I am so naive sometimes. This is our fourth season selling our artwork on the causeway in Victoria, and every year, August has taken me by surprise. I never learn just how cruel a mistress August can be! Each June, I think to myself:

This is a piece of cake!

I could do this all effin’ year long!

Bring on the sales, universe!

By July every year, I’m a bit wiser and my enthusiasm is a bit, um, tempered. I console myself:

Hey, at least you’ve only got 50 unread e-mails in your inbox, not 500.

Way to keep up with a twice-weekly(ish) workout schedule!

August will be totally manageable. It can’t be *that* much busier than July.

Then August hits.


I go from working out twice(ish) a week to working out two times the entire month (the 1st and the 31st, natch). The unread e-mails in my inbox pile up at an alarming rate, nearly outsizing the monstrous dirty laundry pile in our closet (you know, if e-mails had physical mass and volume). Marty’s parents leave frantic voicemails on our machine, ranging from “Hello? We haven’t talked to you in two weeks!”, to “Is everything okay?? Are you guys still alive over there??” Sadly, most of their calls go unanswered, mainly because a) we’re not home until midnight to check our messages and b) we pity the fools who try to phone us in the morning before we leave for work. Mornings are for silence. That’s our motto. Our other motto is Phone us before 10 in the morning and SUFFER OUR WRATH!Ā Just saying.

Anyway. August is a demanding master, and we are her wretched slaves. I’ve come a long way since my days at the office, no? Scroll down to experience An Ordinary August Day in photos:

8 am

Why are we even awake at 8 am? Normally, I set an alarm for 8:30 and it nearly kills both of us to peel ourselves off the sheets. Don’t judge! This Ordinary August Day started off as it normally does (albeit a half hour earlier than usual): with me preparing our breakfasts (oatmeal and coffee for Marty; green smoothie for me) and Marty loading up our bike trailer for work.

11 am

This clock tower OWNS ME.

I arrive at the Harbour to join Marty, who has been working there since 10 am. (What? I was at home making our lunches.) I check on the status of my knitting (a staple pastime) and restock any inventory that needs touching up from the night before.

Our art booth, and– more importantly– my knitting!

12 noon

Marty paints. I knit and (hopefully) sell stuff. By 1 pm, I’ve devoured my weight in rye crackers and almond butter as a snack, and I’ve finished the first knit project of the day.

These are about the only foods I’m not allergic or sensitive to for the time being. Naturally, I eat about 8 million of these crackers every day now, so I won’t be surprised to see “rye crackers” and “almond butter” on my next allergy printout. Heh.

Tada! Cramp inducing preemie cap!

2 pm

Marty eats his lunch (avo sandwiches), and then I head to Evil Starbucks to fetch him an afternoon caffeine fix. It’s a necessary evil. Upon returning to the Harbour (a whole 10 minutes later), I chow down on a gigantic salad (kale, arugula, bell peppers, coconut ribbons, hemp seeds, homemade dressing– other foods that I am not allergic or sensitive to at the moment.) And just in case you were wondering: yes! I eat all the time. (3 times before 2 pm for those of you who are counting.) Marty and I are actually known to the other vendors and even the security guards on the causeway as the “people who are always eating”. Ahem.

Do you like my money clip? I got it from one of the other vendors at the Harbour. You can check out his shop on Etsy– Wood Bee Designs. Yer welcome!

2 pm to 5 pm:

Selling stuff. Knitting stuff. Painting stuff. Glancing up at the clock tower that OWNS ME every 10 or 15 minutes. You know, just working.

5 pm:

The dreaded Dinner Hour begins, and Marty takes his cue to head home to fetch our battery and warmer clothes for the evening ahead. Dinner Hour is dreaded because everything sloooooooows down for a period– plus, the sun starts shining directly in my face, so I have to whip out the One Step Shy of a Welder’s Mask Sunglasses.

Please, God: I don’t want my face to look 75 by the time I am 35.

6 to 7 pm

Marty returns with the battery. I go fetch dinner… from the mall (groan). Two cruise ships have just docked, so the streets are starting to fill up, and everyone and their dog (including me!) take photos of the local sights.

Look! There’s a horse-drawn carriage on the street! Hark! Those plants are shaped like whales!

Dear Sushi: I love you, but I hate you. Can’t wait to quit you! xoxo, Dana

8 pm

Yes, we kick it old school at the Harbour. We don’t have any electricity provided for us, so we have to hook lights up to our patio umbrella (our only shelter at the art booth) and haul one of those mega batteries to and from work each day. Good times!

The sun slowly starts to set, so Marty sets up our lights and plugs in our battery. The Harbour is alive with approximately 8000 cruise ship visitors (for real), and amazingly, a few hours pass without me even glancing at the clock tower that OWNS ME. I’m too busy selling things and telling people how amazing my husband is. šŸ™‚

9 pm

What the eff? Somebody leaves a “free gift” in one of our display fixtures. Opening it up, I discover that Hell is So Hot. Thanks! (There’s always something crazy going on at the Harbour. Today, it just took until 9 pm for the crazy to start happening.)

10 to 11 pm

Marty is (faking) still going strong after 12 hours at work. Poor lad is still painting, only now it’s in the dark and the paint is taking forever to dry. I’m taking photos of our provincial government building, counting the minutes until we can start packing up for the night.

Can you see him painting in the background? Aw, precious!

11 pm

Yipee! We’re packing up for the evening and looking forward to all the work that still needs to get done at home. This is what the clock tower that OWNS ME says as we’re leaving for the night:

So what, the photo is blurry? It still says 11:30 pm. šŸ™‚

Midnight to 1:30 am

(No photos to show you). We restock inventory, phone in our credit card transactions, wash our food containers, and fall into bed. Now, multiply this day by 31, and you’ll have our August. šŸ™‚

How have you been lately, my dear but neglected readers? I miss you!


46 responses

    • Oh, who am I kidding? I’m still recovering, and probably won’t be fully unwound until December or so. šŸ™‚ Thankfully, we’ve cut back on our hours for September and are taking honest-to-god DAYS OFF each week! The season will go through to early October, but thankfully, August is behind us now. We worked 51 days in a row (!!)

    • Thanks! Hopefully my mini-photo essay conveys why I haven’t been able to blog lately. I’m exhausted! (Too bad there’s no free wifi signal on the causeway. I would gladly catch up on my blog reading/writing instead of knitting if there was…)

  1. Yup, July and August are marathon months where pacing means everything.
    Have you and Marty considered letting each other take a full extra four hours of sleep, once a week each?
    Sleep deprivation is a true ager, and not really something that can be “regained”
    I was really impressed how my two days off last week meant renewed composure and focus when I returned.

    • That’s a good idea, Dean. So far, we’ve decided to mandate Tuesdays and Wednesdays off each week for September. Did you see me on the Thursday after I returned from the first day off in 51 days? Ha! That was the day I wore a dress and a flower in my hair and had a spring in my step. Lots of people joked that they didn’t even recognize me, but that’s what a day of relaxation will do to a girl. šŸ™‚

  2. Awww, Dana, we miss you SO MUCH! But we understand, especially after reading this really funny amusing delightful amazing story about how you spend your ever-so-long days on the harbour with the clock tower that owns you. **hugs** See you in September! (Wait a minute. It’s September now. Just read some of the comments up above. See you in October? November?)

    • I honestly love working at the Harbour, but it gets to be a bit taxing once the season gears towards a close. I’m hoping to sneak bag into the blog world a bit more in September, but if I don’t really manage it, I’m *officially* back in October. Thanks for your well wishes, Kathy! šŸ™‚

  3. I’m sitting here smiling, because, having not had to do such long days and things, I can see the great gift of having the ability to do these things AND to make a good living from it. But then, a friend just bought me a computer, so my ability to be looking for things for which to express gratitude is vastly greater than it has been in quite a long time! šŸ™‚
    I swear I am not noticing Kathy’s wait a minute comment above and beginning to have some dismay… lol

    • Haha, mom! I was wondering who Kristy was and how I would respond to the anonymous love of a stranger. šŸ™‚ I miss you, too, and can’t wait to get back into the off season rhythms again. xoxo

  4. Ugh! Sounds like a soul-sapping, energy-draining torture chamber! I’m glad you have each other, and beautiful views and – I hope – intelligent and encouraging conversations along the way. Welcome Autumn! Best wishes, Dana!

    • It can be a bit soul-sucking at times, but for the most part, it’s a really great experience. (It’s when we do 51 days in a row of 12-ish hours days that it gets to feel like a drag.)

      One of my favourite things about the Harbour is that Marty and I meet people from all over the world every single day. I’ve met some really interesting and amazing people, and we even have offers of places to stay around the world (if we ever get our butts out of Victoria, that is!) We are taking Tuesdays and Wednesdays off during September, so it’s a good opportunity to recharge after an incredibly busy summer. Bless you, autumn!

      Thanks for stopping by Cindy, and sorry for the extended absence. šŸ™‚

  5. Hello there! I was down at the harbour a week or so ago, but it was sooo busy and you were talking up a storm, so I didn’t want to disrupt a potential sale.

    So hello!!!!!!!!

    I too have been neglecting the blog. I’ve been meaning to ask you if you were allergic to tomatoes at this moment and still wanted to do the great tomato/quinoa exchange. I have a pint or two of cherry tomatoes I could exchange. If not, they will be turned into some sort of canning concoction. The weather was not as nice to the garden this year, so I didn’t get as much of a tomato yield as I had hoped. But still enought to share with you if you still have boat loads of quinoa to go through. šŸ™‚ Or…. If the tomato allergy is rearing it’s ugly head, I just make some pear vanilla jam if that suits your tastes for an exchange. šŸ˜€

    • Oh holy crap, I thought I proof read that comment before I posted it. Totally did not. Sorry for the poor typing skills today. The jam is made and in jars already, not make. šŸ™‚

      • Hey Mary! Tomatoes are still AOK in my books, and I’ve still got a few jars of quinoa left in my stash. (And by “a few”, I mean “more than a few”, obviously). What day would work for you to drop by? We’ll be there all weekend, so I can either bring a jar down tomorrow or Sunday. Let me know!

  6. Ahhhh! I love it! The photos, the captions, the body of the post, the idea of all that time at the Harbour, the knitting, the sushi! Okay, maybe not the rye crackers, but the almond butter, YES!

    Thank you for catching us up and thank you for stopping by my blog so many times during these uber busy months – I could hardly believe you had (and TOOK) the time, but it is always ever so much appreciated!!

    (I’m delighted to sneak in here that I’ll be starting a creative writing boot camp this evening – Here’s hoping it fires me up!)

    I wish you plenty of rest and relaxation on your days off from the Harbour during September (though I know they are packed with to-do lists, too) and eagerly await your next visit to the blogosphere!

    • Thanks, Michelle! I gave up trying to catch up on blog reading a few weeks ago, but my goal is to wade through the backlog of posts towards the end of September, I guess. (A few people have told me not to even bother, but I never want to miss a literary gem!)

      Your recipes have sounded so delicious, and even though I haven’t had a spare minute to test any of them out, you can bet that I’ll be putting them to use come October. šŸ™‚ Have a great day!

    • Thanks! I always find it hard to answer the question “What’s new?”, when every day of mine in the summer is basically some variation on the busy theme. Hope to be back to regular blogging soon!

  7. Oh little buddies! I love this post – I laughed out loud a few times. Love the sushi comments and the blurry parliament. And that damn clock tower!
    Okay, so man you must be so sick of it by now. We’re already halfway through September though! You’re getting closer! Man, you guys have a tough gig, but then again think of all the good things: you get to be together every day, you get tons of knitting done, lots of fresh air and sunshine?
    I miss you too – I can’t imagine where you found the time to do this post. Can’t wait until you’re back online (and available offline!) later on.

    • Yeah, I’m nearing the end of my tolerance rope for the season. It’s actually way easier to motivate myself when it’s crazy busy down there. When the pace starts slowing down, it feels like pain and suffering to be there for longer than 3 or 4 hours, but that’s just the way it goes. I think Thanksgiving is our last official day of the season, and then we’re into full-on recovery mode. Can’t wait! šŸ™‚

    • Haha, Christy! Our reputation precedes us? Yes, Marty’s artwork is totally awesome (even if I’m a *wee* bit biased). Happy to know that you’ve been able to connect the dots and put a face to the artwork. šŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Emily! I finally got around to reading your post about having a tan in Japan. Priceless! Can’t wait to get officially caught up with everything in the next few weeks. šŸ™‚

    • Not necessarily, Robin! Harvesting is tough work (as is canning). I think we’re both in the midst of crazy seasons, but at least we’re both doing things we enjoy… right? šŸ˜‰

  8. Hi Dana
    Thanks for sharing a day in the life of Dana. I really enjoyed it. The pictures really helped us see what you were saying. On another note October will be here before you know it and you’ll be rested. I’ll be looking forward to your blog posts. Cheers.

    • Thanks, Lesley! I’m not sure why I haven’t learned that August is 100%, full throttle work for us yet, but maybe I’ll finally get the hint *next* August. Can’t wait for October and a little bit of down time!

  9. Wow! I had no idea this was what you were doing. Your knitting is gorgeous and Marty’s paintings are lovely! Wish I had artistic talent. Big sigh.

    Hope you are getting caught up on a little sleep now that it’s September.

    • Thanks, Peg! I know that ‘working at the Harbour’ is a little vague, so I decided to show exactly what’s involved in a day of our summer lives. You wouldn’t think that knitting and hanging around outside all day would be hard work, but jeezum crow– it sure can be tough! I finish each summer feeling like I’ve aged 83 years, and all I’ve got to show for it is an alarmingly dark tan and 4000 handknit caps. (Give or take a few thousand.) Yeesh.

  10. I had no idea your husband was “that dude who paints the awesome building pictures” or whatever it is that my husband refers to him as. We have some of his magnets on our fridge (Kensington Pub) and I think my husband is still kicking himself for not buying an actual painting. At least I know where to find him now. ; ) Do you guys ever come back to Calgary?

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