Day 1: Outer Order, Inner Calm

Have I mentioned we’ve been doing a major construction project at the store?

No? We’ve been preparing since January and it’s been a fiasco in every sense of the word. I won’t go into even 1% of the details but we thought we were doing a very straightforward fix-the-stairs-to-make-the-city-happy project and once started, our 1880s building threw a major fit. The entire floor upstairs was basically unsupported and had to come down and then replaced. There are so many books. Out came all of the books and the shelves and the nonsense stored on the floor above. We’ve been operating on half a store since the beginning of February.

The project is not done. We are having an event on April 20 that must occur upstairs but I have no illusions: the store will not be put back together by that date. We are hoping just for a bare-minimum, safety-first look.

All of this to say: I have always been a fervent believer in Gretchen Rubin’s tenant Outer Order, Inner Calm. Your external circumstances affect your internal state. You can probably guess how this project has left me feeling. My desk is upstairs, my files are upstairs, my sanity is upstairs. If I am on the floor of the store, I talk all day and the work just doesn’t get done. I have compensated by working at home more when experienced staff are working but when you own a retail store, you need to be there. So I have talked a lot.

The stairs are now built (no railings) but we can get upstairs. Telfer was on vacation last week and built a wall full of Ikea cabinets to put away our office supplies and window decorations. I spent last week cleaning the construction dust off of my desk and filing all my built-up paperwork. My view isn’t great (see the photo to the right) but my desk is clean and organized and workable. A small corner of calm. I can go upstairs. Things are looking up.

Reading update: my favorite book of the first quarter of 2018 is Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover – a must-read, especially if you have any experience with fundamentalism. And also, I fell under Karl Ove Knausgaard’s spell and am in awe of his beautifully imagined seasonal quartet: so far just Autumn and Winter.

One last photograph: Cate and Jane on Easter Sunday. Can you even believe how grown-up they look?

Published by Andrea Y. Griffith

owner of browsers. former librarian. wife. mother to two tweens and the cutest labradoodle in the world.

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