Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August Joys and Office Supply Hoarding

This time of year is absolutely wonderful, I think, for many reasons....

1. August is my birthday month, and I am lucky to always receive many cards and emails and creative gifts from family and friends and fans, far and wide. (Anyone else out there have personalized egg cartons? This year my granddaughters made me a cake shaped like a chicken!! In past years I've had lighthouse cakes, like the one below.)

Lighthouse birthday cake anyone? This one even had a light in the top.

2. I love August because it's a glorious time of year in the Pacific NW where I live--dry and summery with warm days for walks and gardening, and cool nights for comfortable sleeping. Blackberries and huckleberries are ripe, and there are lots of beautiful flowers in bloom. My husband's dahlias are shameless right now, like a bunch of streetwalkers wearing too much makeup and jewelry!!!
3. The true reason I'm writing this blog---confession coming here---is that I love August because September is mere days away, almost here! Woohoo! It's almost time for schools and colleges to open!!

I'm a teacher in reality. I have a class that begins September 16 at the community college where I'm an adjunct professor. And I'm a teacher at heart--always will be. I played school as a kid, and now I teach for real. I love the exciting "back to school" and "back to class" feeling August brings. It makes me want to shop for squeaky, shiny, new school shoes, the item I always got in August as a child. (By June, those hoofers were way too small.) It makes me think of a bologna sandwich and the smell of a banana in a Lone Ranger lunchbox, a nickel for a pint carton of milk, knee socks, jump ropes, jacks, chalkboards, recess, and the odor of diesel exhaust from the school bus. 
An addendum to reason #3 is reason #4, perhaps the funniest reason I love August: I love it because there are school and office supplies on sale EVERYWHERE!!!!!

Sales like this one drive me bonkers! Look at how cheap these notebooks are!!! I bought five of them....and since they're on sale again this week, I may go back and buy more.

I don't need more notebooks, absolutely not. I have a drawer almost full of them, in all sizes and colors, and I have notebooks sitting around on tables, in magazine racks, on my nightstand, by the phone in the kitchen, and in filing cabinets and desk drawers. I have folders galore too, as you can see in the picture below. There's something about having lots of folders and topics to put in them.

Oh yeah, I bought the purple spiral ring notebook in the sideways picture before this one for 19-cents...and a red one, and a blue, and a yellow, and a black one too. No green though. I was able to exercise some self-control with the green ones and pink ones. I'm not a pink person.
I don't need more tape or erasers, more dividers or 3x5 cards, more glue sticks or filler paper or computer paper, or clips or staples or staplers. I have several manual staplers and an electric stapler. I have three hole punchers and a box of those curious little white rings called reinforcers that I use to fix torn filler paper holes. I have a ream of 20-pound white computer paper and stickie notes in a variety of sizes and colors. I have plenty of pens and pencils and markers and Sharpies.

There are enough erasers here to keep me correcting mistakes for decades!

How many writing implements does a person need anyway? I recently became enamored of Paper Mate Ink Joy pens; they aren't pictured here, but I confess I bought two big packs of them two weeks ago.
Most notably, I have an abundance of these techno-thingies called thumb drives. They are kind of like modern-day carbon paper. Remember when the only way to make a backup copy of a piece of writing was to type it with a piece of carbon paper behind the clean white paper? You don't remember that? Hmmm.

I have so many of these I store them in a Ziploc container. I may need something bigger soon.
I am obsessed with saving all my projects on thumb drives, in case my house burns down, or the big earthquake happens, or a burglar interested only in my writing projects breaks into my office and steals them, or an asteroid falls on my house, or my computer crashes. (That last one is the sensible reason, of course.)
I suppose this excessive need to backup could be a good thing. It's like carbon paper; it gives you an extra copy in case the original gets lost or stolen or destroyed. I once lost an entire chapter of a book by not backing up my computer files. (That was back when we had floppy disks and dot matrix printers. You do remember those, yes? Okay, maybe not.)
Today was a self-control day for me. I'm pleased to report I only bought a 10-cent plastic ruler and a 10-cent protractor. I'm not sure why I need them or how I'll use them; I already have rulers and protractors. But they were so cheap...well...I couldn't pass them by. Every writer needs a ruler and a protractor...or several of each!
Something I truly do need is an office geek to help me. I am somewhat bereft of techie skills:
My #1 computer is not talking to my printer, and my alternate printer isn't grabbing the paper in the paper tray, despite my threats and a couple of firm whacks. My #2 computer is too slow, and my laptop uses Windows 8.1, which seems not much easier to use than Windows 8.0, an invention of the Devil himself. (I fear Windows 10 even more!!!) And my Kindle is freezing up too often, and my tablet needs cleaning and organizing....
Maybe these issues are why I hoard pencils and paper and reinforcers and sticky notes and any other physical, non-electronic office supplies.

Where's Mark Twain's Ink Joy pen?
Did Mark Twain and Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman really handwrite all those classic books? No Ink Joy pen for Tom Sawyer? No printer for A Tale of Two Cities? No thumb drive to store Leaves of Grass? And what about Louisa May Alcott's Little Women? How could she have done it without a few spiral bound notebooks and yellow stickie notes?
Imagine how productive those great writers would be in this age of limitless office supplies and electronic gadgets? They'd run wild in Office Max!! They'd break down the door of Staples!! They'd spend their August days buying up all the office goodies and back to school items, including rulers and protractors, so rock-bopttom-priced.
Or....maybe not....

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