Monday, June 30, 2014

Of Bacon Bombs and Bribery

This morning went something like this:

Me: We should get a Pig Bomb.

Arizona (glances at the Cabela's hunting catalog in my hand--you know, the one they sent us because, having ordered some fishing lures from them, we are clearly strong candidates for stalking half-ton boars with arrows): You know that's pee smell from a sow in heat, right? And the bomb is designed to disperse it like an eighth of a mile?

Me: Yep.

Arizona: And we don't hunt boar. Don't even have them in the area, as far as I know.

Me: Well, there's the Bear Bomb, too. It's bacon flavored. I'm thinking one of them--hey, maybe both!--would make an awesome prank. You know, open the door and POOF! Bacon-scented pig pee!

Arizona (walks away, shaking head): You scare me.


So I finished a book this weekend!! Yep, the fifth Mustang Ridge book is in the can and winging its electronic way to New York. Woot! My upcoming release schedule looks like this:

Aug 3 (coming up soon, yay!): HARVEST AT MUSTANG RIDGE (Krista's book, pimping to begin this week!)

Feb '15 FIRELIGHT AT MUSTANG RIDGE (I've got the cover ... maybe a sneak peek soon?)

Spring '15 ANOTHER FYNE THING (A Mustang Ridge uber-novella, or short book or something. Have to see whether it gets bigger or smaller in revisions!)

Aug '15 The one I just turned in. Can I confess something? I know my editor and I settled on a title for this one, and I love it ... but darned if I can remember what it is. And, yanno, I'm just feeling too lazy to go back and look up the email.

And then ... ROMANTIC SUSPENSE! Yep, I'm revving the Jessica Andersen name back up and writing a RS trilogy for release in 2015, starting today. Think Longmire meets Criminal Minds. CSI cowboys. Woo! (I've also got a paranormal bubbling in my brain, but the suspense is demanding my attention first.) Lots to do, lots to do!

But ... 

Do you ever find yourself working on a big, endless-feeling project--for work or the house or a craft--and when you're getting toward the end and jonesing to be finished, you start looking forward to all the stuff you can do when you're done? Ooh, I'd way rather be out in the garden. And I need to shop for new shorts. I could totally be making brownies right now! (Granted, there comes a point in certain projects when cleaning the litter box or taking out the trash sounds Very Appealing.) I do this All. The. Time. Problem is that when I finish the book, POOF (kinda like the bacon-flavored Pig Bomb), all those "Ooh, I gotta"s fly out of my head, which goes disturbingly empty.

I don't have a clue what carrots I used to lure myself to The End this time, what bribes I promised myself when I turned in the manuscript. Sometimes I remember to make a list. This time, nope. 

So I had a couple of cookies and slept most of yesterday (literally, I think I was awake about six hours) ... and today I'm going to Start A New Book. 'Cause I'm a geek like that, and in a way, it's its own reward :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Science Geek and a Math Whiz Walk into a Bathroom...

And it goes something like this:

Me (seeing that the water never drained from the tub after Arizona's shower, cognizant that its Friday, we have weekend company coming, kayaking is on the to-do list, and folks are probably going to want to shower after ... and wondering idly whether he thinks the stopped-drain fairy is going to come fix it, or if it's going to heal itself if he ignores it long enough): *Pours slug of Draino into five inches of water.* *Hopes this works, because otherwise we're going to be dealing with a stopped-up drain covered by twenty or so gallons of Draino-laced water.*

A couple of hours later ...

Me (seeing that the water level hasn't moved): *Vigorously applies toilet plunger to shower drain.* *Gets nowhere.* *Adds more Draino.*

Later that afternoon ... 

Me (seeing that the drain has not, in fact, healed itself): Where is the snake we bought a couple of months ago to fix this for real?
Arizona: *Points to spare room.*
Me (digs out snake, reads instructions, decides to wing it): Step one. Find rubber gloves. Step two. Bail out tub, preferably without acquiring too many chemical burns.
(By the time this is completed, this has required a frying pan, a lobster pot, a small pump that I promptly broke, and the bilge pump out of the kayak, over which Arizona hovers.)
Me: Next up, unscrew strainer thingie on drain, put snake down hole, twirl either by hand or with power drill. Ohhh-kay. 
(Unscrews strainer thingie. Discovers that there's a crossbar below that won't let the snake through.)
Me: *bad language* (goes online, discovers instructions to unscrew crossbar thingie, along with some vague warnings. Decide I don't want to make this decision unilaterally)
(Goes and gets Arizona. Conference ensues. We agree to unscrew the crossbar thingie, even though there's a seal and putty involved. We can re-putty, right?)
Me (unscrews crossbar thingie, removes unit, gags over crap that comes out with it). Okay. Snake time. 
Arizona (staring at plumbing): That doesn't look good.
(Due to renovations, there are like eight right angles between our shower drain and the actual line.)
Me: *bad language* Well, let's try it anyway.
(We try. We fail.)
Arizona: How about the air compressor? Maybe we can blow out the clog.
Me: Go for it.
(We try. We fail.)

Five minutes later ...

Arizona (from downstairs): Jess? We've got a problem! Get towels!
(This moves to the top of Things I Don't Want To Hear Right Now.)
Me (hustles downstairs, finds that it is raining through the ceiling tiles, onto my elliptical): *really bad language*
(We spread Wet Things on driveway, mop up, remove ceiling tiles, and do what we should have done in the first place, namely call Todd The Plumber. It is now 5 pm Friday.)

6:30 pm Friday. Company has arrived, but so has Todd The Plumber!

TTP (gazes down at tub): You really shouldn't have broken that seal, you know. And if you're going to snake, you want to do it higher up.
Arizona: Can you fix the clog?
TTP (crouches down, studies setup, flips the little lever that closes the drain to fill the tub): There you go. Clog fixed. Though, of course, now we need to replace the other stuff you guys broke.

Yep. However many hundreds of IQ points between me and Arizona, and neither of us had thought to check whether the little lever had gotten flipped. Or we each thought the other had checked. Sigh. Another day in the life ....

On the up-side, we took Todd the Plumber out for pizza with our company (he's a good guy), and had showers for the weekend. All hail the local tradesmen who are willing to dump their Friday night plans to undo their customers' DIY mayhem!

Monday, June 9, 2014

To Nap or Not To Nap?

That is the question. Actually, I guess the question is more along the lines of: As a non-kid (I started to write 'grown-up', but since I still think to myself at odd moments, 'When I grow up, I'll ...' and then wonder when, exactly, my psyche thinks this will happen), do you dig naps?

See, my background is of the 'hit the ground running' variety. The weekends weren't for sacking out on the couch; they were for getting sh*t done. Errands, projects, playtime, you name it, it was high intensity most of the time, with occasional detours to read a book. Which felt deliciously naughty because I wasn't out Doing Something. If I took a nap, I was either sick or under deadline and pulling all-nighters interspersed with half-hour catnaps to recharge the mental batteries. 

Enter Arizona, who is a Nap Champion. Family lore holds that he was the Easiest Baby Ever, and as a young man once fell asleep leaned up against a wall. Sitting up? No problem. Get him anywhere close to horizontal and it's game over. When we first started spending extended time together (our first date lasted twenty-four ours, our second a weekend), I dismissed mono and chalked it up to him having a physically demanding marina job. Over time, though, I figured out that he simply adores napping. A lazy Sunday afternoon nap for him is like me sneaking time to read a book. As far as he's concerned, he works hard during the week (at a desk job now, but a stressful one), and this is his reward. 

Over time, I have consciously slowed down my weekends and even experimented with the nap-as-pleasure concept. However, I'm one of those people where, if I don't really need a nap (see above, sick or under deadline), then they usually leave me groggy, cranky, and unsure of what day it is when I wake up. Usually, anyway. This past weekend, after a not-very-strenuous morning out on the river with the kayaks, I came home, announced that I needed a nap, and proceeded to sleep for the entire afternoon. And you know what? It felt awesome.

I don't think it'll become quite the habit for me that it is for Arizona, but I'm definitely starting to see the up-side to this concept. Maybe some more experiments are in order. So how about you? Are you a napper or a weekend whirling dervish? A catnapper? And why is a kidnapper someone who abducts a person and a catnapper is someone who takes a short nap? (Or did I just make up a word?) 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Evolution of a Crazy Cat Guy

The conversation this past weekend went like this:

Arizona (holds out stud-finder): Can you mark the living room wall for me?
Me (salutes): Will do.
(Arizona and our aged stud-finder--which I 'appropriated' from my mom, who got it lord only knows when--have a love-hate relationship. As in, it loves to mess with him. I, on the other hand, get along with it just fine. Then again, I have already proven I can find the occasional stud. *Wink.*)
Arizona (a few minutes later, surveying my work): Um, sweetie? Could you recheck this? 
Me: I checked it three times, got the same answer all three times. So either Mr. Stud-findy is messing with me today, or the builder was eyeballing the whole 'sixteen inches on center' concept of wall building. It was the seventies, you know.

And what do you know? The studs really were set fifteen and a half and seventeen and a bit apart. Why is this relevant to the topic at hand, you might ask? Well, because this exchange happened as part of the latest iteration of the Catification of Chez Jess & Arizona. 

Now, mind you, Arizona grew up with a cat named (as boys are wont to name things) Coast Guard, who lived a full and adventurous life. So he wasn't unhappy to acquire Lucy T. Cat along with me. And she, in turn, prefers him to me, because he provides gushy food and doesn't try to cuddle her. 

In fact, it was his idea for us to buy our first carpet-covered window perch, on the theory that she was taking up a corner of his desk looking out the window, so we might as well giver her a spot of her own. Which evolved, once Pixel T. Kitten joined us (she's now more of a MegaPixel), to a pair of hammock-style window perches in our living room, held up by pretty metal brackets and adored by the cats, whether it's winter and they're toasting their buns over the baseboard, or summer and they're watching Bird TV through the screen.

More recently, though, in an effort to save The Leviathan (my aged, battered and beloved couch) from being clawed even further, Arizona bought the cats a knee-high scratchy-post-condo deal. When that proved successful, he added a chest-high three-level version that was an immediate hit. Whereupon he decided that since Pix likes heights, she needed another level above that of the cat tree. So, in the wake of the Great Stud Debate, our living room wall now sports a padded and fluff-covered kitty perch on which our four-legged roommates can perch like miniature mountain lions, and stare down at me while I work. 

I'm feeling too lazy at the minute to get the camera, and my phone is from roughly the Bronze Age, so take my word for it. It's pretty cute! As is Arizona's complete commitment to Kitty Happiness. The next thing you know, we'll have one of these!