It’s been a couple of months since I’ve entered a blog entry –as I realized from a tweet from Saxon Henry. So much time had passed since I last blogged that the ASSHOLES (and I mean that in the most sincerest and condescending way) at Windows Live actually deleted my blog account. Thanks to Saxon for posting my blog address so that I could find it again! I would change to another blog application, but I don’t want to loose what I’ve already written and frankly have too much to do that I don’t want to spend the time creating a new one and learning new software.
So much has happened since the post about the burial flag incident. With the passing of my father and the realization that just about all of my senior relatives are now gone, I have been feeling very unsettled and a bit depressed. Such changes in the composition of my family and relationships with other family members, changes in my career –even issues with my computer that are still not resolved have left me feeling like I’m existing in some alternate universe.
In the past couple of weeks I have taken on the role of cabinet salesperson for the company that I have been doing kitchen design work for the past four years in that I will be marketing services in the area that I live in (Santa Maria, California) which is about 27 miles south of the showroom. This is what I was doing for them when I first started working with them, but changed to doing design and drafting exclusively after the first six months. At that time we were doing about six kitchens a week and it was all I could do to keep up and was working seven days a week, ten or more hours a day from my home office–nonstop for the first year and a half until the bottom fell out of the home remodeling market. With the help of my web designer son, firstname.lastname@example.org, I launched my internet kitchen design and drafting business: PamDesigns.
Since then, the cabinet dealership has undergone many changes. It was formerly called Mission Cabinets and is now called Mission Kitchens and Construction. This is due to one of the partners retiring. Dave, the remaining partner, changed the name and moved the showroom from Arroyo Grande to Shell Beach. Both locations are in the Five Cities area so that was not a huge move –nor is the name change which is still very similar. He kept the same logo so past clients will likely not notice much of a difference. "Mission" is still offering the same primary product lines which includes DeWils Cabinets. However, there are others sharing space in the much larger showroom location including a flooring retailer and an interior designer and it’s in a better location in a shopping mall that is along Highway 101 (instead of the out-of-the-way spot it used to be in). The housing market here is as desperate as it ever was since the recession began (if not worse), as about 75 percent of homes on the market here are foreclosures, so my plan is to market to the local real estate and banks that are dealing with investors refurbishing homes for resale and the rental market. I’m picking up my just-printed business cards on Monday.
PamDesigns.net is still alive and kicking, though is in need of an overhaul. Admittedly, I have been ignoring it and have not been actively marketing it for months. This is due of course to the personal issues I have been dealing with. Though there are other issues as well. The drawings and examples shown on the site are done in 20-20 Design software which I have not used since last November. I am currently using Chief Architect software. Since Chief doesn’t have pricing catalogs for specific cabinet manufacturers, I am no longer going to offer retail price quotes, though I will still offer product lists. Most cabinet dealerships have price quoting software that are manufacturer specific, so they should be able to create quotes by entering the data from the product lists themselves.
Add to all of this, last week my operating system crashed. I was able to have Geek Squad salvage most of the data from my hard drive including my project files. Unfortunately, many of the applications that I used were not salvaged and now my external hard drive that I used for back up is not working. One positive note, since there were so few applications bogging down my system, Chief Architect now loads screaming fast! Prior to the crash it took upwards of 10 to 15 minutes to load because all of the "user libraries" (collections of 3-D models) that I created in Chief from downloads from sites such as Google’s 3-D Warehouse, 20-20 Design and Chief are now gone (but fortunately still stored on my hard drive for future access). If nothing else, I’ve learned a little about prioritizing and organizing the content on my computer. This is a lesson in self-discipline because it’s such a big temptation to download beautifully crafted libraries of objects and materials that are like free little jewels. (For a computer illustrator that’s like setting a kid loose in a candy store.) Now my collections of 3-D symbols will be project specific instead of brand specific. If this means little to you (and unless your a Chief user it probably makes no sense at all), let me summarize that graphics programs like Chief Architect are huge memory hogs. For this reason, until I have to, I’m not even going to install 20-20 Design and will be very selective about downloading new models.
Ever so slowly I’m climbing back into the saddle –not to re-invent myself (once again) but to adapt to the reality of the market place and my situation in relation to it. I’m a little older and a little wiser. (When I was younger, I galloped my horse at full speed across open fields throwing caution to the wind only to be bucked off into a bramble of poison oak. Then I’d get up, dust myself off and do it all over again … and again …and again.) The point is, at 50-something, I no longer feel the need to gallop toward a future that may or may not come to pass. Life is too short not to savor the ride even when it’s a bit bumpy. Throughout my life I can recall that in every decade I’ve lived there was always something that I wished were better and sought to move past it –like financial difficulties, family issues, math homework, bad weather, oil in the Gulf, war –whatever. When actually, life is not perfect and there will always be something that makes it less than perfect –like our present economy. While I think the saying: “Live this day as if it were your last,” is a bit morbid, I do think I’m trying to appreciate today as if the changes I long for will never come and to be content that the changes that will happen I cannot predict. There is a lot I am thankful for today… like breathing.