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These Are Pieces of My Coin Shipping Experience

I hold the coins in my hand. They have a solid weight and clink when the motion of my hand pushes them into each other. They are beautiful. Three months ago they were only an idea in Howard’s head, then they were an idea that other people bought into. Now my garage is full of them, imagination made real.


I lay awake in the dark, feeling the weight of all the coins in the garage. Each one represents a promise. I owe it to the owners of those coins to do a good job with shipping. But there was a problem. Test packages did not protect the coins the way I’d pictured. Thankfully nothing was damaged, but I must do better. So I think of the supplies on hand, I ponder what can be purchased quickly, I calculate the extra cost in work hours. Then I look at the clock, knowing that all of it will feel more possible in the morning if only I could sleep long enough to get there.


I look around the room at people laughing and working. They have come because I said help would be appreciated. Some of them emailed me to volunteer even before I asked. It feels strange that so many people would be glad to spend hours just to help us. I am so very grateful. This job would crush me without them. It is not only the work in their hands, they bring gifts of story and laughter. We talk as we work and the time moves, if not fast, then pleasantly.


“What is this coin thing you’re doing?” asks my neighbor. Once again I explain, what challenge coins are, why they are cool for Schlock Mercenary, how many people bought. As usual the look of puzzlement fades only a little, but this time I reach in my purse and pull out one of the coins. I watch my neighbor turn it over and feel the weight of it. “These are cool.” she says. Yes they are. I did not understand challenge coins myself until I had the chance to hold one.


“Are you going again?” asks Gleek. This past week has been one of errands and hours of me running off to places or holing up in my office. Hotpockets and Pizza are the foods of the week. I take a moment to hug my girl and I want nothing more than to just curl up on a couch and keep hugging her for a long time. Just the thought of holding still sounds like a piece of heaven. Instead I release and move to the next urgent task on the list.


I look around the garage at the stacks of coins and shipping supplies. Time and again I have a momentary panic because of something unexpected, but it turns out to be fine because I planned well a month ago and left room for error. This is really going to work.


I stand on the steps of my garage and stare at the piles of boxes. So much work to do. So many chances to mess things up. I’m sure that it is not possible and I will fail.


Janci and I sit on couches after the helpers have left. We deconstruct how the day’s work went and how the next work session needs to go. Then we just sit for a few minutes, still talking even though the business is already discussed. Sitting still feels really good.


I am losing track of things. Mostly they are small things, a backpack left in the car that the teenager drove to school, an email that I read but failed to answer, a task that lingers on my list because I keep forgetting. There was one task that I stared at for five minutes because the note made no sense to me even though I knew I’d been the one to write it. I drop things more often. I make small mistakes. I’m assigning checking orders to someone else because my brain is beginning to gloss over details and details are what need to be noticed. I need to sleep more. I need to worry less. It will all be fine, but the quantity of things to do is oppressive. I rather suspect that when I depart for the writer’s retreat I will spend all of my days there just staring at nothing, content to be still for the first time in months.

Work count has not changed. Saturday was spent doing house and kid things. Sunday is not a work day. Work resumes tomorrow morning.

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2 comments to These Are Pieces of My Coin Shipping Experience

  • Peggy :)

    I really want to write something encouraging, but everything I think of sounds lame. So I guess hang in there and keep getting up when you’re knocked down until this hardship has passed and you find the cloud’s silver lining. ;) And enjoy the calm of staring at nothing at the retreat!

  • Huh. I haven’t commented on your blog since my divorce (had to change my name, email, and blog addy–bother).

    Have you heard the saying that if you want something done, give it to a busy person? Busy people know how to squeeze in extra tasks, while non-busy people don’t know how to complete the few tasks they have. Case in point: you are accomplishing hundreds of things a day (or an hour, I’m sure). I can’t seem to choose which of my [non-essential, non-single-parenting, personal] tasks to do first… so none of them get done. *sigh* I used to be a busy person. I should see if I can’t get back to that.

    In the meantime, when you have a second, you wanna complete my Utah Bar application? I’m sure you’ll figure out how to get to it before I do! :P

    Hang in there–this, too, shall pass.