Day: August 9, 2014

Stuffed Animals on the Shelf

This last week Gleek finally claimed her room. It has been the room she slept in for the majority of her life. She shared it with Kiki for most of those years. Last Fall Kiki moved out. Gleek’s stuff sort of spilled across the room, mostly on the floor, but Gleek did not take steps to make the space her own. She pulled out all her stuffed animals and arranged them decoratively on shelves. She hung pictures on the walls. She sorted her bookcase. The room is beginning to feel like a reflection of who she is, rather than a place where she is camping.

I walked in and looked after Gleek was done. The display of stuffed animals brought tears to my eyes. For years Gleek kept all of her stuffed animals shoved into four pillowcases. Sometimes she got them out to play, but they always went back in when she was done. She kept them that way so that in an emergency she could easily grab them all. She lived her life feeling like any moment could be the disaster for which she had to be always prepared. The array of stuffed animals on the shelf means she is not as afraid as she used to be. I am very glad that she is not.

Crunch Time

In advance of GenCon there are a hundred tasks to be done. Each task is simple taken by itself. The tricky part is remembering to do all of them and sorting them so that they are accomplished during the right windows of time. Merchandise must be shipped early enough to arrive. Ditto Banners. I have to put a credit card on file with the hotel, but that can’t be done earlier than a week in advance. The cash register must be updated. Schedules must be coordinated between the seven person team that is required to run the booth. Each of those listed tasks actually breaks down into a multitude of little steps and I have to remember them all. My task list is always full in the weeks before a large convention.

We actually have two large conventions coming. Salt Lake Comic Con follows GenCon by only two weeks. It is a slightly simpler convention to prepare for, partly because it is local, partly because we have a smaller booth and smaller crew (only four people.) Also some of the work done for GenCon can double for SLCC. We’ll just use the same banner, for instance. Yet there are some time-sensitive tasks related to SLCC that I must also track.

During the week between these two large conventions, my kids will start school. For the younger three, this means we’ve been doing wardrobe assessment and discovering that most of them need some new clothes, underwear, or socks. They’ll use the same school bags that they had last year, but we’ll stock them with new folders and binders. I’ve also been having the kids sort and organize their bedrooms so that they’re both mentally and physically organized for the school year to come. On top of that, Patch had some over-the-summer homework which we ignored until this week. For Kiki “starting school” means that she’ll be packing up all of her things and on the Saturday after Howard comes home from GenCon, I’ll be driving her back to college. Kiki does her own packing and organizing these days, but there are a few tasks, such as making the tuition payment, which require my participation.

Speaking of kid things, between now and the end of August is the time frame that we’ve declared for the completion of Link’s Eagle Scout project. We made a fantastic start with selecting the project, getting it approved, and clearing the site. Then for the last week we’ve been stalled, waiting for someone to get back to me with information. She never did. Instead I had to go shake the information out of an entirely different person and unfortunately the information wasn’t “Sure you can have a donation of materials.” It was “Before we can consider your request we need you to get tax ID numbers for Habitat for Humanity and your scout troop.” The request is reasonable, but it means I’ve left messages with additional people and now I’m waiting for them to call me. I hate waiting. I also hate not being able to clearly see how this project will fit with all the other things. Am I going to spend portions of next week helping Link set up construction help or am I going to spend the next week helping Link figure out how to secure funding? I can’t know until people return my calls and we then go petition in a written letter for a donation of materials.

To make the next few weeks even more interesting, we’re trying to push to send Massively Parallel off to print by August 30. I approve of this push. We need it to line up the Holiday season in the ways it needs to go. It means a pile of work for Howard. It also means work for me, but we’d really love to have the book done in time to let people buy it for Christmas.

I have another book I’d hoped to have ready for Christmas, the Cobble Stones holiday-themed book. There is still time, but my timing sense is telling me I’m already late in prepping it. I should be half way through sending it through writer’s group and I haven’t submitted any of it because I haven’t yet revised any of it. Because I’ve barely had space to do anything that wasn’t already on my task list. It seems like all the minutes of all of my days are spent juggling my priorities so that nothing falls apart. Writing so seldom gets juggled to the top. I know the common wisdom is that I must then seize the time for writing. That is the writer-correct thing to do, but I get very tired. Except tired isn’t quite the right word. I’m not sleepy, I just run out of focus. Writing flows when I have spaces to think and consider. I haven’t had those lately. I probably won’t have them for weeks more. So instead of having words flow naturally out of my thoughts, I have to find the force of will to untangle them from the rats nest of other thoughts which haven’t had time to settle.

Other things that are taking up space in my brain this month:
We’ve had to renew our life insurance policies. This required meeting with an insurance agent whose job it is to first make us very afraid of death and then to convince us that we should salve that fear with large policies. We opted for a policy that will give us two years to find a new normal rather than the set-for-life policy which would have cost more than we can afford annually. Then we had to answer health questionnaires over the phone which made us realize that we’re not the golden life insurance prospects that we once were. It costs more to insure us now. On Monday a tech is going to come and do some blood tests and other basic health measures. After which the insurance company will tell us how much we’ll owe as an annual premium. Whee.

We’re going to have to find a new health insurance provider between now and December 31. We’re probably going to end up enrolled in an ACA program. I’ve barely begun to think about this, but knowing I’m going to have to figure it out looms in my head a little.

We ought to meet with an estate lawyer and set up a living trust. I mean, while we’re dealing with thoughts of mortality, life insurance, and health insurance. Why not just get all the unpleasantness managed.

Last week Howard and I had a meeting where we laid out a timeline on the Schlock RPG, which is a project that requires a Kickstarter. Next year could be one that is completely taken over by running and fulfillment of Kickstarter promises. That’s fine. I’m excited by the things which we might get to make. This combined with everything else means that next year’s schedule is full. Already. Which is a daunting prospect when I’m only nine days into a month that promises to be packed to the gills all the way to the end of it.