Hell Week

Hi friends!

Have you ever had the kind of week that feels like everything is falling apart? Folks, all the things went to hell in a handbasket for me last-last week.


As a disclaimer, I’m usually an open book on MY life, but when it comes to the people around me who contribute to the struts and stumbles of my days, I have to draw a line as to what I share publicly to protect the innocent – and the not so innocent.

That being said, contributing factors to the litany of shit included:

  • The dude has been sick and was hospitalized for 12 days
  • The pooch was poisoned
  • The investment property had a very expensive leak
  • The day job had ‘challenges’ with activations at SXSW
  • The freelance gig had some unexpected alterations

Let’s talk about The Dude. Happily, he’s out of the hospital as of Monday night. Thank sweet lawd baby jesus. I’m not going to dish all the details, but his stay included countless MRIs, CAT scans, a spinal tap and culminated with a biopsy of his brain. Lucky for my sanity though, the biopsy date coincided with the day my dog was poisoned – nbd right? uhhhhh.

I’m so grateful he is out and doing well. We’re optimistic about the course of his medical care and looking forward to getting on with our future.

On to The Pooch. My weasel had a rough time last week, but I’m happy to report that she’s also doing well post intensive care. She got in to a toxic substance on Tuesday evening, which I found out late in to the night where the only options were to 1) watch her at home or 2) take her to a 24 hour emergency facility.

I’m very lucky to have a few great friends with knowledge how to care for four-legged friends, so after reaching out to one of these experts I decided the situation was not escalated to emergency status and I would watch her for the night and see how she did through the morning. She had a rough night. Affects of this substance had her panicky and reactive to light, movement and sound which made for an unnerving evening for both of us. The next morning she was still clearly uncomfortable and sluggish, so I stayed home from work to monitor her symptoms and take her to the vet on a moments notice in case anything got hairy – no pun intended.

A few hours in to our time together, I took her to the lawn to see if she would do her business, where she reacted by swaying back and forth trying to hold her body weight up, then collapsing in to the grass and refusing to move. This really freaked me out. I immediately scooped her up, jumped in my car and headed to the vet who took her back to an exam room tout suite. Her body temperature was dangerously low at 94 degrees; a healthy temperature for dogs is around 99 degrees. I was advised she would be given fluids and a heating pad to help her body normalize and told to come back at five to take her home and monitor her progress. Feeling overwhelmed but grateful for the support of Dr. Debbie, I  left my baby under the watchful care of the clinic for the remainder of the day.

This is where things really began to break down. I called in the afternoon to check her progress and was given a positive report her temperature had increased and I should proceed with the plan of picking her up at five. When I arrived, everything hit the fan. My lovely Dr. Debbie was gone for the day and replaced by a haggish older woman who was now in charge of patients at the clinic and seemed none too pleased about it. She was the most un-helpful, rude and aggressive person I’ve ever encountered in my many years of pet care.

Here’s how it went down.

  • I came in to pick up my dog and was greeted by the receptionist, who went back to Dr. Hag in the exam room, visible by the waiting area.
  • Dr. Hag hands the receptionist a FLUID BAG which she brings up to me with no other explanation but “you need to take your dog to the 24 hour emergency vet overnight.”
  • I ask questions. “What’s going on with her?” “Why did the vet this morning tell me I can bring her home tonight?”
  • Dr. Hag shrieks from the exam room, still not even coming out to talk to me after I’ve already handed over hundreds of dollars to pay for the visit, ‘The other vet was WRONG. You are an educated consumer and you can do whatever you like with your dog, but this is MY recommendation.’
  • My blood boils.

I don’t need to take you through the remainder of the interaction with this obviously miserable woman, but the kind receptionist offered to help me get my baby out to the car and let me know she would try to call Dr. Debbie for me. I once again reached out to my animal care support team (aka Morgan & Alicia – love you both) and decided to ignore the horrible woman’s advice and take my little one home to watch for the night. Thankfully, I quickly received a call from both Dr. Debbie and my normal vet and owner of the facility, Dr. Evans, both apologizing for the exchange with Dr. Hag and letting me know they both agreed home care was the best course of action for my girl.

She made it through the night with steady improvement and I brought her back to the vet Thursday morning as advised, where she stayed the remainder of the day for observation. She was cleared to come home Thursday evening with a follow-up visit scheduled on Saturday. She’s fine now, back to her bouncy obnoxious self, though my nerves are still shot from the experience and my back account took a heavy beating. Two disasters down, three to go.

The House. Most of you know I’m part of an investment team on a property in Pomona, as I lived in the house for the past six years before deciding to rent it out back in November. We received a call a few weeks back from the current occupants detailing an issue with some cracked tile resulting in a minor injury for one of the tenants. Needless to say, the flooring needed fixed. I sent out a contractor to check out the scope of the work for replacing the cosmetic damage to the floor and was well, floored with the response I received. Not only was the floor needing to be replaced, there was likely foundational damage to the underside of the house resulting from the dreaded lifeblood of our planet – water.

Anyone with responsibility to a property knows water can be the most destructive necessity around. After a few weeks of back and forth with our contractor of choice, we settled on sending him in to repair anything damaged by the leaks. The floor was replaced, along with a whole mess of wood on the underbelly of the property and swapping the pedestal sink for a vanity in the master bathroom. It all turned out lovely. To be honest, the process was relatively painless, but once again my bank account took an unexpected wallop. So much for my diligence in saving money lately.

The Day Job. This was less dramatic, but we had a series of unfortunate events with some client activations at SXSW. Ever the pros, the team handled the setbacks as well as they could and made it out alive. These blips sent the office in to a bit of a frenzy during the festival week, contributing to the workload of the few who remained in the bullpen and away from Austin. The stress was palpable and definitely contributed to the overall chaos of my already challenging week.

The Gig. The life of a freelancer is often tumultuous. While I keep myself well prepared for these types of setbacks, I still have learning to do when it comes to selecting honorable people to do business with. Without giving away too much about the not-so-innocent, I had a client deeply disappoint me last week by wasting hours of my time in research, communications and preparation of a contract only to be told at the last minute (after getting a taste of my strategy) that we weren’t a good fit for business. He agreed to compensate my hours, but has since made it very difficult to connect regarding my invoice. This hit me for two reasons.

Of course I was looking forward to completing the project financially. It’s a given fact that the exchange of goods and services for payment is how most of us continue to live in content and are able to pay our rent. But aside from the financial setback, this situation is particularly disappointing as I was genuinely excited to work on the project from a creative point of view. I saw potential and went out of my way to prepare a great plan, only to have that plan witnessed and the project participation aborted. Can I say with finality that this guy straight up stole my ideas and doesn’t intend to pay for them? Not with certainty, but that’s where he seems to be heading.

Though he mentioned compensation for my time, essentially a consolation prize for the services previously rendered, this guy has been nearly radio silent since I sent my invoice. To see if I actually receive the compensation I am due is to be determined. For now, I’m taking away a few lessons other budding freelancers may heed as well. Moving forward I need to to tighten up my contract language and set boundaries on the amount of time spent communicating with a client prior to signing an agreement and receipt of payment.

If you made it this far, thankyouthankyouthankyou for reading.

Any freelance advice for me? Want to share your hell week story? Leave a comment, I love to hear from the squad.

as always,

struts, stumbles, hugs & kisses- Nicole