Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yet More Updates

I got a call from the cancer place yesterday.  They want to take my case to one of their consultation conferences, so they're pushing my first radiation treatment back until Monday.  At least, that's what they're telling me.  I know what's really going on, though.  It's all a code to protect the public.  They're calling it a "consultation conference" but I know what it really is:


Otherwise known as SCDWGSP.

Now, I just have to wait for them to tell me what I get.  Teleportation?  X-ray vision?  The proportionate strength and skill of a spider?

I guess I'll find out on Monday!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Rambles

All things considered, I don't think I've done too badly on the blog front this month.  Pre-scheduling helped, for sure.  I still have a handful of "almost there" posts that did not make it to completion stage this month due to recuperation issues, so I have "ammo" for next month, too.  Looking back at last year, I seem to be on pace to make my posting goal for 2013, and post 900 is right around the corner!  It could happen this week!  We'll see.  If not, next week for sure.

I got targeted today, which was such a weird experience.  First, I have to put on a gown, but with the opening in the front, so that they can see the scar on my chest.  Then, I have to lay down on this board that looks honestly narrower than I am while twisting around so that I am on my back and my shoulder st the same time.  In other words, it's yoga for fat people with cancer time!

Now, the doc comes in and starts marking up my face, neck and head with a Sharpie to the point where I start to feel like Charlie Brown in the Great Pumpkin special.

Being a big ole pop culture nerd means you come up with interesting analogies.
After this, they cover my face with this pliable mesh stuff to make a mask-thing that will help get my head in the same position every time.  They trace most of the docs markings onto the mask, so I don't have to walk around with a purple marker line on my jaw.  I was all prepared to tell people it was a religious observance.  I'm a Melanomian, you know.  After this, I get scanned and they take some pics, because everyone wants pics of a fat guy doing yoga in an open hospital gown while wearing a Sharpie-covered mesh mask.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that if you Google that, you'll find it's some kind of fetish category.  If my pics are on the website, I seriously do not want to know.

I'm not the only one doing the doctor rounds right now.  Kosh had his annual check-up and shots at the vet on Saturday.  He's never happy about going to the vet, but he did okay.  He's ten now, which makes him the oldest one in the house.  In people years, he's four years older than Keith and a whopping eight years older than me!  His blood work came back fine, so we're going to have him with us for a while.  Good thing.  I may need the medical attention from Dr Kosh again.

Something that you probably don't want to do during your surgery recuperation is expand your business, but you also have to strike while the iron is hot.  Dealing with my extra corner has been a challenge, but it's about 80% where I want it to be and soon will be brimming with new stock.  The new arrangement is helping to move some older pieces that have needed to go on.  I'll have some pics up as soon as I get everything done.  In other words, as soon as everything is back on shelves and not sitting in carts.  If it weren't for Keith, there's no way  I could have handled this.

Sales have been okay for January, but not near where I wanted them to be.  Part of it is due to the extended mess at the booth caused by the expansion and part of it is due to my stock running low due to my recuperation.  The extra rent bump is going to hurt a bit, too.  February is usually the strongest month of tax season, so I'm confident I'll bounce back.

One of the nice things about the beginning of the year in this business is that it usually brings in a lot of new vendors.  Seems a bunch of people want to jump on the bandwagon and get rid of stuff and make some extra money at that start of the year.  Most of them won't last, of course.  Some of them have no clue how much work is actually involved to be successful with a booth.  But while they last, it makes for a nice, full mall, with "new" stuff to attract customers, and that helps everyone!

We've also got an influx of established vendors from a vendor mall that's closing.  These are folks that will be around for a while, because they know what they are doing.  It realy does perk the place up!

Days of Our Lives continues to draw me in every day, which is something it hasn't done for five or six years. Seriously, it is about as good right now as a soap can get. In the past, I was a daily watcher out of habit, which is what they want.  Now, I'm a daily watcher because I want to see what's coming next.  That is what I want.  I've got some posts planned about the show:  what's working, what still needs to be improved, and where it all went wrong in the mid-2000's.  They're just in the draft stages, but should come out in a week or two.  Non-soap folks can feel free to skip them over.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Further Updates

Just got back from the radiologist appointment.  It was nice and easy and quick, like they all should be.  No disappearing docs.  The radiologist actually carried on a conversation with me, which was nice.

As a follow-up to the surgery, I'll be having five radiation treatments over the next three weeks, starting next week.  Next Monday, I'll go in for "targeting" which sounds both kind of cool and kind of creepy.  I'll have my first zap towards the end of the week, then two zaps the next week, and two the week after.  I did ask about the super-power, but they said it would only happen if a spider got zapped at the same time and then bit me.  Oh well.

I'm feeling a ton better overall this week.  Much less pain and fatigue.  I'm still pretty bushed at the end of the day, but I don't tire as much during the day.  The swelling has gone down to the point where I have a jawline again.  Soon, I'll have to start admitting that my face looks fat because it is fat.  I won't be able to blame the surgery much longer.

Look for some form of regular posting to return next week. 

The beat goes on and the saga continues!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I'm feeling rested and better after a few days off.  I'll probably post more starting next week.  Slowly, but surely.

We went to the oncologist today.  Some things discussed:

I'm considered to have Stage 3b melanoma.

I seem to be healing well from the surgery.

I'll probably have to have some radiation to ensure that they did get everything.  Due to the placement of Nigel, they weren't quite able to take enough surrounding skin, due to anatomical issues.  They like to take a "buffer zone" of 2 cm, but could not get that much on one side.  Since that leaves the possibility that there might be some cells that got missed, we need a back up treatment plan. 

There's also a chemo option under consideration, to keep the cancer from returning.  It would be a six month regimen, with a treatment every four weeks.  Apparently, they have some chemo options that don't have quite so severe side effects.  This has to wait, though, until I finish healing up from the surgery.

I have a follow up appointment in three weeks, where I think plans will be finalized.  I also have a meeting with a radiologist on Thursday, so I'll get more information about that.

That's all I know for right now.  It's starting to get a little frustrating at this point. I'm starting to feel like docs are talking past me and not to me.  One doctor actually left us waiting for answers he was supposedly going to get and never came back!  After waiting over 25 minutes for him to return, a nurse popped in to take blood and then lead me to get my next appointment scheduled.  I'll update here as I get more details.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who Knew?

Apparently, when you have cancer surgery that cuts your throat open and leaves you with a big ass scar, you're not really able to go back to your full regular routine after a week's recuperation time.

I seem to have missed that point in all the discussions about this thing.  I am wiped the hell out.  I've always thought of myself as a very sedentary person, not very active and certainly not expending great amounts of energy every day.  I've been unable to make it through one full day of my normal activity this week!

I've had to reassess my situation a little.  I'm putting as much stuff as I can on hold for a few weeks, so I can get more rest.  My boss is working with me on this, for which I am very grateful.

I'm going quiet here on the blog for the rest of the week, maybe into next week.  I'll pick back up with the posts in a few days, but probably just one or two a week for a bit.

As hard as it is to admit, I'm not Wonder Woman any more. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day by Days

I've recently started watching Days of Our Lives again.  It started when I got out of the hospital and looked up the Christmas eps online.  Even if I haven't been watching the show regularly, I've kept up through the soap mags and online clips from time to time.  The Horton family ornament hanging is something that I never miss! 

One of the reasons I haven't been regularly following the show for a while (besides lack of time and a general disinterest in TV overall) is that it hasn't been very good for a long time.  It hasn't been awful, mind you.  Just kind of mediocre.  Bad decisions.  Bad writing.  Focus on the wrong characters.  Just not the kind of compelling every day watching you want from a soap.

Watching the 2012 holiday episodes, I could see that something was different.  The dialogue was better.  The character interplay and intermingle that I like to see was there.  They took time for the little "extra beats" (smiles, side glances, winks and nods) that add so much to a scene.  The show's not perfect, but it's much, much better than it was last time I watched it, during the much vaunted "reboot."  Thanks to the wonders of hulu and YouTube, I've been a daily watcher again for a couple of weeks and I have been enjoying it immensely.

A couple of recent bits that show how much Days is improving are Chloe's return (which aired last week) and Nick and Gabi's busted wedding (from yesterday).  The initial episodes of Chloe's return to Salem played all the soap beats just about right.  Daniel opens the door to find her standing there (instead of an expected Jennifer) at the very end of an episode.

The next ep winds through the conversation, intercut with scenes involving Kayla and Caroline, to finally (again at the very end of the episode) spit out the reveal that Daniel really is the father of Chloe's son, Parker.  Bringing the Brady women in was a great stroke since, besides being so under-utilized these days, they were key players in the original paternity switch fiasco.

Unfortunately, two episodes do not a whole storyline make, and the way this story is starting out highlights a lot of the weaknesses the show still needs to overcome.  Did they really need to bring Chloe back?   Days tends not to make the best choices when it comes to character returns.  While there is a lot of potential to the story, watching Chloe using her child to play spoiler to Daniel and Jennifer is not the kind of thing that will keep me turning back in.  If they play out all of the potential beats to the story, it could end up being really good.  If they get lazy, it's going to be a cliched clunker.

A much better example of how good the show can be was the wedding episode.  Honestly, the whole Nick-Gabi-Will baby tale fell flat for me a long time ago.  But the blow up at the wedding was fantastic.  Not only did it pull in just about every character in the show, but it majorly shook up all the relationships in a way that will make it very hard for things to get back to normal.  This is the way it's supposed to be done, folks!

Rafe and Sami's reunion is derailed.  So is Chad and Abigail's.  Families are circling the wagons around their own.  There could potentially be Brady-Horton conflict over this.  Lucas has been jolted into action in his Dudley Do-Right mode, which is going to result in conflict with both Sami and Will.  And at the center of it all, Will and Sonny's budding romance has been shattered.  A big reveal should shake up the entire canvas and set things spinning in new directions, and I think this one did that in a big way.

And they didn't skimp on the little beats either, which helped to cement the tale.  Billie's line to Kate about being a great-grandmother, Victor's scenes with Sonny and Maggie, the look that passed between Hope and Kate after Kate fired Nick, and that sweet, sweet scene with Caroline and Eric at the end.  Those little bits are like little treats that pull the whole thing together.  Sure, they don't have to be there, but the show is so much better when they are.  So. Much. Better.

The only real clunker to the whole episode was that stupid deal with Doug and Julie showing up late.  Really?

I've been fooled before by this show.  It's hooked me with a good episode and then lost me a few weeks later.  I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of daily must see TV, but I am cautiously optimistic about things and want to see where the show goes from here.

Who knows?  If it stays this good, maybe I'll blog more about it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Rambles

So I have an appointment scheduled with a radiologist in a few days.  Still waiting to hear about the oncologist appt.  Maybe they'll end up happening at the same time.  I've already decided that I'm just going to go in and ask for what I want when I go the appointment:

I want just enough chemo to lose 35 pounds, followed by just enough radiation to get some cool super-power.

(I figure that if I can get chemo to whack off 35 of the 40 pounds I want to lose this year, then I'll have no trouble making the rest of that goal.)

Seriously, I still have no idea what to expect or what will happen, but as long as I'm playing it by ear, I might as well have fun with it.

Speaking of playing it by ear, my right ear has been swollen up like crazy since the surgery.  To protect an important auditory nerve, it was necessary for them to pretty much cut all around it.  Since the stitches have come out, the swelling has been noticeably dropping every day.  When I first got out of surgery, it looked like I had a clown ear grafted on to my head.  Now, it's starting to look like my own ear again.  I just wish that my earlobe would stop looking like a pig in a blanket.

I tried to do a session at work last Thursday, and couldn't even make it all the way through!  I'm still going to try and make it a full work week this time around.  Wish me luck!  I have lots of opportunities to sit and rest during my normal work day and I intend to take advantage of all of them.  I went to the booth Friday to work and found that I was okay as long as I gave myself plenty of long breaks whenever I needed them.  I still managed to get it most of what I needed to done...

...At least until my plans changed entirely.

I went in with the intent of packing up the Christmas, pulling a bunch of long time shelf-sitters for either markdown or donation, and start emptying shelves so I could move them around and create a new arrangement in the space.

However, a large vendor mall down the road from us is closing at the end of the month, which means that vendors are spreading out and looking for new places to go.  To prepare for this, the management is making sure that available spaces in our mall are cleaned out and ready for new vendors to move in.

My booths are part of a kind of "block" of four that are right there in a nice square together.  I have three of the four and have often dreamed about having the whole block and creating an awesome open space there.  The fourth spot has been open for over a year, but I had not rented it because it has walls and shelves that were left by a previous vendor.  I would have had to purchase the walls (for $150) to rent the space, and I didn't want them.  In fact, I'd been trying to get rid of the walls I have in my own spaces for some time now.  I'm really wanting to create a unified space with some flow to it.

Here's a very much not-to-scale drawing of the situation.  The lines on the inside represent the walls I am talking about.  The overall block is 16 feet wide by 21 feet long.  Told you that drawing wasn't to scale.

While they are working in this one booth, we get to talking about the space and my renting it.  I bring up the unwanted walls again and they tell me I don't have to get them if I do not want them.  If I want the space, they'll move them right out for me!  A few more minutes of conversation and they have agreed to buy my other walls and move them too!  That sale will cover my first month rent on the new space!

Since I'm concentrating on getting more stuff out of the house and into the booth to sell, I certainly can make use of the space, plus my deceased merch costs right now also offset my increased rent, until this new space gets its footing.  It's pretty damn close to a win-win, as far as I am concerned.

Of course, now my plans are to get my walls cleared for moving.  I'm going to have to cram everything into one corner for that move and then spend several days getting everything placed throughout the new booth.  I've got some ideas forming now about how I want to do it and I think it's going to look great!  I'll try to remember to do pics.

A really interesting thing happened last week on the blog when I got a comment from someone I don't know.  It was a get well wish on one of my surgery posts from a guy called Chace Thibodeaux.  Well, I got to following his links around and found his blog and a post about someone I hadn't thought about since I wrote a blog post about him myself five or so years ago.  I think if you go read that post, you can kind of get the gist of what the whole deal with this dude was about.

Since I wrote that post, I'd kind of drifeted away from comics and comics fandom, which was never a place  I felt very comfortable as an adult anyway.  I still love the things.  I still read the things.  I even still save a few of them.  But, mostly these days I prefer to get my comics kicks by making reasonably-priced back issues available in my booths.  It's a lot more fun and a lot less drama. I ain't got time for all that other stuff!

Having been out of the loop, I was kind of surprised to see that this guy had kept his old antics--fraud, lying, general hissy-fits, and just piss-poor behavior--up until the end of his life.  The posts at Chace's blog was an obituary, you see.  As part of his own write up, he even compiled a list of various postings from around the comics webs about this guy, which included my very own post of 2007.  Things move in oddball circuits sometimes, don't they?  Remember this:  Once you put it out on the web, it never really goes away.

Anyway, thanks very much to Chace (who seems like a nice dude) for both the link and good wishes.  As to the other guy, well, I'm sorry for his family.  In addition to dealing with a loss, they also may get stuck cleaning up all of his messes as well.  Remember this as well:  Sometimes the stuff you do gets passed on to others to deal with, often at the worst possible times.

On those words of wisdom, I'll close out here.  Thanks so much to everyone who stops here and makes this a part of their internet journey from time to time.  Double-triple-special thanks to all of you (online or in person) who have kept up with me through this medical stuff.  Your notes and hugs and comments and well-wishes have meant more to me than you can know.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012: The Year that Was (Non-Cancer Edition)


What else happened to me in 2012?  Surely it wasn't all melanoma melodrama!

Damn tooting!  Except for Nigel and Sixtus, it was actually a pretty darn good year.

For starters, no one in the family died--neither human nor feline.  I'm kind of at the age where that has become one of the signs of a good year.  A few weeks after Mom died, I was standing in the graveyard and he looked around and said:  "There's an awful lot of people in here I used to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner with."  I'm kinda glad to have kept the number of folks above the ground the same this year.

Then there's the job front.  My plethora of part-time gigs here and there yielded a connection that in turn yielded an awesome regular part-time gig, with just enough hours at the right amount of pay that allows me to do work that I love, and still have plenty of time for junking! 

I don't get benefits, but I got picked up on Keith's insurance this summer.  That is what has enabled me to get my surgery.

I had what I consider to be my best year of blogging ever, with over 200 posts in the hopper at year's end.

The junking front continues to reap benefits for me, both fiscal and otherwise.  I'll be writing a lot more about that in the year to come.

We bought a new car that's the right size for running around town, going camping, and junking!  The best of all worlds!

We saw Kris Kristofferson give an awesome open air show!  We also took a lovely trip to celebrate

Yes, those two tumorous twerps did rear their ugly little mugs, but they were dispatched.  Now, I just need to make it through the next steps, whatever those may be.  I really wish it was all over, but there is still some ways to go, unfortunately.

Overall, though, I can't complain.  There are things I could have done better.  Things I should have done better.  Things I wish I had done.  Things I wish I hadn't.  In that regard, it was a lot like every other year. Looking back always brings that kind of feeling, doesn't it?

As for 2013, who knows?  I guess we'll just have to take that journey together, huh?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

We've still got a ways to go

Health updates time, everyone!

First the really good stuff:

1.  The teats are gone!  One of them did not want to pull out as easily as it was supposed to, but it's the same one that had been bothering me from the get-go.  It may have actually caused me some pain upon exit and a profane word or two may have escaped my lips as well.  But Agnes and the Earth Mother are gone!

2.  The stitches and sutures are out, too.  I wasn't expecting that this early, but they removed them.  The doc says everything looks fine and I am healing nicely.  I can go back to work tomorrow.

3.  The scar (just in time) has a name.  I am calling her Beátriz!  It just seems to fit.  The Spanish word for scar is "cicatriz" which is a bit to o obvious in this case for me.  But Beátriz is close enough to that and it retains the felling I want to go for with a marking I'm going to live with for the rest of me life.  Please note that it is not called "Bee-a-triss."  It's "Bay-AH-trees"!  Who would name a scar "Beatrice"?  Please!

4.  After getting checked out, we stopped by both booths, which do need lots of work, but were serviceable for a couple more days.  We made plans for a shifting of stuff to take place over the weekend.  I also found a very tiny bit of Xmas clearance leftover at Wal-Mart.  Not much selection, but I've made silk purses out of bigger sow's ears.

Now for the not-so-good stuff:

It's not over yet.  Sixtus was indeed a big ole lump of cancerous badness, even though I kept hoping that he might be made out of blueberry muffin or something nice.  The earlier inconclusive biopsy had held out some hope that he might have been just a cyst, but it was not to be.  Two of the lymph nodes they removed were cancerous as well.

What this means is that, for the first time in this long, strange journey with cancer, I am actually getting referred to an oncologist.  I never could do anything any way other than bass-ackward.

I'm being referred to one of the largest cancer centers in the region, one which also has a very strong national reputation.  I'm going to be in good hands there.  They also happen to have a nationally-recognized melanoma specialist on staff.

As to what the next steps are--chemo, radiation--I'll know more once I meet with the oncologist.  For the moment, I am trying to look at this as precautionary (to make sure we got it all) and preventative (to make sure nothing else is going to spread).  It makes sense to me to do this.  That's the perspective that I am trying to keep right now, at least until I get more information.

I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Goals 2013 (Long Term)

I think I'm going to spend some time the rest of this week blogging about personal stuff related to 2012 and 2013--recaps and goals and such.  I usually don't seem to get to these posts until about the end of January every year, but I seem to have some free time on my hands right now.

I've written before about January as a time for looking forward and looking back.  I think I've also explained the way I feel about New Year's Resolutions, which are kind of like cultural cliches, and goals for the year, which to me implies targets that are reachable, but which require work throughout the year to make them.

When I used to keep a paper journal, I would leave a bookmark on the page where I wrote my year's goals, so I could look back on them from time to time and remind myself about the things I wanted to accomplish.  One thing I learned was to write every goal so that I would know for sure that I had met it.  There's no point in saying "I will be a better person in 2013." because you have no standard or way to measure it by.  If you can instead focus on actions that you want to take or habits that you want to eliminate, you'll know for sure that you made your goal.

I used to be absolutely horrible with my bank account--constantly overdrawn, bouncing checks, losing tons of money to fees.  Setting the goal of "being financially responsible" didn't seem to help.  What does that even mean for me?  It wasn't until I set the goal of not bouncing any checks for a year that I was able to get a handle on the issue.  In order to not bounce checks, I had to identify the things I needed to be doing to prevent that from happening.  It took a couple of years, but I did get that under control.

That's the way I approach it anyway.  I'm not a lifestyle expert and I've never been on Oprah or written a book, so take that as you will.  I'm just a babbly junker with a blog.

As for me and 2013, I've got several goals that I'd like to meet this year.  Several of them are a bit too personal for me to put up in a public forum like this.  Some of them are so boring that I cannot think that anyone would  have any interest in them at all.  There are, however,  a couple that I can share here.  If I remember, we'll look back on these and see how I did at the end of the year.

No pun intended, but my biggest issue right now is my weight.  I weighed in at the hospital at 264 pounds, which is the largest I have ever been.  I know it's the largest I have ever been, because every time I hit that number, I start working like nuts to get a few pounds off.  It's been probably more than five years since I've had any kind of regular fitness and diet thing going on--one designed to take weight out and help keep it off.

It will be a little while yet before I can really start doing anything about this, obviously, but once I've bounced back from the surgery, I'd like to really work on my weight.  My goal for this year is to drop 40 pounds by the end of the year.  We'll definitely drop back in on this one and see how it's going.

Meeting my blog goal for 2012 was a big deal for me.  I've not blogged that regularly for that long since I started this blog back in 2003.  (Is this my tenth anniversary year?  Oooooo!)  While I'm not sure that I've really added that much to the overall signal to noise ratio of the wider internet,  I'm kind of happy with myself for applying the necessary organization, planning, and discipline into practice to make 200 posts happen.  I definitely want to do that again.  Once again, I'm shooting for 200 posts this year, which will also propel me past two other goals.  I'm on the verge of 900 total posts now, so I should hit 1000 before the end of the year, if I can add 200 to that total.  1000 posts in my first ten years!  Insert sarcastic "woo hoo!" here.

Finally, a business goal.  Like a lot of junkers, I have succumbed to the temptation of buying too much stuff.  I've got way more in backlog than I absolutely need.  You simply don't make money on it when it sits and waits.  This is an extreme goal, but a necessary one.  By the end of the year, I will have all of my backlog stashes (there are three) cleared out and in the booths.

Okay, that's enough about me.  If you've read this far, you deserve a cookie or something.  What about you?  Did you set any goals for 2013?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

TEATS! (And a quandry...)

This is a picture of the kind of post-surgery drains that I have in right now.  Obviously, I'm using a representative pic, instead of an actual pic of mine, which have drippy stuff in them.  Ew!

Hopefully by tomorrow, they'll be gone, because they are annoying the heck out of me.  They dangle.  They tug.  They pinch.  And they hurt at the point were they are inserted in my chest.  I have to sleep on my back to keep them from pinching.  I have to "strip" them a couple of times a day to keep gunk from building up in the tubes--and that really hurts!  I'll be glad when it's all over.

I have two them, which I refer to as my "rubber teats."  That is kind of an homage to a line from this film.  It's not in that trailer, by the way and I couldn't find what I wanted to use on YouTube, but I had to mention it, because it is such a good movie.

Totally gross bit:  when my surgery doc visited me for the first time after the procedure, he looked my teats (and the stuff that was draining in them) and said:  "That's the kind of kool-aidy color we want to have in those."   I simply cannot look at my afternoon glass of sugar-free Wyler's fruit punch in the same way any more!  Thanks, doc!

I've named them "Agnes and the Earth Mother."  There's just something about having a dangly pair of rubber teats that makes me think of Romulus and Remus.  I thought about calling them "Agnes and the Wolf-Mother," but I liked the sound of "Earth-Mother" better.  It's also not quite so literal.  I almost used "Angus" instead of "Agnes" just to be kind of contrary, but I could not figure out what I was being contrary about, so I didn't.  I nearly went with "Isis and the Earth-Mother" but decided that was too many overtly feminine spirituality references for one pair of teats.  By the way, they are always referred to in the collective, as "Agnes and the Earth Mother."  Never separately.  That is the rule.

No, I'm not typing any of this while on my pain meds.  Why would you ask?

Obviously, this naming thing is kind of important.  Nigel and Sixtus had names.  Agnes and the Earth Mother have names.  I'm getting ready to have a tremendous, dramatic scar once my staples are removed.  (Still not sure when that will be, but I want to be prepared.)  I'm having a hard time coming up with a name for it.

Naming things is kind of a thing in my family.  My mother and I gave all kinds of things all kinds of names.  So do Keith and I.  If it exists, and is going to play a part in my life for an extended period of time, I believe it ought to have a name.

I don't want anything to obvious or cliche here.  "Frankenstein" or "Franken-anything" is kind of right out.  So is "Slash" or "Scar."  I want something creative and unique.  I'm going to have to live with this sucker for the rest of my life, so I want to name him up right.  Or her.  Lately, I've sort of started thinking of the scar as "Beverly," for no particular reason.  I'm certainly not settled on that yet.  Something cool would be good, as would something with hidden significance or meaning. 
I'm still pondering the whole deal, but was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Monday Rambles

Well, I guess there's not too much to ramble about today, is there?  Didn't do a whole lot last week other than get hacked on and end up with a lot of staples and sutures in me.  I head back to work on Thursday, after getting the ports out on Wednesday (and hopefully getting the path reports on Sixtus).

Again, thanks so much to all of you who have sent me comments and emails during and after my surgery.  Every day brought me another sweet, uplifting note or two, and it really did mean a lot to me.  I hope that all of you are also doing well, thus far into 2013.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to get a bunch of posts drafted and scheduled, plus some pricing, packing and sorting stuff done.  (Assuming my lifting restrictions are lifted.)  I've got to swing by both booths for a major tidy, foof, and re-do.  I still have Xmas out at Peddlers Mall for goodness' sake.  It's also still selling--go! go! go!!!!!

I think I'll end up spending most of the weekend to come at Peddlers.  I have a massive rearrange in mind that will take a while to get through.  I'm wanting to sell off the walls dividing my space, but they're not accessible to any prospective buyer at the moment.  I have an idea that will make my space look completely new and make it super-easy for someone to load those suckers on a cart and make off with them.  I'll try to remember to do pics.

We're coming into the busiest time of the year for re-sale--TAX TIME!  I've got to finish getting better and get out there and work it!

One of the things about being in the hodpital that I hated was not being able to use my C-PAP machine.  Someone looked at it and said that it wasn't "clean enough" to use in the hospital.  (What's a little cat hair?  C'mon folks!)  They had me on an oxygen monitor, which worked for their end of things, but I need that sucker so I can sleep.  Sleep apnea, anyone? You know, the reason people use C-PAP machines?  By Wednesday, I was getting so little deep sleep that I could not keep my eyes open for more than a few minutes at one time.  I actually had the choice to stay in the hospital another day, but chose to go home, so I could get some sleep.  First thing when I got home, I hooked my dirty ole machine up, put my mask on, and fell into a deep, lovely sleep!  I woke up several hours later, feeling much, much better just from the rest.

I would love to maybe find a little bit of Xmas clearance left, but I am pretty sure that ship has sailed.  Of course, I do have a little bit of prep to do to get ready to return to work.  Surgery aside, I really needed the holiday break.  Our last session was pretty intense!

Sorry this one is so lame.  Hopefully, I'll have some better posts this week/month to make up for it.  In the meantime, please enjoy what I believe hands down to be the absolutely, frickin' cutest kitten video on the internet.  It even won a prize recently from Friskies to prove it!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

December Sales

I guess it kind of goes without saying that December got a little chaotic toward the end of the month.  I had an awful lot going on and did not keep up with my spaces the way I should have.  One of the benefits of planning for holiday resale, though, is that your year-round planning can keep your space running, even if you cannot be as attentive as you need to be.  Because I had everything out that I needed to have out at the times that I needed to have them out, I was able to get by with brief straightening and tidying visits, instead of massive stock time.

I guess the true proof is in the pudding, because, when all was said and done, December was my second-best month overall for 2013.  I had lots of high dollar days and sold lots of my holiday items.  I haven't gone through everything, but I'm thinking I had about a 75-80% sell through on my holiday stuff, including several  things that had been left from previous years.  When I clean out the Xmas stuff this week, I plan on donating anything that's been through a couple of seasons with me and creating a pretty clean slate for next year.  Thanks to some good sales in December, that donation will be smaller than I thought.

I got really lucky in early November when I was given a huge bunch of stuff in payment for some work I had done.  It was all Xmas, and it was the gift that kept on giving, week in and week out.  A good portion of it was Xmas village houses and people and stuff, which proved to be strong, steady sellers.  I had so many of them that I got tired of pricing them.  I tossed a whole bunch of the lesser quality houses in a box with a lot price.  Sold it too!

I've been trying to make note of the things that did well (and less so) for me this year, so I can keep my eyes open for them.  Wrapping paper did really well for me.  I simply have to have some for next year.  Xmas cards, not so much, unless they were vintage.  I sold a lot of Xmas dishes, but most of them did not sell until after the holidays, oddly enough.  Also odd (to me at least), very few of my AnnaLee mice sold.  Not sure what was up with that.

Anyway, chaotic or not, December turned out to be good for me, sales-wise.  I hope it was for you as well.  Maybe it's going to be a good sign for 2013.  We'll see.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Post-Surgery Update

I've included a post-surgery shot of the scars and stuff at the end of this post, so be forewarned that it's not pretty.  I'm going to try and hide it behind a jump, so we'll see how that goes.

I'm writing this on Thursday and Friday, for posting on Saturday.  I've been home since Wednesday, trying to get up and around a bit and take care of some things.  I still seem to tire out pretty easily, though.  I'm also covered with incisions and such that I'm worried about keeping clean and not infected.

There's not much to write about the surgery, because I don't remember any of it.  The last thing I recall is being transferred on the the surgery table and being told to breath deeply.  The next thing I remember is feeling groggy and painful.  It must have been a hell of an event, though.  I've got this huge-ass scar with a ton of staples in it.  They're telling me it took five hours, too.

Apparently, there was some kind of slight misunderstanding or misinterpretation somewhere along the line, however.  I kept hearing terms like "skin flap" and looking at the areas concerned, and kind of had the idea I was looking at a small-ish scar.  I look like freaking Frankenstein Junior!

I have in incision running down the right side of my neck and up behind my right ear, which is swollen to about twice its usual size.  (But is starting to go down some.)  Most of the scar incision his held together by staples, but I have sutures around my ear.

A large part of the right side of my face is numb at the moment, although the feeling is returning in bits and pieces.  There's a chance it might not all come back, due to nerve issues caused by the surgery, but it's too early to tell anything about it.  The parotid gland that was removed runs around a key facial nerve, so I was looking at the possibility of serious facial paralysis.  Fortunately, that part of the surgery went really well.  The right side of my lower lip is a little wonky at the moment, but that is supposed to clear up without any lasting effects.

So what happened during the surgery?  Well, apparently, one big-ass slash on my neck, to begin with.  They removed Nigel and Sixtus, plus the gland Sixtus was sitting on, plus a crap-ton of lymph nodes.  All of that stuff has been sent for pathological testing to see if there is anything else we'll need to do in terms of treatment.  I've also got two ports in my chest that are draining even as I type.  I am supposed to get those removed next week. Right after that, I'll go back to work.  I was supposed to go back Monday, but I have no real way to hide these ports and the bulbs they drain into.

Anyway, I'm still resting a lot, taking anti-biotics, and pain meds, and trying to get my groove back.  It's slow-going, but I'm not feeling as badly as I thought I would at this point.  I'm going to try to blog more until I go back to work, as I feel better and better.  (Pics after the jump.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I Met Moe!

So, I'm at the big flea market over the weekend and I see the above book on a dealer's table.  I ask how much it is and he says "Ten bucks."  It's a small book, only 44 pages, so the price is a little steep for me and I pass.  The name rings a bell with me, though.  I look over the back of the book and see that it's about selling in the kind of vendor mall set-up where I have my booths, as opposed to the traditional flea market, like the one we're standing in.  At that point, my curiosity is getting the better of me, so I have to ask:  "Are you the Moe who used to have all those spaces at Dixie Trading Post?"  Sure enough, he's that Moe!

The first time I ever went to the Peddlers Mall where I have my booth, probably about 30% of the space was used by one vendor--Moe.  Pretty much the entire back corner of the store was his booth.  Eventually, the Peddlers Mall left that building and moved to its current location.  Shortly after that, I rented my first spot there.  Moe stayed in the old building and helped the owners open their own mall there.  He stayed there for a while and then moved on.  They even used to advertise that the mall featured "Moe's Backroom."

In other words, he's been around a while and knows his stuff.  His book is designed as a guide for folks looking to enter the market, so to speak.  We talked for a bit and he told me that the book was too basic for me, since I've been doing this for a while now.  He said that he was trying to share some of the mistakes that he made in the beginning so that other people could avoid them. 

I can actually think of a few people who would have benefited from having a book like this.  Too many people start a booth without any plan whatsoever and leave in a huff after a few months when they aren't even making their rent.  If you're interested in reading it, you can order it from the publisher here or get it from Amazon here.

 Of course, you don't have to lay out ten bucks for a book to learn this stuff.  I'm planning a whole lot more "This is how we do it" posts for the next few months.  There are some other really good blogs on the topic as well.  Everybody comes at the topic from a slightly different angle, but there is lots of good info out there, if you want it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Goals for 2013 (Short Term)

Okay, I'm not really writing this on January 1, 2013.  Let me get that little bit of truth in advertising over with first.

With any luck, I'm sitting up in a hospital bed, so hopped up on pain meds that I don't know my own name, much less that it's a brand new year.  With a little more luck, Nigel and Sixtus are gone, everything under the lump was clean and clear, and I don't have bits of my butt grafted on my neck in their place.  If I do end up having all that much luck, then I'm certainly not going to be in any shape to write a blog post.

However, I'm not the only person who finds himself in a state of dubious consciousness on the first day of the new year, which means that I really don't have that much of an excuse for not blogging.  I don't believe that any of those revelers in Times Square are waking up this morning and wondering if they have bits of buttock on their neck, though.

Usually during the first week of the year, I like to think about recaps of the previous year and then setting some goals for the new one.  I don't always get around to blogging those thoughts, but I do try.  Given my current hospitalized and medicated condition, I kind of have a tunnel vision thing going on.  2012 was the year I found out I had cancer and my goal right now is to get out of the hospital and get healthy.  That'll have to do for the moment.

Once I'm back in the saddle (sometime before the end of the month), I'll write a little more about the year that was and what I would like to get done in the year to come.  How does that sound?

By the way, I'd like to say "thanks" to all of you all who have expressed concern and support to me, either in comments or by private message.  I've tried to be low key and nonchalant about this whole damn thing, because the alternative was to drive myself and those around me nuts.  I hope that hasn't made it seem like I don't appreciate all of your support, because I really, really do.  I've read many of those messages several times over.  Thanks for being a part of my life, folks.  I'm truly lucky in that regard.