Sometime around the end of last week, either Thursday or Friday I think, I reached the end of my rope. That is, I had the realization that I’d taken on too much and was going to have to step back and reevaluate this life of mine.
I know this feeling well - because as Eric and I joke, we are always living right on the edge of what we can emotionally and financially handle. From the day we moved into our very first apartment, which was a whopping 300 square feet, we have stretched. There, we paid the handsome sum of $625 a month to be kept awake by fellow college students drunkenly peeing on the wall outside our window and have backed-up sewage flood the basement (on several occasions). We had to be careful about what we paid for weekly groceries and spent what we thought was a fortune on a seconds-quality Le Creuset dutch oven (that still gets used at least twice a week) and a vacuum. Every time it felt like too much, we split the load and made it through - and we were happy to be together.
Just as life began to feel settled, I signed up for twelve hour school days…and we decided to get a kitten, Eleanore, at the same time. After graduation we moved to California and got a second cat, Storm, a mere two days after arriving and two full weeks before our furniture and possessions made it to the Golden Sate. Though the feeling of being overwhelmed persisted, I decided I had to get a job - and then had to get to the job I got, driving our aging manual Audi over the Golden Gate Bridge and parallel parking it on the hills of San Francisco at the end of the day. A few months later, I decided to quit that job and start my own business - while also taking on more of the household work and chores that had been neglected while we were both commuting and working.
When we moved up to Petaluma, to escape the city and try and find a way of living that both Eric and I would love, the trend continued. By that point, I had Cirrus and was still in the early stages of gentling him and figuring out just how much work it would be to convince his wild soul to trust in me. Eric was commuting by bus back to the city for work every day. Our already sky-high rent took a jump with the move too, putting more pressure on both of us to keep working as hard as we could. But we covered for one another, picking up the slack - and found a lot of joy
And now, back in Colorado, we decided to buy a house. And get ourselves a puppy. And in trying to manage everything and put as much time as I “should” into everything I do, I cut out the things that I do for myself. The half hour I take to sit and eat my lunch without distraction. Workout time. Time spent outside observing the natural world and time spent sketching new jewelry ideas. I’m not sure why I always feel the need to come off as perfectly put together because life is messy and busy and I can’t do it all - especially not on my own.
So on Saturday, I stopped telling myself that I had to spend a certain number of hours in the studio and I stopped insisting that we take the dog out at perfectly set intervals (is my perfectionism showing?). Eric took a few more puppy-sitting shifts. More time was spent taking my time and going with the flow and everything that needed doing got done (yes, I CAN work on jewelry with Ponderosa at my side!). And yesterday, finally, I felt like myself again.
I think it’s also helped that the weather has been cool - mostly in the 70’s. It was so hard to think when the sun was crisping the grass golden before my eyes and the temperature in our house was a comparatively cool 78 degrees.
Though we had more than an inch of rain forecast over the past few days, we’ve only gotten a couple of sprinkles. And yesterday, a hail storm. Thankfully, I heard the first stones falling and grabbed Eric in time for the two of us to run out and throw a tarp over our planter beds. The biggest hail in this storm was nickel sized, and crouching among the tomatoes we found ourselves trapped. Even holding the tarp above our heads, our hands were getting pummeled - so we made a quick dash to the backdoor and to safety. All the veggies survived which is the best news, because the first crop of tomatoes is coming in and I’d be more than a little sad if I missed out on these delicious little gems. I know Mother Nature always wins in the end, but it feels good to know that sometimes, with a little prep (and a good tarp) a person can come out ahead.
Cloud watching has always been one of my very favorite past-times - and while we lived in California, I didn’t get to indulge in the activity very often because there simply weren’t many instances where we got interesting weather. So the past couple of months have been a treat and I’m getting back into the sport with gusto. The hail storm that hit us last night was just a small part of a much larger storm that traveled northeast of us. The hail it produced was baseball sized so I’m not sorry in the least that it missed us, but the clouds we could see from that larger storm - ah! They took my breath away!
These are Mammatus Clouds - a relatively rare cloud formation that occurs when cool, moist air sinks down into warm, dry air. Basically, they form like normal clouds but in reverse - so the puffy, billowy shapes we normally associate with the tops of clouds extend downwards instead. Just know that if you ever see clouds like these on the horizon, crazy weather is likely close at hand.
In the dying light we took Ponderosa out on her first real “walk” around the neighborhood. She still doesn’t have all of her shots, so the backpack is still the only way to go. At first I still had to feed her treats, one after the other, to keep her calm and quiet - but then she started to get really curious about looking around and seeing the world. I think she’s going to be a great adventure buddy. Also, aren’t these two just the cutest? I am lucky indeed.
And now - what you’ve been waiting for: the breakup. It’s been two long years. We’ve had some good times, some bad times…
But, Etsy - it’s over.
At the end of last week (just in time to add to my meltdown) Etsy announced that, beginning mid-July, they’ll be raising their fees on sales as well as taking a percentage of shipping costs (despite the fact that shipping is not one of their services!).
I’m still in a place with this business where every sale counts and every penny makes a difference. And while I realize that I’ve chosen to live my life in a way that has some financial restraints (giving you a hug, Cirrus!) I do my best to be thrifty and save wherever I can. Even so, more than once I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t buy new materials until I made a sale. Or I realized that my last pair of wearable pants were on their last legs (haha) but I didn’t have the money to replace them. Though Etsy argues it’s only a small increase in fees, I did the math - and when things get tight I already know it could make the difference between me making it…or not.
So even though it means adding one more thing to my plate, I’m leaving - and will hopefully be setting up shop here on the website within the next few weeks. I hope you’ll stick with me through the transition because, in the long run, I think this added autonomy will only help me to become the very best maker I can be.