Yesterday, a warm wind entertained us.
The temperatures were above normal, the strong breeze felt balmy and – I swear – it smelled like spring.
“This must be our Indian Summer,” one person after another suggested.
A day like that is a pleasure, any time of the year.
In November, it’s a gift.
Today, it’s raining.
After a night of the soundest, most uninterrupted sleep I’ve had in weeks, I woke up early.
Rosa Parks would like her walk. The little dog has made several trips outside on her own already, dashing for the shelter of the wild cherry tree, then running back in to demand her reward. The walk can wait for daylight…and at least one cup of coffee.
I woke up, as usual, with a dozen tasks playing ’round in my head that need to be done immediately. I turned on the computer before I turned on the coffeepot.
I remember, like a happy dream, what my life was like before bookkeeping became such a large part of it.
Now, with the Beacon, my life is filled with record-keeping chores. What did I have to worry about, before spreadsheets and Excel files? What joy, when the only address I had to keep track of was my own!
It is amazing to me how much time it takes to keep track of nine hundred and seventy-one subscribers. If I’m not changing addresses – and it seems that they do nothing but move! – I am updating renewal dates, changing names or altering the manner of delivery. Then there are the problems of issues that don’t reach the subscriber: I need to retrieve the address and send out another copy. Other times, issues come back to me, undelivered. That is a mystery that needs to be solved, as it results in addition postage fees. Wouldn’t you think that the list of subscribers that did not receive their Beacon would match up with the stack of returned magazines? But no.
Advertisers are a separate bookkeeping necessity. Two, in fact, as picture ads are a different database than classified ads. Billing seems complicated and difficult, but even harder is keeping them up to date. Once, a man came into the hardware to angrily admonish me for continuing to run his ad months after the property had changed hands. That was the first I’d learned of it and, though I was sorry, I have yet to identify which exact ad is his, so I’ve been unable to remove it. Since I’m still struggling with billing, at least he hasn’t been asked to pay for it!
For Dion, the “Mailroom Specialist” who labels and sends the magazines, I need to send a check to cover postage and his small fee, then convert my updated subscriber spreadsheet into two Excel files: one for first class, the other for standard delivery. I also need to find time to talk to him about the issues that aren’t making it to the recipient, and the ones that are coming back to me. And, I’ve received a few calls because – though the payments are up-to-date – the labels say the subscription expired last year. What’s going on with that?
These are the thoughts and worries and many unfinished tasks that interrupt my sleep and drive me out of bed before dawn.
This morning, to be greeted by darkness and rain.
Mornings like this, I wrap myself in the fleecy bathrobe. I pour coffee into my favorite little cup: thin rim, sturdy round handle, decorated with a pattern of blackberries. I add real cream (well, real “half and half”) rather than 2% milk. I give Rosa Parks a chewy biscuit that will keep her busy for a while. I thank all the forces in play for the rain, that contributed to my good night’s sleep.
And all is right with the world.