Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy February!

February is here and it looks like the groundhog has predicted an early spring. With the way things have been across the country I'll believe it when I'm back out riding my bicycle to see it.

This last week was particularly stressful as I was trying to get the last of the kids books in this current contract done and out the door. Everything was due on Monday so I spent a lot of last week trying to get the inks and grays done in time.

One problem that arose last Wednesday was when I was going out for lunch I hopped in my jeep, turned the key, and....nothing. Not even a struggle to start. Just nothing. I might as well have stuck the key in the glove box to try and make the engine start. I sat for a second, tried to figure out what to do, opened the door to get out, and decided to give it one more try.

And the jeep started.

I was so tired and exhausted that I decided not to question it. I closed the door and drove off to lunch. After lunch, the jeep started up again with no problems and I got back home and went back to work on the books.

On Thursday, while going out to dinner, the jeep didn't start again. We ended up taking Monika's car and I stopped off at the auto parts store and bought a new battery for the jeep. This kind of thing has happened before so I figured (or hoped) it was just a matter of getting a new battery and all would be well.

So, Thursday night, after dinner and after a few hours of working, I went down to the garage and changed the battery out in my jeep at midnight. The positive lead to the battery was covered with acidic foam. I wiped it off and pulled the old battery out and put in the new one. While reconnecting the leads the positive lead came off the wires in my hand. I cleaned it off as best I could, got it back on the wires, and put the whole thing back together.

And the jeep started up just fine. I took the old battery back to the auto parts shop and bought a new lead for the positive wire. I figured when I had time I'd replace the one that was all corroded by the acidic foam.

But, for now, all was well, the jeep worked, and I still had a few days to get all the work on the kids books done.

On Sunday night, the last day I had to work on the books, I had to go to an evening meeting for a few hours. Fine. I wasn't happy about it but it gave me a little break from graying in pages all day. I figured I'd sit in the meeting, recharge, then get some dinner afterwards and work the night away.

I drove to the local Safeway to pick up some dinner. After getting all my groceries I got back in the jeep, turned the key, and....nothing.


It just wasn't working this time.

Pissed, I grabbed the groceries I had, a gallon of milk and a case of Diet Coke included, and walked home. I was so angry I didn't care about the pain in my shoulders and arms from lugging all the groceries or that it was so cold that my hands were numb. I just wanted to get home and finish my work.

I got home, shaking from anger, fixed my dinner, and went back to work on the books.

I finished the books about eleven that night. As soon as the books were done and sent off to the client I took my bicycle out and rode back to Safeway and my waiting jeep.

There I was, eleven at night, the hood popped, a flashlight out, putting the new lead on the wires and hoping that was the only problem. I got everything put on and screwed in right and was happy to see the dome light come on when I opened the driver's side door.

I turned the key and...success!

I celebrated the night of finishing my work and fixing my car by doing a few laps around the Safeway parking lot on my bike. And, then, to celebrate further, I threw my bike in the back of the jeep and took it for a ride while I listened to some music.

I was so happy at getting everything done and not losing my mind. It seems like this time around with the kids books that a lot of obstacles were thrown in my way. I was sick with a cold or flu twice, I had food poisoning, my TV broke, my heat broke and I had to spend a grand to have it fixed, and my jeep broke.

But, despite all those things I took care of everything and still got four books done in about eight weeks time.

I didn't have any days off but I got the work done.

And now, other than a few tweaks here and there on the illustrations, I am done and back to thinking about a few of my own projects.

But first, a nap, a shower, and a movie.

Happy February!

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