my brain is throbbing

Evan has one of those plug-in scent thingies, and instead of turning it off when he left last night, he turned it all the way up.

I was the first one to get here this morning and walked into a wall of apples and cinnamon.

Even though I opened the doors and turned the air conditioner on, my lungs are aching and my head is throbbing. It’s been two hours 🙁

I really don’t like being emotional while I’m at the shop. Not like I’m a mess or anything, but blinking away tears over a pretty tattoo? My throat burning when somebody thanks me? My chest feeling tight when the guys came back from the event we had a table at all excited and smiling?

Ugh.

i just had to do some adulting

A guy came in for an interview (we’ll call him Brett), so I spent about an hour on the interview and didn’t get any bad vibes from him and he’s a good artist. I hired him, but he needs to get his bloodborne pathogen certificate for this state (he has them from two other states), and he’ll be starting as soon as he gets it. It’s not required here, but *I* require it of my artists.

I already felt kinda odd from adulting all day, but then ALL four of my guys needed reassuring and filling in on the new guy, what he’s about and his experience, etc. Calming them like they’re nervous 5-year-olds who think the new baby will get all the attention. Seriously – I told Ryan that a few of the guys roses reminded me of his and he actually bristled. Like his chest puffed out, and he’s not even normally a peacock type of guy. So I had to reassure him they weren’t the same as his, just reminded me of his. Ugh.

I texted my family to let them know we need to set the room up for Brett, and I suddenly have my mom, my uncle, and uncle’s wife ALL me at the same time.

I called mom back first and filled her in, then called my uncle, who was in the truck with his wife, so I was able to fill them both in at the same time.

I thought I only had to take care of the four 5-year-olds here at the shop, settling them over the new baby. I didn’t realize my family would step in and decide they were 5-year-olds today too 😛

I also had to talk to the shop’s internet and phone service provider. Our contract is up for renewal. They were super pushy to the point where I was like “is this a scam?!” It took 20 minutes of me talking to her before she would admit that the current service plan is still available and I don’t NEED to switch to the more expensive (at least $200 more a month) plans, which also require me to buy a new $300 router.

So far everybody has worn out my “I can handle this” for the day, so now I’m wiped. Too much adulting, but I’ve still got 2.5 more hours to go at the shop 🙁

it’s raining here today

Which means the shop is REALLY dead.

I’ve spent most of the day messing with displays (setting up boxes with eye-catching adverts on them), ordering more numbing cream, ordering a bunch of steel trays, and getting the shop’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr accounts managed because they were kind of a mess after we recently did the split between the two sides of the shop.

It’s still 2.5 hours before I get to go home.

Evan put a temporary Mike Tyson tattoo on his face. Ya know the tribal thing? Yeah. He’s having a blast with that 😀

so i’ve talked to each of the guys individually

about the drugs-in-the-shop thing. Again. We’ll see how it goes from here.

It always cracks me up when I have to talk to them about something, because the tattoo industry is known for being really harsh. Like if you fuck up in a tattoo shop, the owner used to take you out back and beat the shit out of you. If you steal from anybody, they take a hammer to your tattoo hand.

Times have changed a bit and that only happens in REALLY old school shops now, but shop owners still tear the artists a new one screaming at them and firing them on the spot or just chucking their stuff out the front door.

I run my shop differently. I don’t want the guys constantly scared of me. I want an atmosphere where we can reasonably talk about something.

But it’s hard for the guys to let go of that panic when I say I want to talk to them. So I usually wait until they come to me for something else, then go “hey, can I talk to you about something quick?”

The panic on their face is still there, but by the time we’re done talking, they’re relaxed and smiling.

I really like that it weeds out the assholes, because they’re not receptive to that kind of thing, and then I fire them. The crew I’ve got now listen, we discuss it quick, I don’t berate them but I let them know it’s not acceptable, and then we move on.

It doesn’t always work, and they come up with new ways to fuck up all the time, but the atmosphere in the shop is such that they feel comfortable coming to me with their problems, which actually stops a lot of the bullshit before it even starts.

I can’t tell you how many times a situation has stopped before escalating because one of the guys comes in and flops on my couch and complains about something that happened between two of them. We talk it out and work on it instead of blowing up or the guys getting in fights.

It also creates hella loyal artists in my shop. There’s a shop down the street that’s run by a hardass old school guy and he only charges $600 a month. My guys give me at least $900 a month (because we do it by percentage instead of a monthly rent) and they still won’t go to his shop because they don’t want to put up with him.

There’s times my way doesn’t work, but for the most part it works out really well.