Tag Archives: moving

I’m Moved… To Profanity

So… the movers arrived last week to carry all our worldly goods into our new house.

For those with a keen memory and/or a recent move under your belts:  You already know what our lives have been like this week.  But if you’ve been blessed with a long-term fixed address and/or a mercifully short memory, I can sum it up in two words:  Utter chaos.

We had six men (plus ourselves) going flat-out for six hours.  I had a vague idea that we had ‘way too much stuff; but since I had only packed and loaded a couple of dozen boxes personally, the reality was an ugly shock.

At the beginning of the day, I had a plan:  Boxes would be placed in tidy groups in pre-designated areas so I could easily unload their contents into their intended locations…  Hey, you in the back:  Stop snickering!  And you in the front, pick yourself up off the floor and quit laughing your ass off!

Okay, fine; so I was delusional.  That’s what happens when you haven’t moved for 18 years.

The boxes just kept coming.  And coming.  And… coming.

By Hour 2 they had overflowed my tidy designated areas.

By Hour 4 my directions to the movers had devolved into, “I don’t care; put it wherever you can find a space.”

By Hour 5, I was begging them to break stuff so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

By the end of the day I was seriously considering moving back to the hotel and living there for the rest of my life, leaving the gargantuan mountain of boxes to moulder slowly in the ruins of the house.

But I didn’t.  I sucked it up and carved a bedroom out of the disaster zone that night.  And ever since then, I’ve been organizing the kitchen.

I’m a major foodie and I live to cook and bake.  I love all my kitchen gadgets and dishes, truly I do.  BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PEOPLE; WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP ME WHEN I WAS BUYING ALL THAT SHIT?!?

It’s finally more or less under control, though, and after the marathon of kitchen organization the rest of the house will be anticlimactic.  (Says she with ridiculous naïvete.)

So here are the top three lessons I’ve learned from this move:

  • No matter how organized you are with your “pack-last-unpack-first” boxes, there will always be one critical item you’ve forgotten… and it will always be at the bottom of the very last box you unpack.
  • Self-adhesive shelf paper was created by Satan himself in the fiery depths of hell, solely to torture poor fools like me. I wrestled with it for at least 20 minutes per cabinet and it still looks as though I applied it in the dark with one hand tied behind my back while completely inebriated.
  • When weathering the stresses of moving with a dearly beloved spouse, it’s important to remember that marriage is all about give and take: Give blame and take credit.

Seriously, though, Hubby and I haven’t killed each other yet, so that’s gotta be a good sign.  And now that the boxes are diminishing, it’ll be sunshine and Disney from here on in, right?

(Shhh!  Don’t burst my fragile bubble of hope.)

What’s moved you this week?

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Off The Wall(s)

Well, we’re moving again:  Out of our current rental (our term expires Friday) and into our friends’ place to housesit for a couple of weeks while they’re on vacation.  We’re really hoping our place will be ready by the time they return.  (Not that they’ll kick us out when they get back, but we’d really like to be in our own house!)

So… yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the mostly-empty-but-still-disorganized rental, trying to come up with a blog post in fifteen minutes or less while the phone rang frequently with house-related questions.  My mind was in red alert mode:  “AWOOGA-AWOOGA!  NEXT CRISIS INCOMING AT TWO O’CLOCK!  DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY CRITICALLY LOW!  TOTAL SYSTEM FAILURE IN THREE… TWO…

I took a deep breath or ten and thought, “It’s okay, I’ll just quickly write something off the wall…”

That’s when my overstressed brain got nitpicky:  “No, idiot, you meant ‘off the cuff’; as in ‘informal, without preparation’, not ‘off the wall’; as in ‘eccentric, unexpected, unconventional’!  How do you expect to write an intelligible blog post if you can’t even form a coherent thought?”

It was an excellent question; and one with a very simple answer:  I can’t.

So I’m going with ‘off the cuff’ and ‘bouncing off the walls’, as in ‘nervous, confused, hyper’.  That, I can do.

Here are a few events from this week’s jumble:

  • One of my favourite aunts died this week at age 82, of complications from diabetes and heart disease.  Even though distance prevented me from seeing her as often as I would have liked, her passing still leaves a hole in my life.
  • The herring spawned in the strait outside our rental a few weeks ago and we’ve been enjoying all the action from front-row seats:  the water turned milky jade-green (yes, the entire ocean – that’s a LOT of herring milt); scores of fishing boats rushed back and forth; thousands of seagulls swooped in; followed by thousands of ducks; followed by hundreds of seals and sea lions frolicking and barking only a few yards offshore.  What a show!
  • It’s almost spring:  After the longest, coldest, snowiest winter on record (which must have been scheduled just for us newcomers), the snow is gone, the grass is green, and the rhododendrons and cherry trees are beginning to bloom.  And I saw this cute little guy on one of my walks:

He was moving very slowly – it’s still pretty chilly for salamanders.

  • Our housesitting gig comes with a friendly roommate:  Blue the cat.  After only one day he hasn’t quite forgiven us for not being ‘his people’, but it seems his affection can be bought with a can of Fancy Feast.

Blue the cat is a little blue without his ‘people’. (Actually he’s a LOT Blue – he weighs 22 pounds.)

  • Apparently my brand new 2017 Ford Escape had a leak from the factory-installed roof rack, so the body panels and spare tire liner have been marinating in stagnant water for the past six months.  The whole thing smells like stinky socks when I turn on the heat, but I’m on my third trip to the dealer and it should be fixed soon.
  • Work is proceeding on our house:  We now have electricity, a working septic system, half a heating system, and most of a water supply.  The walls of the garage/workshop/addition are all framed and the roof trusses are arriving today.  It’s happening!  It’s really happening!  🙂

Aaaaand that’s the wrap-up for this week, folks.  What’s new with you?

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Progress…

This was us yesterday.  It wasn’t a new phone book that got us all excited, though; it was our new house!  (Or at least part of it.)

If you’re visiting for the first time, here’s a bit of background:  After living in Calgary, Alberta for 30 years or so, we finally decided to make a move to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  We bought land near Qualicum Beach in September of 2016, and for the past three months we’ve been living in a hotel while our house is being built.

We didn’t have the time or budget to build from scratch, so we decided to go with a modular home on a crawl space:  an innovative Cape Cod style from Gordon’s Homes in Nanaimo, BC.  (Ours is actually a little larger than the one in their photos).  Then we’re going to add on a main entrance/mudroom and a garage and workshop.

The site clearing, excavation, and concrete pouring have been exciting to watch… but seeing the two halves of the modular arrive yesterday was a real thrill!  Now they’ll install the three second-storey dormers (those will go on today), do the last of the interior finishing, and build on the additions.

Here are some photos of our progress to date.  Only a few more weeks ‘til we can move in! (Fingers crossed.)  🙂

Back in September, before we started

We have REALLY big gophers…

Forms for the perimeter footings

Hubby’s handiwork in one of the footings

The crawl space poured and backfilled

The crawl space insulated and ready for the house at 7:30 AM

And here it comes…

Part 1

Part 2

The roof unfolds just like opening a box. (Okay, maybe a bit more complicated.)

Most of the interior finishing is already done at the factory

Here’s how we left it for the day, only 11 hours later

…but we’re sure going to miss this view when we move! At least it’ll only be 15 minutes away.

 

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Submariners And Sea Monsters, Oh My!

Moving to a new place always comes with a learning curve, so this week I thought I’d share some of the discoveries I’ve made since we arrived here on Vancouver Island.

For example, I’ve recently learned the correct Navy pronunciation for ‘submariner’.  I always thought it was ‘sub-ma-REEN-er’, but a true Navy man pronounces it ‘sub-MARE-in-er’.  (Coincidentally, I also learned some Navy slang for a gay man:  ‘diesel-driven turnip’.  Don’t look at me like that; I don’t have a clue how that expression came to be.  But it made me laugh.)

Speaking of the Navy, I haven’t met a ringer for Aydan’s Uncle Roger yet (in the Never Say Spy series, he was the favourite uncle who taught Aydan her best cusswords); but the other day a Hellhound lookalike roared past me on his Harley with his guitar strapped to his back; and I actually got to meet a real-life Dave Shore:

Paul was one of the truckers who delivered our shipping containers, and watching him finesse an 80’ tractor-trailer into our tiny driveway off our narrow road was education and entertainment combined.  I just stood there with my jaw dangling while he eased those big tires perilously close to the ditch, sometimes hovering a couple of trailer wheels over empty space.  Then he used a brilliant technique to squeeze into the driveway:  he locked up the trailer brakes while he continued to reverse the tractor, pivoting the 53’ trailer neatly around the 90-degree corner and into our yard.  Wow!

Talking to him was like gabbing with my fictional Dave:  He’s got 700,000 kilometres on his current rig, which is the third his current employer has issued him.  As he explained, “I keep miling them out.”  (Translation:  Driving so many miles that the truck has to be replaced, usually at 1,000,000 km.)  He’d rather sleep in his truck than in a hotel, and when asked about his retirement plans in a few years, he admitted, “I’m going to get an RV and drive around visiting my kids.  I just like to drive.”  It’s very cool to know there are real-life ‘Daves’ out there!

Marine life has been another novelty for me; some of it beautiful and fascinating…

Starfish come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours from white to orange/red to blue/purple, and they have the ability to go from soft to rigid in mere seconds if you touch them. (Guys, did you get that?)

Starfish come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours from white to orange/red to blue/purple, and they have the ability to go from soft to rigid in mere seconds if you touch them. (Guys, did you get that?)

…and some of it quite horrifying:

I have no idea what creature wore this head before I found it bobbing gently in the surf. It was nearly ten inches across and it looked like some hideous sea monster, although although it's probably a mundane fish to a true West-Coaster. But I’m going with ‘sea monster’.

I have no idea what creature wore this head before I found it bobbing gently in the surf. It was nearly ten inches across and it looked like some hideous sea monster, although it’s probably a mundane fish to a true West-Coaster. But I’m going with ‘sea monster’.

I’ve seen misty sunrises:

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Serene moonrises:

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Dramatic nighttime cloudscapes:

cloudy-moon

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Rainbows after a storm:

rainbow-wave

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And harbour seals playing.  (I was too far away so they only look like black blobs splashing around, but you get the idea): 

…And we’ve only been here a month.  I can hardly wait to see the strange and wonderful things the Island has left to show us!

But here’s the best photo yet:  They broke ground for our house on Monday!  Hooray!  (Speaking of finesse and expertise, Sam the excavator operator is an artist.  His touch with that bucket is so delicate and precise you forget that he’s moving literally tons of earth at mind-boggling speed.  Apparently he began operating a small excavator when he was 8 years old.)

It might not be as scenic as the rest of the photos, but this one makes me very happy!

It might not be as scenic as the rest of the photos, but this one makes me very happy!

What’s new in your world this week?  And… does anybody know what that sea-monster-critter actually is?  (Or, more accurately, ‘was’?)

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Island Happy

This is just a short post since I’m having computer and internet problems, but I just wanted to check in and say… We made it to Vancouver Island, and we’re thrilled to finally be here!

There were some tense moments (okay, some tense hours), but after weeks of “everything that can go wrong will go wrong”, we finally got here despite Murphy’s best efforts.

One thing:  Driving the Coquihalla (Highway Thru Hell) in winter is off our Bucket List – we don’t need to do that EVER AGAIN!

Despite the fact that it “never snows” out here, we had four inches of the white stuff on Boxing Day, but at least it’s warm(ish) and the snow is mostly gone where we are.  The Island is putting on quite a show for us – we’ve seen everything from a peaceful happy Island:

island-happy

…to a cranky Island the very next day (yes, those are snowflakes fluttering down in the foreground):

But it’s all beautiful – I have to keep reminding myself that we don’t actually have to leave!

If the computer gods smile on me, I’ll be back to my regular programming next week, but in the meantime I’ll wish everyone a very happy New Year.  “Talk” to you again soon!

P.S. I’m on Pacific Standard Time now, so my posts will be showing up in your feeds an hour later.  It’s “Island Time”! 🙂

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Squared Lasagna And Numeric Tea

It’s getting a little crazy around here…

Okay, fine; I’ll admit it:  We’ve zoomed past ‘a little crazy’ and are rapidly approaching chaos and madness.

The packers and movers arrive tomorrow, and we’re scrambling to get the last of our pre-packing done.  The house looks as if it’s occupied by hyperactive children with Attention Deficit Disorder:  There are little heaps everywhere because we rarely get a block of time uninterrupted by some crisis or another.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Our ancient water heater wasn’t supplying enough hot water so we hired a plumber to replace it, only to find that all that was needed was a $2.00 part… but we had to pay $800 to replace the tank anyway because the old tank was already pulled out.

Time lost:  2.5 hours.
Equanimity lost:  98%

  • The furnace blower motor seized. Hubby fixed it.

Time lost:  2 hours.
Knuckle skin lost:  50%

  • The dishwasher died. (It’s the newest appliance in the house.)  Hubby fixed it.

Time lost:  2 hours.
Appreciation for irony lost:  92%

  • The builder needed an HVAC design for our new house, and we only had a half-assed sketch from the heating contractor. I figured out the heating and return air drops, modified the plan to accommodate them, and provided an annotated drawing.

Time lost:  5 hours.
Brainpower lost:  95%

  • We still can’t find insurance for our shipping container once it arrives on the Island.

Time lost:  Several days and counting.
Peace of mind lost:  89%

  • My brand-new Ford Escape refused to start… and then, just to make diagnosis virtually impossible, it started up and ran as though nothing had ever been wrong. It goes into the shop on Friday, and we want to hit the road in a week.

Time lost:  God only knows.
Sanity lost:  100%

At least we’ve still got a sense of humour.  (Yes, that’s one sense of humour between the two of us.)

To wit:  One evening I’d made a giant pan of lasagna.  We’d finished eating, but the pan was on the table and the cheese was still warm and melty.  Hubby and I each idly picked up a spatula and nudged the cut edges of the lasagna into a perfect square from opposite sides… and then burst out laughing at our anal-retentiveness.  At least our quirks are compatible.

And speaking of anal-retentive quirks, my sister and I had a good giggle, too.  She had sent me a yummy Christmas gift:  24 Days Of Tea, with the little samples randomly numbered.  So I did what any self-respecting geek would do:  I rearranged them in numeric order.

“They’re supposed to be like that,” she informed me through her laughter.  “If you turn the boxes around they make a picture.”

Seriously, why would you waste time hunting for the next number?

Seriously, why would you waste time hunting for the next number?

(I also didn’t realize I was supposed to wait until December 1 to start sampling the tea.  Who knew tea could be so complicated?  It should have come with instructions.)

Anyhow, I’m taking deep breaths and reminding myself that one way or another this move will happen.  It won’t be smooth or stress-free; but, hey, at least our lasagna is squared off and our tea is correctly numbered.

At this point, I’ll take any illusion of control I can get!

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Pavlov Would Be Proud

We sold our house this week (hooray!) and now we’ve plunged into the bazillion details that go with closing down a household in one place and recreating it a thousand kilometres away.  That has left me with very little brainpower to spare, so my conditioned reflexes are taking over while my conscious mind is occupied.

That isn’t as helpful as you might think.

The strongest reflex is my reaction to the ring of my cell phone.  Before this all started I usually didn’t keep my cell phone with me, and the ringtone was silenced so I rarely noticed even if it did vibrate (much to the annoyance of my text-happy friends).

But for the past three months I’ve had an audible ringtone, and I’m so conditioned to answer it that I twitch even when I hear the same ringtone from someone else’s phone.  I’m afraid to speculate on how long it’ll take to overcome that, since habits tend to stay with me long after they’ve ceased to be relevant.

Take, for instance, my habit of looking into the oven before I turn it on.

‘Waaaaaay back in 1986, my apartment didn’t have a dishwasher.  I had cats and I didn’t always have time to do dishes; and I’d worked hard to train the cats to stay off the kitchen counter.  Part of that process was to never leave out anything tempting.  Dirty dishes are a kitty magnet, so if I was in a hurry I’d load the dishes into my dishpan and put it in the oven before leaving.  I never turned on the oven without first checking to make sure the dishpan wasn’t in it.

Fast-forward 30 years.  I’ve owned a home with a dishwasher since 1990, but I still open the oven before I turn it on.  A couple of years ago I caught myself doing that and resolved to not bother anymore.  After all, the habit had outlived its usefulness by a couple of decades.

But in spite of my new resolution, the next time I was baking I reflexively opened the oven before turning it on… only to discover that Hubby had left some parts in there (don’t ask me why).  That’s it; I’m doomed to open the oven before turning it on for the rest of my life.

I still think I’m seeing cats in my house, too.  Our last beloved cat died 12 years ago, but sometimes I’ll see an out-of-place object from the corner of my eye and think, “Cat!” before I realize what it actually is.  And when we visit cat-owning households, my foot automatically goes out to block feline access to the exterior door when coming and going.

But the worst is my Pavlovian response to the television.  The only times I ever watch TV are for major sporting events like the Grey Cup and Superbowl, or occasionally when Hubby and I watch a movie together.  The sports parties are giant junk-food-fests; and the movies always include hot buttered popcorn.  I start to salivate just walking by the TV.

Yep, Pavlov would be proud.

Anybody else have conditioned reflexes that won’t go away no matter how outdated they are?

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Worshipping The Real Estate Gods

This is the first time I’ve used a real estate agent to sell a house and it’s been… interesting.  In fact, it’s startlingly similar to joining a religious cult.

First comes the proselytizing:  We can’t possibly achieve salvation (oops, ‘sale’) without the divine intervention of a home stager and real estate agent.

Chastened by our mortal interior-design sins, we allow the home stager to show us the Holy Way.  The most heinous of our furniture is banished to the outer darkness (the garage), while the remaining pieces are rearranged and sanctified by the addition of area rugs, cushions, throws, table lamps, and fresh flowers.

We are admonished to go forth and sin no more, and assured that if we adhere faithfully to the Holy Way we may merit admission to real estate heaven:  a profitable sale.

Accordingly, after the home stager departs we walk through the house snapping photos so we can correctly recreate each detail, in case (gods forbid) anything should get accidentally moved.

The beds must have brand new slightly off-white (not white) duvet covers, with so many pillows, cushions, and throws that the bed itself is mostly invisible and completely unusable.  Each time the house is shown, the giant heap of bedding must be reassembled precisely as shown in the Holy Photos.

There’s only one upholstered chair where I can sit, and I use an old cushion for back support.  Before showing the house, the cushion that has been defiled by my body is returned to the garage and replaced with a designer-consecrated one.  All other furniture is off limits, since using it would leave footprints on the area rug and/or disturb the designer’s arrangement of cushions and throws; which would then take half an hour to re-fluff and rearrange correctly.

The Articles of Faith (the designer’s tchotchkes) must be arranged just so.  The fruit bowl must contain oranges, green apples, and red apples.  Bananas are strictly verboten:  Only spherical brightly-coloured fruits are pleasing to the real estate gods.

We have to comply with dietary restrictions, too:  only bland odourless foods are allowed.

For each showing, the gods must be propitiated with music and delightful scents.  Since I can’t bear the smell of chemical air fresheners, I have to pop a couple of pieces of apple cinnamon cake in the oven half an hour before each showing.  Then the oven is opened to distribute the tasty aromas, while I walk around swinging the baking tin into all corners of the house like a censer.

We carefully check to be sure we’ve complied with each commandment, as though one misplaced pillow will cause all potential buyers to leave in disgust and cast our house into eternal ‘Days On Market’ damnation.

Finally, we turn on every light to welcome the gods, and humbly depart lest our presence offend them during the showing.

I’m doing my best in all this; but I suspect the gods can see into my sinful heart, where I’m secretly planning to reinstate all our tacky-but-comfortable furniture and indulge in a Bacchanalian orgy of roasting garlic as soon as the house is sold.

‘Scuse me; I have to go and remake the beds as penance now…

* * *

P.S. I’m poking fun at our situation, but I don’t mean to ridicule the home stager – she was great, and the results are amazing!  Her accessories make it look as though we actually have taste, and the new furniture arrangements make the interior look bigger and better.  And we aren’t really forbidden from using the furniture – it’s just that we’re too lazy to redo the designer stuff every time.  🙂

P.P.S. This may look normal to most people, but for us it’s the height of designer fashion!

living-room

The only things that are actually ours are the loveseat, dining table and chairs, and the painting. And, of course, the giant fern. We may have to sell that with the house…

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Crazy Plant Lady

I’ve mentioned before that I have a major addiction to houseplants; and like most addicts, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started to recover.

(Okay, that’s a lie.  I’m not recovering; it’s just that the realtor has staged an intervention and I’m pretending to go along with it.  Shhh, don’t tell.)

I was actually feeling proud of myself because I’d gotten rid of my really big plants last year.  The nine-foot fig tree and the Norfolk Island pine had gone off to good homes, so the plants we dragged out to the Island last month were only in the four-to-five-foot range.

Our house seemed so empty without them – the place echoed.

But like any other addict, I still had an emergency stash.  I’d kept some smaller plants here, reasoning that they’d be a nice decorating touch when we spruced up the house to sell it.

Fast-forward to a couple of days ago when we were discussing home staging with the real estate agent, who assured us that renting new furniture and a truckload of tchotchkes will make a big difference in selling our house.

We haven’t had any staging consultants in yet, and the realtor gave us some examples of changes they might suggest.  After a few moments I spoke up cautiously.  “What about plants?”

“They’d all have to go.”

Go?

And exactly what did she mean by “all”?

I mean, really; I hardly have any plants left in here.  There’s only a Christmas cactus and a couple of anthuriums and a jade plant and nine African violets…

A little palm tree and a peperomia and a shamrock…

A sword plant and a Chinese evergreen…

A heartleaf philodendron and a couple of variegated corn plants and a few pothos vines…

Oh, and the big Boston fern, but it’s up high so it doesn’t count, right?

And I guess there are the four new hibiscus shrubs that we started from the trimmings of the bigger ones…

Yep, this is after we’ve moved out “most of the plants”.  I’m beginning to understand how much of a problem I have.

I can only imagine what an ugly scene it’ll be when the home stager tries to confiscate my last scrap of greenery:  Like an alcoholic who’s down to her final bottle, I’ll be alternately defensive, confrontational, and weepy.

Friends who live on the Island have assured me that I’ll begin to recover out there; that the ability to garden outdoors almost year-round will slowly cure me of my need to live in a jungle of houseplants.

I hope that’s true.

Meanwhile, can anybody hide an inch-plant for me, just for a little while?  It’s tiny, I promise…

* * *

P.S. The Never Say Spy audiobook is finally available – hooray!  It’s available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

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Eat The Gawkers

So we’ve listed our house for sale.

Seasoned veterans of home-selling, feel free to poke fun at me now ‘cause I’m a complete newbie to this.  And y’know what?  It’s a seriously weird process.

Or it feels weird to me, anyway.  It’s like having a closeup video of your proctology appointment posted on YouTube:  There are some places you just never thought you’d expose to idle gawkers.

And idle gawkers they are.  I seriously doubt if the visitors at our open-houses have harboured even a passing interest in buying this house; they just enjoy poking their noses into other people’s homes.

Worse, the parade of disinterested traffic makes me feel as though the house we spent so much time and sweat renovating is being judged unworthy.  Or, if you will: Now that I’ve gathered the courage to bend over and submit to the public examination, nobody even cares enough to pat me on the back and say, “Nice ass; you can get dressed now.”

My confidence has been further eroded by the inevitable cleanout and disposal process.  That’s an exercise in perspective, if by ‘perspective’ you mean ‘utter humiliation’.

I’m generally a thrower-outer so there’s not much to purge, but I’m getting rid of some furniture and I’ll likely jettison some of the business clothes that went out of style in my closet several years ago.  Now, I realize I don’t have expensive tastes and I may not be a fashion maven…

Quit the hysterical laughter, you guys.

Okay, fine; so I’m a cheapskate and my idea of presentable attire is anything that’s clean, fits, and doesn’t have holes in it.

But there’s nothing quite so humiliating as realizing that even donation centres for the homeless wouldn’t want your castoffs.  In fact, there’s a guy who panhandles on a street corner not too far from here, and his clothes are newer and nicer than most of mine.

At least there’s a silver lining to all this discomfort:  Every time we have an open-house, I get four hours of writing time I wouldn’t have had if I was running around trying to do the bazillion other things on my to-do list.

It’s not a perfect solution, though.  We’ve studied the best practices for showing a home, and one of them is to have soft music playing.  Accordingly, we’ve found an easy-listening station that plays instrumental music.

I’ve never tried to write with music in the background before, and I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon.  Usually I’m connected with the characters and the action, writing feverishly with my heart pounding.  But, soothed by the strains of soft music, I find myself reclining comfortably and thinking, “Ah, it’s okay; she’ll get out of this latest scrape just fine.”  It’s not conducive to writing a thriller at all.

Hey, maybe that’s the problem with our open-house visitors, too – they need music with a bit more drive and urgency.  Or maybe a subliminal message.

D’you think the gawkers might like a little Aerosmith?

* * *

New discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  You Can’t Always Get What You Want… If a person can find happiness outside of society’s traditional expectations, should they change to fit society’s ‘norms’?  Click here to have your say!

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