Self-Employed Slacker

3:17 a.m.

It’s not the work that kills me, it’s the hours. If I were independently wealthy (hello Publisher’s Clearing House, did you get my address wrong AGAIN?) I’d still do most of what I do now. Just not quite as much of it… I love doing photography, and I do truly enjoy doing design work. But I’m not sure I’d be getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning to do it day after day. My customers’ deadlines are important to me, though, so I’ll do whatever I can to get the job done on time!

Now, where’s that coffee. I need another refill. It’s my day off today – I gotta get this stuff done so I can go slack off for an hour or three.

5:10 a.m.

Exporting some photos. It always ties my computer up for a few minutes.

I’m worried about Beloved Wifey. After the pneumonia last fall her health (which has always been precarious at best) took a turn for the worse. (Worser?) After months of illness, doctors, etc., our primary physician (who’s great!) and the Mayo finally got a handle on what’s been going on. Five or six weeks into her new meds, Wifey was doing better – well enough to go back to work. But yesterday she called me, “I think I’m coming down with something again.” And sure enough, this morning she’s as sick as ever again. Things move sooo quickly with her – yesterday morning she was fine, this morning she’s miserably ill.

Something ain’t right. I worry.

5:42 a.m.

I swear I’ve airbrushed the same “Exit” sign out of at least 30 photos this morning. In a dimly-lit reception hall those things glow like you wouldn’t believe. In the background of every “first dance” photo, there’s that silly Exit sign, merrily glowing away… Bah.

6:34 a.m.

This seems an awkward time for my computer to want to back things up, but whatevs.

Today is Halloween, my least favorite holiday. I don’t like the blood and gore, and I’ve never been a fan of spooky stuff. If society would be content with cute cartoons of pumpkins and children wearing sheets over their heads I’d be fine. But there’s all the icky stuff that goes along with the holiday – zombies, corpses, chainsaw massacres for “fun.” I guess I’m just not a fan of violence, or the ramifications thereof.

My favorite Halloween was about ten years ago (everything in my past was either “yesterday,” “a few months ago,” or “ten years ago” – I’m not into specifics). I was playing in a happy band and had a gig that night. I showed up to find that the singer had dressed as me. I laughed for quite a while, and to be honest it made me feel good that a friend thought enough of me to do that. That’s really my only fond Halloween memory.

Whoops, computer’s done backing up – back to work!

7:04 a.m.

Exporting photos of a wedding shoot. It’s not the self-doubt that bugs me so much as, well, the self-doubt. I’m never satisfied with my photos, but eventually I gotta quit tweaking them and give them to the customer…

Beloved Wifey is sleeping, the dogs are in their kennels whining – it’s almost breakfast time. I smell like old cabbage. I have about an hour to choose the top photos from this shoot and get them off to the developer, get a shower, feed the dogs, and gather my thoughts before the “It’s 8:05 a.m. and I just got the e-mail you sent me last night” rush. With luck Wifey will be able to get in to see the doctor this morning.

7:45 a.m.

As soon as these photos are done uploading I can go take a shower. I stink like nerd and my feet are cold.

8:46 a.m.

The Hippie Has Showered. Dogs are fed and back in their kennels for their morning nap. Wifey is getting ready for her doctor’s appointment. The wedding photos I’ve been working on the past few days are exporting and uploading and doing their various things. Time to make another pot of coffee and get a start on the day. I’m hoping to get some motion design work done, burn the wedding photos to disk if they finish exporting, design a patch for a biker friend, and get started on a website I promised a local church several weeks ago. If I’m lucky I’ll have time to start on another web design that needs done as well. (Sorry, don’t mean to bore you, I’m just sort of talking out loud here, planning my day.) I’m wanting to fix that pesky trim under my deck and fix the leak in the garage room too if I have time. Then I can chill for a bit.

9:01 a.m.

Shoot. I forgot today’s billing day. Everything else is on hold until that’s done. Gotta get the statements in the mail!

10:43 a.m.

Billing is done, just gotta trot the envelopes out to the mail. Wifey is at the doctor – with luck she’ll have some answers soon on what’s causing her current illness. The poor girl’s on so many medications already…

You know, those Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes Forms are TRICKY! I’d forgotten how stressful they make it. Gotta get that in the mail too. As blessed as we are, we could sure use a little cash infusion.

When I was a child, I always thought that the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes was a contest. I imagined they chose the neatest entry, the one where all the stamps were JUST right, perfectly straight and centered exactly in their appointed box. I still do, to be honest. Not that I’m persnickety or anything, but I got out a scissors and a ruler to make sure my stamps had perfectly straight edges.

I’m sure they’ll choose my form this year. I’m sure of it!

11:46 a.m.


The deadline for three motion design ads has been moved up to noon tomorrow and I just took an informal contract for a CD cover design. I finished the photos I was working on this morning, now I just need to burn the DVDs for the customer – yay! The monthly billing has been figured up, printed, collated, enveloped, stamped, and is happily in the mailbox next to some other correspondence and my winning (I’m just positive!) Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Entry.

12:15 p.m.

I love absolutely EVERYTHING about food. Love love love it. Except, well, choosing it. Or shopping. Or storing it. I’m not actually all that keen on preparing or cooking it, either. And I hate cleaning up afterwards.

12:21 p.m.

The dogs are unhappy about spending so much time in their kennels the past few days. I’m unhappy about muddy pawprints scampering through the house. Maybe I can teach the finicky cat to clean the dog’s paws before they come inside. Hmmm.

4:27 p.m.

I worked on some correspondence with some clients. (My motion design customer called – one of their clients couldn’t upload a file through an FTP server I’d set up for such eventualities. The guy called – it showed up as “Los Angeles Area” on my cell phone, but he assured me it was “Hollywood,” in a very clipped New Zealand accent. Seemed like a nice guy. Couldn’t understand a word he said. I’m looking forward to seeing his work, though. Hollywood has a lot more money and resources to spend on motion design than rural Iowa. Ten to one says that the designers here in the Midwest can hold their own against West Coast designers any day of the week – if we’re provided the same amount of time and given the resources.)

Eventually Beloved Wifey noticed I was still tapping away at the computer and kicked me out. “Here, you,” she said, “take dis beer und go outside und play mit de doggies. You stink like computer geek, und you haven’t seen the sun in veeks.” Und so, thus endeth my narrative for the nonce. I shall go outside und play, then I may come back inside and play my bass guitar (if I can find it) for a bit, then go to bed.

Life is, indeed, good. I’m happy to work hard in order to have a happy Wifey who cares for me. Good good good.

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