We have internet going at Haphazard Station now, and the laptop works when I hold my mouth right and the stars are aligned. The printer is working and I am finally pretty close to completely stocked on herbs. So I’m shipping orders out from here and catching up on the godawful backlog.
Folks who have been waiting way beyond the published processing times on orders, I am either sending you cool goodies along with your order if I’m sure you’d like them, or I’m sending you the means to pick out cool goodies yourself, so don’t just toss your packaging without looking at everything – there could be a coupon code in there.
I’m really sorry things have been so chaotic for so long now, but I am finally getting my feet underneath me again, for real. It hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked, to put it mildly, but it *is* going 🙂
I am so grateful for y’all that have stuck by me and been more patient than I could ever have any right to expect. For real. It’s been a rough year, but y’all make it worthwhile. Thank you.
I’ve been in the process of setting up my “field office” at Haphazard Station in Louisiana, and in fact just about had it effectively set up – I shipped a number of orders from there last week.
Last weekend, I headed back to Seraphin Station in Alabama to catch up on things that had to be done from there and pack up another carload. I made it to Slidell, just shy of the LA/MS state line. Then my car died.
Finally got the mechanic verdict: I no longer have a car.
Then of course somebody did a chargeback in the middle of all of this, so they got a bunch of free stuff and I got fined by my payment processor. So I took a day and a bit to hang out in Slidell stranded, have a meltdown, and finally marshal what was left of my sanity to figure out my next move.
Long story short, this week so far has pretty much been nonstop stress, chaos, and frankly devastating expense as I’ve been figuring out how to roll with this new situation that effectively means my stuff is spread out across three states. So I am incredibly grateful for your patience and understanding right now.
I’ll be honest – I got knocked down for a minute there. But I’m not staying down. Rest assured no orders have gotten lost, and I promise I am not ignoring anybody on purpose. I’m busting my butt to get a grip on it and adjust fire with my agenda and plans. I’m currently back in Alabama at Seraphin Station and as of today, I have a big bin of packages ready for the next batch of shipping labels, which I should be able to print after I get done prepping for the freeze we’re gonna have tonight. Which I needed to go out and start ten minutes ago.
Y’all who observe such, pour one out for those trickster gods for me if you have a sec 🙂
I’ve fixed the problem with the contact and intake forms.
The contact form issue was resolved by going back to the old form and the old form host. Important: This means that the host we were using to exchange messages after your initial form submission *no longer works.* I still have the record of the convo, and I will contact you without going through that platform if I need to reply. If *you* need to reply and hitting “reply” doesn’t work, just send the email to support @ seraphinstation.com instead.
The intake form issue was resolved by getting rid of intake forms entirely. Now, when you want to book a service or need to provide customization info, you should see a form right there on the product or service page that you will fill out *before* checkout. This means fewer boxes to fill out, as well, since the whole thing will be part of your order and so I don’t need you to retype your name/email/etc. or look up your service order number.
This is pretty much what I spent last week doing (sigh) so I really hope that *this* time, I have found a solution that will work and keep on working for more than a minute. But if you run into any issues, please let me know so I can figure them out for you.
As you can imagine, I made very little progress on the backlog due to having to put out *this* fire, but I’m back to working on the backlog now 🙂
Wow, today is glitch city. I’m working on fixing this thing now too. Just hang on to your petitions until I figure this out. Or if you want to be away from the computer for the rest of the week, and/or other worst case scenario, just email to email@example.com.
I’ll post an update or a workaround as soon as I can.
update 7:30 p.m. Central:
I’m waiting on a help desk ticket. In the meantime, please use the following older intake forms as a backup until I get this sorted out.
I wrote parts of this well over a week ago, but Things keep happening and I keep not managing to finish anything. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a death in the family, and then a sick chicken who ultimately didn’t make it, and that got me chasing all the other chickens around trying to get a good look at them… and then I decided they must have mites even though I couldn’t see them because it explains a lot of things. So we had to treat for mites (and you have to get nuclear ’cause they can kill your chickens), and the bulk of that took two people two full days.
In the midst of all that, there’s this poor little baby chick who just isn’t quite right – he isn’t developing right and his legs very often don’t work. His feathers aren’t in. It’s been cold. His mama is trying to get him all the way to the top of the coop to roost and he can’t even walk a straight line for two feet.
I told myself not to get attached – give him vitamins and check on him periodically but nature’s gonna have to do what nature does here because we aren’t equipped to have a paraplegic house chicken who needs daily physical therapy and to be hand-fed. (And I know, because *we’ve done that before.* And we shouldn’t have, at least not as long as we did, not once we could see she wasn’t really getting any better.)
Incredibly, this miniature turkey of a rooster is not only still alive, *he’s actually walking better* these past few days. He could possibly even get away in case of predators… slower ones. He’s still wonky and mama’s about done mama-ing, but he might have a fighting chance, and wow, is he a fighter. And against my better judgment, I’ve gotten attached
I’ve been referring to him as the Littlest Rooster, but I guess since he’s determined to stick around, we’re gonna have to name him. (He fell into a posthole today. It was a very snug fit and quite a challenge getting him out. It is *always something* lol… but I’m taking suggestions for names!)
Then my car blew a head gasket because of course it did – you know, the one I just had to replace the engine in earlier this year. And then there was a dog fight when our tenant’s dog *jumped the damned fence* to come after Roo. Roo’s hips have been bothering her pretty badly for a couple of months now, but she managed to defend herself pretty well, I guess. But to that general ailment we added some nicks and gouges and a missing dewclaw. And of course Mike, who works with his hands, was at ground zero for the fight and tried to break it up… with his hands. Because of course he did.
Then there was *another* dog fight a couple of days ago because they don’t make enough spiritual baths to navigate all this shit around here unscathed. (The tenant had put up plastic sheeting so his dog couldn’t see our dog and would stop playing Houdini. The plastic sheeting got between the latch mechanism and she just nudged the door with her face and came straight at Roo.) This time Roo’s missing several patches of fur and a lot of the skin that used to be under that fur AND the tip of her ear. My anxiety is not great and I’m doing the hypervigilance thing every time I hear a peep out of that dog. But at least we avoided having to go to the emergency vet or anything, ’cause they pretty much charge you $300 just to walk in the door
And then of course fall gardening and winter prep and deciding which bit of property line to fence next based on what seems like the biggest current threat… you know, everyday stuff.
Meanwhile, the quest continues to get everything of Seraphin Station’s transferred over to a new system and then to get all the systems talking to each other properly. There are still a few feathers sticking out here and there, but we’re nearing the home stretch – I can *see* the bottom of the inboxes now and I’ve manually cleaned up a lot of the stuff where the systems aren’t talking to each other. We’re getting things labeled and attached to/associated with the proper other things, and our new system might kind of be starting to make sense now. Mostly.
I’m still working on finding all notes and photos to catch up on reports and consults I owe folks, and I found a few more last night, so there should be more progress on that end today. I might even manage to actually update the services queue finally (wince). Well, we’ll see what I manage.
If you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just say all this a couple of months ago?” Why yes, yes, I did. That platform we were using didn’t work out because it was randomly eating some things, duplicating others, and generally making more work for us. But in transferring things over, you guessed it, a lot of stuff didn’t transfer, so now we have lists full of project cards that have titles like “new unassigned email” and the body text where all of the info should be contains nothing but an email address – *our* email address. So there’s lots and lots of stuff we have to investigate and dig for and do manually and it sucks. (And the learning curve on some of this stuff…)
But we’re getting there 🙂
A few quick notes about contact:
You are still welcome to PM me on Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, and/or Discord if you’re a client who’s been invited there, but please only do this for things that have nothing to do with an order or booking for goods or services and for things that are not urgent. If it’s about your order or booking, or your account, or your ongoing case – if I need to look something up in your file or write something down – then we need to have that convo via email so the details don’t end up spread out among three or more different sites that don’t talk to each other. You can email directly or use the contact form at the website, either way is fine.
Also, my internet still blows and I get stuck with none at all quite often. But Sonia can catch me up on situations and pass on a message to you, and she can make sure I follow up on something when I do get back online, so it really is in your best interest to use email or the contact form to ensure your message doesn’t slip between the cracks. (Obviously with Etsy stuff we have to deal with Etsy’s platform, but other than that, yeah.)
And (God willing) I’ll be caught up soon and can get back to these half-a-dozen draft posts with some actually useful info/content in them and finally get them published. I mean, I know everybody loves looking at my chicken pictures (lol), but I imagine that’s not what most folks are here for 🙂
It’s just after noon as I type this. This is the first time I’ve sat down all morning since getting up at 5:30.
I’ve changed clothes three times, mopped the kitchen and the floor of Mike’s office twice, washed the dog twice, and am washing my second load of towels. I am kind of ready to go back to bed, but it’s time to get started working now lol
Chickens have to be tended at dawn every day, period, no matter what. And then if you are doing some kind of organic farming or gardening, and especially if you live somewhere like just off the bayou in southernmost Alabama/Mississippi, this is also your best time to make the rounds of whatever you’re growing and tend to anything that needs tending. If you wait until later in the day, even for cooler weather right around dusk, it will still be hot as hell, approximately 1000% humidity, and thick with mosquitoes who think your Deep Woods Off makes a nice condiment. Not that the mosquitoes aren’t already out just after dawn, because they are, but later in the day, they’ll be impossible.
Well, it’s been raining nearly every day for over a week now, and I don’t like to garden in the pouring rain, but tomato hornworms and leaf hoppers and army worms don’t mind snacking on everything in a rainstorm, so you can lose the race *fast.* And sure enough, the sticky nightshade I relocated to be near one of my tomato patches to act as a trap crop was showing signs of a significant hornworm depredation. These things can strip a plant of leaves overnight. So impending storm or no impending storm, I had to find that hornworm.
Well, I didn’t find it before it started pouring rain. Fortunately I found it before lightning had hit nearby too many times, but I was cussing there towards the end of that hunt.
As soon as the storm let up, like within 15 minutes, because I had only just gotten into dry clothes and found some food, Roo alerted me that something was going on outside. She was running from the back yard into the house, to the front door, and then when I didn’t open the front door, back to the back yard, rinse and repeat, whining the whole time. I can’t see things further away than a few feet because I desperately need to go to an eye doctor. The tenant who lives in our cabin IDed the disturbance as a fox, a rather large one.
In a moment of supreme and undercaffeinated stupidity, I let Roo out the front to chase it. And she did – she took off like a bolt of lightning after it through the woods, moving surprisingly fast for a dog her size. Still, she wasn’t gonna catch the damn fox. So after less than five minutes, we called her to come back, which she doesn’t always do right away if she’s chasing something really exciting, but to her credit, she did.
What she caught instead of the fox included a few pretty deep mud puddles and probably some old barbed wire from a decrepit old fence (which is why I shouldn’t have let her out). So she came back soaking wet, dripping a combo of mud and blood, and we couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from.
Have I mentioned she doesn’t like baths?
Finally got her cleaned up enough to identify that she’d nicked the edge of her ear and had a little gouge in her thigh, not vet-worthy, I was thinking. I try to get her quiet and calm so the bleeding will stop. Meanwhile, Mike is packing up his tools to go to a job site — and while I’ll do in a pinch when he’s not around, Mike is Roo’s person, her north star, her beloved. Once she realizes he’s leaving, she’s back out in the (very muddy, very swampy) yard to watch him, which she will continue to do until the car is no longer in sight. The vantage point for this in the yard happens to be the point of lowest elevation in the yard, so she’s basically sitting in a puddle for all of this.
Washed her off, got her *back* inside, mopped the floors again, and noticed she’s limping now, which she wasn’t doing at first. Cue inspection of foot pads, toenails, legs, etc. Probably that little gouge in her thigh is worse than it looks and her whole leg hurts now. Vet’s not open at this point anyway – just have to keep an eye on her and keep her as calm as I can.
Then it was time to head back outside to look for any storm damage and do things with the plants *other* than look for the damned hornworm.
I’ve been busy as hell for over 6 hours and I haven’t even started “working” yet. First order of business: caffeine. We have some yaupon out here, and I’ve been making tea out of it and drinking that instead of coffee. It’s pretty good. Just don’t think about the Latin name – it’s a complete misnomer.
my new email is karmazain@seraphinstation dot com, but you don’t have to do anything different to get in touch with me. The old @gmail address still works and things sent there will show up in my new inbox and the site contact form will continue to work.
If you are still waiting on a reply from me and it’s been a week or more, *feel free to write again,* ideally by responding to the last message in our conversation so you’re basically bumping it up to the top of my giant disaster of a new inbox. I know I used to tell people not to keep “reminding” me they were waiting because it’s counterproductive and clogs my inbox. Well, that was before I accidentally screwed up everything I had set up to organize inbox stuff this past week. Now my inbox is a huge mishmash of undifferentiated, unprioritized, unlabeled stuff, so feel free to raise your hand and make noise in the meantime if you don’t want to just wait for however long it takes me to get to the bottom of this mess going message by message.
That applies to Etsy messages as well – go ahead and write again if you still want a reply from me and you’ve been waiting a week or more. Once I discovered my notifications weren’t working with the app on my phone like I thought they were, I started working on a way to get it set up so Sonia would see those incoming messages too and help me not lose track of everything in case of app/software/my attention span/whatever failure. Well, let’s just say Etsy does NOT make this easy, and in fact nothing we’ve tried so far has worked. We have a new plan of attack we’re gonna be trying here soon but bottom line is we have not solved this yet, and all the organizing features I had blew up, so it’s all a big mishmash of undifferentiated stuff. So feel free to raise your hand and holler so I can pluck your message out of the mishmash, put it in the appropriate place, and answer you 🙂
If your initials are N.S. and you were waiting on a lodestone spell kit, you will be getting that with your current in-house order as a gift from me by way of apology for making you wait so long at Etsy.
Folks, with the way Etsy runs things and the current status of existing and affordable integrations that let Etsy talk to other apps/services? Etsy is the worst damned way to get in touch with me at this exact second. If the notification of an incoming message pings my phone like it’s supposed to and does so at a time when I can answer pretty soon, all’s usually well, but in reality, Etsy’s messaging system and I don’t get along so well. So you’re always welcome to email me directly and you probably *should* for best/fastest results.
Current/In-House Orders and Bookings
This does not apply to orders that come in – those do not get lost. There is and has been a system beyond just my memory/email inbox to manage that stuff, so there is still no point in asking “when will my order ship” questions. The answer to that is the same as ever. See your order acknowledgment email for details 🙂
The only exception is gonna be a few services for a few clients where we were having an ongoing discussion on Discord and that discussion covers/crisscrosses *more than one topic or booked service.* I thought the Discord chat idea would be great for the folks who wanted to do asynchronous chat about their reading or report. And for isolated bookings, it is. But when there are several different services/reports/bookings/topics discussed via PM, it rapidly becomes a nightmare and something I just can’t stay on top of in terms of “where are we with order #S8888” or “where is the light setting report for S4567?” And I’m really sorry about that, about proposing an approach that ended up not being a very good one.
ETA: Well, WordPress ate an entire paragraph I had here, and it has something to do with its new freakin’ Blocks feature and [redacted for expletives so ridiculous they make even me feel a bit abashed]. Anyway, if we have had an ongoing PM thread at Discord on multiple things, I’m gonna have to separate these issues/topics out – or you can speed this up by nudging me if you want to tell me which orders/services we’ve begun to discuss but you’re still waiting on a response to a question on or something like that. I will create a private channel for each of those orders/bookings so it’s one issue/topic and one service booking at a time and we both know where that convo is happening, and I’ll paste over whatever info is in that disorganized PM thread and invite you to the private channel once I get it set up. Otherwise, if you’ve been waiting a while for a light setting report or consult and we haven’t started talking about it, you’re not dealing with a systems problem or a message getting lost – you’re just dealing with me being buried with work and slow as Christmas. Once we have my exploding inbox and task lists sorted back out, though, Christmas should start coming a little sooner again, so to speak.
Internet’s been down for days, I had an appt for my second COVID shot today, the ISP scheduled the repair appt for today, we still only have one vehicle, we still have hawks feeling very bold and leaf hoppers trying to murder my tomatoes, and Mike was supposed to be finishing some work at a customer’s house (after he finished attaching hardware to this tarot card storage shelf he made months ago that I told him I can’t sell until there’s a way for people to hang it on the wall– which necessitated a trip to the hardware store) . Now I have (very slow) internet again but I am in the middle of trying to set up the business email account so Sonia can do things without getting the runaround, waiting on me, chasing verification codes, etc…. and it’s taking ages cause my domain provider is not playing nice with Google’s verification setup. And it’s about time for me to go out and do dusk chores….. in the freaking rain.
So to say I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off is an understatement. But in all this chaos, things really are pointed in the right direction and some dust really should be settling soon. (It only took me a week to figure out that Sonia didn’t have access to a document with account info in it that I thought I’d given her access to. No idea how much time she wasted looking for it since I kept referring to it like it would be right there in front of her.)
Please don’t quit yet, Sonia! I’m getting it together, I promise! (with your help lol – thank you!)
We have (mostly)* reliable internet again for the first time since March 23rd. Of course, now we have no hot water because there’s never a dull moment at Seraphin Station.**
Y’all, the backlog on email (esp. light setting reports, readings, and consultations), DMs/PMs on various platforms, and Etsy messages is freakin’ considerable. It’s about to storm, but I’m gonna get started on trying to prioritize all these messages in all these inboxes as soon as I get in from weather prep (protecting the more delicate and/or new plants and getting the chickens set up in case we get any flash flooding – there’s an advisory and we live on the edge of a swamp).
Let’s hope the internet still works after it rains again. (Storms are why it quit working last time.)
*This is still the worst ISP in North America and they still haven’t buried the DSL line, so it still gets damaged when a cow looks at it wrong and it still doesn’t like to work when it rains.
**Calling this an old farmhouse would be way too poetic and generous. It’s just an old house. And it’s not even that old – it’s not charming or quaint or anything like that. I’d say it was built in probably the early ’80s, apparently by someone who never cooked a meal for more than one person in their life, ’cause the kitchen just doesn’t make *any* sense.
The first owners had an active farm here for a while, including goats. At some point, perhaps in the twilight years of farm activity — I’m speculating — at least one goat would spend the night in the house when the weather was bad.
The next people who lived here had, over the course of about 10 years, at least 20 cats. And when we moved in, the carpet was original.
So we had to rip the carpet out before I could spend the night in the house. We lived on bare subfloor and throw rugs in most of the house for a good while. The living room/my office area is still bare subfloor with some area rugs on top.
My kitchen floor was several layers of peeling linoleum until last summer.
We laid down some fairly nice cork-backed laminate flooring in the hallway a couple of years ago, but we had to pull it up last year when we realized the hallway bathroom toilet was leaking *under the floor* and had soaked into the subfloor all the way out into the hallway. (I almost didn’t survive that one – it’s not a stretch to say I was about apoplectic.) We had to replace the toilet.
We just had to replace the kitchen sink faucet and some plumbing last week.
I don’t know how old the water heater is, but I know that resetting it is just a temporary fix, so it’s gonna need more fix than that. There’s also something wrong with the oven and I cannot currently bake in it because it just randomly decides 200 degrees is fine, it doesn’t need to stay 400 degrees, thank you very much.
So I often warn people that our house is an active construction site. But that’s just a polite way of saying that if we turn our backs on it for a second, it will be literally falling down around our ears. And our appliances are, for the most part, dinosaurs. And there are fields and fencing and pastures and garden areas and chicken runs and firebreaks and an orchard and an old grape arbor and a barn with an original roof, all of which need regular attention. Oh, and that shed that collapsed hurricane before last, I think it was? Yeah, you can’t just leave stuff like that just lying there lol
So please, please don’t take it personally when something happens and I don’t reply to your emails right away 🙂 Seraphin Station is a working farm, emphasis on the “working,” and in a way, we’re trying to “reclaim” our house just as much as we’re trying to get the farm going again.
We already had our plates full this morning when we got up for dawn farm chores because we knew we had to fit waiting on hold with the ISP for a few hours into everything else this morning, and we had a toilet making objectionable noises that we had to take care of.
We started the dishwasher and went out to take care of the chickens.
And we came back in to a kitchen sink faucet spraying water a couple of feet into the air.
Whatever it is you’re waiting on is most likely not gonna get done today. I’m sorry. If you’re waiting on a reading or consultation and I haven’t begun work on it, I’m happy to issue you a cheerful refund with no hard feelings if you’d rather not wait any longer – just please write to request it and don’t put in a dispute or chargeback. Those are against site TOS and they’re really bad karma 🙂
I’m trying to get a service appointment with the ISP now. [*]
All of my systems are web or cloud based – customer database, bookkeeping, shipping, customer relationship management, communication platforms, payment processing, all of it. So I’m behind on all of that. But before you get all shirty about an order you expected to have in your hands by now, please keep in mind that 8 tornadoes have hit Alabama so far and at least five people are confirmed dead. We had a bout of insane weather last week, too. *People are dead* and services have been disrupted. So please try to keep a sense of perspective if you don’t have your Van Van oil yet, ok? Thank you!
[*] The DSL line is supposed to be buried. But they were doing road work out here for well over a year, including making the road wider and installing some drainage, so for ages, every time the wind blew wrong or a cow ambled by, the internet would stop working, ’cause the line was just sitting there out in the open, laid across 300 feet of no-longer-fenced-in pasture fronting the road.
They finished paving the road a few months ago. But the DSL line still isn’t buried. It rains, the internet stops working. Cow comes back by, internet stops working. Hold your mouth wrong, internet stops working. Ugh.
The storms have finally let up but we’re going on day three of no reliable internet. Since nearly every system I use is web- or cloud-based — postage/shipping, customer database, accounting, photo editing, social media management — everything is moving at the speed of molasses. But I’m doing what I can via phone. Hopefully the worst ISP in North America will come out and fix their Stone Age technology pretty soon and we’ll have the usual crappy DSL again… in the meantime, please don’t take it personally if I’m slow to answer or a bit taciturn 🙂