I got all fascinated with fabric origami a few years back and made an origami wallet and an origami purse. Now I have origami shoes.

They’re not really origami, obviously. I just really like this kind of wrapped and folded look. Also pleats.

These are from Target (left) and Rocket Dog (right), and if I complain about not being able to pay my boys’ tuition a month or two hence, you can remind me that I frivolously bought not one but two pairs of shoes merely because I liked them, so it’s all my own fault.

Yesterday I had four things to accomplish: a talk with the German chocolatier about my work for him, contracts to send out to my other new clients, an article for Today’s Man, and finishing up the grading of the finals and inputting the final grades.

I had multiple talks with the chocolatier, both by phone and online, plus lengthy negotiations with The Computer Guy to get him to take on the job. I have two other design jobs for which I have to line up designers, so I also sent off emails for that.

In all the talk about job hunting and layoffs and stuff like that, it’s easy to forget how difficult it can be to find workers. I remember when I was hiring people for the store, how desperate we’d get. In the town where I live, we had an unemployment rate of 2%, which economists tell us means that there were people working who didn’t even want jobs, but had been pulled off the street against their will by frantic business owners. I kind of feel that way about finding designers. Our county’s unemployment rate, in case you were wondering, has rocketed to 3.9%. Three percent is officially considered “full employment,” since there are generally people who don’t want to work, since they’re students or mothers with small children or ill or spouses of rich people or something. This means that there are in my town about 500 actual unemployed people, and they are probably not web designers.

Fortunately, I don’t have to get designers just from our local area, though I have started my search here. I was also thinking about the guy who did the design for the lesson plan I was telling you about, but he is a team member of mine with The Northerners. I wonder whether hiring him on one of these jobs would be sort of like conspiring with a coworker to take work outside the company for a lower rate. I don’t know. If you have views on this ethical quandary, let me know. In the meantime, I did suggest to the client in this case that she have a look at The Northerners’ website and see whether she’d like to go through them. I don’t know about her budget; if she goes through the firm, then the designer in question will still be paid, but it’s bound to cost her more. On the other hand, I don’t know about this designer’s coding skills, while The Notherners’ developer is hot stuff. And they have a Project Manager, too, so it could be better for her all around. And any problems would fall into the category of Not My Problem.

So by noon, I had gotten about two paragraphs written in that article, and I took #1 son off for some research. I’m writing about urban living in my highly rural state. We went down to our downtown area, strolled around looking for urbanesque views for the photos, and were fortunate enough to get a couple of excellent quotes from people who walked to work there in the downtown area.

We also got a nice lunch at a popular, fairly urban-feeling restaurant, where we were among people in business suits, women in hose and heels carrying babies, dreadlocked people in sweats, and all sorts of other folks.

That was fun. We also went to a local bakery (where we got one of those excellent quotes) and sampled all the varieties of croissants. I had lost six pounds, but one afternoon of deep research and the scale this morning is up by five pounds. I know that my lunch did not itself weigh five pounds. Oh well.

So I got home in time for a walk with Janalisa, and then got back to my article. However, I had only finished the one section when my NY financier guy IMed me to discuss a regular gig with him. I’ve been doing random jobs for him for about six months now — websites, blog posts, articles — but he’s now hiring me on for regular Dark Art services. A year ago, I had a few of these monthly customers, but I now charge seven times as much. I do more for them, too, so I don’t call them Dark Art Lite, but I still charge way less than the big companies, so I probably still could.
 
Having completed these negotiations, I intended to make dinner. However, my menfolks were all heading off to do other things, and no one intended to eat whatever I cooked. so I fixed myself a tuna sandwich, read a bit of the book for my physical world   book club (which I have now missed three months in a row), and took a five minute nap.

It seemed sort of crazy to take a nap at 8:00 in the evening. I was, however, thinking that I could get that to-do list finished up if I did so.

Nope. I sent off an email to the magazine saying that, since their deadline wasn’t until Monday and there would probably not be anyone in the office to read the article till then anyway, I would not have it in on Friday as I had said. Sorry. I sent my bank info and a W9 to the financial guy, got one of the contracts off, showered, and went to bed.

Today, I still have quite a bit of yesterday’s to-do list. I also really need to do some grocery shopping, preferably at the farmers’ market and natural foods store, and housework. Knitting and reading ought to be on the list. So should gardening.

During yesterday’s walk, Janalisa was expressing some frustration about not being able to keep up with her business the way she wants to, and also keep her house and social calendar the way she wants them. I was able to sympathize. However, I now have enough regular gigs to quite applying for one-off jobs. Not that I’ve spent much time on that recently, but I’ve been feeling as though I ought to.

However, as I said to Janalisa, we have to quit thinking of our current rushed circumstances as a temporary glitch that means we have to get back to normal. This is the new normal. So we just have to figure out how to make the rest of our lives the way we want them, within the reality of our new normal.

I’m working on that.