Three years ago I embarked on a new journey. One I thought would last a short 6 months and be over. One I embarked on out of necessity. One I'm so grateful for. One I'm ready to continue on to retirement.
Three years ago, The Man had to have surgery for a tiny broken bone in his wrist. Since he's a Massage Therapist, we knew he'd be out of work for about 6 -8 weeks while recuperating and in a cast. So we saved money to get us through those 6 - 8 weeks and headed in to the last follow-up appointment optimistic that he'd be back to work soon.
As the Doctor removed the cast and commented on how good everything looked and what a good patient The Man had been we were relieved. What came next floored us both. Dr.: "Everything looks great. If you'll just give me a second, I'll have the nurse come in and get everything ready for your next cast." HUH???? NEXT CAST??? Wha???
Through all the questions we'd asked about the surgery, long term prognosis, etc, etc, we had somehow assumed (yea, yea, we all know about that one) that there'd only be one cast. And that it'd be on for the usual time of 6 - 8 weeks. Hmmm.... ME: "So how long will this cast be on? How long until he can go back to work?" Because I'm so caring and concerned like that.
Dr: "Six - 8 more weeks in the cast. Total at least 6 months before he can go back to work."
About that time, my legs nearly folded under me and I slid into the chair. Six Months? SIX MONTHS? Uh-oh.
We got home and while The Man settled into a nice Vicodin-haze, I settled at the computer to figure out if we could make it 6 months financially. Two hours in, the answer was clear - No. Way. I made a list of all the restaurants in town so that I could stop on my way home from teaching the next day to put in waitressing applications. (I'd been a waitress in college and knew that there was good money to be made).
Coincidentally (if I believed in coincidences), I was invited to a PartyLite Candle Party that evening. I called my friend to let her know that there was no way I could come - we didn't have enough money for food, let alone candles. She said "You don't have to spend any money, just come and have fun." So I did. I propped The Man up on some pillows, made sure the DVD changer was well stocked,
At the party, I learned that I could earn as much money in 3 hours selling candles, socializing, and eating dessert as I could in an entire 8 hour shift waitressing. I also learned that I could try this whole candle thing out for FREE! That's right, I didn't have to pay PartyLite to hire me - just like I wouldn't have had to pay a restaurant to hire me.
I scheduled a Party of my own (I could get free candles and help my friend) and indicated that I'd like more information about becoming a consultant. But, I hid my slip because I wasn't really sure and I really needed to run it by The Man first, and I really didn't believe that I could start for free.
Two days later, I received a note in the mail from the Consultant and a little more information about PartyLite. Turns out you really can start for free! I turned my party into a Starter Show and got ready to give this a try - hey I could do anything for 6 months.
Six months later, I'd earned enough money as a PartyLite Consultant to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table and The Man went back to work. Wasn't this when I was supposed to quit and just have one job? Well, by this time, there was this trip to Los Cabos, Mexico that I decided I wanted to earn in the Spring. I did. It was A.MAZ.ING. And a year with PartyLite came and went. I was having fun. I had flexibility. I had great income. I was my boss. The Man and I had 'fun' money.
I started my PartyLite Road in May 2006. For 6 months, I earned just enough money to make up the missing piece while The Man was recuperating. For the next 6 months, I built my business and team AND earned an All-Expenses PAID VACATION to Los Cabos in May 2007. The next year, I continued with my full-time teaching job and PartyLite. In May 2008 we went on our second All-Expenses PAID VACATION on a 7-day Caribbean Cruise. It was amazing! Check out the Slide Show of some of my favorite pics.
In July 2008, our home sold in Martinsburg and it was time to move to Morgantown (finally!). Now we had a choice. Would I teach full-time in Morgantown AND continue PartyLite or would I commit to building and growing my business so that I could work from home, take care of the home, and should we have children someday be able to stay home with them.
We decided that PartyLite was the road to take. Since, August 2008, I have been a full-time Candle Lady! I work in my pajamas most days until I change to go swim. The Man gets warm, home-cooked meals. Our house is neat, organized, and calm.
Do I miss my students? Yes. Do I miss the rest of it? No. I don't leave work AT work very well and if I was stressed about school, I was stressed at home. The Man often says I worked 24-hours a day, because I was always worrying about this or that. And guess what? Now when I talk about children with hearing loss, I can say what I really think. I don't have to filter or worry if it's what the school thinks or how it will affect my relationship with co-workers.
This road that I started 3 years ago was meant to be a short road that came to an end. I'm so grateful that it didn't. I certainly didn't plan my life to be on this road. I'm so grateful it is.
The Rewards of this Unexpected Road are many. Friendships that I never expected. Income I never dreamed of. Vacations I still can't quite believe - we're going to the Moon Palace on the Mayan Riviera in May. Confidence in myself that was never really there. The ability to share the rewards and help others travel this road with me.