Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Hello all!

I hope you've all had a great Thanksgiving, spending it with family or friends, and ate some great food.

I have been in Florida since Monday, with my girlfriend Karen. It's been an interesting trip.

On Tuesday, my mom, sister, Karen and I moved all of my belongings from a storage unit to the Soapier storage unit, to save money. What a job. We were exhausted afterwards.

On Wednesday, I did some work for Soapier. We had to get a ton of packages out, and I saw just how hard my mom is working. I'd like to put this into perspective for you folks out there.

My sister makes the majority of the soaps. She does it out of her home, since my mom, while having a second bedroom, does not have enough room to house everything. So, we get orders, and they prioritize, and then my sister makes the soap, and then drives it over to my mom's house.

Now, depending on whether we have labels in stock or not, I get the email asking me to send out files to get labels made. We have a bit of a savior in Tracy, a worker over at the Office Depot down the block from my mom's house. We had a sheet of label stock templated with the size of our labels, so that they can be laser copied. He does everything quickly for us, and helps us out a bunch.

So, my mom gets the soap. From there she has to cut the soap, then wrap the soap, then label the soap.

She has to invoice the order, via QuickBooks, or some such program. Then print out the orders, and then pick the order.

Then, she has to pick orders. If we're out of something, she has to wait until it gets made. Or, if it's one of our works of art soap, my mom has to make them. They're the Jack Frost, Penguin March, Santa's Sleigh, or Sparkling Snowflake. You can see they have multiple parts... it's what makes them unique from our other soaps, and they take a while to make.

Then filling out the shipping info, then printing the shipping label, putting the box together...

Let me tell you, folks. She does so much work, it's boggling my mind. I helped out a bit, did what I could, picked orders, wrapped soap...

Owning a small business in this country is hard work. I figure that if it's easy, you've either hit on something by luck, or you're in the mafia. We kind of wish we were in the mafia, these days.

Wednesday night, my girlfriend and I relaxed and watched The Biggest Loser, What Do They Weigh Now... or whatever the hell it was called. I was too busy watching Pandorum, or... In the Mouth of Madness. I've had my fill of reality tv these days. After months and months of being unemployed, I got through Hell's Kitchen (all 5 seasons), Top Chef (all seasons), The Biggest Loser, Amazing Race, some other stuff, I can't remember. I had that part of my brain removed.

So, we relaxed, had Denny's for breakfast the next morning, and went to go see 2012 with my sister, her husband, his friend. I thought it was a good movie. Not sure why so many people were disappointed with it. It's like these people never watched ID4, Godzilla, or The Day After Tomorrow. Whatever.

So, we head over to my mom's. I get there, open the door, walk up the stairs to her place, and she's standing there and she says "I didn't cook."

Let me tell you something about my mom. She's a chef. She might not have gone to school, but the woman cooks some fantastic food. Really. And for her to say she didn't cook, I knew something was wrong.

She said she was feeling sick, that she almost passed out, was weak... things that no son (or daughter) wants to hear. Especially on Thanksgiving! I mean, where's the turkey, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, cranberries...

What I mean to say is, I was very worried about HER. You know, her. So, we called her doctor's office, and the doctor on call called us right back and said 'better safe than sorry, get to the hospital.'

@#&%.

So we get to the hospital, and long story short (too late), her blood pressure was a bit high, but that was it. It could have been a number of things. Bad eggs she ate that morning, or a problem with one of the meds she's taking... could have been stress.

She stayed the night at the hospital, they ran some tests, everything came back fine, and then she came home and gushed about some doctor that saw her. He was handsome, in his 40s, he set my mind at ease, blah blah.

It's funny. I knew she was going to be ok, but I couldn't help make jokes at the hospital. People think that it's how other people deal with things. Not me.

"Ok, Karen and I are going to be back in an hour or so, ok? We're going to get dinner."

"Ok."

"So, umm, nurse, the morgue is..."

I thought it was funny.

I was supposed to go back to NY today (Friday), but I didn't feel comfortable leaving my mom home alone over the weekend, with the amount of orders that have to go out. It just wouldn't be fair. So, I head back Monday. I've been cutting soap and wrapping soap, labeling them. We packaged up about 25 orders. Some waiting for soaps, some ready to go out tomorrow.

I also started about 20 molds of Reddit soap, and let me tell you, they suck! If you haven't seen the reddit soap making video from the jet blue guys, watch it now. It's pretty crazy. I burned my hand on the goddamn plastic bottles. And I melted one, too. Didn't know it wasn't supposed to go in the microwave. We put everything in the microwave!

Ugh.

So, I'm exhausted. I'm pirating a signal on my laptop from someone named CRAZYALEX. It's not very strong. If I can't have internet here in Florida, and my mom canceled her cable, I'll go nuts. Seriously.

This will be a busy weekend, which is good. And I think we'll cook Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night. That'll be awesome. I ended up getting a Thanksgiving plate at Ruby Tuesday's, which was just ok, while Karen ate a swiss cheese burger that had me drooling. No fair.

So, in the true meaning of the holiday gone by, I'm thankful for quite a lot of things. One, my overall general health. Two, my girlfriend. Three, my family (obviously this is in no particular order). And four, our customers. I can't tell you how blown away and happy I am that Redditors (and our other 4 customers) have helped to take care of my mom. Really. I'll always be grateful.

Have a great weekend.

J

Sunday, November 1, 2009

shipping and shopping carts

Just got this email from a customer:

"I really really really want to start ordering some soaps from you but my wife keeps vetoing it because the shipping of $11.00 for my order tacks on at least 33% to our order and makes the cost per bar a little on the crazy side.  I'm curious, is it just an estimate and then the final charge is different?  Because surely the postage for 5 bars of soap isn't that much.  Sorry if I'm being a cheapass, it's just that I would much prefer to buy soap from you, but it is tough going convincing my wife.  I appreciate any response as I'm holding off on our soap purchases hoping that I'm just doing something wrong.  Thanks!"

It's a problem we're having and trying to fix. The shopping cart we're using is a bit of a pain, and they just instituted a ridiculous policy that all phone help now comes with a charge. It's one of those 'we need to make more money in this economy' type plans that's just going to alienate their customers. Ridiculous.

So, here's the reply I gave this customer:

Hi, thanks for writing!

First off, where are you in the world?

Second... In regards to shipping, here’s the thing. There are a number of flat rate boxes that we use, via the usps. The problem is that if we don’t use these boxes, then the items are shipped by weight... And that can be a lot more expensive than a flat rate box. Over a certain weight, we can’t send them parcel post or first class, for two reasons. One, the usps doesn’t accept them, and two, we’d have to charge people a larger handling fee because of the purchased boxes.

So, we send out everything priority. 4 bars of our soap can normally fit in a small flat rate priority box that will cost $5.95. Some of them cannot, because of their design (take the arabian nights bar for example), but 95% of them will. The reddit soaps... Only 2 will fit. We’re not too technically savvy here at Soapier. The shopping cart we’re using has been proving to be a severe pain in the butt. They don’t account for many things the USPS expects, and so real time shipping becomes a nightmare. We’ve lost well over $1000 since we first started selling to redditors because of shipping problems.

So, we generalized pricing. Now, the truth is, we only charge real shipping fees. We don’t hide these costs when it comes to laying down the postage, so people can be sure they’re paying for what they get. Sometimes the shopping cart says one thing, and we find out it will come out cheaper, and we charge accordingly.

So. 5 bars of soap... That ends up in the medium sized priority flat rate box that costs $10. You can fit 20 bars or so in that box. It just so happens that 5 bars is the magic number, and jumps up the shipping cost.

So, that’s where we’re at, at the moment. We’re trying really hard to find a cheaper way to ship, but unfortunately we don’t ship out as many products as a larger store, and don’t get good discounts from UPS or FedEx. It’s a shame, because it only hurts customers of small businesses like ours.

If you’re outside of the US... The rules are even worse.

So, let me know where you are, and we’ll do all we can to make sure that you’re not only paying true shipping charges, but that you’re getting the best price for it, too.

Thanks!"


We're doing our best folks. I promise!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New soaps, Holiday stuff, and more

Hi all.

Just a couple of notes to hit today.

First, we put up our holiday soaps and holiday baskets for sale!

Second, we added two new Reddit soaps... the Envelope set (in creamsicle and blueberry!) and a brand new Christmas Reddit Alien soap that comes in Winter Awesome fragrance!

And Third, we're having a HUGE sale! We're offering 25% off on all sales this holiday season, good until November 15th! Use coupon code REDDIT at checkout to receive this great discount for all your awesome holiday gifts this season! (discount does not apply to Reddit soaps!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

How to make Reddit Alien soaps



This is Tom and Jake and they are from Reddit.com.



They were both chosen to fly around the country, taking part in Jetblue.com's offer for flying from September 8th to October 8th for a flat fee. Redditors purchased the tickets for them, and they were sponsored by two companies. FoodProof and Associated Content.



They stopped by Soapier on their month long journey and recorded making Reddit Alien soaps! I hope you enjoy it!

John @ Soapier

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The onslaught (part 2)

Ok folks. We just received the bacon fragrance for the soaps on Friday, finished making all of the orangered soaps, and started making the bacon soaps yesterday! They're un-molded, wrapped and labeled, packed in bubblewrap, and ready to be shipped!

We're all very excited to hear from the first few people who receive the soaps. This is a very pins-and-needles time. New product and all... very exciting!

Thanks to everyone who purchased soap, thanks to Alexis and Reddit for taking a chance on Soapier, and thanks to everyone for the kind words and advice we've received!

We're excited that you're excited about the bacon soaps. We're working on a bacon soap slice as I type... that should be interesting. There are two bacon sites that are interested in becoming affiliates, to sell the soap... let's hope it catches on!

If you have a blog, or a website, and a network of friends who you think would love Soapier soaps, sign up for our affiliate program! We are giving 20% commissions on sales!

John @ Soapier

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The onslaught (part 1)

Well, hello.

So, we had our first wave of orders for the Reddit Alien Soaps, and boy oh boy, Reddit did not disappoint!

In the past week we received over 400 orders, selling over 550 Reddit Alien soaps! Very nice, we're all very excited about it, and my mom and sister are working very hard to get the soaps made.

We finalized on the bacon scent, it's on its way... and in the meantime we're (when I say 'we're', I mean they're) making all the orange soaps, getting them ready, along with all the other soaps people ordered.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Update

Well, it's official. The new Reddit Alien soap will be ready for pre-sale on Monday, July 27th!

We're very excited, very nervous, very much looking forward to seeing what happens with the sale.

I do have a request, for those of you who read this... and I'll be posting it on Reddit, when the soap hits.

We'll be having a Cool Reddit Alien Soap Picture Contest! Not sure what the prize is going to be, but it'll be something AWESOME, like a $100 gift certificate to Soapier, or some such thing.

We'll see.

I'm really looking forward to it. My mom and sister have been working their asses off, but they're looking forward to, well, so much. The orders, paying bills...

Thanks to everyone for their continued support. We really appreciate it!

John @ Soapier

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reddit alien soap

Here's the soap for Reddit!

We're offering it in both orange and bacon fragrance.

Yes, bacon.

Also, to answer some of the other questions we've gotten on this blog, we're going to be offering lotions and sugar scrubs some time in the future.

Thanks for all the great comments! We'll let you know when the reddit soap is available.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My adventure to appease Reddit

Ok, so. The place we buy scents from (one of the places anyway) had a sample order we made for the bacon fragrance.

Now, two other people have to sniff the fragrance, but I think we found a winner! I'm very excited about it.

Had a panic attack while I was walking back to the subway. Was exhausted by the time I got home.

We'll have the soap mold tomorrow or Monday, and have prototypes ready to take photos and send to Reddit.

Looks like I'm going to have to take a ton of xanax and head down to Florida. Reddit will be pre-selling the soap for 2-3 weeks, so that we have time to make as much as possible before they are shipped (although we'll be shipping as we make them... just to get them to the customers as quickly as possible).

I don't have a fear of flying, btw. Isn't that weird?

Oh, and I got a Reddit shirt today, and I can't tell you how much I wanted someone to stop me on the street while I had the fragrances, and tell them who I was, and share them with them. That would have been awesome.

Monday, July 6, 2009

where we're at

It's been a crazy month.

We just recently got some photos of the molds of our new Reddit Alien Soap.

We should get the first plastic mold in a couple of days, so we can create the soap and start pre-selling!

People ask me what my favorite soaps are. I figured I'd take a moment and list / show some...

My all time favorite is:



Amber Goat's Milk.

The smell is nice and warm and refreshing. It's also got some calendula flowers in it for a light exfoliant.

I also really like:



Oatmeal, Milk & Honey

Bits of oatmeal at the top, and again, a nice warm smell. Does a lot for people with dry skin.




Vanilla

Do I really have to say anything about this soap? It smells FANTASTIC.

We have all of our orders shipped as of tomorrow. My mom's been working very hard. It's crazy. So has my sister. I think she's having dreams about soap these days.

Thanks for reading. More later. OH, the other big news... for those of you with websites out there, we'll be having our affiliate program up and running tomorrow, for those who would like to make some money ;)

John

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Excuses and business

I'm not sure how many businesses out there get an influx of orders that simply and fully sets them back about a week.

Add on top of that capital problems... moving to a new 'facility'... and the problems you'd love to have in business become real world problems that stress you out and make doing your job that much harder.

Well, Soapier has had such a hiccup!

If you read in our earlier post the outpouring of support that we received... you'll see that we've gotten in excess of 500 orders in less than two weeks.

That, in and of itself, is incredible.

The problem is... for all intents and purposes, there are only two people working on all of those orders. Namely, my mom and my sister.

So, first, we had to purchase soap base. We had used what we had in stock to get out wholesale orders that were placed during the transition period.

The soap base company wouldn't ship our order out because we paid with paypal. We had quite a few customers pay via paypal, so since the money was there, that's how we paid.

Unfortunately, for some unknown reason that even the paypal people could not explain, they decided to hold the money we had sent for 24hours. Thus, our supplier would not ship our product.

Hiccup #1.

So, I had to get every cent I could scrape together, and pay for the soap. It was basically all the money I had. And it wasn't a ton of money.

So, they refund the paypal money, ship the product. Crisis averted. I get my money back once paypal clears to my mom's account... yay... and my sister goes through the arduous task of creating soap for, then, 375 orders.

Now, let me explain.

Each loaf of soap yields 12 slices of soap. So, depending on the complexity of the soap being ordered... creating a loaf of soap can take anywhere from 20 minutes to about six hours.

Not six hours of sitting there waiting for the soap to harden... but six hours before you can use an insert, say for Sweet Pea:



Every one of those swirls has to be created first as a long bar of soap. Figure there's six different colors... then you have to curl the slices... this one is probably our most complex soap.

So, she's making soap. My mom's making soap. Florida, at the time, was baking from some serious heat. They're working with no AC. It's pretty crazy.

So, now we have product to ship. People who ordered two bars, one bar... we're able to get these out quicker than ones that ordered 10 bars. Only because we're trying to get the soaps out as quickly as possible.

Enter paypal, again.

We are printing the majority of all of our labels through paypal's shipping center. But the downloaded excel spreadsheet from our shopping cart won't merge with paypal. So, my mom is entering addresses one at a time. And on a pc, she's having trouble switching windows so that she can see the info, then type it in, then go back, what state, ok, then what zip, crap there's an apartment #...

Then the news story hits. And that takes a full day away from soap making. It's funny. Just over 1 minute of news coverage, and it took four hours.

Now, for those business owners out there who are stubborn and know it... you'll know that the majority of the time, handing over the reigns to someone, when you only trust yourself to do it right... this can hurt a business. It's a state of mind, and sometimes you just need to do it yourself.

Well, I had to find out what was going on with the shipping, because we'd gotten a couple of emails asking for tracking numbers.

So, I jump in. I'm working on a laptop, so I don't have my dual monitors that I had (I gave them to charity when I moved to NY, they were old, worked, but wayyyyy too heavy to pack and lug, again). What I could do was split the two screens so that I could see all the info from the shopping cart, and the paypal shipping template.

Problem solved. I got 98 labels done in two hours, and we were back on schedule.

So now we're shipping about 80 boxes a day.

See, it's not just making soap. It's then cutting the loafs. Then shrink wrapping. Then labeling. Then invoicing and charging credit cards for those orders that didn't go through paypal. Then writing out gift cards to people who sent gifts.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, regular sized production facility and office space or not. We're organized. Or, I should say, they're organized.

But whew... this took some doing. We're almost up to date with orders, thank god. International orders are getting sent out. That was another headache... we'd never shipped international Soapier orders before. So, we had to estimate shipping overseas, and then contact each customer with the actual shipping cost. That took a lot of time.

One of the things I've tried to drill into my mom's head is the simple fact that, unless you're in a very specialized situation (perhaps as we are in right now), customers do not care that you're working 18 hour days.

They just want their product.

That's not to say that people are insensitive. As I said, I think we're in a pretty unique position, and we're so thankful for people who are being so patient with us... but when you're a business owner, customers are key, and you make them happy. You want them to stay customers.

So, working ridiculous hours is part of the business. I've pretty much been up until 2 or 3 in the morning for the past week or so, every night, trying to make things easier, while I'm 1,151.51 miles away from my family.

On a lighter note, I can't stop drinking berry smoothies.

Seriously. I just had one, and I want another. I put in frozen strawberries, fresh blueberries and raspberries, and soy milk. I can't stop drinking them. Luckily, across the street is a fresh fruit and vegetable stand. They're all over the place in NYC.

Ok, ok.

Anyway.

That's where we're at today. I looked at the addresses I'd entered in, and saw I was getting caught up... I figured I'd update this again.

Hope you're all looking forward to the weekend!

Oh, and our awesome old PR company sent out a press release for us today, for free. That was very nice of them. You can read it here, if you'd like.

Talk soon.

J

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dusting off

Well. Dear reader, hello!

It's been just over 10 months since I updated this blog. Soooooo much to tell you.

Some good, some bad. Mostly bad. And then good. And then REALLY good.

I don't know where to begin. My girlfriend's cat Kaylie is crying at the door for my girlfriend, and I cannot concentrate.

First off, let me detail the mediocre rise, the plateau, the fall, and the new beginnings of Soapier.

Soapier started out as a retail store online. It was the brain child of my sister Erica, my mom and myself.

See, my mom had started making soap in her basement, to sell at craft shows and all that. She named it First In Line Soap. She had this image of people lining up for her products, and thus liked the name. I created a flash website for her, we did the shopping cart, and then waited for some wholesale orders to come in.

Now, this was pre-google. Pre-adwords. Pre-all-that-shit.

And we had no idea how to get new customers. I mean, sure. "Let's get on Yahoo!"

"Yes! Yahoo!"

Crickets.

You see? We don't know a thing about how to do that.

Time went on. Business cards were given out. And she was making a real go of it. And she loved creating new soaps.

Enter my sister. Business started picking up and my mom needed help, and so my sister was helping her. And we thought "Why aren't we selling our soaps online, retail?"

It was a good question. And so we all sat there and thought of a name for a retail store.

Now, I'm not tooting my own horn here. Seriously, but Soapier was mine. My thought, my idea, my legacy. My (insert word here).

Now, I can't remember when we purchased the domain name soapier.com*, but in my opinion, it's an AWESOME domain name! I mean, unless you own soap.com or soapy.com... is there anything else out there that strikes to the heart of our business?

* The soapier.com domain name is for sale. Contact me at john@soapierforsale.com

And so we bought a template website. Fixed it up. Got new pictures...

And then... I quit my job. See, I'm sure some of you can respect the idea of working in an overly stressful environment. Well, I couldn't hack it anymore.

So, I figured "Hey, I'm talented. I have experience. I'll work freelance!"

And I did. For two whole weeks. And then a day here. There. And then I couldn't find a thing.

I mean, really. That was May of 2007. I was unemployed until I left NY in February of 2008 to move to Florida to help with the business. See, at this time, we had gotten a loan and had money to pay for our salaries, rent, and the new retail store we opened (there's a post here somewhere about it). And the first month we opened that retail store was the best month we'd ever had. It was ridiculous.

We kept fixing the store up. We had wholesale customers. Things were ok. And then summer hit. And 100 degree heat is not for vacationers in Florida. So, ok, we knew that.

And then the housing bubble burst. And then the economy started tanking. And then... and then... and then.

In five months things dried up. We even lost wholesale customers we'd had for years... they had either shut their doors down, or were not buying our product any more, to concentrate on other products... or for whatever reason. They were trying to save their own skin. And we couldn't blame them.

So, we have a retail store that's pulling in close to nothing. It's not even breaking even. We have a wholesale business that is floundering. We have two places we have to pay rent on. We have three salaries. Electricity. Internet. Water bills.

I stopped taking a salary in July and broke my lease for my apartment. I dumped things in storage, and put other things I could sell at my mom's. I moved in there, too, to save on rent and food and all that stuff.

August was a pain in the ass. It's super hot. You have to run the AC.

And you know, it's funny, but in the months I was in Florida, I was in very good shape. I mean, I was exercising all the time, eating well... my anxiety problems were not as prevalent in Florida, as they are in NY. Don't get me wrong... this has been a 10 year battle.

10 year battle.

I've been a graphic designer for 10 years.

Holy crap.

Ok, ok.

So. I'm a drain on the business. My sister, irreplaceable. My mom, of course, is the rock of the business.

So, I move back to NY. I move in with my girlfriend... the economy is not at it's worst... the store stays open, the production facility stays open. They're saving money without me down there... they have to work a little harder but, that's life when you own your own company.

So, I'm in NY. And it's September, and it's a good month to find work.

Between September and November of 2008 I sent out over 100 resumes. I went on one interview. To be a stock boy at a wine store. And I didn't get it.

I had sent out resumes to just about any kind of job I felt I could do. That was the only response.

It was about October/November that I started having panic attacks every time I left the house. Now, I'm an avid bike rider. I shipped my bike up. I could ride in September. October was ok. After that... forget it. Going to the grocery store became an event.

I'd get half way, and have to turn back. If I had to take the subway... I'd trying and convince myself that nothing was going to happen while I was on the train. That would take half an hour, on the platform, trains stopping, going.

It was terrible. And the thing is, I still have this problem. And I've been working on it. And I'm on my fourth medicine. And I can't tell if it's working, because I still get panic attacks.

And, yes, I'm seeing a therapist.

You know, people might say 'why's he sharing all this' and the fact is, I'm almost at the point where I have nothing to lose.

Some of you readers are coming from Reddit. If you are, you might have seen one of the following threads posted.

Hi Reddit... I need some help


A Thank You From Soapier to Reddit

You can read those threads, or you can continue and then read them.

So, I get to NY. And I slowly become a mess. No money, no work... no reason to leave the house, and I slowly become agoraphobic. And OCD. And depressed. It's like a snowball.

Things are getting worse all over. My mom's borrowing money to keep the business afloat. We're giving product away on our wholesale site to entice new customers.

And things get worse.

We have to close the retail store. No choice. No money is coming in. We had hired a retiree to run in 4 days a week... she wasn't even selling enough for her $50 a day salary. It was a joke.

My sister can't draw a salary any more. She gets work with her husband at CVS.

Then we have to close the production facility that we're four months behind on in rent.

We put things in storage. My sister moves into a cheaper place, and we move stuff to her home to start making soap for wholesale orders.

My mom is beside herself and has no income coming in. She's behind on her mortgage. She starts going to garage sales to find things to flip on ebay. She's 61 and has two marketable skills. Bookkeeping (no degree) and soap making. She goes on five interviews. No one returns her follow-up calls.

See, back when I was actually working, I purchased a lot of artwork, as investments. I loved collecting artwork. So, I started selling pieces off, so that I could send money to my mom. Then I got a part time job with the job that stressed me out so much in May of 2007. They contacted me out of the blue, and it was a godsend.

I ended up missing four days of work over the course of a few months because I couldn't get on the train to head up to work. I tried taking taxis. I'd get halfway there and have them turn around, head home.

Now, I get 1 day a week... 2... when they need help. It's enough to keep me in pocket money, but it's not enough to help my mom with her mortgage or bills. Seriously. And it takes me a half an hour to get out of the house.

I'm running out of options. We've no money for advertising. Our wholesale customers are drying up. My mom's borrowed money from pretty much everyone she can think of. She's going to lose her home if things don't shape up...

So, I'm here, 35 years old. House ridden (80% of the time), a mess, broke... and feeling like a complete and utter failure on all counts. I mean, seriously. I can't even get a regular job type job, just so that I can send money to my mom.

So, I take a step that is a hail Mary, like you wouldn't believe. I'm sure Redditors will agree that the odds of what happened on reddit were about 1,000 to 1.

It is impossible for me to describe my mom's voice pre-reddit thread. She sounded like her, but something was missing. And there are so many words that I can use to describe them, you know, but they aren't going to come close.

My mom called me on Sunday, June 14th, two days after I posted the first reddit article. I said "Hello."

Nothing.

"Hello."

Silence.

"Hello?"

Now, I don't know about you guys, but I haven't heard my mom cry in about 20 years. And it was because I did something very stupid.

She was crying and said "Bay News 9 just called me up and said they want to do a story on us." She said that someone from Reddit (yes, I know who) called them and told them what had happened.

And, as most of you have seen, my infamous hair made it onto Tampa news.

Sigh.

I've had friends from all over write me to say "Dude... it's no wonder you didn't have a girlfriend all through college." Or reasonable facsimile's thereof.

My mom, after that phone call, sounded like a different person. Or the old person. You know. It's almost like you see someone with a new haircut, or something, and you're like "God, look at that..." and then a few days later, you can't remember the old cut.

Well, that's what happened here. Old mom, depressed, under stress... new mom, under good stress, working her ass off, accomplishing things... different/same old person, just new, again.

It's refreshing, you know? And I hope it lasts.

I thank you for reading. I hope to keep this journal up with more info, more adventures, and more stuff. All the best to you,

John