Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Completely Random Blog (everybody does at least one of these...)

Well, I got my kitty back from the vet. Her spay (apparently neuter is boy) went well and she seems to feeling fine, considering the staples. It was mentioned I am brave to have a pet and three boys. At one point we had three boys, a cat, two rats, and a small tank of fish. One fish died, and we have fed one of the rats to a snake. The other will follow the same road this weekend. They started biting the kids, then each other, and were very aggressive. We weren't going to give them to a family with small children and get more people bit. So we decided that instead of killing them ourselves, we would help out a friend with a 4 foot python that eats rats. Cruel? Not really. My friend knocks them unconsious before giving them to the snake. So after this weekend the cage will get cleaned and disinfected and put into storage in the garage, awaiting a time when I feel like owning another hamster. I had one in England and I actually like those. I do not like rats. They were for the boys, but the biting took care of that!

Today was piano lesson day. I really look forward to those, the boys I teach are a family that we know from over in Japan. I babysat them there. Military is such a small world, especially if you're LDS. I would love to advertise and get more students, but I am scared to. I do tell people that I teach piano, and I have little business cards I made with my info on them. But making little flyers and actively announcing my services is scary. I feel bad taking money for lessons. I shouldn't, I am really cheap and keep getting told I need to charge more because of the work I put into each student. And they are hiring me, just like any other service they need. I hate bringing up the subject, when people owe me. I have the same problem when I get a cake order. I grossly undercharge for my time. There was one cake that I did that was insane. For a week, every spare second I had, I was handcrafting fondant roses in three different colors and 3 different sizes for each color. Then I prepared and baked the cakes for a 3 tiered cake, directly stacked. That means no pillars. Frosted, and positions the garlands of roses that festooned the sides, brought it to the reception and set it up. I had to track them down for the money, and I never got some of my supplies back, seperator plates and such. I only charged $65 for a cake easily worth $200. All because I feel bad asking for what I am worth. And I don't advertise my cakes because I am hesitant about the money aspect. Yet, if I worked in a bakery I probably wouldn't have a problem. I am good at what I do, and it drives Mark crazy that I would do it for free if he would let me. Just to avoid confrontation of any sort. I think I have issues....

I got in touch with the people we are switching to for Nathan's therapy. If we can get his old clinic to send over the file information, test results, progress reports, etc., we can get him started over there with a minimum of fuss. She said she would be perfectly honest with me, she usually works with infants with feeding problems, cleft palates and such, or adults regain speech after head traumas. Neurological stuff is her specialty and palate muscles and things like that. So she will do a little evaluation to see if this is something she can help with. We had a blessing done when we started doing the therapy and talking about doing scopes and things, and he was promised that the doctors would do everything they could to find out what was wrong with him. I was struck a little later by the thought that he wasn't promised they would or even could fix it, just they would try to find out why he has so much trouble with his speech. That thought reaccured to me when she said she would try, but no promises, as his case is a little unusual. This might be something that we deal with for a very long time.

Please note, I am not complaining about any of this, some things make me feel better to talk about, and with Mark working such long shifts and never home/awake, you guys are my turn-to people. Family counts for a lot I think. Today actually wasn't a bad day. Just a thoughtful one. Thanks for listening....

5 comments:

The Holloways said...

Wow on the animal situation....again, much more brave than I to attempt dealing with animals AND chidren. :)

I am sorry you are having problems with the money part of your services. I too have that problem--but mine is moreso because I am not technically "professional"--and don't feel like I can charge anything. So, I can say to you that you should DEFINITELY charge more and not feel bad. If people want to come to you, they will come and you will do really well. And if not, then at least you aren't wasting your time. (but I can't say that to myself!!) I don't know what you charge for piano lessons, but everywhere I have checked is STARTING at $8 per lesson. I hope you fall at LEAST there on the pay scale!

Melinda said...

While I was teaching piano, I made sure I put in my agreement thing that they would pay at X time. Since the issue never came up, I didn't have to learn what I'd really do...but I know I'm not confrontational, so I'd probably be in the same boat as you. I didn't know you decorated cakes...I'll have to see one sometime, if you can get one posted. Good luck with the speech thing.

Michelle said...

I would love to post a picture, but unfortunately all the ones of the best cakes I have done were lost when I formatted the computer and forgot to download them to cd first. Talk about kicking myself in the rear, all the kids ones from the last 1 1/2 years were gone too. I had a carpal tunnel surgery right before that, so I haven't taken any jobs while letting the wrist heal. I will be doing one again soon, and will be sure to post that one. I do have a contract that the parents sign, including a late fee if not paid on time, but I haven't pushed the issue. I've been teaching just over a year, so $7 a lesson is my current rate while I am getting experience.

The Baskers said...

Don't undersell yourself. My feeling is that if you charge what you're worth, people aren't going to think that you're overcharging or asking too much or whatever. Rather, they will take you more seriously, because they will see that you take yourself seriously. The people with the $65 cake who didn't return stuff, for example. Would they have treated you like a cheap-o cake lady if you had presented yourself (and your price) as a professional worth every penny? I hope I'm not coming down hard, but it's something you need to think about. You ARE worth it!

Karen said...

Yes! and Ditto! to everything said. You are worth it, Push the late fees and they will be on time, Charge the people for the items not returned. The first ime I did porcelain for selling, I was so minimal about everything...when my molds were worn out and my kiln broke down do you think all the people I gave good deals to came running to help....NOPE no skin off their nose. Well, you have to be able to cover all the costs of your buisness, including replacements and repairs. Go Michelle...your cakes are beautiful! Also...while I am on a soapbox... Heavenly Father gave you your talents for a reason. Part of what you need to do is to feel worthwhile. (Yes, even self worth!) There is time for you to "help" others, to give them a "break", but the talents you have been given will allow you to be a stay at home mom (a real luxury in today's world) and to supplement your income. Don't take that gift lightly! There may come a time when you have to take that income seriously.