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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Story of Om Nom Nom Part 2

Two days ago marked the beginning of my (estimated) fourth month of pregnancy and yesterday was the one-year anniversary for the opening of Pro-Portional Designs. Now seems like a good time to give you part two of the story of Om Nom Nom.

In mid-to-late March of 2009, still only a few months into my new married life and coping with the loss of my youngest brother-in-law, my husband was called back into active duty by the Army. We were told that after a brief period of in-processing in South Carolina he would be sent to Iraq. He was to be in South Carolina that April. [Picture shown was taken by my husband while in South Carolina]

Q's birthday is in April. With such a day coming and the grief still entirely too new and unbelievable, this impending date only adding to the stresses our families were now under.

It was decided that a family cruise would be a good idea for everyone.

Video shot and edited by my brother-in-law Cody.

There was so much to do with so little time. My husband and I officially dropped-out of school (there are forms you can fill out), he left his job, *we informed our landlord (making sure to give him a copy of my husbands orders) that we would have to leave, and we packed up everything. My husband didn't want me far from his brothers while he was away, so at his request/suggestion, I placed the majority of our items into a storage unit down the road from my in-laws house, and the rest (**items I felt would comfort me and furnish a bedroom) was moved to their house.

At that time, an addition was being built onto my in-laws house, there was no ground entrance (ladder only), no door to separate the inside of the room from the great outdoors and no door into the room from the main portion of the house.

The day I took my husband to the airport my husband's immediate family (mother, father, and brothers) went with us to a sort of, "going-away lunch." My husband requested that his family members each give him an item to remember them by while he would be away.

While my husband was away I shared the living room with one of the boys, whose bedroom was also the living room. A few boxes were in the house with me but none were able to be unpacked as I had no proper room. Each morning I would head outside, climb up the ladder to the unfinished room, and fill a tote bag with items I felt I would need to get ready for the day (clothes, underwear, shampoo). I got really tired of having to do this every day and soon started putting enough items in my bag to make it up to 3 days before needing another trip up the ladder.

I lived this way for a little over a month when the Army ultimately decided they did not want to keep my husband and send him to Iraq. Not having ones husband sent to Iraq is a definite win, but being left with no money, no jobs, and no home - is not.

Once back in Ohio, my previous sleeping/board arrangements were no longer appropriate. The living room simply would not accommodate 1 15 year-old boy and 1 married couple. My husband did his best to make the unfurnished room containing our things into something remotely habitable.

We separated the large piles of plywood meant for further construction of the room into two piles and pushed them together to form a make-shift box spring. What we used for a bed went through it's own evolution. I believe at first we shared my sleeping bag. Later we laid down a few blankets, a couple for padding and a couple to sleep under. The final outcome after many attempts to form a "proper" bed was to procure a queen sized air mattress which we pushed up against the actual box springs and mattress of a very old bed. It was un-even but it was better than what we began with.

Through all of this, I continued knitting. I knit on the couch when the living room was my room and once my husband moved us into the unfurnished "tree house" I was at least closer to where I had been keeping my yarn. It was during my time there that I created the "burger beanie", which only lead to a lot more foodie and sometimes geeky items.

It was during my time in that "tree house" that I announced on my own personal facebook page my hopes/intentions to move forward with an Etsy shop that would feature most of the items I had been posting to my wall for the previous months. People were very supportive and some even seemed excited. That show of support and excitement made me forget all about my initial worry of "why bother trying this when someone else seems to have had the same idea a year or two before me?" Besides, the (majority of) ideas I had, weren't anything I was seeing from anyone else.

Eventually my husband was able to find work and we had saved ***just enough to move out of our "tree house" before winter fully set in. We didn't move out of our "tree house" until mid-October, and when you primarily live outside - IT'S COLD!!!! [In the picture shown: Myself in the Foundling Nemo hat that has been for sale since the stores opening and two sweaters trying to keep warm up in the tree house.]

Things were incredibly difficult, even after finally finding a place to lay our heads down indoors. I began tearing apart items I had knitted for myself to provide yarn to make items for the store, in hopes that something would manage to help me support our small family. My TARDIS blanket eventually became parts of different items now sold in the store, most notably, my Milk "feed bag." The entire blanket has not been used yet but all of the yarn has now been designated for store purposes.

Later that same month of our move in I finally reached my goal of " having no less than 20 items" before opening my store, chose a launch date, started the Facebook fan page, and opened my store.

During these first three months we were shown amazing kindness by a woman I met on Ravelry that for all intents and purposes could be considered a stranger. We have never met in person and only spoken via Ravelry forum, Ravelry mail, and eventually Facebook.

After hearing that once again I had gone to the grocery store only to come up so short I was unable to buy food, I received an e-mail via Facebook. She made all of the necessary arrangements to send us money to insure we were able to eat! I would be able to pick it up the next morning at Wal Mart.

The next morning at Wal Mart I told the employee about what this woman was doing for us and she too could barely believe it.

My husband and I would like to once again thank Charlene of the Savannah Ravel Rousers.[Hypertext links to Ravelry will only work for those of you who have Ravelry accounts] We'd also like to thank Wendy from Dollfoolery who gave us canned and dry goods, sent me a care package for my birthday, and donated a garbage bag full of yarn to help build my store.

On October 24th, 2009 I opened my Etsy shop and on November 23rd, 2009 I opened "the doors" and was ready for business. It's been a really difficult road, at times littered with hate mail from fans of another designer, but for the most part, I have still managed to enjoy it.

So there you have the story of Om Nom Nom. I did my best to compress the details and events as well as keep you (hopefully) mildly entertained.

* While living at my in-laws house I received a bill closing in on $2000 from them. They claimed we broke our lease (ignoring the clause that in an instance like being called back to active duty we were able to leave) and said we should pay no less than another months rent as well as cover their expenses to make the repairs to the house they refused to make before we moved in ($50 of which was for "dirt in basement" - it was a 100 year-old house with a stone basement).

** These items were mostly books, yarn, and the elements that make up my tea corner.

*** U-haul provided by my loving parents who knew we'd never be able to afford one.