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Whatever rings Mel's bells

Posts Tagged ‘good news’

Housing: the latest

Found a new house!

It’s smaller than I want, but it has a huge workshop area in the basement. I’m going to section off part of that and finish it as a studio, leaving plenty of space for my lathe and casting equipment and bench grinder and all the rest! You know, the ones I don’t have yet because such things don’t fit so well in an apartment.

We went back and forth with the seller over price, but the guy really can’t move as he’s underwater. So we finally settled on a price and all the paperwork is signed and I have a house now… except for the financing.

See, he’s underwater on the house. And my down payment won’t cover the difference. So now it’s up to the bank. Hopefully the appraisal will come in high enough that I can get the loan. If not, I’m not sure what else I can do.

I may be out of moves on this one.

If it comes through, you’ll be subjected – I mean treated – to many photos. So stay tuned!

Happy birthday, apprentice!

I got the most wickedly awesome birthday present today – a new career!

Last fall I got into the electrical trade, applying for an apprenticeship as an Inside Wireman and getting a  job as a low-voltage Sound & Communications Installer.  The installer job wasn’t meant to last forever, just till I got into my apprenticeship.  However, that can take a really long time – six months or even several years if you don’t get in the first time.  So I was just happy to be working at all, let alone in my chosen field.

Guess what?  I got into the program on my first try!  And today I went to my employer’s office and got dispatched out to my FIRST SITE AS AN APPRENTICE.  And it’s my birthday.  How about them apples?!?  Kiss it, retail, I told you I’m never coming back!

Gotta say, things got pretty hairy last fall, and I was worried I’d have to go back to the hateful retail world.  But I got the install job, and now I’m taking the first step on the five-year path to my Journeyman ticket.


It’s not about me

I’m really excited about the song I finished yesterday.  Why?  Because for once it has nothing to do with me.

Yup, I was inspired by the feel of a different song, and the first lyrics I came up with led to the second lyrics I came up with, and that set the tone for the whole shebang.  It didn’t exactly write itself, but it definitely didn’t come from my own life.

So now I need to polish and finish it up, and then I can play something that doesn’t make me feel like Taylor Swift.  😀

Healing, perhaps

I guess it’s more than perhaps, it’s more like “apparently.”

Five years, seven months, three days, one hour, and forty-nine minutes ago, the first man I truly adored was killed.  He’d come into my lonely, desperate, incomplete life, and he filled all the empty spaces that bothered me.

Then suddenly he was gone.

Being the type of person I am, I of course pulled myself up by the bootstraps and went on with life.  *sigh*  I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really know how to grieve.  I don’t know how to lose.  I don’t know how to be hurt.  I just have no idea how to do any of that.  My default reaction is to take a deep breath, consider all the good things that still exist in my life, and move the hell on.

End of story.

After all, no matter what happens in my life, no matter how awful things seem, at least I’m still breathing, right?  At least I still have my health, and my sanity (or as much of it as I ever had!), and my ability to support myself, and my loving and wonderful family and friends.  So why should I dwell on what I’ve lost?  Why should I live in the past?  Why should I cling to something or someone that’s gone?

Unfortunately, my analytic mental processes don’t actually control everything that goes on inside.  So of course, recovering from The Loss Of My Entire Life was not (shall we say) a quick or easy process.  In fact, it’s still not finished.  Not even close.

But a few weeks ago I turned a corner, and tonight I turned another one.  (Does that mean I’m headed back the way I came?  *shudder*)

I spent 28 years wishing for someone who would make me feel wanted, and loved, and worthy, and wonderful.   I didn’t have him for very long, but he was instrumental in building me up to the (apparently) confident person I am today.

I’ve spent the past 5 years knowing that I’ll never find another person like him, and I’ve been not only grieving his loss, but the loss of that love and the loss of the way the love made me feel and the hope that I’d ever feel that loved again.

Oooh, there it is.  There’s the first epiphany.  I finally came to see that what I miss most about Mike Lucas is the way I felt when we were together.  Maya Angelou said it best, you know.  I will always remember the way he made me feel.  And I know I’m not the only one – anytime he walked into a room, the whole place would light up.  Everybody knew him, everybody loved him, everybody wanted to be around him.  He was just that kind of person.  Can you blame me for wanting to feel that again?

So a few weeks ago I realized that, and I realized that – wait for it – there might be someone, somewhere out there, who someday might make me feel that good again.  Who might make me feel that wanted again.  Who might make me feel like I belong again.

It could happen.  I believe it could.

So voila, there’s some hope.  And for me, hope is like air, in that I cannot live without it.  (I almost didn’t, in fact, but that’s another story.)  I now have hope that the thirteen months and thirteen days I spent with my First Mate don’t have to be the sum total of my belonging.


Tonight I came to another confusion, as we like to say in my family.  You see, this Saturday would have been Mike’s 44th birthday, and we were talking about how to celebrate it.  I’m thinking a family dinner and maybe a toast…  Mom suggested releasing paper lanterns with messages written on them, which I really like.

But that got me thinking about how to remember him.  And how I can keep him in my life, even though he isn’t exactly in my life any more.  I acted the ass so thoroughly when I lost him (grief makes us do stupid things) that none of his friends or family talk to me any more.  His murderer is also his widow, so she gets to keep his name till she dies, she even got a frikkin’ television show.  Yeah, what do I get?  I get to feel like I’m nothing and nobody.  Which I am not, not by a long shot!  But it does feel that way.

Tonight I realized that I can, and should, find a constructive way to remember Mike.  Maybe find a cause to help in his name, maybe create something, maybe make a new tradition.  I don’t know what, I’m still working that out.  But I realized tonight that I’ve been looking for a place to put him in my life.  And because I haven’t had a place for him, he’s been floating all over and getting in the way, so to speak.

I think I’m finally getting started with this “moving on” and “healing” stuff that people have been talking about.  Sure has taken a while…  But I guess I’m a pretty tough nut to crack on some things.

Five years, seven months, three days, two hours, and twenty-one minutes.  And counting.


K, so if admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, then I shall do so.

I’m dealing with some depression right now.  I’m at a crossroads in my life, and I’m feeling ready for a change.  But the change is taking so long in coming, it’s getting frustrating.  I was just saying last night, I’ve gone through the part where I let go of my plans and embrace the new paradigm.  So I’ve turned the mental corner and I’m ready for the new thing now.  But it isn’t coming!  So I’m still stuck here in my old life, the one that won’t work and isn’t working and that I’ve already given up.  But I can’t go on to my new life yet.

So I’m feeling really out of sorts and it’s really messing with my head.  I guess the only thing to do is soldier through and deal with it, huh?  At least I have friends who I can turn to and get it off my chest, which I really need to employ more often because it’s a much better coping mechanism than my usual ones.

Know what?  I think I’ll go clean the affirmations off my mirror and write a new one.  Something along the lines of, “You will succeed if you apply yourself.”  With the IF really big.

And then tonight I’m going to go see my wonderful family and celebrate my nephew’s birthday and bask in the love and appreciation and togetherness and understanding and BELONGING that makes me so happy to have been born into this bunch of people.

Take that, depression.


Big changes are a-coming…  There’s no way to work up to this, so I’m just gonna pull the bandage right off in one yank.

I’m auditioning for the Navy Band.

Yep, I’m going to enlist in the US Navy and join the band and be a Navy rock star for the next few years.  Didn’t know the Navy had rock bands?  They do.  In fact, they have 11 fleet bands around the world, each of which has 2-3 vocalists.  One of those fleet bands is stationed at NBK-Bangor, right here in my backyard.  If they station me there, I’ll only be gone for about 7 months (8 weeks of basic, 21 of A school) and then I’ll be back home again for most of my tour.  If they don’t, I could end up in California or Europe or Hawaii or on the East Coast.  Who knows?

At any rate, I’m offering what I feel is my greatest talent and skill in service of my country.  It’s a decision I have not made lightly, and in fact one I was on the verge of making two years ago.  In 2010 I decided to stay here, but I guess it was just a matter of time!  I keep telling people that if I’d known at 18 that I could do this, I’d only be a few years out from retirement right now.  But no, I had to talk to the Army recruiter…  And the Army doesn’t have a dedicated vocalist position.  You know, it never occurred to me to walk out the door and into one of the other branches.  But hey, life is funny that way and playing the “what if” game is stupid and unproductive.

So this is the plan:  I serve for 5 years, and if I like it then I stay in until I want out.  If I don’t like it, then I’m back here in 5 years buying a house and picking up where I left off.

Either way, I’m excited and ready for a change.  Both Etsy stores will remain open for sales in my absence (big thanks to Albert who will be shipping packages out for me until I’m able to take back over) tho there obviously won’t be any new items available until I get to my duty station.  Keep an eye out for future communications as to when I go – it’ll be business as usual for the next couple months, or however long it takes for me to get on the road.

New shop naming contest

So the first of May came and went, and I got distracted.  But the first thing I did when logging on today was to hit up a random number generator website which picked AL EAKIN as the winner of the shop name contest.  Al suggested the name “CountYourBlessings.”

I haven’t actually settled on a name for sure yet, but as soon as I do I’ll make sure and let you all know.  Thanks to all the entrants for your interest and for your suggestions.  😀

Birthday thoughts

Obviously updating my blog has not really been much of a priority for 2012…  So it’s about time I fix that.  I shall begin by posting here a bit of life commentary I wrote today.

34 years ago today at 1:39 in the morning, my mother and a doctor she didn’t really like that much got to introduce me to this world. When I was a wee thing (six-ish perhaps?) I nearly got swept away by a river. About ten years after that I was thrown from a horse and fell wrong, and got the immense joy of laying on the ground, unable to move, wondering if I would ever walk again. (Spoiler alert: I did.) Eight years after that, during an incredibly difficult part of my life, I decided I was done with it all and started planning my exit strategy. (Spoiler alert: I changed my mind.)

Every day now, I get up and choose what kind of day I’m going to have. Every day I choose what kind of life I’m going to lead. I’m not gonna lie to you, some days I don’t make good choices. AT ALL. But you know what? It’s pretty darned incredible to look at my life; at what I’ve done and where I’ve been. It’s pretty darned exciting to see all the potential, to look at my bucket list and know that it’s a pretty safe assumption that I’ll live long enough to knock a good number of things off. It’s pretty darned encouraging to know that I have people to share this life with, from casual friends that I rarely see to dear ones that I spend a great deal of time with. It’s pretty darned humbling to read about people who have done more with their lives when they have less to work with than I do.

So every day I get up, and I’m proud that more often than not, I choose to do good and useful things with my life. I choose to do right and to help those around me. I choose to learn so that I can make even better choices.

I’m not perfect. And life isn’t perfect either. But I’m awfully fond of it, and I’m very happy to be here. And I’m soooooo excited to see what the other two thirds of it are going to hold!

It’s a good day. 😀

I’M IN!!

I’m in I’m in I’m in I’m in I’m in!!!

I just got approved for an Individual Development Account for the biz!

Basically, the IDA is a matched savings program.  It’s funded by Paul Allen, and for every dollar I save (up to $2k) they will match me TWO dollars (up to $4k) for a total of SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS!!

I have to save for at least 6 months and there’s restrictions on what I can buy with it.  But it’s FREE MONEY!!

Yep.  Totally stoked.

Coffee Fest part deux


We missed Saturday unfortunately, due to a decided lack of sleep on my part, and Rosi missed Sunday due to a previous engagement.  But still, it was awesome.

Friday we dressed casual and sat in a bunch of seminars.  Learned SO MUCH!  One of the classes was a short version of “Barista 101” which I wished had lasted 10x as long.  Another one wasn’t so good; the presentation had no flow to it and the guy jumped around a lot, but at the same time I have to cut him some slack b/c his laptop had been stolen out of his car the night before.

Then we hit the show floor and checked out some of the vendors.  I’ll be honest with you, we got ignored a lot.  We were surrounded by snappily dressed people who looked like professionals, and we didn’t really feel comfortable.  But we got a little info, and we got a feel for what was where.

Saturday I was soooooo tired that I just gave up on the whole thing.  I feel really bad for Rosi, she got up and get ready and headed down to the ferry, only to have me bail on her.  Mea culpa, seeester!  🙁  It’s really too bad, too, b/c there was a Retailers Roundtable that I was very interested in attending.

But Sunday was really fun.  I ended up on a later ferry than I expected due to a few last-minute things, so I missed the first couple classes I wanted to attend.  Then, the buses in Seattle were rerouted due to the President’s visit, and our driver missed a turn!  So I ended up walking an extra four blocks or so, which made me late for the last class I was really interested in taking.  Fortunately, I got there in time for the Latte Art championship.  I hadn’t planned to attend that at all, but I figured it might be interesting, and the convention wasn’t open yet anyways.  It was so fun!  I ended up sitting near the mom of one of the baristas, and we got to chatting as the contest went on.  It turns out that she beads too!  So I’ll be letting her know when we open the store, and she’ll come visit.  Her son won the competition, and I had a little geek-out moment and got a photo of the two of them, which was funny.

I was so impressed with the art tho.  There are four basic shapes they can pour: circles, hearts, tulips, and rosettas.  They can also add details by dragging the foam or adding syrup, but for this content they only poured the designs.  Sometimes the two baristas in a heat would do very similar designs, other times they would do completely different things.  But it was all amazing.  Made me want to learn it myself!  Perhaps we’ll come up with a design for our store, maybe something evocative of our logo…

After my experience Friday, I decided to dress up a bit more for Sunday.  I took nice shoes to change into, wore jewelry, did my hair nice, etc.  Sure enough, I got a lot more attention from the vendors.  My goal for Sunday was to talk to roasters, which I did quite successfully.  Got a bunch of contact info, took it down to a short list of 4-5 to follow up with.  Accepted offers of lattes and espresso and all sorts of coffee…  And guess what?  I discovered that (while I can’t really tell good coffee from bad coffee) I no longer get the funky headaches!  So I became a coffee drinker today.

At about 1 (I think) I took a break to sit down and see if I’d missed anything I wanted to see.  When I came out of the convention floor, I noticed that everybody was at the windows looking at something.  I popped over and saw that the streets under us had been blocked off.  Not three minutes later, the President’s motorcade passed right under us, on the way to the Paramount.  So I guess my unplanned detour wasn’t for nothing, right?

Short story long, I got a bunch of goodies, and a bunch of information, and even some potential customers.  All in all, it was an extremely useful weekend.

Oh, and as I was waiting for the ferry, I got to hear the cheers from the stadium, telling me that my Seahawks finally won a game.  Huzzah!