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November 2011
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Monday of shipping week

Returning to a school routine after five days of break was easier than I expected. Everyone rolled out of bed as usual and the morning proceeded as normal. My work day was far from normal. It was all focused on preparing for invoice sorting, which is hours of shuffling papers around until they are sorted by shipping method, contents, and alphabetized by last name. I’ve gotten really good at alphabetizing over the last few years. As usual, Janci and I had many moments where we pondered things like: should we sort for sketches before or after sorting for shipping method? The general shape of this process stays the same from release to release, but there are six months in between when the details fall out of our brains. There is also the fact that each release brings some new and interesting challenge for which we must adjust. This time there were four different categories of sketched options: sketched calendars, sketched TBB reprints, sketched reprint bundles, and sketched emperor bundles. Mostly the various merchandise did not add too much complexity, the only thing which kept throwing me off was mugs. I had to add in a sort where I went through the flat rate box invoices to make sure that the ordered items would indeed fit into a flat rate box.

If most of the above paragraph read like gibberish to you, then you have a good feel for the state of my brain when the invoice sorting was done. I was exhausted by all the thinking. Then I had to go back through all the piles and guesstimate the numbers of boxes we’ll need in all the various types. We’ve got 770 packages which will go into 5 types of mailing boxes and envelopes. In the end I made an educated guess on the high side. We’ll use the boxes eventually, I’m sure.

It is a good thing I had Howard pick up frozen pizza from the grocery store this morning. That was dinner. Now I need to muster the energy to make the kids turn off Phineas and Ferb to do homework. They are not going to be pleased with the switch.

6 comments to Monday of shipping week

  • Are you all going to do a shipping party where fans can come and help out again this Saturday?

    • Unfortunately Dragon’s Keep is not available to us on Saturdays. We’ve got a small crew helping out at our house instead. We’ll do another shipping party when we next release a book.

  • Rowyn

    It’s kind of depressing that software is not yet to the stage where you can just tell your invoicing system all the ways you want things sorted, and then have it print them in the correct order. :/

    • I ponder that every time I’m alphabetizing invoices. I am certain that my requirements could be met with a software solution, but it would require custom coding because what we’re doing is not standard. At the moment I don’t have the mental resources to dismantle my shipping system or the financial resources to pay someone else to fix it for me. Someday.

      • Caelonna

        I know how to solve this problem, now if only I had the time to implement a solution…

        What happened to all that free time I always had when I was a kid?

        • Ginger

          My husband siting next to me sounds half tempted to get your requirements to at least see which language he’d have to write such a sorting filter in. He does like challenges, but hopefully you’re done with this part of it this time round.