A throwback to the days of “The Shack”. Reminiscing a bit, (this was originally written in 2015), I am coming up on the ten year anniversary of me leaving the shack (my dwelling) within the warehouse space I rented known as The Foundry located in the 5th Ward, from 2001-2005. It has been on my mind quite a bit lately, thinking on my history and what I went through to be where I am today. How did I get there? It started with losing a job in August, 2001 as I was three weeks into my graduate school program at OLLU. What the hell was I going to do now? 9/11 happened three weeks later. Couldn’t get a job to save my life. I was paying
apartment rent, truck payment, food, etc. with credit cards. Because I had a hobby of welding and making metal furniture, maybe I should start a business? Not the wisest choice but one only a few options– Earthtones by d.p.Etlinger–Designer | Artist | Crafstman was born on Nov. 5th. A guy in school said the company his wife worked for had space for artists to rent, would I be interested? I rented the space that December. Now, I had two rents to pay and no income…so I moved into the warehouse space in May per the advice and
surprise of my brother,Brian Etlinger, who later told my that it must have been some dream of mine to have my business in order to live like that for so long, rather than just take some job somewhere. I built the shack kind of sparse cuz I didn’t have any money…and I only expected to be
there 3 months. Not 3 years. Fast forward to today; I would not have ever imagined when i was living in the shack–a 12’x24′, 288 sqft wooden box–that I’d even have a life today, much less the wonderful life i live with Tatiana Manrique Etlinger , my daughter Amber and owning Handy Honey, LLC [a.k.a. Houston “HONEY DO”]. Three years…with no cable TV (actually, 13 years now), a community restroom and shower, a hotplate, a toaster and a toaster oven–and the mice and rats
from the neighborhood. Severely Depressed and broke (but not broken)–I often used the change in my truck ashtray to buy just enough gas so I could go on sales calls to meet potential clients–and naturally most didn’t turn into orders. I can’t imagine how I made it through that and what followed–for what followed may have even been worse. I know this though, without that hardship then, I wouldn’t know how to operate a business now. And I wouldn’t have the more balanced life and perspective I have today. Thanks to those that helped along the way, some mentioned here.