Ups and Downs

Things have been trudging along.

Work-wise, things are hopping. This is Good for the keeping busy (like I am not busy enough already) and for making money, but Bad for sleep and time management. I did a crazy amount of work over Labour Day weekend, and HRH took election day off to kid-wrangle so I could work, too. I invoiced for the novel last night, and it was a 35-hour job. It was a huge invoice, the biggest I’ve ever submitted, but I did a lot and I wasn’t going to scale the invoice down to avoid looking like I was overcharging. This morning I got a thank you from the copy chief, for my attention to detail, my stylesheet, and my memo to the editor. Apparently I am unique in these latter two things, something that kind of makes me go “huh?”. Sure, I’ve never done a stylesheet before, but that’s because all my previous edits have been to CMoS style or house style, if it differs from CMoS somehow, so it wasn’t necessary. This time, it was definitely required because I did some book-specific formatting that needed to be pointed out and explained to layout/editors/author, so I made it. And no one other than I writes memos to the editors, explaining key changes or areas that need to be looked at? Really? It just seems like a very intelligent idea to me, as well as polite, so I do it every time. And evidently they like me for it, so yay team me!

In the Bad column, Nixie has not been well again. She’s had some kind of abscess on her chest that drained on its own, and seems to be healing, but it was messy and not great for a little while, and we were pretty close to thinking that was that. She’s perked up again, which is nice, but we’re keeping a close eye on her. I was exploring her stomach the other night and thought I’d found another abscess, then I realised that it was the scar tissue from her surgery earlier this year. Whew.

Also in the Bad column, last Friday my sewing machine broke. There was a huge clunk and now the thread take-up is jammed into the machine, and seems to no longer be connected to anything inside when I open the faceplate and check things out. I turn the wheel and everything moves except that. I admit that I cried when I tried everything I could to fix it and nothing worked. I can’t afford to have it fixed. It broke while sewing replacement Velcro to an all-in-one diaper, a slow ongoing project I’ve been handling for the past couple of months because I can’t afford to buy new diapers, not even secondhand ones. I was only halfway done the twelve I have of this style that needed the Velcro replaced; the ones that need to be overhauled have just been sitting in a pile unused all summer because they don’t stay fastened anymore. I hate that when I’m trying to save money, something happens to make it worse. It was so incredibly frustrating. To fix it would likely be at least a hundred dollars — sewing machine repair does not come cheap — for a basic checkup, cleaning, and labour, and that’s assuming it’s a simple fix that doesn’t require a replacement part of some kind. It means buying a new one would make more sense, which also frustrates me, because I try to repair things instead of replacing them, and this disposable culture does not facilitate that. So I started searching secondhand listings and bookmarking potential machines to follow up on when I got a bit of extra cash. (That wasn’t looking good, either.)

In the Good column — no scratch that; in the Stupendously Amazing column, UPS knocked at my door this morning and had me sign for an enormous box. It was a new sewing machine, purchased for me by my online friends from the July 2011 Moms group I’m a member of through Ravelry. I sat down and cried again, but for a very different reason. I’m so close to these women, and most of us have never even met. We talk about good things and bad things that happen to us, share news about our kids, support one another, and have fun together. We’ve pulled together to help one another, too, now and again; I just never expected it to be directed at me like this. I am so very blessed to have friends who help me when I’m down. I haven’t even opened the actual machine yet. It is so beautiful, and has so many fancy stitches, and I promise to get it tuned up every year or so so that I will have it for years and years to come. It has something like forty stitches programmed into it. I think it has more memory in it than the first computer my family bought back in ’89.

And finally, to cap off the Good column, I FOUND MY MISSING LIBRARY BOOK! I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here. In early July, a book I’d borrowed went missing. It just vanished. It wasn’t on the shelf where I keep our library books, it wasn’t on any other bookshelf in the house, it wasn’t in either of the kids’ rooms, and I never take library books out of the house… it had just disappeared. I renewed it the maximum number of times I was allowed and kept looking for it, to no avail. It drove me absolutely crazy. Finally, last Friday, I went to the library and told them that it was lost, and learned that replacement value was going to be $27. It really rankled that I had to pay $27 for a book that I hadn’t finished, and hadn’t even been enjoying overmuch, and life being what it is, I knew that the odds of finding it right after I’d paid for it were high, so I’d end up owning a book I felt meh about. I was going to go to the bank the next day to get the money, as it was the final due date. That morning, I saw Owlet kick a piece of Lego under the bookcase in the hall. I hadn’t known there was a slim space under it; I thought the front of the base went all the way to the floor. I lay down to reach underneath and get the Lego, and I found the missing book. (I know what happened, too: Owlet pulls the books off the library shelf, so it probably fell, and she kicked it under the shelf by accident just like she accidentally kicked the Lego. I also found a plastic turtle under there.) So I saved the $27 replacement fee, and I got the smug satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t lose it after all! I knew it was in the house somewhere.

Bonus Good thing: Today I got the cheque for my second freelance project that I finished at the end of July. Whew. It will be another five weeks before I get another one, so this smallish one has to last. (That’s a nice thought, but it will be gone in about ten days to pay bills. Still! Better to have it and finally be able to pay them, right?)

Owlet turned thirteen months old yesterday. I have a skeleton of her monthly post in a file, but I can’t finish it till Friday. Actually, there’s a lot that I can do again as of Friday, when I have handed in all my current work. This post was sketches and Tweets and Ravelry posts, collected together for posterity, pieced together during five-minute breaks, but the monthly posts are too complicated for that.

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