Monthly Archives: June 2016

My Writing Rode Off

I’m a writer. We’ve been over this before, it’s not news. For most of the last school year (August – June) my writing has been spotty. This can be attributed to having to hover over The Boy for him to get his schoolwork done. After doing that, I had little left in me for writing. Bits here and there, and that adds up, but generally unimpressive progress. Or so I thought.

My year-old Lenovo ultra thin laptop kicked it. That was unexpected. So unexpected I hadn’t been backing everything up in my typical paranoid-writer fashion like usual. I hadn’t uploaded copies of my Scrivener files to Dropbox in months. (Yes, I write in Scrivener. It’s a great program.)

Okay, fine, deep breath, hand it to Hubby and let him work on it. He’s already building a gaming computer with The Boy (from scratch, this is a learning experience for the kid and a father-son bonding thing), but hey, he can give my meltdown a once over. Then again. Yeah, it’s going to take some work and probably have to replace the hard drive.

Luckily I have my old computer, the reliable Dell, still at hand. It powered up, and sat on my lap like an old friend. And put my feet to sleep because it weighs a ton. Forgot about that. Not the Dell’s fault, this laptop is big on purpose. It has a full keyboard plus a number pad like the old desktop keyboards used to, a 17” screen, and two hard drives. Everything considered, it’s allowed to be a little bulky.

Unfortunately Mr. Reliable Dell hadn’t been turned on in a while and updates took all day because my power save settings were not prepared for doing updates. It kept going to sleep. Sigh. Solution? Take the laptop into the kitchen with me. Start making dinner, brush the mouse pad, get out a pan, brush the mouse pad, freezer, mouse pad, get milk, mouse pad, put away milk, mouse pad, etc… I watched update number 121 sit there for five hours. I’d love to know what that was, then bitch-slap Microsoft for it, whatever it is.

Yay, all updated! No. Restart computer, now Adobe wants to update everything, then Java. OMG, kill me. Restart again. Everything is peaceful. Go to Dropbox, get back up files – things quickly stopped being peaceful. Mommy turned psychotic.

I have two active works in progress that I’ve worked on depending on my mood. No, this is not the most efficient way to finish a book, but it works. It works really well if you’re having “I can’t think of what to write” issues because it gives you a broader range of options to try to find that Muse. (Mine plays hide-and-seek in future chapters of a book I’m trying to ignore in favor of finishing something else. Muses are like that.)

Anyway, neither book had been backed up recently, so I went to review what I’d lost. Quite a bit more than expected. A lot more than expected, on both of them. I didn’t think I’d been writing that much, but I was wrong. (Mystery solved two days ago when I sat down and wrote 5,600 words in three hours.) Months of a little here and there was tens of thousands of words. Sigh. And I’d completely rewritten the first two chapters of Desperate Wishes (which I’d hoped to have out by now) and that was gone too. My character list for the experimental sci-fi was gone, along with several chapters. Since I frequently don’t outline, or it’s incredibly general when I do, I don’t even really remember exactly what was in those chapters. I had a character dedicated to … something … and something else came up. Ah, hell.

The lesson here boys and girls: back up your writing regularly. Also, not on the same computer you’re writing on. That goes without saying. No help for those writing in a notebook like my brother. Nut.

So, I’m in a particularly bad mood, but I’m trying to catch up and recreating lost work isn’t necessarily bad, just annoying. The kids are largely avoiding me. Nimoy is my steady companion, napping beside me most of the day and wreaking havoc on the house at night. Jingles seems to understand there’s something ‘off’ about Mom, and she’s been inside a bit more and very lovey. It’s almost disconcerting. She’s also once again running up and down the stairs, making the one bell on her collar jingle wildly. I think it’s to remind us she’s there.

A reminder for anyone who doesn’t remember how Jingles got her name: As a kitten she jingled her bells about the house everywhere she went. It was cute in a way, but she’s a black cat and even as a kitten there seemed to be a sinister edge to it. Does anyone remember It’s a Wonderful Life? That old James Stewart movie? They douse us with it every Christmas. Anyway, one of the things from that movie that stands out is the line: Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. So Jingles was giving angels wings. Yeah, there can’t be that many wingless angels, however. Follow me on this. If she’s giving angels wings, but there aren’t enough angels that need wings, then that means she’s creating angels to wing them. Um…which means she’s wiping out small rural villages in third world countries every time she runs down the stairs. Jingle, jingle, jingle… Oh. Hence Darth Jingles. And she’s at it again.

Maybe she gave wings to the Lenovo.

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The Bromeliad – Sock Debacle

It’s a hellish day and I’m getting little done. The Boy is off at a friend’s house playing marathon games of something and being virtually violent and mischievous. Good for him that it’s somewhere else. The Girl left this morning on her first adult adventure, aside from her first job which she now believes is the worst job on earth. Not really, there are lower paying jobs out there that expect you to do even worse things, but hers is menial with inconsistent hours, no benefits, minimum wage, and management sucks. It’s a good first job because she can only go up from there.

Anyway, The Girl soaked her tiny bromeliad before she left and put it in my bathroom window where it would get filtered sun and would dry slowly so it wouldn’t get root rot. She’s trying to be a good mommy to her little bromeliad. Except she hasn’t been a good mommy to Nimoy, who in a fit of jealousy as soon as The Girl left, absconded with her rival. I noticed quickly (thankfully) because the cat doesn’t normally run through the house carrying something green and spiny.

First, let me say I’m really too old to chase a cat. Cat herding is an idiom, not an actual occupation, and I would suck at it if it were real. Second, let me remind you that this particular cat is an idiot. Once she realized Grandma was chasing her, and unhappy, she doubled back and ran under The Girl’s bed. Okay, she’s cornered. Except I don’t have any kids in the house who can crawl under the bed and won’t for hours to days. I have no idea when The Boy will decide to come home, (It’s a weekend, in the summer.) and The Girl won’t be home until late Tuesday night. I have a responsibility to that bromeliad. Maybe the cat. I’m not sure how Nimoy will fare if she eats the bromeliad.

We have a supply of those stupid grabber sticks that my mother-in-law uses to pick up things that fall on the floor. In theory they’re supposed to be used to grab things that are out of reach on shelves, but they don’t really support any weight and are useless for that. Anyway, the grandkids always play with hers, and break them, so Hubby saw some and bought twenty so we always have one in the car when we go visit for family gatherings to replace the broken one. They can’t keep extras at their house or the grandkids would break them too. Personally, I vote break the grandkids, but Hubby tells me I don’t get a vote and his sisters agreed after hearing their precious babies might be disciplined for something. For once, I needed one of the gadgets.

So I lay on the floor for a half an hour pulling things out from under The Girl’s bed. Now in fairness I should say The Girl’s room is generally the tidiest in the house. Her OCD is phenomenal. Nimoy, however, prefers her bed to hide socks under, and I was discovering why The Boy seemed to be wearing the same socks for days on end. I thought it was my imagination, or that maybe he really did have more pairs with that odd pattern than I thought; but no, he’s apparently running low and didn’t feel the need to tell anyone. Nimoy likes The Boy’s socks best. I can sort of understand that, the cat has a thing for smells, and The Boy’s socks … you can see where I’m going with this. No excuses anymore, not that he offered any, The Boy will start changing his socks again!

That was the beginning of my Saturday morning.

Finished with the bromeliad-sock debacle (the bromeliad was finally retrieved, clinging to a sock, looking none the worse for wear, and placed in a slightly safer place to get a little filtered sunlight, don’t worry about it) I turned my attention to lunch. Except now Hubby was missing. Huh. I looked around, found two whiny cats – one pouting because she perceived she was in trouble (true) and one pouting because she wanted to go outside and no one would let her (sort of). Does a ‘not true’ and a ‘true’ balance out to zero or what? In cat terms it equates to whining.

Jingles wanted to go out: true from her point of view. No one would let her: true from everyone’s point of view. All her humans knew something Jingles didn’t: Rain. I suspect Jingles was at least somewhat aware of the concept because she’d been out for days and came home early yesterday afternoon. I thought it was because she sensed bad weather on the horizon and wanted to be in, but clearly not. Bad weather was here and she wanted to go out during the eye of the storm. But she was beggy, and whiny, and manipulative, and I caved and let her out because I’m a pushover. Then I stood at the door waiting for her to change her mind.

We had a little black kitty-loaf on the steps for a bit, not because the sidewalk was wet so much as the neighbor’s golden retriever was out playing ball. When Sookie plays ball, she uses the entire cul-de-sac. Since Sookie’s owner, Mr. Patient, offers to mow almost all of our yards in exchange for being able to keep the trimmings, we all let Sookie romp on our grass for her occasional ball games. She doesn’t leave any little presents and is on good relations with kids and cats, so why not?

Now I say Sookie is on good relations with the cats, but the cats are occasionally unaware of this. Darth Jingles is skittish about the large golden retriever. She has a very standoffish policy about dogs. Usually. Sookie was dyed purple briefly by the neighbor’s children last summer and Jingles found that entertaining enough to suspend her extreme personal space policy, but when the dye wore off her graciousness did as well. She also played a perverted sort of whack-a-mole with the Chihuahuas behind us and a couple doors down. They dug a hole under the fence and she sat on the other side and whapped them as they stuck their noses through. It was awesome, until the owners fixed the hole, damn it.

So Sookie was playing ball, and the ball occasionally landed in our front yard, and Jingles crouched and bristled whenever the dog came to retrieve it. No hissing or running home to Mommy though, and the dog didn’t notice the little shadow by the mint bushes. Eventually Jingles took an opportunity to slink through the mint and evergreens and away from the safety of the front porch so I closed the door. It was cool enough out that I threw open some windows and started lunch in anticipation of Hubby being home eventually. After a few quick texts, I discovered he was running errands. Then I discovered Jingles in our living room window, on the ledge outside, watching me. Huh. Apparently it was a safe place to watch the dog play ball. Also, I need to wash the screen. Add that to the to-do list. Click photo, on to lunch. 2016-06-11 13.42.34Hubby came home, had lunch, and left to help a neighbor. Then Jingles came in – furious at having been tricked into going outside in such miserable weather. She’s not talking to me now. I closed some windows because it’s now raining again, and broke up a cat fight because Jingles is in a mood. Yay – trapped inside with a bitchy cat and something for her to pick on. I shouldn’t have succumbed to her whining and let her out in the first place.

Text from The Boy: he outlasted his friends, they fell asleep, and now he’s bored. He wants me to come pick him up, also he wants coffee so he can stay up longer. I considered that. If I give him coffee, he will stay up now, but then he’ll probably crash hard in early evening and sleep all night so I might get something useful from him tomorrow. Hmm. I broke up another small cat fight on the way out the door. Of course The Boy couldn’t have come home a couple of hours ago when I was lying on the floor pulling his socks out from under his sister’s bed? At least I know he’ll claim Jingles and take her to his room for the rest of the day. No more cat fights. No more peaceful weekend without the kids either.

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