My website has been difficult to work with at best. I first got one back in 99, and it was about $25 a month to, basically, run a forum. Now a server can be managed for less. I found deals over time, when subscriptions failed or the "webmasters" decided to move on to other things, and would generally have to scramble to find a new host.
Which is about what is happening now.
This is typically how it begins. I have an idea, and I start in on it, uploading files and editing pages, then something mysterious happens and the file manager stops working. Generally, it's a new key or license being integrated and, wouldn't you know, I've slipped through the cracks and wasn't updated. The backup would be used to restore everything, and I'd lose at least a week's worth of work.
And then there are the technical problems, like accidentally lowering the allotted space my website is allowed to have. When that happened, I actually lost entire section of the website BECAUSE I tried to back up the files. Because the server perceived my account as being over the limit, it deleted the files I was trying to back up. Not to mention, the old Discus style forum adjusted html files with new data. Every post, essentially, removed the entire page because the server had to delete my account back down to the maximum.
We lost months worth of work on an RPG that way. 8(
So then, the new idea is to find a new host, gain much more space, cancel my subscription payment through PayPal, and ...start from scratch.
The problem with my current website host is that I try to log into the file manager to upload and edit pages, but THERE'S NOTHING THERE.
I try going to my hosts website and click the link for help AND THERE'S NOTHING THERE.
So if they message me asking why I'm canceling my hosting plan, I'm probably going to tell them, flat out, you fucked me up for ten dollars a month. I was quiet, hard-working. No porn. No scripts. No hidden agendas. I stuck with them because I had no reason to question their methods. I had months of "friendly assistance" saved up and never cashed it in, preferring to work at my own pace instead of bothering someone else.
But now I'm bothered. Very bothered. My files are still hosted, somewhere, but I can't log in to find them. That's some S-level mistakes being made, right there.
I'm shopping around, but I hope to have something up and running in a few weeks. I have until December, but I don't know how I'm supposed to keep track of what image files are where since I have absolutely no access to them whatsoever.
I'm thinking about it. I may have to go retro/future for some of this. I picked out a host, and they are needlessly complicated and every time I try to do something they suggest buying a service to take care of. If only out of spite I am refusing to pay someone to do something I will need to do. Very poor ethics to design a place to difficult to understand, and shove a "pay us to do it for you, you incapable creature" button everywhere.
But aside from that looming helmouth, today I am getting party good from storage to store in the storage room cleared last Saturday. Gonna be hard to top the 'bowlbustin' from last week, though. Very hard!
We keep finding old stuff, cookie cutters, pictures from homeschooling at the old bakery. It's like a full sprint down memory hill, fighting to keep my legs under me/gravity pulling me recklessly forward like a love-starved octopus. Today I need six arms. Tomorrow, I'll have six arms' worth of pain crammed into my two.
And one of the refrigerator units is not keeping cool, so I'll be "fixing" that tonight. When the repairman took a look, he thought maybe it was the air intake was full of dust and offered to clear it with a propane tank. I said no, thank you. Because the dust would have gotten onto cakes being icing, into bowls needed to weigh up ingredients. It gets everywhere. Yes, even there.
So I went by Staples and bought some dust destroyer aerosol sprayer things. It might not work, but the only other option is to schedule the propane tank for a day we wouldn't be open.
Kinda hoped this one young lady was working at Staples, but she wasn't. Oh well. It's not like I could have asked her out, but she was nice to me a few weeks ago and I'd have had a fun conversation with her. Maybe next time.
It always was, from geocities to those one-page blog sites, if you want to do anything you have to do at least three more things first.
On the bright side, DONE
I am having some odd fluctuations in blood pressure, and my sinuses have some strange pressure, but it's over with.
We moved everything out of storage, my Dad and I. It took about six and a half hours. At first, we went to storage, loaded the Element, drove back, emptied, repeat, and each run averaged about twenty minutes.
So, the last run, where we picked up the pallets, we picked up a couple sandwiches and sat in the empty storage place, ate, talked trivia. Fun stuff. We knew as soon as we were done, we have to come back to the bakery and arrange everything, but we were three hours in.
THIS WAS A DUEL. THIS WAS A DANCE.
My dad's pushing 55, he's always been cantankerous, he puts it on and enjoys it, but he doesn't lift or move like ten years ago when we first got this building. I knew this before we started, even if he didn't.
So I would grab the heavy stuff stack up high, hand it to him, then go back and bend down to lift the heavy stuff off the floor. He climbed the ladder, and I would lift the stuff up to him to slide it over on the shelves. I don't think he caught on, so, go me!
I'm going to regret it, of course.
Tonight I was supposed to do laundry, and tomorrow I will be sore, and Monday more sore, but the promise to my sister is us doing laundry tomorrow. I've put it off for three weeks, and the clothes I'm wearing are new and unwashed so I'll be pilled and fuzzed and chafed. Nothing I can do about it. Now, I mean, there's nothing I can do about it now. Earlier, maybe. Should have planned for this turn of events, really.
We were supposed to move the party goods over the course of the next three weeks, else pay an extra month for some extra time. The fact we pressed all of it in one trip is nothing short of stubborned bullshit coincidence.
Now, to clean out the refrigerator/freezer's air intake. Haha. No rest for the willing.
EDIT: Oh, yeah, I sliced my thumb to bleeding. We were broken into a couple years ago, and the glass was extensive, so much it had been tracked all the way to the receiving room on folks' shoes. One of the boxes I handed up definitely had a thin piece of glass underneath it and I slashed my thumb pulling my hand back across the bottom. Washed it, disinfected it with hot water, and then paper towel piece and duct tape. MANLY BANDAGING. Went right back to lifting crap(albeit more carefully).
Last edited by That Pooka; 11-12-2011 at 01:15 PM.
Reason: EDIT: Yeah, right under my nose and I forgot.
Alright, today's thought exercise is about presentation.
...And a lack thereof.
Spoiler for I wouldn't want to be in your shoes, but I'll be happy to borrow your outlook:
Yesterday I was understandably tired, and my Sister decided, randomly, to pitch in and do some of the case filling for me. This was after I had already filled the case and we had sold out. Also, she took an order for some brownies in the afternoon while I was still busy making cupcakes and couldn't stop to do it for her.
I guess the problem is, she puts her effort into decorating cakes, but not into anything else.
Icing a brick of brownies is an art form. It is worthwhile to make it look nice and even on the corners, and to keep those corners sharp and square. She doesn't do this.
She probably doesn't know why I do the corners sharply square, then.
I keep bricks of brownies in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. Unfortunately, my father stores the full sheet pan of brownies in the fridge. This makes the bricks soft, so much that you can't hold them flat to ice them. Now, when we take orders I try to keep ahead and have a few bricks in the freezer to keep them solid enough. This time, I did not, and she wouldn't know enough to go put them in the freezer and ice them in an hour.
So, I catch her, get out a piece of cardboard approximately the size of the brick and lay a wax paper between them. This cuts out the extra freezing time.
But despite this, she still ices it so the corners dip in. The edges look more like a rooftop awning, at an angle, instead of straight up.
She also drops handfuls of pecans on the top, which ensures the cutting process will be difficult and the floor will be covered in errant nuts. But she doesn't clean the floor, so it's not her problem, I guess.
So these brownies were... not right looking. They weren't cut into squares, they were odd rectangles, some of them almost twice the size of others.
And Creme Horns. The creme horns are wrapped around a cone, baked, and then removed. This is easier than a cylinder because one end being smaller will come off easier.
She likes to fill from one end to the middle, then fill from the other end, backing out with the icing bag. This means more often than not there is an air bubble in the center of the horn.
I'm strong enough to fill from the smaller end to the larger end with one squeeze. The larger end fills up and rounds out smoothly without air bubbles. This is the best way, there is no better method to fill the creme horns.
Then, she puts the creme horns in the case so sometimes the large end faces her and the small end faces the customer.
WHO WANTS TO BUY THAT?
The large end needs to face the customer every time. Aesthetics goes for what everyone else is seeing, too. You can't keep the nicest side for yourself.
And we got a call during cupcakes about a new emergency.
Spoiler for Antibodies and Autoimmune diseases:
My grandmother needs a blood transfusion. Special blood with very specific antibodies.
Years ago she received an transfusion and the doctor didn't realize the blood had a special antibody in it. Later, they tried to give her the blood type without the antibodies and her body rejected it, developed a reaction to it. So now she can't have blood unless it's from the donor with the special requirements.
Obviously, this was a huge mistake made by the doctor, but at the time they didn't realize it would react this way.
My grandmother has a history of bad things happening in hospitals. A few years ago she had an operation on her leg, which developed a staph infection, and they had to remove her knee. They put a rod in and fused the bones, so her right leg sticks out. She can walk for small amounts of time, usually from her chair to the car, into her scooter, into the doctor's office, back to the car, then from the car back to her chair. She gets up and uses a walker, and a special shoe to compensate for the difference in her legs.
Obviously, you're thinking, "You should sue the hospital!" and there's the problem. It's local, we're local, our small business is local. If they sued the hospital, where would they go for an emergency? What happens when they need a hospital? Go to the hospital they sued? What if it's not them, would the hospital treat their granddaughter differently because she's related to the people who sued the hospital?
It would likely ruin the reputation of the bakery, too. We can't exactly uproot and move to another location.
It's a bad situation.
So, tomorrow, probably, we have to plan a way for my dad to go with them to make sure everything goes okay. My Dad's an only child, so it's his task to take care of his parents. I want to go, too, to help where I can, but we have deliveries and not enough family members to spare. I know he can do this stuff without me, I just want to try and save him as much trouble as possible.
It's always around the holidays that this stuff happens. 8(
So, not much positive stuff to post right now. I thought I would, but the day progressed and phone calls happened, and situations arise.
She's home, two pints of blood. Her body has stopped making blood, so we are going to have to figure out how to deal with this happening every few months. A doctor suggested a procedure/shot that could jump start her body into making blood again.
Otherwise, we will have to think of getting more transfusions every three to six months.
Their puppy was really sad, he wouldn't leave her chair at home. My Gradfather couldn't stay overnight at the hospital because the room she was in had another person. When just my Grandfather came home, their dog whimpered, he'd never been in a situation where he thought she was gone by herself.
He's a smart little dog, but sometimes that's a bad thing. He worried about her. 8'(
Spoiler for Birthday Party:
I made a TV Cake with Star Trek printed out for the "screen" and little Royal Icing Antennae/Rabbit Ears. Big hit, they hadn't cut into the cake when I got there, as soon as people saw it they were pulling out their cell phones to get a picture.
Chocolate Cake and "Dark" chocolate icing. They insisted I have a piece, and I gotta say the cake was moist and delicious. Not a big fan of Dark Chocolate Icing, though. Needed a glass of milk, because sometimes Chocolate can be a little rich.
Met some new folks. Phil. Megan. Dan(n)(i)(y), Luke, Patrick, Trey. Jack. Bishop. And saw some folks I'd met before. Kenny. Clef. Robert. Jeffrey. Erin. Katie. Johnny/Bob. Vicky. Jeremy. Logan. Richard. six folks I saw but wasn't introduced to, including at least three young women who had their own corner, flipping people off. Not flipping me off, flipping off guys standing next to me, they pointed out. Weird.
Everyone who knew me was disappointed that I didn't bring a deck to play. And Everyone who knew me had at least one deck to show me, and asked me what I thought of it. Blue/White Control seems to be a popular thing for Local M:tG. There are still a few good Green and Black Poison decks, but I'd really like to figure out some new decks to bring.
Dan(n)(i)(y) had a deck someone else prepared for her, but I suggested a good Sligh deck would be cheap and effective, less than five bucks and fun to play. She said she hadn't been playing for long, and had no idea what I was talking about. 8(
I'm thinking I could cobble something together in red and green for land destruction, or green white for lockdown/control. I'm afraid to make a combination of the popular blue/white except as something to play against at home. Control gets its collective ass handed to it by small efficient creatue decks and Land Destruction. I should probably start there, with a Red Artifact/Sligh, and a Green Destroy Everything, or perhaps a Red/Green destroy all Artifacts deck.
Hm. Maybe Red and White.
Spoiler for Preparing for Thanksgiving:
We're thinking aboutusing FaceBook or something else as a word-of-mouth advertising. a First-come, First-serve project where the first 50 people to come in and say "gobble gobble" get a free cupcake.
We can stamp the paper bag and make the cupcakes up ahead to hand out. If it goes fast, more folks will show up. The next day, we could do 50 again, or go up to 75. and then Wednesday, we'll do 100. That's the plan, anyway.
Then, we go to thinking about trivia stuff. Like come in, choose one of five categories, and get asked a question. If you're right, you get a free cupcake. And vary up the questions in the category, like ten questions per, removing categories as they get used up. That way, nobody is spamming "Here's the answer for a free cupcake!" all over.
That's a lot of effort, though. Seasonally, we could do something like that, but sometimes we might not have enough time to hold mini contests when five customers are standing in line. That's cruel.
Spoiler for Cutting Costs:
We're thinking about adjusting our store hours. Maybe an extra hour later in the afternoon, and compensate by being open later in the morning. Early business doesn't cut it right. Something like one quarter of the purchases are made from 7:30am to 12:30pm, and three quarters from 12:30pm to 5:30pm. If we pushed up our closing time, we might get customers coming home from work, and bump up profits.
The other way to cut costs would be to cut back to just family and no employees.
The toughest part of that is taking orders. Customers take half an hour just to place an order, and decorating it takes much less time. We have almost a thousand pictures in books. And to be honest, it's the parents that are taking too long. The kids love their cakes, they aren't going to care how long their parents spent picking it out and tweaking the decorations.
Maybe the parents think they're more a part of the cake decorating process by spending so much time.
I think we could cut back the decorations into ten designs, fifteen tops. You come in, ask if we have a specific toy, we show the customer the toy and open a book to find which of the scenes fits best.
Outdoor woods works for everything from Ben 10 to Looney Tunes to Winnie The Pooh, and still looks masculine for Hunting and motorbiking. A Cityscape and street view would be perfect for any superhero, car/racing, or character-about-town. A Meadow would be peaceful and pretty for a Disney Princess, or a Baby shower.
Just have to work out a way to make the decorationg look "good enough" that the customer doesn't say something dumb like "Can you add forty balloons to the city and maybe some flower pots?!" or "My Baby wants Army Men, but can you draw a parachute on the camouflage so it looks like they are dropping down?! I ..I mean, MY ONE YEAR OLD NEEDS THIS!!!" and so on.
Oh, fuck you cat face smiley.
I will bold you right the fuck off!
Okay, operation Word of Mouth has started. Folks can log in to our Bakery on (ugh) Facebook and see the "secret word" to say when they show up. If they say the secret word, free cupcake(while supplies last). So far, a few folks have already shown up.
By Wednesday, I hope we have a couple hundred folks. That might be asking too much.
Putting an ad in the paper would be well over a hundred dollars. Instead, free cupcakes to people, and they tell their friends, etc, more folks show up. By Christmas, Dad wants me to design a "dough dollar" to go towards Cookie Trays for December, dollar off on a dozen cookies, maybe 2 dollars off on a cookie tray. We'll call the bills "Cookie dough" and put the amount they're good for.
Have to come up with something that folks can't scan in and forge, though. I'm hoping the food coloring printer will work, but it might discolor in their pockets...
Thanks. It's mostly my dad's idea, I just made the funny title for it.
The secret words were "Gobble Gobble". I made a joke earlier that we were getting our customers to "Talk turkey". "Let's Talk Turkey" is the secret password for tomorrow.
One of the big reasons I'm depressed is that we need to start bringing in more money. It's nothing new, I know the economy is tough, it would be silly to think it wouldn't affect us. But we keep hitting brick walls.
A month ago my dad and grandfather sat down with a new Insurance company. Despite how much was talked about, and how much planning went into it, my grandfather dragged his heels and didn't follow up on his Medicare plans, which my Dad sat down and helped him with. My dad figured out we could have saved as much as $800 a month on their insurance, and that $800 would have gone into their pockets for generics of their medications, and maybe still had enough to help with any extra care they needed. Today, last minute save by my dad, he had to sign the papers and my grandparents are keeping things the way they were with the old company. That means the extra money they might be needing has to come from somewhere.
Four years ago, I skipped paychecks for two months.
Three years ago, it was three months.
Last year, it was eight.
I haven't cashed any checks for this year.
I'm living at home, no medical expenses, no social aspects. I can afford to skip paychecks, but I do get a small cash amount instead. I make due on less than fifty dollars a week.
I'm reaching the point where I don't know what to do. We cut back on water and garbage pickup, and then we have to repair a refrigerator and the electricity bill shoots up %40 for exactly the same output as the previous month.
It would be really easy to say it isn't my fault that we aren't making money, but I could step up more. My problem is that all I am allowed to do is wait on customers now. I hate waiting on customers. I don't like people. I've never been around more than five people at a time, and once the front end gets crowded I start to shut down. I can't wait on more that one customer at a time, and when they start piling in to pick up their cakes or buy something out of the cases, it overwhelms me.
I hate being overwhelmed. Blocking it out was easier when nobody else mattered. Too many customers at once, and they all matter. If they walk out, that's business we lose. But customers all show up at once, and people are impatient. I can't lose business. I say "Good morning!" or "Good Afternoon!" and try to let each customer know I did see they come in, but I need help and I'm not given any.
My mother is getting older and she takes orders for cakes that are too difficult for her to decorate. This past Saturday made this clear, she went into the day with six orders, but she couldn't get done in time. We've had Saturdays where she went in with thirty orders and could still catch a few here and there. Maybe she's taking orders that are difficult so the customers will gush and say how beautifully their cake was decorated. I'm not sure what that's going to end up being about.
My sister is sedentary. We had four customers and one of them was in to pick up a wedding cake, I was fetching a writing bag to write on another customer's cake and she stepped up and announced she was picking up a wedding cake. I relayed, while grabbing the icing bag, that my sister's wedding cake customer was waiting. My sister told me "Tell her that I'm starting it now, but it's not supposed to be picked up for another hour" and started to tell me about what the customer said on the phone. I AM NOT A FUCKING RELAY STATION, so I told her, calmly, "No, go tell the customer, I am waiting on someone else." She huffed, got off her chair, and peeked her head around the corner to say "It's not ready, and I just got off the phone and you're an hour early! Okay?!" and that was apparently all my sister was capable of. The wedding customer left(to return later) and my sister took out her anger on having to show her face that she knocked over a container of metal tips while I was writing on a cake. The customer I was waiting on went "Ooo, that sounded bad is everything okay?" and I have to nod and say "I'm sure it's fine, heh heh". And spend the rest of the day stepping lightly.
And I have to figure out how to save the bakery. My dad calls my grandfather and they're "in agreement" that they should just sell the bakery. That is a terrible idea. One, my sister and I have no formal education. No GED. No nothing. Two, we don't have money, even if we sold the bakery my sister and I wouldn't be able to scrape together enough to start a new business. Three, we put our entire lives into the bakery, my dad had two kids when he was my age, I've got nothing to show for it if the bakery is taken away. What kind of play is he trying to make?
I try to point out that we have too many leftover images that I've had to print out, and he tells me I'm bad at business because of it. It's $8 for a photo printed out, but I can get two photos that are smaller for $5 apiece, or $10 per sheet. Two photos will make us more money. I can get six smaller photos and sell them for $2 each to go on one-layers, and that's $12. What does he tell me? "But you're printing each photo six times, when you sell one photo to one customer your percentage of profit is higher, and the other photos aren't sold so they might not be profitable. It takes you more time than printing one picture." bullshit. The printer prints a sheet, whether it is one photo or six. It is all on the same sheet. But we're pushing the higher cost picture onto a cake, instead of the smaller cost picture onto two cakes, or six cakes. So we sell all of the large prints and none of the smaller ones. BUT. PEOPLE. BUY. THE. SMALLER. ONES.
My mother and sister are convinced that we should only sell the larger ones, despite the pattern selling very well. We could sell the smaller ones, charge the customers less, and still turn in a larger profit. WHAT AM I WRONG ABOUT? More people happy, less running the printer, and we still run a profit. IT IS THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME TO PUT A THIN SHEET OF ICING DOWN. That's all they are doing, they ice the cake and put my pattern down. That's it. WHY IS THAT DIFFICULT? "We get three dollars more by selling customers the larger sheet" Bah. I get the "good business" idea of making more money, but it's unnecessary and he fucking knows how much he hated having to prime the printer back when he did all the photos. Now that I have it hooked up to a printer and make my own patterns, he has the nerve to tell me how to be efficient? I do more photos in a week than he did in a month, and every other photo printer in the fucking county is broken down while I'm maintaining mine all on my own without anyone's help. That's efficient.
We could be using the printer for backgrounds on cakes, something to save time in the decorating process. To be efficient I want to make at least two backgrounds, lengthwise, per sheet. If I can't get them to understand the efficiency of getting two images per sheet, I can't shorten the decorating time and still have original designs that no other bakery could compete with.
We need to move my mother and sister out from behind the wall. Customers should see the two of them decorating cakes, and understand that we aren't simply avoiding them but have a job to do. And people LIKE to see cakes being decorated, else why the fuck do they make so damn many shows about it?
I DRIVE IN EARLY to make icings of a morning. My sister sits down in a chair and sleeps.
I fill the Creme Horns and the Brownies, and put out cookies.
Then, I bake. I make anywhere from 60 to 100+ dozen cupcakes. I make sheet cakes.
Then I make cookies.
And if I get a decent start, I'm getting all my baking done before noon.
Then, I go and wait on customers.
I clean in between walk-ins.
I take up the trash.
If I'm lucky, I get an opportunity to mop, either before everyone else gets in or at the end of the day.
My dad handles the business part, writing and balancing checks in the checkbook, and handles the bookkeeping, and he's the other baker, he fills the case with specialty items. He doesn't catch customers, also doesn't like people. He threw me to the wolves.
My sister decorates cakes. That's it.
My mother decorates cakes and catches customers. She spends a lot of time chatting with customers, which was a problem this past weekend because it kept her from getting her orders done in time.
So how do I fix this?
And nobody told me what the facebook secret fucking word was for Saturday. We had nine+ people standing around and two of them blurted out "We're Outta Dough! We get free cupcakes!" and nobody bothered to tell me. I had to walk back and ask, and my mother and sister couldn't remember so I told them what the customer told me and then "Oh, yeah! That's it!" GOD FUCKINGDAMNIT! Why am I out of the loop? Is it because I went to bed early? Is that why I'm not important enough to tell what the plan is?
Why am I getting pushed so damn hard? If I didn't love my family, I would quit. If they loved me a little more, I wouldn't feel so bad.
Last edited by That Pooka; 11-27-2011 at 06:54 AM.
And, working with family members is really hard, because business and family members are a odd mixture which rarely works.
You ain't just whistlin' dixie.
So. Got in early, and got the icings mixed faster than normal. My wrist had been bothering me, and I believe I figured out what was wrong, so I set up two buckets on a dunnage rack without lids, and the bowls of icing sat in them. That meant I was up much higher and could use a scooping under motion to get the icing out to whip more. Before, I'd had the bucket and the bowl at about waist level. Reaching over and into the bowl was putting my wrist at a bad angle. I got the icings done quicker, long story short. They had four buckets going into the day, and I did two more for them at 1pm.
They told me they were low on blue and green icings. It isn't efficient to take white icing and whip in colors a small bowl at a time, so I make a large batch that they can ice cakes with, or fill bags to pipe with, or for leaves in the case of the green icing. They needed Red for Poinsettias, and the green needed to be "light, almost mint green" so I did my best. The red turned out great, but I was distracted with the green and it's full of bubbles now. They use it for "grass" and "leaves" and some writing, so it isn't a big deal. I'll smooth it if they need it, though.
The reason for the distraction was our representative for our cake packaging distributor showing up. We had a small order this time, and we've made fewer orders this year, but I'm a notorious packrat/hoarder and we have stocked up extra just in case something wasn't available the next time. The foil cupcake lines, for example. We're using the Foil Black right now for Chocolate Cupcakes, but we ordered a master case of 20,000 chocolate to use from now on. And we switched down from the half sheet combination crates to just the half sheet boards and buy the plain half sheet packaging from our weekly distributor. He said something nice, though, he said we're the largest "retail bakery" among customers in our area. That's neat. There are only two people doing production, me and my Dad, so this means the hours put in make sense. He said that we need to raise our prices, but this isn't an area of the country where people want to pay more just because. People are fickle here, too, so they go to every new business to try it out just because it's new. We won't make any new customers by charging the regular ones extra.
So my lunch break didn't come until around 3pm, but then my Dad got a call that my Grandfather's dog has something wrong with his eye. It could be a tumor, and they're going down to Orange Park tomorrow morning. My sister is staying home to sit with our grandmother, and I'll be waiting on customers and decorating all day to fill in for my sister where able.
It rains and it pours.
Last edited by That Pooka; 11-29-2011 at 06:28 PM.
Alright, good news, the dog will survive. It's probably an Ulcer, and there's a medication that can be applied. Next week he has to be taken to a different vet to see what else is going on and worst case scenario is that he will lose the eye, but there's an "%80 chance this will work out to where he keeps his eye". Good news.
Got in early and straightened the rec room, gonna mop it in a few minutes. Found an old hat and jacket. Myep. Couldn't mop it in time because I knew my parents would get in earlier today, so I skipped ahead to whipping icings and filling the case.
I did some decorating and I'll probably post the pictures in Eye Candy later on today, or tomorrow, depending.
And now I'm printing out photos. Over the weekend folks were around enough to test a few designs for cakes. I'm making the Camouflage one, printing it out for a dummy to put in the display case alongside the Hot Pink Zebra Print. I'm not proud of it, it's a very simple design, but that's what customers liked about the Zebra Print. I need to make more elaborate backgrounds for other cakes to cut down on decorating time, but I need to be careful not to take too much time coming up with them.
And once the images are all printed out I can clean the printhead and get to mopping. If there's time, I'll make some minor adjustments to the shape cake I took the order for. It's due tomorrow, but I've iced it and put it in the cooler to harden the icing up a bit.
Today I was a dynamo of getting stuff done, despite getting told over and over about how I shouldn't have taken that order for the Animal Cell Cake.
I don't know what to tell them. On one hand, it was a nice distraction, and I'd never done something like that before. On the other, I didn't charge enough and I'm notoriously bad at that and should learn better. I always have to work on all the stuff I apparently can't do.
Life sounds like she would make a good girlfriend.
And don't get down on yourself for the Animal Cell thing. You said in your art thread that you did it on your own time right? If that's the case then it shouldn't be an issue how much you charged. Next time you're deciding how much to charge someone for a cake, just remember to think twice about it and make sure it's the right amount. For this one though, just be happy it was a distraction and you got to do some stuff you never have before. No need to take something nice like that and over think it and get down on yourself.
Folks listen to music while they type stuff out, right? I'm going to try that.
Okay. Key Points, because I can't concentrate too awful well with music on.
HAHA! It's a sideways hand flipping me off! Moving first.
Music: Sugar by the Archies:
Spoiler for Moving:
So, my dad brought up the idea of me moving this Saturday. He's been looking at Apartments locally, and that I could get a two bedroom for about $615 a month, or a three bedroom for $680 per month. That is ....affordable. I guess he's looking out for me there. I'd need to cash checks, though. It's kind of a steep jump from no regular payments(other than car insurance and gym membership, which are autodrafts leeching from years of savings).
Moving out means me not being there if something goes wrong with my Grandparents. Since my grandfather's operation, he's about at %100. But he's slipping and forgetting things. That's something to be worried about, but he's still two doors down from my parents and sister. And their neighbors are really nice, I've baked cookies and biscuits for them and I know they'd help in an emergency. Maybe I could move out?
Music: Rockin' the Suburbs
I could finally get a new mattress. I'd have to rent a moving truck to get the cabinet, dresser, and the computer desk moved. I should capitalize on this and get a mattress because we couldn't move a mattress otherwise. I should research what amount of room I would have.
"It gets me real pissed off and it makes me wanna say 'FUUUUUUCK'" hah.
Could move the minifridge. Might look into getting a new desk, the one I have now is.. six years old and falling apart. Sister broke the keyboard, and I busted the front end of it because I need to learn to tolerate Pick-up-groups.
Music: The Golden Path
Location means I could walk to the Bakery. I could write my own hours, get more done at the Bakery without having to escort my sister to and from.
The Gym has two locations, I should see if it is worthwhile to get to the same spot. Lots to think about there.
Music: The Golden Path(still)
Spoiler for Exercise:
Okay, I should probably go exercise when I'm done with this. It would probably be empty right now, churchgoers and cold=not there.
Music: Born Too Slow(Hah, nice. I swear this is all randomly done)
I'm not where I want to be with exercising. I used to do 25 situps on an incline, three times in a workout. Now I barely do 25 combined. At least I can still do a rep of 210. I should work my chest more, the muscles' there and sore from the "burn-out" I did Friday night.
I should get back into yoga, too. It's cold though, I don't know how it would turn out.
Music: Aerodynamic('Scuse me, turning up the volume)
I should do more with my arms, too. Try the muscles differently. Something. Forearms look weird from popping out cupcakes and cookies. They're solid muscle, but my biceps are kind of soft. Bah. Baker Body.
Elliptical is fun.
Spoiler for Customers:
I requested we send the employees home early on Saturday, and I caught most of the customers.
Specifically, I wanted to try some "social" stuff.
So, I pointed out Facebook and stuff to some customers. I tried being funny. Had to pick and choose who and when, though. If there were too many people, all I can do is be congenial and get everything they ask for. No small talk, it's rude to the customers waiting. I can talk while I do things, though, I just don't want to delay the service.
So when there's one-on-one with the customers, yeah, I'll joke. I'll try to be clever. "Do you need writing on this cake? No? Okay, this cake is for eating, not reading." I made a joke to one gentleman that a previous customer didn't want to buy a dozen of the buttercookies because she couldn't eat a dozen by herself. "But I could."
My sister said it was getting on her nerves, but that's the kind of thing you could only say one guy to another. If she said "I could eat a dozen buttercookies by myself!" what could he possibly respond with? He might be afraid he'd be saying she was "fat" or something. Two guys? Nah. If anything, he might have bought the dozen cookies because "yeah, I could, too. I will win." But it was just friendly stuff.
Customer comes in, I say "What can I get you?" and they say "A million dollars would be nice!" and I say "Oh, I'm sorry! The Bank's next door!" And a bank is next door. Two play this game.
And I hear "Oh, you gain ten pounds just smelling the air!" at least five times per day.
Music: Last Stop, This Town
Someone came in from a restaurant, another guy, and said "Smells like cakes in here."
"How do you deal with it?"
"Scented Candles. Burnt Tires. Anything we can do, really."
He laughed. That Joke needs work, though.
Spoiler for How do I do art?:
got into a discussion about decorating cakes.
Settled some things. Specifically, my sister and father want to do sheets diagonally. I get that. I'm not going to fight them on it, that idea could work.
So, cityscape specifically. I need to do skyscrapers and/or something. My sister was working on a Batman cake and I suggested having skyscrapers in the background might add to the detail and save on decorating.
Response: "It only takes me five minutes to decorate this cake."
These are the conditions I must work under. I think she was taking it personally, like my suggestion of saving decorating time was telling her she takes too long. That's not it at all. TIME IS AN INGREDIENT. Five minutes of piping, fine, ten seconds of putting the icing sheet down. AND NOT JUST BATMAN, damnit. It would work for any superhero.
But she runs back, tells Dad, gets it blown out of proportion. SHE decorates the cake in five minutes I CANNOT and our mom CANNOT. That's the point.
We spent two fucking weeks without her because she was waiting on our Grandmother while our Grandfather was having open heart surgery. During that time, OBVIOUSLY, she couldn't decorate cakes. So who could? Okay, but who could do it in Five Minutes? Nobody, and that's a problem I am trying to fix.
Stop taking it personally.
Maybe I'm taking it too personally.
Music: Imitation Leather Jacket
I put the thumb there because it wasn't flipping a bird otherwise. Thumbs down.
Cookie Trays Season has finally started, I push and push and finally yesterday morning my dad relents and we make cookie trays.
While we're making them in the back corridor, a customer comes in asking if we have any. We tell them a couple hours from now(noon) and proceed to make the trays. I joke "Maybe we'll sell all of these today" and dad says "That would be great, but this is a shit town and we're going to have to sell this place". He keeps doing that.
We sold them all in One Day.
So we made more last night(Today, right now, he's in Jacksonville with my Grandfather and his dog, and my sister is at home waiting on our Grandmother).
The problem now is that if we continue to sell at this rate we won't have enough trays for Christmas Week, but we have other containers for cookie and I think we'll be fine.
I've started sketching out the background for superhero cakes. If I can put a little time into it each night it will probably be done by the first of the year. Maybe sooner. January is always slow.
I'm thinking some kind of fanciful forest for the majority of "magical" cakes, like Tinkerbell, or Dora, or Smurfs, etc. Something like that, I'm not completely sure what to make it look like.
And I think Space would be good, or at least some kind of a night sky from out in the open country or open space. It would work for Woody from Toy Story, and maybe even Buzz Lightyear(I could make poppable moons and planets to piece over the top. I'm not sure. I'll think about it.) Space would work for Star Wars/Trek, aliens, spaceships, even Transformers could work. Transformers would work with the city background, too.
But it's the devilish details I have to worry about. I have to put a lot of effort where it counts so people see it and think it was definitely worthwhile to get their cake from us. It needs to be visually stunning. Also, I have to figure out how to do space as something other than black because the printer can't handle solid black colors, it ends up washed out gray in between the edges. I could go darkest blue or purple, or a really dark red, but it's going to be determined by what decorations I can put into it.
I appreciate seeing those for comparison stuff, but I know full well I couldn't do justice. It's someone else's work/photo/art. I'm doing things on my own power.
Goddamnit this sucks. Employees are ruining our business, and specifically our afternoon help was sneezing constantly. I went through the proper channels and we all agreed she should go home because customers were getting irritated at her sneezing around/on/at everything, but my mom caved and let her stay. So I had to catch the majority of customers and she still gets paid for half-assed afternoon work. God and Damn it.
And she took an order for a photo cake with three photos, and they all have to be done different AND SHE DIDN'T SAY WHICH ONES ARE PRINTED HOW GOD AND DAMN IT.
I have to work under these conditions. It's not fucking right, she's getting paid to fuck up and I can't cash a single paycheck. It's fucking depressing, is what it is.
The same employee is more concerned with how each customer might be related to her, instead of trying to promote our business. If this were a hair salon, she could chat, but we have to make money and we don't do that paying her by the hour to research her genealogy.
At least the facebook thing is taking off. I managed to tell an even dozen customers about our December promotion, and people are pretty excited about it. IF we get enough of a base of customers going, we'll finally get better than Word-Of-Mouth like we used to have before doctors and other problems forcing us to shut down.
I'm convinced at least a third of our customers think we've gone out of business. If enough people become regulars, they'll tell their friends and it will steamroll. I want us to make it, but I'm fighting an uphill battle and I don't know who my allies are.