Monday, September 25, 2017

Off again

Tomorrow morning I leave for Spain. I am both looking forward to it and dreading it. The gig itself might be a bit of a nightmare - this is a dance-tangential event, so we're not dealing with "our people" and the communication/organization of it has been tricky to say the least. When you're a bandleader and you invite six people to another country with you, you want them to have a good experience. I'm nervous. However...we're going to Madrid. I haven't been to Spain since 2004 and haven't been anywhere in Europe for a long time. Surely there's some fabulous food and sightseeing in my future if nothing else.

Last night I finally cleared out my 300+ post-event email inbox. I made an appointment with a financial advisor for the week I get back so I don't take a bath in taxes this year. He may advise me against doing the kitchen. That project may end up saved for 2018. 

Yesterday Bobby casually mentioned that he was called into the principal's office at school to talk about kids playing "the name game" - i.e. calling him names. He said "at the end they say Marry your sister's butt, but I don't have a sister, so..." I was pretty upset that kids had been ganging up and calling him names, but he seemed unperturbed. I messaged his teacher about it to get a more clear story (his was muddled to say the least), but she has not written back. How do you know when kids are just suffering silently with things, as kids so often do, or when there genuinely isn't anything to worry about? I worry a lot that he has friends and is enjoying school...way more than I worry about his academic development. That says way more about me than it says about him. 

With the seemingly endless requests for supplies, volunteering, donations, involvement and attention between the two preschools, the after school program, and Bobby's school, I never feel like I'm doing enough. Was this much asked of our parents? I think not.

So tomorrow I leave to fly halfway around the world until Monday. I'm looking forward to leaving the drudgery of every day life with two small children behind - the early wake ups, the food preparation, the wiping, always with the wiping...but am also not looking forward to being so far away and missing them and their sweet little faces. Sigh. Can't live with 'em...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


I must have been sicker than I thought. Most of my close friends were bed ridden for days after the event; I feel somewhat normal now, but still have a horrid guttural cough. I had to cancel a singing gig Friday night and have tried not to push myself too much. Which basically means I am just doing the bare minimum at the moment. But at least this explains how exceptionally out of it I've been after this year's event.

Things are looking up for next year, though. I have lined up an excellent registration program which will alleviate three big jobs for me - all the paperwork before the event (countless admin hours - I mean really, in the hundreds of hours), I no longer have to assign contest numbers ahead of time (typically a three day job for me), and I no longer have to sit at the front desk for several hours each day during the event dealing with contest issues. What this will mean for me is twofold - freed from the drudgery of paperwork, before the event I can focus on more details that currently get forgotten; and freed of the contest coordinating I have to do during the event, I might *gasp* actually be able to enjoy some of the event. 

I'm so amazed by how simple and inexpensive this upgrade is going to be, I'm actually pretty mad at myself that I never thought of it before. It's not that I didn't think of it; I just thought it was out of my reach financially. Still, I wonder why it doesn't occur to me to fix problems or upgrade systems sometimes. I'm sure this has something to do with the learned helplessness from my childhood. And that pisses me off. 

Still, I am excited to enter my third decade of business ownership with all these cool new systems in place. Honestly, it's going to change everything. 

I had another kitchen designer over today. I feel as "meh" about this one as I did the last. I think I need to accept the fact that I am dealing with a tiny little space, which means there's not much you can do to it to make it "dazzling", which is what I want. In the end it's just four short walls, and like it or not you have to squeeze in a refrigerator, stove, sink, dishwasher, cabinets and counter space. Part of me wants to just say "fuck it" and cheaply replace the cabinets and leave it at that. But the money is available now so I want to spend it now, because who knows when I'll have money again. 

No word from my two lawsuit threateners (the ones I banned from attending my event). The one about the yard lady had a bizarre conclusion - she had sent me two written letters saying simply that she fell on my property; I had my insurance company call her, and she told them that all she wanted was $100 I supposedly owe her for yard work from years ago. Huh? First of all, I know I don't owe her any money, and if she did want money for some imagined unpaid bill, why the fuck didn't she just ask for it? What is wrong with people? Anyway, I sent her a check with a note saying I had no idea I owed her money and that I am sorry she fell. Hopefully that'll be the end of it!

Tomorrow Bobby is off school so we will go get long overdue haircuts, go to the farmer's market which we never get to do, and take him to the Y's play area while I sneak in a workout. I hope he doesn't notice all the toys I donated there!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I keep delaying posting about this year's event in the hopes that I'll be less exhausted and therefore more positive later, but at this point I feel like I'm going to continue to live in this state of extreme exhaustion for quite some time, so I might as well forge ahead.

The event went well. Everyone was pleased, money was made, people were inspired. No major nor minor calamities other than some very loud construction going on at the hotel and check-in snafus (i.e., nothing having to do with me). We somehow shuffled through thirty performance teams (we usually have ten), almost forty Showcase routines (back in the day we'd have six or seven), hundreds of competitors, and almost 350 more people than we had last year (so we're at double our average capacity). I felt as though I was barely hanging on by my fingernails; I rued the fact that it was so stressful and all business the whole time so I never had even a moment to stop and let it sink in how amazing it all was; I never got to talk to or bond with people. But every year I have the same regrets, and every year I forget that I have those regrets. Every year I feel like it's too much and I can't handle it, and am surprised/disturbed by what a non-functional wreck I am afterwards for weeks. And yet it's always the same. And I always forget.

The week before the event my ancient air conditioning quit right at the start of a major triple digit heat wave - the whole family was subjected too almost 100 degree inside temperatures for several days before we were able to get the system completely replaced (on the day my event started). It was scary and dangerous and made that last week of intense event prep pure hell. 

So much happened it's hard to even keep track. My contest tabulator quit - not out of anger, but out of the understanding that he needed to focus more on his real job at home and that his antiquated computer system was on its last legs. But within days I had an excellent replacement, so no harm done there. 

I had arranged for an overflow hotel next door since my room block sold out early - days before the event I came up a few rooms short and so they charged me $600; then much to my horror the day after the event they charged me $10,000 for all the people who booked rooms and then never showed up. Due to all the screw ups at the main hotel we are trying to negotiate to get that bill lowered - and by "we" I mean the boyfriend, since I do not have the stomach to call up and threaten to break contracts, etc. He offered to make the call for me and I let him, but not without a lot of grumbling and feeling emasculated on my part. Still, I'm smart enough to know that sometimes it's better to use an outside person who is not emotionally or otherwise attached to your business to do your negotiating for you. And so I did. Now we're just waiting to see what they come back with. 

Another stressor was I went into the event under the threat of three lawsuits - one which now seems likely, the other two which are less so. One was from a guy I banned who sent a lame letter in fake legalese threatening to sue for his right to attend my event (there's no such thing); the other is another guy I banned who claims he has a slander suit against me based on screenshots of conversations I had with someone explaining why I banned him (and this girl who gave him those screenshots - I want to punch her in her fucking face). The third, and most likely to actually go to court, is from this crazy old lady in the neighborhood who was doing yard work for me some years ago. She sent me two letters - one mailed, one hand delivered, claiming she fell on my property and was in the hospital for three weeks. No dates, no explanation. She hadn't worked for me for at least two years, so I don't understand why this is coming up now, or what she wants. But I called my insurance company and they told me I have to contact her since she is clearly being advised to put me "on notice" and is plotting something. They will write her a letter asking for more details and then we'll see what we can see. But I think it's clear that she's going to try to shake me down. So, that's going to be fun.

Upon return from the event I immediately had to jump into mom mode, hop out of bed at 6 AM and get kids to school, etc. It's been fucking brutal. The early mornings, the homework, the constant attention these schools demand (not a fucking day goes by when there aren't more forms to sign, checks to write, donations to make, supplies to buy, projects to work on, etc), are taking a huge toll, and right now I'm just exhausted and emotionally drained enough to be pretty resentful about it. I'm sorry, but I didn't know that when my kid started kindergarten that that would become yet another full time job for me. Yet another way our parents had it way easier - show up to the Christmas pageant, sign off on some report cards, and you're done. Works for me. 

For now I have hired the babysitter to look after Theo today because I am sick AF - shaky, chills, sore throat, foggy - and I desperately need to just lie down for five minutes. It will probably be a full month before I feel even remotely human again.