So Begins the ‘Lexapro’ Season


I want y’all to know that you have adoring spouses and family members. Every year in mid-November we get flooded with requests from people who want to give you gifts with a little extra something special.

A few years ago, we got a request from a woodworker’s wife. She had bought one of our books at a used bookstore. She mailed it to us, and her request was something like this:

Please write an essay on the inside cover that will inspire my husband to continue woodworking. In your essay, I would like you to touch upon the following themes from his life:

  • The death of his father at a young age and the lack of authority figures in his life.
  • His two beloved dogs.
  • The difficulty he has at work because of his boss and the need for him to find a hobby.
  • ……
  • ….
  • .
  • !

It was then that John and I designated November and December the “Lexapro” season – when we are regularly pulled into anxiety-provoking family situations.

During the 2015 Lexapro Season (or was it the 2012 season?), a spouse asked if we could include a day of woodworking lessons with the book she wanted to buy for her husband. We replied with, “We charge $700 a day for one-on-one lessons.” And then she became very incensed that we couldn’t do it for free.

I hear those white pills rattling, rat- rat- rattling for me…

If you do have an overachieving spouse, we recommend they stop by our storefront on one of our open days if they want a personal signature – that really is the only way we can fulfill unusual requests. (Our last open day of 2017 is Dec. 9.) Because I’m in Kentucky and our warehouse is two hours away in Indiana, there’s no way to pull certain orders, sign them in blood and repackage them.

I honestly wish we had the staff to honor requests such as these as they are an indication of how much you are loved. And who doesn’t love love? But we are just two guys, and I have bathrooms to clean.

— Christopher Schwarz


About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to So Begins the ‘Lexapro’ Season

  1. toolnut says:

    As long as you have the supplies out, would you please stop by and clean my bathroom too? Since you’re already going to be dirty, it’ll keep me from having to get messy. Thanks! You’re a peach! (And remember, I did use the magic word.)

    (I actually had a neighbor request something similar when she saw I was going to wash my car. I told her thirty bucks, she laughed and I then said fifty bucks. She then said some very un- Christian things to me.)


  2. joefromoklahoma says:

    And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.


  3. Jason says:

    Being a small business owner has it’s “fun” moments, doesn’t it? I feel your pain having just spent the day wrapping up our latest contract job. And I do take Lexapro because of anxiety-provoking customer and client requests.


  4. leeboyz86 says:

    Until reading your blog, I had never heard of Lexapro. Thanks for sharing. This story will make my holidays (and my sanity) much more appreciated 🙂


  5. sugardoc says:

    “Sign This!”


  6. jonfiant says:

    Oh my. I can’t believe that actually happened. But since you wrote it, and it’s on the internet., it must be true.


  7. Niels Cosman says:

    I still pissed that the deluxe Roubo edition does come with a pony.


  8. Israel Katz says:

    welcome to the public service sector. I was in the business of supplying a public service for over twenty years. Some of the requests and expectations at this “time” of year still make me wake up in a cold sweat at times.


  9. Chris Decker says:

    Suddenly, my boss’ unusual requests for databases that break all the database integrity rules don’t seem so bad.


  10. artisandcw says:

    To paraphrase historical economics icon David Ricardo, all we have to sell is our time, and the only thing that makes our time valuable is that which we can use it for. Apparently there are a lot of folks whose time has no value because they cannot accomplish anything with it, and they project that onto everyone else. Many times I am asked how much it would cost to do X, Y, or Z repair on a piece of furniture. When I answer, the response is often some variant of , “That’s outrageous, my great grandpa did it for $5!” At that point my reply is that they’d better dig up Great Grandpa and put him to work.


    • That’s the truth.

      I might add that some of the craziest requests have been from people wanting to buy the Deluxe Roubos. One example: We were asked to send a copy to all the book’s contributors and have them each inscribe a personal message. And then we were to ship the book across the Pacific. All for no extra charge….


      • toolnut says:

        Maybe there is a book somewhere in these little requests. (Something like Hiller’s or Offerman’s). It would be a very entertaining read.


  11. gdblake says:

    People assume that because you are “self-employed” that you have free time and tons of money to give away. It’s not as if you really work for a living. They have no concept that most self-employed people work 70+ hours a week and that only by creating a product or delivering a paid for service with your time can you make a living. Any other use of your time is overhead. Most employer’s I know say they only get an average of 4 hours of work out of their employees in an eight hour day. We’ve become a nation of takers, not earners. I hope you told the woman with the used book you would be glad to return it to her in the condition you received it for the cost of handling and shipping.


  12. mallasch says:

    I don’t have Nancy’s book in front of me, (WARNING SHAMELESS PLUG) (, but I read it this past summer and I think she has an entire chapter basically devoted to “special customer requests” (my words…)

    I would also add that if I was able to collect the many small remaining balances owed my Father from his decades as a painter/decorator/wood (re)finisher, I’d be able to pay for both my daughters’ college educations in cash… Sadly, I bet I’m not the only one…


    • I’ll second the plug for Nancy Hiller’s book. As somebody making a career transition into woodworking, hearing from her (and other established people) that it’s OK to say “no” and to charge what you’re worth is one of the most valuable things I’ve read. And that doing it “for the exposure” is a profoundly questionable strategy (Chris Schwarz, Phil Lowe, Matthew Inman).

      Thanks to all of you for sharing the lessons you’ve learned, not just about woodworking, but about woodworking for profit.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Steven Kirincich says:

    I never get tired reading about the crazy requests that come from others. I really loved one of your postings from a few years ago with almost hard to believe BS. Thanks!


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