To Do or Not to Do

Things have been a bit busy lately. So while I’ve (mostly) kicked this cold, it seems to be tormenting my wife on a recurring basis. On top of that, she and I have begun a rotating schedule of crazy days. Last week, I had a couple 12 hour days back to back and this week, its her turn. And as the only parent home with twins, your attention is pretty much just focused on them and nothing else.

And because of all of this, work has become sort of condensed. Or just dense. Lots to do all the time. I was out Monday with my kids and I’ll be out again Friday traveling for a friend’s wedding, making my remaining free time all the denser.

I’ve found that I need the occasional to-do list of tasks or things to accomplish, but I only ever seem to work from the bottom up. The newest stuff is checked off pretty quickly and the stuff near the top tends to sit there. Hence why my first line on today’s list is and has been “blog” for about a week and a half now.

But with all these things I have to do vying for my attention, let’s talk about things I want to do …

I’m still pitching The Red Door. It’s hard not to get discouraged at times, but I keep myself motivated by only querying maybe three people at a time. I don’t always wait a full 8 weeks or whatever to try again – maybe only 2 – but I do try and keep the numbers small. My reasoning being that with every pass, I go back and revisit the pitch. I’ve tweaked the letter and opening couple pages a bunch now to make them as strong as possible. Obviously, this is a subjective business, so I’d like my work to speak for itself and I’d hate to be the one getting in my own way with a bad pitch.

Blame my career services day job, but I see this kind of thing all the time. Great candidates sometimes have terrible resumes and cover letters. Employers will never know how great they are until these documents get cleaned up and the applicant gets out of his or her own way. It’s not them who aren’t working, it’s their approach. I try and do the same.

As far as distractions go, I’m still working my way through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild again. I could beat it at any time, but I’m getting all the shrines now. I’m up to 91 or something. I’m basically just twiddling my thumbs and turning my brain off until the next game. Having a console-quality experience in my work bag is the best brain brake ever. I used to think that my PS4 was my favorite guilty pleasure, but hands down, its the Switch.

Advertisements

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

This morning has just been one big comedy of errors.

I was going to go for a run. I love running. I need to run. It burns off all the excess stress and worry and even pent up excitement. I feel so much better throughout the day if I ran that morning.

So I woke up ready to go at 6:30. Then I heard it was raining. OK, not running anymore. I take the dog out. Rain dies down. OK, running is back on. I figure what the hell. I’ll wear a hat and a poncho and feel like a superhero. I finish eating and get ready. It’s 7 am. I spend the next 15 minutes stretching. Then I can’t find the poncho. That takes another 10 minutes. I could run without it, but I’d get soaking wet, probably ruin my phone and with my luck, catch a cold. And seeing as how I’m the only able-bodied person in my household right now, I kind of need to stay healthy.

Grumbling, I give up on running. It’s now 7:25. I can still make the gym if I hurry. I throw work clothes in a bag, tramping through the house for the umpteenth time and figure my wife probably hates me at this point as she tries to sleep. I take out the trash and head off to the gym.

It’s still raining, but a light rain. The kind of rain you don’t mind running in. So naturally everyone around me is driving 10 miles an hour under the speed limit. This isn’t snow people. It’d been raining for hours. Going 35 isn’t going to cause your car to hydroplane …

I finally get to the gym. It’s 7:42. What should have been a 12 minute drive took like 20. My membership expired. Well, turns out it expired at the end of April but the machine was down and nobody caught it. Until today that is. So that took a minute to renew. I go to the locker room and somebody’s claimed my locker. It’s a small room but there’s a core group of regulars. We use the same lockers every day. This is inexcusable.

I race through a 45 minute workout in under 30, rush off to shower and change and discover the jerk who took my locker. It’s an elderly gentleman who’s always there. I talk to him all the time. He should know better. Meanwhile, I get a frantic call from my wife who thinks I’m out running and never came home. I explain my misery.

I get to work on time, but today I got roped into conducting an interview for our open GA position. Thing is, that’s not my job. I have nothing to do with this. Someone else in the office is supposed to handle all of this, but somehow it ended up on my shoulders …

It’s just one of those mornings.

So I know what you’re thinking and believe me, I’m thinking it too. These are totally first world problems. Oh boo hoo I was late to the gym. Oh my god I had to renew my membership when I got a month and a half for free! And how inconvenient to interview somebody when it could land them a job and literally better their future. Yeah, I get it. These aren’t real problems. I’m kind of mad at myself for being such a whiny baby about them.

Thing is, it’s good to vent. With my wife super pregnant, most everything falls on me. I’m starting to crack a little. Don’t get me wrong, what she’s going through is so much more important and I’m not mad at anybody in the situation, it’s just some added pressures in life. Normally, I’m fine dealing with everything. Hell, I welcome it. But that’s because I run. I can run out those stresses and I feel better about life. Puts things in perspective.

Everything that happened this morning could have been totally manageable, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought if I’d just gone running …

EDIT: I’ve been dicking around for 45 minutes so I wouldn’t get caught up in something before the interview. Just rediscovered(?) the interview is Monday at 10, not today. It continues!

It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

I got some pretty solid writing in today. I’m happy with the results. It almost didn’t happen too. Well, I had the time for once … but I was driving and brainstorming my prewriting stuff like I usually do and it was just pouring out of me. My muse or whatever was riding shotgun grinning the whole time as some great stuff came bubbling out  while I was talking to myself. I typically use my phone for quick notes, the voice to text equivalent of a jot down but this was the real deal. I showed up to the test in my underwear. Looking to my muse, helpless, all I got in return was “It sucks to suck.” Thanks. Now you show up.

I raced to work and by work, more accurately, I mean a computer. I knew exactly where I wanted to start and then … it was pulling teeth. I had seen the promise land, but the doors were shut. Knowing that I’d done better off the cuff … in my car, made everything I wrote feel stilted and junky. Well, the hell with that. If the promised land slammed it’s doors shut, I’d rip ’em the hell open!

I soldiered on, gradually finding my pace and rhythm and then another funny thing happened. Whole sections just popped in there. Like Ray Stanz, they just popped in there. It must have been what every writing instructor ever has ever said about “developing your voice.” Normally, I write how I write and don’t try and alter it in any way. I mean, I want it to sound good and be creative and whatnot, but the words that came pouring out of me belonged to some other guy this morning. And I gotta say, I like that guy. I hope he comes back. I’ll be waiting around in the trees for him. Plenty of bananas to spare.

So today went great. Monday and Wednesday, though, they were a wash. Too much job-work got in the way and after 10 hour days of something else, my brain wasn’t exactly up for any more thinking. Before the muse played its little trick on me – I’m going with it. I know the muses were female in myth, but who am I to judge where my inspiration comes from. – I was thinking about two days gone when I could have been writing and it got me thinking about where the expression “That’s a wash” comes from. What’s being washed? I’m sure I could Google it and find out in a manner of seconds because we live in the 21st century, but where’s the fun in that? I’ve always been fascinated why we say and do the things we do. Like how in every post-apocalyptic setting there’s something they do because Reasons but really it’s just a misconstrued holdover from a previous era. I live for that shit!

Thinking about the wash expression and why we say it reminded me of my dad and his own idiosyncrasies. For as long as I can remember, he’s always used the expression, “six one half does the other.” Just like that. I intuited that it meant two choices being the same thing. I remember asking repeatedly what it means anyway in the hope that he’d explain it better, but he pretty much just reiterated what I already knew. Only years later – and I’m talking maybe high school or even college – did I come across the expression “six of one, half a dozen of the other.”

Suddenly it all made sense. He knew what he was talking about. He was just lazy. Don’t even get me started on his usage of “Murphy’s law.” So here’s an expression that had meaning to him and he wasn’t even saying it correctly. Didn’t matter though. Signifier and signs my friends.

And just as quickly as all of this came to mind on my drive in, I began thinking about my writing for the day and my muse appeared. I shoved all of the intellectual stuff aside to make headroom for the creative stuff. I may not have the most robust vocabulary or even be a good speller – spoiler alert: I suck at spelling – but I do love language. The entire concept is simply fascinating.

There’s Still A Little Bit of Wick Left …

My eyes feel like they’re about to melt into a goopy mess and dribble out of their sockets as I type this. I spent most of the day going over spreadsheets and data and verifying said data and inputting new data and putting a lot of X’s in a lot of boxes. That’s not typically something I do, so I’m definitely feeling some Excel Fatigue (is that a thing?) right now.

Speaking of fatigue, it ended up working out yesterday that I had two long overdue doctor’s appointment back to back. Somehow, fate was on my side for once and I was able to schedule the optometrist and the dentist on the same afternoon. It had been 2(?) years since my last eye exam and at least a year since my last dental check up. I was convinced that after so much time, this recent brow-furrowing and eye strain was just as much a precursor to something wicked this way comes as those shadow spots between my molars they are supposedly “watching.”

So imagine my surprise when the optometrist tells me my eyes basically haven’t changed. I could use a new pair of glasses though, as my current ones look pretty “beat up.” The dentist, who was sure to deliver a hammer blow of bad news, told me that nothing’s changed. Keep on flossing, brushing and rinsing and they’ll x-ray everything next time. If they’re not worried, I’m not worried. Good to know that my aches and pains are self inflicted war wounds of my hectic life rather than something more sinister. I am not, in fact, falling apart. Although after their dilation yesterday and LED retinal flaring today, I think my eyes are ready for little rest.

Oh man, that makes me want to watch Daredevil. Guys, the episode ended with him getting caught by the cops. The cops!

I also found out that there’s a light at the end of my work tunnel as, supposedly, a replacement for my old position is to be hired by next week. I’ll believe it when I see it, but just the thought of it … well, I thought it would be squeal-inducing, but I think I may just break down and sob tears of relief. If I do, I’ll get a picture …

But all of this has somehow made me motivated to really tear into my current novel. I’m maybe 20-25% in and there’s a lot left to cover, but I’m ready to kick it up a notch. This double-job business has put me back long enough. Too long. It might have been worth it if they’d been paying me double salaries, but alas. So I’m ready to devote as much of myself to my own endeavors as I can. Lately that hasn’t been a lot, but I’m so frustrated with work-work that the idea of coming home to continue my own work actually sounds appealing. I’ve been jotting some snippets and the start of threads down so I can hit the keys running as soon as I have a quiet minute to myself. This novel HAS to be finished before August. After then I won’t have a quiet minute for a long, long, loooooooong time.

Or so I’m told.