Maintenance

I’m forever saying ‘taking care of a house is never ending.’ Today’s example came via my ears. I’m sitting at my desk, working away, and I hear this incredibly invasive noise right outside the office. I go out and see nothing. Back inside, again with the noise. Back outside, nothing. I step away and patiently wait. A tiny face peeks out at me from the edge of the gutter next to the house. A squirrel. Next I get out the hose, put it on jet and start squirting. While I’m at it, I see a wasp nest on the stone facing, so I take that down with the hose. Back in the house, ten minutes later, the chewing/clawing noise starts up again. Ladder time. Only it’s 95 degrees out. No wonder it wants in.

My next step is up the ladder, hose him down, beat on the roof and hopefully scare him away. I put wire over the area so he can’t get in again. The only problem with that is he is still inside, so I’ve effectively jailed the little critter. More clawing/chewing noises. Up the ladder again, remove the wire, beat on it, stick the end of a tool in there as far as it will go, beat the roof some more and hope he gets the message. An hour later, up the ladder and put the wire back on. So far, no noise. We’ll see. Anyone want to bet on it?

There is so much to do right now, and all I want to do is write. My neighbor told me to relax, quit stressing. Okay. I’m actually not stressed, I just want to be writing because I have all these little glitches and thoughts in the rewrites that need to be worked out. My creative juices are flowing and I suppose that it is like adrenalin, it wants out! (just like the squirrel) hmm, might be a story there.IMG_2278

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Stay Cool

Yesterday was filled with little mundane chores that actually make a person feel good when you add them up. One was re-organizing old Badger Book files and finding a new place for the files that make them easy and accessible and NOT so easy to ignore. A second was making new stickers with my new web-site URL address, http://www.barbaratyner.com, to go over the top of the out-dated web-site inside the children’s books I have on hand. The new URL address has includes a store to purchase Badger books, and here’s a BONUS for you: They are on sale this summer!

Today’s chores include dusting the house (ugh) and fertilizing the garden plants. Housekeeping is something I am getting better and better at ignoring also. While it was cool this morning, I deadheaded roses and watered the pots. It’s supposed to be a scorcher today, so I’ll do inside stuff in the afternoon, and fertilize this evening. That’s the plan, subject to constant change and whimsical flights of fancy – or one of my kids call.

The daily swim lessons are done. We plan one more trip to the pool to show off for his parents, a horse-back lesson for my granddaughter, and some rock painting, and maybe a trip to a park or a hike. Then I am off to a tiny family reunion, followed by driving across the country in the middle of a hot summer. Whew! Who planned this?

All things come out in the wash, my mother says, sometimes a little dingy, but that’s life. Take a deep breath, I say, because no one gets out of this life alive. We might as well enjoy the journey, it’s all we have.

Stay cool, everyone, and smile. It costs you nothing and reaps huge rewards.

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First Tomato

So much is happening with the family this summer. My son and his family are moving. My son-in-law is play testing a WWII game he designed. He also built a fence around their back yard. My grandson is learning to swim. My daughter and I are in the developmental editing phase of my YA novel. My other daughter and son-in-law are on a round of visiting, vacation, and ‘tough mudder’ competition. Whew! Keeping up is tough.

A big rain hit last night. Since we have been in the high 90s, it was a welcome relief. I saw the green sky that indicates hail, but we didn’t get any here. I hope no one’s wheat crop got taken out. If it rained out east like it did here, it will slow down harvest, that’s for sure.

I finally met the shop cat that my son inherited when he bought the place, a muted yellow tabby. He was hungry and came meowing when I fed him. I guess he decided I was better than nothing, so he finally made friends with me.

There are tasks I should be doing in the yard, but the heat during the day, and the mosquitoes in the early mornings and evenings have rather turned me off. I did get in one good bike ride this week. Otherwise, swim lessons for my grandson have dominated the outdoor time. The beauty of writing is my air conditioned office. I’m a little spoiled with that. We did pick the first tomato out of the garden. Yummy! I sense homemade salsa in the near future.

We are closing in on the finish of my YA novel. All the input from Beta readers is back, so after this final polish, it goes out for submission. The query letter is scarier to write than the book itself. I’m hoping to have it done before I fly across country to help the kids move. No promises on that one. Time is flying, and time with grandkids is pretty darn precious.IMG_2262

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A missing shoe

Watching my son work on his new house is so exciting. I can envision the improvements he has begun and has planned. Some of it just needs a coat of paint and it will be dramatically improved. Some – needs more than that. They are creative people, so I have no doubts the transformation will be awesome.

Cousins. Cousins. Cousins. The two oldest are having a good time together. Swimming lessons, picnics, sleeping in a home-made fort, all the grand things that go along with being young in summer. I remember the times in Minnesota I played this way with my cousins (just a couple of decades ago – haha!).

We did a little fishing, and my grandson caught two. My granddaughter and I will have to try again. The kids then decided to play a game of hide-n-seek with my son’s flip-flop in a beach volleyball court. The only problem was my grandson couldn’t remember where he hid his shoe and my granddaughter hadn’t peeked of course, that would be cheating. We dug – and dug – and dug – and never did come up with the missing flip-flop. There will have to be a quick trip to the store before his next swim lesson later this morning.

At the end of the long holiday, we were watching fireworks on TV and I noticed the pair of them fading into the couch. We got ready for bed and made it half-way through a book before they were asleep. I wasn’t long behind them.

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Celebration!

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, safe celebration of our countries founding. IMG_2226

My best laid plans have gone awry, but ask me if I care. Not one bit. Instead of writing, I got a ride in my son’s new airplane. Awesome! I flew the plane for about 15 seconds and survived my first barrel roll. Three rolls in all. Good thing I hadn’t eaten any breakfast before going up. We had a beautiful, clear morning. Seeing all the water and lakes and ponds and crop land from up there was outstanding. I can certainly see why a person gets addicted to flying. I am jazzed.

So the dramatic scene gets put off for another day. I have priorities that matter more. While all the books on writing that I’ve been reading strongly suggest you write x number of words every single day, no matter what, I think not – not when presented with an opportunity to spend time with my family and loved ones, or have a new adventure. Yes, I think not. The fort my granddaughter built this afternoon (with a little help from me) was worth far more than a thousand words.

A rain shower, followed by another shower came through and tried to put a damper on our hot dog cook out, but we persevered through it (my granddaughter held an umbrella over the fire) and ended up with a perfect evening for sitting around the fire and watching the moon as clouds drifted by. We lacked chocolate for s’mores but the marshmallows toasted just fine anyway. Red coals sparked our imagination, the mosquitoes stayed away, and the man in the moon watched over us until clouds snuck up and captured him. It was the perfect way to end such a momentous day.

 

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Haze

A month of summer has already meandered down the river of time, gone forever from our grasp. The sounds of summer are everywhere; voices of children playing in the street, music coming through open windows, mosquitoes buzzing in my ear as I pull weeds. I smell wood smoke from a fire pit a few doors down, reminding me my grandson will be here soon and we can roast marshmallows and hot dogs every night if we want.

My friend is recovering. She has such a wonderful attitude and beautiful spirit, despite the pain and the loss of her summer and her independence for a while. No wonder we have been friends for so many decades. I never want to lose the friendship of someone with that kind of resilience and positive personality. I need that good example!

My granddaughter and I got to pick blueberries from my bushes the other day. When we got all the ripe ones picked, I thought we could leave the netting off and let the birds have the rest. She thought about it for a little while – as she ate the ones we’d picked- and covered them back up. Sorry birds. Not this year.

A hot dry wind has been blowing. We have haze here from the fire in Utah. Ugh. Not pretty. Not good to breathe. It reminds me of the Black Forest fire and that is a memory I do not like to go back to. On to the positive! and back to writing! and and and…

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Split Second

In a split second, life changes. Plans go awry. A good friend came to visit for a few hours and a lunch on her way to Wyoming. She fell off a step on my back patio, and broke her wrist and her hip. 911. Fire truck. Ambulance. Excruciating pain. ER. IV, and finally surgery. All a blur. She’s going to miss a reunion and a vacation, but she has a new hip. Not exactly a fair trade. Rehab is next.

I can’t get the image out of my head. Sleep isn’t easy when you have something on your mind like that, which serves to make me aware of how incredibly difficult it would be to get over PTSD. No wonder so many vets turned to drugs and alcohol after Vietnam. Back then we didn’t even recognize PTSD, and today even, it carries with it a stigma that makes it hard to ask for help. What a nightmare for the survivors. It makes me sick to think of the movies and video games that glorify war.

On to other things because even when I’m not trying to sleep, the image is in my head. The solar question is still out there. Maybe I can think about it clearer next week. I cancelled my trip to the mountains. I’ll go later. There are plenty of hot days of summer still to come when a nice ride up into the mountains will be just the ticket to break the heat.

Writing doesn’t seem to be happening right now. Maybe a long bicycle ride will help clear the mud off the windshield. On a positive note, the garden and yard are doing very well. I’m including a picture that shows my new trumpet vine swallowing the lily planted close by. Too close, evidently. Oh well. Gardens are ever evolving endeavors.IMG_2219

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