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  • Writer's pictureSandra Lefever

Persist like the turtle. That's the way to be.

ATC (artist trading card), long, leggy bug with a fabulous head of hair. Embellishment of an accidental ink splotch.

Welcome to September! I don't know about you, but we're in still in the middle of the hottest part of the summer over here. Walking barefoot outside is like playing Frogger because you have to dodge teeny weeny, newly hatched anole lizards skittering all over the sidewalk underfoot. Baby sea turtles are hatching from their nests on the beach down the road, resolute in their struggle to crawl back into the Gulf. And it's ridiculously hot. Stepping outside is like swimming through a boiling cauldron of soup. Insects of all kinds are out and about. A lot of mosquitoes, yeah that's expected because Florida, but I've also seen a lot of dragonflies and butterflies out lately. The heat starts to gradually abate near the end of October, but in the meantime, it's solid humidity outside. Good for the skin, bad for doing anything outside. Or inside, if you don't have air conditioning. Did I mention our AC broke last week and we had to hemorrhage up a bunch of money to have our air handler and fan replaced? Yeah, that was super sucky. Super sucky in that I'm working a day job remotely and don't really have any other options for places to escape to. Thanks, Covid.

The summer heat has been an obstacle lately, as we're near the end stretch of our garage redo. It's been quite a project. When we started, the ceiling drywall was caving in at a corner from the ceiling and was being held in place with 2x4s jammed under it. That's been replaced. The garage door, an old, badly insulated 1970s wood core model original to the house, broke and stopped opening entirely. (There was a flood here from a tropical storm in 1990 or 1991, and the wood was rotting from the bottom. It still worked, so we lived with it until it broke.) That's been replaced. We ripped out some really nasty old wooden shelving bolted into the concrete wall. We've replaced it with fresh pegboard and a nice rolling tool chest/workbench. Everything has been freshly painted. New LED ceiling lamps have been installed in the ceiling at three key spots. Then, lastly, Brian finished the floor with a glossy epoxy paint. Well, technically, the air conditioning handler was the very last thing. The wooden mount it sits on was rebuilt by the techs because it wasn't insulated and had mushrooms growing out of it. The whole place was just an embarrassing horror.

We've been working on this garage since January. Everything in it, and I MEAN EVERYTHING, including our washer and dryer at one point, had to be moved into the house somewhere for most of this work to be done. Our house isn't that large. Eight months and counting is waaay too long to live with misplaced mountains of stuff everywhere. I feel like a hoarder, but I know it's not as bad as I think it is. I'll dig up some before and after photos for you of the whole process when it's all put back together. Right now, I'm sorting out what goes back into that space and trying to figure out the best ways to dispose of the rest. It has zones: one for laundry, one for tools and wood working, one for printmaking, and one for storage.

Brian had a vision for this space the whole time, but he only just revealed it to me a few days ago. He said (and I'm paraphrasing here but not by much), "I've noticed there are three types of garages. There are the people that have garages, and when you see inside, you think OH NO. There are the people who have garages, and when you see inside, you think 'Meh.' And then there are the people who have garages, and when you see inside, you think 'Now THAT'S a nice garage. Those people have their shit together.' Let's be those people."

In other news, at the beginning of summer, or the very end of May, I enrolled in a three month intensive course called Kids Comics Intensive, which was, as someone said near the end of the course, "like trying to drink through a fire hydrant." That nails it. It was a really intense three months with a lot of new-to-me information and some soul-searching homework. I just finished up the course last week. How I managed to do this class, deal with the garage, and be attentive at my day job is... well, maybe I didn't manage it all as well as I could have. But I powered through like a champ. And the hardest bits of both this class and my garage are all pretty much over. I learned a lot in this course, A LOT, and now I have a road map and direction where I was lost before. I've developed a pretty good list of to-dos to follow up on and accomplish for myself, as far as being a professional creative goes. I'm giving myself until the end of the year to complete everything I started, breaking up larger tasks into two week sprints, which is an idea I'm taking from The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. I get overwhelmed and paralyzed by the thought of these huge projects, so I'm going to approach everything in baby steps, determined but at a turtle's pace, and if it takes forever, then it takes forever. Like a turtle, I'll get there, eventually. It'll all get done. Just like my garage. Man, it's a lot of work getting your shit together.

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