Thursday, July 28, 2016

One Problem

After being retired for 6 years, I have found a problem with it. At first I thought it was just a glitch, something that would wear off once I got used to being at home every day, not racing off to work 5 days a week. It’s not quite as simple as that.

I can’t keep track of what day it is.

When I was working, it was easy to remember if it was Back-to-Work-Monday, Too-Long-Tuesday, Hump-Day-Wednesday, Terrible-Thursday, Finally-Friday, Errand-Running-Saturday or Sad-Sunday. Not so easy when all the days are pretty much the same. They all start blending into each other.

I used to keep a calendar on my office wall. It came down and got packed away, of course.

I do have a To Do list, along with what date I’m supposed to do each item. It’s a document on my computer, and my computer will tell me what the date is, if I just look in the bottom right corner of the screen.

That doesn’t seem to be enough. For example, I was so busy trying to figure out how much mulch we needed for our landscaping project that I neglected to consult that list. It wasn’t until I opened up the list this morning and was crossing off some things I had managed to do yesterday that I realized I had forgotten to write, edit and post this week’s blog!

Forty lashes with a wet noodle!

I obviously need a calendar and not just a date. I just haven’t figured out where to put it that wouldn’t mess up this new paint job. Guess I’ll have to add it to my To Do list.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Life In the Way

There’s a phrase I’ve used a few times during my life: “Life got in the way…” I don’t know where I got it, but I use it to indicate that I had a goal for myself that I really wanted to achieve, but for whatever reason, I didn’t accomplish it.
I don’t mean that I didn’t get the dishes washed last night because ‘life got in the way’. No, that was because something good was on tv. It applies to those really big goals, like getting my BS in math. I haven’t accomplished that (yet) because other (life) things kept distracting me. Things like marriage, divorce, marriage, having kids, raising kids…
There’s another phrase I’ve used about my life, and I’ve seen other authors use it for their characters; “My life resembles a soap opera.”
In a way, these phrases are similar. They both indicate that your life goals have gotten off-track. “Life got in the way” might mean you made a decision to take a slightly different road than you had thought, and it is (or was) taking you longer to get back on course than you anticipated. Or you may have gotten swept away by your emotions and then had trouble steering your way back. A soap opera implies that just after you make a choice, things start working out, and you anticipate happiness, something hits the fan to send your emotions in a tailspin and nothing is under your control.
Neither of these phrases indicates a happy, carefree life we all dream about. But think about your favorite book’s plot. Does one of these phrases – or both – apply to the life of the main character?
In John’s next book, his main character was a member of an elite fighting squad. He had trained hard for that, and he had achieved a bit of rank. But now, several years after his last assignment (which he can’t remember, not even How Things Went Wrong), his boss for his office job has ordered him to take a vacation. He decides on a space cruise, an entire month of wandering around the universe, enjoying a new and different experience at each port of call. It promises to be truly relaxing. But things happen. Little things at first; an accidental bump at the wrong time, the feeling that someone is watching him. And things keep happening, getting bigger and more threatening, keeping his frayed nerves at the snapping point.
I did the same thing in my fantasy, Cali. Things keep happening to Cali that shatter her piece of mind and leave her feeling unprepared to be on the journey she is on. She hasn’t finished her training, doesn’t know how the world outside her tribe works, and now most of her spells have been stolen from her, so how can she possibly succeed? It is only when she starts to make her own decisions that she finally reaches the end of her search.
So I guess, art imitates life. However, art tends to stick to the exciting bits; the problems, the attempts, the combat and strife. Plans that don’t work, plans that do work but have unintended consequences.
Life might have their counterparts to that (although the death of an entire planet might not lie in the balance), but it also has bits that art would only imply, not drag the audience through. Like six weeks of utter, mind-numbing boredom of living in one room while the rest of the house is renovated.
Okay, I think I might be ready for just a little bit of excitement now, okay, life? Maybe I could win the lottery? Or we could sell the house in one day, so we could get on with the next step… buying our next house?

There’s another phrase about life that comes to mind right about now: Be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Deadlines

I honestly don’t know which is worse:
  • A.   Having gobs and gobs of chores to do, all of them inter-related and requiring research and learning, with deadlines for some stuff, and the entire day, nearly every day, to work on these chores.
  • B.   Having limited chores to work on, because everything is packed away except for four flashdrives and a laptop with limited capacity; no deadlines; and the ability to go to a place and use their computer with a nice big screen (or two!) for a whopping 3 to 4 hours a day.

A is what I had before my husband decided to retire. It was mind-numbing. Every morning I would stare at that long list of chores and wonder, ‘Which one should I work on? Is there one that seems shorter, so I can feel like I’m making progress?’ (Inevitably, that short chore would turn out to be HUGE!) ‘Can I break this big chore into smaller pieces? So far, I’ve done research on X, L, and S, and now look, they all come together in this big knot, along with 6 other things I haven’t even begun to research!’ Over-whelming. Enough of that, and your mind truly goes numb. It ceases to function.
B is what I have now, as we wait for repairs and renovations to get done on our house. If you follow me on facebook, you know that we’ve been ‘living’ in one room for a month. To attempt to stay sane, we go out each morning to use those wonderful computers until lunchtime, then go home to check in with the workers. (At least they’ve mostly stopped finding more water-damage problems that need to be fixed. Now, if the carpet would just arrive…!) After lunch, we go to the gym for a couple hours, ending with 20 minutes in a massage chair before we go home to spend the evening watching tv, probably reruns from Netflix.
With everything we need to survive until the house is sold scrunched into that one room with us, there is only a path through the room, really. Only one of us can get up and move about at any one time, and unless they wander outside that room, they are probably blocking the other person’s view of the tv.
B is also mind-numbing. I start the day eager and happy to be working on a REAL computer, grit my teeth and put my body through its paces in the name of health, and then settle down to do… absolutely nothing.

Hey, something for me to research tomorrow! CPR for numbed brains! You know, for when we finally do get to settle into a new house and I start having deadlines again.