I've been in business before. A few times. So I knew not to expect it to rock everyone elses world like it rocks mine. I know I need to advertise but have an aversion to the print media sector so will need to get creative, which probably means beating feet. I've also got quite a few websites so I knew that because I hadn't got around to doing the SEO section or publishing it on Social Media, I wasn't going to get a ton of traffic, business inquiries or comments anytime soon. I knew that for every 10 people I gave my card or told the easy domain name to, one might be curious enough to investigate further. I'm aware that I'm a chick in a mans world and one friend has already admitted he didn't think I could do a job he'd been approached about (I told him of course I wouldn't but I had someone who could). Most of all, I know I won't get a sore back from money bulging under my mattress this week. Or next.
Knowing all this means that I'm never disappointed. My expectations are at ground level and that's where I'm most at home. It's nice to go up a few floors to check out the scenery but as both Timothy Leary and Sir Ed knew, when you go up, you gotta come down.
Some may see this as defeatist or self-perpetuating but, after being one of those people myself for so many years, I've discovered the pleasures of being a realist.
The best thing about being a realist is that everyday you're pleasantly surprised.
Last night a new friend, Gabi, actually looked at my card, went to his keyboard and typed in the domain name. And he scrolled and clicked and read the words. How do I know this? Because, to my grateful delight, he sent me feedback! Only my two children had made that trek and wrote to tell me about it.
What I found most useful about Gabi's feedback is that it made me review my past month, life. I asked myself what it was that I actually did. Sure I clean, but what and how and why?
It turns out I don't clean at all. I get order.
What do I order?
With the small jobs I gather all the tools or people I'll need so that I can do it in one hit, circumstances permitting.
On the big jobs I look for patterns, groups, structure, potential then create a process. I'll group things together, break things up into achievable hunks, tidy as I go until the potential I saw, that the owner hadn't seen for a while, or didn't even know existed is exposed. I then set up a process to maintain the new order. And those big jobs (prior to what you see in the blog) have been small businesses accounts or an entire companys operating structure. A room where painful memories have been locked up for 20 years and consumed by weevils. A house of exceptional art treasures where the owner had no concept of design. Workshops. Studios. Cupboards. Cars. Clothes. Passwords. Even animals.
And here's my secret. My filters don't see mess - they only see potential. So in a Yin Yang like process, rather than wading through the piles of disorder, I see myself and our team as drawing out the underlying order.
In other words, we only focus on seeing and exposing The Good.
I had another exciting day at Kam's today. I'd done a load to the dump earlier in the week so this time it was, for want of a better word, the Courtyard at the bottom of the drive, in front of the garage. I had company for a change too! Dad and daughter were around all day and sounded like they were having wayyyy too much fun ;-)
You can see the far corner where I still have to wrangle but the hardest got knocked down and dragged away today.
I bought a company phone with a dual sim, last week, so hopefully I'll be able to take better images for you - I might even try standing in the same spot for the Afters.
Yesterday I was back at Margaret's wedge of paradise and what a day. It was bright and warm and full of the potential of summer.
Margaret has a fence of around 15 metres of shade cloth and wanted another layer put over the old one. Of course I tried to take a picture but have you ever tried to photograph shade cloth?
I then carefully got up on the roof (thanks for the safety tips Charley) and cleaned out all the gutters. Not rocket science but if you've had cluttered gutters, you'll know how good it feels to know they're free flowing again. I resisted my OCD urge to hose down the goo that was left on the first gutter and knew the first rain would take care of that ;-)
I've joined Taranaki's Timebank. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, I work an hour for someone, which gives me an hour in my bank. I then get to 'spend' that hour with someone else. Massage was what I was thinking!
Today I worked 2.5 hours for Alex and Aileen in their garden.
It was another one where there were hidden treasures but this time it was other plants that had been taken over by the weeds. I tried to isolate them then tidy them up. It looks a little bare now but there are bulbs to plant once spaces have been cleared.
It was such a pleasure to work amongst a happy friendly family of 5, dog and cat. Alex also made us a divine late salad lunch with all but one ingredient out of their greenhouse. Because they live a way out of town, he also generously gave me some money for diesel for the truck.
On the way back into town, I stopped in at mine and my fathers favourite place to eat, Okurukuru, and got a take out of our lusted after garlic prawns with the money. Father couldn't believe his eyes when I opened the container. I swear he's the best fed patient in that hospital and he admitted I got some serious Daughter Points for that effort.
I love my job!!
It was the bottom of the drive that got some love yesterday...
You can see half way up where I have the last of the drive to do. Then I've got the four levels to de-creeper. Each section is so exciting because whoever built the house and gardens, did it well with good walls and concrete bases around all the fence lines and removable gutter grates etc. It's always such a pleasure to see what treasures are underneath the masses of foliage ;-)
I didn't so much sleep in as not get out of bed till midday. I phoned and texted catch ups with friends instead.
I didn't get started at Kam's till around 2. She arrived an hour or two later and we didn't stop chatting till she had to go and I had to start packing up to take dinner to my father in hospital.
I was so glad I got to see and hear her reaction as she walked down the drive to see yesterdays work. She OhMyGodded all the way down to the house. I then told her she was my Charity Case and that I would keep doing it for nothing when I got the chance. By her response, I guessed that news couldn't have come at a better time. Kam then told me about helping out someone for nothing recently in her professional role, which had quite a profound effect on that person.
That's about as Karma as Karma can get. She helped them. I help her. Nothing to do with money - just because we can and feel driven to.
After feeding Father, I went on to Joe's place. You know - the guy who's business I sort of took over? His property has been my other Charity Case. I've done 9 truck loads out of it so far and have about another 10 to go. You can see the pile on the right then the line of green - that pile used to come out to that green edge.
Both Joe and Janelle are such generous people, always helping others without asking for anything in return. That's why I grin from ear to ear as I repay them on behalf of everyone they've ever helped.
Restoring faith in humanity - once Charity Case at a time ;-)
I could hardly sleep all night with the excitement of going back to Kam's. I was by myself today. When I arrived I took Before images of the front of the property which had around 4 levels and all overgrown greenery. As I did that, I collected up a few Actual Dump things and put them in a pile at the bottom of the drive. When I met Richard and Gayleen on one side, I told Richard to sling anything he wanted me to take to the dump over the fence into Kam's pile. I get charged by the truck load at the dump so if it's not full, it doesn't feel right when I know someone has always got something they've put aside and would jump at the chance to get rid of. I could tell Kam was the sort that would be happy I asked them and I could tell by R and G's gardens that if they did, it would be minimal. Sure enough, he threw over a measley motorbike tyre ;-)
Last time, while Paul was waterblasting, I pulled away all the greenery from the side path. Paul broke both his legs years ago so uneven surfaces are difficult for him so I wanted to clear any hazards. But I only put it all on the garden down the path. Today I was able to clear both the garden and rest of the path and transplant some aggies from another part of the garden to the new empty bit.
I had a great time doing the occasional shuffle to the music I had on Boomie while I cleared the front, all around the house and garage. I even swept the side of the house, around the front door and down the stairs.
All up it took 5 hours but I'm only charging Kam $150 but the momentous realisation I had today was the real reward.
When I charge money, it creates expectation, which in turn creates tension until the expectation is satisfied. When I work for love, I have endless energy, I'm able to do it in my own timeframe at my own pace, with my surroundings set up how I like it.
And rather than facing a critical eye hoping to see value in the money they've spent, I get so much more pleasure out of surprising someone out of their wits! I've always said I'll do Charity Cases in the weekends so I decided today that the darling Kam, without knowing it, is it so I can't wait to do the drive next!
But I've also learnt that some people can't live with themselves if they're not allowed to pay the person. And I admit I also enjoy seeing their very subtle pleasure when they feel they've got their moneys worth.
I love my job!
When Janelle asked us if we could get rid of 5 conifers, having a driveway of massive conifers, we imagined a few days work. Paul and I both laughed when we saw that they were 'only' 7 ft tall.
We cleared them in an hour.
When I told Janelle how much, she tried to find ways to give us more money.
We're so lucky to have the truck and farm available to us and they give us another point of difference. We don't charge disposal fees.
Last night Kam left a message and today we were able to do this for her in 3 hours.
I wrangled the greenery and Paul finished off with our father's high pressure water blaster. I can assure you, if there are still black spots, they're part of the woodwork. Paul covered every inch meticulously. I realised later that it looks like I've adjusted the filters on the After images but I didn't touch them - that's how bright the wood came up.
We really hope Kam invites us back to do more around the front of the house...
UPDATE 28 Oct: Kam has asked us back tomorrow! We're so thrilled and get to make even more of a difference to her stunning property. She also said word's getting around the agents. I can feel an empire coming on ;-)
Margaret has a sprawling layered wedge shaped property next to a stream and all the native pongas for the fence were from along her bottom path. We were treated to iced tonic, lemon, lime and bitters and biscuits I'd never heard of. Our Ruby was running around with Margaret's Abbie as we worked in the shade of the trees with the stream running in the background. As our friend Phil would say "I love my job!"
I wish I'd taken a before image but here is the after.
You'll notice a few odd stumps thrown in amongst the line up - that's because we were not only working with different lengths and thicknesses of the ponga's that had been cut down, we also had to build around the live ponga's in the wall. It became very Ponga Patchwork and we enjoyed the challenge. Now I just have to go back and clear the dirt and debris left on the ground then we resume with another fence next week...
Thanks to brother Paul, cousin Gary and Margaret for treats.