Thursday, April 30, 2009

Personal-ish: Job

Petunia (grandiflora?) 'Tidal Wave Silver.'

Second bombshell (of three) for the week, and probably the one my readers will find most surprising: I'm quitting my job. I told the boss on April 23rd. I'm going to be working through at least May 23, and then probably off for a week, and then maybe I'll be back one or two days per week through the middle of June or something. A lot depends on how horrible moving is, and how out-of-control life is feeling by late May.

I have mixed feelings about this, though overall I think it's more good than bad. If nothing else, I'm not sure my poor body would be able to handle another summer of this. I mean, we know the heat is an issue, and that time of year is getting closer. There are a lot of other reasons why this seems like the thing to do now. Some of the reasons sound better (or at least normaler) than others.

Rudbeckia hirta.

I've been kicking around various plant-related ideas for What To Do Next: I couldn't really become a wholesaler (startup costs are prohibitive), but in theory there's nothing stopping me from propagating plants on my own and selling them. The town to which we're moving is rumored to be starting up a Farmers' Market this summer, and many of the towns in the area have Farmers' Markets of their own, so that could be a source of income, in theory. Failing that, maybe EBay or something. I don't know. I've also been told a few times that I should look into writing, either for magazines or getting a book proposal together, which just as soon as I find out how and what one proposes to a book I will totally do that. Writing, at least, seems like a pretty duh kind of avenue to pursue, since I was doing that anyway.

The husband should be able to cover us financially, BTW, especially since the house payment is going to be about half of what we were paying in rent. I mean, we'd be giving some stuff up by not having the extra income, but since one of the things we'd be giving up are heat exhaustion and back-breaking labor, it seems worth it to me.

Catharanthus roseus 'Peppermint Cooler.'

This, like with the move, is also going to have repercussions for the blog, because (in theory) there will eventually be vastly more time available for writing and researching and photographing. I've been feeling guilty for quite a while now about not keeping up better with everybody else's blogs, so this might give me the chance to comment on other people's posts and link to other people's blogs and so forth.

The down side is that I'll have a much smaller pool of plants available for pictures. I mean, obviously I'll go back to my current employer from time to time, 'cause it's still the best source around for plants I might want to buy (though -- will it still have a selection perfectly tailored to my whims and needs if I'm not the one putting together the orders anymore? Probably not.), but I'm not going to be able to go back and spend hours looking around for photographable stuff. At least not daily. (Not that I do that now, but I do spend hours around the plants, and sometimes photographable stuff appears.) And also I'll have less inside information to share about what working in a garden center is like, or possibly I'll still have the information but it won't be as immediate to me, so I won't find it as interesting, or whatever. But that's maybe okay, right?

Verbena 'Aztec Red Velvet.'

I feel very weird announcing this, in a number of ways but mostly because this is something of a risk, and I'm not ordinarily someone who likes to take risks. (Though staying at the job was not without its risks, either.) Doing it anyway, but it feels weird.


Lucy Corrander said...

I expect it does seem weird - nerve-racking and exciting too. And how wonderful to have a husband who supports you in taking such a major step.

I don't know how many spaces there are in the book market for house-plant books but, if you were to get something together, you certainly have a very accessible writing style - I read posts here about plants I have no particular interest in, simply because I enjoy your blog!

And photographs - you must have a vast library of photographs to draw on by now?

And garden-centre anecdotes . . . ditto . . .

And if you were to do a book about plants . . . it's unique attraction might be to include garden centre anecdotes. Such books are usually written from the point of view of professional gardeners which isn't the same at all.

I expect you already know the Shibaguyz' blog - but it strikes me they might have some useful comments to make about branching out like this . . . farmers markets etc..

Whatever happens . . . very best wishes in your new venture(s).


P.S. I like that kind of Rudbeckia.

J said...

And more congratulations! From the first time I read your blog, I thought, Yup, Mr. S has a book brewing, so I hope you will pursue that. Man, lots of change for you guys.

I love the idea of hooking up with farmers markets and propagating and selling plants. Sounds like a greenhouse may be in the works soon.

Blessings and salutations and happiness to you both!

(Now I'm waiting with bated breath for the THIRD revelation.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mr. S., Wow, you are having some major life change units going on. I can totally commiserate with you. The Project DH and I were working on ended wile we were on Christmas vacation. It took me a few months to get used to "bumming around," as I call it. Financially everything is okay, but mentally it was hard for me to feel like I didn't have anything to contribute. It takes a little getting used to. It's not worth risking your health to an occupational hazard.

I found your heat experience very interesting. I have felt some of the same symptoms myself. While working in the garden I've felt dizzy from the heat and when I used to play tennis, there were times I had to take a short water break to stop feeling lightheaded. I don't have good heat tolerance and like you mentioned, I feel like I can't cool down.

I can't wait to see what you do with your yard!

About your next venture, plant propagation sounds like fun. I've purchased plants from very professional private propagators on eBay and I've been really pleased.

On writing, there are a ton of books on writing, duh, but the one you need is the Writer's Market, look for a 2008 or 2009. It can be found cheaply on Amazon or eBay. It includes submittal information for every type of publication in America and a few Intl. There's a ton of great information for submitting. It's a very serious publication.

Good luck! You know what they say, When one door...

CelticRose said...

How lucky you are to be able to chuck everything and do what you want! I hope everything goes well for you.

Have you considered starting a magazine? Your fun writing style would translate well to that medium.

our friend Ben said...

As someone with zero heat and humidity tolerance and one who'd rather not come within screaming distance of a chemical, much less breathe them in constantly in a closed environment, I am thrilled for you, Mr. S.!!! And now, about that book: I was an excecutive editor at two nonfiction publishing houses, one of whom published gardening books, for years, and started my publishing career as senior editor at a gardening magazine. Here's what a proposal needs to do: Give both a table of contents and full outline of your proposed book, including a writing sample and photos (no prob in your case). Discuss potentially competitive books and why yours is different and better. Present your own credentials (your "marketing platform"), including your experience in the field, educational background (if relevant), personal houseplant collection (if the book is on houseplants), and your blog and the number of hits it receives. Try to come up with a catchy title and subtitle for the book (I'd be happy to help here if desired). I suggest that once you have your proposal together you send it to Tom Fischer, Editor-in-Chief at Timber Press, which as I'm sure you know publishes serious books on gardening and I think would appreciate one by you. (Or you could send it to Anna Mumford, their Acquisitions Editor, but I think I'd go for Tom.) Check them out at And good luck!!! [Disclaimer: I have never worked for nor been published by Timber Press; I simply think it would be a good fit.]

Anonymous said...

You have talents, you have a passion, and you have a supportive husband. And I'll add courage to that list - too often we hang on to security rather than step forward into the unkown. And, as one door closes another opens and then you'll be asking, "why didn't I do this sooner?" I hope you'll consider the writing option seriously. Remember that the precursor to the blogs was the garden ruminations sort of essay, that when gathered together in book form have been treasured by generations of readers.

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah! Congratulations on the impending life changes, Mr. S. The weird feeling will go away as your brain starts processing everything, but be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. I've decided that Humans like novelty, but real change scares the pants off us. It'll take some getting used to.

As for your book; dude, gather up all those plant profiles you've been writing and there's your book! More or less. ;-)

Again, congratulations to both of you, and don't worry about your readers -- we'll be here, waiting patiently and cheering you on.


Water Roots said...

Wow, lots of changes! It's exciting for sure, but it also must be a little scary. In any case, I think you'll do great. You have talent, imagaination and - above all - a very supportive partner! Best wishes to you from a Canadian neighbour.

Kenneth Moore said...

lol Some of us may be more patient than the rest, Korina. But Mr. S, I'm happy for you and look forward to reading about your outdoor planting fun and any new ventures that you dream up, whether book or home-grown plant business. Or both. Synergize--use the book and your own gardening magazine to promote plant sales. ;-) (That's like Martha Stewart. You can even create your own line of houseplant pots, potting soil, watering cans, trays for propagation! It would be paradise!)

But I'm with J, waiting with a nervous twitch, wondering what Revelation the Third will bring...