The View from Behind the Shop: The Slow Days of Summer

It’s the last dog days of summer, before we ramp up to getting ready for back to school (the shop and Caleb) and the excitement of a new, fresh fall season, my favourite time of the year – something I think maybe many stationery nerds can empathize with. From September to December, time seems to fly by, both when I was a teacher and now in the shop: timelines for ordering internationally before Christmas shopping, Hobonichi planners, Hallowe’en, loose promises to bake cookies, and breaking out the thick sweaters and boots. With the new studio shop, this will be an especially exciting autumn for us – a lot of new beginnings all around. Will definitely need some new stationery to celebrate.

We’re slowly (achingly) creeping up to the final stretch to open our studio shop, which has been occupying much of our surplus mental energy. HVAC headaches, painting, all that drywall dust, and a few last hurdles and city inspections. We drove all the way out to Scarborough today to pick up some pieces to attach to part of some HVAC ducts, and the sizes were a little dicey, so Jon ended up getting three different sizes so we could be sure we’d have one that fits. After we drove back into the city, there was a moment when it seemed like I might have dropped my glasses into the grass where I had taken Naomi for a diaper change while Jon went into the shop, and I really thought this might be the final straw for Jon’s KEEPING IT ALL TOGETHER.*

These days, in between making it back and forth to the main shop on the west end, we’ve been spending our days planning ahead, trying to sort out what can be done now, what would be most efficient to wait on until this other part has been achieved, which tasks can be safely left with a disorganized mama and her two unruly charges. Jon describes the days when I come to the shop, bringing both babies along, snacks and diapers and spare clothes and books, as a hurricane, taking over the shop and leaving abundant detritus in our wake, and, along with Caleb’s increasing adeptness at distracting the staff and creating forts out of cardboard and inventory, we often find ourselves left behind at home to fend for ourselves.

It’s been a sort of limbo for me, having been so used to having the/a shop nearby that I can pop into and feel like a productive and contributing citizen of the Wonder Pens realm. This summer has had a bit of restlessness to it, that odd tension of wanting time to both speed up and slow down, savouring every warm summer afternoon in the park, every new fruit to be tasted.

*Glasses safe, under seat. Also not sure how I feel about perpetuating these gender roles our marriage/business partnership seem to have taken and yet, pretty sure HVAC duct pieces are not part of my knowledge base.

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