Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Next Big Thing

About ten years ago (maybe longer, memory fails), Tam’s family purchased a small-ish “cabin” in a place called Long Beach, Washington. It was a wonderful getaway for families as there is plenty of room for lots of bodies to sleep. The cabin itself is about five miles from downtown Long Beach, and a quarter mile from the ocean. Looking on a map, it’s almost smack-dab in the middle of the peninsula.

Every summer the festivals begin and Tam’s family would head over for some fun watching kites being flown, sand castles being built, or any number of fun things that tend to happen there. On one of her first trips over, Tam stopped in at a tiny shop to look at the hats. She found one and was hooked. A lovely forest green fedora went home with her that day.

From that point on, every time she went to the beach, she stopped in at the shop and looked at the hats. Chances were good she would find one she couldn’t live without and it would come home with her. That was where she bought the black fedora, the one that has become a favorite; the one that helped form a character in my book. Cole’s love for her hat stems directly from Tam. Don’t touch my lady’s hat or you’ll end up wearing your shoes inside out.

I do not look good in hats. There are a few that will sit well upon my noggin, but for the most part, I leave the hat wearing to Tam.

Fast forward to stuff happening that ends up with Tam and I living together. After several trips to the beach and long conversations with the owner of the shop, we began to make plans. We worked on ways to drum up money without putting the house at risk, but nothing worked. It was nearly a deal breaker: I grew up in that house, it is truly my home and I liked being able to say I own my home free and clear.

But I also realized something else: my job was hurting me and Tam’s job was making a mess of her as well. Quality of life was deteriorating fast and we still have several years to go before we can retire. Neither one of us was going to make it that far where we were. I was getting beat up on a daily basis by my students (it’s not much better now, just less frequent and a lot harder); Tam’s back and hips were starting to wear down with arthritis.

We looked again at the hat shop and drew up some plans. We talked to the owner and made more plans. Then we crossed our fingers, applied for a home equity loan… and got it. Yes, after all that mulling, fussing, figuring, hashing out details, crumpling up the paper and starting all over again, it is finally happening. We’re buying the hat shop.

I’ve purchased the domain name (which is one reason I’ve been kind of closed mouthed about the whole thing… I didn’t want it pirated away before I could get my hands on it) and a friend has offered her assistance in building a web presence. Neither Tam nor I have the first clue how to run a website, but we’re going to learn. It’s the same with the hat shop: we’ll be doing a lot of learning.

In the off season, I might look into working as a sub in the schools over there, or maybe I’ll just work on my manuscripts… In the tiny apartment we’ve rented… right over the hat shop.

Romance, I do believe I’ve found you.

You’re the one wearing a black fedora and a sly smile.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It’s January WHATNOW?

Happy New Year! (I can still say that, right? Even though it’s the 12th of January? Gosh, I hope so.)

It cannot be almost halfway through the month already. Nope, not possible. I haven’t even been to work for a full week yet this year. Everyone else has, but not me.

Because I’m special, that’s why, so special I had to stay home for four days with strep throat. I don’t mind staying home, in fact, I really miss being able to do that and not worry so much about money. However, one must pay the bills or risk losing every-damn-thing. I’m not quite at that point yet, but getting closer… Don’t panic, it’s a good thing actually.

Anyway, staying home when you’re feeling good means you can get things done. Things like dishes, laundry, EDITING… Being so sick you spend your days slipping in and out of sleep and the thought of writing anything makes you want to weep is NOT how I want to be at home.

There is so much to do this month, so much hovering overhead, so much more rushing around us, I worry that we’ll get swept up and something is going to be forgotten. Like, oh, MY BLOG. Um, MY BLOGS! And, apparently, the ability for form sentences like an adult. I just looked up at Tam and said, “Wow, I just swallowed and it only hurted a little tiny bit.” Yes, I said “hurted.” I think four days of fever melted part of my brain. BUY MY BOOK, IT’S THE LAST SENSE I’LL MAKE!

But really, things have been great (except for the really icky sick part of last week). We’re making progress on THE REALLY BIG THING which I think I may have mentioned here before, but I can’t remember but since we’re moving forward and I’ve already contacted an attorney and a CPA and it’s a matter of signing papers and filing shit with the state, I’m pretty sure it’s safe enough to say…

We’re buying our hat shop! Our dream of owning and running a small business is coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier. Richer would help, but we still could not be happier. It’s complicated, messy, and very confusing at times, not to mention DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT ATTORNIES AND CPA’S CHARGE PER HOUR??? Oh, my hair… I’m gonna end up selling what’s left of my silver tresses just to pay those two.

But the purchase will be legal and complete with no ugly surprises to mar our future. Well, no ugly surprises that hide in paperwork. We’ll be renting a tiny (but totally sweet) apartment right over the store! My youngest will be running the shop in our stead and living in the apartment until Tam can go there permanently this summer. Then he’ll stick around until I can join in the festivities on a permanent basis.

Until then, I’ll be sticking around here for a few years (unless the books sell or the shop does really well), but I’m looking for a different position in the district so I can actually survive the next few years. I’ll be “going over” on holidays, weekends, and as much during the summer as I can, while getting the house ready for renters. There will be lots of repairs and LOTS of culling that needs to be done. So many generations of things have been crammed under these rafters that it will take me a very long time to sort through it all.

We’re both really excited and I can’t wait to dish out more details. But they’ll have to wait. Once the papers are signed, there will be pictures posted, along with a website (I’ve already purchased the domain name!)

Gosh, I feel so grown up!