07. January 2015 · Comments Off on Oh, Hey … Hi There · Categories: Domestic

New year already – which arrived with a rush, it seemed like. Here everything seemed like it was on hold for the holidays, and now the holidays are over and … everything returns to normal with a rush. I have two books for Watercress which are just about ready to push out the door – I had hoped to get them done before Christmas, but what was that which Robert Burns said about best-laid plans of mice and men going aft agley, or words to that effect? Yeah, the final approval of proofs was put off until after the holidays. And now it’s after the holidays. The good thing, from a purely economic standpoint, is that sales taxes on one will be deferred until 2015 … which reminds me that I have to sort out the sales taxes on mine and Blondie’s Christmas market effort which are due to the bounteous and beautifully independent state of Texas by the 20th  of this month.

After I finish the layout for the Big Book Project, of course; this is an autobiography, and quite professionally written … mostly because the subject hired an excellent ghostwriter to perform the heavy lifting, word-smithing-wise. But the subject – who actually has had a pretty long and interesting life, and lots of  … interesting friends – has about 150 photographs that he wants included in the book, and some of them are … well, family snaps. Out of focus, or with eccentric centering, or scanned at least once, and the newer ones in color, which have to be converted to black and white, adjusted as to light levels and sharpness, cropping so as to accentuate the subject … yes, I’ve been putting in a lot of hours on Photoshop for the Big Book Project. Perhaps now I am at last getting all the good out of that DINFOS shake-and-bake photojournalism course over the late winter of 1978. Anyway, that’s the top priority at this particular time. But there are other matters to attend to.

Blondie is in California for the next few weeks, attending on Mom and family concerns. Mom is recovering, but will never be able to return to hers and Dad’s house. She will be in a wheelchair for the foreseeable future and living in an assisted-living residence. The house is now on the market; it has been cleared of personal possessions, a few of which will be kept as family heirlooms – mostly those few things which survived the fire – and the rest disposed of at an estate auction. I feel at least a few twinges at the heart about this; it was Mom and Dad’s place, which they made and decorated in their own way. But Blondie was the only one of us who actually lived there … and the fire in 2003 destroyed all the furniture and just about all those bits and bobs of personal sentimental value to us. So there is that.

There has been enough taken in from various book projects and sales to do this and that as regarding my own house. Like … sorting out the home office. I bought a pair of wooden file cabinets off Amazon over the last week; very nicely made ones, originating from Vietnam. They replace one battered, crushingly heavy, non-functional (the upper drawer jammed and stuck fast about two months ago) and rather nasty oak-veneer file cabinet (it smelled of mouse-dirt and mold when I got it) inherited from Dave the Computer Genius… well, it was free, mouse-dirt, mold and all, and I was not in such an economic position at that time which allowed me to look down on such an item. But now I can, and so I bashed it all to pieces, put it in the trash, and transferred all the files to the new cabinets. I can recommend them, BTW. The units are attractive and very beautifully designed – every individual piece is labeled with a number corresponding to the instruction sheet, and even the screws and knobs are sealed in a numbered blister-pack. Best of all, it looks like a nice bit of classic furniture when assembled, not just like an office filing cabinet.

And then there is the new idea for the book after the next … another western adventure. A proper but orphaned and relatively impoverished Bostonian young lady takes her future in her own hands, and decides to go out west … as a Harvey Girl. More original than a schoolteacher, I think. I’ve sent away for two books on the various Harvey enterprises in the last quarter of the 19th century. And that’s my week.

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