“One of my jobs outside of Mercy is that I run an embroidery company. We started it in 2006. One of my friends was buying embroidered stuff for her daughter, [a cheerleader], and couldn’t afford it so she asked me if I would make the stuff for her daughter so [she] wouldn’t feel left out. I said I couldn’t do embroidery, I [didn’t] have a machine. The two of us being friends for many, many years decided to check into what it would take to buy a machine and then we could provide that embroidered stuff at less cost than what [stores] usually charge and so we did.
“[The business is] smaller than it was when we both had high school kids as they were involved in all these teams and that kind of thing. Now we have a couple businesses that we do work for and we do a lot of very small jobs, [like] somebody wanting us to do a set of towels for a wedding, but it’s not very big at all.
“There are so many stories. I guess the one we tell the most often is the very large $3,500 order that we took for a group of cheerleaders who didn’t like the finished product, although they signed off on the design at the beginning. They wanted bling all over it so we went out and bought bling stuff to put all this bling on it, and when they looked at it they didn’t like it. I had stayed up three nights in a row setting the alarm on the stove every 15 minutes so that when one shirt was done I could put the next shirt on. I couldn’t take any days off of [teaching as] I was too busy [at Mercy] to do that, so I just had to stay up at night and get this order done. They refused to accept or pay for the order.
“Teaching is 150 hours a week and I do the other job at night so I might be grading papers, but I’ll grade papers on the stairs because the business is in the basement. I sit on the stairs and listen for the machine to go off and when it stops I run down and put another shirt on, and I go back to the stairs and keep grading papers. My teaching job is probably 10 times as much effort as I put into [the embroidery business] because we just don’t let it get big enough that it causes issues.
“I am a very arts and crafts-y kind of person. I don’t get to do that really in my everyday life, so [the embroidery] gives me that creative outlet that I don’t get anywhere else. I think that that’s been a big plus. If I’m really frustrated about something I can go down and sew for an hour and then let all of [the frustration] out so that I can then go back and grade some more quizzes, tests, or whatever I’m frustrated about.”