Saturday, December 11, 2010

New shop location.

By popular demand, the shop is opened for the holidays!  You can find us at  Several new candles have been added with more to come soon. Solid fragrances, fragrance oils, lip balms and pocket mirrors are being added throughout the coming week.  The Etsy shop remains closed for now.  I was reluctant to change the shop location from Etsy to Big Cartel, but I have to say I am really loving the design freedom  Big Cartel offers. I still absolutely love Etsy.  But from a shop owners perspective with Etsy it always seems like "Etsy" comes first, with Big Cartel my shop comes first -if that makes any sense. Check it out and you'll understand what I mean.  Your purchases still go through paypal and are subject to all of the protection paypal offers.  The holiday candles will be available through New Years.  Any outstanding Etsy business will of course be honored.  I'm still catching up so wholesale orders are on hold until after the new year.  As always, please feel free to contact me at anytime about anything.

Not only did our shop move,  we moved too.  We got the keys to the new place 3 days before Mike's surgery.  With Mike not well and surgery looming, moving wasn't exactly on our agenda at the time.  With all of the doctor co pays,  missed work  and the online shop closure (after several screwed up orders I had to close the online shop until things settled down) we had a moving budget of exactly; zero!  Plus, Mike was soon tied up healing from his neck dissection and thyroidectomy. The actual physical "move" was left to the kids and I.  We spent the next two weeks moving like the  band of white trash Gypsies that we are; we loaded all of our belongings into dozens of black garbage bags and piled up the minivan (cause we're classy like that!)  It took about three thousand round trips but we got it done.  It was during that hectic chaos that I realized how truly blessed I am.  The children worked their butts off helping me move.  It's not right to expect people so young to do so much, but they did it without even so much as a whimper.  I probably would have ended up in the loony bin if it wasn't for them.  Thankfully we walked away from the toxic house that we were living in, which by the way still sits empty.  Since moving I found out that the family before us also left that house due to health concerns.  Our landlord knew about the mold and the problems it caused and never informed us, bastard!  That will never happen again.  We went to the local building inspector and gave him a copy of the air quality report. The building inspector issued a citation so the landlord would have to have the house properly and professionally cleaned up.  No more sick families-woohoo!

There was one little unfortunate mishap during the move.  On a  late Sunday night moving spree we hit a deer with the van.  Actually the deer hit us I swear.  After hitting us the deer ran away fine.   Our van on the other hand was a different story. That deer left our van a mess -he left us a mess too!  It had to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I never hit an animal before, it's been hard to shake off emotionally and financially.  I'm pretty sure there's over a thousand dollars worth of damage. Fiberglass and Styrofoam do not hold up well against a 200lbs+ deer.  I'm not kidding when I say that behind my broken fiberglass bumper was a big block of black Styrofoam.   How is Styrofoam suppose to protect people?  Dodge sucks.

Cancer update: Mike has his radiation appointments this coming week.  He'll get a shot on Tuesday, a shot on Wednesday and a radioactive iodine pill on Thursday.  On December 23 he'll have a full body scan, he should be completely cancer free.  By Christmas we'll most likely be able to put all of this behind us -fingers crossed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thyroids, mold, moving and lumps.

Sadly, this holiday season Tattooedgeek and I will not be at this years Bust Magazine's Holiday Craftacular.  The Bust Craftacular is by far my most favorite vending event of the holiday season, unfortunately we didn't apply this year.  Actually we won't be vending at any holiday events this year at all. 

As I mentioned in previous posts the last few months have been a little rough on our family and subsequently  Tattooedgeek.  Several simultaneous events brought our whole world to a complete halt.  Most importantly; after being sick for a large part of the summer Michael (Mr. Tattooedgeek) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Secondly, our landlord put the house that we were renting on the market without informing us.  We found out on a Tuesday morning in July when a team of Realtors showed up at our door at 9:00 am demanding a walk through.  The next 6 weeks were a literal whirled wind of doctor appointments and Realtors. At one point Michael was seeing 7 different doctors. The exact day Michael was diagnosed with thyroid cancer we were informed that our house had a buyer and the buyer had scheduled an inspection for the following weekend. 

The house our family had lived in for almost 2 years drastically failed it's inspection.  The buyer quickly backed out of the sale.  Afterward the inspector came to Michael and I and asked if any of our family were ill.  We told him what Mike was going through.  The inspector said that the house had a serious mold infestation in the basement and the air quality was seriously compromised because of it.  He insisted that everything, even the thyroid cancer, was a direct result of poor indoor air quality in the home.  He strongly suggested that we have an air quality test preformed.  We did and the results were off the charts.  While an average home has about 500-1000 airborne mold spores at any given time, our basement had a whopping 36,000!  Mike's office/studio had 9,600 and our bedroom had 5,700.   We forwarded copies of the air quality report to all of Michael's doctors. None of the doctors would confirm that the mold caused Michael to become sick but every single one of them said to move A.S.A.P.  So we did.

Whether or not mold spores and poor indoor air quality were the cause of the thyroid cancer we're still not certain.  On October 11, 2010 Mike had a complete Thyroidectomy and 19 lymph nodes removed from his throat.  What started out as a small lump in late July had quadrupled by October.  The right lobe of the thyroid had been completely replaced with a malignant tumor.  10 of the 19 lymph nodes removed had also turned malignant.  The second week of December Michael will have radiation  treatments   We'll find out after the radiation treatments how successful the surgery was.  Thankfully NO tattoos were harmed during the thyroidectomy and Mike handled the surgery amazingly.  He was already making faces and joking about going home in the recovery room.

Moving 7 people 3 cats and a Great Dane is no small task.  Fortunately we found a place that allowed the animals while keeping the kids in the same schools fairly quickly.  We started to move 2 days before Mike's surgery.  Unfortunately the place is less then half the size of our last home and now half of our stuff is in storage.  The actual move itself was a completely different traumatic experience that I'll save for another day.  "Didn't you know about the mold?" is the question most people ask us.  No, we truly  didn't. The largest source of the mold was in the basement behind a closed door in a room we didn't have access to.  Living in the house we didn't notice any moldy odors.  After we moved though we noticed that everything we owned smelled like mold.  What couldn't be washed was thrown out.

With Mike's surgery complete and our family moved into a nice mold free home I thought the only thing left to do was settle in and set up my work space.  However within days of moving into the new place I started to notice the base of my neck was feeling somewhat different.  A routine sonogram for a pre existing condition  confirmed that my thyroid had grown a little.  The growth was very little and my Endocrinologist wasn't concerned.  But then earlier this week I felt like maybe there was somewhat of a lump forming at the base of my neck.  A sonogram this Tuesday confirmed that there is indeed a new small little lump (nodule) on the right side of my thyroid that was not present just a few weeks ago.  What that means I don't know.  I am seeing a new, highly recommended Endocrinologist in a few weeks. Hopefully she'll have some answers for us.  So far all we've been hearing is that the odds of two people in one family experiencing significant thyroid growth at the same time are none.  But yet here we are,  both of us with thyroid growths at the same time.

The purpose of this blog post was to explain why we didn't apply to this years Craftacular.  Some of you have been kind enough to ask.   Even though we won't be there this year  many of our favorite shops and good friends will be.  A list of New York vendors can be found here:   Be sure to stop by the RockLove, Pulp Sushi and My Zoetrope booths!