Sure, I had a plan for my life. I dreamed of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up…the things I would do. But, it turned out that my life had life of it’s own, random and unpredictable.
At 16, my summer job was at a little fish restaurant in Ft Worth. At 17, a car hop in Corpus Christi bouncing straight into construction work. Yes, I can roof your house, stucco it, tape & bed, tile, etc. I don’t want to, but I can. Lol At 18, I was married and by 19, a new mom. 6 years and many miles between, I became a mom again.
Once I realized my son was dyslexic, I took classes and certified to become a home school teacher. (Hidden Gifts) When both kids were in regular classes, I joined a writers guild and began publishing poetry, prose and copious mounds of newspaper articles.
I helped open a womens shelter (Haven Of Hope) then took a part time job at an oil change center as an office assistant. 3 days later, I was both changing oil and the full time manager hiring my own assistant. 3 years later, I moved on to a new adventure, managing a retail store and in time, leaving to open my own boutique.
While, building my business at night, my days were spent taking the Red Cross lifesaving & First aid classes and lifeguard classes. I wanted to spend the final summer before my son left for college with him and work together at the city pool where he worked each summer. By opening day, I was the manager.
Life saved at the nearby pond. Commendation by American Red Cross and the Mayor. Yes I’m in a walker boot…ballerina leap incident. #Shenanigans
By summers end, I opened my boutique of unique items you couldn’t find in our small local town, from clothing to aroma therapy and body jewelry.
For many years, a sketchy character would roll into town by night in a bus and set up shop as a tattoo artist and body piercer. Hygiene wasn’t his personal high point and it extended to his bus but young people would flood in to recieve horrible tattoos and every girl a navel piercing. Just as he blew into town, he’d blow out again in the middle of the night and without accountability for what he’d done.
While making an order for body jewelry from a vendor out of Florida, the vendor asked about my business. During the conversation, we covered the sketchy fella and how no one could purchase body jewelry anywhere within an hours drive. The vendor, knowing my concerns as a mother concerning Mr Sketchy, asked why I didn’t become a piercer, that way I’d know the kids were getting proper care. Hmmmmm…..
You guessed it, I took an apprenticeship and my boutique began piecing. Afterwards, (and I cannot tell you why I continued to talk to this apparently influential vendor) he asks, “Well since you’re already piercing, why don’t you learn to do tattoos and get rid of Mr Sketchy altogether? It’s the responsible thing to do for your community right?” Damn him!
Living in small town bible belt can be tricky for some businesses but, I had already worked for the mayor managing the city park pool and surprisingly, gained the mayor’s and towns support. The next thing I knew, I had paid the $10,000 apprenticeship fee, took the state health department written exam, spent 6 months of apprenticeship learning the art, physical exam and Health Dept inspection. Boom, boutique turned tattoo studio! You couldn’t have been more surprised than I was! I didn’t even have one nor was this even an idea anywhere near my radar!
Business boomed and soon I moved to a larger college town nearby and hired a couple additional artists. My place was high end, professional and our Aseptic technique and sterilization practices put physicians to shame. That’s by the words of both a Cosmetic Surgeon and the head of Cardiology of the local hospital, who stated mine exceed even their own. Chilling isn’t it? I had the top studio in the state with only one competitor who came close to my business numbers but it took him 11 artists to come close to what I did with 4.
If you’re curious about what kind of living a tattoo studio owner could possibly make…. I opened my business on a Thursday. At the end of the night on Saturday, I paid out all my artists. I paid them at 50%. My take home profit for 3 days was $4500.00.
Soon, my ads were on the radio and my studio was sponsoring every major rock concert in our area. Fledgling bands frequently visited the studio and just like that, I’m a band promoter!
Some years later, I took a partner and moved the business to downtown Main Street, reopened, built it up then sold it for a mint to said partner and moved to Oklahoma.
I remarried and became the step mom of 3 more kids. Life had settled into a quiet flow. We bought a huge house then watched as it emptied as one by one of the kids graduated and left for college. Clay had a long time love of horses and bought one. We kept her at a nearby stable. While there we saw a new handsome gelding strutting into the paddock near ours.
Within a few days, he was ours. That fateful journey and nearly deadly adventure was covered in my post The Horse Came Back Alone. BOOM! Race horse owner, Breeder!
With horses kept at a stable and all the kids now out of the home….we randomly bought a farm! Yes, city girl trades stilettos for mudboots! I was knee deep in it before it even occurred to me that I had no idea what I was doing or in for! This time in life was rife with mis-adventure and copious amounts of hilarity! You can read this in any of “My Life In Mudboots” posts. City girl gone Amish!
5 years later, with Clay nearing early retirement, we began dissolving our horse ranch and remodeling the 1969, run down farmhouse. (Farmhouse before) In minute detail, I reimagined and designed exactly my vision for this place and Clay and I set about making that vision come to life.
Before: Livingroom at purchase.
I returned to those earlier construction days, strapping on a tool belt and we began virtually rebuilding from floor to ceiling. There were many areas of this project that neither of us had tackled before but hey, we fly by the seat of our pants around here and you can YouTube how to do anything right? Boom! Home remodeler! (Farmhouse After)
Finally finishing all the projects we intended for the farmhouse and a million more as every small project lead to a larger unexpected one, I staged our home to put it on the market. My eclectic and curious nature finally paid off. Having an interest in many things, I had actually taken an Interior Decorating course and obtained my CID! That’s right, Boom! Interior decorator. With house staged and put on the market, we recieved a full price offer in 3 day!
We spent many days while remodeling the old farm, in prayer. We prayed that God bring the perfect buyer to our home, a buyer who this place would be as much of a blessing to as it had been for us, a family who would love this place and flourish there. God answered.
The buyer not only is raising his young daughter there but brought his parents. We all became great friends and I cannot express the joy I feel to see how loved it is, to see his baby grow and flourish there, to see such family love and joy visited upon that little farm.
As for us, we bought a huge RV, loaded up the dogs and traveled to The Lake Of The Ozarks. We lived in our RV for several months while looking for a home. Adventure is a pretty good word to describe it. Living in an RV with great Danes should be adventure enough but home shopping, traveling to dog shows on weekends and watching summer turn to winter added to the memories.
As with many adventures, not all memories are good ones. Ours would be no different as evidenced by the late night murder of our RV parks managers as they slept in their bed and attempted murder of the camp host and his wife, all who were in the RV park. You can read about this tragic tale in my post, “Murder At Riverview RV Park“.
Fog on the water at dawn
Today, we live in our lakefront home, welcoming visitors to come and stay awhile. We hike through mountains and forests (see posts of Ha Ha Tonka Park), visit caverns, caves, vineyards, play Pickleball and seek out adventure wherever it can be found.
Though my life is not what I had planned, it’s seldomly been boring and often… one wild ride. I have been a nomad, a collector of skills and random knowledge, explorer of many fields, wearer of many shoes, a dreamer and a vagabond with a gypsy soul and if I could go back and start this life over, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Always with Love, Laura💕