Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Get Back to Work!

Diligence... Lacking in so many, so hard to maintain in oneself, especially when working from home. I have three jobs that I count as "top line" in my occupation list: my children (that encompasses homeschooling, training, upkeep, etc.), my house, and completing the books I've been working on for far too long. Obviously, my children are going to come first, then the house - work that I do throughout much of the day. But the books are contracted, I've been paid for them and have set my goal for finishing them up. Those books are far more important to me than any contract though. I suppose I need to explain...

Somehow, as a military spouse, you have more free time when your spouse is deployed. I've never been able to explain why that is, since when Jeff is not deployed I have an extra set of adult hands in the house to help me take care of things, but somehow I am busier when he is around. Regardless, when Jeff was deployed in 2007, I had enough time and extra money to start up on a business idea that I've long considered but never knew quite how to begin. My idea was to write personal histories for people - the family stories you tell around the dinner table at Thanksgiving, Christmas and family gatherings. I thought to record these family members telling their stories, transcribe them and put them into bound books.

As I researched the idea and looked for a printer, one printing company in Utah mentioned that they print short-run books for many clients that are members of the Association of Personal Historians. Well, I joined the association to get some inside tips on how to get started, and had someone contact me from Afghanistan. My new client had had five members of his unit killed while doing an operation on deployment; all five men had families and young children and the unit wanted to have memorial books made for each of the widows. The timing worked out perfectly for each little step of the way... at first. Then we hit some snags in getting the interviews made and to me through the military postal system. We were unable to truly get moving on the project until mid-2008 as a result.

I finished the interviews - again - at the end of summer, 2009. Throughout this year, I've worked on finishing the transcription and have only two interviews remaining before I put everything into its final form and get it to a printer - before my client leaves with his family for Europe. Needless to say, now time is ticking down. My conscience weighs on me with these books, but not because of my client, he has been beyond patient and understanding. I worry about making these books truly worthy of the memories contained inside. Most of the work I've done this year has been at night, after Buttercup is in bed, sound asleep. I can get more uninterrupted work done that way and get further along in less time.

In completing my degree earlier this year, I hope to have shown my children that their education is important; in completing these books, I hope to show that being thorough and taking care to do a good job are also important. Through other events this year, my children have also seen what happens when we don't worry about the smaller details: the extra work that someone else has to do when trying to pick up the pieces, or how much work we cause ourselves when we don't do the job correctly the first time. They have also seen that postponing the work does not profit them either. Schoolwork and chores still have to be taken care of, regardless of whether it's during work time or time designated for play.

Do they always understand the lessons we're trying to teach them? You and I never did as children and pre-teens, so I'm sure they don't either. I am equally sure that over time they will see these lessons manifested more and more as their friends are not always held up to the same standards or as they see people in their own age groups leaving work behind that has to be taken care of by someone else. So what now? What can I do, while Buttercup is napping, to show my children the value of diligence? I can...

Get back to work!

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