Bright Side of Losing Your Job

My hateful, arrogant *&%#^@(@? boss fired me after trying for a year (ha ha!) and since then I’ve had the time at last to format and publish some of the books I’ve written in the last few years.

The oldest were the Elise t’Hoot series, originally written in 2017 as 400 page goliaths and re-done in 2019 as re-edited and cut in half books with cool new covers and a catchier subtitle to make them more noticable and readable. Now they’re all in Kindle as the 10 book series called An Elise t’Hoot Galactic Adventure! I had to go to the ISBN agency and revise the titles and when that change winds through the system, I’ll put the print versions up. Yip! Yip!

The other thing done so far is the dowsing book that I’ve made far to complicated. I had the eBook up first of the year but like the t’Hoot books, I could not get the publishing company I was trying to work with to accept my covers. They were never the right size in one way or the other. Well, I’m taking the t’Hoots off that site to Amazon’s KDP and will do them there. I was going to yank this dowsing book as well but miracles can happen – they took the 6th revision cover for the print book! Conversing with Various Entities is now in print! Whoopee!

Most of the rest of my time has been gobbled up by that dowsing book’s website, blog posts and the store that will sell the 200+ pendulums I’ve made so far. I’m great at making the pendulums at about 6 per hour but keep getting muddled and aggravated in the attempt to finalize the website and store. Yesterday I thought I was fixing some of the store issues and realized I’d made my blog page static and had 40 pendies on sale there. Good greasy gravy!

The Little Brown Bats book will be next, or maybe Otto & Socks Outpost One or I might skip to the dozen Take-A-Break Shorts books ; all of them eBooks that need to go into print so I must format them and design the folding covers and then I gotta jerk them from Ingram to set-up on KDP. For so long I had no time to fool with these and now I can. Yes, I need to get another job soon, but gee willikers, I feel so good about making progress with these books I wrote and hoped for so much. They took time, energy, imagination, a piece of me in each one! I grieved about letting them all languish…why bother writing anything (including this blog) anymore?

Now, I have planned and written out a series of blogs featuring eco-aspects of the t’Hoot books. Coming up soon! Hopefully they’ll be available in print by then. Stay warm!

Diana, Drain Queen

Diana rang the doorbell as Max rolled the snake unit up the cobblestoned walkway.

A pudgy red-nosed man in golfing attire opened the door. “What do you want? Damn it, I’m going to be late!”

Max pointed at the ‘Drain Queen’ logo embroidered on his jacket. “Sir, we’re the plumbers. Your wife called to say the upstairs bathroom sink had stopped up.”

“Damn near flooded the damned the bathroom and bedroom fooling around with the plunger.” He turned and yelled. “Margaret, the damned plumbers are here. Come see to it, damn it. If I miss tee time that bitch Lorelei will take my spot.” He charged between them, head down and muttering, the golf clubs sounding like yapping chihuahuas chasing after him.

A woman in pencil thin denim jeans and a silky white blouse with wet blotches came to the door. She looked at Max and said, “The guest bath sink upstairs clogged up because my daughter stays up there when she’s home from school and washes her sweaters in the sink. I told her to use a basin but she never listens to her mother. She learned that from her father, not me, I guarantee you.”

Diana leaned toward the woman. “I’m the master plumber, ma’am. Can you take us to the scene of the crime?”

That startled the old thing in the overstuffed jeans. “You? A girl?”

Diana had to stop staring at dear Margaret’s face; it looked like somebody had stretched plastic from ear to ear. She tapped her badge that stated ‘Master Plumber Lic. 5763PP82’ and smiled. “Yes, ma’am, I am fully qualified and would love to see that awful sink.”

Margaret snorted and led them upstairs, Max carrying the snake unit.

Back at the Drain Queen office, Diana flopped into her chair and swiveled to wake up the computer. “Why wouldn’t she pay up? Invoice! I hate writing up invoices; no pay for a month if then because the customer forgets how nasty that plugged toilet looked.”

“You’re upset about that ‘girl’ comment and being told to mop the floor.”

“I’m upset because we have four accounts over 60 days already and the rent on this dump is due. I need the cash, my friend.” She drummed her closely trimmed fingers on the desk. “I’ll have to change the name. Pete’s Plumbing , Butz and Sons, The Clog King, Walter the Water Master, Clog Killer. People would pay up then.”

“No they wouldn’t. They’re not stiffing you because you’re female, it’s because they can. Use the friendly dun letters I made up for you. I emphasize again that getting a signed contract first would make recovering payments owed much easier.”

“Nobody else does that, so please stop bringing it up. What name strikes you as manly and professional?”

“I’m going to Colorado.”drain-illusion

“That wasn’t a choice.” She slumped. “When?”

“Today is my last day, I left you a letter two weeks ago.”

“You did not!”

“See that unopened envelope under your coffee cup? It’s for a big pot grower. I can finally use my Plant Physiology degree.”

Deadpan, she replied, “Max, I’m deliriously happy for you. It’s lunch time, out you go so I can get some work done. Take the rest of the day paid as my gesture of appreciation for your kind assistance over the last few months.” Neither over them waved as he snagged his backpack and left.

She would have the money she would have been paying him, but no help. At a customer, she’d have no man standing there to convince him or her that at least one of the two would know what they were doing. Head in hands, she said, “Stop blaming everything on gender. Get off your ass and ask Mathieu’s Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for some work because you know they get more than they can handle. Do it. Off ass.” Tears. She hated crying, a sign of weakness. Looking up, she watched a tow truck drive on by; no repossession of their nice van today. Tomorrow?

Diana pulled open her desk drawer and picked the hankie off of the gleaming black revolver with the illegal ivory handle. It had been her Daddy’s. She had apprenticed with him after her eight years in the Navy as a Machinist’s Mate. He’d encouraged her to get that Master Plumber license as he battled emphysema. On the day she got it, he shot himself and left her the business with the stipulation she remove his name from it. About to touch it, an old man in a picnic-checkered shirt came in.

She shut the drawer. “Can I help you, sir?”

“I hear you looking for a plumber’s helper. Please consider me for that job. I got lots of experience.”

Her heart leapt and she felt foolish for it. Had Max spread the word?  “I can only pay $15 an hour to start. Do you have a resume?”

He hesitated, came to an internal decision, and handed it to her. “You’ll see I learned plumbing in prison. A long time ago I accidently killed my girlfriend while high as a kite. I got out back in May and cain’t find no job; nobody hire somebody with such a record.”

“Can you get around? I mean, sometimes we have to get into crawl spaces and into attics.”

“I look old, but I’m just 54. I can work hard and get anywhere I need to, I promise you.”

“If one customer after another assumes you can’t be as good as the fat white guy down the road, what would you do?”

“I wouldn’t take it to heart; I’d just do the job the best way I know how. You got to build up a good reputation, that’s solid gold it is. We build up that reputation, we up easy street.”

Why she felt such an instant kinship with this rail-thin man, this man that that apprenticed in prison, she could not say. This man would never give up; she saw it in his auburn eyes. He didn’t look for others to blame. The desk phone rang. “Drain Queen Plumbing, how can we help you?” She smiled. “Yes sir, we’ll be right there.” Hanging up, she looked over to Gregory Payne. “A water pipe broke at Jemison’s Art Supply. Let’s hustle over there and see what you can do.”

 

The Co-Ax

Jorge hollered from the junk room, “Anna, you seen the co-ax cable?”

“No quiero co-ax, I’m sewing buttons on Freddy’s sweater. Mama knitted it and had no buttons…”

Jorge tuned much of that out; why’d he bother to ask her anything anyway? He lifted the corner of a flat box that covered a deep box, careful of hiding brown recluse spiders. He dropped it back as he did not care about stupid photo albums. The realtor had talked big and had given him a pest certificate for the house. Maybe these damn things were immune to poisons. Maybe they ate the co-ax.

He had to move two overstuffed trash bags out of the way; he could see Freddy’s Cleanup Mess Areaold baby clothes through the holes. Why drag all that here? Goodwill begs for stuff like that. Oh boy, a wicker basket full of mismatched dishes. He squeezed against giant stereo speakers from twenty years ago to get the heavy thing behind him. Okay, now he had access to the great stack of boxes stacked to the ceiling. He looked at the top box and frowned.

He could spit on the movers in part because Anna would throw out nothing so he had to pay for the bigger truck and they gouged him. Also in part because they jammed half the household into this back bedroom making it necessary to use a ladder to see anything with no place to set one down. The box of co-ax had come on the same order as the 4G antenna, supposedly powerful enough for them to use their phones and get Wi-Fi anywhere in the house. The antenna came here; they had no business touching it or the co-ax. Had they charged him for moving stuff already here? He would definitely complain.

He read the labels on the stacked boxes and almost screamed in frustration – all that work for nothing! He squeezed by the damned dish basket and leaned out the bedroom doorway. “Anna, did you brother come by here while I was at Lowe’s?” There she sat on her fat butt reading, not sewing at all. “He walked off with the box of co-ax.”

She dropped her book to her lap. “Rogelio is no thief. I wish you would stop accusing him of fantastico crimes. Are you sure your precious box really arrived? I only saw the one with the fancy antenna in it.”

“I ordered them together. You probably kept the collection of broken cat toys and gave my 50 foot of co-ax to your brother.”

“He has a name, Jorge. I heard you in there cursing the bags in there. Freddy needs a sister so I keep the clothes. You know Mama made many of them, they are for always keeping. As for the cat toys, I want little Cleo back; we should have brought her. And you know Rogelio is my brother’s name.”

“That cat is better off with Tio Benny, the pit bull breeder. Girls don’t wear blue and you better not get off your pills because I can’t afford another brat to feed. Rogelio took my jacket and when I got it back it had a big spot on the sleeve that had melted; that nice fleece jacket and I had to throw it out.”

“He had a jacket just like it. You blame him forever for an honest mistake.”

He sneered at her tears. “Sure, take his side.” He was winding up for more, with vitriol pumping through his heart, when she popped up and got in his face.

“You got devils in you, all you do is hate! I only agreed to move away from all my family and friends because you said you had this spectacular job. Okay, we’re here and I know nobody except Rogelio who you hate. You stay at work until night. I dread you being home on the weekends now.” She wiped her eyes roughly with the hem of her shirt. “Don’t do this to me so I will leave. If you are having an affair and want me to leave, tell me and stop with all the hate. I would go back to Idaho tonight.”

He stared at her anguished face and jumped when somebody rapped on the front door. He turned fast and yanked the door open. It was an old guy in a Post Office uniform. He carried a box.

“Sir, this just came back from Barbados.” He chuckled in a sad way. “I don’t know how we got something for the Carolinas sent to the Caribbean and I apologize on behalf of the U.S. Post Office for the error.” He held the scuffed box marked ‘Casey Co-axial Cables’ out at arm’s length.

Jorge stood dumfounded.

Anna elbowed him aside and took the box. “Thank you so much for personally delivering this. We’re new here and appreciate your kindness.”

The smiling Postman said, “De nada,” climbed into his little truck and drove away.

She stepped out onto the porch and about-faced with her arms wrapped around the box. “Jorge, you don’t get this until we get to the bottom of all this. You trying to get rid of Freddy and me or what?”

He went in to plop on the sofa, head in hands. After several unproductive minutes, he felt a cold metallic touch the nape of his neck and shivered hard. WWJD BearAnna peeled his right hand back and placed his rosary in it. He leaned back and fingered the rosary. He hadn’t seen it since the move. He rubbed his thumb on the beads, gently caressing them, remembering the words. He looked up at her. “Anna, corazón, I don’t want you to go, please. I don’t hate, I just am working too much, too hard, too long. Lo siento, mi corazón, verdad.”

She held out the box to him

He shook his head. “I don’t need that or the antenna. I already got the signal I need. I felt Dios touch my neck and you touch my heart.”

She sat very close and snuggled when he put his arm around her. “I am so happy. I prayed for you ten times a day.” She pulled away a bit and smiled impishly. “I would like that Wi-Fi, if it is no trouble now.”

Y’all Keep Them Eyes Peeled!

A year ago, Ma and I trolled the cloth store picked out yards and yards of cotton prints for shorts and skirts. Now she sits and stares at nothing, and getting her attention is iffy. Some days are better than others but the good ones are getting further apart. Now at the cloth store she sits at the pattern catalog counter while I look around.July 2013 Circle House Damage 018

I got a” set-up going that looked real smart on paper, but it hurts my ragged heart to have to leave my cabin home real early every Monday morning to get to work in town. I’m still in Kentucky, but have to go from the middle of it to a big town on the Ohio River. Then all through the week I live in a crusty old house with the floors propped up by sticks in the basement. When Ma moved in, I got the running water and furnace fixed. I’m 15 minutes from work, and eliminated all that wear and tear on me and the Subaru. I count the hours until I can get home again.

Anyhow, driving from the cabin to town is a despondent hour or two, depending on the weather. It’s an ordeal to get Ma ready to go so early besides gathering all my plunder. I don’t have time to make coffee and clean up the pot and all, so it’s tough to stay alert. Having a zombie to ride with does not help in the least.

So here I am winding through the narrow rural roads to get to the highway that goes to the Parkway right at Butterfly road 2sunrise. Though I knew it to be a worthless effort, I told Ma to keep her eyes peeled for deer. Then for some reason, I started talking with a high pitched deep South accent, seein’ as she was born and raised on the barrier islands off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.

“Y’all keep them eyes peeled for them there deer. Now if you were a tater, y’all would have eyes too, but if ya peeled them, they’d be long gone. So watch how ya peel them eyes, ya hear?”

She laughed! I mean actually listened to what I said, understood it and thought it was funny. I was so stunned, I almost missed my ramp to the parkway.

Me: “Looky there at them there RAIN clouds, you see that straight up gray in the sky over yonder?”

Ma: “Yes, that must the RAIN.”

Me: “That’s right, pourin’ down in great torrents. Ye doggies! Did y’all see that lightnin’?”

Ma: Ooo, I’m afraid of lightning.”

Me: “Aw, ain’t no cause for y’all to fear the lightning. Ain’t no way for one of them there bolts to get to the your scrawny little body. Ye kitties! Did ya see that one, haaaw!”

Ma! “That was a big one!”

Me: “They so danged purty, those glorious swords from heaven. They use those swords to chase out the stray animals Dog Puzzle 2that get up there; they don’t care for the dogs howling with the choir. You know if it’s stormin’ cats and dogs, y’all gotta keep them windows rolled up tight as we got enough dogs and cats already. Unless there’s a calico that is, ‘cause I could make you a fine summertime nightgown out a nice bit of calico.”

Ma conversed like a regular person, like she would have a year or two ago. She really participated and was interested. The magic had vanished by the time I came in from work. She sat on the screened-in porch in her rocking chair until very late, eating her supper out there. She didn’t recognize any questions unless I asked them three times, louder each time. She couldn’t remember my name.

It was grand while it lasted.

 

Stop Howling! I Hear You!

I have changed the cabin dynamic and nobody around there is happy about it. I have taken Spring Cleaning to Cat 3an all-time high by clearing out entire rooms, all of them, one at a time. The cabin was stuffed with old boxes of obscure plunder, decrepit appliances, one more project shoehorned into a tight space, too many books (can’t believe I said that) and was generally junky with a couple decades of accumulation. Moving and sorting all this might sound easy, but I assure you IT IS NOT! Stuff to keep goes in boxes elsewhere. Hundreds of them. The remainder is revealed and can be donated or disposed off, tons of stuff.  I have developed marvellous muscles from carrying heavy loads down long flights of stairs. What of the usual and well-loved pastimes that I so looked forward to each weekend?

 

Cabin June 2015 056These are calling to me in a shrill, demanding voice. Some of the squirts even threaten me, saying, “Look you, I’ll dry up if you don’t get a move on! Everything you need is right here, hop to it!” I retort, “Shut UP! You are waiting for me to carve you out a real studio!”Paint tube

 

 

 

 

These grab at my shirt every time I walk by. The weather is  warm! We can ferment like crazy! I walk by swiftly to avoid that, but these suckers are sometimes quite wily and lull me into thinking they are asleep. I tarry a second too Cabin June 2015 085long and GRAB! “STOP IT!”, I say. “You need to much space and time to fool with right now!”Cabin June 2015 076

 

 

 

 

 

Cabin June 2015 087

Cabin June 2015 074

 

 

 

 

 

These cry to me in some foreign language I don’t understand, yet I know they are restless and wish me to transform them into the ephemeral beings that are destined to be. They would turn out to be quite physical if I did the required work. I used the word ‘ephemeral’ because these beverages seem to disappear when I’m not looking. Since I have no opportunity now to carry them to their highest calling, I look away as I slink by. I WANT to put up a few more cases. I will, I promise.

 

No greater din is made than the cacophony coming from these piteous things. I have the old workhorse Cabin June 2015 077machine which has provided me many hours of pleasure and increased my sense of accomplishment – usually. I have so many pieces of cloth they could form their own country. They do have their own language. A persuasively ardent call echoes in my head; they urge me to sit for just a while, feel the scissors in my grip, IMG_1365smooth out the printed paper pattern on a smooth floral cotton blend. The blue cottony material nearly rises from the bag like a primordial beast from the sea in earnest yearning to breathe. I callously shun them. They howl! I put the cover on the machine and snap it down decisively. I shove all of the material into boxes and stack them. They whimper. The guilt is onerous.

 

 

Feb Cabin audio setup light Keys Wing Penny QuoteThe saddest, most hurt of all are these poor, neglected things. They do not cry out. They do not make a sordid scene every time I get near. The microphone had such lofty hopes of being part of a 10 hour narration; she stands there stoically, waiting. The keyboard believes I left them because previously pecked out efforts have not sold well, no return on investment. I’d love to tell those sweet keys that this is not so. I have extensive plans! I know I’ll never get rich with writing, that’s not the point. I have written out of a strong desire to let the stories fly and be free in the skies of this wide and wondrous world, letting the words dance on the clouds! Delays now are unrelated, not their faults. But I don’t say anything. They can’t see that recording will take acoustic material application, that the old computer equipment had no reason to take up so much space. No area was safe from my furious junk attack.

I simply have too much work to do right now! This weekend STARTS cleaning…I know it won’t be easy either. Then fumigating to rid us of the Brown Recluses (I weep for the collateral damage to my beloved Wolf spider friends). Then repairs. Then creating more organized and efficient storage and work spaces. This takes faith, I tell you.

Me worriedDownload 090915 081Bird in basket

Thoughts On Plenty Work, Little Play

Narrow Block WallOh don’t I feel like I’m pounding my noggin against this! As Wall is my name, perhaps I was destined thusly. In an aura, the green on the edge would signify healing. Sounds very good.

Aloha coconut addressI mailed this cocoanut from Molokai to Kentucky by addressing it and gobbing on postage. How many stamps to mail myself somewhere less stressful? They would probably park a weightlifter’s mail order birthday present on top of me and I’d arrive flat enough to have been mailed in an envelope in the first place…undoubtedly cheaper that way.

 

 

 

IMG_1355I have logged in many, many, many hours hauling books, thousands of them, 70 miles via too many stairs, carrying about 25 over and over and over. How many 25s go into 4000? Depressing. I feel my workload stacking up higher and higher. At least it’s neatly stacked. Count your blessings, name them one by one.

 

Weed Stems LeavesWeeds, broken twigs, old rotting leaves. Why does this seem like a mirror? I do like the colors and shapes. In a manicured front yard, this would be horrid. I’ve never even been close to a manicure. Here in the wetland haven, it is natural and it is beautiful. Not so bad to be a mirror after all.

 

Cabin June 2015 068This is my painting from a few years back of how the chickens got from Southeast Asia to Hawaii; they call them jungle fowl. Water in a dream is a sure sign of change. I have not dreamt of water, so I suppose my current pattern will not vary much.

 

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As patterns go, I like this one lots. The violets and white flowers stand in a bit of relief on the thin ivory background. The dress turned out really pretty, midi length and short frilly sleeves. The bodice exposes more than is proper, but a camisole is fine with it. I used a pattern with this dress, but customized it.

That’s the ticket; I’ll customize my labor pattern and see if I can’t get a yard or two of enjoyment out of it!

More Ambition than Time!

Where I work, we can buy an extra week of vacation a year. For Non-Americans, we are notorious for being driven by work, work, work, thus blog june 039adding one week to the provided two or three weeks is a great increase. I did not buy any vacation as I have difficulty using all I get. Sad I know. Yet if I could buy weekend days at the cabin without impinging on my job (must stay in good graces at the job) I would probably break the bank.

One Project Example: I have the t’Hoot series with  one book ready to edit, then publish…most of what I have to do with that project – except trying to sell them – is done. So of course, I started a new series Otto and Socks that is Mouse readingdifferent than I every tried before. Learning curve. Research. Fifteen drafts of the first one until it feels right. Writing umpteen storylines for subsequent stories since all will (probably) be only 5, 000 to 10,000 words each. They won’t write themselves, either. Learn new formatting and cover software. Design the cover with the series in mind. Plan publishing. Will I establish my own publishing imprint and buy my own codes or not? It-would-take-TIME.

I have that big ol’ canvas that isn’t painting itself (amazing if it did). All I did with it last weekend was cut out paper bubbles of several sizes and fit them up under the crackly part Brushes topto see how it might look. Maybe. If I hee-hawed over my writing as I do with the painting, I’d have never got the first one published!

I have a super cool blue suede jacket, long and flouncy, that is cut out and 1/3 done. I worked on that last in early December. Don’t even remind me of the great stack of My Sweetheartsewing projects by my machine that the cats keep climbing on and knocking onto the thread-strewn floor. See photo of Krink Pestercat saying, “It wasn’t me!” Yet I spent an hour printing out polar bear patterns…and a leopard pattern…and a doggie. I have cloth store coupons in my wallet and visions of thick white fur bounding about in my head. Smack me!

My kiln in the basement awaits an electrician to install the proper electrical outlet, but that has not deterred me from buying all sorts of ceramic instruction books and DVDs. I have a scroll saw collecting dust, as are the wood working saws and such in the garage. The last bookshelf built was in May of 1821. I found a mouse nest in my big box of yarn with the knitting project, needles still stuck in it, mid-purl. I shall not go into the tasks begging for the cabin upkeep or gardening or podcasts or a thousand other things. And right now, I should be hard at work at my job.

Mary holding Hate thin

All I can say is IT IS WONDERFUL TO NEVER BE BORED!

Gargoyle pair