Books!

In the process of organizing my new office space I’ve come to the conclusion that we have too many books. This kind of thought is practically heretical. How is it possible to have too many books? Well, our paperback Science Fiction collection runs over 300. The stuff that schools require as reading runs over 50. Old text books run over 30. Religious books over 75. The Juvenile fiction is over 100. The picture books are probably over 200. And then there is all the miscellanous stuff which is more than 100. We don’t have enough shelf space for all of that. Not even with the paperbacks stacked two deep.

The problem is that they are BOOKS. Books are good and special even if we didn’t enjoy reading it that much. But I’m in a mood to be ruthless and so I’ve pulled stacks of books that I’m willing to get rid of. And here lies the next problem. I’ve got to show these stacks to Howard before they leave the house. Odds are really good that I’ve got books in the stacks that he isn’t ready to get rid of yet. We need to find a way for us both to be feeling ruthless simultaneously.

If we were able to sell them rather than just giving them away that would probably help. Unfortunately I check ebay and books simply don’t sell there. In the science fiction section none of the books had any bids. Large lots of 100 or more books were going for $2.50. That kind of money doesn’t make it worth my time to put up a listing. Amazon is probably a better place to sell books, but I still have to go to the trouble of listing all the books individually and then continuing to store them until they sell. Sounds like a lot of trouble.

What I probably need to do is find a local used bookstore and cart them all there. I’d be happy to sell them all for 10 cents each if I could unload the whole lot at once. And if I could get cash. Store credit is no good, I’m trying to get RID of books.

The Sunday of enough sleep.

I actually got enough sleep last night. At 10 pm I walked away from my computer intending to wander upstairs and quiet the missing-of-Howard with a little Buffy. (I already finished the Monk episodes that he left for me) Instead I turned off all the lights and went to bed. Smart move.

Now it is Sunday morning and I feel good. The kids are all playing Windwaker. Well, Kiki is playing, Link is on the tingle tuner, Gleek and Patches are watching. But the point is that they’re all cute and happy and having fun together. I think I’m going to make french toast for breakfast. That will add to the happy.

Trading Spaces part 2

Howard’s office is now completely moved. There are still small set up chores to be done, pictures to be hung, etc, but everything is in there and it all works. This is thanks to Chalain and Liren.

I simply can’t say enough nice things about Chalain or Liren in this move. They surrendered an entire Saturday. They came despite the fact that Chalain’s back was murderously painful. They not only helped me unplug and reconnect the computer, but brought tools and helped me lay cable through the walls to provide internet connectivity. They put up cable in such a way that we can conveniently hook up a server should we ever choose to do so. And They did all this for the price of a pizza lunch. Friends like that are truly truly priceless. I’m very lucky to have them.

The cable laying and computer hook up were tedious, but everything worked perfectly the first try. I really couldn’t ask for anything more except for Howard to be home to see his new space.

Trading Spaces

Today is the day of The Big Move. I’ve rounded up help to move Howard’s drawing and computing space out of the Dungeon Office of Doom and into a room with a view. Granted it is mostly a view of grass and feet, but it has actual daylight.

The move is about halfway done right now. The heavy lifting is over. Two amazing friends came over and carried Howard’s big drawing table up the stairs and maneuvered it around the corner into his new office without having to disassemble it. This saved us one or two hours of frustration with accompanying attmepts to not swear. I was REALLY not looking forward to taking that thing apart and putting it back together. There are springs and bolts and nuts and odd shaped pieces of metal involved. Instead all of the heavy lifting was done in less than 30 minutes. Yay!

Now comes the computer re-assembly. I’ve drafted Chalain and Liren to help me with this. Mostly Chalain, Liren is along for the ride and to keep me company. In theory the computer reassembly is tedious, but routine. Except that I know computer systems. We could be in for an hour or two of frustration with accompanying attempts not to swear.

Travelling again

The human mind is an amazing thing. I’ve been so excited and anticipatory about moving the office on Saturday that I managed to almost totally repress the fact that Howard had to leave for a week long trip today. Repression fled last night as I helped Howard pack his suitcases. Then I got to spend time with him this morning and then Gleek, Patches, and I got to wave goodbye as he drove away. (Link & Kiki said bye before they went to school.)

The good news is that I’m still sufficiently anticipatory about moving the office that I’m not feeling sad or lonely yet. I figure I’m saving the sad and lonely until Saturday night when all the work is done and Howard isn’t here to admire it. I have the camera and I’ll take pictures to show to him, but it won’t be the same as having him here to give me a hug and say “Wow!”

Today begins three weeks during which I’ll see Howard for 4 days. This is the tightest packed travel schedule that we’ve ever dealt with. Hopefully I’ll keep busy enough that the time will go quickly.

The Light Fantastic

It’s amazing how seemingly small things can thoroughly delight kids. For months now the ceiling light in Kiki and Link’s room has been broken. It had a short in it which burned out bulbs in minutes. It was summer and the days were pretty long, so we just made do with the bedside lamps after dark. Then the days started getting shorter. And I started hearing “I’m scared!” a lot more often. So a few days ago Howard bought a florescent light fixture to put up in their room. He installed it this morning. Can we say “overkill”? Kiki and Link now have the brightest room in the whole house. They love it. Kiki said “It’s like Day!” I squinted and agreed. Then we turned off the light and discovered that florescent light really powers up all the little glow-in-the-dark stars on their ceiling. They now have a super-glowing galaxy to watch as they fall asleep. There were squeals and giggles at this discovery. Link summed it up by saying: “This is my bestest day!”

Wednesday

Long long day. I went to the gym as part of my sporadic effort to shed ten more pounds. From the gym I went to pick up Kiki and Link from school. I then drove straight to Kiki’s art lessons. Then to Link’s gymnastics class where we killed 30 minutes waiting for it to start. Then back to pick up Kiki and drop her off at home. Killed 15 minutes at home then picked up Link. Then headed over to the church building for a Relief Society meeting which I ducked out of early because I was just feeling down and exhausted instead of sociable.

The Wednesday afternoon schedule is exhausting on purpose so that I’m only driving all over one day out of the week. All the other afternoons I get to stay at home. Yay.

I just hope I get more used to Wednesdays so that I don’t end up feeling this blue at the end of every one.

Projecting

I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or the school schedule, but I’ve begun feeling project-ish lately. I suddenly have lists of things that I want to do. In the interests of organizing my thinking on them I’m going to catalog them in here.

The biggest project is the one which will enable many of the other projects. We’re going to shift Howard out of the Dungeon Office Of Doom. The current office which Howard and I share is a windowless basement room. The space is crammed full of two workspaces and cluttered with papers and books. Half a flight of stairs upward we have a guest room with a window.

We’ve decided that leaving a room empty for guests who are only here a few weeks out of the year may be hospitable, but it isn’t a good use of space. Howard is going to get that room. He’ll get access to actual daylight whil he is working. My computer stays in the basement, but I get the whole rest of the dungeon room to set up as I please. It’ll have the futon for guests, shelves full of books, and a big table upon which I can spread out a project and leave it for a week without anybody spilling food on it or moving things around.

I’m excited about this move. It’s going to happen this Saturday while Howard is out of town so that his buffer productivity won’t be impacted. I’ve already drafted the help I’ll need for it. I’m dreading moving Howards big drawing table though.

Other Projects:
2004 Tayler Family Scrapbook
“Who Was Grandpa/Grandma Tayler” books
Howard Childhood photo book
Sandra Childhood photo book
painting & sewing Road & River blanket for Patches Christmas.
sew stuffed Dragon for my mom for Christmas
see if Microwaving Pressed Flowers really works
actually put together some of those puzzles gathering dust
sort and re-organize games shelves
clean up my bedroom
plant tulip bulbs when they arrive
repaint and decorate kid’s bathroom
finish the story I’ve been working on

I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones in the front of my brain right now. For today I need to be cleaning up so that Saturday’s move can go smoothly.

Rites of Passage

We had a rite of passage around here today.  Kiki got her ears pierced.  She’s wanted it done since she was about 5.  My parents wouldn’t let me get mine done until I was 12, so my first reaction was to make her wait until 12.  But when I sat down and tried to figure out “Why 12?” I found my back brain mumbling something about “responsibility” and “old enough”.  I realized what I really wanted was for her to be responsible enough to take care of the holes and earrings herself without any intervention from me.  I decided that when she was consistently taking care of her hair and fixing it every day without my help, that would demonstrate adequate levels of responsibility. 

I told Kiki this and from age 5 to age 9 she had sporadic days where she tried to earn her earrings.  Then about a month ago I realized it had been months sinced I’d brushed Kiki’s hair.  It looked nice, so I had to assume that she’d been doing it by herself.  I brought it up with Howard and double checked that he was alright with his daughter having holes in her earlobes. He was fine with it.  In fact he was the one who took her out to lunch and to the mall to get her ears pierced. 

Kiki is extremely delighted with the ear rings.  Far more delighted now than she would have been had I simply taken her after her first request.  She earned the right to wear those ear rings. 

I swear I didn’t intentionally plan it this way 4 years ago, but now I really really like the fact that she has a physical reminder that responsibility brings priveledges.  This is such an important message to teach children because we live in a society which believes in entitlement.  All forms of media preach it every day and if kids can’t see in their own lives that we get what we earn, then they’ll believe the hype.  Wow, that got preachy.

Anyway, Kiki has ear rings and they look beautiful on her.  And I feel wistful and nostalgic because my “baby” is growing up so fast and now she has her ears pierced. 

Business and Opportunity Cost

I’ve been musing on Opportunity Costs lately.  Opportunity Cost is a term that I learned in my high school economy class.  Opportunity Cost basically means that anything you get requires you to give up something else.  The Opportunity Cost of buying a new stereo is that you are unable to buy a new computer.  The Opportunity Cost of watching a movie is that you’re unable to spend the time playing with kids, or reading a book, or anything else with that time.

I’m pretty convinced that the simplest way to have a happy life is to make sure that the value of the things you choose to do, buy, have, be, outweighs the accompanying opportunity costs. Unfortunately that isn’t always easy to do.  Sometimes the thing we get isn’t happy even though the opportunity cost is much worse.  Getting to stay at an unpleasant job doesn’t make us happy even though unemployment is worse.

This has been on my brain as Howard and I make plans to get from where we are (Employed by Novell, frequently stressed, Schlock barely paying for itself) to where we want to be (Schlock paying for the family, Howard home more, actual free time).  There are large, carefully laid plans for getting us from here to there.  We don’t talk about these plans much because sometimes talking about them would break them.  People ask why there isn’t more merchandise, they ask why don’t we do this thing, or why on earth we did that thing.  Mostly I don’t answer because the answer involves a treatise on economics and Good Business Practice which they didn’t ask for and probably don’t want to listen to anyway.

Howard and I have been running a business for over 10 years.  It has never been a profitable business and the goals of the business have changed significantly, but we’ve learned a lot.  We’ve learned how to be professional.  We’ve learned how to properly account for the money and inventory.  We’ve learned what things we can do for ourselves and when the best solution is to develop relationships with other businesses.  Schlock is building slowly and merchandise is coming slowly because we are making sure that we don’t go running out on a limb and swamp the business with expenses that will kill it.  We went down that road before when we were doing music.  I don’t want to go there again.

It’s all about opportunity costs.  Every penny that goes into shirt production can’t go into book productions.  Which will sell better?  Probably books.  But to prep the book takes time.  Time to find a publisher and distributor.  Time to put the book together.  Every slice of time that goes into Schlock production doesn’t go into Novell, or Family, or relaxation.  Time must be parcelled out carefully or things fall apart.  It is all pretty delecately balanced and trying to move faster will send things crashing and breaking.

Moving slowly when I want to run is incredibly frustrating.  I’m here and I want to be there.  I want to be there right now