Numero Uno

Say hello to Chet, or rather Chester. Chester E. Main, husband to Clara, father to Becky and Colleen. Born 1930 and died August 22, 2008. That's last Friday. He was my first "client".

Yes folks, I actually made my first sale already! Yeah, it shocked me too.

I was working on my Craigslist ad and website to continue hawking my wares by every venue imaginable. Just got the Craigslist ad done and was dumping the same info into my website when -
the phone rang!! And - it wasn't anyone I knew!! Why would a stranger be calling me?


Yeah, I was mildly excited. Turns out they went to the funeral home here in Auburn who do their own DVDs in-house. They were too restrictive and Colleen wanted it to be more personal. So they looked and looked and couldn't find anyone. Then they came up with the idea to call another funeral home to ask if they could give a referral for someone who could do this for them. They called Yahn and Son who has someone to do theirs but may call me in a pinch. I had the feeling Ed might pass work my way!

I met with Colleen at 1 yesterday, got most of the photos (they totaled 73) scanned right away and by 7, when I met her again to get the last of the photos and the music, I already had them done and most of them repaired. So I just had to scan the dozen or so that she gave me and touch up everything one last time. Then this morning I jumped right into it, got the music situated, pictures timed right, zoomed in & out on all, etc, etc. I handed Colleen 3 DVDs and a CD of the digitized pictures at 1:30 and she gave me a check for $205.

I hope they like it. They were so grateful to find someone who would do what they wanted. When I told her that one thing we thought would be nearly impossible, synchronizing a spot in a song that mentions "standing with Grandma and saying our vows" with their wedding picture, actually happened she got teary-eyed. They lost 2 other close relatives in the past 3 years and hadn't gotten a decent slideshow either time.

I can't believe I actually found a new market that's still wide open, that I enjoy doing and do well. I just have to keep working on getting my name out there.

Thanks a bunch Chet. I'm sorry you had to go, but thanks for the opportunity.

Hit the Road?

OK, what's that saying for someone going door-to-door, trying to sell his wares? Hit the pavement? No. Beating a path? No. I don't know, but that's what I did today.

I finally have my "storefront" ready and today took it to "the mall". In other words, I have business cards, brochures and a demo DVD ready, as well as the right outfit for me to go out into the world to hawk my wares. Everything looks good.

So I hit the 3 funeral homes in Auburn first. I started at Klontz. The funeral director I spoke to there, a woman, was very enthusiastic. She admired my brochure and was happy that I was local. They have someone else they use who is in Sumner, not too far away but not right in town either. So that was a very positive first door.

The next one I went to is the one that held Phil Delaney's memorial, Price-Helton. They do their own in-house. They've been doing them for about 6 months. But I suggested that they take a card in case of emergency, their system is down or they get too many to do at once, etc. They liked that idea and took my card.

The last place I hit was Yahn & Son. I spoke to a fellow named Ed for quite a while. It was very informative. He apparently doesn't have the final word but I think he may do what he can to try to get some work sent my way. They have a guy right now that they're very happy with but it sounds like he can't do overnight work. I can. Maybe that'll be my IN.

One question I asked Ed was the flow of work. In other words, when is "death season". He said between Sept and Jan or Feb are the most deaths. Old people just get sick and die that time of year. So I'm getting this started at the right time of year.

I have been coming up with more ideas of where I can spread my brochures. Florists, senior centers, retirement homes, maybe hospitals. If anyone reading this has other ideas please leave me a comment. This isn't just for funerals, the idea is to do this for graduations, anniversaries, family reunions, etc. I ordered little brochure holders on ebay. I'll decorate them with my info and leave them filled with brochures. Then I'll have to have a route to keep them all stocked, maybe hit them all one day a week.

So overall, even though I didn't get any positive, "yes, we'll send you all our work" I felt it was a good first day. It's so strange that it's still an open market. Good for me though.

Today I hit the road, tomorrow I hit the computer - again.

Bottoms Up!

OK, that's a terrible pun, sorry about that.

I had a colonoscopy this week. Now you see the terrible pun.

It was not a bad procedure, but the dietary restrictions were a job. They didn't leave me hungry or anything like that, there was just SO MUCH that I couldn't have that it made finding something I
could have difficult. Here's the list of things I couldn't have:

leafy vegs (no salads for YOU!)
fruit with skin

So I stuck to baked potato and toast mostly. Oh yeah, I also had a ham sandwich. The last day was a light breakfast, then only clear liquids and no dinner.

The day before was the clean out day. At 1 I took some harsh laxatives and then at 4 I started drinking this liquid which amounted to baking soda and electrolytes. It did a fantastic job of cleaning me out (I know so because they sent me home with pictures!). I drank a cup every 15 minutes and there was probably a quart.

The actual procedure was not too difficult. Not really too embarrassing either when you consider that this is what they do all day every day, I was just butt #1 for that day (and it's a nice butt, thank you very much!). They hooked me up to an I.V. bag and gave me 3 syringes of stuff to make me woozy just before the procedure. I felt stuff, pain at times. I grimaced and groaned but the doc put in his report "patient tolerated the procedure well." He also said "The colonoscopy was difficult due to a tortuous colon." That means twisty, I had to look it up.

They actually found and removed 2 polyps that were 7 - 9 mm in size. So I was glad to have gone through everything and have it done. The doc said this is the #2 or 3 cancer killer of both men and women and is the most easily preventable, since tumors start as polyps, not as tumors, and can be easily removed as mine were. They used a "hot wire" and just removed them right during the "examination".

So, all you "50+" friends and relatives - go get yours done! It's not that bad and you probably know people who've had colon cancer and either died from it or lived out their life wearing a colostomy bag. You don't want to go there, now do you?

Your turn - Bottom's up!

Round up the Herd!!

OK, here I go off the beaten path once again.

A year or two ago I was shopping in a store called "Stupid Prices" for whatever. I ran into this cute Little Tikes flashlight in the shape of a zebra. It has a good handle and an easy to use squeeze type switch made for - well - little tikes. I think Joe (my oldest grandson) was about 1 at the time, maybe even younger and I knew he would eventually like it. It has been a favorite of both Joe and his little brother Shayne.

On one occasion my son-in-law, Tony, was working on my electricity in a far end of the living room. It was dark but he could see good enough. Well, Joe could see that he was in need of an assistant to hold a flashlight for him. So he went and got his trusty zebra flashlight. Unfortunately it doesn't stay on for long so he had to keep squeezing the switch to make it work. The best part was something I neglected to mention thus far: it also makes a noise. What noise does a zebra make? I didn't know either but I have now become educated. Watch the video for a demonstration. So each time Joe made the light come on Tony got this cute little zebra tune in his ear.

Well, that flashlight has also become a favorite of parents and guests as well. Rick has grown very fond of it. Being a Little Tikes toy, there are many variations of the same toy. There is a dog model, a hippo, a cow, a triceratops, an elephant, a pig, a leopard, a tiger and an alligator. So each time we go into a thrift store the first place Rick hits is the toy section looking to add to the "herd". He found one a while back but the battery compartment was corroded. Then he found the little dino one. It looks and works like new. The little boys love it.

This past weekend he hit paydirt. I was looking for some cool shorts and spotted him headed towards me with the biggest grin on his face and 3 new buddies in his arms. He found the dog, the cow and the elephant! All are, again, in very good shape and he spent a total of $4 on all 3 of them.

So here's the gang, the "herd" as it were.

I don't think Rick intends to grow up any time soon.

For the Love of Craigy

Where would we be without Craigslist? I know it's caught on all over but some places it must be used more than others. I think our Seattle area, nerd city, home of Microsoft, must be one of the more used areas.

This whole weekend has been one Craigslist event after another it seems. Rick had a pile of old computers, Osborne I believe they were. HEY!! I just check Rick's blog to see what kind of computers they were and he blogged this very subject!! Blog thief!!

Anywho, he sold that stack of antique computers (they were in their own little cases, about the size of a sewing machine, 3 of em) a monitor, a modem, software, etc, then the premiere issue of PC Computing magazine for a grand total of $160. Not bad.

The next day I contacted a person about a hot tub. I had one and it shorted out and I finally gave it away. But I always new I'd replace it someday. So much so that I didn't even remove the blocks that made up the pad for it to sit on. This ad was very scant and almost sounded blunt or angry:

"4 person hot tub in good shape with new pump, wired 220, about 5 years old.
come take it away for 500.00 don't ask for a picture...come see it if you are interested and live nearby"

Well, I emailed her Wednesday and got no reply so finally called her. Turns out it was her husband's and he died about 9 months ago. She just didn't want to deal with it. It was the exact kind I wanted, small with 2 benches facing each other, each can seat 2. Very simple. So I got Denny to run out there to check it out with me and told her it was sold. It's still listed on Craigslist.

I made arrangements to get 4 males together and use Denny's truck to bring it home. It worked flawlessly, we just laid it on a side, strapped it down and hauled it home. On the way I suggested that we stop at a local tavern and I could buy everyone a beer as a thank you for the help. We did and had a nice time. It was Denny, Kevin, his friend Sage and Rick and me.

So now we have it in the back yard, still on its side because we decided to partially rebuild the frame, it had a lot of rot. We'll have it done maybe the next day we work on it, we're doing well. Then we have to get Tony to come put a plug on the wires that I installed for my last hot tub so we can plug it in and start soaking!
That was Friday night that we got my tub.

Saturday Rick got in touch with a guy about some hiking boots. I guess he likes my hobby. He got a real good deal, they're expensive boots, somewhere around $200 new and he got them for $40. They fit perfect and are probably just broke in.

While we were starting to dissect my tub frame I decided to get rid of a full bed that's been in my shop for a year or 2. So I did a real quick ad on - where else? - Craigslist - to give it away and I swear it couldn't have been 10 minutes and I had a call from someone. They showed up about 45 minutes later and it was done, I went and pulled my ad - done - gone.

Life is good - thanks to Craig!

Slow But Steady

I'm ending my third week of unemployment. Have I accomplished anything? Why, sure I have!

I was all set to go to funeral homes to offer my DVD slideshow services when I began to picture myself going. What would I say? What would I leave with them? I decided I wasn't ready quite yet. I needed brochures to leave and some sample DVDs as well, if requested. So I began to research the brochures. Here's what I came up with (click on one to see larger):

The sample DVDs are still in the works, they won't be too difficult, I've made plenty of them. I ordered the brochures on Monday so I've had all week to work on other things.

Besides the actual door-to-door offers I make I'm also planning to offer these DVDs on my website, creative- photo- (look up and to the left, right above my pix link, a new one for my website!). So I've been working on new pages for my website. Yesterday I created an "About Me" page and a "Contact Me" form. That entailed a lot of work since the form had the option of an "autoresponder". That's an automatic email that will be mailed to thank someone for writing. It didn't want to work correctly so it took a little fiddling around to get it, but I got it.

Today I wrote up a page describing how to make a DVD slideshow. It's lengthy, probably the longest page I made yet. But the coolest thing about it is that I made a short slideshow of Denny and Heather's wedding and embedded the video on my page. It worked the first time! Cool!

Besides getting all these business-related jobs done I've also been running to doctors and dentists to get all my necessary checkups caught up before my cobra runs out. I haven't been to the dentist for 18 years! I still don't have any new cavities but 2 of my old fillings need to be replaced and my teeth need a deep cleaning. That means a cleaning below the gum - ow! So I'm scheduled to do half my mouth on Monday. Today I went in for a mammogram (aka boobie sandwich) and have my blood drawn for cholesterol levels, etc. I'm also scheduling a colon cancer screening. So far everything is good. A strange sidenote - when I was at the doctor facing a possible pap, my blood pressure was 93/55. 5 hours later at the dentist my blood pressure was 122/73! All was because I was at the dentist!

Then, besides all that I have a house and yard that's been neglected. So I've also sprayed weeds, hand weeded, thinned bamboo, scrubbed the tub, mowed, edged, got my sprinkler system running and other things that I've forgotten about already.

So, there, have I accomplished anything? You bet your bippy I have!

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.