Nocturnal Ninja

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a light sleeper. Even while I’m dead asleep, part of my brain is alert for the merest whisper of any unusual sound.

Which is why I jerked awake a couple of nights ago with all my attention focused on the pitch-black corner of our bedroom. I’d heard something moving!

The last time I heard something in that corner there was a mouse skittering around, so this time I was instantly at DEFCON1.

But the sound that woke me hadn’t sounded like skittering. It was more like the surreptitious brush of fabric against the wall.  And that was impossible, because that corner is filled by a large peace lily plant (and by ‘large’ I mean ‘gargantuan’ — over four feet across).

I stared wide-eyed into the darkness, my half-awake brain conjuring ridiculous thoughts of some ninja intruder who had somehow bypassed our security system and sneaked through our closed bedroom door.

After a few heart-thumping moments, I woke up enough to realize that nobody could turn our noisy door handle without waking me; and if some ninja was actually skillful enough to do that, s/he wouldn’t be careless enough to brush audibly against the wall.

By then all was silent. I stared into the gloom for a while longer, but my eyelids were drooping. I’d tossed my clothes on the chair before I went to bed.  Maybe they’d shifted.  Whatever.  *yawn*

I was dropping back to sleep when I heard it again: the Surreptitious Rustle!

I bolted up in bed and grabbed my flashlight, glaring into the plant corner and seeing… a plant. Nothing else. No movement.  No ninjas.


I turned off the flashlight, assured my drowsy and slightly incredulous Hubby that everything was okay, and lay down again.

And then… *RUSTLE*

What the HELL?!?

After another foray with the flashlight, I finally remembered that I’d watered and rotated the plant before I went to bed. It had been thirsty and a bit wilted, and now it was rehydrating and straightening up. And in the process, it was rearranging its big leaves against the wall.

I fell back on the pillow with relief, but I still didn’t sleep well with that monster plant crouching in the corner and quietly shifting position. And I may or may not have heard it mutter, “Feed me, Seymour!”

So from now on I’m sticking to my usual routine of watering plants in the morning. At least in the daylight I’ll be able to see them coming for me.

Any ninjas in your world this week?  (And if there were, would you even know?)

The ninja peace lily. I think I’ll name it Audrey…

Let The Freak-Out Begin

We did it!  We got the property I mentioned last week, and we’re moving to Vancouver Island!  Woohoo!

…Let the freak-out begin.

Okay, that’s not quite accurate – the freak-out is already well under way.  Apparently I’m an overachiever, because I started the process as soon as we got serious about the property:

  • “OMG, what if we don’t get it?”
  • “OMG, what if we do get it?”
  • “OMG, somebody else is looking at it; what if they offer before us?”
  • “OMG, our offer is in and the seller has counter-offered but they got another offer in the mean time! Will they back out of our deal because they know our only recourse is to sue them?”
  • “OMG, we got it! What if we move out there and hate it?”
  • “OMG, what if our money somehow gets lost between our bank and the lawyer’s trust account?”
  • “OMG, what if there’s some freakish land use regulation we somehow failed to uncover during our (read ‘my’ – Hubby is much more easygoing about these things) obsessive due diligence and it turns out we can’t build?”
  • “OMG, what if we do get the house built and then the creek has a record-breaking flood that even comes over our big setback and grade elevation?”

…And on and on, all of it leading to, “OMG, we’re gonna lose everything and die homeless, penniless, and starving!

In my saner moments (and let’s not quibble about my definition of sanity), I realize this may be a teeny exaggeration.  But hey, at least if my book sales go flat there’s a promising career for me as one of those wild-eyed doomsayers waving a “World Is Ending” sign on a street corner.

I don’t mean to give the impression that I’m all gloom and tragedy – I’m actually euphoric about moving out of the city and designing my dream kitchen in my dream house.  It’s just that I’ve been cursed with both a logical brain and an overactive imagination.

My logical mind wants to make sure all bases are covered, so it maps out worst-case scenarios and their corresponding safeguards and action plans.  Meanwhile, my crazy imagination seizes those worst-case scenarios and spins them into all sorts of cataclysmic potential outcomes.  It’s a little tiring; but on the upside, I’m rarely shocked by even the most bizarre twists of fate.

Laid-back Hubby just goes with the flow.  While we were running around looking at properties and talking to realtors and planners and builders and bankers and lawyers, I turned to him, totally frazzled, and asked, “Isn’t this stressing you out?”

He just smiled and shrugged.  “Nope.”

Some days I wish I could live inside his head instead of my own.

But now it’s his turn to stress out because he has to clean up and consolidate his packrat-jumble of tools and toys and ‘treasures’; while my stuff is permanently organized and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  So maybe I don’t want to be him after all.

I guess as long as we’re not freaking out simultaneously, it’ll all work out.  But if you ever see a wild-eyed pair waving “The World Is Ending” signs, and if the female half of the couple has long red hair, you might want to detour to the other side of the street.

Just sayin’…

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The Virtual Backyard Book Club is four months old – how are we doing, and what would you like to discuss?  Click here to have your say!

What Colour Is The Sky In Your World?

We’re travelling again this week, so my usual routine is off-kilter.  Normally I write the draft for my posts on Monday, but Monday night rolled around and I hadn’t gotten to it yet.  So I said to Hubby, “Tomorrow morning I need to write a draft first thing.”

And he replied, “Ah, leave it.  You can pull it together in a few minutes tomorrow night.”

So I suggested that maybe he’d like to write today’s post for me if he thought it was such a quick and easy task.

“That’s a great idea,” says he.  “Then I can tell everybody how I do all the research for every single one of your books…”

At which point we both burst out laughing and I inquired, “And what colour is the sky in your world?”

Hubby is my go-to guru for the latest weapons and network information, and my trusted sounding board for plausibility whenever I invent new technology.  He’s also my first beta reader, unerringly sniffing out inconsistencies in voice and narrative.  But “doing all the research” may be an ever-so-teeny-tiny exaggeration.  The sky in his world is definitely a different colour than mine.

For instance, in Hubby’s fantasy world:

  • Garlic does not exist, and any attempt to create it or anything that resembles it is punishable by full immersion in a vat of Listerine.
  • There are no speed limits on any road.
  • Raisins are not allowed in butter tarts or cinnamon buns.
  • All mechanical devices are assembled using only common, currently available tools and fasteners.
  • The outside temperature never dips below freezing or rises above 25C/77F. Special exceptions are made for ski hills, which are permitted to maintain a temperature no lower than -5C/23F.

While in my fantasy world:

  • Mosquitos, ticks, and other blood-sucking, disease-bearing creatures do not exist.
  • Our skin is immune to sunburn and cancer.
  • Our bodies select whatever nutrition they need from anything we eat, and flag everything else through the system as ‘recreational calories, not to be absorbed’.
  • Teleporters exist: handy-dandy booths all over the world so we can instantly pop in wherever we want and go home when we’re done.
  • Salespeople who lie to their customers choke on their tongues and die, and go immediately and directly to hell. (No, I’m still not over my car-shopping experience; why do you ask?)
  • Come to think of it, that last one applies to anybody in a position of authority who lies. Gonna be a whole lotta chokin’ goin’ on…

Anyway, I’m hoping Hubby will allow me a special dispensation to exist in his world, but that might be asking too much.  He may decide to prohibit me and my garlic-breath entirely, and just pop over to visit in my world instead.  But as long as he’s still my Hubby, it’s all good – we’ll enjoy the sky in our own little world whatever colour it may be!

What are the rules in your fantasy world?

P.S. My internet access is sporadic today so I might be a little slower than usual responding to comments, but I’ll check in whenever I can.  ‘Talk’ to you soon!

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New discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  Found any ‘Easter Eggs’?  Click here to have your say!

Peek Into My Closet

A few months ago I mentioned I had run across a list of impromptu speech topics for kids.  It amused me, so I hung onto it for potential inspiration.  One of the topics that caught my eye was “What you would find in my closet”.  Prosaic, yes?  But the part that tickled my funnybone was the addendum:  “Make something up”.


Let’s have a peek into my imaginary closet, shall we?

First off, don’t step into that human-sized glass cylinder with the Google Maps interface displayed on the outside.  That’s my teleportation chamber, and it’ll send me anywhere on earth in the blink of an eye.  (And it gets me there and back intact, too, unlike the Galaxyquest version.)

Next to that is a safe containing several million dollars in untraceable cash.

Why are you looking at me like that?  Of course I’d never use my teleporter to pop into bank vaults in the dark of night!  I won that money fair and square with the lottery ticket that’s framed on the wall right over the vault.  Honest.

At the back is a TARDIS – not because I want to travel through time, but because it’s bigger on the inside.  One can never have too much closet space.

Inside the TARDIS is a giant toolbox full of high quality tools, all clean and organized and ready for use.  (And it’s got a Hubby-proof lock on it so the tools stay clean and organized and ready to use.)

There’s also a gourmet kitchen stocked with the latest tools and appliances, fresh delicious ingredients, and that all-important cooking gadget: a top-notch personal chef.  And a trap/skeet and rifle range; and a fully-equipped gym.

That’s where my flight of fancy ends, but I’m harbouring quite a few oddball items in reality, too.  If you can correctly guess which five items aren’t currently residing in my closet, I’ll write you into Book 12 in a cameo appearance!

  1. Umpteen pairs of jeans
  2. Bellydance scarves with jingly coins
  3. A bearskin rug
  4. A bag of cosmetics
  5. Books
  6. Suitcases
  7. A stuffed deer head
  8. A white cowboy hat decorated with pearls and silk flowers
  9. A stuffed rat
  10. A heart monitor
  11. Wax crayons
  12. A plastic flute
  13. A set of knives
  14. 4½” candy-apple red stiletto pumps
  15. A backpack
  16. Half a dozen waist pouches
  17. A luggage cart
  18. Pink cowboy boots
  19. Christmas cards
  20. A camera tripod
  21. Dusty business clothes
  22. A Frisbee
  23. 4½” leopard-print satin stiletto pumps
  24. A sequined evening gown
  25. A dead plant
  26. A soap dispenser
  27. Dust bunnies
  28. Boxing gloves
  29. Scented candles
  30. A clothes shaver

Which five of these things are not in my closet at the time of writing?  Make your guess before next Tuesday July 19th at midnight MDT!  And yes, I promise I’ll explain the presence of some of the strange items next week.

What’s in your imaginary closet?

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New discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  How Do You Like That Setting?  Click here to have your say!