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Monday, May 19, 2014

Crisis in the Bookshop!

We all have problems at times.

The telephone wasn’t working at the bookstore on Wednesday. I told Bruce I’d bring in a new phone on Thursday, thinking the old one had simply died. David didn’t think I needed to buy a new one, as we have lots of old ones and cords and parts around the house– . But no, who wants to hear the whole boring story? When the repairman came late Friday afternoon he actually diagnosed two different, unrelated problems (the two jacks were not even on one line, as it turned out), but the happy conclusion was a working line and phone by closing time on Friday, and I was happy and grateful. That’s the bottom line: three days of inconvenience and aggravation and a happy ending. I did say to someone, “Now, on to the next crisis!” but I was kidding! I wasn’t anticipating another crisis, and certainly not the one that reared its head 24 hours later.

Late Saturday afternoon the publisher of the book Ice Caves of Leelanau, the book I’m hosting a signing for this coming Sunday, came to Northport with bad news: the printer is behind schedule, and I won’t have as many books as I’d been promised for Sunday. I’ll have the remainder the following week, and I’ll be able to get them signed, but before this news hit I’d already taken reservations for 61 books for Sunday, and now I’m only going to have 40! Oh, no! This is terrible! I don’t believe it!

Well, there’s nothing to be done. If I can only have 40 on Sunday, I’ll only have 40. The customer who wanted a copy as soon as possible for her son’s birthday will get one this week; another customer who wants multiple copies for Christmas presents will probably be willing to wait. Or so I hope it will go. I’ve been scanning my reservations list and sending e-mails to the people whose e-mail addresses I have, as well as hoping in my secret heart for some miracle that will make the second carton of books available to me on time, after all. Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise? Don’t count on it, though. I’m not.

But maybe it’s already a miracle that nothing like this has never happened before. I’ve certainly worried about books not arriving in time but never had to face such a problem except in my imagination. I was upset on Saturday, too, I’ll admit. But I can’t produce a second carton of books out of a top hat -- and when I thought about it all a bit longer I realized that this really is what my two younger sisters call a “First World problem.” The situation is not life-threatening. Doom is hanging over no one’s head.

I hope people don’t cancel orders, because I placed my own order on the basis of advance book reservations, and I hope no one gets seriously upset, but my expectation is that most if not all of my customer-friends will respond with understanding and patience. After all, they are book people, and we are all small town and country neighbors.

Wouldn’t life be blissful if all our crises were as small as telephone troubles and late-arriving books?

If anyone tried to call the bookstore last week on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, I’m sorry you might not have realized we were open. (Town was hoppin’ on Saturday.) And please do come meet Ken Scott this coming Sunday, whether or not you have reserved and/or prepaid for one or more of the Ice Caves books.

And really, it's glorious weather at last, isn't it?

At last the good weather has come to hang laundry outside and to forage for fresh salad greens and colors in woods and field. Life is good. Problems can be solved. At least, in our fortunate Up North world there are few glitches we can't handle, with a little help from our friends.


Anonymous said...

We can wait for our copy as we said the other day. Can we still come to the signing?

P. J. Grath said...

Is that Walter or Marjorie commenting as Anonymous? (Oops, did I blow your cover?) OF COURSE YOU CAN STILL COME TO THE SIGNING ON SUNDAY! I hope you will! I hope many people will!

Dawn said...

Of course everyone will be patient. They'll eventually get their signed copy, it's all good. Readers are generally pretty neat people who can usually see the bigger picture. Have a wonderful signing!

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Dawn. Yes, people are being very good about the delay, but I have already got reservations now for TWO full boxes of books so am angling for a third. Also hoping Ken will be willing to "say a few words," although we had planned a signing, not a presentation. Chairs? Probably in the gallery. It will all work out, but it keeps changing shape daily....

Gerry said...

I am absolutely positive the Friends of Dog Ears will be of good cheer.

You dealt with the phone company and the printer like a grown-up. Seems the universe does owe you a little break along the same lines.

Considering the alternatives, it's really good to have First World problems. It's also reasonable to acknowledge stress and disappointment when First World problems interfere with fulfilling First World demands . . . which is to say GACK! I'm really sorry all that piled on. May Sunday be a perfectly lovely day over in Northport. Pats to Sarah.

Kathy said...

I'm smiling a little bit, Pamela. My daughter pointed out something that's been going around Facebook lately. Something about how when chaos or challenges strike, we should simply announce, "Plot twist!" Sounds like you've had some plot twists this week.

P. J. Grath said...

Latest First World crisis in this continuing saga is that the THIRD box of books I need (have already taken reservations for first two, so anyone asking as if yesterday goes on the Box 3 list) will not be available until JULY. That was a blow, but I must say people are taking it very well. They say, "That's okay. Put me on the list." Some are even prepaying for July delivery.

So Gerry, thanks for giving me permission to fall short of total serenity at times, and Kathy, thanks for the great new phrase. "Plot twist!" I have a feeling I'll be using that a lot.