Thursday, January 6, 2011

On living with my ex

Yes, you read that right! I live with my ex-husband, a wonderful man who is not only my ex-husband but my best friend.

Now, some people say that it's impossible to live with an ex without some hanky panky going on, but I can proudly state that there hasn't been any funny business between us since 2001. We're simply good friends.

Why do I live with my ex? Well, back in 2009, when my current husband (and ex-to-be, or X2B) kicked me out, Mark was kind enough to take me in. My other option was living with my parents in their retirement community in Bernalillo, and I sure as heck didn't want that!

Mark and I have been close friends since we divorced in 2002. During our divorce we made a pact to look out for each other; that is, he would represent my interests and I would represent his. The idea was so radical that I actually had an author approach me for a book she was writing on amicable divorce! We did it this way to not only protect our son, but because we still loved each other--just not as a husband and wife should.

Over the years our relationship has only strengthened. We support each other during times of stress, comfort each other during break-ups, congratulate each others' accomplishments, and co-parent two little boys.

The co-parenting has been a blessing. My second marriage (although I don't really count a drunken Vegas fiasco as a true marriage! lol) resulted in the birth of a very special little boy, Gabriel, in 2005. Mark immediately fell in love with my little fatherless boy, and somehow their relationship evolved into that of father and son. So Mark is not only the father of one of my little boys, but both of them! Even though he is not their biological father, he is their father in spirit and heart, and both of those matter more than any biological factor possibly could.

So how do we accomplish living with each other? Isn't it awkward and uncomfortable? Not at all! Like I said, he's my best friend. Our friendship of ten years has been stronger than our intimate relationship ever was. I don't really see him as someone I was in love with, or who I once slept with. I see him as Mark, my best friend and confidante. Mark, whose messes drive me nuts and who puts up (kind of) with my plethora of animals.

We live at opposite ends of the house, and we spend most of our time in our respective rooms. It gives us space. The boys tend to hang out in the living room, kitchen, and work-out room, which are between the bedrooms. They migrate back and forth between our bedrooms as their needs dictate. Homework, playing, fighting (!), work-outs, and family time take place in this common area. Mark and I actually don't even see each other all that often, if you can believe it!

And how does dating work, you ask? Well, that's a bugger! Women flat-out don't understand our relationship. It doesn't matter to them that we are only friends, they just see the potential for SEX. Apparently they don't believe it's possible for a man and a woman to be just friends, let alone be purely roommates.

Men are a heck of a lot more understanding. In fact, since I've been dating again (on and off over the past several months), I have only met one person for whom it has been an issue. Unfortunately, he was an incredible man with whom I shared an instant connection. It was so difficult hearing that he wouldn't date me anymore.

As my friends have pointed out, though, if a man can't even make an effort to understand this truly unique situation, he isn't the right man for me. Someone even suggested that a "real" man wouldn't have just walked away. And you know what? They're right. Whoever I end up spending my life with needs to accept the special relationship I have with my best friend, coparent, and ex-husband. He's been a constant in my life for the past ten years, and because of our children, that's not going to change.

If you have any questions or comments, or if you're living this way, too, I'd love to hear from you!

Hello again!

The past year has brought about big changes in my life; some of them good, some of them disappointing.

I opened my own business, called The House Call Groomer, in July, and slowly but surely I am earning new regular customers. House call grooming is basically a form of mobile grooming where the groomer sets up "shop" in your home. It's definitely less stressful for your pet and hopefully more convenient for you! If you're interested in house call grooming, see if there's a groomer in your area that offers this.

After being separated for a year and a half (and with an impending divorce) I felt ready to start dating again. It has been quite an experience! For the most part, the men are very kind, and I have met some very interesting people. My roommate has proven to be a detriment, however, in this area. It seems like the older the man the more comfortable he is with the fact that I rent a room from my ex-husband of 10 years, Mark. I had the misfortune to meet a very special man, someone who I really connected with, who was decidedly NOT comfortable with my rooming situation, though. My heart was left slightly bruised from this. Ah, well, life goes on.

Christmas was wonderful this year. My business was running along smoothly and I had some new wonderful friends to celebrate with. Beth, PJ, and Marissa have been fantastic! Beth's kind nature has been so appreciated, and I am thankful for her friendship every day.

My children are happy and healthy. I'm doing karaoke a few times a week, dating up a storm, and seeing my friends as often as possible. My business is slowly building itself to the point where it will be self-sustaining. In all, life is very good for me at this point in time.

So how are things going on the Etsy front? Slow but steady! I haven't had time to crochet as often, and this year's breaking down of the washing machine definitely put a wrench in the works, but now I'm trying to get production back up. Christmas was a little slow, as I didn't have much product out there, but hopefully Valentine's Day will show an increase in sales. And even if it doesn't, I love making my little bowls!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A ho-hum day

Today was my day to work at the Farmer's Insurance agency where I am a bookkeeper. It's not my favorite job, but at least it provides a somewhat steady paycheck. It feels a little demeaning sometimes, knowing I have an MBA and yet I'm doing bookkeeping, filing, copying, and faxing. Eventually I will be a Farmer's agent, but not for a few weeks yet. I wonder what joys that will bring....

Tomorrow is grooming day again, and I can't wait! Apparently lots of little dogs, which are so much easier to do than big dogs. Well, sometimes they are, if they're used to be groomed.

Sales are still good in my shop, although they've slowed down somewhat. Not really sure why, but it looks like felted bowls in general aren't being made with as much frequency. I usually love looking at everyone else's felted bowls, but lately very few new things are being posted. I just posted my first orange bowl--and then realized that my photos of it SUCK. LOL Oh, well, hopefully someone will see the charm in this great bowl.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The evil eBayer!

I have finally had my first negative eBay experienced. After years and dozens of purchases, the Evil eBayer has struck!

After committing to purchase an item from this person, I accidentally double-clicked the PayPal "pay" button, sending $122.36 TWICE. The seller immediately promised to refund my money, but here it is, 11 days later, and nothing. My last communication from her was three days ago, when she promised yet again to send money.

My friend and boss at the grooming shop has had almost 100% bad experiences with Etsy sellers, which I think is truly awful. Sellers who don't hold up their end of the bargain give us HONEST sellers a bad name!

Friday, February 26, 2010

More on dog grooming

One of the worst experiences in dog grooming? When a customer neglects to pick up their dog. This is happening to my boss right now. Her husband had to go to his second job, leaving my boss and her young son at the shop until 1:00 am. All because someone left their dog at the shop. The lady probably won't even tip her!

Oh, yeah, another thing--always tip your groomer unless they do a terrible job! If you tip your hairdresser, you should also tip your groomer. Groomers don't get into this business for the money. It doesn't pay well, and it can be gruelling, thankless work. So put a little sunshine in the day of someone who loves your dog almost as much as you do!

On dog grooming

Most of you probably don't know this, but I am a part-time dog groomer. Yes, it's an odd profession for an accountant with an MBA, but it's definitely a huge passion of mine! I work at a small mom and pop shop here in Albuquerque called Bath Brush and Beyond (isn't that a cute name?).

I used to own my own shop and loved it, but the economy shut me down two years ago. My five-year-plan is to earn enough money to open another grooming shop.

Grooming is a profession that requires patience, compassion, skill, training, and a bit of artistic flair. A lot of folks don't realize how much work goes into grooming a dog. Many dogs are very good on the table, but I get my fair share of dogs who don't want their legs shaved, dogs that pee on the table (and sometimes me!), dogs that are horribly matted because they don't get brushed daily, and dogs that just plain don't want to be groomed--these are the ones that often bite. Can you imagine trying to give a haircut to someone with terribly tangled hair who is trashing around trying to bite you? LOL It can definitely be challenging!

I was thinking this morning of breeds I don't enjoy grooming. Maybe that's a negative slant on things, but I honestly do love most breeds. The ones I don't particularly like are German shepherds (they are VERY nervous and difficult to wash and dry), Pekingnese (tend to bite a lot), labs (they aggravate my allergies way too much), and Pomeranians (just because when you cut their coats short it's very difficult to get a smooth look). My boss hates doing cocker spaniels, but I love them. I also don't do Bichons, but only because my scissoring technique hasn't progressed to the point where I can give a good haircut.

My favorite breeds to groom are Golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, shih-tzus, and miniature poodles. There's just something so satisfying about giving a poodle a good clean face with a sweet topknot above. 8)

Well, that's my spiel on grooming for now. I'm sure I'll have more to say in days to come!

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's been a while!

I haven't been blogging at all lately, too much going on. Right now I am still working as a dog groomer but also working at a Farmer's Insurance Agency and studying to get my insurance agent's license. It's slow and tedious, but it's coming along. So I'm working five-six days a week but still managing to crochet quite a bit.

As far as my shop goes, things have definitely picked up in the last month. For some reason, there weren't very many Christmas sales, but January has been awesome! I've finally noticed that the majority of my sales are made on weekends, which makes total sense. That's when people have time to get on Etsy to shop. I think I'm averaging about two sales a week so far, and that far surpasses my expectations. These bowls are definitely the way to go.

Next I want to learn how to needle felt. It looks like fun, and so many things can be made that way. I'd also like to upgrade the wool yarn I use. There's a great shop in Albuquerque called Village Wools that is on my list of places to visit as soon as I have the money. Maybe even next week! Hopefully they will have felting needles and I can kill two birds with one stone. Can't wait to go!