Saturday, July 8, 2017

Being spendy to be trendy

"Yeah... can we call it a loan
Till I'm paid in full for the seeds I've sown
Yeah... can we say that I've grown
In some way that we may have yet to be shown."

So as I was saying, we have a closing date on our new house. August 31.

That gives us almost two months to finish packing. I may find time to use up that last tank of propane after all.

My glass is packed but no fear, I bought some new glass, just a couple of pounds, just enough to augment what's left on my table.

I will say my motivation has flagged a bit, more than it usually does in these hot months. Maybe the carrot of an air-conditioned studio in the new house makes me less determined to keep going in the garage despite sweltering weather.

I did clean my bench, something I hadn't done in longer than I can remember, probably longer than ever. I usually clean it up about once a week, but I'd let it go, thinking I was winding down, so why bother.

For me, a clean bench is more conducive to creativity, although I know that's not universally true. I know bead makers who, the last time they cleaned their work space was never.

Some people can work with an inch of shorts and bits and bobs burying their bench. I can too, but it's not my preference.

As usual, my latest new design did not fly off the cyber-shelves. But I'm selling just enough to make it worth continuing to list, with the occasional good day.

I reread that last sentence and I'm throwing the bullshit flag on myself. I'm really not selling enough to make it worthwhile. I'm selling not enough to avoid feeling a little sick and sad about it. I bounce between feeling demoralized because I lack talent and feeling angry that my beautiful work is being ignored.

There is evidence to support both theories. I see some seasoned bead makers struggling, not selling everything or much of anything, some still selling only after reducing their prices. Yet I see people buying, sometimes really pretty beads for high prices, sometimes more generic beads for astonishing prices. There are still bead makers who sell everything they list.

Which begs the question, why am I still looking at this since it only hurts? What about the bead makers who've stopped listing because they weren't selling? I guess it's because they aren't in my Facebooking face, they are simply absent for reasons unknown.

It's almost moot because before much longer I'll be packing my gear and that's not just the studio, it's also the shipping supplies and the inventory.

I've been rubbing salt in my wounds by selling on the bargain site again. While I do get some buy-it-nows, most beads sell for a fraction of my already discounted prices. It stings, especially when someone bids $1 to start. That feels like an insult. Come on, at least bid $2. It's more than worth that.

It's a conundrum because the hurt is balanced by the smidge of validation that selling any damn thing temporarily buys me.

A few examples of the new design. Priced at $18-$20. Not sold. Why ask why.

In the bigger picture, it doesn't amount to much whether I stop selling now or keep going, contenting myself with the occasional fair sale and the liberation of reducing inventory, albeit some at rock bottom prices. Pretty soon the break will be enforced. The more shipping supplies I use up, the lighter my packing load.

You see the hamster wheel that my brain is running on. Indecision is a decision too.

So, I'm making an affirmative decision. I'm swearing off selling on the bargain site. I'll keep listing at regular prices if I feel like it until I run out of time or bubble mailers, whichever happens first. If I sell anything fine, if not, I'll try not to take it to heart. I'll even try not to dissect the reasons.

When I set up again in North Carolina, it could be a whole new ballgame. I'm willing to give that endearing notion the benefit of the doubt.

Oh, on top of everything, I slipped off the wagon and bought beads. Just two sets, but I'd been doing so well, after packing my collection and deciding it was complete. Like a true junkie getting a fix after a clean spell, I felt an instant sense of relief when I hit the place-order button. Not regret or chagrin but relief. But having scratched that itch, I'm climbing back on the wagon.

I was also a little spendy in other areas. I keep getting sucked in when discounts and sales appear in my Facebook feed for items I've shopped for. I now have two more pairs of sandals, a Katwise sweater and a new torch. I've continued to resist tank tops and a dress from Target, more cute shirts from Life is Good and more Fluevogs.

Part of the spend is about some image I want to create of myself after we move. Yeah that's me, strutting about the neighborhood in Vogs and an overpriced trendy upcycled sweater coat, clearly only the best will do for me. I'm sure no one will care or notice, but that's the thought process behind the dirty deeds.

And the torch, well the price was right and I'd been thinking about getting a smaller torch to run on natural gas in the new studio. I'll see how that goes and have my workhorse torch serviced and then make a decision about keeping or selling it.

And I have a new reason to be thrifty. Long story short, Kandace and Chris bought a house. They had to stretch on their budget, and I'm partly to blame. I noticed that a little more money, i.e., 10 percent more, seemed to buy a lot more house, and I offered to help. Unfortunately I didn't put parameters on the offer, such as having to approve of the house they chose. So they chose a house with a pool and while it's a nice house, my intent was to help them buy a newer, more contemporary house, not an older house with a pool.

I worry about pools, the upkeep, the risk, the liability, although I see the appeal too. Yet something in me balks at contributing directly to the cost of the house because of the pool. So instead, because I don't want to renege on a promise that wasn't well articulated, I've offered to pay off Kandace's credit card debt That should at least help alleviate the pressure of paying a higher house note.

Now I just have to come up with the money. I've budgeted for some bigger ticket items this year, a stake in the new house, a new car after the move, furnishings for my new studio. It will be the first time since I retired six years ago that I will make a withdrawal from savings. I've paid my way all this time with a combination of stretching my separation pay and selling beads. Of late, with bead sales circling the drain, sales of glass and supplies have beefed up my liquidity.

Now for the first time I'm staring down the barrel of making a substantial withdrawal. I want to do this just once. I want to make it last until 2018 when I plan to start collecting Social Security.

Having an income again will be sweet and hopefully enough to pay my freight. If I have to do without designer shoes and trendy couture to make that happen, then that is my plan.

No time like the present to put it into practice.

A few more pretties, revisiting an older style that once was my best seller. Not sold. Yet.

In the morning when I closed my eyes
You were sleeping in paradise
And while the room was growing light
I was holding still with all my might

Oh... what if it's true
Mm... What my heart says
Oh... what'll I do
What if this feeling becomes hard to part with

You were meant to play your part
In the design of a desperate heart
And while you gave your love to me
I was betting I was getting it free

Oh... If I'd only known
Mm... What your heart cost
Oh... can we call it a loan
And a debt that I owe
On a bet that I lost

In the evening when you see my eyes
Looking back at you, no disguise
I'm not sure who you think you'll see
I'm just hoping you'll still know that it's me

Oh... what if it's true
Mm... Better ask the man inside
Oh, oh... there seem to be two
One steals the love and the other one hides

Yeah... can we call it a loan
Till I'm paid in full for the seeds I've sown
Yeah... can we say that I've grown
In some way that we may have yet to be shown

Oh... if I'd only known
Mm ... What your heart cost
Oh... can we call it a loan
And a debt that I owe
On a bet that I lost.

(Jackson Browne)

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