Monday, September 29, 2014

Here's what happened...

Saturday night, while I was sleeping, the majority of my web presence was hijacked, with the assistance of my service provider, GoDaddy. And apparently, it’s all my fault. Ok, fine. More than angry that I lost control of my hosting plan, domains, online stores and pages all in one fell swoop, it was done with nothing more than my account number and an old credit card. The customer service rep waited on the phone while the long lost card number, that had expired three years previously, was located. He was very patient. And kind. And then he let her right in. She immediately changed the contact email, requested a new password, and became the new owner of my account.

When I checked my email in the morning, I had two emails from GoDaddy regarding the new changes on my account. What? What changes? I made no changes. When I tried to sign in, my password no longer worked. I spoke with three different people who would not help me until I clicked on a link they emailed. The link brought me to a place where once again, my password was a mismatch. Now what? I have to copy my state or federally issued ID, fill out a separate form for each of my fourteen domains, have them notarized and kissed by the pope, and faxed to them. In four to six weeks maybe my domains would be unlocked so I could move them to another host.

It was simply that easy to have control taken away for my entire ‘brand’. My bug spray store, my portfolio pages, my pottery pages, everything but my blog which is hosted elsewhere - all gone. They gave control to someone else by phone without my password, or my supposedly required validation PIN. 
Wait. What?

The upside? I know who did it and why. She gave me her new password, even. That was nice of her. When I tried to revert the administrative information, it was not allowed. I was still locked out and the account is now hers, in addition to the new account they sold her while she was on the phone. I've been giving GoDaddy money consistently for fourteen years for that account, but hey, I'm the dummy here.

Around six or seven years ago, I tried to help someone out who had no clue about getting a website up and going. I added the site to my existing account and she paid her own fees and subscribed to their website template builder program to maintain the site on her own. Essentially, the site went up and stayed there. I assumed they didn’t make changes once it was built. After awhile, I no longer had contact, but the site was active and paid in advance. Like anyone, I change my passwords on a regular basis. I figured, when she needed it, she would get in touch with me, and I would get her in, and then change the password again after she was done. I heard nothing for four or five years.

The site went down over the summer, I guess. I was unaware. If they sent me an email, it probably ended up in my spam filter with the rest of the daily emails I receive from GoDaddy. With my email account, if I delete consecutive emails from a company without opening them, Yahoo starts making assumptions and doing me favors. Straight to the bin!

She didn’t realize the site went down, either, until Saturday night. I guess she panicked and called and emailed me. Exciting person that I am, I was already in bed, phone and computer off and away. Not receiving an immediate response, she got on the horn and got the job done. Despite having any current information. I don’t consider an expired credit card legit. GoDaddy does. Good to know. My fault for not deleting the card sooner. Three years ago when it expired. It took her awhile to even find! she said..he was patient and understanding.

Freaking out beyond the initial shock is pointless. I vent like a teapot and then simmer down and get to work. My last email to her was downright cold, I must say. She had no business doing what she did, changing my information to hers. But what’s done is done, and I now have a new host. And a clean slate. And a whiff of napalm in the wait..that's pumpkin coffee..

DISCLAIMER**ALL IMAGES are borrowed from Apocalypse Now because I have a sense of humor but no other images relating to this subject of my own. No one wants to see me cry. It's not pretty.**

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Coming out as The Knife Lady..

Surviving financially as an artist is like walking a tightrope. It’s stressful and takes a lot of faith that the work will keep coming. Most of the work I do is seasonal, so I’ve managed to make things work by layering by peaks - caricatures in the summer, pottery in the winter, tattoos in the fall and spring. Still, things are far from consistent, especially from a bank’s perspective. 

It all started when I needed a newer car for a commute to tattoo. I loved that car, but it was a thirsty beast. Very thirsty with a Northstar V8. I still miss that car, it just wasn’t realistic. So I traded the beast in and bought a new car that’s smaller, zippy, and all sorts of fuel efficient. I refer to it as ’the little car’. To make sure I stayed on top of my new car payments with consistent income, I picked up a part time job working for a knife sharpening company. Initially, it was a day and a half a week. I bring a box of sharp knives into kitchens and exchange them for the dull. Easy enough. And, as it turns out, so much fun. Everyone is happy to see, "The Knife Lady!".

After about six months in, another route opened up. The route is in central Massachusetts, and made my job even more interesting. My fear of driving in the winter weather has disappeared. Mostly. (Fortunately, I have been able to work around the bigger storms - I’m not an ambulance driver!) Recently, the route that covers the area where I live became available, and I snapped it up. 

I have lived in the Berkshires, specifically in and around South County, for nearly twenty years. I have had many jobs, the majority in restaurants, while trying to get a career as an artist up and going. With this new route, nearly every stop is a reconnection. Admittedly, I’ve gotten reclusive, and some people I haven’t seen in over ten years. So far, only one person has given me the stink eye. Not bad, right? (And, in my experience, the person with the unhappy face will grow old with that face. That’s okay because pissy old ladies are funny.)

But as far as a regular job goes, this has been the best. I have a backstage pass into kitchens all over the place. From nursing homes to resorts. Schools, bodegas, and food trucks parked under an overpass. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people I would probably never otherwise. I love it. It has opened up a whole new world of experience for me. While I grew up surrounded by immigrant Portuguese culture, I’m not way familiar with South American or Caribbean culture. My siblings and I spent a summer in the Virgin Islands, but I was still on the young side to remember more than the things that fascinated me at the time - lizards and their tails, iguanas and chameleons and their colors, tarantulas and their holes EVERYWHERE! Oh, and don’t touch the trees - MILLIPEDES! My stuffed brown elephant in the blue Tshirt, Peanuts. That, sand, swimming, and learning games with my cousins. That’s what I remember. The food? Not at all, other than fruit bigger than my head. Apples with cinnamon and sugar. And, apparently, genips. Or Quenepas. I saw them in a little store in Springfield a few weeks ago. It struck a chord. Wait. What are those. It turns out, I had them when I was a kid. Another reconnection. So fun.

In a way, this is my official ‘coming out’ as the Knife Lady, now that I’m working where I live again. I keep to myself here these days, and have for quite awhile. Again, mostly. It’s weird, stirring things up. Like the genips…oh yeah…I forgot about that...