A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It Finally Happened!

I decided to just start putting my signs on my car when I go to work, and not just on the weekends.  I may get fired for this eventually when I get caught, but let me tell you why I think it's worth the risk.  Yesterday I went to lunch and was sitting at a red light when I heard the lady next to me honking her horn.  I looked over and she was telling me to roll down my window.  O.M.G.  This is it!!  Someone saw my sign and was fixing to ask me about it!!!  I rolled down the window and she asked what was my hourly rate.  I told her $25/hr and she said she's "time challenged" and said something about rental houses that I didn't quite catch.  The light turned green and I told her I'd follow her.  We pulled over and jumped out fast...I could tell she was in a hurry....and she asked for my business card.  I already had one in my hand, gave it to her with a big smile and thank you, and she said she would call me as she ran back to her car.  What a rush!!! 

I was so excited and scared and freaking out....my very first contact with the new business....my hands were shaking for like 2 hours after it happened.  I went back to work and could NOT concentrate on what I was doing.  There's no telling how many wrong reports I sent out yesterday!  I kept praying that it wasn't going to be daytime work...since I have a FULL TIME JOB and didn't want my very first customer to be one I had to turn away!!  I called some friends and asked if they knew ANYONE that lived in my area that might be interested in doing some EF work during the day.  That was a total bust...I don't have anyone right now!

Here's the non-exciting part.  The lady hasn't called......yet.  She still could!!  And even if she doesn't, there will be others!!  I do think I will get bigger car signs though.  Everyone I know that has seen them has told me they're WAY too small....that they can ONLY be seen and read at red lights, but when I'm driving down the road, all you can see is a little pink blur that is my logo.  You can't really read the phone # well enough to jot it down.  So I'm budgeting to buy bigger signs.  I still have a business card-size ad coming out in a local paper on Sept. 1st.  I'm anxious to see if that will generate any phone calls.  As you already know, I set up a FB page for Errand Fairy, and I've been posting a Craig's List ad every day. 

I called and talked to Michelle yesterday evening.  She's the girl in Charleston, SC that I modeled my business after.  She said almost all of her calls for work come from her Craig's List ad, so that's moved to the top of the priority list with the advertising.  Dwayne and I went out to dinner a couple of nights ago and were strolling past some store windows, and I saw a little consignment shop that had a table by the front door with different stacks of business cards on them.  The shop was closed so I couldn't go in and talk to the owner....but I'm planning on dropping by this Sat to leave some cards and introduce myself to the owner.  I'm going to drive around town and try to find other little places I can leave cards.  I did this a few months ago actually, and was surprised at how many people told me NO!

I hit several nail salons, figuring that would be an EXCELLENT place to find some clientele, but not a single salon would let me leave cards.  I went to several pet stores....since I offer pet services such as dog sitting, etc.....and none of them would let me leave cards or a flyer on their bulletin board either.  They said they couldn't recommend any one business....they were only allowed to put Lost/Found dog ads and community pet events on their bulletin boards.  Dropping off cards is not as easy as one might think!!  lol

My friend Cherie suggested leaving cards at Panera Bread and Starbucks.  I'm not sure if they'll let me do that, but I'm going to go in each one in Roswell and look around and see.  I guess each franchise might be different too, depending on what the manager will allow, so we'll see.  It's worth a shot!! 

I've got to meet up with my sweet friend Kim on Saturday morning at 8am to get our long walk in, working towards the Half Marathon in November.  We're scheduled to walk 6 mi this time, and next week it will be 7 mi, and so on.  I got on the scale this morning and it says the same dang thing as last week....254 lbs.  I'm still stress eating and I know it, so I can't say I was shocked.  If anything, I was surprised I didn't GAIN this week.  I've been eating up all the produce I bought at the Farmer's Market last weekend, but I'm still eating crap, too.  I'm just eating too much...period.  Makes me wonder if I'll ever get a grip or if I'll be trying to walk 13 miles while weighing 254 lbs in November!!!!!  Gah!!

Thanks to everyone who supported me by "liking" my Errand Fairy FB page...you guys are awesome, and I really appreciate you helping me get this off the ground.  You know, I really only need to work 20 hrs/week at EF to make the same thing I'm making at the full time job that I hate right now.  Once the ball gets rolling, and word of mouth spreads, hopefully it won't be too long before I can make EF my only source of income.  What a day that will be!!  'Nite friends!! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Like Me Please

LOL.....what a ridiculous title!!  No, I don't have a complex....I need your help on Facebook.

I created a Facebook page tonight for Errand Fairy with the help of my childhood friend Cherie.  She is AWESOME...thanks Cherie!!  :)

I'm handicapped when it comes to knowing my way around FB, so Cherie's helping me as another way of advertising my new business.  She said I need to get people to "like" my Errand Fairy page.  I'm guessing you can find it in a search, or link to it from my regular page....Tammy Ortagus in the search box should get you there.  I posted a link last night that should take you from my personal FB page to my Errand Fairy page.  There are 2 other Errand Fairies that I know of on FB...one in California and one in Minnesota I think.  Mine is in Roswell, GA.

Help a girl out!  lol 

I'd sure appreciate it.  :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Should I Jump?

I feel like talking today...but first things first.  I've got some more food pics:

I went to Publix and picked up some more produce since the only fruit I found at the Farmer's Market were some peaches.  Terrible peaches, by the way.  Hard as a ROCK.


Mushrooms
carrots
red grapes
Fuji apples
honeydew
bannas
nectarines
plums
pluots

No idea what a pluot is but it looked like a plum so I bought it.

I tried a peach first, that I got at the Farmer's Market:



I peeled it and took a few little bites out of it....hard as a rock.  Terrible.  And I have 6 more of these in my fruit bowl now....

Since that didn't work, I tried a pluot:



Eh.  Nothing exciting.  Same texture as a plum, but very little taste.  Not sweet, not sour...just....there.  lol

One of Dwayne's buddies came over last night and brought some shrimp with him to steam. 

Here's Mark



He steamed the shrimp using water, beer, chopped onion, Old Bay seasoning and cajun seasoning. 

Delish!


That was for starters.
I made some mac and cheese for the guys and roasted some corn on the cob in the oven.
Dwayne grilled some boneless skinless chicken thighs and my veggie kabobs with mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes.





This was my dinner plate.  I shared with Scarlette of course because Momma always shares with the baby.

I went to the Greenway in Roswell yesterday and actually walked 5 MILES w/o dying!!!  I felt like dying....my butt, legs, feet, ankles, toes (I have blisters now)...all hurt like hell.  But I got it done.  And each week it increases.  Next Sat I'm suppoed to hit the Greenway again...this time with my friend Kim...and we're doing 6 miles.  Lord, help us.

Ok.  Let's get to the serious stuff.  I shared in a post a few days ago that, while thankful that I have a job and know that ANYTHING is better than unemployment.....I am absolutely miserable there.  I held back on the details on why I'm miserable because I think my supervisor Billie still reads my blog sometimes.

Well, I'm over it.  I don't care who's reading.  She and I had several discussions over the course of the day last Friday at work.  We were the only ones there that day, which was quite nice.  She talked to me about her fear that she thinks they're getting ready to fire her.  Well....a better phrase would be "abolish the Ofc Mgr position".  I don't think it's really personal towards her, or anything she did wrong necessarily....but just as a way to cut down costs.  A couple of months ago we moved to a system online, where our parent company in FL can access all of our work.  The way they put it is, if we get into a bad storm season and get overloaded, they can help from FL.  We were working at least 80 hrs/wk at the time, so it all sounded gread.  What they can ALSO do from FL is YOUR JOB.  So that YOU are no longer needed. 

As Ofc Mgr, Billie was responsible for payroll, 401K, deposits, accounts payable, etc.  They took all of it away, little by little.  She now basically has one function left, and that is to assign claims out to our adjusters.  Things aren't looking good for her.  At all. 

So after all this discussion about her possibly getting canned, I felt comfortable enough telling her that I'm trying to get Errand Fairy up and running as fast as I can in case they fire ME, too.  She also knows it's because I'm fed up with that place.

So here's what happened.  A couple of months ago, Randall and I got into a throwdown at the ofc.  He is our QA manager.  I was warned about him from Day One when I started there last June.  Billie and Staci hated him.  Said he would throw you under the bus in a heartbeat.  He BCC's Scott on all of his emails to you if he has a problem with you.  Blind copies the boss every time, so you'll get in trouble.  On the smallest, tiniest thing.  Trying to make something out of nothing and make himself feel superior.  He makes mistake after mistake....throws some kind of excuse at you to smooth it over, and somehow has a SERIOUS God complex.   He thinks he's perfect and all of the ofc staff are morons.  Yet, he makes 3x the mistakes I do.

He's pretty much unbearable, however, I have put up with him for over a year now...which is saying a lot for me.  I've never been one to handle too much bullshit without opening my mouth.  I do not deal well with liars.  I'm not good at sweeping things under the rug or smoothing things over.  I don't like sneaky little deceptive acts like BCC'ing on emails.  I'd rather you come tell me to my face and let's solve it right there.  Not sneak around and see how much trouble you can get me in, and especially when you KNOW your quality of work is so much worse than mine. 

So one day a couple of months ago Randall pulled one of his B.S. moves and something in me snapped.  Hard.  I went to his ofc, confronted him in a not-so-nice tone/way, and he lost it.  He jumped up from his desk, threw his hands in the air, started yelling at me, and drug me into an ofc with Billie so we could all "talk about it".  A face-to-face screaming match ensued.  I don't have a short fuse....as I said, I put up with his daily crap for over a year....but once I'm at my limit, that's it.  I don't have a short temper....but I do have a very nasty one when I've reached the end of my rope.

Turns out Randall has a temper even nastier than mine.  He wanted me gone...fired...for challenging his authority.  I wanted to put my fist right through his face.  The argument ended with both of us red-faced and shaking and him telling me he was calling Scott to have me fired.  I said, "You go right ahead...knock yourself out".

I went back to my desk and texted Scott to tell him what happened.  He was out of the ofc that day.  I told him Randall wanted me gone so I was leaving.  I was scheduled to work 8a-12p that day.  It was the day before we moved to Roswell.  I also told Scott that he could text me over the wknd and let me know if I still had a job or if I was being replaced w/ someone Randall liked better.

We all had a meeting the following week and it was decided that I still had a job.  Scott thinks I do an excellent job, he said the clients love me and said if he didn't want me there, I would have been gone a long time ago.  He said he knew that Randall was hard to work with but his only concern was that we dont' let things get out of hand again in case a client walks in the door.  He said I should have called him and let him deal with Randall instead. 

Ok fine.  So I still have a job.  Randall and I did the polite office thing and "made up" for the sake of being civil and working together in the ofc, although we both know we can't stand each other.  Billie and Staci never challenged him....they just put up with it.  Randall doesn't like to be challenged when he's treating people like shit.  He just wants them to take it. 

That is SO not me.  Never has been...never will be...and he's damn lucky I made it as many months as I did before I told him where he could stick it.

Now.....that's the back story.  Prior to the blowout with Randall...Scott had nothing but praise for me.  Clients would come in the office, or people from our ofc in FL, and when I'd introduce myself they'd say, "Oh YOU'RE Tammy.....Scott has said so much about you.  He really likes you a LOT.  He calls you his right-hand girl.  Says you take care of him....you're just completely awesome.  It's so good to finally meet you!!"  I can't tell you how many times I've heard that.

Since I took over Staci's position....he has had nothing bad to say to me.  No complains from the clients.  No wrong reports going out.  My work was excellent...blah blah.

AFTER the Randall thing....everything changed.  Completely.  And I don't know why.  I don't know what me and Randall having that fight has to do with my work.  He now has Billie checking my work.  He tells her to check my sent email after I leave for the day to see how many reports I got done and sent out.  He had her go back through my work looking for mistakes.  She had to go all the way back to May to find one mistake.  This is August...she finally found one in May. 

O.
M.
G.

I am under the microscope like you wouldn't believe.  Billie told me I'm being monitored online through our new system from FL. now.  That's why she mentioned the Facebook thing a week or two ago.  I used to sign in to FB every morning when I got to work....we all do.  I'd jump over and check it every couple of hours.  Well what used to be fine for everyone is now a big fat No No for me.  Every little thing I do in the ofc now is being scrutinized.  I'm being asked about something DAILY now....where before the Randall thing, I was left to myself.  Every time someone walks up to my desk, my heart jumps up in my throat because I'm scared they found another mistake from a few months ago or something. 

What's weird is I haven't been written up for anything.  I'm just being watched.  I don't think he wants to fire me because he asked me the other day if I felt like I could take on another function.  ???  Either you want me there or you don't....make up your mind.

Anyhoo...all of this has led to very high stress levels.  I've gotten to where I almost can't stand to go in the ofc because I don't know what's going to happen, or what I'm going to be asked about.  I wake up every Sunday now with a feeling of dread because I know I have to go to work the next morning.  My Sundays are pretty much ruined now.  It causes a lot of stomach pain...makes me wonder if I'm developing an ulcer from all of this.  Monday morning I wake up and cry and have to MAKE myself get out of bed and get ready for work.  Usually by lunchtime at 11:00am I'm making a mad dash for my car so I can cry where nobody can see me.

I am absolutely desperate to get The Errand Fairy up and going.  I want out of that job so bad I can't stand it.  I want to work for myself.  I'm a hard worker and KNOW I can make this work....I know I can be very successful at it.  One little problem is I don't have very much money at all for advertising.  I paid $34 for 2 magnetic car signs that I put on my car when I'm out running errands on the weekend.  I do not put them on my car when I go to work though...that feels too risky.  As much as I want out of that hell hole, I can't financially afford to be fired just yet.

I also bought a ballcap and a tote bag with the Errand Fairy logo on it that I use on the weekends.  A few days ago I paid $95 to take a business card size ad out in a free local paper that comes in my mailbox once a month.  They claim to reach 250,000 readers.  The paper with my ad in it will come out Sept. 1st.  It's out for a month, so I figured $25/wk was a doable investment to see if it gets me any calls.  So far, no calls from the magnetic signs, but I'm not getting much exposure by only using them on the weekends.  

While I was at the Farmer's Market yesterday, I handed a few of my cards to one of the vendors that I bought a tote bag from.  I told them about my business and we had a nice little chat.  Most of the vendors there are farmers though, lol...hello!!  Farmer's Market!!  I don't think they'd have much use for an errand fairy.

I talked to my cousin Brian about any advertising ideas he might have, and he said he would create a Facebook page for me...specifically for The Erand Fairy.  I'm not sure how you direct traffic to it though...hopefully he'll help me figure that out after he gets the page up.  He also mentioned Craig's List....which means a new ad would have to be uploaded daily, because the ads roll down as each new person posts something.  I'm not sure how effective Craig's List would be for my service, but I'm willing to try anything.

About the title of this post....Should I Jump?  Well, I know a girl who lives in Charleston, SC who has an errand service.  She's the one I got the idea from to create my own.  She's given me all kinds of tips and stuff on how to work the business once I get it going.  She knows I have a full-time job doing the insurance adjusting thing and have to advertise the Errand Fairy around that.  She pretty much thinks I should take a leap of faith, quit my job, and throw myself into promoting the Errand Fairy.  She literally thinks if I drive around each day with the signs on my car and pass buisness cards out to every person I see in a day, that the business will take off like a rocket.  She said fear is stopping me and I should get rid of that fear and just jump in and do it.  

She's damn right that fear is stopping me.  Quit my job??  The one that currently pays my bills??  I told her I'd have to make $1800 in my very first month to cover all of my bills.  Her response to that is that she made $1600 her first month, and if she can do it...I can do it.  Oh by the way...she has a 2 year old little girl and is a single mom, and said she only works half a day.  So she's covering her bills only working 4 hours a day, and devotes the other half to her daughter.

I know I could throw myself into it whole-heartedly and go into all kinds of stores and talk to people and hand out cards, and spend 4-5 hours burning gas driving around with the car signs and getting all kinds of exposure each day...but where's the guarantee?  Dwayne would absolutely kill me if I quit my job with no assurance of another income to pay my half of the bills.  In fact, when Randall and I had that fight, he was sure I got myself fired and he was really cold towards me.  Little snide comments and off-handed remarks because he thought I let my temper leave him with all of the bills to pay.  As much as he loves the idea of The Errand Fairy and is supportive of me doing that as a living...he would NOT be on board with me quitting my job to give my full attention to it.

So....what do you think?  Should I jump?  Am I letting fear hold me back?  As it stands now, I'm only available to do Errand Fairy work after 5:30p on a weekday and on the weekends.  If people wants stuff done during the day (while THEY are at work)....I'm stuck.  I am completely unavailabe from 7a-5p, which makes it really hard to build up the business well enough to make enough money to quit my job.  I'm feeling rather stuck and very conflicted.  I would really value the opinion of all of you reading.....IF you're still reading.  This is a ridiculously long post!!! 

So tell me....should I continue to do the responsible thing and keep my job....or throw everything I've got into the Errand Fairy?  And while you're at it...any other advertising ideas?

I need your help.  Thanks.  :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Food and Farmer's Market

I stayed the same weight this week....254 lbs.  So there's that.

I've got a couple of more food pics to show you....some baked cod and some italian chicken sausages...




I got online last night lookiing for a local Farmer's Market here in Roswell.  Lo and behold, I found one!  They have it at City Hall every Sat morn through Sept. from 8a-12p.  I showed up bright and early this morning and made a few selections:


peahces
yellow squaqsh
zuchinni
bell peppers
yellow pepper
vidalia onions
corn
cucumbers
tomatoes
lemon cucumber

I spent $16!

I will go to Publix sometime over the weekend and get some more fruit.  They were pretty skimpy on the fruit this morning.

I gotta' run for now....meeting my cousin Jennifer to do my long walk for the week....5 miles today.  That's gonna' hurt..lol.  There's a place called The Greenway in my area that I just found out about.  There are supposed to be wooded trails and such along the walking path....and it's 13 miles long!!  I have found my new training spot for the Half Marathon...perfect!  I'll post again soon....I hope you all have a produce-filled weekend.  :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

T.G.I.F. Baby!!

So glad the weekend is almost here!  It's a quarter til 6a and I've got to get to work but going to post a couple of food pics real quick from dinner the other night...

Dwayne grilled some N.Y. strips


I cut off half of one and ate it with sliced tomatoes, and scrambled egg beaters w/ sauteed portabella mushrooms and onions.  I cannot even tell you how delish this was.  My attempt right now is to try to eat lower carb due to having to go back on diabetes medicines.  So it's heavier on the protein for a while.



Dessert was a low carb ice cream bar....damn tasty.  :)



That's it for now....time to hit the Atlanta traffic!  Have a great day everyone and I'll post more food pics this weekend.  See ya! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quick Update

This is for you Janell.  :)  I just started taking food pics again at dinner last night but Blogger was down.  It said it would go down at 5pm and be down for about an hour.  Well, at 9:30p last night it was STILL down, so I gave up and went to bed.  I'm at work now so have to keep this short but will post them tonight.  Also, didn't remember to bring my camera with me so it looks like you may only be getting dinner pics for now. It's a start.  Hope everyone has a fabulous Thursday....2 days til the weekend and I can hardly wait!  :)

Oh!  Mandy!  I got your comment on my last post and went to check out your blog.  I love it but can't find a place to comment.  I tried to send an email, but when I hit "submit", nothing happened.  Let me know how I can contact you...thanks! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Food Pics Again

I'm thinking about posting some of my food pics again like I used to do.  You know, back when I was actually doing WELL with the accountability and LOSING WEIGHT.  Kelly at Happy Texans does it, she eats low carb, and I really enjoy reading her blog every day.  The pics give me new ideas, or refresh my mind on things/tips that have been forgotten or pushed aside since I jumped off the healthy wagon last December.  I probably won't post all of them simply because, for me, it bores me to death.  But it did serve the purpose of accountability.  Now what did I do with my camera......

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Still On Track

Don't have much time to post today....just super busy.  Just typing a quick note to say that I'm down another 2 lbs. this week to 254 lbs.  Makes me smile.  :)  Job is still rough.  I got a free local newspaper in the mailbox yesterday and just finished sending an email to the sales guy inquiring on how much it is to purchase one of their smallest ads in their paper.  It's about the size of a business card.  Doing my best to find more advertising for The Errand Fairy as I can afford it.  I REALLY want to be self-employed.  Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend.  It's ridiculously hot here.....so stay cool everyone! :)