Working From Home

My wife has been a stay-at-home parent since our first child was born. To generate some extra income, my wife began Her Own Business that she could do from home. It has been moderately successful and she has enjoyed it for the most part. Over the past few weeks, she has taken on a regular 40 hour work week for Shopify and she still gets to work from home.

My wife has been really good about it. She has figured out the right way to “check out” when she is done for the day. Even when she would get emails late at night for her business- it never bothered her enough that she would let it interfere with her home life. Working from home is definitely something that I feel she has successfully conquered.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be covering a coworker’s vacation. I will be working remotely from home for most of it. The hardest part is that I need to be available 24 hours/day for phone calls. Most of this time I will need to be able to access my laptop fairly quickly- unless I know the answer (or can fake my way through). Because this territory is new to me, I am unsure of how to balance time with my friends and family while continuing to monitor work.

I hope that I can create a stable environment for myself and that I can do this without regretting taking on a new challenge.

Only time will tell.

Saying Goodbye

Sunday was the last day of our Convention. I had to say goodbye to all of my friends. It was the last day of Calgary Expo, but also a bitter end to many years of shows. We won’t be returning.

I’m severely saddened by this. But many factors have come into play over the past little while. Last year I toted about My Fandom Family and how great everyone is. I love these people. Even back in 2016 we were hoping to Expand our small business- it just won’t be happening.

Since 2016, sales at Conventions have dropped. To be honest- the sales more like nosedived. What used to be lucrative and profitable, suddenly became, “Are we going to just recoup costs?” We gave it a couple of years, but sadly no increase.

Besides our declining sales, a few other factors have also come into the decision to not return. First, my wife has started a new job. She will be working for a company full time and can’t create stock or take off time for out of town shows. So her Business will be scaled back to just online sales- no more travel to conventions. We can now use vacation time to vacation!

Secondly, our children are getting older. We do not want to take them out of school as their workload is heavier than it was when they were younger. Our oldest has entered adulthood by getting (and loving) her first job, so time off for her means she makes less money. She is now saving up for her next big purchase.

Lastly, after doing Conventions for nearly a decade, we’re a bit burnt out. So many stresses lead up to a show as well as when we are there. We also haven’t done a decent cosplay in a couple of years. There was just too much going on in life. I am hoping to take on a new hobby and just make replica movie props for myself.

Yes, I’m saddened by the fact that I put down in words the finale of our traveling business. And just like that, our convention circuit is pretty much all done. We went out with hardly a whimper. No big fanfare saying it’s over. It’s just over.

Just some hugs and handshakes to say farewell to our friends- with many a promise to stay in contact. All of the conventions were a blast, but now it is time to move on. Let the next stage of life begin.

Weekend Haul

Here’s some of the fun stuff we got this weekend. These Conventions always mean souvenirs and fantastic art to come home with us. We already packed up some of the artwork safely for our drive home.

First off is a T-Shirt from Calgary Expo. A quick freebie for getting a bunch of stamps.

I got this cute pin from Anne Wheaton as she is here promoting her new book. I gave her a set of pink cosplay ears that reminded me of “Piggy” from her book.

My son bought a “Box of Mystery” from one of our artist friends. It contains some fan art stickers, magnets, and pins. Pretty cool for only $5! Sadly, it is our friend’s very last ever convention.

After our recent trip to Japan, we have had a renewed love of Studio Ghibli. I found an artist that makes glass with shadows over prints. So I had to buy one.

Lastly, my son worked hard helping me this weekend, so I picked up a Mudkip Pokémon for him. It’s rare for us to find this Pokémon, and he loves it.

As usual, we also traded some of my wife’s hats and such for other art. People love using the barter system. We all have a value that we put on our time and work. Sharing is a great way to create new friendships and showcase work.

Only one more day to go. Maybe more art is going to grace our home.

The Bad Eats

Traveling around and doing convention shows often means eating poorly. It just goes hand in hand. Like fries and a burger…

It starts on the first leg of the road trip with a stop at Costco for a cheap hotdog. We always get a hotdog on our way from our home. It doesn’t matter if we are driving east or south. We plan Costco as the place to stop for lunch. Cheap and easy so that we can hit the road again quickly.

Yesterday’s Dinner was cheap pizza. After a day of sitting at our table making idle chitchat with strangers, making a food choice is tough. So basic pizzas get ordered. Ham and pineapple, pepperoni, or meat lovers are always easy and quick to choose. Pizza is like the safety net of food.

Throughout the day we end up grazing through candy, chips, granola bars, and sodas for the most part. Sure, a bottle of water or heavily processed vegetables are consumed periodically, but not enough to offset the other junk.

Dinner on day two is usually a side of french fries and some sort of grilled sandwich or burger. Again, just like pizza- ordering is easy, quickly served and digested. Then off to end the evening in the rented room before day 3 of the show is upon us.

That is pretty much every Convention weekend for us vendors. I’m positive our next couple of days will involve bad eats as well. It’s the price you pay to do these shows.

Haha. Ya, I’m Supposed To Be An Adult.

After the show last night, my son and I were going to meet up with some of my Convention friends for dinner. However the place we were intending on going to would not allow minors in after 9pm. So my friend Dominika joined my son and I to go get a pizza from Dominos. We were already laughing and joking before we walked in to get a our dinner.

Turns out that Dominos has a tv screen that tells you the progress of your pizza order. After we placed our order, it seemed that the cashier didn’t hear my friend’s name correctly. We tried to tell him it was Dom. That is not what he heard.

Her Dong was being made.

Then Dong was in the oven.

Dong needed a Quality Check.

Finally Dong was ready.

We acted about as mature as my 11 year old son. He was giggling uncontrollably as well but didn’t know what a “Dong” was. We were the only ones in the store so our laughs were raucous and hearty. We thanked the staff for a great laugh and we walked back to my car and headed to my friend’s place and continued to laugh with more of our friends.

Sometimes after a long day all you need is to laugh at something so ridiculous it makes you happy. Sharing a laugh with friends makes it even more enjoyable. Ya, I’m an adult laughing like pre-pubescent boy at a dick joke. It felt good.

My Favorite Convention

My son and I leave today for my favorite convention- Calgary Expo! We’ve been coming here since 2012 and have enjoyed every year so far.

This year has all of the artists placed in the “Big 4” building. So many of my friends have been designing pictures to showcase their new locations. It’s one of my favorite things to follow along on social media and see how excited they are getting. Countdowns, messages, fun new products… so much to see and talk about when we get together!

It’s also nice that there is so much love shared throughout our groups. Last year I mentioned how I feel that they are all A Fandom Family. I look forward to seeing them every year. These are some of the most artistic and energized people I know.

Oh, and I’ll be having fun as well being a Table Tart at table AA 5211 for Ningen Headwear. If you need to find my son- he’ll be teaching people Table Top games like he does every other year.

So remember to stop by the Artist Alley in Calgary this weekend if you want to see the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse…

Desperate For Company

Next Wednesday I leave for Calgary Expo. I’m taking my 11 year old son and we are driving 10 hours from our home to get there. This is immediately after I finish a 12 hour night shift. By the time we get there, I’ll have been awake for over 24 hours. I’m not too excited about that aspect of the road trip…

This year, my wife cannot attend as she is only a couple of weeks into her new job. Because she booked for the show last year, we have a couple of tickets and a place already booked. At the show, my son and I will be able to wander a bit since we have many Convention Carny friends whom we trust that can look after our table. So now I’m trying to find a friend to come with me to share the driving duties. I have to make it through the mountains to the other side.

So I’ve tried to see if my friends on social media want to join me. I’m practically begging. I love my son and his company, but really shouldn’t let him drive the car.

But if it doesn’t pan out, I may have to find a Rest Area and take a quick power nap to recharge my batteries. Pretty sure Alberta has some nice Rest Areas.

I’m looking forward to the show no matter what. I have tons of good friends to see again. If I don’t hear from any of my other friends- it’ll be time to stock up on Red Bull and Coffee!

Job!

A couple of days ago I mentioned my wife applied for a job: She Works Hard. She found out this afternoon that she got it!

She now works at Shopify starting as soon as we return from our trip to Tokyo. Tonight we are going out to celebrate. That’s my quick update. Gotta go and share the joy with my wife.

Next Generation Of Milestones

When you have children, there are tons of exciting milestones at a young age:

  • First step
  • First tooth
  • First word
  • First Christmas

Then they get a couple years with a few moments here and there until first day of school. After that there’s not a whole lot more that you can get excited about. About ten years pass by until the next set of milestones.

  • First job
  • First love
  • First car

I won’t celebrate their first kiss. That’s a personal moment- but it’s kind of a big deal for pre-teen/teenagers. Let them enjoy it. Driving their first car or getting a job- that’s a step into adulthood. A scary realization that this is the next stage of life.

Today, our fifteen year old daughter went for a job interview. Sort of. It was more a meet and greet for an opportunity of employment. A former coworker of mine messaged me that her work was looking for some extra part time help. It was nice of her to think of me and my children. It also made this a bit easier for a first job opportunity to our oldest daughter.

So I took our eldest daughter to meet the owner. For the past couple of days I tried to prepare her for what may happen at an interview. The questions asked, the answers she should give, I also told her to study up on the business as well. Driving there, we went over everything again. She was nervous. She was ready to give up before even entering. But she knew she had an opportunity here to get out of the house and make some money.

We walked in and were greeted with some smiles. I saw my former co-worker and introduced my daughter. I then let them be, because as much as I want to tout all the great things about my daughter to an old friend and a prospective boss- this was about my daughter using her courage and showing off who she is. From what I could tell, his afternoon went really well.

We shall see how it goes now. Will she get a call back? Will she be able to do the job? Will she enjoy it? In the end, it’s been a good learning opportunity for my daughter. Whether anything comes of it or not. It has started something deep inside of her- a drive to enter the adult world.

All In Good Fun

Yesterday I had a pretty great time wandering the show floor at Fan Expo Vancouver. I even got to do it with my wife- which is rare. But now that our children are older and more responsible, they were able to look after our table from time to time.

My wife and I laughed and goofed off. I was in my Obi Wan Kenobi Cosplay and decided to have some fun with it. I used my Jedi Mind tricks on a vendor and got my purchase with no tax added. Never mind that he had a sign out saying “no tax”- he played along.

Later in the afternoon, I wandered around with my daughter to find a quiet place to place some Nintendo 3DS. So I got her to take a picture of my impression of Obi Wan from the end of Episode IV. It got some really good laughs. We made the most of our Convention time while we were there.

I do find it odd that filming is everywhere in the Lower Mainland… Even though you’d think Vancouver would have a tremendous Convention, it kind of lacks a lot of celebrities. It is also rather small compared to some of the other Conventions we attend. Because it was a local con, we had to go. At the end of today, we’ll see how the sales did.

This year felt like an oversized craft fair, but still fairly fun. The price of tickets for attendees are somewhat reasonable compared to other shows. But there really needs to be a bigger draw to the show. Hopefully everyone got to enjoy their convention experience. I know those who I spoke with had fun.

Vancouver needs to set the bar higher and make it not just fun, but mind blowing.