Not your typical 9-to-5

It’s been a little less than a month of no longer working for eBay. Some days it still feels like this is just a holiday and I’ve got to go back to work in a couple days. Another part of me is starting to feel like this is the new normal.

I get up at 4am every day to teach classes for VIPKID. I open my schedule from 5am through 8am but usually I just have classes that are booked from 5am-7am. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Classes are 25 mins each. The kids are pretty cute for the most part and eager to learn. Of course, I also get kids who clearly don’t want to be there. Or, I don’t know, maybe they had a hard day or are tired, but I don’t enjoy those kids nearly as much.

And really, I hate getting up that early. I felt like by not having a typical 9-5 job I’d have more time with Jesse and the boys, and I do get to be with Leo all day and Ez after school, but I generally go to bed right after we put the boys down, so around 8:30 or so. It doesn’t leave a lot of “us” time with Jesse.

I passed my notary exam and am in the process of getting that all sorted. I just heard back that they officially granted my commission so now I have to go get another paper notarized and then email that to a company to produce my stamp and then I can start notarizing things! I am also going to take a certified agent training course so I can branch out. Technically I don’t need further certification to do mortgage loan closings (in my state, other states are different about the rules) but I’d like to have more of a background before I jump in. I’m hoping I can start to make enough where I don’t need to do the online teaching. I don’t mind teaching the classes themselves, it’s just the early hours are killers to me! Theoretically if I could do 10 signings in one month that would be enough.

I’ve also looked into some things like photo site inspectors where you are literally contracted to just take photos of sites/locations and upload them back to the person who contracted you. Usually it’s for insurance stuff and sometimes it’s more involved but otherwise it could be somewhat lucrative for a little side work. Of course I’m driving around my van which is a gas hog. If I ever started getting full time with the mobile notary stuff I’d probably want to get a more fuel efficient car. I don’t know if that means I’d get a little Nissan Versa and Jesse would get a motorcycle to ride in the fair weather seasons or what. I will also probably need to invest in a better printer, as in a dual-tray laser printer that auto feeds from both a regular size and legal letter size tray.

I legally created my business name of Ultimate Notary Utah LLC and leased a couple domains. I am trying to figure out if it will be easier to just build a little website by hand or use a premade template. I’ve used premade in the past and the whole drag/drop thing is pretty easy but a notary website probably won’t have too much information on it so I may try my hand at designing the whole thing. We’ll see.

I was sick for a week when I had a cold and lost my voice. All in all it was fairly mild aside from losing my voice. Jesse came down with it next and it seems to have hit him fairly hard, poor guy. The kids are holding strong so far.

I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately. My no-knead bread turned out well and the molasses ginger cookies were amazeballs. The lemon bars were awful, simply awful. I don’t know if it’s how I made them (I did use lemon juice from a bottle that had been open for awhile) or the recipe itself. I made great lemon bars a few months ago but couldn’t recall which recipe I used. I made stellar cinnamon rolls, that recipe was a keeper. I made Jesse a lemon blueberry cake with lemon cream cheese frosting that turned out pretty well. It was a little dense and next time I will use fresh blueberries instead of frozen (or at least much fresher frozen berries) because there wasn’t much blueberry flavor. Currently I’m working on a sourdough bread. I’ve been nurturing the sourdough starter for over a week and this morning started the bread process. I’ll probably finish the bread either tonight or tomorrow morning. *fingers crossed*

We’ve been looking at puppies again. I know, I know. Some of them are so frickin’ cute and now would be an appropriate time to get one, what with me being home all day. I keep going back and forth. I am still working with Benny on things like walking nicely on a leash and the basics like sit and down. He knows sit and down but unless I have treats isn’t inclined to perform immediately. I started to use a front-clip harness that Dad and Dani gave us and it’s been working quite well for leash work.

I keep thinking of all these things I’d do differently with a puppy. Mainly leash skills early on as well as a lot of feet work. Trimming Benny’s nails is a nightmare. I’m retroactively working on his feet work. It’s a LONG process and nowhere near the finish line. He is really receptive to canned tuna (as opposed to regular training treats) and I hope that if I work on his feet often enough he will develop good feelings about it because it will remind him of eating tuna.

Ezra has recently discovered he likes canned tuna. He randomly asked for some as a snack the other night and proclaimed it was delicious! I always forget about the canned tuna and chicken we have. I have those pickled red onions that would be superb in a tuna salad. Must try that some time.



Another quiet night

*I forgot the post this back at the end of June…Enjoy!*

Last night was the final night of my solitude.  Jesse and the boys came back home today after their long camping weekend.  I’m happy they were able to go camping and be with his family and I’m happy I had a few days to myself.

Last night was spent making penis soaps for a bachelorette party and I actually did some training with Benny as well.  The soap is surprisingly realistic looking, and I thought it was fun trying to come up with different flesh tones.  Hopefully the ladies will like them as well.

With Benny I worked on Sit, Down, Wait, Leave It, Touch, Paw, Find It, and I introduced a new skill of Back.  He picked up Back pretty quickly.  I also tried giving him the idea that anytime the doorbell rang he should head to his mat instead of running to the top of the stairs but I’m having difficulty relaying the message.  When the doorbell rang and he went to his mat I treated him, but then I had to coax him off his mat so he could repeat it.  I’d ring the bell again and he’d just look at me because I had literally just called him over to me.  I’m sure I’m missing a step somewhere.  Will have to look into or ask my training forum folks.

I decided to tackle the backyard the other night after I got home.  We had been letting the grass and weeds grow with the thought that larger weeks would soap up more weed killer, but then we decided it probably didn’t matter much either way and so the grass and weeds kept going.  I started up the mower around 8:30pm and only got about half of it done before I had to call it a night.  I would have stayed out later but the mosquitoes were out in full force.  It appears I only got one bite for my troubles, so that’s good.  Some parts of the lawn are so tall that I had to leverage the mower up above the grass and then come down like a weed wacker, and then I mower back and forth over it.  The part I was able to mow looks really good.  I may attempt the other part of the yard tonight when I get home.

We still have not planted any garden items yet.  Every year I have these big plans and usually they don’t get done.  We may just plant a couple planters and call it good.  We may try to kill off the main garden area by covering the ground for the year and then starting fresh next season.  I’m not sure what we’ll do.

The word of the day is: Treats

And by treats, I mean dog treats.  I have been picking up the training with the dogs again and only had a few bags of treats left so I went to Amazon and ordered some more training treats.  I love the Prime shipping with Amazon, our stuff comes so quickly!  Yesterday I received a bunch of treats and dogs were very excited about it.

What do you mean I spend too much on the dogs?

What do you mean I spend too much on the dogs?

I actually received two smaller boxes after this with a couple more treat bags.  And then Best Bully Sticks is having a semiannual sale where everything on the site is 18% off, so of course I had to take advantage of that sale and purchased more treats.  The difference is, the Amazon stuff are for training and are smaller pieces, and the BBS items are larger and for longer chewing sessions.  Either way it was somewhat of a pretty penny spent, but I think it’s worth it.  And I make sure to buy things when they are on sale, so at least it’s less than it could have been.  *Justification*  Ezra helped me move the bags into the book bedroom and he thought that was pretty cool.  I kept sending him back to the kitchen to get more bags and he would come back and say, “I got five bags!” and then, “I got six bags!” and the last time, laughing crazily, “I got seven bags!”  It’s the little things, folks.

I’ve been working with the dogs on targeting, which right now I’m just having them target my hand.  We are also working on sit, down, wait, and loose leash walking.  The walking part Benny has while inside the house, in the backyard he is mediocre and in the front outside the house goes ballistic.  I keep telling myself baby steps, Ashlin, baby steps.  Eventually I WILL be able to take them on walks.  I think I need to practice more while inside the house and backyard, and then up the treat game while in the front, use more exciting treats, because right now they do not give a crap about the treats when we are in the front yard.

I started something new with Benny while training “wait”.  He does the wait fairly well, so I start placing a treat on the floor where he can see it, and then I leave a spaced out trail of treats where he cannot see it (because he is still waiting) and then I tell him to “find it!”  He gets the first one easily since he can see it, and then he has to use his sight and nose to find the rest of the trail.  He seemed to like the game pretty well.

Luca, on the other hand, does not wait very well at all.  Basically if he’s sitting and you take a step back he gets up to follow.  I tried the find it game with him as well but he not only didn’t want to wait, he had a harder time finding the treats on the floor.  In fact, Ezra helped him twice by pointing to where the treats were.  Ezra does pretty well at the find it game:)

Leo had a good run of sleeping straight through the night, and then the past few nights he’s been getting up again.  Wednesday night he was UP THREE TIMES.  Last night it was just around 3am and then he didn’t get up again until 9:30am!  I was so jealous when Jesse told me that.  I was really dragging this morning and would have LOVED to stay in bed when my alarm went off.

I’ve been piling up baby clothes that Leo cannot fit in to bring to the DI, and I asked Jesse if he wanted to get rid of anything.  He went through his clothes and created a large pile of stuff, and then I started going through my own clothes.  A lot of my shirts don’t fit me anymore (some still had tags on them) and it occurred to me that they were rarely worn and still looked mostly new.  I asked Velvet if she wanted to go through them before I donated them and she did.  She ended up keeping all of them but maybe three, so I’m glad someone I know is getting use out of them.  In the end we ended up donating maybe five garbage bags of clothes to the DI.

However, it occurs to me that we should do a major declutter around the house and get rid of more things.  I have an entire bookshelf filled with books that I’ve been trying to sell and really I should probably just donate them because apparently you can buy books at $0.01 in a lot of places, and I’d rather donate my books at a good price so I can write it off on taxes later.  I also think a lot of people are like me and now get books in electronic format and simply are not buying physical books.  There is something to be said for the tangibility of books, but I really like how ebooks take up no space whatsoever.  And then I could use that bookcase for storing other items.  Like my many bags of dog treats.

Jesse is getting excited for elk hunting, I think.  He’s bought a few game bags and new knives, and other hunting gear.  Fingers crossed he gets something!  Also fingers crossed that Dustin and his son get elk because they don’t like the meat, they just like the sport, and then we get the meat!  Jesse has it all planned out how he’s going to process the buck, what pieces to keep, organs for the dogs, and then we’re also going to retain some bones for the dogs, too, like ribs and stuff.  This will be a really healthy way to supplement their diet, where they typically just get chicken.

Mister still hasn’t come home, I don’t think he ever will.  But Jojo is still around.  She mainly only comes in when the dogs are kenneled, but she’s been braver lately, creeping in when no one hears her.  We installed a new dog door that she was timid to use but I think she’s got it down now.  The last was so ratty it was barely hanging on to the frame.  This one actually has three doors/pieces to keep out the weather and it seems so much more energy efficient.

I’m not sure if our peach trees are going to survive.  They were both split down the middle but they might pull through.  On the other hand, I don’t like how close they are to the back fence.  We have grapes on the back fence and I have to duck under tree limbs and the grapes are being eaten by wasps and yellow jackets and I do not like being forced into such close proximity.  So maybe we will just dig up those trees and not have peach trees in the yard.  Jesse doesn’t like peaches anyway….

I was also thinking of maybe hiring someone to clear out/strip all the weeds/vegetation from the yard so we can start fresh.  I was thinking we could get someone into there with a small cat tractor and it could have some kind of a rake attachment that just pulls out everything, but Jesse said it doesn’t work like that.  I also want to change our plans for the layout of the garden area vs the strip of grass/turf area.  It’s all in flux, and really it depends on what kind of money we can scrape together.  *sigh*  A girl can dream about a nice backyard, right?


Ezra is getting more and more confident every day.  The other day a song came on the radio and he started singing with it, which really means he mumbled in a monotone, and at the end he said, “Mommy!  I’m a great singer!” to which I replied, “You sure are!”

Yesterday he went to the bathroom and came out without his undies on.  I asked him to put them on and he said he couldn’t, so I told him I guessed he didn’t need an ice cream then.  He quickly informed me that maybe he could put them on by himself after all.  I mean, we were talking about an ice cream sandwich here, folks!  I told him, “The tag goes in the back and the pocket goes in the front.”  He put on his underwear and proudly said, “I did what you said!  I learned how to put them on!” and several times last night he reminded me that he learned what I told him and he could put on his underwear now by himself.

I love that he’s getting more confident in himself and his abilities.  He’s growing into such an amazing little man, it’s awesome.  It also reminds me that I should try to be the best me that I can be, because he’s watching and paying attention.


Jesse and I are finished having kids.  He got a vasectomy a few days ago, so that route at least is closed to us.  That’s not to say we won’t look into less traditional methods if we decide our family is not complete, but no more bio kids for us.  It seemed like a fairly simple procedure and of course it’s much easier for the man to get snipped than a woman.  He seems to be in a little pain but between icing his nethers and taking ibuprofen he appears to be handling it ok.  He is not supposed to hoist anything heavy so I’ve been the main caretaker of the kids for a couple days.  I guess in a couple weeks he’s supposed to go back in and leave a deposit so they can check to make sure no swimmers are getting through.  One of my friends at work says her husband had the procedure done and was checked and cleared, and then five years later he got his (now ex) wife pregnant.  Apparently his boys found a way through after all that time so then he had to go through the procedure again.  Good times, huh?

kissable baby

kissable baby

On a completely different note, I put together the other two workout machines this weekend.  Jesse had put together the Gazelle before he went camping but I hadn’t gotten around to putting the other two together.  I was able to put the twist stepper together super easily and upon testing it out I feel it’s going to give me a good workout.  Putting together the body trac rowing glider machine was another matter.  I was so pissed at that thing!  I had to put six bolts through and I just could NOT get them to go in.  I was able to get the two on the right in (after much determination) but the two in the back weren’t screwing into ANYTHING and the bolts on the left just would NOT line up correctly.  Ezra kept asking me to play a game with him, and Leo was starting to get fussy and cry and I was sweaty and perhaps I yelled at Leo that he was fine, gosh darn it!

I kept looking at the instructions and everything looked like it was supposed to be set up correctly.  FINALLY I realized I actually had the front piece on backward.  I turned that piece around and suddenly the back brackets had a plate they could screw into.  The side bolts still were not super simple but I was able to get them into place in a timely fashion and then the rest of it was easy enough.  I’m actually about 15 lbs heavier than what is recommended for max weight, but I’m hoping it won’t matter much either way.

I’ve been creating YouTube videos under my eBay Arsenal channel.  Basically they are videos about the eBay selling tools and how to use them.  I’m focusing on Turbo Lister primarily for now, but will be branching out to expand more topics as time goes on.  It’s kind of fun and it’s nice to have a resource to point members to when they call looking for videos.  I make sure in my videos that I’m not representing eBay, I don’t even mention I work for the company because I don’t want any legal issues happening.  I also linked it to the Google Adsense and so far I’ve made $0.22!  Hoo-wa!  Big money.  I also created a Twitter account and created a website called eBay Arsenal, which is basically just my YouTube videos.  I don’t know it’ll ever be a big money maker, but I feel like I’m in a unique position to help out others and any money made on the side will be a perk.

I tried using the dog clippers again and while they tolerate the clippers better than the dremel, they still don’t like their nails being messed with.  I was able to clip some nails, but at the end I was basically just holding their paws and touching the clippers to the pads of their feet.  I think I’ll need to desensitize them to touching the nail clippers first and work from there.  A never-ending prospect on the to-so list.

When things don’t go as planned, oh well

We were supposed to have a behaviorist come and see Benny and Luca tonight to start working on resource guarding.  However, Benny ripped a toenail the other day and we were going to take him in to the vet today so we rescheduled with the behaviorist for next week.  I thought dog toenails were like people toenails in that they would just fall off when injured.  I looked it up online yesterday, though, and apparently it’s one type of injury that you should take the dog to the vet to get looked at.  It’s now been about five days since we noticed the injury.  Oops.

So today I get up and Benny walked by me and I noticed his nail was just barely hanging by a thread, flopping around when he walked.  Completely grossed me out.  It didn’t seem to hurt him much when I gently pulled at it to see it if would come off.  I didn’t want to tug too hard and cause it to bleed, so I just left it there and figured that either he would chew it off or it would fall off somewhere outside while he was running around.  At that point we decided that we wouldn’t take him to the vet after all; his toe itself didn’t seem inflamed and he didn’t pull away when we gently prodded the foot, and we really don’t need a vet bill on top of everything else.  About an hour later I noticed the nail had indeed fallen off and everything looks fine.  We still may do a foot soak with Epsom salt as I hear that is very healing to wounds.

Dad and Dani were supposed to come down this past Friday and stay until Tuesday but Dani got a bad cold and they didn’t want to infect us folk with it, so they stayed home.  Velvet and I had already taken today off of work, so we decided to keep the day off anyway and we went and got pedicures.  It was especially nice for me since I can barely reach my feet these days, but because it was a nail school, the tech I got was very timid.  I wanted to be all, get in there, get those calluses!  But I don’t think she would have understood me.  Oh well, it is what it is, and at least my toenails are pretty.

We went out to eat at Café Rio after that and it totally raised my blood glucose when I tested it a couple hours later but I had pretty much expected that and I figure high numbers once in a while is probably ok compared to high numbers all the time.  Velvet dropped me off back at home, and then it was time to do some training with the dogs.

So far I had done two trainings each with the dogs, using 50 treats each time.  Today I decided to use 100 treats for each dog’s session.  I am still working with getting them used to the harnesses.  Benny actually picks up training pretty quickly.  I would like him to be in a seated position when I work on getting his harness on, but he seems to like being in a down position, so that’s what I am working with.  He seemed to quickly get the gist of my moving the harness up and down, touching his body under the harness and adjusting the fit of the harness.  I also worked on taking off the harness and putting his feet into position to get the harness on.  Ideally he would just step into the harness, but at this stage I will take what I can get.  When he was done with his session I put him in his crate and let out Luca.

Luca took awhile to settle down as he is ALL about the treats and likes to mug me when I sit down.  Luca really doesn’t like having his paws touched, so I had to learn to touch and click quickly so that he was more interested in getting the treat than he was in moving his feet.  Eventually we worked up to me putting on and taking off the harness, adjusting the harness, and moving his feet into the harness holes.  By the end of the session he was letting me move his feet into position pretty well.  He was still kind of weird about me touching him under the harness and adjusting the harness, but I think that was more because he was trying to figure out if I had treats in my hand.

So far for the 1,000 Treat Challenge we are up to:
Benny =  three sessions, 200 treats
Luca = three sessions, 200 treats

I had to open a new bag of training treats, so I think we will be using them at a nice pace.  I had an email from Amazon that the remaining treats are being shipped later than anticipated.  To be honest, I had forgotten there was more to that order that we had not received yet.  All in all, we can probably do a number of 1,000 Treat Challenges at this point, and I’m ok with that.

tired out puppies

tired puppies

While my next skill building I’m planning on is to work on leashes with the intent that we can someday walk these dogs, there was a video that really spoke to me that I watched today.  It was about training incompatible behavior techniques.  For this woman, every time she bent down to pick up something from the floor, her dog would mug her face.  This is something our dogs do as well and I would like to train them out of it.  Eventually she trained her dog that every time the woman bent over, the dog would go into a default down position.

This is definitely something I’d like to work on.  It seems like it would tie in nicely with a “leave it” command.

Ezra, looks over Lincoln Log instructions

Ezra, looks over Lincoln Log instructions while sleepy dogs sleep on