Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The entrepreneurial spirit

In my younger years I dabbled in the cards game a bit. Greeting cards, that is. It all began with Paint (the windows application). I was nine and I had already procured a desk in the basement where my dad's office was. I had an extensive working knowledge of how to use the phone to call every other desk in the basement and leave detailed messages describing business venture after business venture. I knew one thing, I loved making forms. I used to create tests (history, math, etc) for my family on Paint. I loved the idea of having that kind of control...grading and all of that. It did rub me the wrong way that upon grading everyone was always getting a perfect score. It could have been that I didn't figure out you make all of the blanks in the fill-in-the-blank section equal length. Those jerks didn't even pretend to get one wrong! Or it could have been that I assumed pulling some of the questions from my hardest 4th grade exams would do the trick. But alas, every time I was dolling out 100%s and A+s. I was using up my best stickers and glitter every time I had to grade a perfect paper! I knew something had to give; I was squandering precious Lisa Frank resources! I started to doubt myself as an educator and I think this is about the time I began looking at other options.

As I mentioned, forms were the driving incentive for me. I needed something that would allow me to create form after form and force other people to fill them out. Thus spawned, my most successful business venture of '97, Kasey's Card Shop.

It was genius. The forms included a place for your name, contact info, type of card wished to purchase, personalized message, and even a check box for "glitter," "no glitter." I began my hustle by changing all of the phones in the basement to include my logo next to one of the many lines my dad had. He told me I could use it for my shop, though today, I am a little suspicious that it was being used for non-card related business. Dad? Then of course I made a name plate for my desk out of metallic markers and construction paper. Now I could really get to work. My aunt was working for a paper company at the time so she brought me tons of card stock that would have been wasted otherwise. I gathered my tools, Crayola, Lisa, and Elmer's and began to make prototypes for each season. I figured KCS was like those restaurants that bring out the tray of assorted desserts so you can get a better sensory experience of what you're getting into. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Get Well, Congratulations, and my personal fav, "Just Because." I also think I had a "blank inside" option just in case you wanted to make sure the recipient felt how personal it was, while also enjoying the famed artwork of a 9 year old.

The final step in really launching the business was to order about a thousand free sample "Kasey's Card Shop" return labels. If my own phone line, desk, and swivel chair didn't make me official, I knew the labels were going to put me over the top.

I began soliciting in a safe space, the kitchen, living room, bedrooms etc. I also attending open-forum activities that would give me the best chance of discovery, Family Home Evening, Family Prayer, Dinner and so on. I then moved to bigger clients, the missionaries, neighbors, my big brother's friends. They all seemed so relieved that they finally found a card shop that could meet all of their needs. Even though I think some of my brothers friends were more interested in sniffing the glue. But either way, I was expanding. I had orders coming in from all over and between juggling the finances, store front (I did have my own Christmas tree for my office complete with a paper chain and homemade ornaments), using the industrial-sized paper cutter to create the perfect forms, AND cutting, coloring, and gluing, I felt like it was the right time to bring on an employee.* My big sister. She would be in charge of all glitter orders. And man, could she glitter. Such precise measuring of how much glitter was necessary, where and when to shake. She was a great asset. However, late in the year, before the surge of Christmas orders, there was an incident and I had to let her go. The details are foggy but I think it involved a bossy, crazed younger sister trying to manager her older sister who was helping as a favor anyway. After I found myself overwhelmed with orders, I went to our HR rep, mom, to mediate a discussion that would hopefully result in the reemployment of said big sister. Feelings were mended and she took her seat next to me as Glitter Extraordinaire once again.

My big break came when my oldest brother ordered 50 Christmas cards for friends. Kjersti and I went to work. We were pulling out all of the stops, the designs included all original artwork, Christmas trees, gifts, bells, holly, nativities etc. We made our deadline and filled the order right in time for Christmas break. It's unclear whether or not the cards made it out that year, but I had done my best work and felt pride in what I had accomplished.

KCS would continue to boom for about a year. I made between$10-20 a month. I'm sure the number of cards I sold had nothing to do with the fact that I'm pretty sure my mom was reimbursing my customers, or that I was, at the time, handicapped with some severe shoulder problems and people felt bad. No, I don't think they were pity purchases that put me on top. I think I just exemplified the American dream of a small business owner. I was local, personable, easy to reach (line 3), proactive customer service (don't like your card, pay me and I'll make you a brand new one!), and if you worked for my dad you received, free of charge, a handcrafted envelope with your paycheck every two weeks (I believed in giving back to the community).

The years I spent at KCS were some of my best. One day, I think I'd like to get back to the basics once again. Glue, glitter, repeat, break for trampoline time where you pretend you're in the Olympics and your performing to the Spice Girls, and then back to the grind. Those really were the good ole days.

*I'm not sure she ever received any of the profits, remind me I owe you, Kj.

For the record, that is not an original from KCS (you should have suspected due to the lack of glitter

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


To keep myself busy during the election, I crafted. And I crafted hard.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Just a brief update on my sweet Robbie baby. He has been gaining weight steadily and is now finally in the 5% percentile, woo! His renal failure is considered stage 3 (out of 5) but the nephrologist said that if his Creatinine comes down even 1-2 hundredths of a point it would downgrade him to stage 2 (I'm hoping we can just pray it down 😊)

He is happy all of the time and never cries (I'm not exaggerating). He will occasionally let out some exacerbated grunts but he reserves the crying strictly for blood draws. He's developmentally super strong and seems to be getting the hang of this whole "life" thing.

Rob and I couldn't be happier to have this little guy hanging around.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'll have a Grape Juice and Shasta mixer

In the past I've written a post about when and when not to come to the ER. You can find it here. Tonight I'll just share some unrelated thoughts concerning the ER.

-There is a term in the ER to describe someone who apparently has no idea what the crap has ever happened to them, ever. The term is "poor historian." I don't love the term because it doesn't really capture the egregious lack of attention to detail some people have.
Ex: You're not sure if it was a stroke that you had? Is that the stroke talking? 
       They didn't tell you what medication made your throat close up and nearly die?
       You have a history of cancer, but not sure what kind?
That has to take an honest effort, right? Like, an active attempt to ignore everything medical professionals try to tell you. When they start talking do they turn into Beaker and you just desperately resist the information trying to beat down the armored door you have protecting your tiny brain from knowledge? Do you cover your ears and sing? Are you actually claiming your body as a permanent residence without seriously knowing anything about it? The answer is simple. Yes. Yes, to all of the above. And let me guess? You'd also take some graham crackers?

-When I give you a cup to pee in, please impart some common courtesy and twist the lid on, and preferably not in the way that a four year old twists a cap. You are an adult. Securing a lid should be fairly straightforward. If you try to hand me a cup full of your urine sloshing about, with the lid precariously balanced on top, I will hand it back to you and ask you to "try again."  I'm not sure why you think its acceptable for me to handle your urine, but it just isn't. I don't handle my own urine, and yours looks like you eat sand for breakfast and tree sap for dinner.

-Don't tell me you need us to figure out if your pregnant because your body "doesn't make HCG and it doesn't show up on urine tests." That's unfortunately not the dumbest thing I've ever heard, but its definitely top 25.

-If your complaint starts with "Jack-in-the-Box" and ends with "Abdominal pain" I've probably stopped doing an actual assessment on you and started to think of something witty to say about you to the nurse outside.

-If you ask me to mix Grape juice and Shasta for you because its the only thing you can keep down, when I say "that's not going to happen," I wasn't trying to be cute. And if I don't do it you will probably lose your mind and tell me you now have chest pain radiating down your arm? I guess that's why I'll probably do it, but I won't do it with a smile.

-Don't tell me I "should really smile more." You cough without covering your mouth. There's nothing to smile about when I think about your bacteria parachuting all over my face.

-If you came in walking, you're leaving walking. Why are you asking me for a wheelchair? Did your legs stop working? Did all of the BS you just told me about your non-problem paralyze you? I'll let you crab-walk out of here before I get you a wheelchair. Hell, I'll wheelbarrow you out myself if I have to.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Things I learned this week...

-Acronyms are the future. DTTFI (Don't try to fight it).
-Brussel sprouts can be delicious if served up in some sweet chili sauce (via Uchi).
-Fall is my jam. Everything about it. Pumpkins, cardigans, blazers, socks, the amount of glitter used to craft triples this time of year, parties, sequins, comforters, dark lipstick (p.s. when I wear lipstick, I feel a little bit like a better person and a little bit that I'll probably excel at everything as long as I have it on), my paleness is in, just like that, and lastly, honeycrisp apples.
-If I watch too much Fox News I have dreams about engaging in physical altercations with political figures.
-Sushi is my favorite (I always kind of knew this but forgot after it was strictly prohibited while I was pregnant).
-Who Matt Millen is and why this was funny, "Barack Obama is the Matt Millen of presidents" (via Dennis Miller).
-Everything Dennis Miller says is my favorite.
-If you try to vote twice, the FBI get involved (not from personal experience).
-Homemade Chinese food is never going to be as good as cheap take-out.
-Taylor Swift's bangs make me sad. Clinically depressed, sad.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Flavored tootsie rolls are delicious as well as underrated. The vanilla ones are ridic.
Babies in costume are am-ah-zing.
Teenagers who think they're too cool to dress up are the worst.
Adults in costume=hit or miss, but mostly the wheel just lands on skanky.
Sexy mail woman? Shameful for many reasons and lets be honest, there's nothing sexy about the price of stamps these days. You'd be sexier if you dispensed free stamps.
People who buy the full-sized candy bars to hand out are more heroic to kiddies than anything Marvel could come up with (unless they came up with a Halloween superhero who made giant candy bars as weapons and after destroying their nemesis with said candy bar, shared it with all their faithful admirers. Lets call him, The Candy man, but don't worry he's not a serial killer or a pedophile).
Carving pumpkins with the use of a stencil is a cop-out.
Did people ever answer "trick?" Where is the history behind that? Someone please research this and follow up with me.
If you're going to buy Brachs Assorted Candy, know that you are the worst.
Halloween specials on sitcoms are the best.
My baby actually is Clark Kent. Also, he loves his briefcase. He keeps important documents close by at all times: immunization records, birth certificate, copy of footprints, tax returns, etc).
Living in a neighborhood without trick-or-treaters is sad. One day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I like long walks on the beach...

I've recently had some facetime with a dating website. I can't discuss the specifics, but no, I'm not shopping around, Rob has already informed me that he was happy with his 3-year lease and is looking to buy this go-round (lucky girl!). Anyway, for the record I am not an anti-online dater. I think it is a great way to meet people with similar and very specific interests. For example, if I was an animal lover (which I'm not, pets are the worst), I could instantly eliminate any animal haters from my dating list. One step closer to love.

But the thing about online dating that is so fascinating is that you're expected to write a greeting that summarizes everything about you without sounding desperate/weird/lonely all while appearing to be witty/intelligent/kind. Through extensive research ninety percent* of men think that the best opening line is, "I'm really laid back." This single statement, I swear, was in almost every profile that I read (again, I know you're curious but just don't ask). "I'm super laid back." "I'm totally laid back." "I consider myself really laid back." Really?! Are there that many "laid back" people out there? And what does that mean? You're okay if dinner starts 5-10 minutes late? (unacceptable)...10-15 minutes? (seriously?)...15-20?! (worthless). Or you're kinda "meh" when it comes to politics (excellent, that's just what the country needs, you knucklehead)? Sometimes you don't tie your shoes? You like your tie a little loose? Toilet seat is up? Drinking out of milk cartons? Eating with sporks?! What does it mean?! And is that what girls are looking for? Because I think I'd be more likely to get behind something like this:
"Moderately handsome, smart, reads real newspapers, knows what "Aes Sedai" refers to, and a little bit high strung." Boom.**
But more interesting, I thought I'd give it a go and write my very own personal ad. Here goes.

Reading, mostly non-thought-provoking with the occasional non-fiction.
Caligraphy, mostly doodling small woodland creatures on stroke powerpoint handouts
Medical seminars, mostly the free cookies and retractable name badge holders
Saving lives (one-upping [tragic flaw]).
Dancing, mostly to boy bands, Eddie Money, and 90's "butt rock"***
Dirty microwaves, specifically tomato sauce splattering
Warm water...give it up, this is America
Math, because I'm bad at it
Things that I'm bad at

What I learned? Putting yourself on paper is HARD. It's way, way easier to get by on superficial things. Props to online daters. Maybe the best play is to start off like this, "I don't look great on paper, but I'm super rich."

*Not an actual statistic
**Basically I just described Rob...except he just happened to be super handsome, unbelievably smart, gets the San Juan Record every month (except when they forget and send him several issues at once), spelled "Aes Sedai" for me for the purposes of this blog, and is secretly high strung (but in a way that motivates him to work hard, and all that ambitious kinda crap).
***Rob's words, not mine