Wow! January has already been one heckuva month! How can one month of winter feel sooooo incredibly long?!?…and painful?!? Ugh! Winter has been gentle with the mostly mild season so far, but the crap storm that has ensued sure has made it feel like a really loooong winter. The kind of winter that requires hibernation in fleece sheets and flannel PJs…pulling the covers over my head, I hear Talking Heads “…You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”
2012 is off to a strong start as we try to keep up with all the wonderful stores who carry our products or have contacted us to begin carrying our products and our lovely direct customers. We are truly blessed to be doing something we love and to get to share it with you! Life shows us how hard work can pay off and we are having a ball in the process!
Unfortunately, this month has also taught me some very painful lessons. Mid-month, my husband, Gary, and I were the victims of identity theft which is a horrendous headache with which to cope. While trying to contact various creditors and banks, I was also stricken by a terrible gut-wrenching stomach virus that had me horizontal for two whole days. After recovering, I worked frantically to catch up on production. Then, my computer crashed! I spent an entire day on the phone with tech support. HP helped me format my computer and complete system restoration including data restoration. PHEW! Quicken helped explain that my financial data files were not part of that data restoration process and that my information could not be found on my PC. OUCH! A year’s worth of personal and business financial information down the tubes, including all the records of my glorious coupon savings in 2011! $4605.00 in savings to be exact. [SIGH!] The sweet tech support woman on the other end of the line begged and pleaded, “Please don’t cry ma’am!” I explained she did not understand how awful my situation had become as I hung my head and bawled as I quickly ended the call. I sobbed big heavy sobs, cleansing tears, tears so big I could not stop. I felt physically wrecked. The following few days I felt like death warmed over, which of course, had nothing to do with the beer-tasting event we attended that helped to ease the pain.
“Oh no–here comes that sun again” (Ben Harper) is what I thought when I saw it peeking through my windows. Holing up at home could only last so long. Responsibilities and errands eventually forced me from my barracks. Trudging along, there has been a folly of hiccups coinciding with all of our financial accounts having to be closed and reopened in new accounts, which is the equivalent of being caned in the shins daily, but hey!–life has “got to get better in a little while!” (Eric Clapton) And our Bark n’ Beerscuits labels suddenly no longer stick to the packages?!? Um, 2012–are you trying to tell me something? WTH?!? Stubborn and with no other choice, it is time to kick it into a special mode coined by my spitfire of a mother, the phrase not being very appropriate to share with sensitive ears. Shifter is in high gear like our sassy new RAV-4 tearing up the pavement in front of us (Thank you Jim Norton Toyota!)! We were reminded of how far we have come in just a year because of this January roller-coaster ride.
A year ago, I was overworked and underpaid for the endless hours I committed to my office management position. Worn out by the relentless pace, I threw in the towel when Gary started his new job last January. Many times I realized my financial faux pas. The minuscule security we had with both incomes was definitely gone and we surfed the waves and scrimped, couponed, and took on odd jobs. Somewhere along the way, a soap-making craft project catapulted us into a full-blown business operation resulting in the filing of Okie Crowe, LLC at the end of 2011. We participated in many local events and got product into 9 stores with others pending! The sacrifices have been many, but the work has been so rewarding. We fight to succeed as a company, thriving and growing. With great support from the local community, we take on 2012 with determination, pride, and a teeny bit of experience. All the struggles and even the with the worst luck this month, nothing can hold us back. We have come such a long way since this time last year and there is no time to lick our wounds. Shedding the rest of my lingering negativity, head is back on straight and ready to conquer anything! So, watch out 2012–Okie Crowe is going to set you on fire! Oh yeah, and we will also learn to backup our hard drives, not only onto our desktop, but also the external drives, and then maybe we’ll sign up for online backups too.