One year my sister, Paula, was buying her husband an incredibly expensive Christmas gift. I knew they didn't have much more money than we did at the time and so I asked her what the heck she was doing spending that kind of money. She told me how much she was making painting windows. Paula has an absolute natural artistic talent. Even as a small child she could draw amazing portraits using a #2 pencil and a drug store sketch book. Shannon asked me why I wasn't out doing the same thing. I told her first of all, I enjoy art, but talent doesn't flow through my veins - and second, I couldn't knock on doors and actually talk to people I don't know. She convinced me she could sell and I could paint so off we went.We've been painting together since we had babies. We actually were both doing daycare. I would take her whole daycare group while she went out to sell windows and she took my whole daycare group while I went to paint. It was hard then because we had babies. Surely, when the kids got older, this would be so much easier. Somehow, subconsciously, I always thought life would get easier when our kids were older. (Does parenting ever get easier? I'm losing hope . . . ) Painting is actually quite fun and relaxing. Shannon and I have been friends for years, but we live in different neighborhoods, go to different wards, kids of different ages and in different schools and activities, so it is fun to catch up on a year's worth of news and gossip. It's fun to be out of the house, to be doing something creative, and to be making some cash right before it's time to go Christmas shopping. The calm and fun aspect of this job is true if, and only if, things stay calm on the homefront. That never happens. Roxanne broke her toe, Shannon's son impaled his shin -- and I mean deep, gruesome 2" under the skin kind of wound -- on an oleander branch. Most people don't consider oleander bushes to be the climbing variety, but her son is 11 and well, we've all known an 11 year old boy haven't we? He came to visit us on the job. I had been hearing about this wound and he walked up with a 2 inch bandaid on his leg. I told him I was disappointed, I was expecting a gash from ankle to knee. He peeled back the bandaid to expose the most manly wound a boy could hope for. It was impressive and I do believe he will have a visual reminder of his romp in the oleanders for years to come. Her other son (the older one who is old enough to drive and take some of the burden off Shannon while she is working) caught a bug and was vomiting day and night. Then his car had radiator problems so help with carpooling younger sibling was out of the question. There were continuing problems with our businesses (we both are self employed, working from home). We lost the one and only set of keys to our office. An extraordinary amount of urgent work piled up on our desks at home etc etc. So the calm, creative, enjoy-the-outdoors experience didn't quite happen. I don't know why I thought it would . . . Anyway, we're done and our pockets are full of cash. Let the shopping begin!