Reflections on Another Year as a Pen Clerk
Another year as a pen clerk! Who would've thought we'd make it this far... Life has changed in many ways over the last year. We now have a new baby. Sometimes customers come in and say, "Oh, what a darling, asleep in the wrap, oblivious to all the pen and ink browsing." And sometimes he is wailing and shrieking and customers quietly move away, unsure if it's a baby or some sort of rabid gollum that's strapped to me. Our newest family member, the robot vacuum, has proven more useful than both the dog and the baby. Jon jokes it should be part of our family pictures, and not just because it spooks the dog by bumping into Super's legs, much to Jon's delight. Jon now sits on the couch while drinking his coffee and "vacuuming." Here are some lessons I've learned this year: 1. I may think it's okay to wear sweatpants in the shop on Mondays because it's supposed to be closed, and your husband says "yeah, you look totally fine," but inevitably someone will come knocking and look upon me...in my sweatpants. Coincidentally, or potentially ironically, our landlord - Portuguese grandmother Maria - gave Caleb a pair of Roots sweatpants (and sweater) that match my sweatpants exactly. Not sure if she's giving me some sort of hint there... 2. I need to start preparing for the holidays in ...the summer (mentally and otherwise). Last year, we didn't know what we were doing, and we ran out of almost all our stock mid-December, if not earlier. This year, we thought we knew what we were doing (HAHA), and we still ran out of many items. Next year, no excuses. 3. A baby is happiest when he's full, well-rested and has a clean diaper. This brief window is not long enough for an actual shower, but it is long enough for you to look in the mirror, and realize that a shower is indeed needed. 4. Instagram is a deep, dark black hole of time and eye glazing, where you can look at people's pictures of pens and handwriting and stationery basically forever. It's like the twilight zone. 5.. When Jon is in charge of grocery shopping, we mostly have meat and juice in the house. It's important to have shopping lists. 6. When you arrange for Canada Post to come pick up packages at a certain time, it really means you should prepare for Canada Post to come and pick up packages at any time during the day, usually timed for when the shop is packed. So if you select "between 4 pm and 5 pm" they will come at 2:30. And if you select "between 12 pm and 1 pm" they will come at 4:30. It's like a fun game. 7. You can never have enough masking tape. You think you can, because you order in bulk, and it seems like your limited shelf space is taken up with this all this "extra" masking tape, but you really can never have enough. 8. While getting business cards is not the defining marker for becoming a real business according to the government (they like them taxes), for us, it's now official. Ordering these cards from metalkards.com was a really proud moment for everyone involved in the company and made everything feel so real. It has been a quite a year, with highs and lows and magical moments - receiving that first shipment of ink after the winter freeze, the first time the baby throws up on the dog, meeting customers that have ordered online from us since the beginning. I'm not sure if I will go back into teaching. There are many, many things I miss about teaching, and every once in a while, when an old student visits, and they've grown a foot and a half, I wonder about it. Who knows what the next year and the years ahead will bring. I couldn't imagine opening a business with anyone other than Jon. He is the tall to my short, the Collier to my Beaumont. He is our financial manager/accountant/hold-on-here as I flip through pen catalogues with delight. And even though we have very different ways of doing things, I usually win, so that's all I can ask for...although ever since Drake opened up his shop across the street, I've been harbouring secret dreams of opening up a business with Drake instead, and getting line-ups around the building. At which point, Jon subtly reminds me that we may be attracting a different type of crowd. There's much celebration here as another year draws to a close - a year in business, family, new partnerships and exciting goals ahead. We're going to be sharing some of this celebrating tomorrow, on Instagram. Thanks so much for keeping us around another year, and here's to many more to come!