I’m still not caught up from the backlog due to weather/~3 weeks offline. But I want to illustrate why all of my handling/turnaround times are estimates only and a service can take longer than expected. 
I just finished a reading that a client booked last month.
The typed reading was 7,000 words long.
If I were still a freelance editor or writer working in Times New Roman 12 point font with 1″ margins, that would be 14 single-spaced pages.
It wasn’t some special “next five years” or extended birthday reading. It was just a regular old Tarot reading. But it was an incredibly important issue for the client and a pretty complicated situation with a lot of moving parts connected in sometimes quite subtle ways. And the cards were really digging into some nooks and crannies. I had no idea it was going to end up being that long. But that’s where the reading went, so that’s where I went, and that’s how long it took.
And that’s how I work. You’re reserving your spot in line when you place an order. Just like every other client, you’ll get your report or your stuff when it’s your turn in the queue. And when it’s your turn, you’ll get my full personal attention, just like every other client, and that takes as long as it takes.
Every item and service listing explains that my handling/turnaround times are estimates only, as do the site Terms of Service and the FAQ, and they explain that I do not give play-by-plays or answer emails asking, “just checking to see when it will be ready.” If you’re asking that, you didn’t read the item details/TOS. So when I get to your “just checking” email in the queue, I’m gonna cancel your order and send you a refund if I haven’t started work on it yet, ’cause we aren’t gonna be a good fit to work together.
But I promise you, if you are waiting in the queue and your reading or service or reply or order is later than you expect, *I have a good damned reason.* And I assure you that when it’s your turn in the queue, you’ll get that same personal attention.
To those of you who are waiting patiently, I very much appreciate your understanding and I am not taking your patience for granted. I’m steadily working on getting caught up and I am very grateful for your patronage and trust. ❤
 This isn’t even touching on how long it takes me to make it through the various inboxes of all the various platforms and sites, and my God, there are a lot of them, and I have ADD and a farm to look after, and I need a virtual assistant. I’m not even kidding. Email resume and references to karmazain at gmail if you’re interested.
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…
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 🙂
Updates on items/shop stuff are usually posted to the Seraphin Station blog. So if you’re following this blog but not Seraphin Station, you could be missing news (and rambling) about spiritual supplies and tangibles. Big Lucky Hoodoo will continue to be rootwork-specific, and you can find my services here, but the *stuff* is at the Seraphin Station shop.
You can sign up for the shop mailing list to get a “welcome coupon,” plus I send out subscriber-only offers, advance access to cool stuff, and surveys that I weigh very seriously when I’m deciding what soap to make next or what kind of Rewards Program stuff to set up for y’all.
I’m gradually updating/editing the existing resources and links here at Big Lucky Hoodoo and turning the old blog posts into actual articles.
I have a few emails sitting in my inbox that I haven’t answered yet, not because I’m ignoring the people but because I wanted to give them good, solid news… or at least solid news… when I did respond.
My plan was to spend the weekend locating and sorting through all the paperwork associated with clients, customers, companies, processors, orders, charges, chargebacks, postal crap, etc by Monday and announce that I had a list or something.
Yeah, that was unrealistic. I’ve found lots of it but I feel like I’m missing something pretty crucial – probably like all the info for orders and services in progress that lived on clipboards in the appropriate area while in progress. Haven’t found those clipboards yet, which is frustrating.
I did find the storage box containing orders that my partner had spotted. It was large. It was full. It was full of shipping boxes in various stages of being filled. Quite a few of them had paid shipping labels attached to them. And they went into storage. And they stayed there. I just … I can’t even. (This is me not screaming. It’s taking a monumental effort.)
I guess I secretly/semi-consciously hoped that I’d blown all this up in my head to monstrous proportions but it wasn’t really as bad as all that. Well, it really is as bad as all that (and this is just orders for items – haven’t dived into services/readings yet It could realistically be *even worse than I thought.* )
And the former customers who’ve gotten in touch with me over the past week to say they’d like to have any products/supplies that could currently be created rather than just a straight-up refund? Well, I was hoping I’d find their full or nearly full and ready-to-go shipping boxes in there and that everything in their order would still be usable and stable after sitting in a box in a storage unit for years.
LOL, yeah, that’s not too realistic either, huh…
Well, at the very least, I hoped I could see what made up their order and check to see what could conceivably be recreated if I have or could order the materials. That would give me an idea of what was left over that I’d simply need to refund.
Well, no such luck there either. I mean, the boxes didn’t even have packing slips in them (wince). No names, either, most of them – just initials and order numbers scrawled in horrible handwriting that’s barely legible on the outside of the box. In theory, if I can decipher those numbers, I can make a start towards a list, but yeah… I have a long way to go still.
It kicked up my asthma, too, all this digging around in dusty boxes and files, which has made me feel all slow and gross and fuzzy. (It’s taken me two days to write this post now that it’s after midnight.) And it really bummed me out. It was enough to send me back under the bed for a while.
I didn’t do that – I’m still here being vertical and trying to tackle this head on – but wow, this is a challenge (and not just financially but also psychologically).
Anyway, I’m working on it! I’m also still working on populating the new Etsy shop, Seraphin Station, which is very slow going, in large part because I have to rework prices on every single little thing, both to account for how much ingredients have gone up in almost five years and to account for Etsy’s new-to-me, complex, and quite significant fee structure. This is all after I go through all my stuff and determine whether I even *can* make the thing in question, which in some cases can take a day or two. (One box I needed yesterday ended up being up in the barn in the loft, which I had to move a 12 foot ladder over half an acre to get to. Stuff like that. Free workout, I guess…)
But one thing’s become clear as I’ve been doing this – Etsy’s free to charge what it pleases, but especially for someone who tends to stock lots of smaller, lower-priced items (like individual oils or bath crystals), their fee setup isn’t very friendly. (Neither is their pressure to offer free shipping, because there’s no such thing as free shipping, really – but that’s gonna have to wait for another post when I’m less fuzzy headed before I try to talk about math!)
So I’m investigating alternatives. As with everything, so much depends on available funds, which means I have to make one thing go before I can afford to make the next, better thing go — since the next, better thing usually wants X amount of money a month. But hopefully Bonanza support will answer my email at some point soon and I’ll know what’s what with that. It might not be ideal, but its fee structure means I don’t have to tack $3 onto the normal price of a bottle of oil like I do at Etsy, blech.
Any of you folks who have done this same song and dance with platforms who have any recommendations, I’d love to hear ’em!
And in not-whining-about-Etsy-and-my-allergies news, I’ve updated the FAQ Directory to consolidate all the St. Anthony links into a single blog page, updated the resources, and written up a bio/overview. (Mostly so I would have something to write here that wasn’t me whining and that could actually benefit *y’all* since this blog’s been a little shy on that kind of thing for a while now!)
St. Dymphna these days is called on for a lot more than just anxiety and psychological disturbances. She’s become one of those saints like St. Jude who is called on when shit really hits the fan and things seem impossible. So she’s increasingly one of those “patrons of lost causes.”
This is pretty timely for me. This afternoon, I finally managed to download transaction reports for the entire year of 2015. Haven’t managed to get the raw reports into any usable form yet, but that’s one more tiny piece of the puzzle at any rate.
See, in 2015, I largely relied on Paypal to keep my records. Everything was associated with a transaction, and anything hitting my email account got labeled/filed and marked/moved around as appropriate, and stuff in-house lived in hardcopy until it got a shipping label. I had half a dozen different assistants over 2014-2015, and that definitely contributed to the records being in chaos, but at the end of the day, I was sure I could sort anything out ultimately because of Paypal. It was simple to pull up an order someone had placed and see if it had been shipped or not, ’cause it would have the shipping label payment transaction associated with it, whether it was shipped from Paypal or from my USPS account, which was funded by Paypal.
Well, I’ve basically been offline for over three years now.
It’s been a rough few years. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse as I was updating you guys about shipping and paypal issues and such, well, they did get worse. They got even worse than my anxiety and worry had needled me about. A bunch of my nightmares came true.
For a while, I lived in a small tent in the woods. My partner’s family donated materials so we could build ourselves a one-room cabin, which we did and proceeded to live in well into the winter, which pretty much sucked.
And by the time I had a roof again and got my stuff out of storage and inspected the insect and weather damage and found entire boxes of stuff that had shipping labels on it but it never got dropped off at the post office… by the time I realized how badly I had screwed up with so many customers and clients, I couldn’t see any way to fix it short of paying them back, and until then, I decided, I couldn’t show my face (so to speak). I would lay low, keep my nose to the grindstone, and work work work until I could appear with reparations.
Well, I worked worked worked alright, but I sure never came close to being able to afford to throw enough money at these issues, and the more time passed, the worse it all felt, and the more final. How to fix my business without being open for business… couldn’t see a way. Over the last couple of months, though, a few things happened.
I had a falling out with a family member that reminded me very keenly about something I know intellectually but lose sight of when things get painful — that we only get out of life what we put into it, tend, and stick around to harvest, and we have to do that ourselves. We can’t sit still and just hope things will change any more than we can sit home and hope somebody else suddenly remembers we love them and they haven’t spoken to us in six months. Can’t control their emotions, can’t control all kinds of things, and can’t read minds, and if we wait on them to remember we exist or for life to somehow get easier *before* we put our shoulders back to the wheel… well, we’ll rot. We have to get going with our own lives even when we’re sad about the way it turned out.
Around the same time, a friend gently suggested that my perspective on it all might be a little skewed and I could be turning this into an all-or-nothing scenario when in fact there were more than just two binary options. She also reminded me that I’m a writer and that I get a lot of my sense of meaning out of that. She was right – so in leaving academia and then deciding I’d screwed up this business and all my client/customer trust and relationships royally and fatally and forever and had to go live under a rock, I suddenly didn’t have either of the vocations that I’d put everything into over the last 10-15 years, and I also didn’t have anything to write, anywhere to put it, anything to say, or anybody to say it to. There are really only a couple of things I know enough about to bother articulating opinions and ideas on, and I had no room or outlet to do so re. either one.
Just about everything in my life that contributed significantly to my sense of identity or vocation or meaning was upended, exploded, turned inside out, or at the very least shaken to within an inch of its life over the past few years – my sense of self as a mother, as a rootworker, as an academic, as a teacher, as a daughter/sister/niece/cousin, as a problem-solver and thinker and writer…
And who in the hell would want anything to do with spiritual commentary, advice, or services from somebody who couldn’t even fix their own shit when it broke? (went the mental narrative) Why should I even bother trying to unsnarl the incredibly messy tangle I’d have to dig shoulder-deep into to even start getting a clear picture of where things are? (went the mental narrative) I had nothing of any special value to contribute anywhere anyway. (went the mental narrative)
And then coronavirus happened. I have allergic asthma and it’s been very poorly controlled over the last three years since we moved out to the middle of nowhere and then into a old house full of 20 years of cat dander, mold, mildew, dust, God know what else (definitely a goat used to sleep in the living room when it was cold out). So I’m in that category of folks who could realistically end up deader than hell if I get sick. And we live so far away from an emergency room that I might not make it even for a regular old asthma attack.
Well, damn, I thought. Never thought I’d be one to go out with a whimper.
Then I thought, wait a second. Screw *that.* For better or worse, the good Lord gave you a loud damned mouth and that seems to be the only asset you have left, so maybe you should be using it. At the very least, you can put your apology out there instead of just cringing your way into the grave looking all hangdog. Your sitting there feeling like shit for a few more years, or until you die of pneumonia in a couple of months , isn’t gonna do anybody any good.
So maybe a few people see you around and show up to hurl rocks and epithets. Well, you earned a little grief, so suck it up and take the best chance you’ve got to fix it in the foreseeable future. But it’s pretty unlikely that anybody except you has been obsessing over this several times a week for a few years, so they probably aren’t going to be emotional about it. (went the new mental narrative)
…All of which seemed fairly reasonable and plausible, actually.
So here I am going through the rubble, seeing what can be salvaged, seeing what I do and don’t recognize of the world now, and trying to suck it up and start fixing things.
It is pretty slow going. I have some real messes on my hands and a few things have changed since I last had to fool with them. But if you want to keep up with what’s going on, the plan is to regularly update the new site, Seraphin Station, with that sort of thing. I posted a note there the other day for people who were Karma Zain customers/clients between 2002-2015 explaining some of this, but it’s gonna take me probably months still to track down and catch up on everything and everybody, so there’s bound to be some repetition and some rubble along the way.
I haven’t even been able to access all my old social media yet, and I figure I must have about 8,000+ messages and comments to sort through (sigh) but I’ll be keeping up with new messages here at this blog and the Seraphin Station one. I suspect I’ll keep both and let this one be the more “advanced” material/discussions for people who don’t need a generic intro to spiritual work and are already familiar with conjure specifically. I guess… we’ll see?
But if you *don’t* hate me and would like to see me kicking around on the web making a nuisance of myself again, please leave a comment and let me know how you’ve been, or drop me an email (you can use the contact form at Seraphin Station or the gmail address), or wave or click the like box or subscribe or *something* so that I can tell my imagination to get stuffed and to stop with the sky is falling stuff
Hope everybody is healthy and hanging in there and your homes are all peaceful and patient and loving and nobody has cabin fever!
I got one huge Tupperware box of packages safely in the hands of the postal pickup lady last week, and I am working on the next. Operation Backlog Deadline is moving forward, and if it’s not moving forward as fast as I’d like (guess whose car went *back* to the mechanic last week, after dying on the way to a job site, meaning I didn’t get to the job and didn’t get a paycheck for it???), I do have to say that at least a couple of handfuls of folks will finally get their packages this week, along with some freebies by way of apology and a letter from me (longish, but don’t just toss it unless you’re totally done with me, because somewhere in there or on a card in the box there is likely a coupon code just for folks whose packages ended up in shipping limbo for a while).
I am running low on some herbs, butters, and oils I need to make some stuff for orders already in-house and need to order those this week, so I was absolutely right that I didn’t have enough squirrelled away from my out-of-the-house jobs to get everything made and shipped in one fell swoop, as they say. (And besides the damned car breaking down again, just a few months after it needed a new transmission — and before I got the personal family loan for that mechanical work paid off! — I have quite a few nasty chunks of expense I can’t avoid or delay any longer, such as getting myself, the offspring, and the dog to their respective doctors and dentists and such, retaining an attorney and an accountant to deal with some serious unpleasantness with a creditor and with the government, and dealing with some insurance and doctor billing stuff that got messed up a while back and that needs money applied to it to fix.) But I am whittling away at the backlog, and as funds trickle in to the Paypal account, which is blessedly no longer in the negative, I am continuing to print shipping labels. Everyone *will* get their stuff as soon as I can get it to them, and I am happy to say things are going at least a *little* more quickly now than they were.
I haven’t made any real headway there beyond scanning quickly for new stuff or fires that need putting out, or going in to search for a specific message. I am prioritizing getting these orders out, but I’m trying to get some help on the continual challenge of sorting through, labeling, filing, etc. iwith the inbox so I know what’s what and what needs what action instead of just dipping randomly into an undifferentiated mass of messages (and there are *hundreds* of them, many hundreds of them). This will take time.
Reports and Services:
See above and previous messages for why I am prioritizing tangible items over services. These are the next order of business after the orders are caught up, and some refunds will be involved, which will be another messy element affecting the speed of order processing and shipment. But I do still plan on offering free phone sessions to folks who still want the session and who have been waiting longer than their original estimated turnaround (which is pretty much everybody now). I will discuss teh details separately once I can actually start scheduling things.
Current Sale (through Sun, Sep 20):
Everything in this BOGO collection/category is “Buy One Get One Free.” You don’t need to do anything special – when I see an eligible item in your order, I’ll add the second item along with the first as I prepare your stuff. You do NOT need to leave a note to tell me which items are eligible — I already know that — and you don’t need to add the second item yourself; if you are buying one 2-dram bottle of Attraction oil, add that to your cart. I will make and send TWO 2-dram bottles of Attraction oil if your order is placed while the sale is active. If you put two bottles of Attraction oil in your cart, the system will not discount the second bottle; you’ll just get a grand total of FOUR bottles when you get your package and you will have paid for two of them.
Basically, anything appearing in this collection — that’s all regular condition oils, powders, and bath/floorwash crystals, excluding specialty and custom-made items — is BOGO Free, so if you order one, you get two in your package. If your order also contains items that aren’t eligible, you still don’t need to do anything – I know which are and aren’t eligible, so I’ll add the extra freebies and skip the stuff that isn’t eligible for a second item/bottle/package free.
Because there is no coupon code you have to use to take advantage of this offer, you can still use other available coupon codes with your order as well, so you can pile on the savings with this one.
Offer applies to orders placed between 12 am Sunday, Sep. 13 through midnight Sunday, Sep. 20.
Current Prize Drawing/Giveaway (open through Oct. 1):
My daughter agreed to sew another couple of treats for me to give away to two of you guys, whichever two are the winners of the random drawing that I’ll hold after October 1. You don’t have to do anything separate – any order placed between now (Sep 13) and midnight on 1 Oct will be automatically entered to win. Given the backlog, it’s possible that larger and/or custom orders will not be ready to ship until I’ve drawn the winners anyway, in which case I’d send the custom-finished prize with your order, but if you are identified as a winner after your order has shipped, I’ll just send it along separately later.
I’ll post more about this later, but I will have two mojo plushies (read more about them and about how this works in this post) to give away to winners. I have one small evil eye plushie as well (more info here), and the first prize winner can choose the plushie or the evil eye if s/he prefers that. If s/he wants the plushie, then the second prize winner will also have the same choice.
Current Coupons (through Sun, Sep 20):
Use code SEP15 to take 15% off orders over $30 (before discount, excluding shipping). Use code SEP35 to take 35% off orders over $80 (before discount, excluding shipping). Both good through midnight Sunday, Sep. 20.
For instructions on using coupon codes, see the applicable heading in the FAQ.
Your use of this site constitutes your acceptance of our Terms of Service, including your understanding of our posted shipping, handling, and turnaround times; guidelines for contacting us about a current order or service; and instructions for how to request a trace on a shipped item.
Between my starting the first draft of this post and finishing the version I’m actually posting, some things (as usual) changed. I’ll mention the changes in brackets within the text.
This turned out to be rather a long post. I’ve put it under a cut. The bottom line for readers is that I’m giving myself a deadline to be caught up – October 15th. If I’m not caught up by then, i’ll be putting the shop on “vacation” until I *am* caught up. Since I’m officially job-hunting again as the outside work has largely dried up and since there won’t be even the trickle of income from here in that event, I am not sure *how* I’ll get caught up, but I have to do something, and that is what this post is about.