Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Blog Address

For obvious reasons I'll be changing my blog address.
Just in case I do it wrong (and it's very likely I will), bookmark

I'm sure there is a better, more efficient way of doing the switch so I don't lose any readers, but damned if I know what it is.

xo Em (on my last day in the shop!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blog to Go

Sitting in the Porter lounge in Toronto waiting on Melissa and our connecting flight to New York, taking advantage of the "Business Lounge".

It's just after 7am and already it's been a bit of a trying day.
As we took off from Ottawa I couldn't help but imagine that the plane might crash.
And not just because I pretty much always feel that way when I'm on an airplane.
But because so many odds seemed to stack themselves against me this morning!
My strategy?
Ignore ignore. Delete delete.

So when we didn't hear Brad's phone alarm at 4am this morning and he miraculously woke up on his own (and then woke me) at 4:30 instead, I thought to myself "Okay, alright, okayyyy, it's alright. You can't turn back time. Just keep moving as though 4:30 was the original plan".

I got up, fed the baby without really waking him for the day (I hope anyway. I don't really know. I didn't stick around to see if he fell back to sleep.)

I was on the road by 5am, at the Park n' Fly by 5:40, and at the Porter check in desk by 5:50.

Speed bump number two: I happen to notice as I'm whizzing past the flight board that the Porter 6:45am flight says CANCELLED in big bold letters beside it.
Again my "ignore" strategy comes in handy.
Because how can you freak out about something that you refuse to take note of? It's nearly impossible.
Besides, I've paid for a flight.
I have my itinerary in hand.
New York's not going anywhere.
Certainly this is someone else's problem.

Kink in the plans number three: Disgruntled Porter agent on a mission to ruin someone's day...but not mine!
Our conversation:
Me: "Good morning!" (handing over itinerary and passport)

Grumpy Bum: (staring down my luggage) "Even if you're taking that as a carry on you still have to put it on the scale."

Me: "Oh. Sorry. (putting luggage on scale) Um. So I did the pre-check in online, but wasn't able to print it. I should be checked in already."

Grumpy Bum: (checking her computer) "Your flight is cancelled."

Me: "Sooooooo. What are my options?"

Grumpy Bum: "I'll have to put you on the 6:15am"

Me: "Perfect. Glad I got here in time."

Grumpy Bum: "Did you input your info online yourself?"

Me: "Yes"

Grumpy Bum: "Well your information is all wrong. This passport number doesn't match. What number did you enter?"

Me: (pointing to BIG BOLD NUMBERS at the TOP of my passport) "Those ones"

Grumpy Bum: "That's not your passport number. Now you've locked me out of the system because I have to correct your mistake."

Me: "Well that's unfortunate. Sorry about that."

Grumpy Bum: "Hey Linda. You won't be able to check your customer in for a minute. This passenger has me locked out of the system."

Me: (to myself) "I'm totally reporting you. Nadiaaaa"

Grumpy Bum: "Ok. I'm holding the plane for you (keep in mind I was early for my original flight). Your connecting flight is at 8:45am.

Me: "Um. My itinerary says 9:45."

Grumpy Bum: "No ma'am. Your flight to Newark is at 8:45am"

Me: (passing her my dog earred itinerary) "I'm meeting a friend in Toronto and we're flying together. We've already picked the seats and everything."

Grumpy Bum: (silently ticking away at her keyboard. I can literally see the smoke coming from her ears. Literally. Never seen anything like it. She hands me my boarding pass. Says nothing.)

Me: "So. What flight am I on then?"

Grumpy Bum: "The same one."

Me: (oh my god I'm going to murder this woman) "The same one I originally booked? Or the same one you just told me?"

Grumpy Bum: "The same one."

She couldn't just tell me the time?
It suddenly hit me that with my boarding pass in hand I didn't need her to tell me anymore, I could just look at what was printed on the ticket.
It said 9:45am.
I looked at her, gave her a cheery "Thanks so much!" which in no way matched the glare on my face and rolled away.

I don't think this is a good representation of Porter however. Everyone else I've encountered has been lovely.

The man trying to get me down example four: I am randomly selected for a full body scan and pat down at security.
I instantly regret not answering "Yes" to the "Do you have any liquids?" question.
It's just contact solution.
I can't be bothered to hunt down a convenience store when we get to New York.
My first visit to the big apple is way too glamourous for something like that.
In New York, I have perfect vision. Laser eye surgery. 20/20.
Besides, if they find it, I'll pretend I totally forgot.
I'll ignore it.

This isn't too much of a hassle really. Except that it's hard to play cool when you're being patted down and people are staring.
It took only a minute and nobody confiscated my contact stuff.
But by now it's 6:15 and apparently that's when the flight leaves, and even though I'm pretty sure they know I'm coming, part of me has to wonder if the aforementioned bitch called to let them know.

So far the trip ups seem to have ended.

The flight from Ottawa to Toronto was quick and painless, and Melissa will be here to keep me company any minute.

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Beans

I have been waiting to write this post for about a week now.
If this blog is my diary, then I've been keeping something a secret from my diary.
My diary!
That's like the opposite of what a diary is for.

But I've become a little superstitious in my 32 years and what I've been working toward these past weeks is certainly not something I wanted to jinx.
At long last (I was waiting to cash the cheque) I can spill.

I've sold my store.
My baby.

Actually, it's become more of an old flame this past year.
Something I used to love passionately, but that my heart has started to wander from.

I have too many new relationships to nurture (Griffy, Handmade Harvest, multiple pie-in-the-sky ideas that make Brad think I'm a crazy person who just might bankrupt him one day) that it's time to set this love free.
That's what they say isn't it?
If you love someone set them free?
I'm sure that's got to apply to gift stores too right?

Another reason I've hesitated talking about it, is because I'm a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.
I know it's the right decision, but who is Emily Arbour if not the owner of great little shop on Mill Street?
Sure it's only been 4.5 years of my life, but when you look at how concentrated these years have been with life changes (opening a store, getting married, moving to Almonte, having a baby, organizing a craft show, having another baby, organizing another craft show etc etc) it's hard to remember who I was before I had this lovely shop.

I have made connections with literally hundreds of people that I likely wouldn't never have met if it wasn't for my beloved bird.
I'm a bit lost just thinking about the fact that I've just put myself out of a job.
What will I do without somewhere to go every day?
The possibilities are simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.

For not one minute in the last 4+ years have I been bored.
As long as I have had the store, there has always been something that needed doing.

Whether it was building an "elf door" for Kid's Night, convincing a landlord to let me use his space for a Pop Up Shop or repurposing old scraps of fabric found at the Hub into jewelry bags, not a "day off" went by when I wasn't doing something to make the shop even better than it was the day before.

It's been a labour of love and I anticipate a bit of a hangover come midnight July 31st.

You heard right.
In less than a month, this will no longer by my store.
So how did this happen?
Even I'm not exactly sure.

I've been feeling overwhelmed for quite some time now.
It's just a lot to juggle and I found myself constantly on the verge of panic attacks with all the scheduling of kids and babysitters and staff and husbands (ok, that shouldn't be plural) and social lives.
Also, Clemmie started saying "Don't go to work!" every time I asked her for a kiss.
So there was that.

Brad had previously suggested that I consider selling the store, and he was always met with a "You don't understand!! Oh my god it's like you don't even know me! How can you be so insensitive?!" from me.

But the last time he mentioned it - after talking me down from yet another ledge from which I was crying "I just can't take care of everybody all the time!" - I actually considered it.

I thought about what that might mean to my family, and how it might feel to actually be able to do something for me on a weekend.
I would find myself looking longingly at couples who would come in to shop on Saturdays and daydreaming about what it must be like just to wander about taking time to explore.
Maybe have a coffee sitting down.
You know, the little things.

Also, as I've mentioned in previous posts, Almonte is going strong.
The new homes to dandelion ratio is neck and neck.
The local economy is on the rise.
The smart business person would get out while to going's good.

So I put it out there.
I picked a fair price, told 5 people who told 5 people and so on, and in 2 days I was meeting with a local woman who was interested in buying.
To my great surprise, I actually had multiple people interested.
This was really happening!

Two weeks later and the deal is done.
Come August 1st Blackbird will have a fabulous, enthusiastic, young, local new owner...and I'm thrilled.
I really think she'll be perfect.
I think you'll like her.

So that's that.
On to new things.
Blackbird was a stepping stone.
Change is good.
And all the rest.

Yes, Handmade Harvest will live on. (Apply now!)
Yes, I may still host the odd Pop Up Shop.
Yes, I will continue to write.

Who knows?! My blog might actually become more interesting to read now that I won't have to edit myself to protect my business. (I'll be redirecting to a new url shortly, so I hope you'll follow)
You can't imagine the stories I've been keeping from all of you.
You simply can't imagine.

xo Em

Monday, July 4, 2011

New York New York

I'm heading on my maiden voyage to NYC this weekend with Melissa.
Never been.

An old TO friend of ours soooo generously offered up her downtown apartment for the weekend and we pounced!

And because I have Avion points coming out of the ying yang from all the spending I do for the shop (and no place to go!) basically, this trip is free.
I can't wait.

We have no agenda really.
Just loose plans to see a show, I'd like to hit up 30 Rock and Central Park, and Melissa is itching to check out the Kate Spade, but otherwise it's going to be a weekend of walking and eating and catching up.

Did I mention I can't wait?

I haven't started packing yet because really, what can I pack that will be comfortable enough to walk around all day in, but cute enough not to look like a raging tourist?
What's nice is that I won't have to tailor my outfits for easy boob access, but even still, options are certainly limited.

I'll sort it out.
Maybe this time I'll even take pictures!

On a totally different note:
Should I be wearing lipstick?
I've always felt a bit weird wearing it.
Like who do I think I am wearing lipstick?
Like I'm playing dress up or something.

But I see beautiful, natural looking women wearing colour on their lips all the time.
In fact, since I started paying attention, it seems I'm the odd girl out.
I enjoy wearing a bit of gloss - when I can find it at the bottom of the diaper bag anyway - but I'm curious to know if I was sick the day someone taught us girls how to choose the right shade.
I should never have let my subscription to Sassy lapse like that!

Any advice you've got for me, I'd be happy to receive.
Otherwise, have a wonderful sunshine-y week.