January 19 17

Are you guys familiar with Farmer Joe’s Hot Day?


I used to work at Scholastic. It was my first job out of school — I started as a summer student, not getting paid to get through the slush pile. It was my favorite. I read potential books all day long — the words of writers who were sitting at home, hoping and wishing that someone out there was reading their words. And while I wasn’t getting paid, I was partaking in the employee store. Oh my goodness, you guys. The employee store. It was a room full of books, pretty much floor to ceiling. Heaven, basically. For $5, you could buy an empty bag and then fill in with as many books as you could fit inside. I got really good at filling those bags. And here’s the thing. I didn’t have any kids at the time, yet, I went on to have my three while I was still working there. I eventually moved on from the slush pile, and I eventually earned myself a paycheck.

But that employee store. I bought books and books and books and more books. I got books to give as gifts, I got books that my future children would one day read, I filled many bookshelves with wonderful words.

And Farmer Joe’s Hot Day was one of these. It sat on a shelf, unread, for years. But then it was read to Emily. And then to Josh. And finally to Isabella. We still have it somewhere, its wear and tear showing off.

Basically, in the book, Farmer Joe works hard. He cuts the wheat, plants the corn, pulls the weeds. And he gets hot and tired, understandably. So, he goes to his very smart wife for advice. Mrs. Farmer Joe is super clever, so urges Joe to wear a jacket and that will solve his problems. So he did. But it didn’t help. So then Mrs. Farmer Joe suggested adding a coat. When that doesn’t work, she recommends a scarf. And then mittens. Farmer Joe was no longer hot and tired, he was HOT AND TIRED. Is my wife on crack, he wonders? She tells him to take off his scarf and mittens and coat and jacket.

And guess what? Farmer Joe isn’t hot and tired anymore and he goes out and totally kicks heiney out on that farm and Mrs. Farmer Joe is brilliant hero.

I think I might be Farmer Joe.

A few weeks ago I could barely see the end in sight. I had brand-new job that’s become much bigger than I had previously imagined (yay steady paycheck! My first one since getting packaged out of garbage in June). I had a booming photography business (insert a hundred heart emojis here) and then there was the school photos. An amazing opportunity for so many reasons (labor of love, I’ll call it since it didn’t end up being a money maker for me), but it was a much bigger project than anyone (especially me)(and my poor neglected family) could have predicted. The process of —-> Taking multiple photos of 630+ students and staff plus class photos over the course of two days at two different campuses, then uploading all those photos, then culling them, choosing the best ones, resizing and watermarking roughly three per student, naming each photo by grade/class/student, creating 633 galleries, sending 633 galleries, answering many questions, ordering photos from the printer, receiving photos in the mail, sorting through photos, packaging photos, labeling envelopes, delivering envelopes to the school —–> has been all-consuming for the last four months.

And now it’s coming to an end. Only a few late orders are trickling in right now, only a few photos need to be packaged and delivered, only a few emails needs to be answered.

So now my life is just about ready to go back to normal—to these two (awesome) full-time jobs. But somehow now it seems easy.

And like I can totally kick heiney out there. Just like Joe.


  1. I’m happy you’re busy, but I miss you when you’re busy, Farmer Joe!

    Comment by Kristabella on January 20, 2017
  2. Sounds like Joe’s story is actually a retelling of an old Jewish folk tale, have you read “A Big, Quiet House”? It is a favourite with my kids.

    Comment by Elizabeth on January 23, 2017

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>