Dad Update- 9

Today was a quick visit at the hospital for some pre admittance testing and a meeting with the anesthesia department. It was the typical blood pressure, and such, as well as an EKG to check out his heart. All went well and checks out 100% so he is set for his hernia surgery on Aug 2nd. The whole procedure takes about 6 hours, from the time he goes in, to the time he is released from recovery. I need to be sure that we are stocked up on ice and soup and things like that so that I don't have to run out and get anything once I get him home and comfortable.


Week 28 Accomplishments

This was a week where it just felt impossible to get anything done. I made some Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap as well as some Peppermint Foot Scrub. I also made all new 3"x5" signs for the booth- I just need to do the 8"x11" ones now. Dad labeled all 1200 lip balms for me, how cool is that?!? I went through all of my crates that I bring to shows and got them all emptied, cleaned, and organized. Dad had three appointments and that made most of the days this week pretty useless to get any real work done, and Blueberry Festival was this weekend, so all in all its been a quiet week. I have one more good full week to be able to get soap made before Musikfest starts, and if I work hard, I should have all that I need to get me through September made by then. Wish me luck!

Blueberry Festival- Day 2

All in all the show showed a marked decrease in sales overall. The crowds on Sunday were strong, almost stronger than Saturday, but I felt less of them were making purchases. The place also was pretty empty by 5 pm even though the festival runs till 7 pm.

When I run through my totals and compare to last year, I did sell less of everything, but except for lotion bars, not one thing was down in sales by a considerable amount. It was just an across the board decrease in sales. I also noticed in Sunday that "The Usual Suspects" didn't come by at all. There is a group of about 6 women or so that seem to turn up at every festival I do in the area, all year long. Even if they don't make a purchase they always come by to say hello, sniff the new fragrances and just catch up on small talk. I saw none of them this show, and I know they all stopped by last year. So I really think the construction and the schedule move really changed some people's plans.

There was another soap maker there this year (who only made soap, no toiletries), but I only sold 10 bars less than last year, even though total show sales were down almost 50%. So the good news was that they had really no impact on individual soap sales. I have always had a gut feeling that competition makes little impact, and in this case I was right.

So best sellers were:
Soap: Lavender
Bath Salts: Rejuvenation
Lotion Bars: Bug Off!
Lip Balm: Coconut Lemongrass
Bath Fizzys: Lavender


Blueberry Festival- Day 1

There is a term "Jump The Shark" usually used to explain that moment when you are watching your favorite television show, and one odd thing happens, and you think "Its all downhill from here"… I like to use the term for any sort of entertainment that does one thing that makes it loose its integrity, thus possibly starting a downward spiral that even Harry Potter doesn't have enough magic in him to stop. Its hard to spot unless you frequent them for many years, and really pay attention, but craft festivals are one thing that defiantly has the ability to jump the shark.

I think this may be the year that the Blueberry Festival has made the jump…

Day 1 wasn't a bad day sales wise, and if I were at any other show I would be more than pleased with the outcome. But yesterday felt way down in attendance: it may be the heat, or the fact that a nearby bridge is out, lessening traffic and making it harder to get into the festival site, or the fact that they changed weekends and now there is a festival in a nearby town to compete with. Any of these things on their own are enough to lower attendance and thus sales but the three combined just may be the "perfect storm" of a craft festival. But these things are things I can ignore for a year. They are things that make me think that I'll try again for another year (or maybe two) before deciding whether or not to leave the show. They are things that can easily be changed, thus bringing the festival back from the brink of doom.

But as for jumping the shark… that is due to a whole separate reason. I have loved this show for years because of its integrity. It has been a place where artisans and crafters that do period crafts, or are founded in period crafts could show their wares without the competition from Chinese imports or things made from kits, or krafts (things that take little or no real skill or ability to make or assemble). It allows artisans that do work by hand, that take a large amount of labor and skill to complete, to actually get a fair price for their work. Examples include wood turners, basket makers, broom makers, etc…The Burnside Plantation where the show takes place is period and until this show, previous shows focused on 18th and 19th century crafts. Crafts could have a modern twist (like me) but needed to have a foundation in the past and most needed to be able to engage the attendees on how the craft has changed from the 18th or 19th centuries till now. But this year there were a few examples of non-period crafts, as well as a few examples of non-artisan made crafts (complete with the Made in Russia labels). This not only hurts the overall integrity of the show, but the real artisans have to fight against cheaper goods, against more modern goods, and will eventually leave the show and go elsewhere where they are appreciated more. It makes you think "what will they let in next year" and "are they really only doing this for the money, not for the promotion of the old ways, the education of the attendees". And if I paid my $6 to attend a special show and just saw stuff that I could see at the free street fair one town over, I wouldn't be back next year plunking down my $6, would you?

We will have to wait a few years to determine if 2005 is when the Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation jumped the shark…

Dad Update- 8

Last Wednesday dad prepped for the colonoscopy. He has decided he would rather die of colon cancer than ever go through this procedure ever again in his life. He feels that at least death by colon cancer must include large doses of morphine or morphine-like drugs at the end, which will remind him of his days growing up in the '60's. This is preferable to the "lets pass out in the bathroom" episode we had Wednesday about midnight, followed by the early morning without sleep due to the feeling that whole area of the body was trying to escape on its own and avoid the procedure all together.

I did learn one important lesson: if I plan on passing out in my bathroom, do it with the door open, if the door is closed my rescuers will be forced to bang me in my chest or head hard enough to either move the body, or to get me to move, so that they can enter and help. And when we moved here I was so excited about my bathroom. Its not large you see, but the last house had one so small, the one time I was sick enough to be praying to the porcelain god, C came in to check on me and after I screamed for him to "please leave me alone and close the door" (although I don't recall being that polite), he reminded me the door couldn't be closed because my body, in its current position, was blocking that from happening. So in the new house, I could be sick in peace, which can be a good thing… but only as long as sick doesn't include passing out…then alone is bad.

So the procedure itself went fine. One little polyp, no big surprises. Doc decided to try and hunt for dad's hernia (which he couldn't find, thus proclaims is not there) before the procedure, and two days later dad calls him "Doctor Fingers" and still has residual pain from the poking and prodding. You need to understand my dad is about 5'7" tall and only about 160 lbs. The aggressive poking and prodding needed to actually feel though the wall of blubber many obese Americans are carrying around is not needed on his tiny frame, yet this doctor seemed to almost enjoy the ability to feel around, regardless of the physical pain inflicted. And since it was after they started dad on the anesthesia he had no care or real ability to stop it at the time.

Like he says, death is preferrable….


Just who exactly are you???

Dad is taking care of paperwork and moving to PA officially, rather than just using my house as a "mailing address". Like it matters…

DMV: Need one proof of identity, and two proofs of residency:

First, he needs proof of identity, which was easy because he has a passport. He could have used a certificate of US Citizenship (had he moved here from someplace else and become a citizen) or a Certificate of Naturalization (which didn't apply either). He could have used a PA Photo ID Card, or PA Driver's License (wait, isn't that what he was applying for in the first place, isn’t that like using the word you are trying to define in the word's definition?). His last options were a Military Photo ID card (nope, don't have one of those), or his raised seal birth certificate (which is in a fire proof box, and has his name spelled wrong because it is a duplicate anyway). He'll chose the passport.

Then he needs to establish residency. Two of the following: Tax records, Lease Agreements, Mortgage Documents, W-2 Form, Current Weapons Permit (isn't this encouraging fire arms ownership?) or a current Utility Bill (no cell phone). Well tax records are from the old address since we moved after April 15, so is the last W-2. Not on the lease, no mortgage, no firearm permit (although I doubt he has the proof of identity to get one anyway), and no utility bills (although C would be happy for him to pay the cable bill). So I have to go with him and bring my PA license and my utility bill (what is up with these utility bills being proof of anything?) and sign and affidavit that he lives with me, and bring some of his mail (cell bills, credit card statements) to show that he receives mail here.

Whew, that's a lot of paperwork. Sure hope it's contributing to homeland security, because it sure is contributing to my ulcer.

Now.. dad needs a new Social Security Card. His old one is in tatters in his wallet. So brown and worn from use and age you can't even read it. I don't think it can be extracted without turning into a pile of ashes. So when you get one of those, be sure to bring your passport because they do NOT accept your birth certificate as a form of proof of identity, but ironically they do accept your driver's license (that was awarded based on your birth certificate). While I think of it, you need to produce your bith certiciate for your passport too..hmmm…And by the way, they could care where you live, there is no proof of residency, you just tell them where you want it mailed. No wonder why identity theft is so darn easy.

And lastly- the bank account. Dad and I are opening a joint account so I can take better care of his bills and can stop forging his signature when something needs to be paid that I can't pay on line. They need a driver's license with a current address, and a proof of residency (back to that utility bill). So we need to go to DMV to get dad his new PA license before we go to the bank and try to open an account with something that proves he lives with me. I think I'll get a copy of the affidavit the DMW will accept and just pass it along to the bank. Think they'll take it???

Dad Update- 7

Today was just a quick visit to the orthopedic doctor. Dad certainly has something going on in his hip as well, but since it is getting better on its own there is nothing to do about it right now.

The current plan as it stands (barring the colo-rectal guy finding something wiggy Thursday) is a hernia operation in early August, two weeks of little to no activity as it heals, a follow up by the surgeon, and a final check up by the ortho in early September. This is because he was the doctor that signed dad out of work on medical leave, so he needs to be the one to give the final OK for dad to go back to work. No physical therapy will be needed and dad should get back to work by the deadline of September 10.

He'll need to take a easy for a little while, take as much time off as he is allowed (3 days every 3 weeks) and his full two week vacation as well.

But there is now a light at the end of the tunnel…

And its not a train…


Dad Update- 6

A great song that I haven't heard in quite a while comes to mind…

"Despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage"…

But really, I'm much more like a hamster on its spinning wheel.

6 doctors:
2 in the Emergency Room in Alabama
1 General Practitioner
1 Urologist
1 Colo-Rectal
1 Orthopedic

6 tests:
2 CT scans (with and without contrast)
1 ultrasound
1 X-Ray
1 blood work array

Today we learn it’s a hernia from the general surgeon. Who determines this with a simple physical exam! (And 4 of the 6 doctors preformed one in the past as well!)

Surgery is set for August 2
He'll need more blood work before that
He'll need 1 appointment to meet with the anesthesiologist

And there still is a separate center of pain as well in his hip joint, different than the center of pain touched upon today, so back to the ortho tomorrow, just in case it’s a tendon too…

New Labels

I'm having new labels designed. This is the bath salt label. Its going to be a while for them to be finished for all the products and then put into production, but I think that by 2006 all will be complete and available.

Almost 1000

Almost 1000 "unique users" have come to visit me! For those of you not "in the know" in theory this means that I've had 1000 different visitors, not just 1 person 1000 times.

I wish more of you left me notes in my tag board. I know many of you prefer leaving comments, which I have turned off, but this is primarily about my business and I want to keep off topic and possibly vulgar comments off the site. I guess the tag board could encourage the same things, but hey, it hardly gets used, so I'm not sure it encourages anything at all.

But if you are #1000 please leave a note!

Week 27 Accomplishments

Well, it's been another busy and exciting week. Like last week, its all a blur and I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel till late September.

Soap: Just Plain Raspberry, Raspberry Scrub, Wisdom (120 bars each)
Lip Balm: Cantaloupe, Cappuccino, Coconut-Lemongrass, Grape, Irish Crème, and Mango (80 each)
Bath Salts: Lavender, Rejuvenation. Oatmeal Milk & Honey, Black Cherry, Raspberry (12 each)
Samplers: 48 (dad helped me with these, he sat all day and wrapped and shrink wrapped them)

Dad also put together a few displays for me and stained a few others that I had here that needed some work. Its good to see him doing a few things and taking it easy but not being in too much pain. Just a little something at night to help him sleep, and the rest of the day is bearable.

I've been busily knitting bath mitts in my spare time, I can get at least one done per doctors visit, and three during Sunday's NASCAR race, and one or two each night sitting and watching TV with dad. So far I have 101 in stock, I wanted to average 1 per day and I'm off my mark by about 45 and that's counting the ones my mom makes too. Guess I haven't had as much time to knit as I thought.

Well, this week will be full of getting ready for my show this weekend and taking dad to his numerous doctors' appointments. Wish me luck…


Dad Update- 5

Today was the pre exam for the Colonoscopy. Doc is 99% sure that dad's symptoms have nothing to do with his colon, but if he does happen to find any polyps while he's in there, (in there, up there, what is the correct term?) he will remove them immediately. This fun and exciting procedure is scheduled for next Thursday. Yep, right in the middle of my UWBW meeting. Nothing like timing, but its hard to look at you dad and say "I know you need this procedure done, but I want to put it off so I can attend an nonessential business meeting"... well it is essential to me, just not essential to his immediate well being. You know what I mean…

As for the procedure itself, remind me never to live into my 50's. You get to eat breakfast, and a light lunch, and then you take 4 Dulcalax and drink 64 ounces of this other prescribed laxative, and then sit and wait. Sit on the throne that is, while your body empties its contents, so you are as clean on the inside as you are on the outside when you go to the appointment the next day. It's about an 18-hour fasting period between taking your first laxative and going into the procedure. He should be done by noon on Thursday and cranky from the lack of sleep, food, and coffee... fun…

That will make next week the third week in a row where he has had three or more appointments or tests run. He's been poked and prodded so much he is going to run back to the truck as soon as he can just to get away from all the doctors. Counting all we have scheduled right now, it will be 11 exams or procedures in the first 31 days (22 business days) since he arrived. Whew, I'm tired…


Do you really think so?

Your Birthdate: May 10

Your birth on the 10th day of the month adds a tone of independence and extra energy to your life.

The number 1 energy suggest more executive ability and leadership qualities than you path may have indicated.

A birthday on the 10th of any month gives greater will power and self-confidence, and very often a rather original approach.

This 1 energy may diminish your ability and desire to handle details, preferring instead to paint with a broad brush.

You are sensitive, but your feeling stay somewhat repressed.

You have a compelling manner that can be dominating in many situations.

Dad Update- 4

Grossly Unremarkable…

I just love medical terms; today I learned my dad (at least his hip, and its surrounding tissue) is grossly unremarkable. They should get to know him…

What does this teach us?
1) The big "C" has been crossed off the list
2) No fractures of the hip/pelvis
3) No odd tumors or masses present
4) No muscle damage/ soft tissue damage

What does this mean is left as possibilities?
1) A hernia (but this has been 99% ruled out)
2) Something's up with his colon (like a monster polyp)
3) A damaged tendon- specifically the iliopsoas is the most likely candidate

What are the next steps?
1) Call General Surgeon and set up an appointment- this will definitively rule out the hernia
2) Colonoscopy- we already have an appointment on Wednesday the 13th for the preexam/consulation for this, we just need to schedule the event itself for after the hernia check, this will deal with the polyp issue
3) Possibly a nerve conduction study to see what nerve is causing the numbness (oh what fun this sound like)
4) Almost defiantly an intra-tendon sheath injection of cortisone into the affected iliopsoas tendon (if its not a hernia or ployp)
5) Physical Therapy here he comes... strengthen and stretch is the plan

We gave the Family Medical Leave Act paperwork to the ortho today and can pick it up tomorrow. This will give dad till 9/10 to heal, as he will need to report to work on 9/11.

That's all for now…

Week 26 Accomplishments

Well, the year is now half-way completed. It's so sad, I still have things on my TO DO list from January, and I don't think I'll have time to do some of them until October.

This week has been such a jumble its impossible for me to go back and break it down into days so here are the highlights:

Work/Business: Lotion Bars, Peppermint, 120. Soap, Pomegranate, Love Potion, Rejuvenation and Lavender (about 120 bars each). Lip Balms: Chai, Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon, Butter Crème, Pina Colada, Chocolate Truffle, Wild Cherry (about 80 each). Milled Soap (well C milled for me), he also went to BJ's and bought some new tables and rearranged the work space. I'll get some pictures posted soon.

Dad: Urologist, Orthopedic, MRI.., 'nuf said…

I got asked to join the United Wonderful Business Women. It’s a great group of ladies who work from home, some are artists/crafters like myself, some others run businesses from their home like bookstores… I was all happy because you need to be sponsored to join and two wonderful women I know asked me to take part. One is B at www.barbsstuff.com, and the other is D at www.jdszazdibooks.com. Go take a look! This last Tuesday was the first meeting that I got to attend, it got a little cut short (had to pick up a prescription for Dad), but I already have a small list of goals that I need to accomplish before the next meeting. Whoever doesn't finish, has to buy lunch, and that’s a big financial motivator! So in the next week I need to finish some new signage for the booth, and start dealing with my mailing list (that means getting all the info into one place and coming up with a good way to keep it there). Next meeting is July 19th so I better get going!


Dad Update- 3

The orthopedic doctor has no clue. I got to bring dad in today at 2pm for an appointment. Finally, someone took some darn x-rays. And by the way, they showed absolutely NOTHING! This can be interpreted as a good thing, there is no broken or fractured bones, any big ugly tumors or other irregularities, but this also means that we still can't buy ourselves a clue as to what this pain is caused from. Tomorrow dad needs to get his eyes x-rayed and then go for an MRI. The eye thing is because he used to be a welder, and if there are any stray metals imbedded in his eyes, the MRI will suck them out and leave him blind. Isn't that a cheery visual?!? So once he is cleared, he can have the MRI and then back to the ortho on Monday to hopefully get some sort of diagnosis.

Watch House on FOX lately? I would give my right arm for that man to actually exist, even if he does have the bedside manner of a dead trout.


Dad Update- 2

So today I took dad to the urologist. After a brief but thorough exam, its been officially decided that his pain is in no way caused by his prostate, or anything else located in that part of the body that a urologist has domain over. This doctor believes that it is something for an orthopedic doctor to take a look at, possible a muscle tear, or bad strain. In the afternoon dad called his GP again, she prescribed him some pain killers/ anti-inflammatory and will be getting him set up to see yet another doctor. I went and picked up his new medications and after a time they finally started to work, but not without some major complaints on his part. As the meds kicked in he was once again in major pain, mostly due to the manipulations on the part of the urologist, and an upset stomach- not enough food and lots of new meds combined in not a good way. We may need to put back the colonoscopy, depending in when he gets into an orthopedic. And its probably time to start looking at Workman's Comp just incase this is a slipped disc or something…


Week 25 Accomplishments

Monday: Made 2 batches of Ginger-Lime and 8 (16 lb) batches of basic, unscented soap. C stopped at my supplier on his way home from the airport (I missed the Miami trip because of dad) and picked up 2 containers of cocoa butter. I'm bummed, the price shot up almost 20% since last time I bought some, but is still cheaper than anyplace else I can buy it on line.

Tuesday: Went to DMV. See my driver's license is expired, it expired on my birthday, and when I went to finally change it to a PA license (I only moved from FL 4 years ago), I learned it's suspended as well. Since '03! And I've been in 2 car accidents since then, and not one cop ever told me! Well I've learned it is because the state of Florida thinks I let my insurance lapse (which I didn't) so now I have to straighten that mess out. This means I'll loose at least one more day to the DMV this month…In the afternoon I went to Ikea with B. It was her first time there and she has lost of ideas now, how to redo a bedroom, her crafting space, and a kitchen.. the funny thing is that her and her husband want a new house, so although the trip made her really want to redo a kitchen, its just not the one she currently lives with. The idea just makes me chuckle, because I am the same way, since we rent our house I always want to do things "when we get a house", but walk through there spouting ideas that I would do "if we owned it" anyway…

Wednesday: 2 batched Ginger-Lime, 1 batch Lilac. Went to Home depot, then went and picked up my incorrect contact prescription. Dad helped me break up the two containers of cocoa butter into manageable sizes (he's much better at it than me) and I put together some shelves that I bought yesterday at Ikea.

Thursday: Made 3 batched of Lilac, 150 Bug Off! Lotion Bars, and milled 5 buckets of soap.

Friday: More errands: mailed orders, bank, got the correct contact prescription. Made 2 batches of Lilac and 125 Lavender lotion bars.

Saturday: Migraine day… managed to get through Home Depot and got almost everything we need to make up three new racks for me to cure soap on. (need a few more screws). Came home, took a nap, went to Red Robin for dinner, and then tried to watch the Pepsi 400, which started after my bed time because of the rain. Would have been disappointed cuz Martin wrecked anyway.

Sunday: Two batches of Pomegranate soap, 115 Patchouli lotion bars. KFC for dinner. Dad put together some of my racks, C rearranged the kitchen so I can stop getting my spices out of a cardboard box, and stated putting together a drawer to hold lip balms. Its C's turn for a headache, and he naps most of the afternoon, as does Dad, just trying to get away from the pain he can no longer ignore…

Dad Update 1

Well its has been an interesting and hard week around here. First, this is the longest time my dad and I have spent in the same place since I was 14, and second, I think watching someone suffer in pain is one of the hardest things in the world to do. This past week has been a week without doctors, and a week of ups and downs. The week started and he was in serious pain, with few pain meds left. I'm, talking 4 Aleve and 1 Vicodin type of pain. I know these levels of meds are not good for his body, his liver, his kidneys, but there is a trade off at some level, isn't there? Mid week, he was feeling better, more manageable, even had a day with no meds at all. Right now he is laying in the sofa in the same shape he started in, twinges of pain shooting up his body, his face red from discomfort. It’s July 4th so there is no one to call really, and he has a doctor's appointment tomorrow anyway. Its with the Urologist, and we think its will be no help. His PSA test came back within normal levels, but we know his prostate is enlarged- but to cause this much pain, I seriously doubt it. In fact, all of his blood work came back within normal levels (except his cholesterol is a little high, and only a little). This is a mystery, but my bet is on a broken hip or pelvis. Tomorrow after the Urologist we call the General Practitioner again, and get some pain management going, and hopefully an appointment with an Orthopedic. I can't believe that no one in their right mind has sent him for a simple X-ray. The system of medicine and insurance in this country needs a major overhaul. I can hear him gasp in pain from my computer as I type this, it makes me nauseous, it makes me sick..