Friday, December 31, 2010

Trial and error of ads

Running your own company seems to be a lot of trail and error. Especially when you refuse to take outside help so you can keep all the money in your own pocket.

Advertising is a big thing in the locksmith business and its something Mo didnt know anything about. I put our number in all the major phone books and phone book type websites and Mo opened an adwords account with Google. We dont get a lot of calls from phone bookish places, maybe one call a month where they say they found us in the Yellow Pages or
Google is where everyone comes from. Building the perfect Google ad that wont make us bankrupt from advertising has been a struggle though.

At first Google built our ads for free. They set our budget and per click spending so we were in 2nd place in the ads when people searched certain key words. At first we got a lot of calls.

Mos and his father decided #2 wasnt good enough and changed the spending and what the ads actually said. They went from getting 10 calls a day to 2 calls a day and spending WAY more than they were making.
Basically they only thought they knew what they were doing a screwed everything up. I know its mean of me to sound so judgy but I told them to leave it alone the whole time and Im still pissy that they didnt listen to me but continued to ask me "Why arent we getting calls anymore?" and didnt like my answer of "Because you fucked up a working system."

For about a month they shut down the ads and decided to work off word of mouth and build back their lost money by subcontracting before trying again.
I helped Mo find a book on building effective Google ads (because google only helps you for free once for a month so we blew that) and he slowly started building effective ad campaigns on his own. He started with smaller areas to see the outcome and has slowly built up to larger areas. His efforts are showing a lot of positive results. Im very proud of him.

So far today we have received 4 calls and its only 11am. I think we are all going to be very busy today and tonight with New Years Eve.

There is still some tweeking that needs to be done. Sometimes we get calls from a Spring Lake CA because there is also a Spring Lake MN. Our negative keywords just need adjusting to knock out those mistakes. Ive read over that part and will probably walk Mo through it because the double meanings are making him cross-eyed. If we could have found a book in Hebrew the learning process would have gone a lot faster.

On a side note, for some reason we get a call once a week from someone trying to get into a coin operated laundry machine. I really need to start writing down the number because Im pretty sure its the same person who calls. First they didnt like the price we would charge to get into it, then they made an appointment and canceled it, and today they called asking if we could just make a new key (no). If I was a nice person I would suggest they call the manufacturer... but something tells me this washing machine might have been acquired by means where people dont usually worry about keys. We are all a bit curious.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another year almost gone...

Its almost 2011 and I already have my ideas for new year resolutions. Sadly, this is epic because when the clock hits midnight Im always confronted with the obligatory conversation piece of "Whats your New Years resolution this year?" within 5 minutes and I have to think of something on the spot. It was always "Quit smoking" till I actually did that back in 2009. I cant remember what I said for 2010, Im sure whatever I thought up was half assed and laced with the brilliance of someone who has had 5 cocktails. It might have had something to do with going to a gym....

This year I have two good ideas that Im actually going to try and do.

I want to call my mom more. At least once a week. Mo talks to his mom almost every day and hes making me look bad.

I also want to try and draw SOMETHING every day for the next year. A friend of mine sent me to her friends blog who did that this year and Im jealous now.

Drawing something every day seems to just be a mental block for me. I have ideas but I always find reasons to put them aside.
I didnt have my computer for a while so no photoshop was my first excuse. Well, now I have a comp and while I still wont have photoshop for a while I did download a free program called Gimp, which as far as I can tell is pretty much the same thing (I cant tell what makes it different yet because Ive been putting off projects). I still find reasons to be too busy.

This year should be a good one (fingers crossed).

The end of March Mo and I plan on visiting Israel for a month.
May (I think) I find out if Im allowed to be Jewish or not.
Im sure we will end up moving again this year... not sure if we are just going to find a new apartment or move to a whole new city yet.
Im pretty sure I'll be getting a new job too -_^

Monday, December 20, 2010

Food poisoning and playlists

Ever since we moved to MN Ive been on a cooking kick. I think Im trying to prove to myself that if I really want to I can be a domestic goddess and I dont have anything to distract me from trying to be just that.
At least once a week I make something new.
Wednesday I went all out and made homemade cookies and a spicy fish thing.
Thursday morning I walked into work and started puking my guts out within an hour. I opened alone and no one was interested in coming to help me so I ran between the bathroom and customers for a good 4 hours. That sounds worse than it was. The mall I work in is always dead so really I only had to talk to around 13 people in that 4 hours and I only almost dry heaved on one.
I was a little annoyed when I called the manager and said, "I really hate to do this to you, but I just threw up and I REALLY dont think Im going to make it through the day."
Him: "Oh. Well, *other employee* comes in at 11."
Me: "No, she left a note saying she isnt going to be here till 12:30 or 1."
Him: "Ohh... well, can you stay?"
Me: "I dont have a choice do I? Im leaving when she gets here."
Him: "Uhh, I guess thats ok."

Later Mo picked me up and we took turns running to the bathroom. We narrowed the sickness down to the fish I made...mostly because Mo ate 5 cookies the next day and didnt get sick again.

On a less icky note, even though Mo bought me a new computer back in Nov I have been very reluctant to make it MINE yet. My two babies died within 3 months of each other. The only thing left of them is one external backup hard drive. Ive spent 4 months sharing a computer with Mo and using his preferences because it was HIS computer.
Having a new computer all my own is a new special concept. I havent done anything to it but change my browser to Chrome because I didnt want to ruin the shinny (and I was a little afraid that I forgot how to run a computer on my own and it might explode in my hands).
I just recently decided I needed to update my Ipod. That means I need to update my playlist. THAT means I need to download I might as well give up and customize my computer.

I cant be the only one that thinks customizing a new computer is a little sexual?
Your computer is all new and good and innocent, then you come along and play with it. You dress it up in a new background, teach it new tricks, and when its fabulous you have to worry about it going out and getting a damn disease... the little slut.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow day!

MN got hit with a pretty damn good storm last night and all of today. I think the official count was 20 inches in most places. I cant tell how much our area got because the wind picked up and made some pretty badass snow drifts.
I was very happy to stay home and play video games because it also happened to be that day of the month where I dont move if I dont have to.

Somewhere around 2pm Mo got restless and decided that he NEEDED to go to the bank. So he put on enough snow gear to suggest he was going to the arctic and headed out. About a half hour later I peeked outside to see if he made it out and saw him shoveling away at the drift that was up to our vans door handles. He called it quits after about an hour.

5 hours later we both put on snow gear and headed outside to grab some "time of the month essentials" tampons, chocolate, and Vodka.
Everything you could ever want is within a block of where we live. Walgreens, Cub Food, Liquor store, small strip mall... if a zombie apocalypse happened we would be set. I would be throwing molotov cocktails while Mo broke into the police station down the road for guns. (Not to ruin anyones badass image but I dont actually like fire and I throw like a girl.)

Running around a deserted suburb at night is a lot of fun when the snow at its lowest point is up to your knees. Running through the streets having a snow ball fight and diving into massive snow drifts is awesome. Oddly enough it seems to piss off anyone in a car. Probably because while we giggled and frolicked through the parking lot with our successful purchase they were stuck doing that desperate rocking back and forth behind the wheel thing that doesnt ever scoot your car forward enough to help you but you try SO hard anyway.

I almost hope we are still snowed in tomorrow. Maybe I will piss off other adults again while showing Mo how to make a snowman.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I guess I do get a little scary.

Most of the time when Mo screams in Hebrew over the phone I tune it out. I cant really understand anything but a few words anyway when hes so angry. I can make out the occasional "Son of a bitch" or "What the fuck do you want me to do?"
Usually I dont get too upset or worried about phone fights. The guys who send us jobs are insane. They tell people we will be there in 10 mins when we are 30 miles away and its snowing outside. They tell people we only charge $15 when the $15 is the emergency fee and really its around $80 total. They have stolen jobs that we have sent them too.
I dont like them.
They accuse us of doing the shaddy shit they do AND one of them personally insulted me by suggesting I cant tell written Hebrew from Chinese (I was not nice about proving how wrong he was and he will forever be gum on my shoe. Anyway..). No matter the fight within 6 hours everyone acts like nothing happened. I've been telling Mo for months that he doesnt need to take their crap and yet he does.

Tonight he may have hit his breaking point....because they attacked his dad. A customer canceled on his father and the guys passing down jobs accused his dad of calling it canceled but doing the job anyway to get 100% of the money. Mos dad said, "Look, Im too old for this shit. I didnt take the job for myself. Think what you want, Im not working with you again." (He doesnt speak English that well so I am adding in verbs and rearranging nouns here.)
Mo put his foot down and said, "My dad and I are the same. If you attack him you attack me! Im done with you!"

I wont lie. While I fully support the idea of ignoring a couple of guys that send us jobs (maybe for reals this time) I was also a little nervous because their jobs do contribute to income.
I was worried. Until Mo blurted out their weakness. A weakness that will not only devastate their lives but also put a small chunk of competition out of our way for a LONG time!
I want to use it! After so many months of them playing the "who has the biggest dick" game it turns out Mo is PACKING!

Mo is a lot nicer than me. While I want to jump for the phone to put us ahead he thinks that karma will put us ahead in the end without "going to war".

It would be pretty damn mean....and they do have kids... but I REALLY dont like them (the adults, not the kids)

I never get to have any fun.

Side note: While thinking over my tendency to want destroy everything in sight when I get upset I noticed there is an itty bitty man on my keyboard trying desperately to run.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Are you Jamaican? Cause Jamaican me think...

While Mo freezes his poor skinny (close to the desert born) butt off breaking into peoples cars and houses, Ive started making a game out of speculating about how people came to call us in the first place.

Most people are easy. Car keys locked in car, in a driveway during a cold day...done while warming up the car. Keys locked in car while in a bar parking lot... bouncer didnt want to deal with them so they called us (sometimes these people really shouldnt be driving but bouncers dont get paid to think, they get paid to get people out). Family locked out of home at 2am...back from seeing Grandma who probably switched her teeth with your house keys (no wonder security gave you a look while screening that bag). Single guy locked out of apartment at 4am... lost them after telling a horrible barrage of lies to a stripper in CA.

Last night a woman called us out to an obviously very expensive duplex around 11pm for a house lockout. When we got there we not only saw the very expensive duplex with the very expensive high security lock, we also got to see the new BMW, the Ipad and laptop in the BMW, the very nice high class dinner look (on a Wed night), and were asked to change the door lock to a new very expensive lock waiting inside the house right after we broke through the old lock. Oh, AND she insisted there wasnt another door we could try even though there was a back door and a garage door with a key code pad on the outside.

So while Mo froze his butt off trying to crack the lock my mind buzzed with scenarios that could possibly put our Jamaican damsel in distress out in the cold in a ridiculously short dress and high heals without her garage or front door passcode hidden somewhere in that surplus of electronics she had with her.

The house had to belong to someone else. Why? Well, because any self sustaining woman would have a record of all codes somewhere, be it Ipad or personal secretary that at one time was a real feeling human to someone.

After an hour Mo got back into the car and started calling another guy to come out and help with the lock. While we waited I asked him for his opinion. He looked at the house and said "powers been turned off."
I said, "AH ha! [Input theatrical gesture] A good theory BUT there is one light that is obviously burnt out by the garage because on the other side its the matching light is ON. AND there is a law that power companies cant shut off your heat. You've seen the BMW and what shes wearing when its this freaking cold outside!" (At this point Mo gets into it and offers up his observations about the Ipad an Laptop in the car with her) "I think shes in the beginning of what will probably be a very sticky divorce. She got home after seeing someone only to find all the codes have changed so she cant get in the front door or the garage. She only has the locks because she was going to try and change them first and she wont let you touch the back door because that would just add fuel to the fire in the divorce later."

Mo blinked at me for a second then said, "Really?!"

I said, "I dont know, Im not psychic. Im just bored and read too many mystery novels."

After that he called back the guy who was going to help him. A lot of yelling in Hebrew went back a forth and apparently after Mo telling another guy my story the other guy yelled "Didnt you check her ID to make sure the address matched?!" Cause she could be a scorned lover (good thinking Guy-who-works-with-Mo-who-I-havent-made-a-name-for-yet).

In the end they broke in through the back door ignoring the womans request for them not to. They replaced the (probably only 24 hour) old lock on the front door to the one she had waiting inside and took her money. I never did get any more details...

I had fallen asleep in the car waiting (it was 2am by the time they were done), I was groggy, and all Mo wanted to talk about was how freaking cold he was.

Follow up: The next day Mo did have a cold and he took full advantage of me babying him. I also made an awesome home made chili (I will give that recipe out). I'll get him back in a couple of days when my period starts.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday!

Here in MN its snowing. I put my foot down and told Mo that he cant work tonight because Im worried about the roads after watching the news. I almost regretted it after he got bored and wondered into the kitchen and started getting all up in my cooking space poking at things.

Last year when I was living in WI and he had businesses up here in MN I closed my store at 9pm and drove 6 hours to spend Thanksgiving with him (it should have been 4 hours but I got lost). We had frozen pizza from a gas station because Mo had no idea that EVERYTHING closed for Thanksgiving and it was the best we could do. Mo also didnt read instructions on the pizza and he broiled it. I drove home around 10pm to get up and open my store at 4am. That was... memorable.
This year Im determined to actually DO Thanksgiving. I havent really celebrated in over 4 years because for one reason or another I was always alone and last year was such a fantastically hilarious disaster, I just feel Im due.

Tomorrow I plan on making a Lime Beer Chicken, Stuffing, and a variety of roasted vegetables.

Today, to prepare, I made Red Stuff. I first had it at my step grandmas house. Its something that goes with EVERYTHING. If you do it right it is the most fantastic mystery dish ever. While my family treats the recipe like a family secret in all honestly its probably one of those dishes that was put on the back of a box a long time ago but never caught on.
I know this because I lost the recipe in our move and managed to google it.
Its basically Jello, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, and (I love the reaction I get here) sour cream. It sounds weird but it is one of very few things that I actually crave during the holidays and love making for parties.
While you can google the recipe and it seems pretty straight forward there are little things that you need to do beyond what any recipe says to make it perfect, which Im not sharing unless your family or I really like you. Otherwise (as my mom found out) it turns into a goopy mess.

Does anyone have any holiday favorites they like to make?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not worth the money..

Well, I wanted this to be a non-rant place, but a random citizen has asked so I shall update!

I work at a chain makeup/lotion store. I have worked a total of 6 days. My title is Part Time Assistant Manager. That means I get keys to open and close the store, I dont get insurance, and my pay is only slightly higher than minimum wage. All I was going for in the job area was a reason to get out of the house and have some time around other people in this strange new area. Mission accomplished.

The manager is really nice and hes funny but he doesnt manage.... or maybe he does when Im not around. I honestly cant figure out what is going on. The numbers in the district show that the store Im working at is the second in the region but I dont understand why!

Sat was just filled with all the things that pissed me off about working at the store.
Next weeks schedule they had me opening alone (I have never opened before) and closing alone on Black Friday (thats just mean).

It was actually pretty busy so I spent the whole day running around greeting, helping, and checking out customers...while the manager and another sales person gossiped and texted.

Anyone who was difficult the manager actually ran away from and pretended to be very busy straitening a shampoo bottle in the corner till they left. Then he would come up to me and say "Im glad you took care of them cause I would have flipped out." Not like I had a choice in helping them or not because his tactic of pretending they werent there wasnt making them go away!

When one regular customer who always causes a head ache walked in everyone started acting like they were invisible to the point where when I loudly asked "What is the free thing they get for his coupon??" right next to their ear they IGNORED ME. I threw my hands up in the air and yelled "Are you FREAKING SERIOUS!" grabbed the first thing next to me and handed it to them as the free item. I have no clue if it was the right thing and Im sure I had to do something in the register but no one corrected me.

At the end of the night a girl I have never seen before came in and it was announced that I would be reteaching her how to close. I have only closed once and no one told me if I did that right or not either. She didnt just need a refresher... she really didnt remember much of anything.

Ah yes, and the first time I closed I couldnt get the safe open after trying the combination for an hour. I called the manager asking if the combo was wrong and he gave me the same instructions. It didnt work so I just left all money where it was and left.
Sat the manager told me he found the official instructions and put them by the safe. They were the exact opposite of what I was given...twice. When I mentioned this to the first person who gave me the combination she very seriously and accusingly said, "Well, why didnt you just try the opposite of what we said?"
...aaannnd I quit.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New job

I decided to take a part time job. I needed a reason to get out of the house and meet new people because as much as I love Mo, we were spending WAY too much time together and for the sake of our relationship, that needed to stop.

So I took a part time job at a lotion/makeup place in the mall. Getting the job was easy. Right after I quit my last job where I was managing a chocolate store I found out some major company drama went down and almost all the managers in my district walked out and started working for this lotion/ makeup store. The new district manager of the lotion store was a friend and fellow manager at the chocolate store so she was more than happy to find room for me.

My first day was... frustrating.
The manager is a very nice guy but seemed to get bored with the idea of training me after 20 mins (my first shift was 9 hours long). He did a quick overview of how to open, had me fill out the new hire paperwork, had me watch a couple videos, then gave me an overview about what was stalked on 1 wall.
That was it.
I spent the next 6 hours walking around in circles reading some labels, asking if there was anything I could help with (no), and trying to look over the shoulder of whoever was checking a person out (didnt help, buttons are small and no one seemed interested in showing me how to do anything).
Best comment of the day, after a lady checked out she gave me a very sympathetic look and said "Good luck!"

Upside, I was told there will be cake tomorrow. I'll put up with just about anything for free cake.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I thought I would share my families pumpkins.

Mo's very first Pumpkin!

My Little Big Planet pumpkin (only one kid got it)

My little sisters puking pumpkins... BIG hit.

I did another little pumpkin as a Harry Potter tribute cause my mom said someone should.

Moms "Derp" Bat.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Craiglist probably would have been less expensive.

I always miss the real crazies!

Mo still has a few days left until his extended licence expires so when he got a call at 7am I stayed home to keep the bed warm.

When he got home he had a face of half horror and half confusion.
He said, "Your never going to believe this. The woman just called for sex. Like she was livin in a movie or something."

The woman called for a locksmith saying she needed to get into her house. When Mo got there she was wearing a nightie and told him her bedroom door was locked. It wasnt.
She kept trying to touch him too.

In the end he not only pissed her off because he told her to back off but also charged her $50 for showing up because she was annoying.

...A few months ago I missed a visit to a real illegal Mexican whore house too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Pretty sure this is what my cat thinks about for most of the day... she always looks mad.

First Date

Its hard dating foreign types.

(The comic didnt go beyond drawing on paper and scanning because every computer that I had photoshop on has died a horrible death. Here is crossing my fingers we can work a new computer in the budget for me before Hanukkah. )

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The prices reflect our blood pressure sir.

When we get calls from people who are locked out of their cars in front of a business they never give us an exact address to their location. I dont know what they google or who they talk to that seems to know their location but it never fails that we will always end up a block away calling the customer trying to figure out which parking lot they are in.

Last night was no different. Around midnight we headed out to a guy locked out of his car and the address he gave us was to the back parking lot of an office. We called him up to get a better idea of where he was but the only thing he could manage to direct us with was "go towards the mall". I didnt see a mall anywhere around us.

We pulled out of the parking lot and headed in a direction that seemed like it would lead somewhere with the customer still on the phone. He was spouting out more vague building descriptions then suddenly said "OH! See the cop!"

I looked up to see the cop flashing its lights behind me.

We werent doing anything wrong so normally there wouldnt be a reason to panic but Minnesota has the most screwed up system for people who have just become residents of the state.
We had just bought the van and instead of going to the DMV and getting the new title and registration we were told they would be in the mail eventually.
I had just switched my licence (and had to take my written drivers test over to get an MN licence) but instead of them handing me a new licence they snipped a corner of my WI licence and handed me 3 yellow pages and a receipt then told me to bring them everywhere with me and I would get my ID in the mail eventually.

So instead of just pulling out my licence, registration, and proof of insurance we panicked trying to pull together 15 sheets of paper and all Mos paperwork as well, cause you never know how snotty they are going to want to be.

The officer rolled down her window and told us to follow her to the guy locked out of his car.

We blew out a collective sigh of "Thank god" and "Im going to hit the customer".

Sailor Mars- Make up!!

Sailor Moon was the first Anime I ever saw. I LOVED IT! I loved it so much that I built webpages dedicated to the site helping Americans find the translated Japanese. If I had never seen Sailor Moon my geekiness probably wouldnt be as high at it is today (I might have been set back a few years... only a few considering in 2nd grade music Darth Vaders march was the first thing I played on the plastic recorders they gave us.)

For this Halloween I had to dress up as Sailor Mars!

I made this costume for under $20 (not including the wig) using only a hand held cheap sewing machine. I actually know nothing about sewing so I had some help from Mo who learned to sew in the army. He did the gloves, and the poofy parts on the shirt.

Here are some pictures from Halloween:

My girlfriends dressed up as Codex from the Guild and Morticia.

I have no idea who the guy dressed up as Cloud was but he looked awesome so I had to take a picture with him!