My brain is mush. I’ve been go-go-go all day.
Currently, Mondays are my Thursdays. I usually take off Wednesday and Thursday. It also makes Fridays my Mondays which let’s not even. But two days off in a row still feels very luxurious so I muddle through somehow.
It’s the beginning of the month which means end-of-month accounting, new month newsletters…I just paused writing this to check three other browser tabs and two spreadsheets. Enough said.
…And now I’ve deleted an entire paragraph where I basically summed up all my to-do list. You’re welcome.
One bright moment started early today when a customer came to browse then called me over to discuss a boot she was trying on. It was a men’s boot. But here’s the thing – everyone’s feet are different! Men can have dainty feet and women have clod-hoppers!
So I mentioned the boots were technically a “men’s” fit, but that can feel good to women especially if their feet are a bit wide. We found a good size for her in the “women’s” style, then found a better size in the men’s than what she first tried on.
As soon as she put them on, I knew they were sold.
I absolutely LOVE putting people in the right shoe for them. In 2013 when we were hiking the Appalachian Trail, I let an outfitter in Franklin, North Carolina put me into a pair of shoes I had never heard of before. Those shoes changed my life. I’m wearing my 9th pair of them right now.
I know that every pair of shoes that leaves my store are not life-changing. Some people have easy feet. Some people buy something on sale even though a full-price pair felt better. Some people are desperate for footwear and buy the best thing we have for them even though it’s not perfect.
But sometimes…sometimes…I get a glimpse of myself trying on that shoe for the first time in 2013 when I see a customer slide on the perfect shoe. It never fails to give me a contact high.
Thanks to Daylight Savings Time ending, it was light enough, early enough, so that I could “run” this morning before work.
I also did yoga, then helped put up the big holiday decorations in our city park* for a few hours.
I’m just sitting here, in a weird comfy stupor, so happy to be this kind of tired. This physical drain from all the movement and work and play I was able to do today.
My body isn’t always able to do everything I want it to do, or even need it to do. But today it did.
*Is this who I am now? Someone who volunteers to put up decorations because by George this is my town and I want to show my appreciation? It doesn’t sound like me. Yet here I am.
The weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving feel like the slowest time of the year for our business.
I believe some of late March and early April is the true “dead time” contender (and sometimes part of February and May depending on how brutal the winter and how bashful the spring). But then we are preparing for the busy tourist time between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Right now, there is definitely a little prep work going on. Starting the weekend before Thanksgiving, our downtown will host an event every Saturday for four weeks straight.
But the day-to-day at the shop has slowed to a crawl. Even the orders coming in for the winter season are smaller, more muted, than the big, bold newness of gear that explodes in the spring months.
I am trying to enjoy it. It’s hard to turn off my brain after seven months of mental acrobatics. It’s harder to let my mind wander to long term projects after so many days in a row of just trying to make it through the day.
Today, a Saturday, it was pretty dead in town. There have been angry, blustery little snow flurries that whip through the air but can’t find purchase on land. After checking off my list, I left Tom at the helm and came home.
I walked the dogs (one foster, one permanent). I emptied the dishwasher. I filled the bird feeders.
I am enjoying it.
November is shaping up to be a good month…we paid off our business Line of Credit, signed the contract to get our online store up and functional, and I will have a few friends come visit before Thanksgiving.
The house is coming along…so weird to think it was almost a year ago when we were able to move back in. Lots of projects still to be completed, but we have a heated, usable basement. We have a clothes washer and dryer which quite frankly I’m not sure how we survived without them and had to clean up after so many animals. We have a dishwasher. We have a second bathroom that includes a tub where you can shower without smacking your elbows against the walls.
Our store is now 5 1/2 years old. We had a big growing pain last year that really didn’t stop hurting until around July. But we made it. Success in the retail world is pretty relative. When we opened the store I did not know what I wanted it to look like in 5 1/2 years. And that’s probably for the best. I’m not sure what I want it to look like in another five. The goal for 2020 will be to hire someone full-time and arrange a schedule where Tom and I get a day off together. For several years now we’ve only had Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Or the occasional 40 below Polar Vortex.
One thing that has been beaten into me these past few years is how much good stuff comes your way when you say yes. Yes, I’ll volunteer. Yes, I’ll donate. Yes, I’ll sit on the board. Yes, I’ll hand out posters.
But somehow, for some reason, my gut reaction is still, “No.” I have so little free time. I have so many other obligations. There are too many unfinished projects.
I’m trying to teach myself how to wait. Don’t go with my gut. Think things through. Realize the implications and rewards.
When I think of returning to writing, I often think of deleting this blog. Or at least, everything written on it to date. Start fresh. But I logged on to do just that* and instead here we are. I’m not sure if this is thinking things through or going with my gut. But I do know it’s progress.
*Ok, I did delete one post. It wasn’t that I came across weird or vulnerable or mean or slutty or insert-negative-adjective-here. I deleted it because it bored me.