Out the window it goes

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

Even though it doesn’t seem that way to me, there is actually a lot of work that goes into bringing you this weekly newspaper.

For me it’s a labor of love. For the rest of our tiny staff, it’s a job with nice working conditions and not much pay. For my beautiful wife, it’s simply supporting me in a life-long love affair with something other than her.

And I’m selfish enough to say thank you.

We deal with about 100 business owners or organizations every week to gather and produce advertising copy that pays for the publication you eventually see on the streets. I deal with dozens of officials at all levels to try and produce news stories that will in some way enhance your knowledge of what goes on in your communities.

After the hours of chasing too-busy business owners and too-busy news sources, it’s usually late afternoon Wednesday before I’m ready to even begin putting the final product together. Sometimes it’s later than that.

I have a personal deadline of midnight Wednesday to have the final product shipped to the printing plant in Miami Lakes where they run it into the printed product you see on the shelves each week.

Again, it’s a labor of love for me and I hope an interesting read for you.

I’m a deadline junkie and not too proud to admit that I’m a deadline junkie. I love it when the pressure is on and the deadline is creeping closer.

Of course, that makes for some stupid mistakes on my part on occasion, but that’s the nature of the beast.

For instance, about five years ago I botched a headline badly with one omitted letter in one word that the late Capt. Dan of Key Deer Bar and Grill fame teased me about for weeks.

When I make a mistake it’s usually not one that can be swept under the rug or buried in the back yard or ended with a court settlement. It blares at everyone from the printed page and lasts until the shelf life of newsprint is past.

Such is the nature of the beast.

But there is one aspect of this job that I find extremely ironic, and you know how I feel about irony.

Every Thursday morning I crawl my tired butt out of bed, toss on some ragged clothes, some flip flops, grab some sort of caffeine, walk my beautiful wife out to the Jeep and begin the 150-plus mile trek to Miami Lakes to retrieve the printed version.

We have had a lot of fun on those treks, met with a lot of frustration, met a lot of wonderful people, driven through some crazy weather, and even crazier other drivers and traffic.

Again a labor of love.

We get to the printing plant, load up the bundles in the back of the Jeep and begin the 150-plus mile trek back to the Keys to bring you this publication.

While I drive through what is usually exasperating Miami traffic, my beautiful wife sits in the passenger seat and rolls newspapers into bags. There are 320 bags of multiple newspapers that have to be delivered to 264 locations every week, along with multiple bundles to be dropped off at multiple locations.

Holly is very quick after all these years and usually has the bags ready to deliver by the time we reach Marathon and the deliveries begin.

At that point we start weaving in and out of driveways and alleys to get our product to the readers.

We thank you all for being readers.

But about six years ago, we really began to examine what it is that we do every week. Not because we were looking for efficiency or time-saving techniques or ways to cut expenses, we had generally figured out all that stuff early on and simply adjusted with the economic times.

We were bored in heavy traffic.

And we came to one inescapable conclusion.

We each spend more than a 40-hour week getting everything ready so we can bring this publication to you each week. Some weeks it’s more like 60-hour weeks if we have a few stragglers to deal with.

We call on advertising clients, we call on news sources, we deal with customers of all ilk, we torture salespeople, spend a lot of time on the phone.

And when the week is almost done, after all the talking, producing and driving we came to the conclusion what it is we actually do.

We work like crazy all week long. And our week actually ends when we have thrown every single product we produce out the window to some location.

The sum total of our entire lives on a weekly basis is so that we can toss hundreds of bags of newspapers onto hundreds of driveways and doorsteps out the window of a moving vehicle.

Hope you enjoy.

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