I started my holiday shopping already! I'm never this prepared -- even though I don't typically leave xmas presents to the last minute -- so it's kind of exciting to start shopping in September. I'm not using credit cards, either -- it's all money that I actually have in the bank! Not only are my kids getting cool presents, but I'm not going to bankrupt myself to pay for them, either!
So far, I purchased some really neat Gorilla blocks for the kids to share, and a big Optimus Prime transformer for my son -- that's one of the things he is really hoping Santa will bring for him. I want to buy more, but the darn Gorilla blocks are on backorder, and I want to see the money come out of my account before I spend more of it. I hate having to keep track of stuff like that -- money that's been spent but that is still sitting there as if it hasn't!
It's not a good feeling, but it's not going away, either. I might as well indulge myself and my silly memories.
Today, I was thinking about when my daughter was small and I decided to start my own business. We rented out this small storefront, bordering on dilapidated. We painted it all up inside, these bright and vibrant colors -- a different one on each wall. We decorated with skulls and other punk garb, and made up an awesome logo with the name Riot emblazoned on it.
Once we got up and running, we started making friends . . . friends with the newspaper photographer who came in to cover our opening, friends with the kids who walked by every day after school, friends with the customers who came in once and became regulars very quickly. It was a great environment to be in -- if only we'd been making money!
Of course, the money dried up, and we closed up, and the friendships disappeared as well. However, we have some great memories from our time there, and I'm not adverse to opening another business . . . someday.
I hit enter too quickly, before.
Thinking about my friend from the previous post makes me think about another friend from Wizards. We'll call him Pat, because that's his name.
In the summer of 2001, Pat was far and away the best friend I had. We went out to dinner almost every night, went to awesome concerts (several of which he paid for -- either with his at-the-time sizeable bank account or with a handy credit card), played pool at this dingy billiards place, made dirty jokes, and just had one hell of a time. Another friend -- who was supposed to be a closer friend, actually -- said that he regrets that summer because it should have been our time. The funny thing is, I don't regret a thing. There were awesome people coming into my life, awesome friendships that could have turned into even more significant relationships, and just a general sense of happiness that whole summer.
In thinking back, I'm sure I was angsty about something, then. I was 21, and it's easy to be angsty when you're 21. But wow, I really don't remember anything other than how freaking happy I was.
Not too long ago, I was driving home from the store and suddenly realized that I recognized the license plate on the car in front of me -- it was a former co-worker, from almost eight years ago, when I worked at Wizards of the Coast in Bridgewater. I so badly wanted to flag him down and talk to him again. He was an incredibly sweet man, just really such a lovely person. Having recently had a bunch of old memories of that place stirred up by another old friend, I thought it would be excellent to sit down with this guy for a chat, lunch, something. I decided not to start honking and waving at home, remembering that he was the one who used to go into panic mode when the credit card transactions wouldn't go through. He probably wouldn't take kindly to being beeped at or otherwise harassed (even by well-intentioned old me) while trying to operate his vehicle.
Once I got home, I tried his old email address (which was from webtv -- guess they aren't even around anymore). I tried facebook. Myspace. Nothing found him, though I turned up lots of other people with his rather common name. I guess I'm going to break down and send him an old fashioned, pen and paper letter. I still remember his address, and I miss him.
Contrary to my last post, I don't really think credit cards are evil -- nor are the businesses that process transactions. In fact, I'm buying Ingrid Michaelson concert tickets on my credit card today. There surely isn't enough money in my bank account, and I don't want to spend months kicking myself for not going to see her when I had the chance. So there.
My credit card debt is horrendous. I don't even know how it got to be so high, but trying to pay it down seems impossible. I suppose I've been irresponsible, as I usually am with money.
Maybe I would be better off if I'd never had a credit card -- or if the businesses I frequent refused to accept them. Of course, businesses have to accept credit cards. That's how most customers prefer to pay these days, and it certainly is the most convenient thing. I just wish I didn't have all that debt -- it's fun thinking about what I would do with the money I would save if I no longer had to make those awful monthly payments!
I posted a couple weeks ago about signing up for a merchant account for our paintball business, and so far, it's been a breeze. We've received great service and are all set for our fall season. I'm really excited to see how things develop!
Before my dad got sick, he was working on becoming a computer consultant. He had started his own business and had a few clients, and he seemed headed for success before he realized that becoming self-employed and trying to change insurance providers when he was seriously ill was too big a risk for our family to take. However, I continually marvel at what he might have thought of computers today -- especially the internet. Surely, the skills it takes to consult corporations on computing and technology are quite different than the skills he used back in the 80's, but I think he would have kept up -- and had fun with all the big changes!