Monday, February 23, 2009
Twilight had vanished a couple of days ago, not being there to greet us as he always did, and not touching his food. We were worried, but thought he might have decided to hole up in the shed at the end of our property, or maybe had just gone back to hunting full-time. It didn't seem right, though; he always seemed to be either on the side deck, or on or next to the front porch. And he liked his food. It's been so bitterly cold this winter for our area, and that food kept his warmth up. He always purred so loudly when we fed him, and seemed so grateful when we'd dump the ice out of his water bowl and give him fresh.
Then he was back. But acting off, still not eating well, not moving around as much. He'd still get up to herd the dogs, especially Jack, but when the dogs came in, he'd just plop down on the walkway instead of coming back up to his food bowl as usual. A couple of days ago I very foolishly cast caution to the wind and picked Twilight up. I didn't even have anything on my hands to protect them, and fully expected to be scratched to pieces for my trouble. Instead, he let me carry him up to his nesting area, giving him skritches and petting him, with him only squirming a bit to be put down when we got there. Honestly, I was stunned, and didn't know whether it was a breakthrough, or he was worse off than I thought.
But we couldn't see anything wrong. I did notice that he was favoring his left hind leg just a bit, yet he was able to walk on it. He was always a 'talker', but he got very vocal the last couple of days. I fretted that he was in pain somehow, but again, no sign of injury...and if I had hurt him picking him up, he showed no sign of it. For about a day and a half he apparently ate nothing, even when we tried to hand feed him. DH took out a piece of pork roast yesterday afternoon, and Twilight wouldn't touch that, so we put it in his bowl.
Then last night, the DH came back in after taking the dogs for their final potty break, and said a good amount of food was gone, including the pork. We were relieved. Twilight was out with the dogs, but the DH said he was suddenly very wobbly in the back paws. We checked on him later, and he was in that shelter he never used.
This morning, he was still there, and the DH told me he was gone. Now someone please tell me why I am grieving for a cat I never wanted, never saw before November, and never even had in my home? For cripesakes, I'm allergic to the creatures! So why did I cry all over the poor DH's shoulder? Dammit.
I'm a firm believer that people...and animals...come into our lives for a reason, to meet a need we have, or for us to meet one of theirs. I'm not sure what we might have done for him that he couldn't do for himself, but I know it made us happy to feel we had a bit of his trust.
In one of Nature's little ironies, I saw the first snowdrops of the season, such a lovely sign that Spring is around the corner. It usually makes me feel so happy.
Friday, February 20, 2009
BTW, he sent me Mary Shelley, the woman who dreamed up Frankenstein and his monster. I choose to believe it's because she was an intelligent, creative woman who was ahead of her time. If it's something to do with the subject matter, well, let's just say that Jake is safer with my chosen interpretation.
Anyway, nice and quiet, until we hear someone clomping up the front steps and across the porch. DH goes out to greet him. Have I mentioned the staff as a whole tries to avoid having the Office Goddess deal with the general public? I, of course, am bemused as to their reasoning. Sure I am. So, this man says he has pictures to pick up, under this or this name, and that we've called him a few times.
I should think we have. The pictures have been here, and paid for, for SEVEN MONTHS! Mind you we have orders that have been here, again, with the money already spent, for years. As the DH goes into production to pull the order, I hear the guy comment that he was here at nine, because "he expected we would be open at nine."
Oh, really? Because everytime we leave a voice mail, and he's admitted to getting several, we state that we're open from 10-6, Tues. through Sat. That information is also posted on the parking lot side, and the front of the building, is on the voice mail message at the studio number, and is on our website. Secretive about our hours we are not. We don't do a traditional 9-5 so that people who do can come by after work and ...gasp!...pick up pictures. Actually, a lot of area shops don't open till 10, probably for the same reason.
DH ignores the comment, which is why he's out there and I'm selecting a friend for Jake. I hear him hand the man his photo order, and the guy remarks, "That doesn't seem like much!" Um, dude? You ordered three pictures back in JULY, and you're getting three pictures. They didn't atrophy over time, we didn't deduct pictures for a storage fee (hmmmm! note to self to look into that!), and if you think it doesn't look like much, maybe you should order more photos of your dimpled darling dancer daughter.
I was doing a slow burn. Actually, maybe this is why Jake got Rasputin.
Change of topic....
A small worrisome note...we're not sure where our feral kitty, Twilight, is. Yesterday morning he wasn't acting like himself. He didn't herd Jack, his favorite Scottie, nor did he leave his nest in the alpaca-fur-mulch in the front hedge area, not even for food and fresh water. When we checked on him, he looked at us sleepily but didn't budge. I joked that perhaps he'd been catting around the night before. Witty, no? No? Okay, have it your way.
But last night he didn't greet us by rolling around on the walkway as he usually does, and although food had been eaten, there was no sign of him at all. This on a very cold blustery evening, where he'd normally be scarfing down the kibble for warmth. This morning, still no sign, and the food was untouched.
So the DH, big softie that he is, and I are pretty concerned. If the weather had warmed up considerably, I'd say he was off hunting more interesting things to eat, but it was brutal last night, and the couple nice days we did have, he was still around. Maybe he's moved on, but it seems odd when he has steady food and water.
*sigh* I'll let you know if Twilight shows back up.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Thanks to you my lace and cable gloves have won the Cherry Hill yarn competiton. The winners can be seen here:
Hopefully when the pattern comes out they will spell my name right....
Whoo hoo! I'm so proud of all of you. Of course, I happen to think that Liz would have won with or without our help, but hey, no reason not to do our best to make sure of it. And that we did. What a great start to the day.
Sometimes good guys finish FIRST.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Next, the surgery is off. The doctor really wanted to do it at his facility, because the hospital isn't nearly as up-to-date, and he cannot see as well with their equipment to do the procedure on the shoulder. BUT, my mega-crappy insurance (there are many joys to being self-employed; this is not one of them) only covers the hospital, and that with such an appallingly high deductible that I was really sweating it. So the doc asked us to come back in, free of charge (as the DH puts it, free is in the budget) to talk.
Meanwhile, I did some research on frozen shoulders. Turns out that first of all, as a diabetic, I am more prone to the condition. Nothing new, if there's anything out there, we'll get it worse or be more susceptible. Just gotta love those genetics. Anyway, they aren't sure WHY that is the case, possibly something autoimmune-related. Second, they almost always clear up on their own. But that can take up to two years. Now, see, this shoulder is the DH's favorite sleeping place, and I haven't been able to raise my arm up for him to do that, so I do not intend to wait two years. Third, according to the American Academy of Osteopathic Surgeons website, manipulation under anesthesia is a last resort after physical therapy. I hadn't had any.
Armed with this info, I went to the meeting with the doctor. Understand, this man and his family are clients, so I knew I had to be careful with how I approached this. I hate confrontations. Not out of fear, but because I know me. If I feel defensive, I attack, and I do it very very well. Not good with a client whose wife is a serious prima donna. *sigh* I decided to see first what he had to say, and have my oh-so-tactful DH take the lead if need be.
First thing that the doc said was that he had no idea of the restrictions of our insurance, explaining the difficulty of the hospital. Since the actual surgical procedure for the calcium deposit can literally wait years, we were only doing it to kill two birds while I had to be under already. So he proposed we just do the manipulation. At this point I said that even that might not be necessary. Doing some exercises I found online, I had already improved the front range of motion of my arm considerably, and the back, which is much more painful, somewhat. I said that perhaps I had not been clear, but that although PT is supposed to be the first line of defense, I hadn't had any.
Now, mind you, I'd been perfectly clear on that. Both on forms, during the intake, and to him. But it allowed him to save face, and me to feel crafty. LOL So he said, oh, I must have missed that, and in that case we should definitely try PT first. I think he was thrilled to have the lady with the crap insurance heading elsewhere, but I do go back to let him see my progress in a couple weeks.
Meanwhile, I started PT yesterday. Yes, it hurts, plenty, but I keep floating $$$$ in front of my eyes to remind me how badly paying the medical bills would hurt! He'll see me once a week while DH and I work the shoulder on our own. Thank God for my darling husband's help. When the pain is truly unbearable, him rubbing it lets me relax my muscles, which I cannot do if I'm the one rubbing it. Good ol' Lamaze training really helps there.
BTW today is the 16th anniversary of the first day I met my DH. The time has gone by terrifyingly quickly. The first thing he did was hug me, and he still gives the best hugs. Only Camo's little bitty arms come close. :-)
Finally, I have my pearl back in my hot little hands. Twinkie's idea of shipping it safely meant to have it in its poly bag, in the little square cardboard box in which I originally sent it, in a lightly padded envelope with about six bits of Styrofoam peanuts. What a twit she is! When I sent it, it was well-wrapped in sheets of bubble wrap. But it arrived safely, it is definitely my pearl, so all's well that ends. Period. I'm so glad to be out from under Flaky Twinkie!
Now that you're caught up (yawning behind a ladylike hand)
Friday, February 6, 2009
I have an ethical dilemma.....
A yarn company were having a 'competition' for designs. The money was worth while and at GREAT expense I got some of the yarn (the dollar chose that time to head up and I got done for tax etc!)..
I sent in two designs. Fine. But they have now changed the selection process to a web vote. If I had known this at the beginning I would never have done anything, because we all know web votes can be abused by lobbying....
My dilemma is that I know others will be getting family and friends to vote for them. I disagree with such stuff, but....!!
So, in true internet fashion, I have selected a few friends to send the link to:
My designs are 4 and 5.....
I voted for #5, and I think if we all vote for the same one, she'll have a better chance. I just think it sucks that the rules were changed mid-stream, and I know that Liz has done a lot to give to the knitting community. I think it would nice if we gave her our support in return...yes, I'm lobbying, but hey, you gotta fight fire with fire, right?
So do me a favor, take a second, and vote for a very nice lady's work.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I'm nothing if not imaginative.
Anyway, he thanked me, and I told him I loved him, to which he courteously replied that he loved me too, although I could tell his attention was more focused on the cookie which he knew he couldn't have until post-lunch.
"You know what?" I asked?
"What?" he replied. Kid's sharp as a tack.
"You know what I tell people about you?"
"What?" (if it ain't broke, figures Camo...)
"I tell people that you make the sun rise every morning."
"Oh." (I can practically hear the visions of chocolate chips in his head.)
"You should tell your mommy I said that."
Now, from my end of the phone, I hear Cameron telling his mother what I said. She asks him, amused, "Grandma says you make the sun rise?" "Yep," says the king of one-word answers. "Well, do you?" his mom asked.
In a tone of suddenly intense exasperation (the cookie IS waiting, after all), Camo bursts out,
"I don't know!!!!"
BTW, as I was finishing this, he called to inform me that the cookie "was DELICIOUS!" Smart kid; he knows flattery will get him everywhere.
I think the DH taught him that.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
First some deep background. About twelve years ago, after having spent our honeymoon there, the DH and I decided to take my girls and my mom to Disney World for Christmas. We had a great time. The DH and I are especially fond of Epcot, and when we were in the Japan pavilion, we tried a bit of a gamble they had. You pay a small amount, pick an oyster, and you get whatever pearl is inside. You can see it here. I did very well out of the deal, getting a lovely silver-gray pearl that was about 7.25 mm, a nice size. I didn't care for any of the settings they had for it, so I carried it home and waited to know what I wanted to do with it.
A few years ago, I saw a necklace that I knew was similar to what I wanted to do with my pearl. It's three moons, full in the center, waxing and waning crescents to either side. Like this without the dangle bit. I wanted the full moon to be the pearl, and to have it set in silver. I just didn't know anyone to do it.
Forward a bit to last year. I found a seller on Etsy who was selling OOAK (one of a kind, if you aren't familiar) silver set onyx earrings. They were lovely, distinctive, and reasonable, and now they are mine. If I wear black, I wear these. I liked some of her other work too, and got a circle with a couple meaningful phrases for the DH for his birthday, to wear with his cross necklace. I ordered it in plenty of time, which was good, since she was backed up with Mother's Day orders.
So at the end of the summer, I approached....let's call her Twinkie because it will amuse me no end...Twinkie about doing my necklace. She said that she hadn't worked with a pearl before, but her 'mentor' knew how to do it, so she could learn the technique from her. I asked for a sketch, we hashed out some specifics, and after reminding her a couple of times to send me the sketch, I approved her drawing and agreed to her quote. I mailed the pearl to her in September, and Twinkie promised the necklace for the first week in November. It was my birthday gift to me.
I kept waiting to hear that the pearl had arrived safely; I knew the package had, but not that the pearl was okay. Twinkie had promised to tell me. After a week, I emailed to ask, and oh, yes, it was intact. Yay. I settled to wait.
And wait. Excuse after excuse. Her kids are sick...this was multiple times over months; must be the most unhealthy brats out there. When she missed the deadline, she was working on the how to do the setting; I should be patient. Then Christmas orders for wholesalers put me on a back burner; I should be patient. Then it was that this is very fiddly work, she can only do it when the kids are asleep; I should be patient. Then she needed different materials; I should be patient. Understand that at times weeks or a month would go by with no update from her and promised dates going by, but when I would email asking what was happening, I was being impatient and needed to understand the artistic process.
Meanwhile, I could see new pieces going up on her Etsy site, which ticked me off no end. She took my commission, couldn't get it done, but could do other work? So I wrote, again, and asked WTF? I said that I felt she needed to be more disciplined, because I had been more than patient, and she had made a commitment. I pointed out that I work in an artistic field too, so I knew what it entailed. She tried to bug out, offering to send back the pearl. I told her no, I'd waited this long, I liked her work, and I wanted my necklace. She committed to not working on anything else. Great...we're back on track.
Finally, at the beginning of last month, Twinkie tells me she has the cutout work done, and is concerned about the piece tilting forward on the chain. I suggest a solution (really? I have to think this through?) and she sends a picture of the necklace on her son. Looks fine. A little chunkier than I'd envisioned, but I like it. It just needs the pearl to be set. She's working on the the beading and I should have it in a week. Can I go ahead and pay for it? As soon as I see a photo of the finished piece, I reply, I'll be thrilled to pay. I should have that picture by the end of that weekend, says Twinkie.
No picture arrives. I wait a week, and email....from here I'll give you actual emails, because if I didn't read them, I wouldn't believe them myself. On Jan. 16th, I get this from Twinkie:
I got my new materials on Wednesday, and have been working like crazy! I'm almost done - I anticipate having your piece photographed over the weekend so we can finalize our transaction and I can mail it out on Tuesday (Mon is a holiday, otherwise it would go then!).
Thanks AGAIN for your patience - I'm having a ball working on your piece and I REALLY hope that you like it! :-)"
Again, please have patience with me - I am really enjoying working on your piece - I am doing the best work I can, but it does take time! I will have it done soon! I really will!!"
There was no email. Nothing in my spam folder, and no reason for me not to get it, as I've gotten everything else. Now, keep in mind, this has been going on since September. The work is only different because she hasn't worked with a pearl before, but she's done other settings...I own some! So I respond:
"No, I hadn't received anything after being told it was a couple days away
I have to say, I think I've been very patient, given that I was supposed to
have this three months ago."
"Yes, you have...but as I explained...working with new materials, doing a custom job with a "stone" that I have not worked with before....you MUST be patient! Metalsmithing is a complicated and delicate craft! I asked you before if you want me to send the pearl back and I still will do that. I just can't keep getting totally stressed out when I get your emails - it's affecting my nerves! I am ALWAYS under the gun and I don't want to start NOT ENJOYING what I do because of the stress.
Again, I will ask you, even with all the time that I've put into your piece, do you want me to send back your pearl? If not, then you will have to be patient with me a bit longer! This project is SO MUCH MORE tedious and labor intensive than I EVER imagined! I CANNOT work like a machine - it is all "finesse work"!!!!!! Please believe me that I'm doing the best I can!"
At this point, I'm pretty pissed. I am REALLY good at reducing people, verbally, to a quivering mass of jelly and nerve endings. I'm a bit ashamed to admit I really, really like doing it. But I don't. Instead I send this:
I cannot imagine why you're stressed. At least you know what is going on. I keep being left in the dark, and having to ask. I understand the intricacies of craft; we do it for a living. But I keep my clients informed if something comes up.
No, I do not want it back. I've invested months of waiting, and I don't want to have to start all over again. Just please keep me up-to-date."
After consulting with my husband, I have no choice but to send your pearl back because I am literally stressed to the max in dealing with you. If you cannot understand why I am stressed about working with you, then I'm sorry you can't see it. But I WON'T be harrassed like this any longer. You are hurting the way I feel about what I do and I won't sacrifice what I love to deal with you.
I'm sorry this didn't work out, but I will have your pearl in the mail to you as soon as I can."
I'm not sure how this is totally original...she didn't have to design the piece, after all. And I simply cannot believe the tone of this email. Could she BE more martyred? And she'll return my pearl 'as soon as she can????' I'm livid...and I sent this:
"So, in other words, you bit off more than you could chew, and rather than admit that, you're blaming me.
I have been more than patient, and you know it. You have made excuse after excuse, I've said, "Okay, I understand," you give me date after date when it will be ready, and then I'm evil when I wait for weeks and finally ask why I still don't have it, when the last thing I heard from you was that it was about to ship. Geez, the nerve of me. I'm told it's just shy of ready to go, I hear nothing, and wonder what has happened. How callous of me!
Your over-emotionalism is ridiculous. Either you're a pro, or you aren't. I have not harassed you AT ALL, and you know it. I've given you more than five months WITH the pearl, and that was after having to ask time and again to see a design. Face it, you try to use artistic temperament and family issues to cover the fact that you don't have the discipline to do what you have chosen to be your work. If you want to be an artist, wonderful. If you want to be a WORKING artist, you need to meet deadlines. It's not harassment to expect that from someone who presents herself as a pro.
If I do not have my pearl back, intact, by the end of the week, I will be contacting Etsy. I probably should anyway, to let them know my experience with someone who promises to do custom work, because I'd hate to see someone else fall into this trap."
I know this has been a long post. I suppose partly I want to be validated. Partly I want to vent. Partly I wanna rip her head off.
Now I'm back to the start, after wasting months. Anyone wonder why I'm gonna remove her from my Favorite Sellers?