Well, I am out of the store!
I suppose I should be very excited, but I am not. Actually, I feel really flat and frankly very sad. I have a raging virus, and the best way to describe my exhaustion is that I feel totally wrung out.
I have been in my store for only 2 years and 10 months. Almost everything that could've happened, did whilst I was there. At the moment I can see all the disasters. I know the good things will come creeping in and I will begin to miss them but, I think I am sad at all the stuff that occurred.
For those of you that do NOT want to read my woe-is-me saga please switch to a happier blog NOW!
I am going to debrief:
My store was a healthfood store. I have worked in healthfood stores since I was 18 with my family. When they sold their chain of stores I worked for the multi-national company that took over. After about 1-1/2 years I was not happy and decided to buy my own store.
The timing was precise. We had been trying for children in the previous 3 months but as we paid a deposit on the business on the 27th December that year, we had decided on the 26th to not have children for a year until we could build the store up. January 3rd we found out (by me trying to use up a final test rather than throwing it out?) that we were pregnant and would have to have been for about 10-14 days. We think the Christmas cheer must have worked for us.
I was very upset, at the time. I was happy about the pregnancy but knew running a store would now be very difficult.
That would've been bad enough but...
3 months into our ownership, our store was affected by the WORLD'S LARGEST (I am not exaggerating - google "PAN recall" if you're interested because I'm not getting into the politics of it here) the WORLD'S LARGEST therapeutic goods recall. We lost 60-70% of our stock lines. We spent days packing up boxes, months dealing with angry, upset customers. Even more months trying to fight with companies to get our money back or get them to replace product. Many stores went out of business. Many wholesale/manufacturers also did taking our money with them.
I was under so much stress!! Never before have I felt so worried. We were looking at bottom line. We sat down and discussed if we thought we could survive if we had to declare bankruptcy and sell everything we own. The few months after the recall I was working 7 days a week (without wages) so that I could attempt to turn such a negative situation into an even slightly positive one. I figured a well informed store with a positive, non-panicky approach would keep customers. So many stores were stressed and showing it. Customers were feeling panicked because the store was unsure of what was happening. I kept my stress hidden and tried to always sound in control and like I knew everything would be fine. We would survive. The business and industry would survive. That is not how I felt and most of the time I was bluffing.
At 37 weeks pregnant when I had started taking some days off and was still trying to cut a deal with my sister to come into the store and run it for me while I had my baby (she wanted a lot of money- that the store really couldn't afford). I had relatively new team as many staff had left for opportunities that had arisen with recall unaffected companies or they were sick of the customer complaints (I don't blame them). My mum had decided to re-do my bathroom so hubby-j and I had had to move into my parent's house. My mum didn't really want us to (she is a little fanatical about her space) but said we could stay for "a couple of days" The bathroom guy said we needed a week
37 weeks pregnant I got facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy) I was taking cortisone and bed ridden with extreme pain (as not allowed to use effective pain killers at that stage of pregnancy) in the left side of my head and face for 2-3 weeks. I had no use of any of the left of my face. I would not be able to smile at my baby when it arrived. I would not be able to kiss it properly either. I could not eat without spilling food everywhere and my eye was regularly drying out as I could not put drops in every minute (and anyway they wouldn't stay in there either) The stress over the months had also been causing severe dermatitis on both my feet as well. (The doctor gasped and held his hands to his mouth in horror when he saw it - not a good sign) To be honest it was just a shitty time - just S.H.I.T.T.Y!!!!!!!!!!
I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. A gift considering I was truly expecting never to be able to have a girl given hubby-j's and my family boy/girl ratio. I then signed up for full-time Uni.
Yes very weird!
I am not quite sure what I was thinking back then.... I do believe I was trying to escape from the store and create a new life. A life of people who never knew me before my face fell. Something different, less stressful and more positive. I think and my Doctor suspects I may have had post-natal depression but I just plowed through it waking up every morning to go to Uni. Working three days at the store and almost every night on the store paperwork. Hubby-j never helped with the business which I honestly have BIG issues with. He is great with the girl and usually good around the house (he now cooks a lot too) but has never, not even once done ANYTHING with the store AT ALL. It was tough. I hated it and was mostly a zombie.
As it happened my sister continued to asked for more money at the most difficult times until I realised (duh?!) she was bitter at being left in the store when she believed what she was doing was a favour. Probably fair. So at the end of that financial year I went back to the store full time. We had made a loss that year but we were still in business. This time round I took a wage and I worked hard to get the sales up. We made a profit by the next financial year but hubby-j and I are now in counseling as our relationship has suffered with the addition of a toddler and the massive stress and hours of the store.
But it is now sold....
and I just feel shell-shocked...
I still have so much paperwork to do. So many bills to pay. I got the sales up to the detriment of mostly everything else in my life. We made a profit on the business but there probably won't be anything left. The only legacy I will be left with from the store is a permanently frozen face. Chronic Bell's Palsy and a couple of boxes of out of date stock.
I don't believe it was worth it. I think I am angry. I know I am very sad. I wish I never had to go through it all. I cannot see much good about it. Most people respond by saying "but you have a beautiful baby girl". This is true but it would still have been true and a lot more relaxing and positive experience if I had not had the business.
I guess I just need time and distance. Things must get better, I figure. Everything seems to be trending upwards when I look at my life with a broader view. I think, the good luck fairies owe me some. I must by now have built up quite a credit with them.
I'm sure I will feel better soon. Lets hope good things are headed my way.
If you have read this far, I am sorry for the long and whingey nature of this post. I am feeling a little sorry for myself right now. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.