While we were in the store, I knew that I hated it and I knew that I wasn't happy and I knew that it was sucking away my will to live and making me wish for things one normally doesn't wish for like sink holes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes. That said, I still didn't really realize how unhappy I was and how much other people were perceiving it until a picture of me imitating a plant made my cousin cry.
What? The progression isn't intuitive? Let me explain.
My husband took these picture of me in Australia back in July.
(Yeah, I'm not afraid to make a fool of myself on camera.)
We were at the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain, and I saw this plant and thought I could do a funny imitation of it. Well, we took the pictures, and I'm fairly happy with them, even though you can't totally see what a really great imitation I am doing of the scrunched up leaf because I am sort of hidden behind the other leaf. Anyway, other than having some fun with these pictures, I didn't really think too much of them.
After returning from our trip, I put the pictures on line and sent out invitations for people to view them. My cousin called me later and said she got all choked up looking at the picture of me imitating the plant because it was so nice to see me looking that happy. That, of course, got me all choked up because, well, I cry at just about anything (but usually in a good way!).
I've briefly mentioned the misery that was our Cold Stone Experience a few times in this blog, and you may be wondering what, exactly, happened? Well, I'm probably never going to go into any detail for various reasons. Suffice it to say that owning a Cold Stone Creamery franchise was the worst experience we've ever had, and we learned many painful lessons along the way. It sucked away our will to live every single day for the year-and-a-half that we owned it. We're still not Done with the Cold Stone fiasco, but at least we don't have to walk into hell every morning and set a pile of money on fire.
My cousin captured our sentiments best with the Congratulations card she made for us upon the sale of our store. The front has a picture of Mel Gibson in Braveheart attire with "FREEDOM!" written underneath it. Inside it says, "Because they don't make cards that say: 'Congratulations on getting out of that stinking shithole.' Congratulations on having your lives back!"
So, apparently it took me about 10 months, but I finally made it back to Happy. And that's a good place to be.
You may be wondering if there is a silver lining to this experience. It's taken a while, but on our recent trip to California and Oregon I think I finally figured out what the silver lining is. Through our Cold Stone training and our local Cold Stone community, we have met some of the nicest people ever (I'm talking about franchisees here, not corporate folks, although some of them were very nice too). There are our friends in Oregon who had to close the doors on their store and walk away. There are our friends in California who sold their stores for roughly half what they paid for them. There are our friends in Pennsylvania who had to close the doors and walk away from their store. There's our friend in Texas who had to declare bankruptcy, and there are our friends in Georgia who have managed to keep their doors open but have never actually had to pay anything toward the purchase of their store. So, while it sucks that we're all in financial ruin or close to it, I do feel sincerely blessed to have all these people in our lives-they really are some of the nicest people I know.
(Also, I didn't realize it at the time, but the plant pictures make a pretty good "during" and "after" representation of our Cold Stone ownership experience.)