Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Singles Have Been Mailed & Yes, I'm Actually Busier Than Ever (Pt. 2)

Single #8 is finished and in the mail! I spend way too much time putting these things together! But each one has been fun. And each one is truly unique.

It seems almost every week someone I haven't spoken to in a while will invariably ask me what it's like not having to teach anymore. "It must be nice to be able to just kick back and relax every day," they'll say. I can only smile. I rarely have the time to "kick back and relax." I know a year or two ago, I wrote about this, but I thought it bears repeating just how un-relaxing my days are and why it's so difficult sometimes to get the singles of the month done on time.

Take, for example, yesterday. This was my Friday:

I woke up at 6:05. Ate a bowl of cereal and then got a shower. Went downstairs and checked my email and my CDBaby account. Then I logged onto my eBay account to see if I had any books to package and mail. (I had two books that had been paid for the night before.)

I went upstairs and tidied up the bedroom a bit while Mary Lou got ready for work. She came downstairs and I kissed her goodbye. "Oh, the handle on the upstairs toilet just broke when I flushed it," she said.

"I'll fix it," I replied. 

After Mary Lou left, I took out the trash, then sat down on the computer and figured out the prices I'd be willing to pay for the books I'd scouted out yesterday at an auction preview. Turns out almost none of the books were selling, so I actually decided for once not to even go to the auction.

Instead I drove to Walmart and bought a kit to fix the toilet along with a few other odds and ends. Then I zoomed over to a nearby Goodwill to check out the books there but, disappointingly, they had nothing new and in fact it appeared that the store hadn't really put out anything since the last time I'd checked a week ago.

I drove home, expecting the workers to be busy on the house, but no one was there. (No one ever showed up.) I remembered that I had to fix some problems with the brick work around the foundation of the house, which I could only do when they weren't working on the siding, so I went inside and put a load of clothes in the washer then went out to the garage and mixed up a big batch of mortar. The bricks needed far more attention than I'd supposed. I ended up patching for about an hour and a half.

Our older son's dog, which we frequently "babysit" for three or four days at a time needed to go for a walk, so I put his collar on and off we went around the block.

When I got back to the house, I went inside and threw the clothes in the dryer (no time to hang them up) and then went upstairs and fired up GarageBand on the MacBook Pro. I'd completed a considerable amount of work on the third and final song for the 8th Single of the Month last night, but I knew I still had a lot to do to finish it. I also had to mix all three songs and then master them, burn them to CD, stuff the inserts into their plastic cases, and package them for mailing. I finished up the vocals and re-did some guitar parts. Then I went downstairs and threw the ball to the dog for a while (he loves chasing toys).

Afterwards, I ate a couple of biscuits I'd made the night before for dinner, then I went back upstairs and did some preliminary mixes on all three songs. I transferred .wav files of each song to a USB stick and took them into my son Christian's room where there's another computer I use to master my music and burn it to CD. I listened to the songs, took notes, and went back and finished a second mix. This process repeated itself for an hour or so.

Eventually, after a lot more trial and error, I came up with satisfactory mixes for all three tracks, trimmed them, set up the CD playlist and burned the CDs after printing the (this time) very rudimentary graphics on each one. I packaged them in their envelopes.

I walked downstairs and pulled the vacuum out of the pantry but remembered first that I had to fix the toilet, so I got a couple tools out of the tool box and went back upstairs and fixed the toilet. It didn't take much more than fifteen or twenty minutes. Then I vacuumed the first floor, the steps and the second floor. The kitchen floor needed cleaning, so I pulled out the cleaner from under the sink and took care of that. Then I remembered the clothes in the dryer and pulled them out and folded them and put them away.

I packed up the books I'd sold the previous night and walked down to the post office and mailed them along with the envelopes with the Single of the Month CDs. 

The dog needed to go outside again, so we went out back and I threw him one of his toys to chase until he was winded (which doesn't take very long with an English Bulldog.) We went back inside and I pulled up eBay on the computer and typed in tracking information for the books I'd mailed. I figured I had time to take some preview pictures for a book I was going to sell next week on eBay, so I got out my iPhone and snapped a dozen photos, then quickly set up the basic listing on eBay and uploaded the pictures.

After that, I started work on this blog entry. Mary Lou called about 4 and asked if I'd gotten her message earlier. I checked my phone and saw she'd left a message along with a friend. I'd been so busy I hadn't even had time to look at the phone which I'd thrown on a bed upstairs. "We're going out to eat with friends," she said.

"Okay," I said.

And that's why it's so difficult to get those singles of the month done on time.