Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday, got more sleep.

     Mom slept better last night, or at least I slept better last night.  When I left mom to go to the studio last night I asked her to make a pot of bean soup.  I left all the ingredients out and I had been soaking the beans all day.  It was so good!  I hemmed her new jeans and she loves them.  She was able to get a couple more cakes made. She will do two more and then be done.  I will help her make rosettes this weekend.  I took her to JoAnns  last night after dance.  I needed a few items and she walked around and looked at things.  We went to the grocery store and bought candy for Halloween.  She really likes to get out at least once a day as she gets house bound, but she doesn't have much stamina.  I wear her out pretty fast.

     I sewed a lot yesterday and of course cleaned and did  some laundry.  When Hubs and I came home from cleaning last night, mom was asleep on the family room sofa. We watched an episode of Big Bang Theory and she didn't even wake up.  I think she was tired.  Today I will sew some more, I have things that need to be out by Friday and also things that just need to be out!  I am going to make a deposit today and get the desk cleaned off the rest of the bills paid and the studio books ready to input into the computer. I just realized that I have to have $500.00 for the house payment and it is the 1st.  How does it sneak up on me so quickly?

     I miss Mysti and I want her back!  Come back!!!!!!  I am proud of Rhitter.  I am praying for Judy.  Can't wait to hear form Lena.  Sluggy is her usual kick in the pants, what would we do without Sluggy?  Jane is back and I am grateful.  Carla is busy and makes me look like a slug so that helps my reputation some.  See how much you guys mean to me and there are so many more.  But I want Mysti back.......

Saga cont:

     So in January 7 years ago I opened a dance studio with my daughter as a partner.  We took 85 students with us.  About 13 stayed at the University studio and some of them doubled at both.  We turned a profit immediately but we had a lot of debt.  I realized that I could not put on a Wedding and replace all my costumes now owned by the University and also costume and choreograph a high school musical.  I called the director and told her I could not help.  I felt awful, but I was just too busy, my responsibility was to my students and I had to make this studio work.  I was under so much pressure.  Actually I was terrified.  I just doubted my ability to do this although I had been doing it for years.

     I made some serious mistakes along the way.  Because the University's program was a non profit they run at a loss.  They also could get many art grants to pay for various things.  I was determined to give back to the community and run as they did but with out the ability to run on grants.  I would find this impossible.  After losing money for three years on productions, I decided to charge.  I also charged parents for costumes once a year or twice if they are Celtic students.  At first I was so afraid they would leave and go back to the University so I gave away so much.  This put me seriously in debt.  I was trying to operate the same way as the program I had left without the resources.  Now I am not a stupid person, I am naive but not stupid.  I was just so scared.  Why?  Well WP was viscous.  She was going to close me down come hell or high water.  She tried bad press, bad publicity anything she could do to destroy me in my own community.  She was very good and very powerful at publicity.

     She knew that my greatest strength in numbers was my Irish program.  This is what she attacked.  She flooded the area with Irish performers, she blocked my kids being able to perform.  She made sure dancers from their schools got billing.  What she did not have was a good teacher, so when parents entered they eventually came to me.  Then she started to copy our recitals.  If I decided to do Alice in Wonderland, she wold bring three or four groups into do this production.  Flood the market so no one would go to my show.  I constantly had to stay ahead of her.  My mind just does not think like that and it was so hard.  I started to become very secretive.  I could not tell my kids what an upcoming show was until after March.  That way we could not be copied.  She managed to get into the small college here as the resident dance studio.  I was furious and scared, but I didn't need to be.  Again the problems that had plagued them when I was with them followed.  Teachers did not show up, classes were cancelled.  She was all about printed pictures and hand outs and advertising, but you also have to deliver a product.  She could not do that.  I did not have the unlimited budget for advertising but I delivered a product.  I just wish I could have calmed down and enjoyed those first few years more instead of running scared all the time.  She really was good at mind games.

     Now looking back 8 years I realize that I have what I want.  My background is in Ballet, professional level Ballet.  Not the Bolshoi, but really good classical training.  My Irish skills were secondary.  It was something I was interested in and started because it was in demand, fun and brought in good money.  But what I really wanted was a good ballet studio.  Ballet is the basis for all good dance.  WP did not realize or appreciate my real training.  I also am very good with young children.  It is your children's programs that build a studio.  Children's classes are hard and frustrating to teach.  I realized this early on and I oversee these programs carefully.  They are our bread and butter.  This is something WP failed to see.  I also know that there is a point of diminishing return.  After the studio gets more than 100 students quality goes down, payroll goes up.  Building, building enrollment and numbers is not the answer.  Good quality teaching and experiences are the answer.  This year we have over 75 of our students enrolled in some part in ballet.  We still have a strong Celtic program but ballet has taken over.  If you want good ballet with good choreography you come here.  I feel like I have made it.  I don't care about WP in fact she finally took (I should say obtained) another job.  After 8 years the poison in gone.  She lost and she lost badly.  They had 3 magnate studios two of them very large.  All are closed.  They only have their program at the University and what ever else they can put together a few weeks at a time in rural communities.

     My purpose was never to shut them down, but theirs was to shut me down.  I ran scared and worked harder than I ever have in my life, I have made many financial mistakes, but I am learning.  The debt I carry today is mainly studio and medical debt.  I am trying not to go further.  It is hard as I have to watch every penny.  But I do feel like I have made it.

     Owning the studio has brought me much satisfaction.  But every single threat made by the board has come true.  I don't make a living from this business.   I make my living sewing.  If I did not have another business I would have folded.  I cannot afford the advertising like they could.  I have to save for taxes every year.  I am tired of working so hard for nothing but pats on the back.  It is nice to have the respect and love of the parents and students but I really would just like a salary.  It also took a real tole on my family.  B suffered because of the studio.  I was not there for her in High School like I was for the others  The studio was my life.  I tried hard to keep up with her activities but I know in my heart it was not the same.

     The studio did give me the opportunity to slow down in other ways.  I do not do 2 High School shows a year anymore.  I do not coach at the Jr. High any more.  I do not do Civic theater any more.  I learned to cut back, but I learned to do this in a very hard way.  To pay attention to things that were important.  Saying yes to every one had become my habit and I needed to take care of Kim and my family and home.  They still needed to come first, putting them on the back burner a few times a year almost cost me the life of my youngest daughter. It was a real wake-up call.

Saga continued:

     Have work to do, mother is still sleeping:)

Have a great and productive day!



  1. Thanks Kim - it feels RIGHT to be back on the blog circuit again:) Your mom has really been through the wringer and she sounds worn out. She must be so grateful to be away from the madness for awhile. I wish she didn't have to go back! Sleep is what I need so it'll be early to bed for me tonight but first I have to find out why Thanksgiving got cancelled at Judy's!!

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