The Other Last Time

The last time I wrote on this blog, I was putting the flower shop up for sale – someone was interested! It was unexpected and not a true real estate listing. The other last time, I did have it listed, not this last last time. The sale fell through, the other last time. I don’t know where it falls to. It ended up being an epic ride or die season for me and I realized there was a huge piece of me that was so resistant to selling. Afraid to let go. After the sale fell through, I was content to continue trying, I didn’t have time to get the store ready, paperwork ready, to go through inventory, and keep the cooler full and orders processed.

Life happened so much and so hard, pandemic and all, and here we are almost a year later.

Basically, my experience during the COVID epidemic as far as my flower shop is concerned, was epic. I think it was because of my online presence – not so much social media, but my website and Googliness. In addition, my phone number blew up. People couldn’t gather, but they could send flowers. We could do precautionary or no contact deliveries and we were never concerned with being shut down. As the store front was closed or rarely opened, we hustled a lot of flowers by delivery. It was the best year of sales I have ever had in small business!

This year, the sales from last year have totally carried over. Thanks to the Lord above, I am profoundly above last year’s record to the date.

I sense a slower pace coming now that the state and country are opening up more and more and people will begin spending their money on visits instead of flowers. That’s okay. I’m in over my head. Mother’s Day didn’t stop this year until three days after the holiday. That is unusual. We had at least 20 orders for Monday, several Tuesday, and few stragglers Wednesday. The next weekend was graduation. I came up with a killer presentation lei for graduation ceremonies several years ago. They are time consuming, but so worth it! We had a week to rest and then Memorial Weekend. We did about 20 orders for various cemeteries in fresh, silk, and plants.

Back to where I was, because Memorial Weekend is not where I was…

I was meaning to cover another week several months ago, not all the weeks after that week that I’ve already talked about. I can’t un-talk about them now and it’s sort of a good primer, anyways. I reached a breaking point. As if y’all haven’t heard that from me before. But, really, it was after Valentine’s Day and my body was so worn. My mind was fried. Emotionally I was also in a drought. I had very little capacity to handle any type of problem above and beyond a minor hangnail. Just really exhausted and one of those times that you need several weeks to recover, not just a day or two. I don’t want to wave the MS banner whenever things get hard, but it did not help. In this down and out moment a few months ago, it was decided I would re-list the shop for sale. It was not a decision I wanted to make. It was a decision my husband and I had to make. He pulled the trigger and I contacted the real estate agent. During that week I had a major episode where I could not stand upright without feeling like I would pass out. I was on the floor with all the stems, leaves, and flower shop debris. My heartrate wouldn’t slow. It was very scary. It took a lot of water and a few hours to even out. I had to keep working, sitting down when I couldn’t stand up, because work had to be done. Mom did what she could, Toby did what he could, but he still had the gyms to worry about that day.

Oh, yes. We bought two gyms. Right? Because, when you’re in over your head in one business, you should buy two more.

Oh dear. I think I might have forgotten to update my blogging audience (I think I have one repeat customer) on this other business venture. We bought some gyms last October and December.

My husband works so hard for HP to put a roof over our head but, he always has had a few side gigs. He loved this little cr0s$flt gym in our hometown and the opportunity came up to buy it when the owner needed to go back East. My husband’s job with HP is flexible enough that he can adjust his time to work his meetings, spreadsheets, and fill in with the gym the rest of his day. He gets up about 4 every morning and doesn’t quit until the day is done about 8 or 9. Back to the gyms: We bought one gym. It’s a small cr0s$flt gym. Evidently, cr0s$flt is a registered trademark. You cannot call yourself a cr0s$flt gym without paying for the certification. I do not know if I can type cr0s$flt without a dilemma. I will cover my bases. It’s a different style than other gyms you might think of. Very little cardio equipment and weight lifting stations, more like open space and rowers and rigs to do pullups and squats and buff people stuff on. After we had the little cr0s$flt gym for a few months, we were approached to buy the other box gym in our town. This is your typical exercise gym with lots of exercise machines and stations. We happened to have just the right amount of money in the bank and wouldn’t you know, we own two gymnasium’s now. These are Toby’s passion and future. He has a chance to expand in a few years.

Even though we have this life of fitness and what could grow to be a steady and profitable income for my family, my heart isn’t in the gym life. I don’t mind helping out, but I don’t know I would feel satisfied with a life well lived if I was the behind the scenes person in these endeavors. I don’t know that my heart is really in flowers, to be totally honest. I have always been drawn to the garden and skipped college classes to make silk bouquets. So, there is definitely a draw to the creative elements of owning a florist shop. I really love business. The flower shop is the only place where I get to use my mind and my creative side. It’s my turf. It’s my stomping grounds. It’s my playground. It’s where I am the best version of myself.

It is painfully hard to let go of that piece of you. What you’ve done, what you’ve known. It is hard to admit you are a different version of yourself you would have never wanted to be. It is hard to be 41 and be, what feels like, at the last time you will really work and have purpose again. It’s also doubly hard because in addition to being in too much pain to work, I’m still working, and now I have to prove that this shop is worth someone else buying. I don’t get to rest. I have to accept a lesser offer than what I would if I were a healthy human. It’s hard to be drilled by perspective buyers who, having seen your financials, feel the need to come in and tell you that your profit is disappointing. That appointment wasn’t great. I’m pretty sure they saw the “fight or flight” instinct in me come out. I think I chose a mild flight and a bit of fight, not my best moment, not my worst. Since then, there have been a few more folks applying for financing and actively interested, but we haven’t been able to grab a buyer. It’s a slippery slope. I haven’t handled it well.

When you’re in physical pain, your focus, mood, outlook, and more are dramatically impacted. Trying to work in pain plays a dirty game with my mind, and I often feel myself feeling worth less because I have to work even in this condition. Without a firm offer and community support now getting split, I’ve taken a considerable chunk of my asking price off just today. It’s hard to know you are worth less and still function and act like someone worth loving and living. It’s hard to be on my last’s of things.

I keep thinking every holiday, every month, is my last at the shop. My last time to try. I have plan B in my back pocket and I will do what I have to do when I have to do it. I mean, we’re probably well passed plan B and more like “ellemenohpee” who’s counting? Or alphabetizing, rather. There is another plan growing in the back of my mind in case this trying to sell nonsense blows over into nothingness.

Presently there is this waxing and waning of feeling ready to let go, knowing I have to, and yet still not being able to because we haven’t found the buyer and being entirely unsure how to process the unknown with no answers or direction. Being completely trapped with more questions, more pain than not, and burdened with keeping the shop appealing and functioning is very challenging. I had planned to take some time to travel this summer with my daughter, with offers supposedly coming in that never came. It is a constant roller coaster. As time ticks on and you realize you’re worth less than what you’d thought, you’re still exhausted, and you still seem to find more battles than pleasure in life… it takes a toll and you become a different person.

I don’t love the person I am. I don’t love the situation I am in. I don’t look forward to the future. It is very sad. It’s what it is, though. It’s disease and life and learning who you can’t trust and deciding to try or not, anymore.

When I am no more, I want to be remembered as someone who tried. I don’t know how many more punches I can take, though. My try is getting feeble. I also want to be known as someone who would rather work than not. Someone who bit off more than she could chew, not because she was well educated and ready, but because she understood well that life was worth living fierce. Working is the only thing I’ve felt good and safe in. People haven’t been the highlight of my skillset or life experience.

As disappointed as I am in humanity, I agree I haven’t been the friend I’ve wanted to be. I’ve struggled with relationships because I have a terrible time with trust and safety. If I sense any danger of being hurt by someone, I will distance myself and fortify. As my disease has progressed, I have been extremely cautious with anyone I have dealings with. If I can’t see all the cards in front of us on the table and you’re going to blindside me in any way, I won’t work with you. I don’t do BS and I don’t have time for it. I won’t give you lip service unless I really love you. Otherwise, expect the truth. Good or bad, it’s who I am and I hope I’m remembered that way. If you’ve gotten a text from me telling you that I love you, you’re in a selective few. I won’t give my pearls to pigs.

It’s interesting that I consider my love to be pearls, and worth something, when I often see myself as nothing. My love is all I have. My time is all I have. There is very little I bring to the table, otherwise. I can play a decent game of Phase 10 on occasion. What I have I give to you, my friends, and if this is the last time I write on the blog, I am prayerful you can see that I really tried to be Christlike, I just couldn’t figure it out. I’m prayerful this is the last time I question if I have value on this planet and if there is a future for me. I’m prayerful this is the last time I wonder why I cannot feel God’s love for me. I want so desperately for it to be evident that I am a different, better human than the last time…

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