My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #106: Facing Challenges

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-17-2010 01:46 PM 9312 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 105: A Silver Lining After a Dismal Day Part 106 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 107: Onword We Go! »

It is a cold, dark and rainy day so far today. I wonder if that is an indication of things to come? I have to go to the bank and the post office today and I really don’t look forward to getting wet. It is raining pretty hard and the wind is coming off the ocean so it seems pretty nasty out. Perhaps it will let up by the time the bank opens.

I have a long laundry list of things to accomplish today. I don’t like this many loose ends and it is time to take a full day to clean them up. I planned on doing that yesterday, but I was thrown quite a curve ball. I arrived home from my errands to an email from my son (who handles my banking and finances in the States) which included a letter from the IRS stating that my taxes were done incorrectly and I owe a bit of money to them. That was good for a couple of missed heartbeats. Needless to say I was not pleased.

I read the notice carefully and there was little explanation as to why they felt I owed the extra money. I have an accountant, but of course it is ‘off-season’ and they only have hours on Tuesday and Wednesdays now. The notice gave me a week to pay or it listed a host of horrors that they could impose on you – quite intimidating to say the least. There was a toll free number on the form and I opted to talk to them to find out what was what. I needed to know what happened and get a plan of action.

After waiting on hold for approximately 45 minutes, I did reach a person who was at first quite terse, but turned out to be very helpful. Apparently once she saw that I wasn’t a raving maniac and that I was polite and considerate to her, she was far more personable. Long story short, after almost an hour of figuring out what happened, I found out that my accountant made an error and I owed the money. On to “Plan B”.

I had just gone with a new accountant this year because now that I am landed here in Canada, I need to file taxes in both countries – the US and Canada. I had to find someone who knew both tax systems and with living in such a rural area, the pickin’s are pretty slim. I am investigating the possibility of moving my business here to Canada, but early indications tell me that it wouldn’t be prudent for me to do so, and I would still have to file in both countries anyway. It can be quite overwhelming. It is just another hat that have to wear and one that I prefer not to.

So we pick up and brush off and get back to work. I had some very positive comments and messages yesterday and I do appreciate the support and thoughts. I agree with you that if I continue to give good customer service and do my job well, in the end it will pay off. It is better for me when people come to me directly and I try to make them want to do so by being available to them and helping them as much as I can. It isn’t difficult for me because it is genuine and as I said, I love to interact and hear their stories and get to know them.

The way I look at things, at least I was fortunate to have had four articles in that last issue of the magazine because the extra money really helped in this situation. If I hadn’t had that many, I guess I don’t know what I would have done. It isn’t worth my time to think in that direction. I prefer to look at the glass as half full, not half empty.

The pieces are in place and I know I have done my best with the things that are in my control. That is all I can do. I am going to continue to do my best and see where it takes me. So far, it has been good and I realize that I am doing much better than most who are self-employed just by being able to hold on. Many others haven’t even been able to do that.

A year ago or so this would have sunk me. But things have changed since then and I have changed too. If I want this bad enough, I need to fight for it. If it isn’t worth fighting for, then I shouldn’t do it. Right?

So it is with a positive and happy outlook that I start this day (in spite of the rain!) I have a renewed sense of purpose and I know in my heart that this isn’t going to take me down or beat me either. I wanted to share this part of the business with you all too because it is part of normal life. I am not whining about it, but I am taking it in stride. There are so many people that think that successful people just fall into success. There are very few, if any successful people that I know of that have had it that way. It isn’t all easy and it isn’t always fun and there are so many challenges that we need to be up for in a business. I think that sometimes people go into self-employment with rose colored glasses. I kid about my “pink-cloud” philosophy all the time but I am intelligent enough to realize that the world really isn’t that way. There is nothing wrong with hopes and dreams though. As long as you are also ready to face reality and deal with what is served to you. You need to take that bad with the good. You need to be resilient and not let the crummy things get the best of you. Those are the survivors and I think I am one of them.

So last night after all had settled down and I had a good dinner and caught up on some things, I sat down to paint. I wanted to end the day on something that was positive in my life and thinking about my skating pond and getting that finished and all the good prospects that go with it was a good choice, I believe.

Stephen was the little sledding boy I introduced last time. This is his mom, Carilynn:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

She is pulling his sled for him because he has tired himself out. It is good to have someone to help you along when you run out of steam, isn’t it? We all need someone like that from time to time.

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

12 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3236 days

#1 posted 09-17-2010 02:20 PM

As far as I know there are only two sure things in life. Death and taxes.

Carilynn looks good. Thats quite a set you’re buildiing.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3120 days

#2 posted 09-17-2010 02:33 PM

You are so right, Martyn. My return was wrong. I was happy she was good enough to explain the error. I did appreciate that. It is nothing that I every argued. They get paid first and on time. Just the way I always have been.

I am glad you like the set. More fun to come! I can’t wait to show you all the rest. It is really a lift to work on it daily and fun to unveil it this way.

Thank you. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3042 days

#3 posted 09-17-2010 03:23 PM

I truly wish I had some encouraging words for you about your tax delimna. When it comes to taxes though, no matter what country in question, about the only thing you can do is pay it. I have had my share of tax problems in the past as well. I think anyone who tries to pay them honestly has had a roadbump or two in their lives. It’s hard to make sure something is paid correctly when the method of figuring out what you owe is so confusing that you have to hire someone else to figure it out for you. So, I guess all I can say is to keep your chin up. It takes a little rain to make the flowers grow.


View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3066 days

#4 posted 09-17-2010 03:35 PM

Sheila, I’m sorry to hear about your tax problem. With over 15,000 pages of tax code I’m not sure anybody knows what’s up or what’s down. I wish that life could be simpler but it’s only going to keep getting more complicated at trying to run a small business. From what you put into yours I know that you will end up being successful at what you do and I really do hope for complete success for you. Keep up the good work and keep looking at it from an optimistic point of view. You’ll get there. God Bless.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3503 days

#5 posted 09-17-2010 03:43 PM

sounds like the rain is falling today…the moisture will be good for mother earth..all the plants and animals are going to like it…the weekend is here and that means feeding my guests tonight…a chocolate cake is being baked…and if im right you will have a blueberry cake to bring some smiles…maybe some waltons today too…life on the farm was much simpler too…oh for the good ole days… on my friend..all will be well….grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3120 days

#6 posted 09-17-2010 03:49 PM

Yes, I can’t believe I am sitting here with my sweater on ready to go but waiting for the rain to let up a bit. It is really coming down buckets! When I was out yesterday though, there was no waterfall at all at the mill – that is how dry it has been. So yes, it is good and we need it. I suppose we all need a little rain in our lives from time to time! :)

I am listening to Beethovan right now with the rainfall in the background. Good stuff. Once this task is done and I am back here I am sure it will be a good day. I can feel it.

Chocolate cake, Grizz! MMMmmm. There are few things chocolate can’t accomplish. Blueberries either for that matter. Treats are good!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3042 days

#7 posted 09-17-2010 03:55 PM

I’m right there with you on the blueberries. I love them. I think sometimes though that I’m the only nutcase in the world that can’t stand chocolate. Ya’ll can have the chocolate. Just give me some blueberry pie and a cup of coffee and I’ll be in over in the corner, in heaven.


View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3088 days

#8 posted 09-17-2010 06:01 PM

Hi Sheila.

Your opening line reminded me of Snoopy’s famous “It was a stark and dormy night” opening to his novel in :Peanuts”.

As for the weather, I love rotten weather (in moderation of course). It makes us appreciate the good stuff all the more. Imagine how boring it would be if every day was a balmy, sunny warm one.

As for the tax man, I think that when I pass on, I don’t care if I go up, down, or even sideways, as long as I get five minutes alone with the idiot that invented taxes first!

I had a friend many years ago who got a great job that had him sent to England. Trouble was, the taxes there were twice ours. He was quite smart about such things, and set it up so he was hired by the Canadian branch of the company, but was paid by the US one into an account in New York. He then went to the London branch of his bank and borrowed the money he needed to live on. The bank sold the debt to his New York bank, which paid the loan off from his account.

Result? He neither worked, lived in or worked in Canada, so no Canadian taxes. He wasn’t an american and didn’t work or live there, so no american taxes. Since the only money he got in England was borrowed, they didn’t tax him either. His only expense was the (quite minor) banking fees.

They have since changed the laws, making this impossible now, but at the time he had a six figure income that he paid zero taxes on, and it was all 100% legal!

Must be nice…

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3218 days

#9 posted 09-18-2010 05:11 AM

Sorry to hear about your taxes. Did they assess any penalty? If so, the tax preparer should be liable for the penalty but not additional taxes, that goes to poor li’l you. I had that problem a couple times when I had my welding business. I know the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach! Not pleasant! But I’m glad it’s settled.

I, we loved the stars you posted yesterday! Will talk to you later about that!

Keep up the designing sessions, you do wunnerful work!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3325 days

#10 posted 09-18-2010 07:21 AM

I love your little pond figures. They are quite a family – I didn’t know you had named them!
Don’t feel bad, it SNOWED here today! C’mom, that’s just plain ridiculous!


View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3088 days

#11 posted 09-18-2010 07:37 AM

Jordan, shut up! Remember, what you get monday us Winnipeggers get wednesday! Wind chills here tonight forecast at minus 5 celcius (about 20 above F).

Anyone got any contacts in Hawaii? Bardados? The Bahamas?

Heck, hey DeGoose old buddy! Wanna adopt a slightly over the hill Canuck biker who likes to work wood?

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3325 days

#12 posted 09-18-2010 06:11 PM

Big Tiny – that’s funny! Well, it wasn’t too much snow. I did live in Winnipeg one winter in 1976 and oh golly, what a winter it was!


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