Thursday, August 4, 2011

About me!

After winding on the coast on Highway 1 today, I'm happy to be home on still ground!   I might still be moving (you ever feel that way after you get off a long plane ride?) We had a wonderful day at the beach.  It was much needed.  We even stopped at Parkside Cafe on the way back for some chocolate malts and fries, I highly recommend it!  A perfect summer day, complete with an 8 year old that asked, "Are we there yet?" at least 6 times.  Sigh.

Since I have so many new blogger friends that apparently like contests (!), I wanted to tell you a little about myself.  I am Tami Fandrei, the sole owner and work'a'bee of Patina Decorative Finishes. While I have a 15 year old apprentice, I will never have employees because I'm a perfectionist.  I have been a military spouse for the better part of 19 years.  We have been in Northern California since 2000, prior to that 5 years in Okinawa, Japan and before that, all over the US.

In 2002, my friend asked me to help her paint.  We were both pregnant and now that I realize it, neither of us should have been painting up on ladders.  Long story short, my obvious love for painting was evident and she encouraged me to pursue it as a career.  Throughout the years following it, I took many courses to expand upon my skills.   I loved what I was doing.  I remember being elbow deep in one of my early cabinet jobs, 5 weeks into it (client kept making changes) and thinking, "Is this really for me?" And then I finished, stepped back, and soaked in the joy from my client.  What a feeling.

Then, tragedy struck our family in 2007 with the illness of our middle child.  My focus had to change in ways that I never dreamed I would endure.  For, I had to learn to be a nurse.  I had to learn to push needles into my child and for the record, I am a trypanophobic (fear of need to google), er, well, was for most of my life, I had to endure the sight of blood (used to make me queasy).  My business was put on hold, I kept up my insurance and continued paying for my business licenses, but my job turned into a bedside one in the hospital, supporting her and what she was enduring.  We were desperate for treatment because her illness was undiagnosed and nobody had answers for us.  I flew all over the country with her, desperate for help and understanding.  We were blessed that we could survive on one salary, a luxury for most families.  I missed painting desperately, though.

It was in 2008 that I realized it was the perfect time to study for and take the exam to get my contractor's license.  I was sitting in a "ched", chair by day, 2 ft. wide bed by night, all day long and the days blended together and dragged on.  And on.  I needed a different focus, something for me.  We made it out of the hospital a few days before my contractor's exam day, but I'll never forget leaving the house at 7 a.m. a wreck because it was the first time I left my husband to manage turning off her TPN (another word for IV food when you can't eat), setting up her IV fluids for the day and give all of her morning medications.  She was also on many medications at the time and I found it so hard to let go of the worry as you are not allowed to bring cell phones into your exam!  I will admit, as I walked in, all worry slipped and I scanned the room, for I realized I was the only woman there in the entire sea of contractor applicants.  AND, I knew for once in those two years, I was doing something for me.  All thoughts slipped away.  I passed...little old me and a sea of men.  As I drove away with my paperwork, I realized it was the only good news to celebrate that I'd had in a very long time.  And we discovered that hubby could also moonlight as a nurse!  We were back in the hospital not too long after that as her condition worsened and she was unable to even stand anymore, bound to bed for 4 months with pain and agony.  I got my contractor's license in the nick of time.

Fast forward a few years, we're the lucky ones.  She's in a medically induced remission, future uncertain but looking bright from where I'm sitting.  I am back working, doing what I love and about 3 months ago, I discovered Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It was by pure grace that I found out about it when I did.  My first thought was, "NO PRIMING? Whaaaaaat?  Impossible."  I jumped into it head first.  My perspective is different than it was four years ago.  Life is too precious to not go for your dreams.

I made my initial investment, which was big when you factor in a one income household.  About 3 weeks later, just a few days before my first order arrived, I received a check out of the blue in the mail from our previous insurance company.  It seems that someone blew them out of the water for denying home nursing and they were making payoffs in hopes to avoid court proceedings.  In early 2008, we appealed for home nursing so that we could get her out of the hospital and home, but we were denied, but went home anyway and I became her full time nurse.  The dollar amount was just $20 away from my initial 4 figure Annie Sloan Chalk Paint order.  I call that a sign.  And a gift.


  1. very nice friend. it's been a journey


  3. Amazing story and a sign indeed! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Wow, Tami...I'm even more in awe of you! Thank you for sharing your story, and continued good health to your family.