Life has been full, and rich. Colorful and hectic. I haven’t been able to blog in months because all of my energies have been focused in other, more crucial areas. Life is a constant ebb and flow of these elements. And the last five difficult years seem to finally be morphing into a semblance of peace… the thing in life which I need more so than any other. Except perhaps happiness, and freedom and chocolate…
The last time I wrote here, my Son and I had spent a beautiful day paddleboarding on Lake Jocassee… as I write this, I’m waiting for the sun to rise so that we can drive to Lake Jocassee and paddleboard, today! We haven’t been paddleboarding since last time. Late Spring and Summer has been full of activities. My Son has been involved in numerous 4-H clubs, such as the organic gardening club, robotics club, dog training club and BB gun/sharpshooting club. We do chess club every week at the library, and he spent two weeks at a Camp Fire program summer camp, one of them doing an intensive outdoor/survival type of camp, which he loved. In June, C attended the State BB Gun Championships and won a bunch of awards. In addition, his sharpshooting team had the overall high scores.
Work has been hectic and with all of these activities going on, difficult for me to manage. In June, my “Sitelock secure” website was hacked, and I ended up having to be shut down for ten days. In that ten days I had to seriously make positive things happen, such as doing damage control, communicating transparently with customers about what had happened, researching a better e-commerce alternative, and designing and migrating a new site on a different platform. Somehow, it all worked out. And fortunately, it happened while my Son was at camp, so none of the chaos and extremely long work days affected my time with him.
Work has been such a struggle for me, because I have to work as much as possible to provide financial support (as a single parent there is no one I can fall back on for this, it’s all up to me!), but at the same time, my work has in the past completely taken over my life and destroyed my health. It’s so easy to get caught up in feeling like you have to meet every single request, and turn into a personalized cosmetic valet, just pushing out new products and orders while completely losing yourself in that process, out of fear that if you don’t do every single thing, a customer will get unhappy and outspoken and that in turn will harm your business. It’s a really scary cycle to get caught up in, but it’s a cycle I see so many other indie company owners feeling equally trapped in.
I work so hard at staying detached, but at the same time that detachment in and of itself doesn’t help my online popularity. I’m not a business owner who can be active online, precociously commenting on Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit with their customer base. And I really hope that my customers don’t hold this against me. As the owner of an “autistic owned and operated” business, I like to think that the intense amount of passion, time and research that I put into my products far outshines any comments or interactions I might have online. I want my products to speak for themselves, rather than people feeling like they have to buy from me because I’m “so nice” or “so funny” or “so interesting”. I might be all or none of those things if you were to meet me in real life… and in truth, I feel like they should have no bearing on whether or not you wish to purchase from my online shop. I’m not selling my personality, I’m selling cosmetics.
The Summer has been hot, humid and long. As we move into August I am already excited for cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, crisp nights, bonfires, and the return of the comfortable daily schedule that comes with the return of school. The Spring and Summer garden was bountiful, but the pounding sun makes it hard for me to think about planting for Fall.
Big changes are happening in our lives, as we recently found a piece of land that the owner was willing to do an owner financing arrangement with. Next Spring, we’ll be building a modular home on it! So Summer has also been about visiting different builders, checking out model homes and floor plans and getting permits. I got a septic permit, a driveway encroachment permit, and a street address permit! Many more permits will have to happen, but thankfully a lot of them will be handled by the construction. I decided to go modular for a lot of reasons… but the top ones include that I can get a green/energy star home with better construction quality than most new stick-built construction, built in a fraction of time, on my land, to my specifications, for less money! This past Spring, we were actively looking at houses and found plenty of homes we liked, but all of them on small lots and either in busy developments or off busy streets. And all of them would need a good deal of upgrades before moving in (paint, new carpet or flooring, upgrades to bathrooms/kitchen/garage/etc).
As I move into my 45th year of life, and the potential to settle down permanently in a beautiful area which I love, one of my biggest requirements for living was wooded land, out of city limits, on a quiet street, tons of room to garden, no restrictions, and not so far out into the country that quick trips to C’s 4-H clubs and activities, or the store… becoming difficult. I found that. And I’m so excited to venture into this next leg of my journey towards peace and serenity. I know the next nine months are going to be kind of crazy… but after four years of renting and always being unsure of where we’ll be living, I can’t wait to have the sense of stability and permanence that truly having my own home… will bring. And I’m completely ecstatic at having almost an acre to contribute to my gardens, and being able to get CHICKENS!
Here’s some random pictures of our last few months…