Flying free

October 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I was born, Sunshine had already been living with my parents for more than a year, and I’ve spent my life expecting to enjoy his (rather crochety) company well into my own twilight years.

I never realized what comfort I took in that plan.
















I hope I see you in The Great Blue, brother.

The Great Ceiling Disaster of ‘08

November 16, 2007 § 5 Comments

I think I mentioned a few months ago the tremendous leak we had this spring that laid fault lines through our bedroom ceiling. Well, we’ve been studying these lines for the past four weeks or so, saying to each other, “Does that look bigger to you?” “I don’t know… that one does.”

So this afternoon I was folding some laundry and noticed that there was a section of plaster hanging about a quarter-inch lower than the surrounding area, an increase of, well, a quarter-inch since noon. I went to the office to get the camera to document it AGAIN for our negligent landlords who have known about the problem since April, and have been reminded twice since then. While I was in the office I heard a biblical rending and tearing, and reentered the room to find this:


Huh. Shit.

And while I was capturing the mess on the floor:


there was another great snarl from the ceiling. Now, it looks like this:


and the rest of the room looks like this:


An hour later, the landlord hasn’t returned Richard’s message— they always screen their calls, you see. I wasn’t sure I could remain civil.

You know, the same thing happened to my roommate when I lived on Quinpool Road a few years ago. While we were both at work one January day, great chunks of her plaster ceiling came down, coating the room in debris and 80 years’ worth of dust. It so happened that her parents were our landlords, but I don’t think it would have mattered if they weren’t related. They were there the next day, helping her clean out, shaking out her electronics, and arranging for the repairs to be done as soon as the demolition was finished. She got a smooth new ceiling and even a new light fixture out of the deal (though I thought the chandlier was cooler than the track lighting that replaced it). Her bulldog was afraid to sleep in there for a while, but no lasting damage.

I certainly wouldn’t expect that to happen here, but I do expect work to be done within a month of notification. They’re property managers, and I expect them to manage the property a hell of a lot better than this; there was no reason for this to happen. The leaky window and damaged ceiling should have been repaired in June.

I miss the days when landlords gave a shit.

Gone from Here

November 5, 2007 § 2 Comments

It’s not death that bothers me so much, it’s dying. Death is permanent and peaceful, and while there’s a strangeness about it— you’ll never see him again, though he’s always been there before— dying is much more distressing. Loss looms, pain continues, time stretches thin. I find myself awake in the night, trying to think of all the things I might want to say to them in the future, then panic knowing that I can’t possibly get it all out.

My parents had our dog, Bowser, put to sleep last Monday, though no one told me until Friday. He was 17. My Uncle Alan died on Saturday. He was 58.

And while I was a complete mess last week, I am feeling better now. I do realize intellectually that they both were suffering. How much more than 17 years can you expect out of any dog? And my uncle had been suffering from cancer for many months— first in his lungs, then in his adrenal glands, finally in his brain.

I wish with all my heart I could believe in Somewhere Else— a Fourth Sphere populated by foolhardy squirrels where good dogs with clear eyes and strong legs can prance, and keep order, or a Third Sphere for blue-collar men with twinkly eyes and sharp tongues— but I just can’t find it in me now. How comforting it must be for those who can trust in the faith of their forebears! For me, for now, it’s too simple.

But even without knowing I will see them again, both whole and happy, I can appreciate their peace. I can believe in peace.

Just Like Starting Over

September 20, 2007 § 4 Comments

This week I’ve been working on my YA novel and it’s going surprisingly well. I’ve cleaned up the cringe-worthy dialogue in chapter five (something that I’ve felt paralyzed over for months), and while it’s still bad, reading it no longer discourages me so much I quit AppleWorks anymore.

For me, writing successfully is all about rhythm. Repeating the process daily, so I don’t forget where I was headed in a particular scene— subscribing to the Hemingway Method ‘when you get going good, stop— and so I feel the momentum building under me. This way it seems as though the story is writing itself rather than me painfully struggling for the next word every time I hit the space bar.

Tomorrow, though, my rhythm will be interrupted. We’re agreed to take my former wards for the weekend, and every time we do there’s always some unforeseen complication.

This time they asked me to look after a cat they’re baby-sitting. I agreed to make sure it was watered and fed daily, but I had every intention of bringing Emma and Isaac here so I could be half-assured of a decent sleep every night. I enlisted Richard’s niece to feed kitty on Saturday and possibly Sunday, and no one would be any the wiser. We’d go apple-picking and Geocaching, and generally leave the kids fuller of fresh air and organic produce than we found them.

But ho! Now there are more complications. Emma has a birthday party Saturday afternoon and the kids both have gymnastics Sunday morning. So my choices are:

1) Suffer though the cat* and the nail-filled sleeper sofa mattress, or

2) Spend five hours schlepping them back and forth all weekend.

Also, the birthday party falls right into Isaac’s nap time on Saturday. He’s a real treat by 7:00 pm if he’s skipped his nap, I assure you.

*Can they sense the histamines flooding my bloodstream? Is that why they insist on sleeping on my face/curling up on my lap whenever an opportunity arises? They’re really that evil?

Anyway! My rhythm. It will be interrupted over the weekend even more than I was planning, so what to do?

Fellow writers: how do you get your groove back after some time away?

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