Editor’s Note: In seven days Nancy R. Hiller will read a selection from her fantastic book “Making Things Work” at our Covington, Ky., storefront. After that, there will be the usual post-reading activities: bashing a pinata shaped like a biscuit joiner, playing a game with blindfolds and sinking nails into a tree stump.
Did I mention there will be free drinks?
We still have a few spots left in the free event before the local fire department will get grumpy. If you are interested, sign up here. And feel free to bring a date or a spouse (but not both).
This week, I will feature some of my favorite passages from “Making Things Work,” which is hands-down the funniest, gut-punchingest book I’ve read in years.
In this scene, Nancy is writing a list of her business’s expenses on a series of napkins to explain to a wine-and-cheese poser that her business is legit.
“And yes, my shop is behind my house. But I no longer live in the house. I had to move out during the recession, which absolutely gutted my business. During the worst year, my gross sales (i.e. including materials) were $17,000. I slashed the overhead and everything else to the bone. I relied on my credit card to pay lots of bills, a debt that took the following two years to pay off. I’m incredibly lucky that my boyfriend at the time – now my husband – invited me to move in with him; at least that way I no longer had to pay for all of my living expenses on one decimated income.
“That year from hell, I obviously could not even pay myself minimum wage after covering the overheads. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go out and get a couple of jobs – you know, bagging groceries, cleaning toilets at the office supply store…. Believe me, I thought about it.”
— Nancy R. Hiller