Retirement, my Arse

Jack’s guest blog on the loneliness of the overworked bookseller

When I joke about there being no such thing as retirement I mostly am really just joking. Except this week…..

We’d only just got through getting Wendy’s new book into a formal proposal and out the door (a process that involves Wendy disappearing into the basement for hours on end while I cope with a list of chores not limited to but dominated by laundry, food services, bookstore management, and dog/cat care) when it was straight into the Celtic Festival with all its associated hair-tearing last minute complications. (Our favorite “least favorite” festival moment: 10:45 a.m. I go out to start my little red ’62 MG to carry Lady Big Stone in the parade, and the engine won’t turn over. Started at 11:02 for the 11:15 parade. I’m too old for that kind of excitement.)

I will add that Big Stone Celtic this year surpassed itself: lovely attendance, lovely weather, lovely performers, lovely vendors, lovely feel to the whole two days. It was delightful.

The day after that loveliness, all the signs and banners had to be taken down and stowed. One of the reasons we had such good attendance is that our friend Elissa headed up publicity; she thought of places to put those signs and banners that defy description.

On Monday we basked in the glow of photographs and comments on the Big Stone Celtic Day’s facebook page, and on the bookstore’s. We must have basked for twenty full minutes before it was time to turn our attention to the SECOND STORY CAFE–opening Oct. 8–and the health inspector’s visit to approve it. Bruce, the inspector, is coming tomorrow, but Rick, the heat and air guy, is still installing the new heat pump in the attic: estimated completion Friday.

Oh, and our friend Gayle Ross will be telling at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, so she’s coming up to do a house concert on Monday, Oct. 7. Quick and intensive advertising to be done.

Surely there can’t be anything else?

Well, we decided to empty the ‘love shack’ and shift all the romances from there into the shop since it’s not a great space for retail in winter. We’re creating a couches-and-coffee room upstairs next door to the main dining room, lining its walls with shelves, and bringing up the classics and poetry; the romances will go where those used to be on the bookshop’s main floor. Unfortunately, we can’t move them yet because first the kitchen has to be ready for Bruce to inspect Thursday and then the room clear for Rick on Friday and then Saturday we’re moving the couches into the coffee shop room so I’ve got to get the shelves built soon.

Did I mention that Adrianna Trigiani’s novel about Big Stone Gap is being filmed here in town starting in two weeks? One of the film crew was in yesterday asking if the restaurant would open while they’re here. I said, “God knows, because I’ve got to put a bathroom in our basement this month or Wendy will kill me.” (We moved into our basement to clear space for the cafe, but women’s bladders are small and my wife has grown tired of making the midnight trek to the toilet one flight up.)

What was that dear? Shelves? What shelves?

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2 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, publishing, small town USA, VA, writing

2 responses to “Retirement, my Arse

  1. Jane Dorfman

    At least you get to hear Gayle Ross. I hope to at the Ghost Stories in J’Boro in a few days even if it’s raining.–Jane

  2. Pat R

    :)  , you can do it!  

    ________________________________

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