say “Hey! Stop getting in my way of this human. She wants to pet me, not you.” They are good dogs.

The radiant heating system went out the other night. Of course, this happened to be the night that it snowed here. It wasn’t a night that I had scheduled to stay with the girls, but I stayed so I could keep them from freezing. The house is equipped with a nice large wood stove, so I had that going. It was pretty cold in the morning, but we didn’t freeze and I got the stove going first thing in the morning. I also hit the reset button on the heater and it seems to working, somewhat, though not the way it is supposed to. The heater guy is coming on Monday to fix that.

My Enzo is not liking me being gone so much, especially at night since he likes to snuggle up with me. I’ve been trying to take some time to just hang with him, but it’s sort of hard to do. Luna and Achilles are missing me, as well, and want my attention, too. New things, new way of doing things. I’ll get it sorted out.

I found out last weekend that the major part of my income is ending at the end of the month. The condo common areas will no longer be a part of my detail. The HOA has decided to hire on someone to live on site and have cleaning the common areas be a salaried position. The property management company the HOA hired on thinks I’m doing a great job and doesn’t think the HOA is taking the right path on this one, but the property management company doesn’t have a say in HOA decisions. The HOA is wanting someone more full-time so this person can pretty much spend their days walking the buildings and cleaning what they see needs cleaning. I guess this position will also include minor maintenance. It’s not a bad plan, honestly, seeing how messy these buildings are/get, it just really sucks for me.

So, what did I do? Well, after convincing myself that panicking¬†isn’t going to be helpful (yes, I’m still panicking only its background noise instead of blocking my view), I began searching for how to fill the income gap. I stumbled across Thumbtack. Thumbtack is an app that helps you find the right professional for the work you want to do, anything from painting to house cleaning to pet sitting – pretty much anything you would hire someone for, even personal training. As a professional on the app, I receive requests for quotes, send a quote (along with 4 other professionals) and then wait to see if the person requesting hires me. The only hitch is, in order to send quotes, you must have credits on Thumbtack.

There are credit packages, the lowest priced one being 20 credits for $30, which doesn’t seem horrible to me. From what I can see so far, most quotes cost one credit. I’ve seen a couple that cost 3 credits and a couple that were free, which of course I bid on. I want to buy the $30 credit package but…well, money is tight and I have to figure out how I pull the $30 out of the budget.

The van is parked, for now. A close friend of mine was getting rid of her 2005 Camry and, when she found out that I didn’t really have a vehicle to get around (beyond the 12 mile radius, no freeway zone I’ve kept the van in), she offered me her Camry for $500, which she is willing to take in payments. The car has almost 300,000 miles on it, but I know most of those are freeway miles and she has taken care of the car and kept on top of the maintenance. I have to admit that, in the short amount of time I’ve been driving it, I have come to love the car.

The worst thing about the Camry is it likes to lock you out of it. Of course, this happens when the keys are in it. Yes, I have already had that happen and 45 minutes of trying to fight my way into it without success left me only one option: break out the little ‘wing’ window in one of the back passenger doors. I have no shame in admitting that this solution brought me to tears. I finally have a car I trust and I had to damage it. I will be cutting out a piece of plexiglass to put in the hole for now.

So, yeah, things look like they are changing around here. Whether these changes are good or not so great is to be seen, yet, though I’m hoping its all for the best. I’m doing my best to keep my eyes open to the potential opportunities these changes may open up for me, despite wanting to just sit and scream in full on panic. Wish me luck!

Have a great day, Everyone!!

 

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A New Adventure Stirring Ideas…

I start a new adventure today. A friend of mine passed along a job that was offered to her but she is unable to take since she has moved out of the area. The job? Taking care of a couple of dogs, a pit bull mix and a chihuahua mix, for 17 days while their owners are out-of-town. I will be going over a few times a day to feed, exercise, and let them out to potty. Three nights out of the week, I will stay over with the dogs.

I have to say that this is a pretty sweet gig. It pays much better than I had thought it would and its doing something I love to do, anyway – take care of dogs. This is a total win in my book, and it has gotten me thinking about things.

I’ve stated a number of times, many many times, that I am sick of manual labor and really want to find something that I can make at least what I am already making, hopefully more, that isn’t so darn taxing on my body. I know I said I was going to take real estate classes this winter, but, once I gave myself permission to do so, I seem to have lost the level of desire to do so that I had had before. Don’t get me wrong. Real estate is still a passion of sorts, but I no longer feel like getting a real estate license¬†is how I will/need to entertain the passion. I’m not sure what that looks like¬†anymore¬†so it will have to just sit on the back burner for now.

This pet sitting gig has made me wonder if maybe this would be a really good avenue for me to pursue¬†in order to get out of what I am doing. I’ve started researching this type of business and what is involved in starting and running a pet sitting business of my own, if even only part-time. It’s good money, the requirements for starting are minimal, and running the business doesn’t seem like much more work than what I am already doing, only less body damaging. It’s something to think about. We shall see how this goes over the next 17 days.

I had been thinking that sitting for these two adorable, sweet dogs would be the first time I would have done any pet sitting, but that isn’t true. I hadn’t thought about the times I had taken care of my friend’s farm when she was out-of-town, or the time I stayed at her house with her two dogs. I hadn’t thought of it as pet sitting, but more just doing something for a friend. Yes, I got paid for it, but…well, I don’t know. It just seemed more like doing something to help out a friend that has done so very much for me…a mutually beneficial favor sort of thing.

Anyway, that’s my new adventure. It definitely is giving me some things to think about in regard to potential future endeavors. As for now, I need to get myself ready to go clean the two bedroom, one bath unit I have scheduled for today. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Lance is Home, Progress (sort of) with the Van…

Lance is home!! His trip went really well and his teeth look amazing. Lance got to do some hiking around the Bullhead City area while he was in Arizona, something I know he really enjoyed being able to do. The little dog (Achilles) got to do a lot of walking around, which means tons of exercise for this super high energy dog. I’m happy they are both home.

Re-introducing the dogs was a bit tense in the beginning and we are still working on all the finer points of it that come along with RV life (extreme close quarters). Enzo, of course, is defending his “That’s MY mom (toy, space, whatever)” status, but, for the most part, is doing fairly well with things. Achilles, on the other hand, has gotten to be an only dog for the last two months so is having a little bit harder time adjusting to having to share space, toys, people. I’m sure we will be back into our old groove with them soon enough. Thankfully, Lance can be home with them while we go through this transition. I, on the other hand, am a busy, busy girl.

I said in my last post that work had pretty much dried up. It had, and I’ve got the feeling that this rush of work is a temporary thing, with the hopes that I am wrong and the well hasn’t completely dried up until Spring. This back and forth with income is quite frustrating – one check leaving me wonder how we are going to eat, the next looking really great but not leaving much to it at all by the time I catch up with bills. Now that Lance is home, he can find a job and that will definitely help even things out a bit, or at least make them not quite as financially stressful.

SO, since the Taurus quit on me, I have been driving the van. It still sputters a bunch, but not quite as badly as it was when we brought it home. I have replaced the spark plugs, plug wires, throttle position sensor, removed the EGR valve and cleaned the gunk that can collect¬†behind it, which can be a contributing factor to the sputtering, did an oil change since the oil was smelling like gas, did a compression test (it passed), and took the van to Midas so they could fix a leak that occurred¬†when they replace the catalytic converter (the people I bought it from had replaced the catalytic converter at Midas. I have the receipt). I am certain that at least one of the intake valves are blown, which means it’s going to need a valve job, soon. I have never done a valve job and after reading the manual, it seems a bit daunting. I’m not sure I’m comfortable doing that one on my own, but I’ll do some pricing, talk with a few friends and decide how to proceed from there. I’m going to replace the throttle position sensor, again, since I cracked it when I put it in (over tightened a bolt. Damnit!).

The van had been getting a little bit better with each thing I did, but, after I changed the plugs and did the oil change, it is running worse, again. Not as bad as it was when we brought it home, but worse than I had gotten it to. It’s becoming a bit frustrating, but, at least I am still capable of getting to work when it comes up. Extremely grateful for that. If I hadn’t picked up the van, knowing I had to do some work to it, when the Taurus gave up, I would have been dead in the water without a way of getting out of it.

Well, I had better get myself put together. I have a clean today. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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