An alive Madeline looked through the window today

Yesterday morning when I went out to the garage to feed our outside cats, Miss Madeline Meadows came running up to me. It’s a relief to know that she is really, truly alive and well. EJ told me later that the “body” that I mistakenly thought was Madeline’s (i.e., the carpet remnant) does not count as one of her nine lives. LOL.

Yesterday was a sunshiny day, but it snowed during the night and throughout this morning so we gained some additional inches of snow. The snow has piled up around the garage door and I have to shovel the snow away from the gates going into the garden and poultry pens so I can get to the coop to care for the chickens. The raised beds in the garden are now almost hidden by the snow. I imagine the garden plants all snug in their beds, covered in blankets of snow. If it keeps snowing, the bird bath in which I put the corn for the deer will get lost.

My computer put together the following video from photos I took today.

I couldn’t clear the driveway today because EJ has not yet replaced the broken pins on the snowblower. I really didn’t want to ask him to do it last night when he was so tired from working his ten-hour shift. I was hoping the snow wouldn’t pile up so much that EJ got the Suburban stuck in the driveway when he came home from work…and then I saw the mysterious neighbor’s large tractor-snowblower blasting away the snow as it crept up the driveway.

Last time the guy snowblowed our driveway, I neglected to ask him his name because I was embarrassed. It’s not as easy to meet our neighbors as it was when we lived in town. EJ has met several of our neighbors, but I’ve only met the guy who lives across the street. When we encountered him at Costco a couple of months ago, I didn’t even recognize him because I’ve only met him up-close once. Usually we just wave to each other when he’s working in his yard when I’m getting our mail from our mailbox. Our closest neighbor, who shares our driveway, is there only a few weekends in the summer for his vacations. The neighbor on the hill across the road often goes to Florida all winter–and his driveway is also long and steep. The other neighbors all live further down the road.

So I didn’t ask the mystery neighbor his name last time because I thought, ugh, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if it was a neighbor I had already met and I just didn’t recognize him? But today when I saw him coming up the driveway, I scrambled into my coat and boots and ran out to talk to him. I asked him his name and where he lived. He’d only say that his name is Dale and he lives on one of the nearest cross roads. I told him how much I appreciated him snowblowing our driveway and asked if he would accept any sort of compensation–money for gas? homemade cookies? something? But he refused. He said he just enjoys snowblowing neighbors’ driveways. Dale is my newest favorite neighbor. He makes me re-believe in the goodness of people.

Late this morning I studied the last lesson in my Medical Transcription class. Now I just have to study for and take the final exam. I have printed out all the class material in case I want to pursue transcription, but at this point I want to focus on selling my crocheted items. Even if I do go into transcription, I don’t think it will be in the medical field because there are too many medical terms to learn. Plus, I’d have to become familiar with a lot of medical problems so I could catch mistakes in dictation, and it makes me sad to read about people’s suffering. I don’t want to know that Mrs X is a mother of small children and has inoperable cancer or anything.

I spent most of my afternoon looking into alternatives to Etsy. When I first joined Etsy, I only had to pay a small fee each time I listed an item. It used to be that the full amount a customer paid for one of my items would be deposited in my account and I’d use some of it for shipping and the rest was the actual amount that my item cost–for example, the customer would pay $5 for the item plus $4.06 shipping for a total cost of $9.06. However, I’ve noticed during my last few sales that I’m only getting a portion of what the customer paid. The customer paid $9.06 but Etsy only gave me $6.49. I still had to pay $4.06 to ship the item, which means that out of the $9.06 that the customer paid, I only actually received $2.49 for the item I sold–and that doesn’t even include the cost of the initial listing fee! That barely covers the cost of the supplies I used. I learned that Etsy is now charging a lot of fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee, a shipping fee, and a fee for who knows what else. And then there’s the fee Paypal charges for each transaction. I’m don’t mind paying reasonable fees because the  people running the sites aren’t operating a charity–they have to earn a living! But I’m being fee’d to death! The only way that I can afford to sell on Etsy these days is to charge a huge amount for an item to cover the cost of shipping and all the fees. I feel disgusted. I mean, I’m trying to help support my family. I can’t afford to lose money on the items I make. I feel an urge to have a Tea Party. In Boston maybe.

Etsy keeps declaring that customers will feel they are getting better value if the shipping is free, but I think they would actually be receiving a greater value if sellers didn’t have to charge so much to cover the fees. Furthermore, I don’t get many sales at Etsy because unless I offer free shipping, Etsy doesn’t promote my store, which means I get lost in the crowd and I get fewer visits and sales. I’ve been working hard and selling many items over the last few months, but almost everything I’ve sold–like 99.9% of them–has been by posting my items at the local buy/sell groups at Facebook.

So I’m searching for a new on-line marketplace to sell my items through–one with not so many fees nibbled out of me and where I can get noticed. I’ve found a few possibilities. I’m also considering advertising at Craigslist or posting signs at local store bulletin boards. Once I choose where I will sell my items, I’ll close out my Etsy store. I’ll share links to the new marketplaces here on my blog.

Do any of you sell items on-line? What site do you use to do so?

Ok. My rant is over.

The day had some major frustrations but also some tremendous blessings–such as finding Madeline alive and well and having our driveway cleared by the Mysterious Dale.


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