You know how sometimes it’s just one damn thing after another? Well, around here lately it’s been one damn thing after another after another after another….
The hardest thing actually happened first, while we were at Sasquan (see earlier posts). My mother-in-law’s dog Diego, a charming and beloved cairn terrier who was her lifeline, died unexpectedly. We were very sad, and she was devastated, and we cut short our planned post-con vacation and came home to be with her.
From there, it was simply adding insult to injury, a concatenation of minor and major mishaps that left me reeling. For starters, everything around me started breaking:
- On the way home, my suitcase wheels break.
- After arriving home on the red-eye from Seattle, I collapse into my living room recliner. Whoomp. The back flops horizontal—and that’s where it stays. (The gas cylinder has just given out. The gas cylinder for which you can’t buy a replacement. I eventually epoxied it back in the upright position.)
- Next day, my wife informs me that the refrigerator isn’t working right. What? That can’t be! We just bought it only, like, 24 years ago! I spend two hours cleaning dust and fur out from under and behind and in the works. That brings it almost up to spec on max cool, but I think a new one is in our future.
- The next day, I flick on the cable TV. No sound. I unplug the cable box/DVR, and plug it back in. That’s done it: It’s dead, Jim. (On Monday, the cable guys spend two hours replacing the power cord, the HDMI cable, and half the house wiring.)
- 2 a.m., a couple of days later. My daughter on the cell. A close friend of hers, a student with no family within a thousand miles, has been arrested for—let’s just call it very bad driving choices—in a town forty minutes away, and could I go bail him out. (A great kid who made some regrettable decisions that night.) At least the local magistrate, rousted out of bed at 4 a.m. to release him on bond, is cheerful and friendly. See you in court Monday morning!
In the meantime, I am working feverishly getting some changes made to six of my books in preparation for a big promotion coming up next week. Also, a reorganization proposal for my website is on my desk, waiting for me to look at it. And the person who’s going to help me get print editions in the works waits patiently for me to get back to her with some answers to basic questions. Do I know what font I want? Umm…
- Court for the friend is an interesting experience, which I write up for my own story notes. Gotta use that some day. The end result of the court appearance being, of course, a future court date.
- Give it a couple of days, and I’m standing outside talking to someone on the street. My downstairs neighbor calls from the front door: “There’s water coming from my ceiling!” I sprint upstairs. Our tiny pantry/laundry room is flooded. Our two-year-old washer (a Samsung, a Consumer Reports Best Buy!) has let go from the drain pump, sending water down through the walls to the first floor and basement. The basement ceiling and various places in the walls are opened up as I write, with fans blowing.
- Do I think I’m done with flooding? No, one more little nose-tweak. Last night, I’m walking through the basement and almost miss it: the pool of water overflowing the particle-board shelf where sit—sat—our jugs of emergency water. Really?
So far, today has been uneventful. Dare I hope?
For a writer, all things are fodder. Surely, one day I will get a story out of all this!