Friday, March 6, 2009

Laid Off

Wow. It has been 2 months since I lasted posted. I knew that it had been awhile, but didn't realize that it had been that long. The last couple of months have been tough for mostly unbloggable reasons.

Anway, I was laid off yesterday. They have decided to eliminate my position. I was not surprised that it happened & had been expecting to be let go. Ben & I had been talking about the possibility & were preparing for it to happen. Yet I was still surprised when it finally did.

The shock wore off at about 4 am this morning & I could not go back to sleep. I thought that I would be happy that I got laid off. But I'm not happy about it yet. Right now I am angry. I am angry that I worked for the last almost 2 years to improve the product for my company only to not be valued & let go. I went above & beyond what was asked of me. I improved the fit, quality and design of the product for a lower price. And yet it wasn't good enough for them & they let me go.

I chose to leave my job at my old company because there was no room for growth for me at the time. So I searched for a new job & was excited about the opportunity that I found. The company was profitable & growing with little to no debt. The dept I was hired for was expanding. My position would be a promotion. I would begin by setting up systems to help with the growth & then as we progressed, I would be able to have people under me. And I would be able to design again. And I would be learning & expanding the rest of my development skills. I would be learning more about costing & the numbers side. Maybe I was naive but the opportunity really seemed like a good one.

Well it turned out not to be. Obviously.

This is the first time in my life that I have not been employed by my choice. Every job that I have left was my choice. I have worked hard my entire life to make myself worth more to a company than what they pay me. It started in high school. I love working at the fabric store. I learned that by doing really well at my job that I was able to work whatever schedule I wanted. If I wanted to only work Sundays for 2 months so that I could to a play, they let me. If I wanted to take a month off so that I could study for my IB tests, they let me. I always got what I wanted because I was good at what I do.

And it has been that way ever since. I survived 3 rounds of layoffs at Nordstrom over the years that I was there. My bosses fought to keep me during every reorganization.

But I wasn't able to do this for this company. They did not see my worth. So I guess that it is a good thing I was laid off. I no longer have to commute 45 minutes each way to work. I now have the opportunity to re-focus my life. We have a plan in place. Hopefully here in a couple of days I will be happier about this unexpected change.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Little Artist

So Cade's class drew pictures before Christmas. And his was chosen to be in an ad for a used car company! He is quite the little artist.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Houston, we have a staircase! It has actually been in for almost 2 weeks, but Ben took a picture on his new phone the day it was installed, so I have not been able to post any. He didn't take any pictures of the process of putting in the staircase, so I have no idea how it looked before it was installed.

The inside is coming together very nicely. It should be done in the next week or 2. Here are a few pictures of the progress:

Picture of the staircase installed. It turned out much smaller than I had imagined from the plans.

View of the stairs from the upstairs loft

View of the how the staircase looks in proportion to the room

And here is a picture of the master bath vanities. There will be 2 mirrors on the wall eventually.

And here is a view of the toilet & tub side of the master bath. Just needs a little more glass tile & plumbing fixtures for it to be done.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Well, crap

There is this new law that goes into effect on February 10, 2009 that creates a standard for lead & phthalates in children's products. It is in reaction to the lead recalls last year in children's toys & jewelry.

I know a little bit about the law because we are dealing with it at work on some of our products because it also sets standards on some adult product as well. I hadn't really thought that much about it because I didn't think it had anything to do with clothing. What little I knew about it, I thought that clothing was excluded....

Remember that business that I am forever talking about starting. Well, we (we being my husband & I) have a plan in place that would allow me to start working on this in the next couple of months. It's a solid plan & I have been very excited as I saw the time when I could begin working on my clothing coming closer & closer.

Today, I was reading one of the designer blogs that I follow. It turns out that the pesky little law designed to protect children is going to make it so that I can not do my business. As the law stands right now, any existing product has to be tested for lead by a "reasonable testing program". The cheapest I found testing for is $200-$300 per style.

And as of August, 2009, all product will have to be tested by an approved 3rd party testing facility. Which is f'ing expensive. Like in the thousands of dollars expensive.

What this means for me, is that the law as it is currently written, will make it cost prohibitive for me to start my business. So that really sucks. I will continue to follow this. As it sounds, people are finally realizing the effect this law will have on manufacturers big & small. So hopefully, there will be changes made so that small business owners are able to sell children's clothing.

But for the time being, I am pissed. I am this close to getting my business started in earnest & now there is a HUGE road block in the way...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Flip Updates

the Victorian after it was sandblasted to remove as much paint as possible

We have made quite a bit of progress on our flips.

The quick one has been on the market for about a month. We had an offer that fell through. The woman lied about being able to be a cash buyer & could not qualify for financing. That was a little unfortunate, but probably a good thing in the end. The house now qualifies for FHA financing (which is a very good thing) and the showings have picked up quite significantly. Here are some more pictures of it done. I never got any before pictures because the contractor started working the same day we closed. And, well, my husband forgot to take some.

The big project has been, well, a big project. It took several weeks longer than planned to get the new furnace installed & passed inspection because the furnace guy booked too many jobs at the same time. And the drywall & texturing has turned in to a bit of a nightmare. The contractor promised he would be able to do all of it in a matter of days. He ended up taking weeks to finish & used more than 3x the materials that he should have. (The contractor is paying for the additional materials, not us.)

So we are a little behind (by about 6 weeks). But our contractor is working hard to get us done as quickly as possible. And really, with Christmas coming, it is probably OK to be behind a little since it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to put a house on the market right before Christmas anyway.

The good news is that the walls are done; textured & painted. The bamboo floors are in. The travertine tile is going into the kitchen. Lights are all installed. New windows are installed. And the spiral staircase will be ready sometime next week. So things are coming together pretty quickly at this point.

Our camera is having some issues, so I don't have a whole lot of pictures. But I did add some to the group. Sorry that some of them are a little weird to look at.

So what do you think of the progress? Would you want to live there?

Friday, December 5, 2008


I know, I went a month again without posting. More on that later. Since this is supposed to be a blog about me designing, I figured I should post a couple of pictures of some of the stuff I designed recently for work.

If you click on the images, it will direct you to our website so that you can see these bigger.

What do you think?

Monday, October 20, 2008

I am a dork

Hi, my name is Susan & I am a dork. I fully admit it. And I am OK with it. Saturday night we went to see Jackopierce play at the Soiled Dove Underground.

Reason 1 I am a dork: I was that girl at the concert. You know the one. The one who knows all the words & is singing along, dancing around and being silly.

While there was no free beer this time, like last year. (This year we had assigned seats so we could not be center front like last year.) But that was OK. I still had a really amazing seat.

Reason 2 I am a dork: Ben bought me a combination very belated, very early birthday present while we are there. He bought us 2 tickets to concert they are doing in Austin, TX in May. Since I had a pretty crappy birthday this year, you know with my husband being in the hospital & everyone forgetting it, he felt that he needed to make up for it. So we will be celebrating my birthday in Austin, TX next year! Yes, I am that dorky groupie who is going to a different state to see them play.

Reason 3 I am a dork: They closed with one of my favorite songs. It is this Irish blessing & I have not heard them sing it for a decade. The last time I heard it was on their farewell tour where they sang "With or Without You" by U2 & then faded into it. It is the same Irish blessing that helped lead up to the cure for Ben's headache. I of course started to cry. But that's not why I am a dork, I am a dork because we hung around after the concert so that I could get my CD autographed & I thanked them for singing it & why it had so much meaning to me. I am sure they were both thinking, who is this dorky girl?

So that is why I am a dork. But I had an amazing night & I guess that is all that matters, right?