For the past few years in September, my time has been consumed by Florence Festival of Books. And for the past 30 years in September, getting the house ready for winter has kept me busy.
Florence Festival of Books
The committee starts meeting weekly in September for our September 27 event. That means that each Monday and Tuesday are committed to FFOB. I talk to Connie, my co-chair, on Monday and update the budget and do the agenda. Then I get any handouts ready on Tuesday, the day of the meeting, take notes during the meeting, and afterwards write up minutes and do anything else I’m responsible for.
This past week, I wrote four press releases, profiling briefly the 17 Florence authors who will be attending the FFOB, and sent one to the newspaper and radio stations. I’ll space out the other three and send them in. And I sent all four to our committee member who handles our Facebook page. She’ll post snippets of info every couple of days. I also wrote a press release to go to everywhere outside Florence and sent it to the person who will send it out everywhere.
I contacted the person at the newspaper and will meet with her Monday regarding the 16-page newspaper insert that will come out the Wednesday before the FFOB and act as our program the day of the event. It will be filled with edit and ads. I sent her the updated welcome letter and the bios and schedule for the Featured Readers that another committee member had put together. It needed some work; I had to add some info, do some formatting, and edit to fit one page.
I also edited a shortened version of the Featured Readers schedule that we will pass out as each attendee comes in the door at the event. It was a good thing I compared it to the longer version going in the insert as part of the editing process. I found two misspellings on the shortened version. I’m very glad it doesn’t go to print until next week. Whew!
Last Friday, I went to KCST and read two radio spots that I had updated a couple of weeks ago. I read them once and then we cut a few words and I read each one a little faster and Calista tweaked them until they were exactly 30 seconds each.
This coming week besides the meeting stuff, I will call venues that carry my book in North Bend, Coos Bay, Charleston, and Bandon and deliver flyers and posters and any books they might want on Thursday or Friday. Connie will probably come with me.
I will also call venues on the north coast and the south coast and in Eugene and Portland and basically any places that carry my books—libraries, bookstores, and tourist hot spots and see if they want any flyers and posters. I’ll check to see if they want any books too. I’ll package posters and flyers and get them in the mail this week. I find that if you call ahead, the flyers get put on the counter and the posters posted, otherwise they may get ignored or tossed.
Every year I think I’ll get stuff done in the summer, but I never do. And since I visit my family in California in October and it’s raining by November that leaves September to get everything done.
Each year I have to take care of my wooden decks and stairways that are on the north side of my house. The decks are 33 years old, and I’ve replaced only one step on one stairway. Of course, I had to replace the supports on the upper stair earlier this year when it broke in one spot because of dry rot. That was scary.
I have a balcony, large deck, medium size deck, and two stairways all on the north side. When I work on them, I scrub every inch and then re-stain with a solid color stain. Before I start, I literally clear the decks. I bring the deck furniture and planter boxes inside.
Because we had hot dry weather last Friday—strong winds and temps up to 90. I brought everything in and swept the decks and thought we’d have similar weather for a couple of days. I need dry weather to do the decks. But it cooled down Friday evening in a period of 45 minutes––from too warm to needing a jacket. That’s what happens when the fog rolls in.
My bedroom, dining room, and hallway are now filled with extra stuff––looks like I’m moving in. And I caught five medium size frogs that had come in with the planters. I put them back outside, but I missed one. Every few hours for the past two days, Groucho and I hear “Rivet, rivet!”coming from the dining room. But before we can zero in on which planter it’s in, it stops. Groucho has been spending a lot of time staring under and climbing across the tops of the planters.
I spent Saturday scrubbing the balcony and large deck and then today, Sunday, I re-stained them and scrubbed the stairs. Cloudy and cool both days, but fortunately no drizzle or rain. My tenant downstairs has a zillion plants and didn’t want to move them. So I’ll do her deck next spring.
I still need to paint some deck railings and put a coat of verathane on the front door. It’s been five years since I totally stripped it and refinished it. It was gorgeous and is just now starting to look like it needs work. And I need to repaint some of my burgundy red doors, gates, and fencing. Those jobs will fill the next couple of weekends. If the weather cooperates, I can get it done.
Last year because I was busy with FFOB and writing Around Florence and getting ready for a new tenant downstairs, most of the winter prep was not done. I got the decks scrubbed, but not re-stained and that was it. So I really can’t put these jobs off this year.
I should be able to get everything done because I’ve got my energy back. For about eight weeks this summer, I had one knee and my back bothering me and all I wanted to do was nap when I didn’t have to be somewhere. Now I’m feeling fine. Thank goodness! I thought I was turning into an old lady.