Today was Sunday.

The end of another weekend, albiet a good one.
Saturday was fun, Sunday was fun and work. We had to run to Harbor Freight, in Everett, to pick up some things that Janene needed for her ArtFest conference coming up, and we ended up in another art supply store that was right next door. Some cool stuff there, and great prices.
Headed home and worked all afternoon, but I won’t bore you with the details.
Watched an interesting movie over dinner – “The Ladies in Lavender” I believe was the title (I could go look, but that would take effort…) Actually a well done movie. Very “real life” kind of a thing. We enjoyed it, but if you’re way into Hollywood and big special effects and nothing else, then you should probably give this one a miss.
Off to crash now, though.

Unintelligent protestors, bills, the moes, and the HOUSE!

Wow. That is one cool house we’re gonna live in. We got to see it in the day today from the inside, and holy cow – it’s nice. Well, right now it’s absolutely filthy, so the landlord definitely has some cleaning to do before we can move in. But it will BE nice, once it’s clean and we’re in there.
Very excited, indeed.
Went to The Hub in Snohomish with Moe. I love their burgers. Had a merry time watching Moe feed Elise, as the women were out to celebrate Holly and Grahame’s birthdays.
Then tonight we ended up at the Moe’s place for dinner and … work. Yep. Kinda strange to be sitting here in their living room writing my blog. I just read this section out loud to everyone, because Janene asked what I was doing. Yeah. Moe just kicked my butt in both pool and darts. So now I’m up here again, getting ready to deal with more bills from the shop. Lots and lots of bills. Ugh. I hate that part of the job. A LOT.
So on the way in to the store this morning, we passed a corner that pretty much always has protestors or morons of some sort out there. It’s a good corner for it, as it gets lots of traffic. Today they were calling Dick Cheney a pig, and really pretty much just acting like ignorant A-HOLES. And Janene had the observation that “why do they need to do that…” Which led to an interesting discussion about the pathetic state of society that leads to slander and downright stupidity being peddled on the street corner for all to endure. I understand free speech, and trying to get your viewpoint into the public. But really – taking a blown up picture of Cheney and putting lipstick on it and calling him a pig? How remarkably unintelligent is that? Not so much the mature debate among intellictuals, that. Decided I’d never waste my breath talking to someone like that. Huh.
Lots of work going into this newsletter, since it’s the first quarterly edition we’re putting out. So many cool changes going on at the store, it’s great.
Got an email from Jen’s and Amy with an update about their daughter, Kaelin. She’s so beautiful, and it’s really fun to read about their lives.
I like it here, at the moe’s place. Moe just sneezed. Bless you, Moe. Again. Janene says so, too.
So yeah. I think I’ll get stuff together here and wrap it up. Last night I went to sleep at 10:30, and it’s already past that. The witching hour has begun.
Good night, Sponge Bob.

Stupid Boring Blog.

As much as I love to write, sometimes I just feel all dried up. Which is really quite silly since there’s so much going on in life at the moment that I can’t even think straight. But it is how it is, I suppose.
Yesterday was fun (although I didn’t blog); we ended up getting to see the Moes for dinner at The Seattle Crab Company. Elise went just crazy after dinner when Auntie Janene tried to hold her for a while. It was really quite funny, and the highlight of the evening.
Today Janene had her test for her certification class. After that we went to Daniel Smith, where we were for a VERY long time. Made it home late afternoon in enough time to work and crash for a few minutes. Now it’s “dinner time,” and we’re watching some movies while I work.
Tomorrow the gals are all going to Snohomish to celebrate Grahame’s birthday, so we’re going to go by the new house and show it to them, and measure the rooms so that we can start to plan.
And yeah. That’s it for now. What a boring blog.

WHHHEEEEEE… and a giant pickle.

* g r i n *
Today was a fun day. A lot of work, tons going on, busy busy busy, but very fun day.
It started with me taking Janene in to a class at McCormick and Schmicks. Schmicks, Schmucks. Anyway, that meant I got in to the store quite early, which proved to be very productive. Which was a good thing, and a good sign, too.
The day progressed, and I managed to get several things worked on. I also sold another ad spot in the Patch newsletter, which is very exciting. I got to talk to Kelli Cabuco, one of our employees, about a great many things, and it was fun.
The big thing for today was to go look at a house down in Snohomish that we were thinking about renting. The house was even cooler than we anticipated it might be. Which is to say, it kicked … bum.
A VERY rough estimate (guess) puts the overall square footage at ~2000, plus a full attic, full basement, and two enclosed rooms / porches off the back of the kitchen. It has an entry way, four bedrooms, two full bathrooms (one has a clawfoot tub and a pedestal sink), a sweet kitchen with an insane amount of cupboards / drawers / storage, a wonderful dining room / living room with wood floors and high ceilings and huge windows…. It has an enclosed porch (sunroom) with shelves that used to hold plants (and will again), and off of that another enclosed room that’s wonderful. Upstairs there’s three bedrooms with lots of closet space and a second full bathroom. The master bedroom is huge and light and airy; another bedroom has the working remnants of a kitchen (sink, countertops, etc.) that Janene will use as her art studio; the third bedroom upstairs will house the guest bed, desk / file cabinet / bill stuff, and all of Janene’s art merchandise. There’s a full attic and a full basement (with washer / dryer and TONS of storage). It’s literally a 15 second walk to downtown Snohomish; it overlooks the river, lumber mill, and a ways off the railroad tracks (you can faintly hear the train – far enough away to be romantic and not a problem). There’s a wonderful garden with lots of plants, and a nice yard (that we don’t have to maintain!). High ceilings everywhere, but with great windows and efficient heat. Lots of natural light, and open space.
Anyway, we’ll have the lease in our hot little hands by tomorrow to sign our lives away, and we’re very excited. I took some photos on the XT but don’t know if they turned out (they were taken quickly while walking through the place…) – I’ll post them here or in the gallery once I’ve seen them and had the chance to clean them up.
In other exciting news, I received the following email from Moe (it’s a listing from CraigsList) this evening when I got home.
Free HUGE Inflatable Pickle
Date: 2006-03-15, 6:13AM
Free to good home:
Giant inflatable pickle. It’s made of canvas-like material. Kind of like a rubber raft would be.
By giant I mean really giant. I haven’t inflated it in awhile, but it’s seriously 3 or 4 times as long as my car and at least as big around. I could seriously park my toyota inside if there was a way in.
It says “Heinz” on one side.
A word to the wize: this is not as cool as it sounds. It’s seriously a terrible nuisance. It weighs probably over 100 lbs and takes up tons of space in my garage.
It’s completely Useless. When I got it, I was super stoked, envisioning myself spending all kinds of quality time with the pickle, inflating it at the park, floating it bravely in lake washington, sliding with it down some untamed mountain slope. That is the vision. It won’t happen, because the thing takes about 45mins to inflate and even longer to deflate and fold up. It’s seriously extremely heavy and impossible to move. If there is even the slightest wind, watch out. An unteathered pickle will go on a destructive rampage, rolling over anything in its path and careening down hills and across open spaces. This happened at the beach and was a terrible experience. My wife said that she wished the pickle had blown out to sea.
That was the last time the pickle has been out, and I’m sure it’s not happy. That’s why I am going to give it away to someone who can use the pickle properly. Maybe a school with a pickle as thier mascot? If I don’t get rid of it, it’s going to ruin my marriage.
And with that, I’ll say goodnight!

A short entry.

What an insane day. SO much happened at the shop, and I’m so dragging. I think it’s gonna be to bed early tonight, as I have to take Janene to her meeting first thing tomorrow morning. Then tomorrow evening we get to go look at this house in Snohomish that we’re really excited about and hoping will be something we can fall in love with.
Today we had two advertising sales for the newsletter today, which is really exciting. It’ll help us drop our cost some for printing and mailing (or, more accurately, it will help cover some of the printing costs). That’s actually really exciting, as I didn’t know if we’d get much response for the newsletter. What it DOES mean is that we actually have to get down to writing the content, and getting the thing laid out. More work than it sounds, as this will be an 8 to 12 page deal.
Got some very cool new things in to the store today. LOTS of boxes, and more freight coming in every day. Makes for quite a ton of work, though. But the new store sure is going to be cool. I wish it was done already, but I suppose later on down the road I’ll look back at all the work and appreciate the store more. Probably a good thing.
Well, short entry for the day. i’m off to sleep, I do believe. Tomorrow’s going to be a LONG day.

A home worth the commute?

The City of Snohomish, Washington.
Joel Wetzel Quote: “Dude, you and Janene need to live in Snohomish. It’s a Chris and Janene kinda town.”
Funny that. It might just turn out to be a mildly prophetic statement. Since our initial housing deal fell through a few days ago, we’ve been scouring the housing ads and looking for something that really got us excited. We found a house yesterday (Sunday) that we were just amazed at, due to all its storage. After visiting it today, we still love the space – but maybe not quite enough to justify the commute. HOWEVER, we got a call from (get this) the OTHER Country Village administrator, Leeann, this evening. She was calling back on a house we’d called on yesterday (not knowing it was her – we’ve now talked to BOTH administrators about housing…it’s a small world). Just from her description, and the location of the house, we’re falling in love. We have a meeting on Wednesday night, and I (for one) am desperately hoping it’s not a let down (Janene’s been so stressed about this that I don’t know if I can handle one more let down). But the house sounds amazing: It’s 4 bed, 2 full bath, has a basement, large rooms and closets, lots of hardwood floors, a decent sized kitchen…the downstairs bath has a claw foot tub and a pedestal sink (Janene’s face lit up on that, let me tell ya…). It’s literally about 10 seconds to the heart of Main Street. If this house looks as good as it sounds, then the commute would definitely be worth it (quoting Janene). It would be a house to fall in love with and look forward to coming home to every night.
Moving on. I managed to get the advertising packets out for our newsletter. Now we’ll see if they generate any ad sales or not. Probably not, this first time around. But I guess we’ll see. I also got some great advertising over to Keepsake Cottage; it’s a collaboration ad between Keepsake, The Patch, and The Red Shed; it’ll be handing out to hundreds of our target market over this next weekend, so the following week may be insane. Which would be cool.
ArtFest is fast approaching, and Janene and I are both looking forward to the trip. We’ll be gone for 9 days, starting at Coupeville (on Whidbey) and headed from there to Pt. Townsend, Washington. I’m going to be taking TONS of photos, so keep an eye out for those in early April. I’m also hoping to get the Patch ecom storefront up and running, as well as finishing a couple of other projects up (including, perhaps, another big step forward on version 4) I’m also planning on reading and journaling a lot, and sleeping a ton. So if I don’t get something done, tough luck. Maybe.
I’m gonna go crawl into bed and fall asleep trying to figure out my insane schedule this week. That, and some of the logistics for a couple of projects. Either that or I’ll just pass out right away. With how tired I am, that’s seeming pretty likely.
Oh yeah – the Yakima Fruit Market is open now, for those of you in the Bothell area who want really great deals on really great produce.

A Hopeful Sunday

What a Sunday! Slept in a little, got a call from my parents to go out to breakfast at The Cabbage Patch in Snohomish. That was a great meal, and a lot of fun. Then Janene and I drove around Snohomish again looking for potential rental houses.
And out of the blue we stumbled across this sweet deal of a place, like 2 minutes out of downtown. It’s a 1900 square foot place, with more storage than even Janene and I could use. It’s got a HUGE downstairs, with a free standing fireplace – perfect for fun parties and entertaining, as well as daily life.
So that was most of the day. From there we came home, and had yet another discussion as to things like commute time and logistics. We have to make a decision over the next day or so, as to whether or not to apply for the place. I’m excited, but reserved, I think. I might just be too tired to know.
It was, however, a really beautiful day today. Sunny, warm enough to enjoy the day – almost a bonified Spring day!
So what else is new? I uploaded some new photos in the gallery last night, and then uploaded a few more tonight. Check out the Outings album, Stan & Sharon’s Album, and Friends & Family.
Other than that, I’m going to log off. Yesterday’s entry was long enough for two days.

Tired Ramblings.

Well, the rental officially fell through. Basically, there were two landlords involved who pretty much didn’t communicate at all. In order for us to rent this space, we needed both the main floor (living space) and the basement (currently unused, and a disaster area – very much needs to be cleaned up – we would have used it for storage as well as Janene’s art studio). One landlord said heck yeah, and the other came back with not a chance (she thinks they’re gonna clean it up and rent it out – for $700 / month….)
Anyway, they’ve both been so flakey that I’m not sad that we’re not there, at least from that standpoint. Everything was handled remarkably unprofessionally, and it was just a joke. I do feel bad for the gal whose lease we were supposed to take over, as now she’s stuck – and she’s moving to Arizona end of April.
On the other hand, the joke’s on the landlords (who wouldn’t give us the space because – and I quote from her email – “we really need the money right now”). What they haven’t figured out yet is that in order to get that place rentable, it’s gonna cost them (according to the contractor who looked at it for them, and the Energy People (who have to run all new gas lines)) upwards of $10k – $15k. Yeah. For someone who has a money problem, that’s gonna hurt. Plus, turns out the downstairs is more like 650 square feet (and not 800) – they’ll never rent it for what they think they will.
Oh well, they’ve screwed themselves over.
It did lead to a fun day today for Janene and I, though. We drove around and looked for (and at) possible rental houses, all the way out to Snohomish. Ran into Rebecca (one of the administration at Country Village) who turns out to be a landlord at a place we were looking at, so that was fun. Cool place, too – unfortunately after talking about it we decided it really wouldn’t work for what we need.
While out we ate lunch in Snohomish, and Janene got Caramel Corn (a favorite of hers). It was a fun day. But I’m just wasted – not enough sleep last night.
Oh yeah – watched a couple of movies last night. The Forgotten and The Legend of Zorro.
The Forgotten was AWESOME. Very enjoyable. Not gonna say anything else so I don’t spoil it. Although I will give the warning that if you’ve lost a child, DON’T watch this movie – it’d be way too hard. Otherwise, it was GREAT.
The Legend of Zorro was fun, but definitely had its cheesy parts. Overall it was worth the couple of bucks to rent it and the couple of hours to watch it, even if it did mean we didn’t go to bed until like 2 am.
Finally took out our Christmas tree today. It was “pretty dead” – as in, falling apart. Kinda funny that we hadn’t been home long enough to take the thing down and outside. Sure opens up the living room, though. And the fire hazard is now out in a dumptser. The tree actually was in much worse shape this year than the end of last year, but I think that’s because it didn’t get watered once early on, which really cut down on it’s ability to … live.
Man, I’ve really been enjoying Simon & Garfunkel lately. I think I need to get a CD. Them and Green Day – I’ve really liked a lot of their new stuff. What a combination.
Got my new copies of After Effects Pro and Premier Pro this last week – haven’t installed them yet, but am pretty excited. I do wish my laptop was a little beefier, but I’m not sure how that would be accomplished given how much is packed in here now (and how heavy the sucker is…). Oh, I also spent some time looking at Windows Vista on Microsoft’s site. Looks interesting, and will probably BE interesting to see how well they can deliver on their concepts. It’s funny to me (having used a Mac extensively) to watch the Windows environment continually headed the direction of more simplicity and integration. Speaking of, I WOULD love a Mac – just no cash for that right now.
Have you checked out The Weed Patch’s website yet? It’s pretty basic at this point, but is coming along. I’ll have the ecommerce stuff release here very shortly, at least in a “temporary” format while I get the full ecom site released somewhere down the road. But getting it going now will help seed the search engines, and get people to realize they can shop online, which will hopefully boost our sales. I’m hoping to really ramp up the online sales here over the next several months.
In other projects (outside of the store) I’m working on the newest version of I tried to see if any of the original team was interested, but haven’t heard back from any of them (which is really kinda strange – makes me wonder if they even got that email…) so I guess I’m on my own for now. Oh well. For those of you who don’t know, is an online, searchable database of all the Christian churches in the Northwest. I also own, and am still holding on to the dream of getting that up for the entire USA. Guess we’ll see. There’s a few things I just don’t know how to do on the coding side, so when I reach that point I’ll be stuck for a while, I’m sure.
Not like I don’t have enough other things going on.
Janene’s been getting art supplies in left and right, and is working on getting her new online venture up and running. She’s going to be selling both her art as well as hard to find art supplies on her website. More power to her, I think she’s gonna be doing VERY well in short order. But only time will tell.
Oh, and before I forget, Happy Birthday Grahame McMaster! We all hope you and Bob had a GREAT day today. 🙂
And with that, it’s time to move on with my evening. Which, I hope, means leftover pizza and sleep – holy crap I’m tired.

Pizza, Cleansing, and Expansion.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day out. It’s also freakin’ freezing. But that’s ok, as the customers don’t seem to mind.
It’s funny how life views change as life circumstances evolve. For example, it wasn’t that long ago that my love of the rain didn’t interfere with my income stream. Now that it does, I still love the rain, but it sucks when it DOES rain. Funny thing, that.
So we’re still waiting to hear back on our offer for the new home to rent. I’m hoping to hear today, as if it’s a go I will be meeting with one of the landlords tomorrow here at the store. I suppose that would be a prayer request – that whatever is going to happen will happen, so that Janene and I can plan and be ready for it all.
So I’m thinking about going on this cleansing diet. It’s like a 2 week deal where you eat only specific things, and it’s supposed to clean your system of “free radicals” (ode to Mr. Bond) and other harmful crap that gets built up by daily life, stress, and poor eating habits. All of which I have, in abundance. Especially the daily life.
Anyway, given how many problems my stomach has been giving me recently, I’m thinking this might be a good way to kick off Spring. The question I really must answer is whether or not I’m willing to change my eating habits on a more permanent basis – because if not, there’s no point in putting myself through that. I think this may need a little more thought.
Have you ever had Amante’s Pizza? It’s good. REALLY good. We had it a few weeks ago for the first time, on a recommendation from Barb Kelly, our manager here at the store. We had it again with the Moe’s one evening – Super Bowl Sunday late at night, if I remember correctly. And then again last night we had some delivered for the staff meeting here at the store. MMMMMmmmmmmm….. yummy.
Don’t think it helped my stomach, though. huh.
I’m really looking forward to the store expansion. It’ll be awesome to have a real live office, with an actual window, nice walls, etc. Not that my space here is bad, mind you – but it is a little…makeshift. Of course, it will also be wonderful to have the cathedral ceilings, the extra floorspace, the garden out back, all the windows … all in all, it’s gonna be a ton of work and cash, but a very cool thing.
Time to work. Work work, back to work. Everybody work. (ode to KIXI).

Bummerness, Pandemic, Organization

Well, that sucks.
So it looks like we may not end up with that house we were looking at renting, when all is said and done. Which is very sad, and VERY frustrating. It would fit so well for us, and we were (and still ARE) so excited about it. We have an offer on the table with the landlords, so we’re just waiting to hear back. I really do hope we get it.
Moving on and not dwelling on bummerness, it’s a wonderful day out! Rainy, windy, a little cold… I just wish that days like today didn’t affect our sales here at the store so much. It’s actually pretty amazing how the weather affects people. Somebody should do a study. Or something.
So I stumbled across a couple of fun links yesterday, and have to admit to spending probably 15 minutes playing with them. They’re movie trivia (identify the movie from the screenshot) quizzes, and are actually quite fun. (I got 14/30 without using IMDB – but only spent like 7-8 minutes on this one) (I got 19/30 without using IMDB)
So I know that Holly Moe “regularly” checks to see if I’ve finally updated my site. I think Andy does, too. I’m not sure that anyone else pays attention at all. It’s been quite fun the last day or two to call Holly a slacker, since she hasn’t noticed that I updated the site finally. I just wonder how long it’ll take her to figure out what I mean.
On the radio (KIXI – AM 880) this morning they were talking about how the Bird Flu could make US shores within 6 months. Which is just peachy. We also got a letter from the Health Department telling us (at the store) that we should prepare for the inevitable upcoming pandemic and health crisis. So if they know this is coming, what are they doing to prepare for it? Why have I not heard on the news that all the major labs are cranking out appropriate drugs, at least for the Bird Flu? Why, if we KNOW there’s going to be a pandemic, are we not doing more than we are? Maybe this is the government’s way of controlling overpopulation. Probably not, but hey – who knows.
I’ve never been really good at leading an extremely organized life. For one, I have way to much crap sitting around. For two, I just never picked those habits up. But there’s certainly something to be said for it. We finished putting the shelves up above the stairs (we built a huge platform above the stairs at the store) to hold all the Seasonal Essentials stuff. It’s really nice. And I’ve finally got the filing mostly organized – I really need to finish that. The upstairs (which is all storage) is finally coming along, too. We need to finish organizing all the product up here, but even that’s coming along. It REALLY makes a difference. Duh, you say. Oh well. It also really makes me want to organize my home life more. I’d better sit down and rest, or I’m going to pass out from all the excitement.
Oh well. Back to work.

It’s all overwhelming.

Have you ever had so much to do that you couldn’t even figure out what you needed to do? I really hate that. Best thing, at that point, is to pick one thing you KNOW you have to do and do it – get it done. Then move on to the next, and so on and so forth. Problem is, that’s so much easier said than done….
It’s amazing how many things you juggle when you own a business. I think it’s something that nobody can understand, unless they too own a business. All the little things that fall through the cracks, or get ignored in favor of dealing with bigger “more important” things.
So what do you do when there’s 3.5 businesses you’re responsible for, plus a project or two? And ONE of those businesses is growing by leaps and bounds? You go stinkin’ crazy, that’s what. And then you make a list, and you work on that list for a while. And then you lose that list, and “remake” it – in reality the lists aren’t even remotely the same.
Insanity is a part of life.
On the plus side, I now have full copies (having moved on from the academic realm, it was high time to get full copies of my programs) of Photoshop CS, InDesign CS, Abrobat, After Effects Pro, Premier Pro 2.0, Audition, Dreamweaver, Flash 8, Freehand, Contribute . . . I can’t even remember them all. It’s been a busy (and expensive!) month. But it’s really quite exciting. I have all this motivation now to do layout and design work, web stuff, video stuff… how fun! Just what I need. Another diversion. 🙂
But, combined with my Rebel XT (and my “soon” to be purchased video camera) I should have plenty of fun.
As soon as I can get the rest of my life organized, that is. But that’s ok – organization is in process (and things are getting more manageable), and we’re on the right track.
Wow. Talk about a totally pointless rambling. I think I’m gonna go make Mac and Cheese.

Times of Change

It’s amazing how fast time goes, isn’t it? I know this is a bit of a common theme in my blogs, but hey – it astounds me every time I look at it. I mean, we live – day in and day out – doing those routines we’ve established for ourselves, walking through our daily lives just trying to get done those things we must; trying to make ends meet, or to finish up that painting, or that website, or that advertising campaign, or that volunteer session, or dance lessons, or [fill in the blank]. And each and every day flies by faster than the previous day, doing the same things. Why is that? If we’re doing the same things, why does the day go by so much faster?

While I would be seriously bored enough to murder someone if I never had projects to work on or things to do, I DO think that there’s great value in slowing down. Certainly there will be times where life is insane, but I think the worthy goal is to organize life and slow down so that those times are the exception, and not the rule.

I want time to play around with woodworking, and photography. To sit and read a book without rushing through it or worrying that I’m not getting things done. And most importantly to spend quality time every day with my wife (and family, when the time comes…). The tyranny of the urgent; it’s a killer!

I’m so excited to be moving our residence closer to the store! We’ll be moving at the end of April or the 3rd week of May, depending on when the current tenant moves out (we’re assuming her lease). It’s a beautiful, relaxing home – very light and airy. One of the things I’m so excited about is to be going through all our things and getting rid of those items that aren’t necessary. We WILL be having a garage sale… 😉 As they say, one man’s junk… Anyway, we’ll have something like 1800 sq. feet in the new place. It should be absolutely wonderful. Janene will have her own art studio space and most of my work and office will be at the store, so once I come home (for the most part) I won’t be working anymore. We’ll have ample storage for those things that we ARE keeping, but this space is really going to force us to re-examine all the possessions that we have accumulated over time.

I know that the new location isn’t going to solve my problems, at least not in and of itself (other than being close to the store, anyway). However, it IS proving to be a catalyst for change – it’s forcing me to examine myself, and those things that I’ve held on to for so long that just make no sense. It will force a purge, of sorts, that I’ve begun to crave. So yeah, I’m excited.

Of course, our personal move may very well come at the same time that The Weed Patch is expanding….