Sunday, October 30, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing (again, or is it still?)

My DH and the kids are coming home tomorrow after a nice vacation on the coast. I so, so wish I could have gone too, but I was at work. Again. Still. Thankfully our store has everything I need. Canned food, microwaves and dishes to cook with, sleeping bags, ammo and firearms, tools, pillows, toilet paper ... everything. I could even keep the animals there, though the goats would eat an awful lot of bags of bunny food. I could set up baby barricades (which we have right at the store!) to keep them penned on certain aisles where they'd in theory do the least amount of damage, or maybe I could keep them in the warehouse area. And of course the kittehs and dogs could roam free, as could the chickens, though it might be a pain to clean up after the chickens. Anyway, I guess I wouldn't actually have to leave work, like, ever. I just prefer to, you know, spend some time at home.

It would save on commuting, though. Hmmm ....

Nah. No comfy chairs.

Oh, wait, we totally do! I forgot! That's hilarious. And we have a futon! But I'd have to move them to be near an outlet so I can type on my laptop.

I am looking forward to having a whole two days off in a row soon. It'll be a little weird, but I think I can adapt somehow.

Not complaining! I am very, very grateful to be employed.

But still. Five days on, one day off, five days on, one day off, and now I'm in the middle of four days on ... then finally, finally, two days off.

I might even get some work done around here. Dishes? I have dishes. I just wash what I need ....

Friday, October 28, 2011

The End!

I've hit the end of Masks. Now to go back and add a couple of minor details, update some maps, finish the cover, and I'm done!

done done dunny done done I'm done! I'm done I'm done I'm done. Done done done.

Okay, now done looks like it's spelled wrong. But I don't care because I'm done!

I may have to put together a writer's clock. I'm thinking about something like this:

5 Why oh why?
10 I'm crazy
15 OMG, Fun!
20 What are dishes?
25 Out of underwear
30 Screeeeeech
35 Lost ... need ... map ...
40 Researching ...
45 Flying in the dark
55 OMG, Done!
12 Zzzzzz

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Too Much Work

I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Masks is eating my brain and I don't want it to stop until every last cell is gobbled. I've got to get the water sealing problem fixed on the sliding door while the weather holds--when I have no idea because it'll be almost dark when I get home and I can't do it now because it needs to be cleaned up under there first. I have to work on House of Goats, I have to get two book covers done, and I haven't touched my Wyrd Goat website (I have the domain but I'm still working on the bones of the actual content.)


I wish I could call in sick but I'm too ethical. Okay, that's totally untrue. The wishing part is untrue, not the ethical part, because wishing for it would be wishing that I was unethical, and I don't. Argh, I'm confusing myself! Help meeeeeeeee

There's only one cure. Soup for lunch. Soup for lunch makes it all better. I'll go pack some into my snapware container that I use for hot lunches and just focus on day job work.

Maybe I'll take my laptop with me to work and get something, anything done during my lunch hour. Yeah ....

What do you do to cope when you have too much to do and not enough time?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Masks Update

My DH is home! He was just gone for a weekend, but it always feels like a long time when he's away, whether it's a day trip somewhere or 14 months in a foreign country.

I keep discovering new things about the universe I'm writing in. Often I'll go back and insert hints and make changes, but sometimes I have to leave those details in my head, ready to unveil at an opportune moment.

One time in my mid-teen years I overheard my father complimenting me. He didn't know I was close by enough to overhear him. What he said astonished me. At the time I thought of my writing as a game, a diversion, something fun that was for my amusement alone. Every so often I'd have an excuse to write something creative for school, and I had a lot of fun with that. I had no idea that my father had read any of it, though I often deposited my papers on the kitchen table in order to show my parents how I was doing academically. What he said to his friends that evening was that my stories were like a flower with lots of petals unfolding.

Boy, I sure would like to live up to that compliment. Anyway, I think what he saw back then was an effect of my writing process, where I race forward and then go back when I get a fresh take on something so that everything is consistent and carefully (I hope) foreshadowed.

I spent much of last night, late into the night, doing just that with a particularly cruel truth that Mark, the pov character, will discover far too late to prevent a tragic confrontation.

I love writing. It's fun. I think the only difference now is that I do think about how I can best help a reader in on that fun. It requires a lot more work, since the reader can't know what's in my head. But that's fun too. I can keep secrets, and then pounce with them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Floor Hiccup

I was cruising along, minding my own business, taking bad sections out of the subfloor and replacing them with new particle board when suddenly (dun dun duh!!) I found dry rot. It hadn't worked all the way through the plywood under the particle board, but dang ...

So I have to seal the sliding door inside and out, and fill that depression in the plywood with 20 year caulk just in case the sliding door isn't the problem ...

It's pretty dry there, so it might have been damage from the original door. Just in case, though, I have to do all this stuff because if there's water coming in, even at just a slow drip, it needs to be fixed. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, if more water does come in, it will probably mess up the laminate there pretty badly. Fortunately because I'll know to keep looking for the root of the problem, unfortunately because then of course I'll have to tear up the floor there (again) and replace it.


In other news, Masks is coming along fast and furious. I'm really excited. I have a really good feeling about this book. It's been tempting to spend the entire day writing, but I really do have to go shopping for caulk (ugh ugh ugh!) and various other flooring supplies so that I'm prepped for doing more stuff on Thursday. That's when D. will be over early early in the morning to help me out some more.

Ugh. Whose genius idea was this anyway?




Saturday, October 15, 2011

Floor Progress

The floor is patched. Finally! I've made progress toward the fireplace/hearth, at which point my fabulous retired contractor friend D. will help me figure out how to mate a rhino with a lobster.

This is where super-long movies like Om Shanti Om (highly recommended, btw, and don't let the whole beginning half fool you--it's an intense love story that even my jaded DH enjoys) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy really come in handy. I've seen them so many times I don't have to really watch them. Listening transports me. I do stop and watch favorite parts, like the Pain of Disco. (Seriously, you have to watch Om Shanti Om.) But other than that I can listen to the music and the dialogue and be there while still paying attention to important things like power tools.

I've gotten far enough now that I'm starting to get that feeling that I'm actually doing some good rather than just ripping the house apart chasing a dream. Oh, and the carpet? It's outside killing grass for me so that I can expand the garden space near the house. I have so much pasture grass (far harder to deal with than tame lawn grasses) that it overwhelms the large sections of garden I've managed to create from blackberry zones. Finally connecting the garden to the proximity of the house will do magical things to the way the garden appears overall. It'll also be easier to manage.

That carpet stinks to high heaven, and the rain has actually improved it by rinsing out the worst of it. I'm once again reminded why I loathe carpeting. Seriously, it's disgusting stuff. Unless you have the money to replace it fairly often, like every five years or so, it just becomes a haven for dirt, dust, dust mites, fleas, stains and general filth. No amount of steam cleaning will get that stuff out. I know. I kept up on the steam cleaning, and it was still vile underneath when we pulled it up. Ten years of grime percolating down through the pad, permeating every layer in between, will do that.

I'm glad to be rid of it, but boy is it a lot of work to go to laminate. It's worth it. The house is tons better already, and we haven't even got a tenth of the surface area covered yet.

Okay, maybe it's over a tenth now. I've got two empty boxes, and three mostly empty ones out of thirty-ish.

And now, I must go back to work. Part two of Fellowship awaits!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Floor Drama

It's such a simple little thing.

You know how you'll be plugging along on a project just fine until you have to stop and do something you haven't done before in order to continue, and you resist because you have to get a bunch of materials, and then you finally get them, but then you have to read the instructions and they sound okay ...
... and before you know it three days have gone by and even though you know what to do because the instructions are simple, you feel like you have to prepare yourself and you just don't have the emotional energy after a day of work ...
... even though you figure it'll take you a half hour at most ...
... and you can't get back to doing the thing you know how to do really well until you do this little thing?


Day four today. Patch a dip in particle board. Really similar to stuff I had to do to prep for tiling, with similar materials but suitable for use on subflooring.

Should take a half hour or less, including mixing it with water.

Is it done?

Of course not!

Will I do it tonight?

For pity's sake, I hope so.

If not, I've got the whole weekend.

But how much more productive would the weekend be if I just got this





Sunday, October 09, 2011

More Flooring

Here are my kids, helping with the never-ending parquet. It's everywhere! It's in my kitchen under the linoleum. It's in the bedroom under the carpet. It's in the closet. (Seriously.) Everywhere we pull up flooring upstairs, there's more parquet. It's kinda creepy, actually. Parquet isn't easy to install.
I'm sure it looked fantastic back in the day. Unfortunately it doesn't look very fantastic today. Mysterious stains, bleaching, water damage and odors that have permeated what little finish remains on it have made it pretty icky. Maybe the stuff in the bedroom isn't too bad, but I'm not about to pull up the carpet in there to find out. The bedroom carpet is in halfway decent shape. At this point I'm all for the if it ain't broke don't fix it philosophy.

After all the prep (which is ongoing, btw) I finally got to lay down a wee bit of floor with D's help. He did all the brainy stuff, and I just kept going after the hard part was done. And I hit my first milestone. First empty box! Awesome, but scary. Will I have enough of this stuff to complete the project? Did I measure everything right? The conflicting info online and other places is crazy-making too. Everyone insists on poly film of various grades over cement. Everyone also insists on a vapor barrier in crawlspaces under the house where you're putting in floor 'at grade level.' But this is neither. This is my upstairs, with only downstairs rooms beneath all the upstairs rooms. In addition there's alarming warnings pertaining to putting film over wood, as it will cause mold and mildew problems.

But nowhere does it say what specifically to do in my situation. Seriously, people, who wrote the technical manuals for these things?

If I have to I will pop the floor apart and put plastic under it if the 800 number people tell me so when I have a chance to talk to them on Tuesday. But I have a feeling that they'll say it's not necessary.

Is that so hard to say, folks, in your very, very brief instructions in the teeny, tiny print?

So I'm in a holding pattern for now. But it's a pretty holding pattern. And the kitties love it. I have a feeling they'll love it a lot less, though, when they go charging up the (carpeted) stairs and hit that first stretch of slick new floor.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Upstairs floor redo ... ongoing stuff

All my great plans are shattered, but in a good way.  It turns out, after consulting the amazing D., that I don't have to tear out a bunch of stuff to put in my new floors.  Just a little stuff. 

Unfortunately that little stuff breaks up into little pieces.

So I'm yanking up all the parquet floor after all instead of pulling up the particle board underneath and replacing that.  It's sort of satisfying, in a violent OCD kind of way where I rip out exactly 3 rows and then sweep and I try as much as possible to rip out each 4x4 section whole.  (It's not possible as often as I'd like it to be.)  D. suggested that pulling up the parquet will go about as fast as I can get pissed off, but I just can't seem to get pissy enough for it to go really, really fast.  At least it's happening in a relatively clean fashion.  The floor isn't pretty, but I can walk around without it going crunch crunch crunch.

The best news in all this is that the floor will be done much sooner than expected.  Way before Christmas.  Hopefully before Thanksgiving.  Possibly (!) before Halloween.

We'll see.  

D. said something awesome that's keeping me excited about this project.  He said his father told him that when you complete something like this, it makes a house more into a home.  You'll always be able to look at it and say to yourself, I did this, and it's beautiful.

I'm really, really looking forward to the first time I see and think that.

I'll try not to look in the direction of the new hole in the wall so that moment can come sooner.  I didn't do it!  And I don't want to know who did it.  I just hope nothing broke when it happened.

Argh.  Construction.  Argh argh argh.  But it will be over sooner rather than later.  Yay!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Farms are Fun!

There are some things about owning animals, especially farm animals, that people don't think about.  

The goats don't just graze endlessly in a picturesque manner in their pasture, and you don't just pet them over the fence.  You gotta get in there.  I posted fairly recently about giving them wormer.  The other day I had to trim hooves.  At one point Snowflake had the girl down on the ground (ground covered in goat poo, I should point out) and the girl was yelling "I'm okay, I'm fine, keep going!"  It's like a funny little rodeo, but icky.

Chickens can be incredibly cute.  Again, you don't just toss scratch grain to them at a distance while they peck at the ground in a picturesque flock.  You have to walk (carefully because they get underfoot just like cats do at feeding time) among them to change water and to fill the feeder and find eggs.  Sophie is particularly cute.  She knows that treats come from human hands, and she doesn't mind being petted.  When I bend down to pet her she isn't sure what I'm going to do so she spreads her wings a little (she squats low and spreads her wings to get petted and when she gets picked up) but keeps her neck stretched as long as possible and twists her head around hoping to spot something yummy among my fingers.  When I pull my hand away she does a cute little leap toward my hand hoping to find grain there.  Leap!

Too many cats ... it's normally a good thing to have cats all over the place to keep the rodent population down.  (It's also awesome to have a little dog like Chase to kill rats because only a few cats are tough enough to take on an adult rat, though they bring home babies from time to time.)  But you'd better not get caught near the sliding glass door.  Think it's a chore to let one or two cats in and out all day?  Try five or six.  It's the worst in the morning on a rainy day.  The whining begins as soon as the alarm goes off.  I let them all out, and then some want to come in again five minutes later, and another ten minutes later and by that time one of the ones I let in wants out again, and the barn cat Tom Riddle sees me and freaks out and sprays to mark his territory.  I retreat, but inevitably I pass by the sliding glass door again and there's a kitty out there in the rain with its ears folded down and the silent meow, and one of the ones inside sees me heading for the door and races to be let out ....  All.  Day.  Long.

Dogs and coyotes.  Ah, the eerie and beautiful sound of coyotes in the distance.  Guess what?  The dogs hear them too.  The leader of the pack begins with rapid-fire barks.  The little one yips and runs up and down along the fence, then races to the back, back to the front, bark bark bark.  The leader slows down just about the time the big back-up base starts in with his steady, monotonous barks.  Oh yeah, eerie and peaceful and off in the distance.  Not!  At least our dogs don't howl when they defend their vocal territory, though sometimes I wonder if it might not be better than the barking.  There's something about that staccato that's a little like getting jabbed with a fork at the base of your neck every second or so at 3am when you're trying to sleep.  Besides, if our dogs howled I'd probably join in.

Maybe just the first thousand times.  Then it'd be back to me stumbling to the front door, ripping it open, yelling "Hush!" and then shutting it again before they can all charge into the house and fill it with fluff.

I think living on a farm is a lot more fun than most people realize.  It's just not the kind of fun they imagine.  It's somewhat like having kids.  Before you have them, you have all these dreams and a pretty good idea that it'll be hard too.  Then you have them and wham--it's everything and nothing like you expected, and so much more.