Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down


Because bud vases are over-rated.
Because bud vases are over-rated.

Which just goes to tell you how today is going since it is both Monday, and raining. I actually love the rain, but I was really looking forward to working in the Garden Office today. Instead, I have to sit here and enjoy the flowers that got damaged when I was potting the plants. Notice the beautiful Blue Moon Beer vase.

So, I’m sure you’re all wondering how I was doing yesterday after Saturday’s Tackle Every Yard Project Imaginable. Well. Yes. The dog got me up Sunday at 6:45 to announce that she had to go out. (I really want a dog door.) So I rolled over and whimpered. Let the dog out, and went back to bed.

Twenty minutes later, I got back up with more whimpering, decided a full yoga workout was not in the cards, what with breathing hurting and all, let the dog back in and opted for working on one part of me at a time. Went back to bed with my Kindle and started a heavy-duty thumb workout with the Next Page button. After an hour, I figured I was ready to face the day.

Had some oatmeal and Advil for breakfast and then started baking, with occasional stretching added in. Then I got serious. Brownies. Oatmeal Cookies. Jell-O. You know. Everything a kid would like to take to school for a lunch treat. And yes, all wheat-free.
While the cookies were going, I went a little crazy and decided to change the sheets on my bed. Because, you know, it’s Sunday and I lead a really exciting life. Also, it was too cold to go hang out in Garden Office. While I was at it, I thought I’d flip the mattress around because that’s cheaper than buying a new one that lacks a crater in the center.

Let’s talk about how much a mattress weighs. I’m sure that under normal circumstances they weight what 50 pounds? Maybe? Whatever. Let me tell you, after digging all the holes, etc on Saturday, I had the arm strength of a butterfly. So that mattress weighed about 300 pounds.

Will all of you please get your minds out of the gutter?!!?

Since I needed to take a breather halfway through moving it around, I noticed all the dust collecting around all the spindles on the bed. I love this bed. It’s a gorgeous Arts and Crafts style thing. There are two reasons never to buy this bed. 1) It’s a dusting pain in the ass. 2) All your friends will make bondage jokes when they see it. Every. One. Of. Them. I didn’t realize you all lived in the gutter with me, or that you thought I had that much fun in bed, but whatever.

It took over an hour to dust this bed because the only way you get the dust off the spindle bases is with a toothbrush. Also, I had to stop every eight minutes to drop dough on a cookie sheet.

Finally, a lifetime later, my room was clean. No worries. I had a window open so you know everything was covered in pollen again by dinner. Yes, I know. I have allergies, I shouldn’t have open windows. But I’ve been locked in the house all winter and it needs airing out.

So, cleaned my room, cleaned the kitchen. Scrubbed the kitchen floor with a Magic Eraser mop head and if you haven’t tried one of those yet (and you have linoleum) you’ve got to try it. It’s like a before and after photo from a Mr. Clean commercial. And no, I did not take those before/after pictures because it would ruin the mystique that is me.

Romance writers. We have awesome sex all the time, have perfect husbands, and pristine kitchen floors. You’re buying it, right?

Onward through the day, I finally hit the Garden Office. Heaven! Wrote, did some research, and watched the Ex and Scout Son kill themselves replacing the belt on the lawnmower so that Snarky Daughter and I could mow the lawn after dinner.

Made dinner, mowed the lawn, took a bath, and read a really cute, sweet romance, Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros. Basically, Sunday was a day of doing really easy chores and watching other people work really hard fighting a lawnmower.

It’s just part of the glamorous life I lead as a romance writer.


The Garden Office

There was a moment this morning when I considered writing all day. Then I got out of bed and saw how beautiful it was outside and how cool it was outside, and I thought, why try to make a deadline when you can mow the lawn.

Just guessing, I’d say I have three acres to mow, and because of the weather, this was the first weekend it needed mowing. That’s always a joy because it means charging the lawn mower battery, checking the oil, adding gas, putting air in the tires. Love me some mowing season.

So I do all of that, which has me climbing all over the mower, and then it takes me about five minutes to get the damn thing started because what gas was in it was months old and apparently gas has an expiration date. Whatever. Anyway, it took forever to get the thing going and then there was that moment when I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t moving because, oh yeah, I put it in neutral when I started it. So would someone please explain to me why the mouse in the garage decided to hide under the tire while I did all of that?

Needless to say, I’m down one mouse. Alas, I only mowed for ten minutes before the belt that runs the 52-inch mowing deck shredded itself. Now the yard looks like I went to it for a while before deciding to take a beer break. For a day.

Some writers, dedicated writers, would have taken that as a sign that they were supposed to go back in the house and you know, write. I took it as a sign that I should split day lilies and iris, and plant some flowers in pots and make the freshly painted deck (my springtime office) look wonderful.

I have tons of empty pots kicking around in the garage, but didn’t have plants. So I talked Sarcastic Roommate in to going to Walmart with me so I could get some cheap annuals and have instant gratification. I also somehow talked her into helping me clear out some broken concrete left over from when the swing set came down a few weeks ago, and doing some weeding. I’m still not sure how that happened since she hates bugs, but she’s toying with the idea of putting in a small vegetable garden, so I was pointing to every spot with chickweed taking over, saying all that space is open. She said, “What’s chickweed?”

Chickweed is an invasive plant with shallow roots. Some people make tea with it. Those people should feel free to stop by and get some because there’s a bumper crop in my yard. Taking over the lawn and flower gardens. It’s even tried taking growing in corners of the deck. So, I grab some and rip it out of the ground and show her, and the next thing I know, it’s an hour later and we have a pile of weeds.

Nine hours after I wandered outside, I gave up the good fight and tossed a Mike Hard Lemonade into the freezer and headed for a shower. Do not mock the Mike’s. It’s the perfect yard work drink. Those who mock can be here at 10 tomorrow morning with shovels, rakes and hoes and we’ll do another ten hours of yard work, and then we’ll see how you feel about the Mike’s.

The before would have had the camo deck, no pots and no umbrella. In other news, the pollen is so bad, the black dog is turning yellow.
Here’s the after. The before would have had the camo deck, no pots and no umbrella. In other news, the pollen is so bad, the black dog is turning yellow.

The difference between this weekend and last weekend is huge around here. I should have taken a “before” picture, but I forgot until I was halfway done staining the deck and then it was too late. But imagine a camo-colored deck. Originally it had been a seafoam green, then it was an army green, and the dogs had worked very hard at removing layers of both and exposing the wood.

Maybe now that I have this nice office to work in, I can write.


March Madness

My house is white again. For some March brings basketball. Don’t get me wrong. If you’d had a webcam on me beginning on Thursday, you would have found me watching the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. Really.

Twenty years ago, driving cross-country with my then fiancé, we hit ACC country in the middle of the night. We crossed some river and here we were. We’d been chatting about something mundane, probably about what it would be like to live in more than five square feet again. (We’d been driving for three weeks, with an over-packed travel trailer.)

But we crossed a river, maybe into Georgia? And the Ex looked at me and said, “OK, you have to choose a team.”

I didn’t pretend not to know what he was talking about. In the two years we’d been dating, I’d learned there were parts of the country who cared about college basketball. Who knew? Not me. I grew up surrounded by professional teams.

“Chapel Hill.” Not living here yet, I didn’t realize we referred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as UNC or Carolina. As if the other schools in the UNC system don’t even exist.

Without missing a beat, he said, “Pick again.”

I’d considered applying to Chapel Hill, so I didn’t realize what the problem was, except that the Ex went to their rival, NC State.

The Ex explained that I could choose any other school in the ACC (there are 12, soon to be 15), just not Carolina. Pretty sure I was wearing my Carolina sweatshirt at the time, just to spite him. Because I like to pick.

“State pretty much sucks, right?” (See previous comment.)

He agreed, but stressed I didn’t have to choose State. But I did. It’s that Cubs fan thing coming out. I’m used to supporting the underdog. As it turns out, State is sort of my alma mater. I attended a week-long textiles class there, so I have a certificate from them. That’s almost a diploma.

So, Go Pack!

Anyway, spent the majority of a beautiful weekend watching TV, knitting and eating a lot of stuff that had wheat in it. Saturday was gorgeous, but State was playing so I hung out with my neighbors and cursed at the appropriate times. If you saw the State/Miami game, there were lots of appropriate times.

In case you wondered, yesterday it was a balmy 77 here. 77!!!

Usually by the time ACC Tournament comes around, we’ve had some great weather and I’ve had time to pressure wash the house. This year, we had a cold snap in March, so the house was still green.

So, after State lost and Carolina won — Go Heels — (the neighbors are Carolina fans and they fed me) I realized we had another hour and a half of sunlight. Woo-hoo. 77 and sunny. I ran home (OK, no running), said a prayer that the pressure washer would start, and washed half the deck.

Yippee! By the time I was done, I could barely move. I’d started my day with DDP Yoga, then gone out to weed a garden for a couple of hours, drank the pain away while watching basketball, and then tackled the deck.

No, I could not move this morning. Which was fine since it was supposed to be about 55 today. But then I let the dog out, and I REALLY wanted the house to be white again. So I whipped up a batch of wheat-free biscuits, plopped them in the oven, told Scout Son to take them out when the timer went off, and ran to the store for bleach. No, it’s not environmentally friendly, but it’s the only thing that takes the mildew off the house, so suck it up.

Two hours into the process I stopped for lunch and to put on dry sweats. Also, I’d had to put more gas in the washer, and it apparently needed a rest before it would start up again. At that point I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to get it started again because my hands looked more like claws, locked into place.

This would have been the time to stop and, you know, watch the championship game. Did I? No. Tarheel Neighbor will read this and flip out because I’m sure if I’d been sitting on her couch, wearing any shirt I wore earlier this week, drinking and knitting in “my spot,” Carolina would have won. (Um, the game ended four hours ago and I just found out who won. Not Carolina. Oops.)

Five hours in, I was done. My house is white, the deck is clean (and needs to be painted), and the kids cleaned every downstairs window. Those who know me and love me will ask, did you get on a ladder?

Yes, I did. BUT, for once, I got one of the kids to hold it whenever I was on uneven ground or using the maximum force attachment. And good news! It’s going to be too cold for the next week and a half for me to paint the deck. Go Pack at the NCAA!!! And Carolina too!!! And I’d be ever so grateful if someone would take out the University of Miami in the first round this week.

For me, March Madness involves a pressure washer. What about you?



Battling Ladybugs and Wandering Monsters

Really exciting day here at Chez Hope. Snarky Daughter is on Spring Break because she goes to a school on a college schedule. So she’s lurking around the house, with her nose in a MacBook Air all day. Yesterday we went ice skating and I realized I was really falling down on the conversation side of things. I have no idea what to talk to her about.

Sigh. I’ll figure it out, I’m sure. It didn’t help that I’d only had about 5 hours of sleep. But ask me about the totally awesome chat I had with Magesh at Amazon at midnight. Didn’t have a problem keeping that conversation going for twenty minutes.

Anyway, today, much excitement. First there was the crash that didn’t sound quite like a crash. It was really windy here today, so when I heard a thuddish kind of sound, my first thought was we’d lost a branch. Woo-hoo. So I wandered out around the side of the house where the thud had come from in my bunny slippers (what all professional writers wear to work). OK, they aren’t really bunny slippers, but only because I can’t afford the Killer Rabbit slippers on thinkgeek.com. In college, I had moose head slippers just like these (yes, you can find everything on the internet, even 20 year old slippers). They were awesome.

Right. Focus. So, wander outside, but no, the only branches over there are the ones I have successfully ignored since November. Hey, what’s the point of picking these up until I’m ready to burn them. More will collect in the meantime and I’ll have to do it all again. Also, it’s cold out and I’m a wimp.

So, back into the house. For some reason I can’t remember I wandered into my room, and found the source of the thud, which should have really sounded like a crash. Athena has been working very hard to keep the house ladybug free. In her enthusiasm, she took out my bedside lamp. Thank you, Thea.

Hi, I'm Thea. I broke Mom's ugly-ass lamp. She has another one, and it's got to go too! I am not ashamed. Have you seen that lamp?
Hi, I’m Thea. I broke Mom’s ugly-ass lamp. She has another one, and it’s got to go too! I am not ashamed. Have you seen that lamp?

At this point I should say that I really want to redecorate my life, um, house. The lamp in question is 15 years old and totally out of date. Also, the CFL that was in it (remains unbroken) is pretty full of dark and really low on light, so really, this whole light concept is an in name only thing. The lamp shade (also unbroken) is dark green. My bedroom is periwinkle blue.

The surviving lamp. You can't tell, but that would be frosted crackle glass circa 1994.
The surviving lamp. You can’t tell, but that would be frosted crackle glass circa 1994.

In considering a move across country, I’ve been wandering the house figuring out what is worth paying to have it moved 3,000 miles. Believe me, this lamp, and it’s sister, were not on the list to go. In fact, they wouldn’t be on the move list if I was moving two blocks. I keep them because I think I’ll be starting over soon and I don’t want to cart more crap than I have to, or waste money on something I’m going to give away or sell in a yard sale in three months, but I still need light. Or something like candlelight but safer. I still have one, so I’m good.

In other excitement, Scout Son, Snarky Daughter and I all played Munchkin Deluxe tonight. It’s a pretty simple game with some of the worst written directions I’ve ever read. I’m sure they make sense to the D&D set, but I didn’t have the patience for D&D either. Anyway, if you’re playing with someone who can teach you so you aren’t dependent on the directions, it’s really a lot of fun. And vicious. I like being evil. Are you surprised? No? How odd.

Scout Son unleashed a boatload of evil on Snarky Daughter, just so I could see how it's done. He's helpful that way.
Scout Son unleashed a boatload of evil on Snarky Daughter, just so I could see how it’s done. He’s helpful that way.

Anyway, given the choice between writing a cover letter for a job and spending quality time putting curses on my kids, you can guess what I chose. And I won. Well, they kind of let me win. The kids were being gentle for the first couple of rounds because I had no idea what I was doing. They will not be as kind next time. Which will make it even more fun!


A Weekend of Projects from the Couch

No doubt, my bulbs are wondering what the heck happened. It’s 20 degrees outside this morning. With a high of 34, and a wind chill that will make it feel like 11. I shall be thankful that I am supposed to stay inside and rest my foot.

Which is what I had to do all weekend. Those of you who know me can guess how well that went. I tried. Really. But then the car went all wonky on Saturday ($800 worth of wonky), so Sunday was spent trying to figure out what went wrong. Turns out, lots of things.

Anyway, there were some things I was able to do while actually remaining mostly motionless on the couch. For instance, I started a new Lynda.com class on Photoshop, which I’m really enjoying. And I was able to cruise the Internet for some new photos for a book cover I’m working on.

But neither of those is really photo-worthy. I mean, who wants to see a picture of me in sweats and no make-up on the couch with a laptop? That photo would break the new camera I got for Christmas. Which. I. Love. LOVE!

So, here are some shots I took from the couch of stuff I did this weekend when I was actually resting my foot. Plantar fasciitis is a bitch, let me tell you. I had surgery for it years ago and haven’t had a flare up since then. Until last weekend, when I painted barefoot on a ladder for several days.

Here, by the way, is the finished project that started the pain. Gone is the 15 year-old wallpaper that once had flowers and pale yellow stripes on it, but had faded to white. Except where the “Beer: not just a breakfast drink” sign hung. But in order to get rid of the sign, I had to get rid of the wallpaper. So now my breakfast nook is free or wallpaper and beer signs.

photo of a repainted breakfast nook
The “new” anti-beer breakfast nook

If you saw me over Christmas, you probably saw this with me. I finally finished the blanket Snarky Daughter started to knit and got two rows into before she decided she didn’t like knitting. Really, I wouldn’t like knitting either if I was always using this yarn, but you knit with two strands so it works up quickly.

photo of fisherman knit blanket
Snarky Daughter didn’t want to tackle this project, so Knitting Mom came to the rescue

Jenny Crusie put up a post of ten neat things you could do with binder clips, so I made a cell phone holder for my car. It clips onto the air vents. When I get the car back, I’ll give it a try.

photo of homemade phone holder
Here’s hoping the clip is strong enough to hold the phone. I think I need a better rubberband.

The cat tree needed some repair. Since making the improvements the cats refuse to claw at it. You know, being cats.

photo of destroyed cat tree
At least the tree looks like this and my couch doesn’t.
repaired cat tree
Has a claw touched it since the fix? No. But it looks so much better!

And I started my own blanket.

photo of handknit blanket
Right now it’s the size of a scarf, but it will grow

So I was pretty busy when I was sitting down. Imagine what I could have accomplished if I’d remained sitting all day. You know, the way I was supposed to.


Bulbs Don’t Listen

I warned them. When the daffodils started sprouting in November, I said, “Now, that’s a bad idea.”

When the irises popped up in December, I said, “Um, guys? It’s the beginning of winter. Turn around.”

And Thursday night, as I took this picture, I said, “In a couple of hours, I’ll be saying I told you so.” At least in this case, the victim is a snow crocus.

What? It's just a little rain.
What? It’s just a little rain.

So this was yesterday morning. Yes, I got out of bed at 7am, even though Scout Son didn’t have school at all, and Snarky Daughter was going on a two hour delay. Because Princess Cassie needed to go out.

And the lighting was great, so out I wandered in my robe (the benefits of living in the country) and a pair of crocs. Onto the ice.

It looked like snow. In fact, it fell AS snow. Big, beautiful, I want to have a snowball fight flakes. Unfortunately, they fell onto already wet, cold surfaces, where it turned into not nearly as much fun ice.

Undaunted, and ignoring the cold breeze blowing up my robe, I skated across the deck to take a photo for all of you of the snow crocus. Who did not listen to me, and spent the next 12 hours covered in ice.

WTH? What happened to 70 degree weather?
WTH? What happened to 70 degree weather?

There’s still some in the backyard, but most of the icky has melted. Unfortunately, now I actually want a decent snow so we can play. This won’t last long though, since I hate winter. Like my bulbs, I’m counting the minutes till spring. Hopefully the bulbs know something the calendar doesn’t!

Here's the backyard. With the woods, only about half of what we got actually hit the ground.
Here’s the backyard. With the woods, only about half of what we got actually hit the ground.

One Direction Gremlins

I was on my way to Barnes and Noble this morning in a desperate attempt to focus on my To Do List when I realized I was singing along to some teeny-bopper ear worm. How old do I sound right now?

Anyway, it was some totally bouncy thing that I KNOW we don’t own because all of the music in the house is stored on my laptop. I mean, really, you never know when I’m going to want to break out into something from High School Musical 3. OK, really, I just wasn’t paying for the crap more than once, so we have one iTunes account, and everything is on my iPod, iPhone and iEverything else I can buy.

Just remember that if you ever pick up my iWhatever and start looking at the play lists. It’s not a reflection on me. I’m the one who always has her iPod in the car, so everything is there.


How do I know the words to this song? And even though it turned out that this was not One Direction (I know ’cause it’s STILL in my head so I just typed in the lyrics – God Bless free Wi-Fi), earlier this summer when we visited Scout Son at Boy Scout Camp (I went three weeks without my parents each summer, why can’t Scouts go more than 3 days), the older Scouts did this skit with a One Direction song.

My ex about fell off of his log bench when he saw me singing and bopping along. And once again, I stared at him and sang, I have no idea how I know the words to this song. But. I. Do.

I blame One Direction Gremlins. I firmly believe they’re the reason I can’t sleep at night these days. They’re also the reason I can’t have any rational conversation. My brain cells that once held the Pythagorean theorem are slowing being reprogrammed with “Baby you light up my world like nobody else.”

Really?!!? Grumble. I was that young once.

So now I’m sitting at B&N with my computer getting some work done because Kelly and Michael, and Hoda and Kathy Lee have all invaded my Living Room (aka the Office) and who the hell invited them anyway? What? There’s an OFF button on the remote? But then who would I talk to.

I turned them on because I feed off of noise and after I left the day job I needed to find out what the heck everybody else cared about when they didn’t spend 12 hours at work/commuting. Well, I’ve officially hit my capacity for pop culture. It happened when I wanted a weather report this morning and got the damn Oscar nominations. Because this is somehow news, but how cold it isn’t going to be today, isn’t. At least at B&N I can eavesdrop, which for a fiction writer, is the equivalent of research. And doesn’t that sound much nicer?

Anyway, if I stayed home, I was going to pick up a paintbrush instead of designing a website, so here I am. At B&N wondering if the not so hot guy at the other table is really the pretty hot guy from match.com that said he’s always here. If so, he touched up that photo. Not that THAT ever happens online. But he took the time to finish his profile and all I do is see if there’s anyone that interests me enough to start my profile, so kudos to him.

Sadly, the conversation next to me is an elderly woman and her caretaker talking about cat behavior. Really, if I’d wanted that I would have stayed home and watched my three taunt the dog. I may have to move to a different table. Because the characters I’m working on right now don’t have a cat.


Painting the Town, er Breakfast Nook

So I fell out of bed this morning and did DDP Yoga before heading off for allergy shots. Yes, it’s an exciting day here. The good news of the morning is… I’m not painting anything today.

This is big news.

For those of you who haven’t had the joy of living with me, here’s how my body works. Once a month, I want to fall asleep for about four days. I get up anyway, but it’s a battle, and my whole goal is getting back to bed. Ah, hormones. Yes, I’m still productive, but my happy thought is, only X hours before I can go back to bed.

That’s followed up by two or three days where I think I am invincible and try to get everything done on the never-ending To Do list. While being very grumpy. It’s insane, but it’s me, and my family handles it pretty well.

So I woke up on Sunday. Did I tackle the small pile of junk to go to Goodwill? No. Did I wash the dog? No. I made eggs and pancakes for everybody, then headed into the breakfast nook and started spackling holes in the walls and sanding the drywall. After that, it was a slippery slope I slid down, priming the walls, and then thought, wow, the ceiling looks like crap.

And so, I started painting. An eight-sided cathedral ceiling. Is it a cathedral ceiling when it’s 14 feet in the center, and slopes down like the inside of a gazebo? Well, that’s what I painted. For 8.5 hours over Sunday and Monday. On a ladder (I’m supposed to avoid those because I’ve had…a history with them). With a paintbrush because it’s a popcorn ceiling.

Amazingly, I was able to move today, for which I give credit to DDP Yoga, which I have been doing for 11 weeks. I haven’t lost a pound (remember, I drank my weight in wine in CA), but I haven’t gained anything either, and given what I’ve eaten in December, that’s impressive.

After yoga, I could move without pain. Thank you, God.

Scout Son and I traipsed over to the Big City for our allergy shots. And I treated us to a Krispy Kreme donut since we suffered so greatly.

With that, I’m back to working on the next book. Later this week, I’ll go back in and tackle the window trim and the walls. Because I’d really like to cross that room off the list. It got put on hold when autumn came, and the leaves fell. And fell. And fell. For four months. Did I mention I live in the woods?

I’ll post a photo of the nook when it’s done.


End of School Brings…Sanity?

What is it about the end of the school year that makes everything crazy? Between proctoring exams, finals, and end of year parties and events that should not really affect me at all (after all, I graduated middle and high school back in the dark ages), work almost stops.
In the case of this blog, it did stop. But Snarky Daughter finished up school on Wednesday, and Scout Son is done next Friday, so oddly, peace will soon invade my life again. And I can’t wait.

You’d think without a day job that I’d have plenty of time to do, well everything. And to a certain extent, that’s been true. I just haven’t focused all my attention on writing. I’ve stripped wallpaper, painted SD’s new room, and as of this weekend, finished moving her in. Phew.

I’ve cleaned closets, looked for work, started learning HTML and am working my way through a wordpress.org class. I’m back to learning Italian.

And I’ve successfully gained 6 pounds. I’m so proud. Now, to be fair, I gained most, if not all, of those pounds while I was on medication after I smashed my hand. And I’m back on some of it since I slipped and threw my back out again. Woo-hoo!

But the pounds have to Go. Away. Now.

That sounds so easy. I mean, I’ve lost weight before. Today I weigh what I weighed the day before I had SD. And a pound less that what I weighed the day I brought SS home from the hospital. What can I say. He craved Cheetos and Twix bars for nine months. It was not pretty.

But when I lost baby weight, I wasn’t injured. And the fact is, I have a life-long injury, so my days of playing racquetball and lifting 15,000 pounds on weight machines a couple of times a week in order to stay fit are gone. No running. No high-impact anything. Zumba? My chiropractor and physical therapist both burst out laughing and started planning early retirements.

But I can walk. And according to the Prevention Walk of Weight program, I can lose weight walking. Of course, that program doesn’t say anything about cake. And I like cake. As a source of frosting, which I’m pretty sure is one of the food groups.

Here’s what I know from the few years that I was working out and learned that muscle feels different than fat. I feel better when I work out. I’m happier. In theory I eat less, although I haven’t seen that in the past few weeks. But I can dream. I can walk. And if I can do both of those, I can probably cross a few more things off my To Do list. Like organize my new office space. Or write a book.


Coon Hunting Trials

Last night, the dogs started going crazy. Snarky Daughter checked and saw two people with flashlights in the backyard. Here is the rest of the story:

SD: Mom, there are people in the back yard with flashlights.

Me: Of course there are, because I wanted to go to bed at 9. <Glance at time on computer. 15 minutes to go> Release the hounds.


I put the computer down, sigh heavily, think dark thoughts about redneck sports, get up and head to dining room window.

Me: Sure enough. LED flashlights too. Wonder if they bought those at Lowe’s. grumble, grumble… <Walk outside on back porch> You need to get the hell off my land!

Dumbass Trespassers: <ignore pissed off woman and keep looking at tree next to shed 50 feet from house>

Me: grumble…<go inside, dial 911>

911: What is the address of the emergency?

Me: I give the address

911: What’s the emergency?

Me: I’m a woman alone at home with two kids. We’ve got two people in our backyard with flashlights. I’ve yelled at them and they didn’t respond.

911: They didn’t respond?

Me: No. They are also undeterred by the German Sheppard and Doberman I sent out to greet them.

911: We have a unit on route. Do you feel safe or do you need to stay on the phone?

Me: <At this point I’m thinking, really does staying on the phone keep me alive?> I’ve got a shotgun. I think I can escalate this if needed.

911: Ma’am, you do what you need to to protect yourself and family.

Me: Yes, sir. Thinking: Sweet, I’ve had a heck of a day and 911 just gave me permission to shoot someone.

<walk to bedroom closet>

SD: Mom, you keep the shotgun in the closet???

Me: Yep. Better question. Where are the shells? <find shells, pull one out>

DA Trespassers eventually leave, about 2 minutes before Deputy pulls up.

Me: They headed toward that road <pointing>. They have LED flashlights. You can’t miss them.

Deputy: They have dogs?

Me: Yep.

<he drives off and comes back a few minutes later>

Deputy Dog (he was K-9, Sheppard was in the car): Well I found them. There’s a reason they didn’t respond. They’re about 80 years old. I wanted to ask if they were legal to drive. Coon Hunting Trials are going on through Sunday, so you’re probably going to have several people end up out here.

Me: Excellent. Because what I want is a string of strangers with guns in my yard.

Deputy: They don’t have guns. It’s not Coon Season.

Me: Thinking Seriously, we have a season for coon? If you’re going to tree a “big ol’” coon in my yard, kill it. Save my dogs some time and me a vet bill.

Deputy: Now, if you see some guys in paramilitary gear carrying machine guns in your woods, call me.

Me: You think?

Deputy: You know when the military helicopters come flying low around here? That’s Special Ops training. We get a heads up because their weapons aren’t loaded and they’d like it if we didn’t kill them when they’re creeping through the field behind Food Lion. I’ve only seen ‘em drop out of the helios once. I drove around for hours and never saw ‘em.

Me: That’s cool. <good upbringing kicks in> Really sorry you and your partner had to come out here for coon trials. Would he like a Milkbone? I’ve also got pie if you’d like a slice to go…

So a couple more nights of fun for me. I’m thinking of serving cookies. Or buying more shotgun shells. Not sure which.