For the first time, I am getting paid Real Money for fiction. I've been paid Some Money for fiction before, and that's been great. This is better. For this short story, I'm actually getting enough to repair the porch, if we could find a contractor who could be bothered to take a job that small. Even in the current economy, good luck finding anybody who will call you back once they know you're not blowing out a whole wall of your house and building an addition. But I digress. I can afford to digress.
A million years ago, I took this course on Henry James. Or rather, I started taking the course, but found I was allergic to Henry James, so I dropped it. Anyhow, one thing I do remember fondly about that old allergen was from his correspondence with Edith Wharton. Wharton tells her buddy James that she's just sold some novel for a huge advance. Henry James writes back that he's just received the check for his latest novel sale, and it's enough to buy some paint to repaint his wheelbarrow with, the wheelbarrow that he bought with the whole of his advance from the last novel.
Since then, Dan and I measure the size of any fiction sale I make in wheelbarrows. I could have gone to Home Depot and bought a small wheelbarrow with the check from Black Gate for "The War of the Wheat Berry Year." Maybe if I haunted eBay long enough, I could find a used wheelbarrow from a local seller for the current total of my royalties from Closing Arguments. Baen's Universe has to pay me in installments to keep their cashflow happy, but the first installment would have bought me a splendid new ergonomic wheelbarrow, with change left over for a few sacks of mulch to trundle around in it. The next two installments would buy enough wheelbarrows to equip a very small landscaping business, and maybe some paint, just in case of rust. For all the other needful equipment, the landscaper would be on her own, of course, but right now, Wheelbarrows-R-Us.