Raised in Arizona:

This last week in Arizona has been a catharsis from the complete and utter madness of starting a brick and mortar business. That's right folks, 3 days after getting *laid off of work I bought a building for The Hot Spot, a small metals studio I ran out of GR Makers until some asshole thought it would be a good idea to assault one of my members. That was just the cherry on top of the shit cake for the final reason to bust out of there. Bodies and benches were not being respected and the onslaught of creepy men hovering over us while trying to work was aggravating. 

Myself and my amazing members pooled together one Saturday to pile up as much of the equipment as possible. We moved swiftly in the light of day to avoid any trouble. We did a pretty kickass job of getting everything loaded up in all the vehicles we had, save for a trailer load of the larger items that Justin's dad and I packed up the following week. Since then it's been a frenzy of painting, breaking down, sawing, and rebuilding. I've made trips to find cabinets, counter tops, salvaged a sink, and even found time for less glamorous tasks such as accounting, expenditures/income assessing, crowdfunding, permits, regulations, and basically just trying to figure out the what-the-fucks if navigating michigan.gov.

Throughout this whole daunting experience I found myself hungry for the day. Waking up at 6am and actually excited to start the tasks ahead of me. I forgot how completely brain dead and miserable that job made me. It's funny how we accept that as part of life for the simple comfort of having a steady paycheck...

Luckily I predicted the forced respite because, let's face it ladies, in this world you're either going to get fucked, screwed, or both. The fuck-off fund I created allowed me to pay my rent ahead of time for the entire year. I don't have to worry about where I'm living. My debts, save for the building I purchased, are all paid off. For the past year I've been able to actually save 54% of my income now that I don't have a husband blowing it on all the things to fill the voids. Though I'm sure it would be nice to cash in on the $12k investment that is the Boba Fett costume- his once a year robing for social benefits.

I digress...some mild post divorce angst.

That money I saved created another safe fund to fall back on for emergencies and start-up costs. An extra 7k would have been nice too had there not been the 83% disparity. Equal pay folks, it makes a difference. Good thing I know how to make a mean ketchup sandwich.

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So with the stress and overhaul of this past month, going to Arizona with Justin and his family was the perfect comfort. I spent 2 years of my youth in Phoenix Arizona. My dad carted my mom and the 3 of us children up and made the move to Glendale. He studied for his Masters degree at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in the hope that some day he too could have the American dream of a fat steady paycheck doing a job he liked. 

I hated moving.

My 8 year old self did not want to be ripped away from my friends. In the long run it worked out for the best to be torn away from the Forest Hills Public School District. I adapted quickly. As a quiet girl, It got me to be even more introspective while massively broadening my horizons. Everything was so new. Mountains, climate, people, the culture. I absorbed as much of it as I could. We did a lot of camping and outdoor stuff. My imagination went wild...

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It was great to be back. The smell of Arizona is always sweet and the air is quiet. In Michigan I have to tune out a lot of the background noises. Maybe the mountains just dampen a lot of the drifting sound waves. All the citrus trees brought back memories of thieving oranges and lemons from the neighbors yards. 

We toured the retirement community that Justin's grandparents, Bernie and Elsie, are in. Highly impressed. It's like a college campus for the well seasoned. There were rooms for quilting, billiards, glass work, lapidary, woodworking, folks drove around in golf carts. I'm not fond of the prospect of losing my abilities to work with my hands at that age, but it was hopeful seeing all the cool things they were doing. Bernie was definitely proud of this place and all it offered, being a man accomplished in lapidary and woodworking.

The Upper Antelope canyon was one of the coolest sights we saw, along with the Horseshoe Bend. It was a chilly experience at the Grand Canyon but the sun was out in full force and the wind subdued itself for a day exposing all the layers and folds of the natural monument.

It was a long exhale to be back. Shaking off the past 20 years and breathing in that clean Arizona air. Hiking and feeling that dry desert dust. rock hopping. Flowing with the cavalry. Letting it go. 

*Working around men who always hold their own intelligence on pedestals I've learned to play dumb when I just don't want to fight their ignorance or ego. It's entertaining at times. Luckily, guys never questioned my intentions or explained my departure. All I know is that for some people, the symbol of freedom and success is the passe bolt cutter. For me, it's a cylinder of hydrogen and 6 weeks pay to kickstart my business ;)