Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Blur of May

May was a mad scramble.

I was sending 11 titles a week to the printer. That's 242 pages a week. I had help from Joey, Sal, Ana, Frank, and primarily Chris B on the Burbank end, but this was madness. For eight weeks, we got 242 pages to press EVERY SINGLE WEEK. 

And we never missed. Some nights I'd get home after midnight. Once, I left the office at 1:18 a.m. But we weren't going to miss if it killed me. Which, somehow, it did not. The whole experience won't happen again--one person responsible for all this wasn't in the original plan, just kind of happened. I doubt it will happen again. I gave up pretty much everything for the duration, and to be honest, it was fun. I guess it wouldn't be fun if that were my permanent state-of-being, but it wasn't, and I got to work with a lot of people I respect and enjoy, and some I don't, sure. That's the nature of massive events. I already miss the adrenaline. The only comic book experience I've had that was more fun was opening the theme park in the Kuwait desert, being overrun by excited children while the Omani Art Director stood over me in a defense stance. 

Were all our issues perfect? Of course not. But some were very, very good. Some were odd, quirky, fun...those had me all over them, and Dan the Boss, too. Anyone who took the time to look closely would have noticed people I've been working with for two decades all over these two months. My first months at Epic in 1988 included work on St. George and Doctor Zero. My time in Kuwait included putting out comics by McCrea, June, and Ron W. Make of that what you will, comic book people.

My house closing took place our last week on the job, and I raced off to Hoboken to sign papers, then raced back, barely aware I'd just committed to a monthly mortgage. 

The minute the last book went to press, it was throw-everything-left-in-the-office-into-a-box day. I sent it to Burbank, rented a U-Haul to take my orphaned office furniture to my new house, and headed home to JC.

At the apartment, I threw more stuff into boxes. I had about 24 hours to pack for the movers. They took my furniture to my new house and put my boxes into my garage. Everything else got shoved into cabinets and closets. I was still packing as the floor guys showed up to sand. 

I regretted this later as my friend MK and I carried stuff out of my 4th-story walk-up. Ugh. Never again. Next time, I have the movers do it all. That's what I paid them for. 

Once the floor guys were done, it was time for painting. Electrical work. Handy-Jim. And while working on the apartment, I had to work on my new house.

Ceiling fans. Light fixtures. House cleaners. Roof estimates. Stucco estimates. Locksmith. A massive throw-away. Three giant containers of cinnamon sticks? How many tenants had left crap in this house over the years? It all went, aside from the possessions of the tenant on the ground floor. The fridge is gross and needs a good scrubbing. The cleaners overlooked it. (No need to call them again, then.) The oven needed to be repaired. Mice had chewed the wire insulation. How many years ago? Who knows? 

I took my friend Stuart's advice and threw money at problems I'd normally DIY. Handy-Jim, the friend of a guy I knew in 1989, fished out a patchouli bottle from the clawfoot tub drain, then replaced the plumbing. I stopped sleeping in the house once I lost the shower, took up sleeping in the apartment on an Aerobed as soon as the floor guys were done. I carried my last boxes out the Sunday I caught a flight to LAX, and I had a moment of despair when I realized I'd left a box up there, high in the sky over Hamilton Park. I trudged back up the stairs for the last time. 

I'd had to move my boxes into storage once I realized I wouldn't finish in time to drive to Burbank. My car is in my garage in JC, and my stuff is in a storage unit. The stuff that I didn't leave in the house, I mean. 

I packed over a single hour on Sunday before parking my car and calling for an Uber car to Newark Airport. My packing consisted of throwing everything left into three bags. What all went in there? Too many shoes, things I don't need, stuff that was lying around and orphaned. Who knows. 

Other things had gone in boxes via UPS. Yesterday, at my office, I received a box full of stuff that made no sense. Steel-cut oats I'd shoved in, come loose and rattling around. I laughed at myself as I unpacked, carefully putting all the little oats into the wastebasket of my new office. 

I'll have to go home within the month to sort out my house. The poor tenant can't be expected to live among the chaos I left. Right now I'm in AirBnB in Toluca Lake, ten minutes from my sunny new office on the other side of the Warner lot. I walked to a distant bus stop for three days before realizing there was a stop two blocks from my house. Dur.

How are things here? I'll let you know as soon as I stop being dazed. For the moment, I'm picking up the wrong eyeglasses and forgetting to drink enough water. I can feel the fog lifting, a day at a time. The job is starting to make sense, even without the dire urgency that accompanied every day for the last six months. Today, I'll take the Metro to Downtown LA and to Hollywood to start the familiarization process--I've learned I'll have to live in Burbank, North Hollywood, or along the Red Line if I want to make my commute easy.

But there's no rush. I'd rather make decisions once my head is a bit clearer. Focus, Marie. Focus.

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