Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A day in the collecting life

Against my better judgment, I've sought out an answer to one of my most pressing questions these past few days.

Just how much time do I spend on this hobby from one day to the next?

So, for the purposes of this post, I went into full-on "investigation" mode. 

I've tracked my time allotments over these past few days, in search of the answer that I'm not sure I ever wanted in the first place.

Now, to be fair, I should note that I'm not currently employed at the moment. And, while I'm diligent and extremely occupied with my schoolwork, it hasn't much affected my usual hobby excursions over the past few months.

As I dig further into the job market and my education, I'm sure I'll have to put my hobby time to the side every now and then. And I'm fully prepared for that.

Even if I had a job and an overload of schoolwork, though, I doubt my card show trips would be hindered all that much. No matter what, I always seem to scrape up enough time and money for a good ol' card show.

Given my rather extravagant dime box digs, I usually spend about four to five hours at the local show unearthing treasures like the Posada you see above. Plus, I usually spend another couple hours admiring and sorting my finds after the fact.

Thankfully, those only come around three times a year. 

Any more than that, and I'd probably be flat bloke.  

For better or worse, card shows aren't an average day in my collecting life.

For the most part, my "card clock" starts when I open the mailbox each day.

As any trader will tell you, that peek inside every afternoon is quite invigorating.

Some days, nothing card-related winds up on my doorstep. Even when I'm not expecting anything, an empty mailbox always seems to be disappointing.

Happily, though, most of my recent mailbox trips have resulted in at least a little cardboard happiness. Although I was shut out yesterday, I received trade packages on both this afternoon and this past Monday.

Since I'm fairly active in the trading aspect of the blogosphere, I find myself constantly reveling in new trade packages. This awesome cardboard display of Lou Gehrig memorabilia was one of the holdover's from Mark's trade package, which I posted about earlier today.

However, a trade package involves far more than simply admiring all my new gems. A good deal of sorting, organizing, and scanning usually takes place after the fact.

Depending on the sheer amount of mailers I receive, I'd say this aspect of my day takes anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to complete.

It's worth every second, though.

Probably my biggest card-related task on an average day is writing a blog post, as I'm doing right now.

With rare exceptions, I post at least once a day. I've making an effort to increase my two-post days lately.

What you end up seeing each afternoon and/or evening is the end result. Much like the trade package process, though, it's far from all the work I put into my daily posts.

First, there's the task of choosing an idea from the list I've accumulated over my time as a blogger. Then, there's the matter of selecting and scanning cards to support my mindless drivel.

In choosing each piece, I try to keep things as diverse as possible. Every once in a while, you'll see one of my better vintage pieces. Other times, you'll end up basking in some of my most awkwardly awesome cards, like Mr. Duke there.

After that comes the final step, which is the composition of the post itself.

All told, I usually spend anywhere from one to two hours working through the blogging process.

Of course, there's a whole lot more to the blogosphere than just my blog.

After all, if this were the only blog around, chances are that I would've shut down the whole "blogging process" a while ago.

No, what really makes the blogosphere such a vital part of my daily life are the terrific works of all the other bloggers out there.

Minutes after I wake up in the morning, I'm reading through what I missed the night before. Minutes before I go to bed, I'm catching up on some of the later posts in the blogosphere.

All in all, I find myself sifting through my blogroll on about six or seven occasions during the day. 

It's a big reason why I don't bring my laptop to school. Reading through the blogs would be too tempting over another lecture about histograms.

Whether it's about a new post about the Padres or someone else's recent garage sale finds, I've been a devoted reader since day one.

It usually makes up a good hour to hour-and-a-half of an average day for this blogosphere devotee.

As far as actual organization goes, it's hard to put an exact timestamp on my process.

It's just too varied.

Sometimes, I won't have any cards to put away. It doesn't happen often, but there are indeed times where I am caught up in my organizational habits.

Right now, though, I'm extremely backlogged with my sorting. I'm currently filing away all the Indians from the recent card show, which means I'm still only about halfway through the process.

Depending on how much spare time I have, I can spend anywhere from a minute to a couple hours sorting every day.

It's one of the more hectic aspects of an average day in my collecting life.

Although I haven't had a whole lot of time to do so lately, I like to simply admire my collection every now and then.

I've had an itch to "appreciate" my Phillies binders in recent weeks. I haven't perused my Robin Roberts cards for a while, now that I think of it.

Without that "appreciation", I'm not sure that any other parts of an average day could exist.

A "binder dig" usually takes up anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes of a given day. I try to complete this process at least once a week, at the least.

But, much like my sorting habits, it can often be quite varied. Still, it's a necessary part of my collecting life.

It's one thing to dig up a new dime box treasure. 

Appreciating and revisiting it time and time again is quite another.

So, totaling up everything I've featured in this post, I can spend anywhere from about two to four hours partaking in card-related activities.

Like I said, I'm sure that'll be trimmed a bit once I get older. Between a job, education, and hopefully a girlfriend (or wife, depending on how far down the road you want to go), my various cardboard indulgences may have to take a back seat every so often.

As of right now, though, I don't think I spend too much time on this terrific hobby. 

Heck, I'm not even sure that's possible when it comes to baseball cards.


Michael Chase said...

I think it's wonderful that you devote that much time to something you absolutely love!

If more people took after you I think the world would be much better off!!

Pure gold, as always!!! : )

Play at the Plate said...

Great post. I normally wouldn't say this about a Yankee, but nice Posada card too.

Ana Lu said...

I only got to this hobby precisely because I started working and finally got some money to spend at will.

But the downside of it is that I spent much less time dedicating my time to the hobby than if I were just studding.

This is no warning per say, but take the advice of enjoying the most while you have more time to spend with the hobby.

When you get a job and if you start getting less time to blog I'll surely will miss you and your daily posts (sometimes more than 1 per day).

Keep showing your love for the hobby. It somehow inspires us.

Anonymous said...

Another post that rings true, Dimebox!

While on break from my new blog, my fiance actually encouraged me to re-invest and get back to it, once my travel schedule slowed down. Why? Simple: she sees just how much simple joy it brings to daily life.

The necessary phases of school and work were definitely contributing factors that led me astray from collecting many years ago, but now, getting back into it, I like trading cards, but I won't trade away the hobby again!