Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fundraising update

Beth and I have had a busy couple of weeks trying to raise some funds.

Manga on Ebay

Beth and I spent most of the last week listing over 60 items on ebay. It’s a lot more work than it looks like and definitely a team effort. Beth and I sort through the manga she’s read into what’s to keep and what’s to sell. The sell pile then gets sorted into different days items are to be listed. Each day either Beth or I take the photos and weigh the manga sets. Beth or I resize the photos and I calculate the postage. I start a word document entering in the name of the manga set, the weight, postage rates and the ‘fine print’ which Beth wrote last time we sold manga. Beth is the one who lists the items on ebay, she copy and pastes the info I put together and then writes her own summary and review of each manga set. She also finds or writes reviews to add to the listing. It’s not what most sellers do, but we’ve found that people are more willing to bid on an item if they have positive reviews to read.

Beth’s part is the most difficult part of the process. And it has come at a great cost to Beth’s health. I watched Beth spend multiple hours each evening listing the items. She’d do it no matter what physical condition she was in – nauseous, lots of pain, eyes not focusing, weak from sitting in the bathroom for hours, fingers blue and drifting in and out of consciousness. Emotionally and mentally there was a cost, too. The listings were done in the evenings. As evenings progress Beth’s cognitive ability deteriorates. When she’s really tired, which she was, she doesn’t know who she is, her brain can’t comprehend the words that I speak, and what she speaks comes out slurred at best and jibberish at worst. But even if it slows so that she has to concentrate for each movement and putting up a listing goes from taking 8 minutes to taking an hour, she simply won’t stop. When she is done I try to take her to bed. She says, “I can’t understand you” (A couple times she lost the ability to understand language), and she points to the computer, opens up her blog and starts writing comments. Will she understand me if I pull my hair out sideways and scream I wonder? Why is she SO stubborn (she calls it ‘driven’)!! And why can’t she trust me to take care of her?

I am always torn because I know she needs the money and it will boost her spirits when stuff sells, but I could see it was really making her really sick. So as the days went by, as she worked for hours for 9 consecutive days, I changed from letting her do the listings and adding in the weights to doing that for her, then doing the photos. But I hadn’t read the manga so couldn’t write the review and had no idea what to start the bidding at for each set. After six days of working so hard Beth asked if she could leave the rest of the manga for another sale later in the year. I quickly said ‘yes!’ as it just wasn’t worth the physical costs Beth was having to pay. I was relieved Beth wanted to stop as she’s a very driven person when she feels responsible for something. And she was feeling very responsible for bringing in the money and pushed herself too far. I think asking for permission to stop was a hard thing for her to do but I am very glad she did it. Of course then she just ‘added a few more’ for the next three days in order to bring it to 62 lots.

We’ve timed the items to finish on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this weekend. Once they’re done Beth will spend more time and energy sending invoices and following up with winners and I’ll prepare the items for mailing. Some packages Cheryl can take back with her but I will be mailing most of them later in the week.

The bids are slowly going up which is encouraging. Most only have one bid on them so far. If you are interested in buying some manga you can check out our listings on ebay. Our seller name is
l-bstuff. You may notice that a few of the manga we’ve received as gifts are listed. We hope the gift-givers are not offended (Beth is worried about this, selling a gift she has read). I hope you feel that you’ve given two donations for the price of one! Beth enjoyed reading the manga that you sent and now she is turning it into cash for future use.

Beth will take half of the money earned to repay an old debt and a quarter will be used to pay for items relating to the postcard project already waiting (an email correspondence from Feb 20th turned into an invoice 2 days ago). The remaining quarter is up for debate. Beth could have a reserve to use for future purchases. But Beth wants to give me the money to put toward the van repairs. The ‘check engine’ light has been on the last two weeks and to get it to go off we have to get one of the oxygen sensors replaced (over $200). I, on the other hand, am hoping Beth will take the money and put it towards the Sakura-con in Seattle next month.

Books, Books and More Books

This is a fundraiser for medical expenses… on Saturday there is a garage sale at the local seniors centre. They have one a couple of times a year and I’ve been going with Beth’s books or book fair stock from the UK each time. I manage to sell about a box each time. This year I’ve bought two tables so am hoping to double my income – or possibly even more because I’ll have more space to display the books. Over the years doing dozens of book fairs, we’ve found the more books people can see and flip through the higher the probability they will buy something.

When I mentioned to Beth that the sale is this weekend and said she wants to pick out more of her books to sell. That means going through boxes of books, looking some of their values up and then pricing them. Even if I do the heavy lifting, I don’t think she has the strength to do this work. The way she pushes herself really scares me sometimes and I just want to take her away to a safe and financially secure place where there is no need to work and she can just rest. For now, I am trying to convince her I have enough books already priced that it is not necessary to do the extra work.

I’m thinking of taking the laptop with me to the sale and if there is a quiet time, compile a list of the books, their ISBN and their price. As several readers mentioned they’d be interested her books, I thought I’d put a list together on this blog and those who are interested can browse through it to see if anything strikes their fancy.

This and That

I’m also planning on having a garage sale (well, a curb-side sale seeing as we’re in an apartment block) in April or May. There are some things in storage that I want to get rid of and some other odds and ends around the house that are just taking up space. I may even sell a couple of old kitchen chairs which belonged to our previous table and are currently scattered throughout the apartment. More space is needed to make room for the mobility devices Beth has in order to get around.

I advertised the old powerchair we were given but almost never used and have someone coming to take a look at it tomorrow afternoon. Fingers crossed that he will like what he sees and takes it away leaving behind some cash!


I’m looking forward to going back to work soon. My GP is looking at me returning after Easter. This is good news as I really miss having a full paycheque. It has made things especially tight the last few months and I want to say again how much I appreciated the donations people have given over the winter. I think many people are having a hard time financially during this economic downturn. Because of the hard times, any donations people give mean even more to Beth and I as we know how much incomes have to stretch. We do not want anyone to go without basic necessities so if you want to donate to the medical fund, postcard or other purposes, please only give what you are able.

Thanks again and I’ll give an update next week on how the auction and book sale went.


Victor Kellar said...

Wow, sometimes Beth reminds me so much of Collette... stubborn to a fault, but also an endearing part of her character. I have called Collette my "pit bull" which some people take as an insult, but for me is just the epitome of tenacity and focus ... she has had gotten presidents of large commerical institutions calling her back apologizing about some lack of service ... yeh, she bites.

Still, it can be scary, to watch someone you love work themselves into sickness; you want them to stop, you need them to stop but stopping is so alien to their character, that you worry about changing them, in a way that may take part of themselves away ...

As ever it's a balancing act. All we can do as partners is try to be the safety net

Raccoon said...

Tenacious, focused, persistent... that's your Beth. And no matter how frustrating she gets, you wouldn't have her any other way.


When is Easter, two or three weeks? Do you think you will still be having the problems with your supervisors?

FridaWrites said...

Definitely she should sell manga that she's already read--I don't mind! I am glad this will help with some of her needs.

We've never used the phrase "rubbing nickels together" in our house before, but this is what we're doing too.

I'm also stubborn like Beth and Collette and will work myself into bad pain and keep going until there is no going for a while.

Lene Andersen said...

The very stubbornness that drives her past exhaustion also helps her stick around, I think. Two sides of the same coin, it works for her and then it works against her. It must be so hard for you to watch.

Glad to hear you'll be going back to work and I hope your boss will be less... less... um... psychotic may be the word I'm looking for. ;)

Elizabeth McClung said...

The auction is over, just over 1/4 of the lots didn't sell, some, many went for the first bid - note to self: don't put an auction to finish right before rent is due! But did well enough to pay off all the debts, though of course, more appear as soon as you pay one off. I have transfered the money to the bank for the Van (or Sakuracon) but first it is going to have to be our financial backup in Seattle in Case of emergency medical needs.

We finally got two refunds from people who had taken our money but no good in NOV. And I think we have enough medicine to last the trip. Yah!

Linda did the work packing and if it wasn't for her, this wouldn't have happened but it was good to have cash influx during this financial bad period as I can then take care of all my own costs, and not be a burden for once. I will do another one in 45 days with the other sets I have, probably about 35 lots, the ones we already put up which didn't sell that time and some new lots as well.

Thanks to certain people who I never knew had such an interest in manga before?