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Friday, January 29, 2010

When God closes a door....

One of my favorite sayings is "When God closes a door, he always opens a window".  And it seems that I never realize what the window was until much later.  After all of our financial struggles and just the day-to-day problems involved with running a business, we seem to have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel.  We're not out, yet, but I think the worst is behind us.  That being said, this month proved to be another challenge for us, as a client did not pay an invoice on time and we found ourselves wondering how we would make the mortgage payment by its due date.  Well, it just so happened that I was sitting at my desk and surfing the new listings when 3 boxed dolls popped up, all from the same seller.  These dolls were truly NRFB (never removed from box) and in mint, untouched condition.  As you may well imagine, this is something of a rarity.  He had them all on buy-it-now for $175 each, so I snapped them up immediately and paid with credit (my rule being to only buy what I can pay off as soon as the statement comes).  So the dolls arrived and they were something that a collector usually only dreams of; pristine in every way.  I nearly fainted as I opened each box.  

I haven't sold a lot over the past month or two because ebay has been so very slow.  But it usually picks up again after the holidays and I didn't worry overmuch.  I went ahead and took the pictures and listed these dolls, putting the price on them that they would normally command, even though I knew I might end up lowering them after a bit.  Within 6 days, they all sold and my profit on the three was over $800.  It was only after I had paid the mortgage that I realized this was a window.  When I bought the dolls, we did not yet know that the client would be delaying payment.  When I listed them, I did know this and I also listed many other things with the dolls (things I had postponed listing for a while because ebay was so slow).  But as I drove home from the bank after making the payment (not late, thank you very much) I began contemplating the days that led up to me writing that check. I realized that, once again, God had opened a window for us, we just didn't recognize it until much later.  

I wish I could say I make these finds all the time; the truth is much more mundane.  Some weeks are really great and some weeks are not.  But this is not the first time I've been at the right place at the right time on ebay, and I am thankful to have the knowledge to be able to make this business work.  God has opened many of these "windows" for us through my ebay business over the last 10 years, and I am grateful for all of them.  

It's kind of funny because when I see a really good deal pop up in the listings, I have this truly visceral "gut" reaction that tells me to buy.  Maybe that "gut" feeling is just God unlatching the window and helping me open it.

Oklahoma Blizzard 2010 (pics)

What a gorgeous scene outside!  It finally started snowing, so I had to go outside and snap some quick pics.  I never moved from the front step and I was freezing, which might have had something to do with the fact that I was in my nightgown and socks.  But I am thinking I might brave it again later, if I ever get dressed today.  But since I work at home, it's really hard to get motivated to do that most days.  However, I love taking pictures enough to make me put on some clothes and get back out there.  

God, I love real winter (and I say "real" because if you know anything about Oklahoma, you know our idea of cold is anything below 65...ridiculous).  John and I have always said we wanted to move up north when the kids are gone, but since he got that motorcycle, he has changed his mind.  This could lead to either; (a) a divorce; or (b) a terrible "accident" happening to his bike.  But that's another entire blog entry...


Thursday, January 28, 2010

"The Messiah" Hallelujah Chorus...at Walmart

John often claims to know everything, and I might have to give him credit at least this one time. Okay, so from my previous blog post you will remember that I decided our family could live without supplies if we are iced in, etc. etc. Then this afternoon, John wanted to go out for an early dinner, so we headed out to Roadhouse. Since Kelsey couldn't find the doggie diapers on her last wallyworld run (**cough** I think this had something to do with the fact that she didn't actually look for them **cough**), we decided we would brave the elements and try again after dinner (imagine having a non-indoor-trained dog who is elderly and urinates when she sleeps and you will quickly see why this particular "supply" was absolutely necessary in the 0-degree temperatures). John then drives us out to the brand-new Walmart, which I've only seen twice and never remember is even there. I am telling you, we were 2 of perhaps 40 people, total, in that store. And as we shopped, the silence was wonderful. No babies screaming, toddlers being beaten to within an inch of their lives, kids running in front of the cart so that the urge to mow them down almost overcomes a normally-rational, sane person. It was heaven, and I believe that I heard the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "The Messiah" as we went down every single empty aisle. Honestly, I am not sure you can top, while staying in Oklahoma, the joy of leisurely wandering through a completely empty Super Walmart.

I guess I'll stop this post now because our incredibly demanding cat, Woody, has jumped on my lap and is now attempting to separate me from the keyboard. And I am NOT kidding. He has turned sideways and has his legs pushing against my stomach while his back pushes against the desktop/keyboard, and it's taking me forever to type this one stupid closing line!!! I am evidently petting the cat RIGHT NOW!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oklahoma Blizzard redux (2010)

So around Christmas 2009 we had an actual blizzard here in Oklahoma. Yes, an actual, real, live blizzard. It was the greatest thing ever! And now we've just heard that another storm like that one is on the way, due to arrive here tomorrow afternoon and evening. So it follows that everyone around here has run mad. I tried to go to Walmart yesterday, but only circled the lot one time before deciding there was nothing in there worth the trouble and I left. My ballpark guess was that there were approximately 42,783 people shopping there at the time, and that's about 42,700 people too many for me (Kelsey tells me that she was there around the same time and that my number is a gross exaggeration, but I will let her persist in her delusions). All I could think was, doesn't anyone work anymore!? For the love of God, a person should be able to shop at Walmart between the hours of 8 and 5 without having to fight their way through the crowds. But today it finally dawned on me...everyone is laying in for the siege and stocking up on supplies. Needless to say, we are going to be without said supplies. We have bread, bologna, peanut butter and jelly, and various frozen (completely unhealthy) foods, so I figure we will be fine. And no, I am not trying to win any "mother of the year" awards. Which is a really, really good thing because I doubt I would even make the top 1000. It's just not my thing.

ANYWAY! The entire town is acting as if the sky is falling (ha! I guess it is in a way) and this would be one of those times when I think the northern states have to be laughing their asses off, seeing how we react to snow and ice. We will probably fare a little better this time because of what happened about a month ago...people will hopefully be a little better prepared. But one thing that won't change? People in Oklahoma still have no clue how to drive on ice and/or snow. They apparently believe that reducing speed is not called for, nor is avoiding breaking suddenly. And even better, those 70s and 80s Camaros and Firebirds will still be on the road. And I mean literally on the road. They won't be moving and their owners still won't understand that THESE CARS WERE NEVER MADE FOR DRIVING ON SNOW OR ICE!!! One would think said owners would either find a ride or call in sick after getting stuck every single time any cold precipitation touches the streets. Ah, but where would the fun be in that? We would have one less group of people to laugh at and so they should probably just carry on.

Of course, this is all really easy for me to say because I work from home and I have two teenagers and a husband who venture out into the cold and wet for whatever we need. Ah, it is good to be Queen.