I was rereading my last (and first) blog entry and three weeks later, I was struck by the disconnect with my new daily life.
Three weeks ago, I opened the store in the morning and closed it at night. I worried about my plants (I still do). I talked to customers, visitors, neighbours, suppliers and friends without worrying about the number of inches between us (amazing, the number of people I would see every day!). I was concerned when the day was slow and happy when it was busy. I planned orders, production, deliveries. I worked 6 days a week and dreamt (literally fantasized) about a full two days of idleness. Business was good and I was planning to hire two (2!) employees in May. I complained about the everlasting winter but I knew spring would come, and with it, fun days and lucrative months that would make up for the dreary weeks that just went by. There would be sun in the street, people in the store and a killer collection of linen dresses in the windows. I loved my life. I felt lucky.
I was cute, I was quaint, I was oblivious.
That was March 22nd. We were ordered to close shop 2 days later. Not that it came as a surprise. Mind you: I have friends and family in France and in New York who were already confined to their homes. I knew people who had been stuck in Italy for a while. I read the news but, in the immortal words of Diane Dufresne : " Quand ça s'passe pas à Montréal / On dirait qu'ça nous fait moins d'mal."* I was certain that we would have to close soon but I needed a rest and that would be 2 weeks of (very) unpaid vacation.
All right. I was in denial.
At first, I thought I would work from the closed shop and keep shorter but regular hours. Really? I really thought that would work out? Then, there was the news that my seamstresses had to close as well. Oops! Didn't see that coming. You mean to tell me that my whole Spring/Summer collection would sit in spare parts in their deserted workshop for... how long? We don't really know. Ok.
Well, I thought, no problem. I have been meaning to work on the online store for months. It's pretty much ready to go anyway. That'll keep me occupied and make up for the lost time while I am busy being closed.
Lost income? Rent due? The government will help. Right? After all, it's a pandemic, a global catastrophe. First absolute priority is health. Once it's all taken care of, they'll iron out the financial details.
Once thing I have to tell you, my friends: money melts. It flies and finds all kinds of ways out of the bank at a pretty amazing pace while you stay inside, healthy and safe.
The help never came. I am a small business and there are emergency funds for those, but it turns out that I am too small to be helped. The devil is easily found in details and small print. I don't pay enough in salaries to qualify. La di di. La di da. Nothing. Niente. Rien. Still waiting though. Hey! No harm in hoping.
No use crying over spilled milk either. I joined the ranks of the billions in confinement, floating in the Great Pandemical Unknown, feeling grief for the dead, pain for the sick, relief for the healthy, worry for all the rest.
This is the new now.
I water the plants regularly and I manage to keep them pretty healthy. They are waiting for you.
*When it's not in Montreal/ It doesn't seem to hurt at all.