Monday, July 29, 2013

I Love the Smell of Diesel Fuel in the Morning

Yes, just a play on words from Robert Duvall's iconic character in Apocolypse Now. However, it's pertinent in my little world these days.

So naturally you remember the trees that were downed in my yard in June. How could you forget? Well, we worked on them for quite some time, but then the weather (which none of us in the contintental US could escape from) turned rather warm. So all labor ceased on the removal of the trees.

But then came the monsoons. Which flooded my basement. And my mother's. So, more work there to deal with. 26 straight days of rain. I kid you not.

And then, because I had nothing to do one morning, (big fat HA!) I decided to rip up the rug in my bathroom. Yes, I know, EWWWW, but I did not put the rug there, the previous owner did and I decided to take it out because, well, EWWWW.

But what I found when I ripped up the rug (which by the way was very nice and only a few years old) was that the bolts on the bottom of the toilet that were hinged on the floor, were loose. So much so, the toilet was barely hanging on to the drain. Needless to say, there was a puddle of water on the floor under the toilet, the rug was moldy, and damp, and just EWWWW.

So, I had to scrape the linoleum up to allow the floor to dry, which means that I need to put a new floor in my bathroom. (Which was my intention of ripping up the rug in the first place, but now I need to figure out how to make the floor level.)

Let this be a lesson to all of you. Make sure the bolts are tight under your toilet. (You know those little cap things under the bowl, well, lift those up, the bolts are under there.)

And then, after all that, the weather finally gave way and my father decided it was time to move the big stumps the boys couldn't break or saw, up to the last remaining pile on the street. He fired up the John Deere and I pushed, rolled, fulcrumed, heaved, and hefted (how's that for action words) those ##%^&*#$ stumps into the bucket and he took them up to the street. Needless to say, I breathed in a lot of diesel fumes and was very ill for the remainder of the day.

Fun times in North Carolina this summer. (I bet you all thought I was living a charmed life down here, didn't you? Sitting on the couch, eating bonbons, watching the soap opera channel.)

As for other news, writing news that is, I wrote a short story. I'm very happy with it (well, I will be after revisions) however, I'm not sure I'm going to publish it. I mean, I will, eventually, but it's not my usual short story. It deals with religion of all things, and the supernatural, and why I wrote it, I'll never know, but it got stuck in my craw and I had to write it. So there.

I've also been working on the Not So Secret Project Story for the winners of the auction at my daughter's school. It's coming along, after how many needless hours of research into the French persecution of the Catholics and the Nobility during the Reign of Terror (1789 - 1795 or so). I can't tell you how many hours I logged and then I barely used any of it.

BUT, big but here, no matter how much I say it was needless and useless, it was still worth it. What little I did use, added value to the story because it's true. And the facts were valid. I even went into the Lithuanian side of the whole thing (because there are two Lithuanian princesses in the story) so hopefully, this will all be worth it when it's done.

As I said, it's not my usual Regency romance, but there is a romance embedded within it, and I'm hoping it turns out the way they want it to. I'm not really sure what they expect because neither of the women read Regency romance, so who knows. I'm just writing what they dictated to me. Pirates, kittens, handkerchiefs up sleeves, and teaching.

Hey, I'm thinking that would be a great meme. Pirates, kittens, handkerchiefs up sleeves, and teaching. Anyone want to play?

I also had the astounding revelation of the opening to another story I'm going to start working on this fall. I mean, I had the idea for the story, but really nothing else. But then, just as I was going to sleep one night, the first four lines came to me, so I jumped out of bed and wrote them down. For once, I did the right thing instead of trying to remember it the next morning. So yay for me.

So, that's it for me. Work, work, and more work. But the trees are gone now, we can finally cut the grass, the basements are dry, the laundry is done, and I'm sitting in my little writer cave pounding away at the keyboard.

I'm not sure when I'll be coming back to this blog full time, or even IF I'll come back full time, but if you want to read other things I'm babbling about, I post every Thursday on my Robynne Rand blog and every Sunday on my Anne Gallagher Regency blog.

How about you? What have you been doing this summer? And if you're going to tell me you spent a month at the beach -- listen, you know I love you, but I really don't want to hear it. You'll just make me cry.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

So I'm Just Checking In

Well, hey howdy ho everyone. Hope you're all doing okay. I decided it was about time I stuck my nose back into the blogosphere just to say hey. It feels like forever, but it's only been a month. Or maybe two. I don't know. I've lost all track of time now that we're out of school.

I wish I could say I've been slaving away, burning up the keyboard but I'd be lying. I've written exactly 3,946 words on a short story. And that was only last weekend. I haven't written anything other than that except the outlines for a couple of stories for next year. And let me tell you how badly I want to write.

But, I have pictures of what has been taking up all my time so you can see for yourself that I haven't been entirely slacking.

The first week of June was pretty hectic as it was the last week of school. You know how that goes...award ceremonies, picnics, one last field trip. And then Monster and I slept in the following week. We were making plans for the pool, or vacation, just lazing about. I did a couple of interviews for that school story I'm supposed to be working on, and then on June 14 (Thursday) at approximately 4:45pm, a severe thunderstorm warning was put out across all the local tv stations. At 5:10pm our power went out. At 6:30 my mother called and said that I had to go down to her house to look at the damage. The storm was a quick mover and already gone. The sun was shining when I went down the street. This is what I saw.

These three fell across the middle driveway

This one killed my trailer and my dad's little John Deere

This one is actually two 
 Like a bomb exploded.
This one blocked the garage and the driveway

This is three trees and an unholy mess

This one came this close > < to hitting the house

This upended root structure is 12 feet across

My poor little trailer. This blocked the lower driveway.

You can't see the other machine in the background because there's an oak tree laying across it.

That's my father in the blue T-shirt.

My mother's clothesline is gone now. No more trees to hang it from.

This one blocked the upper driveway.

My favorite tree. On the top side, pachysandra encircles the entire base. We're still trying to saw away enough of the base to push it back upright.

We are all okay, nothing happened to the house, but it was pretty scary. I've only shown a couple of the pictures, but we lost 7 trees in all. Seven, very tall (80 feet), very large trees. (The oaks all had about a four foot base around, the pines were at least three. Huge huge trees.) Our next door neighbors have been helping me clean up. My parents told them if they wanted it for firewood, they could have it if they wanted to do the labor. So they said yes.

This is part of the pile that I cut myself. Well, most of it.

This is the other part
This is my pile.
This is only one of the debris piles
This is the front side. My neighbor cut me all the big logs. I did all the small ones.

You can see my parents house down the hill. And part of the debris we're still cleaning up.

This side of the pile I did all by myself. I guess my father's Christmas present to me of a chain saw came in handy.

This debris pile is 30 feet long by 4 feet high by 4 feet wide and hopefully the last one this size. The DPW has already hauled away 3 of these piles. When all was said and done, they loaded 4 monstrous dump trucks with debris. And I'm still cleaning up two weeks later.

These flowers are finally on the rebound. They were completely flattened to the ground. I love them so I was thankful nothing happened to them. I used to have them at the beach.

I had just one piece of siding come loose on the second story of my house, so I had to climb on the roof to fix it, but thankfully that was the only damage.

We couldn't watch the news, so I never actually found out if it was a baby tornado, a down draft, a micro burst, or what. But it was nasty and I don't want to ever have to do hard manual labor like that ever again. I want to be a sissy girly-girl and sit at my desk like a good little writer. lol The worst part about the whole thing is that as soon as the storm passed, it brought the nasty humid weather. So we've been working in 90 degree temps with 70% humidity. I take two, sometimes three showers a day.

I've decided what I really need is a vacation. But we'll see how that goes. I gave myself the month of July to write the school project story and hopefully I can get' er done. And maybe if I do, the gods will smile down on me and let me rent a beach house somewhere for the first two weeks of August. (Oh please, oh please.)

So, kids, that's about it. That's all I've been doing since June 14. I hope nothing like this happens to any of you. Or if it does, you have big strong men to do the clean up. Although, I have lost about 10 pounds, but it's a little extreme. I feel like I've been run through The Biggest Loser. ha!

I hope you all have a very safe, and fun 4th of July. I don't know when I'll be back around again. Maybe the first of August. I've really got to get that story written. You know how time flies and I have to have it ready to publish by Sept. 1. So wish me luck. Not so much on the story but that I get to go to the beach. lololololol

Talk to you soon. Happy Summer!