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A Watershed Moment – Literally

on January 23, 2012

I had a good feeling about 2012. In December I was more than happy to say goodbye to 2011 and felt nothing but good vibes for the new year. Half a month in  and those good vibes are fleeting.

Not that I’m giving up on 2012 already. I refuse to fall into that negative thinking trap. But I am being tested in a most aquatic way. Let me ‘splain.

Almost 2 weeks ago I decided to bring home a puppy. A tiny, floppy-eared Yorkie-Poo that is too adorable for words and more affectionate than any animal I’ve ever met. However, puppies are amazingly like new babies, something I’d forgotten. So my focus has been pulled from revisions to constant puppy-potty watch.

But I am nothing if not determined. I devised a plan to print out the MS and attack with a red pen, inserting the changes on the computer every chapter or so. Bought the red pen, printed the pages, then woke Thursday morning to my water heater spewing water into my living room.

Sigh.

Nothing was broken, but the draining faucet was somehow turned on during the night. The plumber is skeptical. I have assured him my child would not get up in the middle of the night, turn on this faucet, and go back to bed. The only thing I can think is that one of the cats rubbed across it and the great flooding was on.

I’m happy to not have to replace a major appliance in my house, but there’s this issue of waterlogged carpet and nowhere to move the furniture (which is fine, thank goodness.) I called the insurance company but deductibles are a sticky thing, ya know? Anyway, I’m treading this problem on my own and my back is screaming from all the heavy lifting, tugging, and general stress.

But I am determined! Red penned about five pages while watching football yesterday. Fans are blowing, dehumidifier is sucking moisture out of the air (my living room was turning into a rain forrest!), and the pooch is locked in my bedroom for the day. We’ll see if I have a bedroom left when I get home.

Or a carpet. Or a stitch of sanity. Is it any wonder I had to color the gray hair last night? (And yes, these pics are my living room. Though the furniture is moved to the dry concrete and the carpet is pulled back further now.)

Where Did I Put Those Brain Cells?

on December 14, 2011

In recent years, I’ve learned that I actually do have limitations. For a multi-tasker/control freak, this was NOT an easy lesson to learn. I don’t believe this has always been the case since I had no problem keeping a multitude of balls, knives, and flaming batons in the air back in my younger days.

In my twenties, I could do anything. In my thirties I realized I’d done nothing in my twenties compared to what would be demanded of me in my third decade. Now that I’m turning forty (in two weeks – let’s not rush it) I’m afraid it’s all downhill from here.

In September, I finished my second full length manuscript. To do it, I had to block out everything else. No television. No reading. No free time. I’d say no social life but I don’t have one of those anyway. Then I had to prepare said manuscript for entrance in the Golden Heart contest. Again, I focused in and got it done.

Then the holidays kicked in. And the planning of my company holiday party cranked into high gear. But I still wanted to write a short story and it would be under 15K; I could turn it out in December and go back to revisions come January 1.

The problem is, my brain has not reacted well to this round of multi-tasking. In fact, she’s gone on strike. There is no focus. No retention of information. I’m not even sure she’s still in my head. It’s entirely possible she’s sunning herself on a sandy beach somewhere knocking back pina coladas and working her feminine wiles on some young cabana boy.

Which would mean my brain has been holding out on me for years, but since I can’t focus, I doubt I’ll remember to confront her about this.

The party has come and gone and I’m *this* close to being ready for Christmas. The house is decorated and the presents I do have are wrapped. I believe my brain is finally coming back. This morning I managed to cross four major items off my to-do list and still make it to the office by noon.

This is a good sign. Because it would seem when my brain goes on strike, it’s the writing (and blogging) that takes the hit. And that’s something I can’t afford to ignore. I’m tempted to add that Ginko stuff to my daily routine, but you know the old saying. I doubt I’d remember to take it!

Anyone ever tried focusing techniques that work? Would yoga offer benefits in this area? Meditation CDs? Maybe playing the sound of a waterfall in the background? I’ll try anything (except eating vegetables.)

We Don’t Need No Stinking Tutu

on October 20, 2011

Domestic goddessI am not a crafty person. I don’t sew. I don’t scrapbook. I don’t even color in coloring books. Forget about any domestic skills in the kitchen. Mine will never be one of those houses with the mouth-watering scent of baked goods wafting about.

Twelve years ago, none of this mattered. So I’m not artsy. I have a brain for business (and a body for….who am I kidding?) I can build a killer spreadsheet and to me, that’s an art. Oddly enough, spreadsheets don’t play a big role in being a mom. Huh.

That’s right, I’m a mom. Which means I’m expected to make things and bake things and they have to be presentable to others. My poor child. She did not get the luck of the drawer in this area.

Case in point, my attempt to “make” her Halloween costume. She wants to be a ladybug but the costume at the store costs more than I can afford. So I thought, “I’ll make her a costume!” I have no idea what I was drinking that day (maybe someone spiked the coffee at work) but the moment the thought entered my head, the following thought SHOULD have been, “You can’t do that!”

Mr. Follow-up Thought missed his cue so there I was, wondering Joann’s Fabrics with a plan and my own delusions. In fairness to me, I did make something. There is a red and black tulle skirt attached to a black jersey waistband with a red ribbon running through it. However, the goal was a tutu not a skirt so though the construction worked, the goal was missed by a mile.

Gypsy costumeI checked out costumes online, knowing I could not subject my child to the ridicule of her peers when she walked into the Halloween dance in this poor excuse for a tutu. (Don’t even ask what the rest of the costume was going to be.) I would admit defeat (again) and break out the credit card.

But wait. I have a costume in my closet I’ve never worn. My child could wear this. (Yes, at age 12, she can wear my clothes.) I can cut it off and hem the bottom – this iron on hemming stuff is genius! – accessorize her up with every chain, bangle, and dangly item I own and a gypsy is born!

Needless to say, this plan B was not met with much enthusiasm, but I have assured her she’ll have the coolest costume at the ball. And she will. Because sometimes being determined is way better than being artsy.

So What’s Up With This Irene Chick?

on August 26, 2011

Cat update first: Did not go back and get cute kitty Sunshine from pet store. Sanity ruled. Now considering taking a brand new kitten from my parents. *sigh* Nothing final yet. Good chance sanity will win out again.

Onto the news of the day. So I live in the mid-Atlantic region of the US, which means I’m currently trying to stay calm, be prepared, and lose my flipping mind all at the same time. You can probably guess at which activity I’m succeeding the most.

The last time a major hurricane hit this area was a year before I moved here. I actually flew in two days after Isabel hit for my (well-timed) vacation. Boy was that interesting. Not the best vacation, but I didn’t have a house to worry about so it was all an adventure. This time, not so much.

Irene is scheduled to arrive while I am out of town. Logic would say this is a good thing since I’ll be out of the path. However, my house will still be in the path and as I’ve only been a home owner for less than a year, I’m struggling with the urge to find a way to move the house.

Which would be utterly hysterical not just for the obvious reasons, but because it’s a townhouse snuggled between a bunch of other townhouses. My street would look like a big smile with one tooth missing.

I’ve decided to think positive as this is how I attack most everything else and it usually works. Yes, we might be without power for a day or two, but we can always crash at my cousin’s house where they have both a generator and a gas grill.

But the house will be fine and the cats will be fine and I’ll be happy that my car (and me) were out of harm’s way when this is all over. Life will go on, kiddo will be home (YAY!), school will get underway in another week and before we know it, we’ll all be freaking about the snow storms.

*sigh*

Are you in the way? Are you ready for Irene? Are you ready for Christmas?! (It’ll be here before we know it!)

Going With My Gut – Still Debating

on August 12, 2011

I admire people who make lists. Especially the Pro v. Con lists. When one of life’s little dilemmas creeps up, the diligent make a list, comparing the good and bad, weighing the options and worst case scenario.

I don’t do this. Well, not always. I’m more a go with my gut kind of person. Now that I have a considerable number of decision-making years behind me, I can look back and see this method has not always served me well.

Upon examination, the first thing I realize is that I’m a terrible judge of character. Discouraging, but we’ll leave that for another day. The second is less clear. I’ve made some big decision, often sacrificing a good circumstance for not as good, that ultimately paid off in the end. Or so far, since I haven’t reached “the end” just yet. Thank the heavens.

When I debated whether or not to move halfway across the country, I tried weighing all the facts and factors, but in the end, followed the signs. The town to which I would be moving happen to be a beach town and it was as if life started throwing every “beachy” sign in my way. At a certain point I looked up and yelled, “Fine! I get it!”

And here I am living three miles from the Atlantic. Best move I ever made. However, life wasn’t peachy from day one. Let’s just say life got HARD before it got better. Does that mean I made the wrong decision? I don’t think so.

You might have guessed I’m currently trying to make a decision about something. This isn’t exactly subtle. The good news is, this decision is nowhere near the “moving cross country” or “career changing” sort. But it could impact my bank account and my fragile sanity.

I’m considering adopting another cat. I already have two so you’re probably wondering WHY I’m even thinking about adding another. The answer can only be found in my gut. Every time I go through my local Pet Smart store, I go by the kitties up for adoption. I look and coo and long and then the voice in my head says, “The litter box is bad enough already.” Hang a left and I break the spell.

But the other night, there was this pretty little girl named Sunshine and I can’t get her face out of my head. She’s the right age, the right size, and could fit our little cat pack perfectly. But then there are yearly vet bills and food and litter and litter boxes and what will my current cats think??

I’m torn. Do I go with my gut and believe things will work out? Should I push my luck and hope she’ll slide into the family with no problems? Is giving this sweet kitty a forever home worth all the hassle?