Monday, March 7, 2011

So Far, So Good

When you're a control freak like me, it feels so remarkably good to let go of the reins and let someone else take care of it for once. I didn't realize how much strain I was putting on myself by keeping such an ironclad grip on everything.

This weekend was a slew of Mardis Gras party orders. Luckily, I had my Friday off, but I had been baking all week for the events and hadn't slept more than a couple of hours a night. I was nodding off at work. I was cramping and aching while I was baking and decorating. By the time Friday rolled around, I thought I was going to collapse.

My plan was to bus and train it to my delivery destination in SoHo Friday afternoon. It would save me money on the cut I would have to pay my partner and it would plant me in the  city so I could pick up some art supplies for my mardis gras mask orders.

I didn't realize how terribly tired I was until I made it to the bus stop, huffing and puffing with my 5 dozen cupcakes and 10 inch cake in two large shopping bags. I sat on the Creedmore Bench (the name I unceremoniously dubbed the bus stop bench where all the neighborhood Creedmorians hung out.) I knew this would have been an ideal time to utilize my new partner and have him pick me up to make the delivery. Fuck his cut. I'd pay it twice gladly if it meant I could sit comfortably in his truck instead of having to haul ass on this damn bus. Before I could call, my bus came. Rats.

I made it all the way into the city and to my delivery point by the skin of my teeth. I set it all up, and was rewarded with a fat tip- almost as much as I  charged her for all the cake to begin with. When I asked her why she was paying me so much, she told me she researched what it would have cost her to order from a SoHo bakery, and I was significantly cheaper. She said even with the tip, she was still saving a ton of  cash. She told me to raise my prices. Thanks, lady. If I had known I was going to be tipped so much, I could have afforded the ride from my partner.

I walked down to Pearl Paint, bought a ton of stuff- maybe more than I was going to because of the extra cash I was paid, and then grabbed a slice of pizza before jumping on the E train home. I took a nap before heading out later that night to have some coffee with my girlfriends.

Although I was happy to see my friends, as I was sitting there, trying not to fall asleep it struck me that I should have stayed home and slept. I had a huge charity cupcake order early Saturday morning and I still had to finish the mask orders.

I think this is what my mom means when she says I don't handle my priorities well. I let my socializing and gallivanting get in the way of my cake responsibilities. It cuts into my time, and has me rushing and cutting corners at the last minute. And I'm almost ALWAYS late. 99 out of 100 times; I'm late. =(

I got home at 1am, and tried to sleep. I tossed most of the night, my body aching and begging me for some pain relief. I piled two heavy blankets on top of me, hoping the weight and the heat would ease the ache out of my muscles and bones. It did a little. I really didn't want to pop a pill. By 3am, I gave up, and went down to the Dungeon. It was time to make the cupcakes.

I agreed to take on this cupcake charity event before I had booked all my other Mardis Gras cake orders for that weekend. I figured times were slow and I could take my time and take nice pictures for my website. I didn't know I'd be so dog tired. By 5 am, all 50 cupcakes were baked and cooling on my bakers rack. I spent another hour making 6 different flavored buttercreams and frosting. I cleaned up the Dungeon, unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher (my Godsend!), and went back up to my room to rest. My body was really dragging now.

At 6:30am, I called my partner and asked him to take care of this delivery for me. I didn't think I was going to make it out of bed, let alone to a church to set up this order. They were supposed to pay me for the cost of the cupcakes, a fraction of what I normally charge. He agreed and said he would be at my house by noon to pick up everything. I went to work on the masks. That was relaxing, but my hand had trouble cutting through the thick leather, and by the time it was time to paint them I noticed my hand shaking, making it hard to stay within my lines. When it was all said and done, my fingers were curled in some grotesque cramp and I could barely move my wrist at all. I iced everything down, and then smeared on the Bengay before wrapping it up in an ace bandage. Dear, lord, not my decorating hand.... =(

By noon, the cupcakes were packed and the masks were dried. Holy hell, I finished on time! My partner picked everything up and within an hour, he was back at my house to bring back my "good" shopping bags so I could use them again for future orders. (Awesome!) I have so few "good" bags left these days. He told me they were trying to give him $50 for the cupcakes, but he told him to keep it.

That irked me. I was already in a foul mood. I wasn't feeling well. I had to pay him for his time and gas, and now he just told me he didn't take the cost money they were supposed to pay me. He's known me long enough to read the look of annoyance on my face.

"Listen. I told them to consider this a good deed and a free sample. If they like what you did, then they can order again from you and you will work with their budget in order to make it profitable to sell your products at their events. It's a win-win. I gave out a whole lot of your cards. They were really happy with what you gave them. Trust me, Kat. This will pay off."

I knew he was right. I was too tired to argue back. I nodded, and handed him his money. He wasn't going to take it, but I told him to consider it gas money and I would need him to pick up supplies for me this week so that can cover that trip, as well. He agreed to that.

With my tips and influx of orders, even with the freebie I gave this church and the money I paid my partner, my week was profitable. It also let me rest the whole weekend after that order was done. My right wrist was killing me. My joints were aching terribly. I didn't know if I should break and just take an Advil, but I decided to just sleep it off. When I awoke to heavy rains Sat night, I realized my aches were just due to the weather. No worries.

On Sunday, I received a very grateful call from the woman at the Church, thanking me for the cupcakes. She wanted to mail me a check since my partner refused the cash. I reiterated what he had told her. Consider it a sample, and to keep me in mind for future orders. I would sell to them at cost. She said they raised $300 from the cupcakes which would all go towards the daycare center they ran. They sold out within an hour. That stroked my ego, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Truthfully, besides the whole trust issue, I worried that taking on a partner would end up costing me more than I was making, but to be honest I've been making a good chunk of change and the ease of stress and the help has been worth the few bucks I've paid him for. Mentally, it's a blessing to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and to have some real help. I couldn't tell you how many times I've wanted to throw in the towel because I couldn't physically keep up with everything I needed to do to get some of these orders done. Most of all, it's just nice to not feel so alone in the middle of this chaos.

Letting go of some of the control is still going to be hard, and it will always be hard for someone like me. But, I've found the right person who will wait for me to ease into the idea of sharing the responsibilities rather than standing there, trying to yank the controller out of my hands. Baby steps....

9 comments:

  1. Yay! I'm glad your business is working out! And you should probably take it easy, though I now how many things you're juggling. But rest is important! Also, that's really cool that' you're getting into the mask business. HIGH FIVE!

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  2. Hi Five!

    I was just doing it for fun because I thought the technique was really cool, and I just really love how intricate and beautiful some of the pros can make their masks. I just did it to see if I could, and surprisingly- I could! (I told you it was easy!)

    I don't know if I'm getting sick, if I have some condition I've been ignoring, or if my old age is just catching up to me. I'm just tired ALL the time. =( I'm hoping taking this leap will help. Sometimes you just need to have blind faith in the right people. ;-)

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  3. Not for nothing, but you know better than to do business with someone without putting things in writing. You've been down this road before and nearly got screwed out of everything. Why is this man handling money issues without something concrete that spells out his responsibilities and limitations? Stop calling him a partner and stop calling him for help until you LEGALLY write out his position within YOUR business. Unless you're handing him 50% of Queenie Cakes, then please stop calling him your partner. I'm still in shock you're being so open to this guy being so deep within the Dungeon. I'm sorry, but you know I don't agree with what you're doing, and just to show you I'm NOT the only one, I'm putting it out there in the open. I hope your real friends will tell you the truth and not just kiss your ass to stay on your sweet side. I'm sorry, Kat. I'm just trying to look out for you.

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  4. And 'blind faith' shouldn't be a factor when you're in business. You never walk into anything blind. Really, you know better.

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  5. Preach on, brotha! Someone so rudely told me I didn't know what I was talking about when I said the same things to she-who-will-remain-nameless.

    ::cough::kat::cough::

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  6. I understand and appreciate the concern, but I know what I'm doing, and I would trust him with my life, if I had to. I don't even trust my family with my life. And I do have a fall-back plan if things don't work out. I'm not totally blind and clueless. I have all kinds of Plan B's waiting in the wings. Sometimes I think you forget my neurotic side. I have more conspiracy theories and possible back-stabbing scenarios floating around in there and the many ways I will counter or handle them. I'm a big girl who has made many mistakes and have learned from each one of them. I'm very confident with this latest move, and I trust him more than any one else I know (no offense to any of you), but I have things in place in case he screws me over. I'll be just fine.

    But, I do thank all of you for your concern, and I do appreciate you all looking out for me.

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  7. That fact you have all your plan b's speak VOLUMES! Libraries in fact! If you trust him so much put it in writing & cover your ass. Screw you over- I think it's more like he just wants to try and screw you period. You're obviously very defensive so I won't keep harping on it, but I'm glad to know I'm not your only friend telling you this stuff. And not that I want anything shady to happen, but I wanna reserve the right to say I told you so...just cuz I'm a dick. :P

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  8. If I should fall flat on my face, feel free to say whatever you please. I won't hear you because I'll be too busy moving on to the next step. The last thing that will take me by surprise is people coming up short and breaking their word. I never underestimate a person's ability to disappoint. It wouldn't be the first time it's happened and it won't be the last.

    This conversation is officially over. If you want to add anything else that you haven't already put out there, feel free to give me a call.

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  9. damn, girl
    not so sunny these days huh?

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