Thursday, September 5, 2013

90 days on the Roller Coaster

Project: Playing Catch-up (after eye surgery, plus moving my house and two businesses)
Mood: Optimistic (despite the surgery, having to suddenly move, 80% drop in customer sales due to the Calgary floods and the wheel falling off my truck)
Media: Podcast-A-Palooza (while organizing the house and businesses) - The Nerdist, Hollywood Babble-On, Girl on Guy, WTF & Geek Shall Inherit

This is my life over the last three months, the screwed up thing is that more than this happened, this is just the surface.

June 1st-ish - My Indiegogo campaign for my eye surgery has been so successful that I have been in my studio producing as fast as I can for days on end. My eyesight is deteriorating quicker because of the extra workload. I have 85 mugs to make, 5 cookie jars and almost 300 pendants. I can finish 1 mug a day, maybe a few pendants

June 7th - A week before the surgery, my eyes shut down. The blinding migraines keep me out of the studio. A "For Sale" sign appears on my front lawn, my landlord decides to sell the house rather than fix the washing machine which has not worked for 8 months. I've been here six years, I don't want to leave. A stream of prospective house buyers begins filing through.

June 13th - Laser eye surgery is weird, uncomfortable, but tolerable, until the laser starts burning the cornea. The smell reminds me of being in a burning building about 15 years ago when I was on the Turner Valley Fire Department, burning human is a smell that you don't forget. As I'm freaking out on the inside I remain perfectly still and quiet. The laser portion is done, now the cross-linking ensues, 15 quiet minutes of riboflavin drops and ultraviolet light. 30 minutes later my son picks me up, drives me home. Everything is dark and blurry.

3 types of eye drops 4 times a day - more blurring as the healing process begins - cornea scabbing, fun.

June 21st - Calgary floods, at certain points my neighborhood is surrounded by water and cut-off from the rest of the city. We are lucky and safe, the fallout comes later. The world is still a dark and blurry place, can't work in the studio, can't drive, at least no more migraines. My son drives me about, cooks meals, takes care of me . . . he's my hero.

June 26th - My landlord sells the house, I'm given 90 days to move my home, ceramic studio and my side business with my son. I start house-hunting with all the 1000's permanently displaced by the flood. Houses normally renting in the $1500 range are going for $2500. My eyes are well enough to do a little work in the studio.

July 1st - I start working again in my studio, there is a Market Collective show in three weeks and since the flood we have had no sales at all from the ceramic studio and only a couple of sales in my side business. I go back and forth day to day between working on regular studio stock and Indiegogo items.

July 10th - My production speed is up by a factor of three, no more blinding headaches and I don't even have my new glasses yet. My son has to remind me that its past 10 pm a few nights in a row, I enjoy working again. Unfortunately regular sales are down by about 90%. The portion of the  Indiegogo budget to supplement rent and bill payment that was supposed to last 3 months is nearly gone. We weren't directly affected by the flood but my customers certainly were.

July 19-21st - Market Collective weekend, lots of lookers, no buyers. My booth costs me $260, I only have $180 in sales, not the usual turnout by a long-shot. Three days sitting at the MC have been a pleasant break, but its a loss weekend. Still no luck looking for a place to live.

July 29th - I get to see my old optometrist, Dr. Torano, the best in town. She gives me a new prescription, I can read. My old prescription is workable (for the first time in 5 years) but funds are dwindling, sales are still down 90%. I can ship out all the current Indigogo perks or get new glasses. I ship out the perks. I also find a place to move in to, the catch is it has to be August 15th. I give notice to my old landlord and bring up the laundry list about about the outstanding issues, she owes me money for no washing machine for 10 months and a five month period when the water heater was leaking. Ever got a $200 water bill? I have, it sucks, especially when you get it after 2 weeks of no hot water because your landlord is a cheapskate.

August 3rd - My family emigrated to Canada from the UK 40 years ago today, they are spread about now, don't see them much, good in a couple of cases, bad in others. My son is close, that is what I care about. He and I take our other business, the toy-shop, to the Calgary Horror-Con, his wonderful girlfriend helps us out again. We make enough to cover the damage deposit for the new place.

August 5th - Time to start packing up the studio for the move, I push out a couple of special order mugs as I'm packing. One for my friend Jeff's 50th birthday, he is as a brother to me, he and his wife are family. The second for my friend Brian out east who wanted a special mug  for the creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola. He only asked for it a few years back but between my bad eyes and the nervousness of making something for a public figure that I am a huge fan of I was a little hesitant to make it.

August 6th - Although we don't actually take possession of the new place until the 15th they are letting me move stuff in now. A household, ceramic studio and a toy-shop, we have a lot to do. The new place was occupied by smokers for the last 25 years, they have been renovating for a while, my new next door neighbor is doing the renovation. Aarron is an awesome contractor if anyone needs one. Re-painting with smell blocking paint after scrubbing the walls, pulling out the carpet and a new hardwood floor. I drop off rent cheques at my new landlords house, meet his wife and talk about family, he gives me a bottle of wine he made. After six years I've never met my old landlord, don't know where she lives, I only deal with the property manager.

August 7th - Packing and moving continue, my old landlord serves me with papers claiming I didn't pay rent rather than deal with my request (spoilers - I paid the rent, she is just a bad keeper of records).

August 8-9th - Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 10th - My friends birthday, I take the afternoon/evening off, first break since the surgery. Old friends, new friends, a good time is had, he loves his mug.

August 11-14th - Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 15th - We take possession of the new place and spend the day moving the bedrooms and the kitchen and bathroom basics over. Sales are still down, despite that I have a restful sleep, the first in months. (foreshadowing)

August 16th - Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 17th - Packing, moving, ad infinitum, with friends and a U-Haul. U-Haul sucks by the way. but at the end of the day most of the furniture is moved and most everything else is packed, except the rest of the studio. There is beer, advil and pizza. I love my friends.

August 18-21st - Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 22nd - Court day #1 - giving evidence against a dangerous driver who nearly drove through my bedroom last Xmas. Apparently he paid the fine, they told the police officers and lawyers, no one told me. Afternoon wasted and $20 for parking downtown. At least I got to hang with a friend for a little bit after. Later I borrow my new neighbors ladder to check out the attic at my old place, there was a leak from the roof in the living-room and I want to see the actual damage before court tomorrow. I make a much more disturbing discovery, the chimney has become disconnected in the attic and fumes from the furnace have been venting into the house for the last 10 months at least. No wonder I have been sleeping better, no carbon monoxide fumes in the new place.

Disconnected Chimney
stack started leaning over a year ago

August 23rd - Court day #2 - proving I paid my rent and being informed by the judge that if I have issues with the landlord I have to take her to court. Yay! More court. *ugh*

August 24-25th - Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 26th - Brian gives Mike the mug, he likes it. He posts pics of it on his FB page. I am freaking out, in a good way. lol

August 27th - Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 28-29th - Going back and forth between the old and new places looking for all the evidence against my old landlord, most of which is packed in boxes. Which box? Yeah, its like that.

August 30th - Court documents filed. Packing, moving, ad infinitum.

August 31st - Packing, moving, cleaning. This time with friends again, love my friends. last of the studio, kilns, clay, etc.

September 1st - Two loads left and a little cleaning to do . . . the right front wheel assembly gives way on my truck when my son goes to pick up dinner. *sigh* I call the property manager and get a 24hr extension on the move-out.  We get a van from my son's girlfriend's mom to finish the move.

September 2nd - Move complete. Physical collapse.

September 3rd - Comatose for a bit. Unpacking begins, I find my cereal bowl, I can eat breakfast, no one has to die. More coma.

September 4th - Move out inspection on the old place complete, book is closed, except for the upcoming court date. Start updating the blog. Looking at the studio to start unpacking, lots of work to do, Indiegogo perks to finish. Sales are still down.

My new studio is in there somewhere, Michaelangelo time!!