One yellow room, 3 to go. Still.

I have a beautiful, bright yellow room. Gee, have I said that already? Today I hope, hope, hope to finish the signage for outside. It is taking so much longer than I anticipated. But the lettering is very meticulous. I finished one whole side yesterday and it did look pretty darn good. Damn double-sided signs! But exposure on a busy street coming and going. That’s what I’m talking about. But I do wish I was more than one person. Or that I didn’t want to do it all myself. Or that the people I trust that would be as anal retentive as I am could just quit their jobs this week and come help. Come on friends, if you really loved me you would quit that silly contract job and paint! Money-shmoney…. Or really, other friend, can’t you lock your three year old in a closet with some pop tarts and juice boxes for a few days? He won’t remember that in a few years. Kids are resilient! No? Sigh. Thought not.

Anyhoo, I talked to my best friend the building inspector yesterday and he informed this “young lady” that he was getting to me and my paperwork just as fast as he could and he would call when it was ready. Yippee! So now just have to contact my liability insurance agent for my quote, the security system people, hope my Articles of Incorporation (so fancy!) get filed soon so I can open my bank account, finish the painting, finish the decor, figure out the hanging system, get information out to the parents, oh yeah, get the cash register and figure out which of a billion ways I can accept credit cards. Oh, and let me tell you about sales calls. They are relentless. And everyone and their mother apparently has the best credit card machine and price. And when you say send the information and you will call them back once you have researched it, they will call YOU back, like 5 times a day. Oh, yeah, harrassement is always SUCH a good customer service feature! Well, guess what merchant service in Pheonix, Arizona?? You have now annoyed me so much that while you were high on the list, there is now NO CHANCE I am going with you. Feel pretty stupid now, dontchya? Yeah, go sulk. Michelle hates begging.

Ok, I’m off to paint. Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of: “I jes paint and paint and paint ma lil’ heart out and it jes never seems to make a dent…”

It’s still a good tired. And if anyone took any of this as complaining, not a chance. I am loving every crazy second of it. And yes, still scared to death. I fake my confidence every moment. Good thing that works!!

Painting Update

Yeah, the painting gods gave me a big ol’ thumb down on the two coats of yellow. It took three and I can see a few spots which will require a spot 4th coat. Made an executive decision to NOT make the second gallery yellow. It is going to be a beautiful shade of cotton candy blue that after testing was found to only need two coats. Thank you Home Depot and your $5 gallon Oops paint! I heart you. I am tired, but happy. So excited. I am covered in paint and I get giddy when I catch myself in the middle of singing with Ella or Dino or THE man, Johnny Cash and I realize that there is no other place or moment I would rather be having. That rocks. Oh, and to those of you reading this that might think I actually believe in painting gods now, have a sense of humor sweethearts*. I know there are no paint gods. I mean, with the sun god, moon god, and enchanted wood nymph god, there really can’t be room for painting gods, right? Geez, I’m not that crazy.

*And for those of you not getting this reference, don’t worry. And for the record, yes, I believe in my dear sir Darwin. And chimps don’t have tails, that’s monkeys. And crazy, but I do actually believe in God and I am pretty sure he believes in me. You respect me and I’ll respect you. Say one more time I’ve turned my back on God and I’ll have the painting gods come get you while you’re sleeping. For reals. One eye open my friend, one eye open. Or you’ll awake and be a nice shade of lemon yellow in the morning.

You won’t believe it if I told ya…

Because I don’t actually have my business license, and because I still need a nice, older, southern gentleman to give me my occupation certificate and to ok my fire inspection, and even though I doubt said nice, southern, older gentleman reads blogs, I will not tell you of the insanity in the past few days. I won’t tell you how I almost got ‘thrown into jail’ as in “you best not be rollin’ your eyes at me! I told you to get out that house! I can throw you in jail! And don’t think I won’t!!” Yeah as in that. Cause I was washing windows without a permit. Yeah….not even kidding. So I went down to city hall (all 600 square feet of it) and smoothed things out. I am now allowed back into my gallery to paint. All it took was some eye batting and well….let’s just wait until I have all my permits to tell the rest of the story. But… GOOD. LORD. Small towns have awful big egos that need to be stroked. Cause apparently, creating a warm, nurturing and creative environment for children is not something that people take lightly. Maybe they thought I said, “Oh, yeah, I am opening up a SEX shop. Yes, with neon lights and sirens and I will be open 24 hours a day!! Isn’t that a splendid idea for our little arty town of Decatur??” Well, that is what it seems they heard. But like I said, once I went and explained the vision, people seemed to get it and it is said I could, might have a business permit by Tuesday. No kidding! Only 3 city officials, calls to 2 more city officials, one call to a landlord, and two jailtime threats to get there. You think my last post was bad? That was a warm up!

Right now I am home taking a lunch break and feeding and playing with the poor neglected dogs. Poor things, I am never home the past 2 weeks. The kids are at their dad’s which means I can be working until late. Apparently all the stress of paperwork can make you sick because yesterday I took a three hour nap then went to bed at 10pm. I was exhasuted. And I have not even started the painting. Well, I did today. I am painting the sign and the first room. Y’all, let me tell you something. This is hard! And it is even harder when you try to paint yellow over taupe. One stroke and I realized I am in for at least two if not three (oh painting gods have pity on me and please only make it two) coats of yellow. I was painting the two front rooms yellow. Might rethink that depending on how this room goes. It is only 3pm and I could go to sleep now. I might be sick, because I am never, ever this tired, but it could be the stress of the past few weeks catching up with me. It does not matter the show must go on. Time to go back to work. Just thought I’d let you all know what’s up. And that I’m not in jail. Cause if I was I would expect all of you to come visit with cakes with files in them. Or to come bail me out. Ya know, whichever.

Goes a little somethin’ like this:

Getting a business license.
“Hi, I am opening up a new business in Decatur and I want to come in and get my business license, and want to make sure I have everything I need.” (in a very grown up voice)

Lady on phone: Well, you need to come in and fill out the paperwork and you need your tax ID number.”

Me: “I won’t get that for a week, so just come in then?”

Lady: “Yes.”

Ok, check that off as to do after lawyer visit.

Getting a company bank account.

Me: Hello big national bank, I need a business account for my new business!” (said in my best big girl voice)

Lady on phone at bank: “Well! Congratulations (she is very nice!) Let me get your information. What is your company name and what type of company?”

Me: In my most grown up big girl voice, “Little Peeps Art Gallery! And I will be an S Corporation!” (Said SO proudly!)

Lady at Bank: “Wow! That is really great! Ok, well once you get your Articles of Corporation fax them over and I will set you up over the phone and then you can go into any local branch and make you first deposit and you will be set!”

Me: “Wow! Great! That was easy! Ummmm, er, what are Articles of what did you say again?” (Not sounding so big girl now and rather red faced to boot)

Her: Your lawyer will tell you, sweetie, don’t worry lots of people don’t know this stuff in the beginning. Just fax them in once you get them, and I will take care of you.”

Me: “Thanks…” (Now completely feeling like a five year old that just got pat on the head.

Another thing to get done once the lawyer has his money and does his job.

Getting the Gas turned on.

Me: “Hi Atlanta Gas light company after I have been on hold for 10 minutes, I am starting my own business and I need gas!”

Nice man on Phone at gas company: “Well, Congratulations! Have you selected your marketer yet?”

Me: “Er, no.”

Nice man: “Go do that, then call us back.”

Me: “Ok.”

SIGH.

Me: “Hello gas marketing company, I am starting my own business and I need gas!”

Nice gas marketing guy: “Well congrats! Let’s get you all set up!”

(Proceed with lots of boring stuff, do a verbal agreement then he tells me to call back the gas company and have them set my meter.)

Great!

Me: “Well hello there gas light compnay, I have my marketer and I am set, turn on my gas and give me heat!”

Gas company: “Yeah, have you had the city inspect the lines yet?”

Me: Blink. Blink. “Um……no?”

Gas Company: “Yeah, call the city and ask them to send the inpector out to see the lines then they will fax us an approval and we will send someone out there.”

Me: Big sigh…”Ok…bye”

Me: “Hello City Hall lady. I am opening my own business and I need a gas line inspection done for-“

(she cuts me off)

Mean city lady: “Have you had a contractor come out yet?” (really mean lady voice!)

Me: “Contractor?”

Mean lady: “Yes, contractor! You need a contractor to come out and pull a permit!”

Me: “Can I get a permit?

Mean lady: “No you ignorant FOOL! you need a contractor and he has to be licensed!!”

Me: “Er, ok, what kind of contractor?”

Mean lady: BIG SIGH.

(and now my nice manners go out the window – once I’ve had enough all bets are off.)

Me: “Look lady, I don’t know why you are being so nasty and talking down to me, I told you I was JUST Starting out, and while that is certainly not your problem, it does mean that yes, I don’t know a lot. But guess what? You do. And it IS your job to help me. So maybe, just maybe instead of talking down to me like I am a complete moron why don’t you just tell me what I need to know I will go do it and it will save us both alot of time and aggravation!!!!”

Mean lady: “Um, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be like that. (Sound kind of nice now and slightly apologetic) you need a mechanical contractor and he will go out there check your connections then he will call the ciy inspector and arrange for the inspection.”

Me: “Thank you, have a nice day.”

Not so mean now lady: “Your welcome. Good luck.”

After getting off the phone I try to think where in the world I will find a mechanical contractor. I call up my landlord and basically leave a message that says: “HELP!”

He calls back with a man who was a fantastic help. I love my mechanical contractor and my gas inspector who approved me. Heat is close at hand I think. I think.

Me: “HELLO Atlanta Gas Light company! I need my meter set!”

Gas Company: “Great, you need to call your marketer and do a three way call with us for that.”

Me: “Are you freakin’ kiddin me?”

Not amused gas company: “No, I am not ‘freakin” kidding you. Call them and they will call us on a three way call.”

Me: “Can’t you call them on a three way call?”

Very not amused gas company: “Yeah. NO.”

Very, very NOT amused Me: “grumble, grumble, f#$@…Ok.”

Me: “Yeah, hi, I need my meter set and the gas compnay told me to call you to call them.”

Nice marketer guy: “Oh, yes, Michelle. How are you?”

Me: Awww, he remembered me! I am smiling now. Nice people make me smile. “I am great! I almost have heat!”

Nice marketer guy with curiously sad voice: “Um, I have some bad news.”

Me: “Uhh, yes?”

So sad voiced marketer guy: “My credit manager turned you down for an account.”

Me: Imagine blood beginning to boil and wide eyes. “WHAT!?!?!!?!?!”

SOOOO sad voiced marketer guy: “Yeah, we all went to bat for you, but your past credit history…blah, blah, blah”

Me: “Yeah, I appreciate all that, let me talk to your supervisor.”

Sad guy: “Ok, but it won’t do any good, he tried too. Basically THE CREDIT MANAGER AT INFINITE ENERGY BASED IN FLORIDA is an A-HOLE who won’t change his mind even though you have been a customer of ours in perfect standing for the past 14 months.”

Me: “Yes, supervisor man, I appreciate you going to bat for me. And I know you can’t do anything about this, but I would like to tell you that I think you all suck. I have an account with you right now and I am trying PAY YOU MORE MONEY. Which is how I thought this whole thing worked, but apparently not. And since due to my own personal circumstances which I will not share with you, I am currently in an appartment. And I HAVE to use your services right now. But in about a year, when I buy a house? You better believe you me that I WILL NOT ever, ever use your services again. I find your customer service appalling. I repeat, I find the customer service at INFINTE ENERGY BASED IN FLORIDA appalling!!”

Sad supervisor: “I am really sorry miss.” (at least he called me miss and not m’am.)

BIG HUGE EARTH SHAKING SIGH….

I then called up another marketing company who set me up, called the gas company and am now set up to have the nice gas man come out and turn on my gas tomorrow. I WILL HAVE HEAT TOMORROW!!! Yay!! I LOVE SCANA GAS COMPANY!!! (Even if I did have to pay a deposit.)

Getting a business license…continued.

Me: “Hello city hall, I am coming in to get my business license today and just want to confirm what I need.”

Nice city hall lady: Do you have your C.O.?

Me: “Ummmmm, no?”

Nice lady: “Have you had your fire inspection done?”

Me: Thinking, ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS PEOPLE??? No wonder so many people start up businesses the wrong way, it is jumping through hoops to do it the right way! Big sigh…”No….how do I do that?”

Nice lady: “Call the fire inspector for the city. He will come and issue an inspection report. Bring that in to the permits department. They will issue you a Occupation Certificate. Bring that to me and we will get you your business license.”

Me: “Do I need my tax Id? Cause I get that this afternoon!” (Thinking at least I have one thing ready!)

nice lady: “No, we don’t need that at all. Here, let me transfer you to the fire inspector.”

Me: Sooo defeated that the one thing I had done on time was not even the right thing. “Thanks…” So sad.

So I am proud to say that tomorrow I meet the fire inspector and get my gas turned on and if it all goes fast enough I will go walk my little ol’ self over to city hall and get my for real big girl business license! And I should get a a copy of my articles of corporation any day and be able to open my bank account in my business name.

And that is just a taste of what I have been doing for the past week and a half. Oh yes, opening a business is fun, fun, fun! If you do it I suggest keeping strong liquor on hand. 😉 Just kidding. Sort of.

So…..

Ok, just keeping everyone updated on the goings on. Cause I know y’all (oh see that southern thing come out? Hard to believe I am a jersey girl, huh? Yay New Jersey!!) want to know all about the crazyness for when you do it. Open your own business, I mean. I’ll try and let you know all my mistakes so you can sidestep them. But so far I seem to be doing ok. I have called all my business owner friends and picked their brains. And I have to tell you, I have already saved myself quite a chunk of change by asking others what they did. I am joining the Decatur Business Association and the Decatur Arts Alliance tomorrow. It is ALL about being connected and letting people know about you. I will be painting my signage tomorrow. Might take longer than expected as it has rained all weekend and supposed to until Tuesday which means the primer for the wood will take forever to dry. Why paint the sign yourself, you ask? Good question. It will save me about $800 – $1000. And I think it is worth every penny saved. Plus I am a perfectionist and I know that I want it exaclty how I want it. Then I am painting interiors which will include a mural in the classroom. Might as well advertise to the parents that I am available for mural work too. See? Now you get it…gotta let them know about all your skills all the time. Don’t be shy, sell yourself. I am also making a flyer/poster to go hang at all the local corkboards that I use for my pet portrait art information. Never, ever under estimate free advertising people. A little bit of hoofing it pays off like you would not believe. And never under estimate the corkboard outside your local Starbucks. Traffic baby, mondo traffic. Take advantage of our nation’s addiction to coffee. Let’s see? What else? Contacting other local artists to get their art in the gallery.

See what I am doing here? Sure I may be sharing business ideas, but I am really just typing my to do list and my have done list. I still have to go to Sam’s Club and get my business membership to get my nifty cash register and get my Quick Books software so I can track every penny. I am hoping my lawyer will have my business paperwork done this week so I can open my bank account with Little Peeps on it. (That will rock!) I also seem to be flooded with ideas for paintings to do as well. I have pulled over to sketch out an idea a bunch of times this week. Seems multi-taking starts the creative juices flowing.

So all in all life is fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, I am still scared out of my mind and I have these HUGE flashes of self doubt and panic, but I just breath deep and pretend I know what the heck I am doing. You’d be surprised how well that technique works. Oh, and hey mom and dad, cause I know right now I am not so available to talk and I know you are reading this lately as a means to find out about your crazy middle daughter: Your grandchildren are fabulous, Sophie’s talent show went great. She is such character and belted out Sunshine and Lollipops like such a champ it would make Lesley Gore proud! They are being so supportive of the gallery and they are the coolest kids ever. Ever. Which doesn’t mean they don’t bicker like cats and dogs and that Soph still can’t throw a tantrum like no ones business if you forget to order her a calzone at the pizza place, but hey, they’re kids. Mental note to self and anyone else ever dealing with Sophie in a a pizza situation: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget the calzone. The girl can hold a grudge. Uh. Huh. I have no idea where she gets her stubborness from. None.

My grass is greenest.

It’s almost 12:30am. I have a painting to finish in the other room, but I am taking a break by trying to upload my Little Peeps website. I went the cheaper route and am hosting with yahoo. You get what you pay for. It seems uploading through Dreamweaver and seeing it on the server does not guarantee it is acutally overwriting the older files. Or my case is stuck. Or something. Anyway, too tired right now. So much, so much, so much. Clients with jobs still ongoing, my new website, flyers postcards, pr, signage, gas contractors, business licenses, credit card machines, art supplies, lawyers, accountants, gallons and gallons of paint….I have so much to tell about this latest grand adventure. What seems like a sudden move…”You’re opening a children’s art gallery and art school? Um, weren’t you just telling me you had someone wanting to interview you for a full time gig?” A moment can change your life. Seeing a for lease sign and calling just to see…But this art gallery has been in the works for a long, long time. I have dreamed of it, pictured it, imagained it all. I have been selling art for the past ten years and gaining experience all along the way. I have centered my career around my children. Not in spite of them. I have, save a few years when The Soph was a toddler, worked jobs that allowed me to be at home or be able to leave at 2pm most of the time. It meant lots of compromise and many, many late nights. Um, like tonite. And I have never, ever regretted a moment. Instead it kept forming me into who I am today. And wanting to show my kids that no matter what, we can live our dreams. Or at least go for them. Now I will have a job that my kids can come to everyday after school. And I like that. And they will see me succeed. And they will see me struggle. Perhpas they will see me fail. But they will see that life goes on. That it just changes. And you can have a really great idea, a really great dream and the very best you can do for yourself in this life is to go for it and then see what happens. There are no guarantees with this life. Some people are luckier than others. Or maybe it just seems that way. Some people might consider me lucky. But what they wouldn’t see is 10 years of working late, dreaming, trying, failing (A WHOLE LOT OF THINGS NOT WORKING) and trying again. And while I don’t know how this is about to turn out, it is a grand adventure. And I will be surrounded by art and children and people that love art and children. And I have so many amazing people supporting me and helping me and believing in me. And that feels really good. And I am relishing these late nights and crazy days (starting a business is SO MUCH WORK) because I feel alive and full of passion and I am confident and I am strong and I am scared to death all at the same time. But I am living my life the best way I know how. Going by experience and sheer gut instinct. And it feels more natural than anything in the world.

I heart Bon Jovi

I saw him last night. I am in love. I don’t care if you think I’m a geek. I heart him.

YUMMY.

This night made possible by my sister and her increadible generosity for my birthday, magic at getting floor seats and being as an obssessed a Bon Jovi fan as her big sister. I heart her too. She rocks.