Several months ago I wrote that the bank I used in Chicago for the past 14 years had failed and was taken over by one of the giant banks (First Midwest.) It is funny (odd) that the second I found out about it, I had this impending sense of doom that this wasn’t going to be a good thing.
Those of you who read every day and know me, know that I am quite the optimist. Even on the darkest days, I try to see the good in situations and much prefer to live in a land of hope, trust and anticipation (which I fondly refer to as the ‘pink cloud’) where bunnies romp through the meadow and the monetary system is based on juju bees and good intentions.
As a business woman I realize that the land of the pink cloud only exists in my mind. I only travel to there occasionally when I need a break from the real world and its harshness and stupidity. I have to plan my visits carefully, because I know if I spend too much time there, I may not want to return to reality. But as with all vacations, there are times when we have to come home and face the real world again. That is part of being responsible.
Over the last several months, little by little I have been seeing changes in my bank. More often than not, these changes are costing me more money. Half a percent here. A couple of dollars monthly fee there. Foreign transaction fees in another place. They are all beginning to add up to some scary numbers.
I have to thank Paul (Big Tiny) for his blog on finances earlier this year. I joined in reading it and so far this year I have done (pretty) well with keeping track of things much better than in the past. While I am not perfect and do get behind at posting things, I am at least more aware of what is going on daily with my finances and business. It isn’t that I was unaware before – it is just that now I am more aware now and try to stay on top of things a bit better to see what my business is actually making. I realize that pink clouds and business don’t really mix well and in the end, if I fail to be realistic about things, then I am the only one who really suffers.
I received notice yesterday that now my credit card processing is going to change. First Midwest sold out that division to another bank and there are eight pages of fine (and I mean miniscule) print of their ‘Terms and Agreements’ that I don’t really understand. I mean, I sort of understand them, but I am sure that there are ‘loopholes’ in there that I missed and am unaware of.
I understand that in the next several weeks, I should be hearing from them regarding the changes and setting up the account with the new bank. I will be honest and tell you that this rather terrifies me. Am I getting that old? I don’t want change. I don’t like it. I am from the old school of ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ way of thinking. Also, there is the nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me ‘nothing good will come of this.’ Try as I may to ignore it, it persists.
Part of me wants to take refuge on the pink cloud and tell myself that all will be taken care of by them as they say it would be.
But then there is the real me. The intelligent me. The me that got me where I am now. And somehow that doesn’t fly.
Today will be a day of investigation. I will go on a fact finding mission to see what this is all about and see how I can come out of this situation with as little damage as possible. There are many factors that I have to consider. My business is in the USA. I am living in Canada. There are cross border issues and all kinds of stuff that needs to be thought about.
But fortunately I am quite organized and I have done everything ‘right’ by legal standards all along. Although the situation can be quite overwhelming at times, I know that with a cool head that I will find the answers as to what will work best for me and my company. It just takes some thought and ingenuity and some work. And a clear head.
So for today, I will declare a ‘Say No to Pink Clouds’ day, as much as it pains me. No bunnies. No soft fluff. No juju bees. There are times in all of our lives for pink clouds, but this isn’t one of them. Perhaps, after this is all settled, I will allow myself a short visit in the future, but for right now, reality is the only answer. Numbers don’t lie and although I may come off here as I am being somewhat flippant, I am very serious that I need to be ready for battle. The future of my business is at stake.
So today’s thought for the day is as follows:
Wish me luck! :D
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"