Only In My World

I’m a weirdness magnet. All kinds of oddball stuff happens in my world; everything from finding machete wrappers at bus stops and dick prints on my hotel window to experiencing unusual coincidences pertaining to warm guns and email.

The past few weeks have been no exception.

I was out for a walk when I spotted something on a perfectly-manicured front lawn. When I got closer I blinked twice, but I wasn’t hallucinating. Nope; no matter how I looked at it, it was still a large dead mouse smushed in a mousetrap. You don’t see that very often on nice suburban lawns, even if you’ve been partaking in unusual substances (or so I’m told).

The whole situation was weird. Both mouse and trap were soaking wet, so the homeowners must have dumped them in a bucket just in case the mouse survived getting whacked. I’ll grant them points for thoroughness, but since they’d obviously succeeded in making the mouse as dead as possible, why would they chuck it out on the front lawn?  Why not release the body and flush it or bury it or dump it in an unobtrusive corner of the back yard instead of displaying it to passersby like a bizarre welcoming gift: “Hello, may I offer you some lovely drenched vermin attractively served on wood with steel accents? No? Whyever not?”

Just to keep things interesting, Fate has served up a couple of unusual coincidences in the past few weeks, too.

Such as the day I walked into our local postal outlet. The postal clerk knows me by sight, though not by name… I thought. Until she cheerfully greeted me, “Hi, Kelly!”

My brain was deep in plotting my current book and I absently returned the greeting before realizing that I was not, in fact, Aydan Kelly. Explanations and laughter ensued, but she still insisted that I looked like a ‘Kelly’. She had no idea I’m a writer and she hadn’t read my books. So what are the chances that she would have called me by the name of my main character?

And speaking of coincidences, it’s no coincidence that I mentioned the dick print on my hotel window earlier in this post. Only a few days after we got home from that trip, I was over at my friend Chris’s place when he eyed me very seriously and said, “I hate to tell you this, but I’m afraid you have a stalker.” He pointed to the sidewalk outside their house. “There’s a dick on the sidewalk over there. It followed you all the way from Canmore.”

Sure enough, somebody had chalked a dick there. I just laughed and told him it hadn’t followed me; it had followed him. Not my problem, bucko.

But I spoke too soon. The very next day I stepped out of our house only to discover this:

It followed me home; can I keep it?

It followed me home; can I keep it?

I realize kids draw, er… unusual things… now and then, but I’ve lived here for sixteen years and this is the first time I’ve seen a dick drawn on our sidewalk. It’s so soon after my Canmore experience the coincidence seems ridiculously far-fetched. (Unless Chris has chalk dust on his fingers… hmmm…)

Am I really the only one? Please tell me somebody else has happened upon a sodden dead rodent on a suburban lawn, or something equally peculiar…

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Dear Autumn…

*F-BOMB ALERT* – CONTAINS (more) COARSE LANGUAGE (than usual)

Dear Autumn,

I’m not quite sure how to tell you this.

I know we’ve been seeing each other for fifty years, but I have to admit that for me it’s been more out of habit than any real affection.  And lately I’ve realized I want… more.

Maybe I shouldn’t have read all those self-help books, but it’s too late for regrets and what-ifs. Now I can’t help analyzing our relationship, and the more I think about it the more I realize what a vicious, controlling bastard you really are.

Oh, you hide it well. You pretend you’re all about new beginnings as you usher the kids off to a new school year. You’re everybody’s favourite season, with your handsome colouring and irresistible scent. They don’t realize you’re hiding your heartless personality behind that pretty façade.

Well, I’m onto you. You’re a actually the sociopathic poster child for dysfunctional relationships. You act sweet, but you sneak into my garden and kill my plants when I’m not looking, you force me to wear ugly bulky clothes, and you systematically isolate me from all the things I love.

Plus I’ve finally figured out it’s no coincidence that my dearest love, Summer, always vanishes when you show up. For years I thought it was just Summer’s way, to love me and then leave me with memories so sweet I couldn’t help but fall for him all over again when he reappeared.

But now I know that you’re the one who drives him away. What do you hold over him, you son of a bitch? What leverage could you possibly have that would make him disappear without a trace for months at a time?

I’ve got news for you, Autumn, I don’t care if Summer has other lovers. I don’t care if he loafs around and goofs off work. I don’t even care if he sometimes burns me.

All I know is that Summer encourages me to get out and have fun with my friends, he likes it when I wear shorts and tank tops, and he’s out there with me every single day in my garden.  Summer encourages me to eat right and take care of myself, too. He brings me all kinds of delicious healthy fruits and veggies, but he’s not a stick-in-the-mud – he makes sure I get to enjoy lots of treats like ice cream and cold beer, too.

And then you come along and spoil it all.

Well, I’ve finally had enough of you. It’s over between us. Pack up your pretty clothes and get the hell out of my life.

Oh, and by the way? Take your rotten sidekick Winter with you when you go. He’s all sparkles and charm until he convinces me to go out, and then he gives me the cold shoulder. And you can tell him this for me: that white-on-white look went out with the last episode of Fantasy Island in the 80s. It doesn’t make him look sophisticated; it just shows he has no imagination. You two are real pieces of work, you with your garish wardrobe and him with that weird monochrome thing going on.

Both of you can go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.

With the utmost sincerity,

Diane

* * *
A couple of days ago I was bemoaning the impending loss of my garden and I took this photo:

I thought this was bad...

I thought this bit of snow on the roof was bad…

This morning I woke up to this:

Snowpocalypse.  This is AFTER I went out and knocked the snow off our trees.

Snowpocalypse. This is AFTER I went out and knocked the snow off our trees to keep them from breaking. Trees are down all over the city, and we’re having power outages.

But just because I can’t bear to leave this post with such a repulsive image, here’s what I rescued before the snow started to fly:

Summer's last gift. Now you know why I love him. :-)

Summer’s last gift. Now you know why I love him. :-)

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Doing The Crabapple Tango

Don’t worry, it’s safe to read this post – the Crabapple Tango is nothing like the Green Apple Two-Step. I won’t even mention diarrhea. (Okay, technically I just did, but that’s all for this post.)

Most people have probably never heard of the Crabapple Tango, but anyone with a fruit tree knows what I’m talking about.

First you need a fruit-laden tree and a stepladder. Ideally, the tree will have been pruned by an irresponsible orangutan with the express intention of creating an impenetrable mat of tough branches garnished with millions of spiky twigs.

Like all fine dance performances, proper preparation begins months in advance. Throughout the summer the tree should be repeatedly drenched with road dust, pollen, tiny black bugs with an affinity for human mucous membranes, and that particular brand of sticky dirt that’s peculiar to apple trees.

The crabapples must be at that precise pinnacle of ripeness whereby half of them rain down upon the performer’s head at the slightest disturbance of the branches, but the rest are so firmly attached that it’s necessary to twist and yank them loose. This sets up the proper blend of tension/release in the dance.

As always, stage layout is critical. The ground beneath the tree should never be flat or level. And the tree should be jammed in the inside corner of a five-foot tall fence, making it impossible to safely access it from any angle.

Ideally, the Crabapple Tango should be performed on a windy day in bright sun. This adds to the entertainment value while the audience waits to see whether the performer will be thrown bodily from the tree by wind-tossed limbs or merely blinded by looking directly into the sun while reaching for the topmost branches.

Once all is prepared, it’s time to introduce the star of the performance.

Me.

Yes, the crabapples were ripe this weekend, so that was my cue to drag out our stepladder and attempt to inflict grievous injury upon myself. Fortunately I failed, but anyone watching would have given me points for trying.

I had the requisite sun and wind, and after picking everything I could reach from the ground I took to the ladder to reach the apples twelve feet up.

Having suffered abrasions to both epidermis and equanimity while contorting myself through the web of branches, I poised precariously on the second-from-the-top step. With one thick branch pressing into my stomach and another crushing my kidneys, I made a 90-degree pivot, locking myself between the branches… just as the wind gusted.

Trees move in the wind. A lot. And their branches don’t move as a unit. More like scissors, actually.

Balanced on one foot on the ladder, I performed my most emotive tango yet, arching and dipping and twisting. I managed to escape, but it was a near thing.

And the whole time I was thinking, “I don’t need all these crabapples. I don’t even want all these crabapples.” But I was powerless to stop the dance, possibly because I was brought up to never waste food, or maybe just because I’m an idiot.

But I’ve got almost four bushels of crabapples to show for it.

Anybody got some new crabapple recipes? I’ve got jelly, jam, applesauce, apple butter, cider, spiced crabapples, cake, muffins, and pie…

* * *

P.S. I was the irresponsible orangutan who pruned the tree. Next year I’m going to wait until the apples are ready and then just go up the tree with my saw to do my pruning and picking all in one efficient act. Juggling a sharp object on an unstable ladder… what could possibly go wrong?

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…In Which I Go Soak My Head

I didn’t even know the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a ‘thing’ until my sister nominated me (read ‘bullied me into it’).

But it’s for a good cause – I had a friend whose mother died of ALS, so I’d love to see some progress in the fight against this degenerative and 100% fatal disease. If you haven’t heard of ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease’ in North America and ‘Motor Neuron Disease’ in the UK), there’s more info at the ALS Association’s website:  http://www.alsa.org.

I was slightly distracted by the thought of dousing myself with ice water on video, so I wasn’t quite as coherent as I had hoped when I reeled off my little blurb.  I forgot to mention that I’ll donate as well because, while it may give some folks great satisfaction to watch me make a fool of myself, my brain freeze won’t benefit the ALS Association directly.

I’m not sure how good the audio will be, so here’s a short summary of what I was babbling about:

The rules of the challenge are that after you take your ice shower, you get to nominate some other deserving folks.  (Apparently my sister is harbouring some unresolved hostilities that we should probably address.)  If your victims friends choose to accept the challenge, they have to do it within 24 hours and post a video as proof.

I didn’t name names since I’m posting here on my blog, but if you’re just spoiling for an excuse to tell your friends to go soak their heads, consider this your official challenge… and don’t forget you have to do it yourself before you get to nominate anybody else!  (If you do, post a link to your video in the comments – I’d love to see it.)

But first you’ll need to stop laughing at me…

P.S. I’ve read a lot of criticism about this challenge.  People decry it because ALS is not a common disease so we should give to other charities that will benefit more of the population/it’s a fad and the people who participate are somehow morally and intellectually inferior to those who sit back and criticize/the ALS society doesn’t allocate a large enough portion of donations to research and patient support so the money isn’t being used efficiently/millions of people are dying of war and starvation and disease in other countries and it’s our fault because we should have donated there instead/yadda, yadda. 

I agree that it’s preferable to channel our donations to causes where the funds will benefit the most people and be used most effectively, but I don’t believe this challenge is somehow taking donations away from other charitable causes.  It’s a one-time thing, and people are impulsively donating.  That won’t prevent them from donating to the causes they regularly support, but it may get some people who don’t regularly donate to do so… and if it builds a culture of giving, that seems like a good thing.  I donate to a bunch of charities regularly, so I doubt I’ll bring about the apocalypse by dumping a bucket of ice water over my head and sending a few bucks to ALSA.  And yes, it’s a silly challenge, but how often do grown-ups get to be silly in public?  (Well, unless they’re me.  I’m silly most of the time.)  Anyway, I figured it’s good fun for a good cause.

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Stop The Fashion Presses!

I wrote this very late last night and I wasn’t quite sober at the time.  Consider yourselves warned…

I’m taking a semi-vacation this week, and I’ve left the writing of this draft to the last possible moment.  So since I’ve had one too many glasses of birthday wine tonight I’m going to offer some random fashion-related thoughts.

Yes, I realize that fashion opinions from me are approximately as valuable as makeup tips from Ronald McDonald, but please indulge me for a few minutes ’cause I’m feeling inspired.  Or possibly just intoxicated.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…

Anyway, here’s the first thing that inspired me: You know how I postulated a couple of years ago that I was probably a sociopath because I refused to give up wearing my waist pouch? Well, the joke’s on the rest of the world. I wasn’t a pathetic refugee from the fashion police; I was a cutting-edge trendsetter. Look at this:

Matthew McConaughey has made it cool to wear fanny packs: http://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/2014/08/matthew-mcconaughey-has-made-it-cool-to-wear-fanny-packs-again/?sc_ref=direct

And Rihanna rocks a fanny pack, too:  http://perezhilton.com/cocoperez/2014-03-04-rihanna-chanel-show-fanny-pack-paris-fashion-week#.U_QLgNN0yUk

I realize their waist pouches are an order of magnitude more fashionable than mine, but I prefer not to cloud the issue with facts.

So neener-neener to the fashion police! *proudly hoists up waist pouch and strides off into the sunset*

Also on a fashion-related note: Stop the presses; I wore a skirt to my birthday dinner tonight:

diane 50th bday

Sadly, my sartorial choice had little to do with a sudden attack of fashion-consciousness and everything to do with the fact that I wanted to wear stretchy clothes so I could make a pig of myself at the fancy restaurant Hubby had chosen. (And I did pig out; with relish. Or to be exact, with saffron cream dressing on my prawn-and-avocado salad and balsamic reduction on my duck breast.  No actual relish.  That would just be gross.)

But getting back to the point:  Me. In a skirt. Shocking, yes?

I don’t want to cause any more trauma to your optic nerves so I’ll leave you with a cartoon.  I actually posted it for the first time a while ago, but it suited my theme tonight and I’m still tipsy enough not to be bothered by my lack of originality:

fashion

Here’s to being fashionable; or, failing that, being too oblivious to care.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. I just realized this post is positively rife with semi-colons and colons.  It’s probably some deep Freudian way to indicate the anatomical area I most resemble when I’ve been drinking…

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Karma’s Dicking With Me

As you may know, I’ve got a big birthday coming up next week. So since my friend Swamp Butt also turned fifty a couple of weeks ago, we decided to get the gang together and go to the mountains for a joint birthday bash.

A good time was had by all, and a better time was had by a couple of us who shall remain nameless. The obligatory insulting age-related gifts were given and received with varying degrees of grace, and somebody might perhaps have had a shooter:

shooter

When the waiter arrived bearing a martini glass full of whipped cream and told us it was a Muff Dive, I declined on the grounds that I bat for the other team. But once he explained that there was a Blow Job submerged in the cream, it was all good.

The object of the game is to slather the victim in equal parts whipped cream and humiliation by forcing them to drink the shooter hands-free. I think I took the fun out of it when I inhaled the cream and tossed back the shot so fast they barely had a chance to snap the picture. (Swamp Butt didn’t fare quite so well. Apparently whipped cream is not a comfortable sinus rinse.)

Hubby and I had splashed out on a fancy hotel that night, so we put on our best behaviour and checked in trying to look like responsible adults.

And guess what I saw when I went into our fancy-schmancy king suite?

First the expected granite counters, leather furniture, yadda, yadda:

hotel room

Then this:

dick window

Yep, somebody had drawn a dick on our window. The rest of the suite was absolutely pristine, and that’s partly why the smudged window caught my eye. I probably wouldn’t have even identified the subject matter if I hadn’t been lying on the couch at exactly the right angle to see it against a dark background.

Summoned by my uproarious laughter, Hubby asked what was so funny. When I pointed out the misplaced genitalia, he agreed that this was clearly another instance of my bad hotel karma. Things like this could only happen to me. In fact, I challenge you to find anyone else who’s experienced both a rappelling nudist and a dick-print on a hotel window, in separate $200+ per night hotels in two different countries. (Though I guess the statistical probability of seeing both at the same hotel might be higher.)

But karma still wasn’t finished with me. When I went into the bedroom, I discovered the hotel’s scratch pad and pen lying on the writing desk. And guess what their slogan is?

“Sleep with the best”.

I nearly laughed myself sick. It was all I could do not to print ‘Complimentary dick with each night’s stay’ under the tagline.

But I didn’t. It’s that whole ‘responsible adult’ thing.

And speaking of which, I had actually intended to clean the window before we left so the hotel staff wouldn’t think we were the guilty parties.  But then I thought, “Nah, what the hell. Why not share the joy?”

Besides, I was a little squeamish about touching it…

What’s your funniest hotel experience?

* * *

By the way, if you ever get the chance, eat at the Grizzly House in Banff, Alberta, Canada. It ain’t cheap, but it’s a blast. A holdover from glory days of the 70s, it still retains the original telephones at each table so swingers could call each other from across the restaurant if they liked what they saw. The night we were there, a complete stranger dialled our table and sang ‘Happy Birthday’! The fondues are delicious – everything from traditional cheese to exotic meats. I went for it all: wine, salad, cheese fondue, bagna cauda, shrimp, scallops, lobster, Brome Lake duck, and kangaroo, with the traditional Toblerone chocolate/fruit fondue for dessert. YUM!!! (And ouch. I kinda hurt myself. But it was good pain.)

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How Do You Like My New Piercing?

A couple of days ago I exercised such iron self-control you’d be amazed. Despite tremendous temptation, I acted like a normal well-mannered adult, which we all know is a wholly unnatural state for me.

When you exert that much pressure, the shit’s gotta leak out somewhere. So since I prevented myself from blurting offensive and/or potentially incriminating comments in front of two people on Monday, I now find myself writing them here for all to see.  Go figure.

Here’s what happened:

Hubby and I were shopping for outdoor equipment: Bear spray and bear bangers, and we each wanted a new camping knife. (And I didn’t even think of making a joke about banging bears until now. Aren’t you proud of me?)

If you’re not familiar with these products, bear bangers make a sound like a gunshot to frighten away a bear, and bear spray is hot pepper spray you carry in case of a bear attack.  Theoretically, you spray it in the bear’s face and the horrible burning sensation makes him run away, or at least distracts him so you can escape.  In actual fact, it probably just pisses him off and gives him a taste for jalapeno human, but I digress.

In Canada you have to provide identification to buy bear spray.  It’s been so long since we bought any, we didn’t realize they now track the canisters and record their serial number along with your ID. When the clerk explained that, I almost said, “Jeez, we’d better use our old canisters when we commit our next crime.” The sentence was fully formed in my brain and halfway out my mouth before I stifled myself.

It’s never a good idea to make that kind of joke in front of someone who’s recording your name to give to the police.

Restraining that comment wasn’t exactly a selfless act, but my other tongue-biting episode took place solely because I’m nice. And polite. And modest. Prudish, even. (Okay, also full of shit.)

Anyway, I wanted a new knife. I have a lovely old Mora blade I’ve used for years, but it doesn’t have a finger guard and its wooden handle gets dangerously slippery when it’s wet. (No, I’m not going to say anything about wrapping my fingers around wet slippery wood, either. See? Restraint.)

I was looking for a half-serrated Ka-Bar type, but the regular sporting-goods stores only seemed to carry five-inch blades in that style. My Mora is six, and that’s what I wanted. So I approached the guy behind the counter and explained my problem.

I admit I was inwardly snickering about walking up to a guy and demanding more inches, but I managed to squelch my inner adolescent and I didn’t even crack a smile.

But it nearly killed me when he whipped out a measuring tape and started measuring the blades even though I’d already told him they were only five inches. It was all I could do not to say, “I’m a woman. Trust me, I know the difference between five and six inches.”

That was rapidly followed by the need to tell him, “It doesn’t matter how many ways you measure it, it’s still not big enough”, along with the almost irresistible urge to hold my fingers a couple of inches apart and say, “You’re a guy. Of course you think this is six inches.”

But I didn’t say any of those things. Steam came out my ears and my brain threatened to implode under the pressure, but I bit my tongue. Hard.

How do you like my new tongue piercing? I’m thinking a silver stud would be attractive…

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A Grizzly Attempt At Humour

I made a scary discovery this past weekend.

Our garden is out in the wilderness so we’re always wary of bears, particularly in early spring when they’re hungry and grumpy and in late fall when they’re foraging for enough food to last them through hibernation. This has led to me regularly jettisoning my dignity as described here: http://blog.dianehenders.com/2013/08/28/scuse-my-bear-behind/.

But it’s mid-summer, so I’ve been starting to relax a bit. I figured by now the bears would have moved on to higher ground, and it would be too early for them to be coming down around our place searching for winter provisions.

How wrong I was. I had just finished strolling happily through the woods to my garden when one of our neighbours came by and stopped to chat. “Be careful,” says he. “Fish and Wildlife says there are seven grizzly bears in our area right now.”

Seven? SEVEN GRIZZLIES?!?!

Yikes!!!

Needless to say, my trip back through the woods was accompanied by a wildly swivelling head, a sweaty hand on my canister of bear spray, and embarrassingly high-pitched off-key singing.

That might have been pretty funny to a casual onlooker, but it’s old news to anybody who’s read my blog for a while. None of you expect me to exhibit any kind of dignity or decorum anyway, so when I started to plan this blog post I thought, “Let’s see, what can I say about grizzly bears that’s new and funny?”

Y’know what? I got nothing. Nothing is funny about grizzly bears. Grizzly bears scare the shit out of me. If I ever met one in the woods, and I sincerely hope I don’t, I’d probably kak my drawers on the spot.

Nature may abhor a vacuum (though I’ve never understood Mother Nature’s objection to cleaning tools), but my nature abhors any situation in which I can’t find some humour. So my renegade brain immediately leaped to the challenge of making grizzly bears funny. Maybe a grizzly bear in silly clothes?

Eh, maybe not. There’s something about all those claws and teeth that just takes the giggles right out of it.

But then I thought, “Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. After all, grizzly bears must have their problems like everybody else, right?”

And this happened:

 

 

*After I drew this I realized it may be another Canadianism, so I decided to provide a bit of explanation for anyone who’s not from around here. ‘Does a black bear shit in the woods?’ is a rhetorical question that translates to ‘Hell, yes!’ Example: 

Friend: “Do you want to go for a beer?”  Me: “Does a black bear shit in the woods?”

So what do you think? Grizzlies: Tragic heroes of their own lives, trapped in fur suits and destined to be forever misunderstood? Or big-ass scary mo-fos with no sense of humour whatsoever?

I’m leaning toward the latter…

* * *

The deadline is almost here for draw winners to contact me.  Lee-Ann, if you’re out there, please email me before Friday or I’ll have to draw a different winner for the Spy Now, Pay Later signed paperback.  Thanks!

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Hubby’s Got A Big Deck

I mentioned last year that Hubby had gotten a deck enlargement kit and we were very happy with the results, but this week he surprised me with an even bigger deck!

You’d think it would be too much of a good thing. In fact, before last week, if you had asked me if I was satisfied with the size of Hubby’s deck, I would have said “Definitely!”. But Hubby knows what I want even before I want it. One look at his new big deck, and I fell in love all over again. I wanted to be on it all day long!

And since we were hidden in the trees of our acreage, I blush to admit that’s exactly what I did. There’s nothing like enjoying a deck alfresco. The feel of the breeze on your skin; the illicit thrill of knowing somebody might sneak through the trees and catch you in the act… it was intoxicating!

And that night, sitting on Hubby’s deck was so good I saw stars.

The best part is its rigidity. Often a large deck can be floppy, but Hubby’s is as stiff as can be. He could probably have a dozen people on his deck in a day, and it would still be just as stiff as ever.

He’s not really into that, though – it’s just him and me.  Although… *whispers* …we might invite a couple of really close friends to join us later. But that’s probably too much information.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. One of the main problems with any deck is keeping it clean. There’s nothing more disgusting than a dirty deck, and after I’d gotten on and off Hubby’s deck so many times during the day, it really needed a good wash. So I got busy. Running my hands over his smooth hard wood was a joy, and his deck looked bigger than ever by the time I’d finished rubbing it all shiny clean.

So of course I couldn’t resist getting on it again. And again…

Another problem with a huge deck is that it tends to get in the way. In fact when I first saw it, Hubby was dragging it on the ground. It made me wince just watching him walk over the gravel.

But with a bit of manoeuvring he got it tucked into place, and now Hubby’s smiling again. He figures it was worth the temporary discomfort just to know that any guy would be envious of his big deck. And he doesn’t admit it to me, but I’m sure he knows a deck that size is a major chick magnet.

So we’re both delighted with his deck, and we’re looking forward to enjoying it together for a long time to come.

I hope the internet censors will look the other way just this once, because I can’t resist sharing a dirty picture of Hubby’s deck:

Sorry it’s dirty; I’d been on and off it all day and hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it yet…

Sorry it’s dirty; I’d been on and off it all day and hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it yet…

Anybody else have a big deck story?

* * *

We have winners in the Book 8 Giveaway! Kathy Williamson and Lee-Ann have won the contest for signed paperback copies of Spy Now, Pay Later. Ladies, you should have received an email from me yesterday – if you didn’t, please click here to email me your mailing addresses. A big thanks to everybody for participating – I really enjoyed all your comments! :-)

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The Battle Of The Keep (A True Story)

We shouldn’t have left the keep unguarded.

But we did.

Driven by our need for sustenance, we abandoned its empty larders to forage beyond its protective walls.  From the outside it looked so substantial, its smooth walls defying any intruder.  We thought it was secure.  Impenetrable.

We were wrong.

The foul creatures ambushed us when we returned.  Black and winged, they swooped down when we re-entered the keep, the harsh buzz of their language beyond our comprehension but their evil intentions horrifyingly clear.

We fought.

Back to back, we swung our weapons again and again until we prevailed.

We hauled away the mangled bodies and cleaned the battle-gore from the walls and floor.  Then we set ourselves to the task of fortification.  We blocked even the smallest aperture, securing our stronghold.

The rest of the day we waited, alert to the slightest hint of another invasion.  We could see them circling outside, but none penetrated our bastion.  At last, exhausted, we crept to our bed.  Though we knew they seldom attacked at night we slept fitfully, one ear listening for their vile clamour.

Morning dawned clear and hot.  Still they circled, but none breached our walls.  At length, reassured, we withdrew to our separate chores.

Several hours later I returned to the keep alone.

A mistake.

Laden with the garden’s bounty, I stepped inside unprepared for the seething horde of black monsters, their battle cries rising to a maddened pitch.

I knew they would give no quarter.  Their hive-mind brooked no compromise, no mercy.  And a single touch from any of their loathsome legion could transmit a veritable cornucopia of disease.

I sounded the alarm and threw myself into desperate battle.

By the gods, they were fast; but they were so many that my strikes often vanquished several at a time.  Black bodies surrounded me, falling one upon another, piling three and four deep.  Beset, I could allow no time to ensure merciful kills.  Their wounded writhed among their dead, their lifeblood and entrails defiling the walls around me.

Again I cried the alarm and reinforcements arrived.  We fought valiantly, but they were too many and we were still fatigued from the earlier skirmish.  At last we were forced to retreat.  We fled, barring the doors behind us.

Standing outside, supporting each other in our despair, we swore to return.

After a week without food or water, they would be weakened.  Now we knew where they had breached our defenses.  We would fight again, and we would win.

Next week we would retake the keep.

Story synopsis:  The houseflies in our new-to-us RV are driving me crazy!  We screened off all the appliance vents and thought we’d solved the problem, only to discover that the window screens weren’t properly attached and the whole place was absolutely buzzing by the time we got back in the afternoon.  Despite a fly-swatting marathon that left the interior smeared with guts, we still didn’t get them all.  Next weekend we’ll fix the screens, and hopefully win this battle once and for all.  Flies are such filthy, disgusting little creatures.  But at least I got a story out of it!

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Book 8:  SPY NOW, PAY LATER is still on track for release tomorrow!  And the contest to win a signed paperback copy closes at noon July 22, 2014 – click here to enter.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Humour, Life