My head is full of things today and I’m supposed to be focusing on preparing a presentation for WXR at SIWC, the online conference that is going to occupy so much of my time for the next 10 days. I’m really excited for it, and if you want to join at the last minute, you have until noon Pacific on October 17 to sign up. Events for the conference start that same evening. Tomorrow.
This morning I had conversation with a long time blog reader who had no idea I have a Patreon. I do. You can sign up to support me here. I also have a newsletter that I send out once per month with a thought-filled letter, similar to one of my more extended blog posts. Also project updates. You can sign up for that here.
I’ve put a lot of energy in the past few weeks into setting up an October sale in our online store. I’m thinking about how messed up package shipping got for awhile in spring and early summer, and how clogged up the mail gets during a regular holiday shipping season. The mess is going to be epic this year and it is going to start in mid November. Add to that the fact that I think mid November is when the increase of Covid cases will force municipalities to start enforcing lockdowns. People will be stress buying online and at grocery stores. I expect to see shortages. Nothing dire, just increased inconvenience for various items. Mid November is also when I expect people to start realizing that maybe they don’t get to have all of the holiday traditions they’re accustomed to. You probably don’t get to travel home to see parents or grandparents this year. Or at least you shouldn’t. We’re having to evaluate whether to gather with a single pair of married kids who don’t live in our house. We’ve already ruled out all of the extended family and my parents. Those hard emotions of grief and anger are going to spike right along with cases and restrictions. Not looking forward to all of that. So we’re encouraging people to please shop early. Things are going to shift this holiday season, no one knows how yet. So maybe plan ahead?
Also driving sales is vital revenue for us because we can’t feel good about running another Kickstarter until we’ve fulfilled on this one. And while we’re continually making progress, Howard’s breathing issues have come back a bit and we’re waaaaay behind schedule. We’re okay for short term, but my job is to pay attention to medium and long term as well. With that in mind, I just sunk some money into a Schlock themed holiday ornament. I hope to have it in hand and make it available in early November. A new shiny thing in the store helps to drive sales.
Sometimes I sit in a quiet, peaceful place in my house or garden and think about how lovely it would be to be able to just make interesting and beautiful things without having to worry about promotion, sales or bills. That is not the world I live in.
Howard is breathing reasonably well today, but he needed supplementary oxygen a couple of days ago. We can’t prove that is ailments are post-Covid syndrome. He was sick in January, supposedly before the illness was local. When we finally got an antibody test, it was too late. Any antibodies he had were already gone. Yet his ongoing symptoms match those described by Covid long-haulers. So on top of the “what is going on medically and how do we fix it” we have to wonder if what we’re dealing with is post-Covid at all. It is so much better than it was last spring, but there are still regular impacts on our life and capabilities.
This week I had a lovely volunteer to help me test my intake system for consulting. I’m tooling up to hang out my shingle as a consultant for creator-owned small businesses. With her help I’ve already learned a lot, I expect to have to learn more. The best news is that I really enjoyed the hour I spent doing the actual consulting. That is promising that this source of potential revenue is a good one. Work I can get paid for, where I feel like I’m helping others, and where I come away feeling energized.
Had a tweet thread about helping an ADHD and depressed adult build a system to take their daily meds. It got a lot of positive response and I had a dozen tiny conversations as a result. I really liked making the thread and feeling like I’d put something helpful/happy out onto twitter. I want to post a follow up later, because the system I created has built in problems for long-term use. We haven’t even begun to address the challenge inherent in my kid learning to manage medication refills. I also have a set of thoughts around having my adult kids living at home, which is always pitched as a massive failure in media. “Living with mom” is failure at adulting. I want to write something to challenge that concept and to talk about building healthy interdependence with housemates where one person’s strength can help answer another’s need without anyone being taken advantage of. And without anyone being co-dependent.
I have election anxiety. I’ve had it for months. But now there is a filled out ballot sitting on my table waiting for me to take it to the drop box. The ballot represents the tiny amount of control I have over the outcome. I’m working to make plans to manage no matter who is declared president. However I suspect that if we get four more years of Donald Trump at least three close family members are going to crash hard into fear and despair. I am not looking forward to helping people navigate that, especially not with the other emotional load I’m expecting to hit in mid November. Theoretically we’ll know in just a few more weeks. I’m trying not to hyper focus on it.
Local races are also weighing heavily on my mind, particularly since I’m not impressed with the ways that the overwhelmingly republican local governments have been reluctant to impose restrictions. They’re waiting and hoping for people to exercise personal responsibility. I, too, believe that people are mostly good and want to do the right thing. However we are all social animals who use context and checking on our neighbors to figure out what is appropriate/good for us to do. We’re all reluctant to be the one to rock the boat or make others upset. This means that if there is a social plan that is a bad idea in a pandemic (say a pancake breakfast at a restaurant for fifty people) and 60% of invitees think it is a bad idea, the thing might still happen because no one speaks up. If there is a top down statement from the governor saying “No social events with more than 10 people” then those people who are concerned can point at the governor and say “Maybe we shouldn’t do this.” And the event organizer when calling it off can make the governor the bad guy instead of having to be the bad guy. Clear leadership and regulation is important to change social norms and to fight our innate desire to gather. The Utah spike has become less spike-y and more surge-y, but in both cases people end up in the hospital, or with post-Covid syndrome, or dead.
My fall projects are winding down to a close. The patio is finished and I even did the plantings in the patches of dirt so I can have pretty greenery going forward. I’ve made significant progress on pulling wisteria vine out of the pine tree. There is more to do and probably a blog post to write about it. I have a plan to use reclaimed hardwood flooring to create a table top to go over the firepit that I repaired using sheet metal. That should probably get a blog post too. Kitchen remodel is currently paused because the next step is to start dismantling the old pantry. It is a “making a mess” step, but right now I’m enjoying having our new pantry wall done and the kitchen being nicer. Also I want to finish up some other projects before launching into another one. I need to finish removing nails from hardwood flooring so it can be donated or reused. Then the jumbled pile of hazardous wood-with-nails can be turned into a neat stack in the garage. There are other clean up things that need to be done in the garage as well. The space needs to be cleared out and organized so that I can manage the next stages of project. Clearing the garage is also a bit time sensitive because it gets cold out there in the winter and winter is coming. I’ve finished all of my fall harvest tasks. We have grape juice, grape compote, grape jelly, and raisins from our vines. I’ve frozen pumpkin to make pies next month. We’ve also got pear jelly and pear butter. I carefully marked the grape vines according to which kind of grapes they grew. This means next spring when I’m cutting back the vines I can offer cuttings to friends and tell them which kind of grapes they are getting. There is also a plan for an arbor and increased height supports along the run of vines. I’m actually planning to use some of the lumber from the dismantled pantry for that. One project always leads to the next. Oh, and I have a plan for spare lumber to be turned into a compost bin as well.
I haven’t been writing fiction as much as I want to be. I’m hoping to correct that by winding down some of the house projects and not picking up as many new projects. However I’m not good at preventing myself from thinking up new projects. So.
… That might be all of my top-of-my-head thoughts for right now. Maybe now my head can be quiet enough to focus on presentation prep. My head is really noisy some days.