Running on Empty

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I have often remarked that when things start to slow down around here, I’m right on top of it. I slow down, too. I’m not so quick to speed up when business speeds up in the spring. September presents its own set of problems.

Let’s look at just one of my jobs: the hardware store. Business has fallen off, sure, by a good percentage over what it was a month ago. Let’s say business is a full quarter less than it was. Okay. One month ago, we had four full-time employees, one adult working part-time, two students working part-time and a few young people working occasionally.

Come September, we are back to two full-time employees and three part-time employees. Plus, we’re all tired from the busy summer we just came through. And we’re still pretty darn busy! I’m  ready for a break! Though I know we are fortunate to still be getting the customers, I am worn out. I’m at least ready for business to slow down as much as I have!

Then there is the news magazine. It is a  year-round job, and demands every spare minute I can give it. My cleaning job is always there, too, even when it’s September and I am exhausted. And it’s blackberry season. At least every other day, I have to make the rounds to pick a few cups. I enjoy a bowl of berries with milk after dinner, and freeze the rest. They will add interest and vitamins to my cold-weather diet, and remind me of summertime in the dead of winter. No matter how tired I am, I can’t pass them by!

Another problem is this: all summer long, my life has been pushed to the side to accommodate my many other obligations. Everything has been neglected. My house needs a good “rafters to floor-boards” cleaning. My lawn needs to be mowed. The garden and flower beds, which were left to fend for themselves all of this year, need attention before they go completely wild. My dogs want the time and attention I’ve been promising them for weeks. I know how they feel. I’d like to collect on the professional haircut, teeth-cleaning, facial mask and leg-shaving that I’ve been promising myself!

Finally, I’ve been dying to get into the studio. Ideas have been popping! In years past, when things slowed down in the month of September, I took to my studio and started projects that would keep me busy through the whole winter. Lately that hasn’t been possible. Less studio time generally results in fewer ideas and less inspiration. This year, when I’m fortunate enough to have the urge and the purpose, I have to find the time…and the energy.

Energy is something I don’t seem to have, in this busy month of September.

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