What forces came together to keep me from writing? Did the sky fall in? Did the ground open up and swallow me whole? Did I forget how to write? Unfortunately the answer is no.
Did I lose interest in writing? Not really, my fingers just lost the desire to dance across the keyboard!
That ugly 6-letter word that is notorious for zapping energy and happiness from all who are greeted by this unwanted visitor – STRESS.
As you all know from my posts, beginning in November 2010 I spent months converting my front yard from a water-hog landscape to a drought tolerant one (see Front Yard Conversion Category on the right). By the time it was done I was exhausted and wondering if I had done the right thing. Little did I know then that my mind would soon become more stressed out about the front yard then my body was at the end of each day of laboring in the yard!
Though the 100+ plants were drought tolerant, they would still need some water during the hot months, especially given that they were experiencing their first year in the ground. But…how much water and how often? I’m from New England – if plants wither you water them…but I’ve killed many a drought tolerant plant out here in So. Cal. by doing this. It wasn’t until late October, when the cooler temperatures and shorter days rolled in, that I exhaled about the yard – 90% of the plants had survived (some barely) but now the yard was on its own until April or May. I learned a lot but still have a few puzzles to figure out. I’m incredibly more confident about the front yard and even have a plan in place for better maintaining it this summer so hopefully I won’t be stressed out this year. I’ll take pix this weekend and upload so you can all see where the yard is now (tease – it’s incredibly colorful!).
The other main source of stress has been work. I have always tried to keep work under control – it’s what I do, not who I am – but that was incredibly difficult this past year.
The year started out with a bang – 1 trade show in October 2010 followed by 2 in January 2011. Just as the follow-up work to the shows ended, the worldwide fiber shortage kicked in big-time. This shortage was all the buzz at the shows — wool would be scarce and would quadruple in price, ditto for cotton and acrylic. I’m not sure if the shortage was real in all three areas or if one started and the others greedily jumped on the band-wagon, but it was ugly. The company I work for is a manufacturer that relies very heavily on cotton and acrylic. My boss devoted most of the year to tracking down fibers and haggling over prices. When the fibers could be found, deliveries were often months later than promised, so I spent much of my time working with the warehouse manager to figure out how to ship products when we didn’t have enough supplies.
My assistant, who also handles much of the customer service, was hammered by customers due to how late we were shipping – they were screaming mad and she heard it all. It amazes me that she’s still working for us…there’s definitely been a negative attitude shift, but I can’t say as I blame her. As bad as it was for me to have to stretch my creativity and keep reworking products, at least I wasn’t getting the brunt of the customers’ frustrations (though I did read every single e-mail). I did talk with many of our business customers, but they were aware of the fiber issue and dealing with it from many of their other suppliers, so they were much more understanding.
By the time the fiber issue was finally well under control and bordering on a memory, it was late November and time to start gearing up for the major trade show again. Thankfully we only did one show this past trade show season!
As usual, the boss decided in mid-December to add two new products to the end-of-January show, and we had no latch hookers available to tackle 2 large rugs and have them back by early January. What had been an 11-day hang out holiday vacation for me turned into a latch hooking marathon. I stopped counting at the 55 hour mark but estimate the total was somewhere around 75-80 hours. Yep, I spent that much time of my vacation hooking one rug…and then spent nights/weekends the 1st 2 weeks of January doing the second one.
Just when I thought things were under control, a whole new project was thought up. I had a weekend to design, hook, assemble and photograph this one. Fortunately it was much smaller than the other rugs — it’s a latch hook soccer ball. In case you didn’t know, a soccer ball has 12 black pentagons and 20 white hexagons…each one was hooked separately then whip stitched together.
I nearly cried in relief the day the show started because I no longer had to spend every minute of my day multi-tasking and priority juggling in an attempt to get everything done. If something wasn’t done then too bad…
If you’re still reading, and my whining hasn’t made you close my post vowing never to return, there is good news too. These past few months haven’t been all bad, there were bright spots mixed in. I’ll share those with you in my next post – and there will be pictures too!