Part II: Packing up Sophie
Laura, Sara, and I have been a bit busy. To say the least. And I’m sure you know why. What’s that? You don’t know why? Oh. Well. In case your friends, neighbors, mailman, or local news anchor hasn’t told you…our book “Sophie Votes Republican” was published and printed, and it’s been selling like hotcakes! Over the past few weeks our team has traversed southern California making public appearances, speaking to audiences, and chatting over radio airwaves about our grassroots project, our successful Kickstarter campaign, and the exciting future of our book “Sophie Votes Republican”. It’s been nonstop adventure for weeks. We’ve barely had a chance to sit back, reflect, and think about the hard work and memorable experiences that got us here. Well that’s what this post is for.
And so continues the “Big Day”. The day that our project turned from dream to reality. The day that our book was truly born. The day that 1,000 “Sophie’s” arrived by truck and were thrown into our custody. The day that Laura and I most likely broke a “how-many-boxes-can-you-pack-in-12 hours-straight” world record. Or at least came close.
It was 1:00pm on December 17, 2014. Laura and I were standing behind our parked U-Haul truck outside of the Sophie Votes Republican publishing headquarters with the lift gate open, staring into the dark abyss of the cargo area. 1,000 copies of “Sophie Votes Republican” split up into 30 individual boxes weighing in at 35 pounds each were patiently waiting to be hoisted out. We looked left down the street in search of another pair of helpful hands – no one in sight. A look to the right – not a soul. It was just the two of us vs. the battalion of boxes in front of us. No allies. No backup. Time to get to work.
Out of the truck, down a roundabout zigzagged path through dangerously wet grass, up a flight of dark narrow stairs, through a slim doorway and into the office. This was the maze of a route we trekked to get each box from the truck to the publishing office. You couldn’t come up with a way of carrying a box that we didn’t try. Cradling it like a baby – did that. On the shoulder like a macho UPS delivery man – gave it a shot. Just giving up and launching it like a shot-put – gave it a go. Joking! But by the 29th box it didn’t sound like a bad idea.
After nearly an hour of wearing a footpath into the ground between the U-Haul and the office, the truck was empty. But the obstacle course of boxes in our publishing office that made the room look like a level from Minecraft reminded us that our job was far from over. Don’t know what Minecraft is? Consider yourself lucky.
Our goal was to pack 300 books, split up into some 250 packages, by the end of the night so we could ship them out the next morning. But it was more than just a goal. It was a requirement. A necessity. There was no plan B.
You see this shipment of books was for all of the amazing people who backed us on Kickstarter during our fundraising campaign. And in return for their amazingness, we promised that we would have a copy of “Sophie Votes Republican” (or multiple copies, depending on the amount of their contribution) sitting by their front door before Christmas day. That way, they could give the books as Christmas presents to their young children, or their young grandchildren who are inevitably being raised by liberal parents in this day and age. Anyways! I digress.
After some really, just truly exciting conversations with the USPS, we had found out that due to the hectic postal season that is Christmas, our packages absolutely needed to be dropped off at the post office on December 18th if there was any hope of them reaching our buyers by the 24th. In case you forgot, it’s the afternoon of December 17th, and we just lugged the books – still in their boxes mind you – into our office. Oh boy.
Needless to say, that day there was no time to waste. Once all boxes of books were in our office, Laura and I barricaded ourselves inside and got to work.
We morphed from mere humans to packing machines, perfectly embodying an two-person packing assembly line. Henry Ford would have been proud. As we passed materials back and forth, the only sounds were the constant whoosh of folding boxes, the zip of the packing tape, the light thud of yet another box stacked in the “done” pile, and not to mention the amusing conversations quietly emanating from the television in the corner of the office. The TV was somehow conveniently tuned to a marathon of Real Housewives. What city, I have no idea. Hey, we needed background noise, what can we say?
We packed. And packed. And packed some more. For 10 straight hours.
12:00pm. We were exhausted, sore, cross-eyed, and covered in packing tape like shipping mummies. But we’d never been happier. 250 packages were huddled by the front door of the office, stacked packed taped addressed and ready to go. We were done.
If we had had the energy to high five, we probably would have. Instead we saved our arm strength for carrying all those boxes back down our old enemy – the stairs – and loading them into my car. This quickly turned into a dangerous game of “how many boxes can you carry at a time in the dark down the stairs”? Looking back on it, we may have been stuck inside for too long at this point. Perhaps our judgment was a bit impaired. Or maybe we’re just natural-born daredevils. Whatever the case, no boxes or people were hurt in the process. And it sure was fun.
1:00am. The last box loaded, two huge smiles, a quick farewell, and one full car. Laura and I were exhausted on the outside, but bursting on the inside. We had not just survived “The Big Day”, but had pulled it off pretty darn well if we could say so ourselves. We’d pay for it tomorrow, when our soar backs and cloudy heads would remind us of the day’s heavy lifting and lack of sleep. But it was worth it. 300 “Sophie’s” were nestled safely inside their packages, stacked carefully into my car like a perfect game of Tetris, all waiting to be shipped across the country in just a few hours.
The next morning I drove to the post office and dropped off the boxes. “The 24th? I don’t know. That’s gonna be a push” the USPS employee told me. “You’re going to need a Christmas miracle!”
Well Laura and I must have been good that year, because a Christmas miracle is just what we got. Every book we sent arrived before or by the 24th. Even the ones that had to make it all the way to the corners of the country arrived before Christmas, somehow dodging blizzards and storms along the way. Pre and post-Christmas our email inbox flooded with messages. “Just received my book! Love it!”. “Gave the book to my grandchildren. We’ve already read it twice!” Reading through these messages every morning sure was an amazing way to start off cold winter days in December. Well, we live in southern California. By cold winter days I mean 70˚F.
And there it is! Whew. Our “Big Day”. 15 hours of jam-packed picking loading and packing fun. Even with all of the heavy lifting and hard work, it was a spectacular day that we felt thankful and blessed to experience. Our dream had been transformed into a reality due to the generosity of family, friends, and complete strangers from around the country who believed in us throughout our Kickstarter campaign. And we were able to show our appreciation by giving them a piece of what they had made possible: our book, “Sophie Votes Republican”. The whole day was a remarkable memory - one of many since, and surely one of many more to come.