Journal Entry: August 18, 2009

It’s been a while, so I need to get caught up. If you don’t want to read the big long blog post, there’s this: We had a garage sale over the weekend, and I caught a cold that lasted somewhere around 36 hours. That’s it.

Last Thursday night, my little sister came over to help T– get ready for our garage sale. They spent much of the evening organizing tables and setting out stuff and affixing price stickers. When I got home from work, T– was working in the garage and asked me to help arrange some stuff, so I spent half an hour or so dragging two sawhorses out into position, brushing off the dust and cobwebs, and then setting up our old window A/C units from the Tulsa house on them.

Those big monstrosities had been obnoxiously taking up space in our garage for most of a year, but we didn’t know how to get rid of them, so we were really hoping to sell them in the garage sale. Unfortunately, that meant I had to find some way to move them into position, and that was no small amount of work. Then I spent a little more time getting them presentable before finally wimping out with the old “it’s way too hot out here for human survival” bit and going inside.

T– and my sister followed suit before too long, and we spent most of the rest of the evening in the living room. T– kept working on getting stuff ready (and I eventually went to my office and gathered some old computer stuff to add at the last minute), and my sister set up ads on Craigslist and Facebook to get more people to come by. It was a long evening in anticipation of Friday.

Friday morning T– got up around six to open the garage sale early. I woke up…not nearly so early. I think it was around 7:30, and I got cleaned up then took AB over to Miss Becky’s house for some babysitting, then from there drove up to the car dealership in Edmond to have the new car checked out. We’d spent most of the last week noticing a strong antifreeze smell whenever we were in the car, and as it doesn’t have any sort of engine temp indicator on the dash, we figured we’d be better off just taking the car in.

I elected to hang out at the dealership while the mechanics looked the car over, and I got nearly a thousand words written in my scribblebook before the guy came by to tell me he didn’t smell anything in the car, and a quick check hadn’t revealed any leaks, so I could go home.

That was a little frustrating, since it had taken up most of my morning. But I got back to the house and learned that we’d already sold one of the air conditioners. I also found E– and N– both there keeping T– and my sister company and helping them with the garage sale. So that was nice!

I ran up to Wendy’s to grab them some lunch, and when I got back I spent some time talking with N– and playing with baby Jason while we ate, then I had to pack up pretty quickly and head up to OC, because I had some work I needed to take care of and then I needed to pick up AB from Becky’s.

At OC I got my parking decal from the security office, then dropped by IT to pick up my laptop. That “dropped by” ended up being an hour-long process, though, because we had to get the laptop set up on the network in two different operating systems and the tech had to walk me through some of the specific software I’ll need to be using. It was productive time, but an unexpected delay.

As a result I was a little late picking up AB, but Becky didn’t seem to mind. AB sure didn’t. She spent the half-hour drive home telling me how much fun she’d had, and how she was not tired and she did not need a nap. Then we got home, and she walked straight to her room and went to bed.

The garage sale was already closed down by then, so I went to the office to play some games while AB napped. Then, as afternoon rolled toward evening, we got in touch with K– and N– and invited them over for pizza and preseason football.

The pizza was better than the football. Still, it was fun in a premonitive kind of way. I can’t wait for football season to get in full swing. Anyway, K– and N– hung around until about half time. For some reason I watched the whole rest of the game after they went home. It kept me up late, and left me utterly disappointed in our third-string defense. Our backup backup quarterback looks surprisingly good, though.

Saturday, again, I got up way too early for a day off, but it was still a couple hours later than T– had gotten up. By way of making amends, I took AB with me and ran up to Panera to buy T– a cinnamon crunch bagel for breakfast. AB and I shared a bearclaw.

Speaking of AB and me…we both woke up with a cough, and a sore throat. She expressed hers with a gravelly baritone. I expressed mine with much whining.

Anyway, by early afternoon I was already feeling sickly with fever, so I put AB down for a nap and then went to the office to play Fallout and ended up taking a nap of my own. That lasted a little over an hour before my brother-in-law called me up and said he wanted to try playing Magic over Xbox Live, and that turned out to be pretty fun.

I’d made plans to get together with some other people from my writing group at a coffee shop Saturday night, but around five, driving up to Taco Bueno to grab some dinner for T–, I decided with some confidence that it wasn’t going to happen. I forgot to call D–, though, so he showed up right after dinner only for me to tell him I was sick, and he should go somewhere else. He went to see The Goods which, he tells me, wasn’t.

I spent the evening lying around, then eventually went back to the office to play some more Magic, and while I was doing that my brother-in-law joined in again. Between my afternoon nap and my non-drowsy decongestant, I wasn’t close to tired, so we ended up playing until two in the morning. When I finally went to bed, I still couldn’t sleep.

Sunday morning I woke up around eight when AB jumped up onto the bed next to me, but I just gave her a hug and fell right back to sleep. I woke up again around eleven, and then again around noon when T– called to tell me they were headed to Olive Garden for lunch. I passed on that opportunity, but a few minutes later K– called to ask if I could help him hang a swing in his back yard. He had helped immensely when I hung AB’s in our yard, so I didn’t want to tell him no. I warned him I could be contagious, but he didn’t seem too concerned.

So I drove up to Edmond, and learned when I got there that his tallest ladder on its tallest setting was about five feet too short to reach the limb he wanted to hang the swing from. For a moment I thought that meant I had wasted a drive to Edmond, but he quickly set me straight. Instead, it just meant that we had to get creative.

Before everything was said and done we were chucking tethered wrenches over tree limbs twenty feet up and tying nooses. It was a good ol’ Sunday afternoon in the midwest. The swings turned out nicely, though, and it really only took a couple hours.

On the drive home I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner Thursday, but I really didn’t feel hungry. I got to the house and told T– about hanging the swings and then played with AB a little bit when she woke up from her nap, and then as evening rolled in we started talking about dinner and none of us really had any strong feelings on the matter.

Around seven I called up D– to ask what he’d had, just for extra ideas, and he said he’d been wrestling with what to eat, too. So I had him come pick me up and we stopped by Homeland to pick up some microwave popcorn for T– (the choice she finally settled on), and then we drove up to Johnny’s for a couple Theta Burgers and fries. That hit the spot.

After dinner D– went home, and T– and I watched a little TV before retiring relatively early.

Monday morning I woke up and felt completely better. Immune-wise, anyway. Obviously I wasn’t too thrilled about having to go back to work. Still, it pays the bills.

I spent the day doing excessively boring things, then got home and worked out while T– and AB were at the grocery store. Afterward we had dinner, and I scheduled another writing-at-the-coffee-shop (I’m calling it social writing) for Tuesday night, hoping I could stay well and a little bit of advance notice would garner a bigger turnout.

T– made chicken crescent squares for dinner — one of her specialties — and after AB went to bed we watched the first episode of Lie to Me. That’s one D– recommended to us months ago, and it was a good recommendation. We really enjoyed it.

Still dragging a bit, we went to bed pretty early Monday night, but didn’t get a lot of sleep. A thunderstorm rolled in around two, and that kept AB awake all night, and she kept us awake.

As a result of the long night, I woke up late. T– and I had already had plans to meet for lunch, so I just called my supervisor and told him to expect me after lunch, and took the morning off. I spent some time in the kitchen putting together my chili fixins for supper, and then got some paperwork taken care of in the office, and then we went up to Schlotzky’s for lunch. It wasn’t a terribly exciting morning, but it was pretty pleasant.

Then I spent the afternoon at work doing some excruciatingly boring stuff, which was interrupted by an unexpected summons to give a presentation to a packed conference room and try to explain to them the excruciatingly boring stuff I’d been doing.

I survived that, and got out of there just in time to head home. Five minutes into my commute, though — just as I turned onto I-44 northbound — I ran into standstill traffic and heard a traffic report explaining that a semi had knocked over a power pole and there were power lines down across the highway about a mile north of where I was, so they’d closed the highway. The recommendation that commuters find an alternate route didn’t really do me much good by that point. So instead of half an hour it took me an hour and a half to get home.

My angel of a wife had dinner ready when I walked in the door, though, and it was one of my favorites. D– joined us for that, too, but then headed home right afterward. T– and AB went to Hobby Lobby with my little sister, and I headed to the coffee shop for my scheduled social writing.

I’d said it would be seven to ten, but I overestimated the distance from my house, so I actually got there twenty minutes early. That turned out to be a good thing, though, because the place was pretty packed. I snagged a spot, and dragged out my scribblebook, and got nearly a thousand words written before Courtney showed up. A few minutes later Becca showed up, too, and we moved to a newly-free table so they could plug in their laptops.

We didn’t really do any writing after that, but it was a fun evening. Becca’s been working on her novel for several months now, but it’s the first major writing work she’s done, and this was our first opportunity to really talk about it. I’d been looking forward to that conversation, but I think it probably went a lot better with Courtney there too, giving another experienced angle. I just hope it wasn’t too overwhelming.

Still, the mentoring bit only lasted ten to twenty minutes, and then it was just discussion of all our roadblocks for most of the rest of the evening. Both of them happened to be struggling getting into the heads of their major male characters, and I think I was able to provide some useful insights on that topic. We talked a lot about vampires, too, and psychopaths and sociopaths, and the challenge of writing easy dialog. Writer stuff.

Then around 9:20 the proprietor quite politely kicked us out, so he could go pick up his brother-in-law (returning home from a deployment to Iraq) from the airport. How could we object to that? Before we split up we decided to try another one at 50 Penn Place next Monday, but before that rolls around I’ve got another official Writer’s Group meeting on Saturday.

My life is just too busy. Courtney asked me last night how many projects I’m working on, and after some consideration I believe I have five active, unfinished novels, and five finished ones that need immediate, extensive rewrites. So call that ten big writing projects, with numberless others waiting in the wings.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

One Reply to “Journal Entry: August 18, 2009”

  1. The paragraph about AB and her nap made me laugh.

    I didn’t get the impression that Becca was overwhelmed by the mentoring. I think we were all doing a fairly good job of mentoring each other. Especially regarding a certain genre of boogeyman…..your post about which I am still looking forward to.

    Word ver: arindial

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