Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanks Has Been Given.

Now Playing -
Green  Christmas - by - The Barenaked Ladies

Life - 
Salt Lake City, Utah is a horrid place. I've decided that after two days of driving about and being generally lost or annoyed or generally perturbed by the residents and streets of the town and area. I'm also increasingly shocked and dismayed by the way the city is growing and becoming slummier and slummier as time passes.

We were in SLC for Thanksgiving, being held at my Brother-In-Law, Dylan's new house in one of the suburbs of SLC.  Apart from the traffic and my inability to navigate in towns with more than 70,000 people, however, it was  a great trip.

We brought teh boys with us, their first long car trip since we've gotten them, and the performed admirably! They didn't whine or complain, for the most part they just looked out the window or slept. Pooka did get a bit antsy a couple of times, but he quickly settled down.

Dylan and Cami have a nice house in a 'burbs style home, a split level walk up on a quiet street. It's very cozy and comfortable, and it was great fun spending more time with them, they're the part of the family that I've seen the least and it was nice to catch up.

The food was grand. We made a Pomegranate sipping punch and the stuffing, and each of the family made something else. Dylan cooked the turkey in a Dutch Oven designed for poultry and it turned out shockingly moist, almost melt in your mouth.  Apart from four separate trips to the grocery store, everything went off without a hitch. Our boys behaved themselves and were a hit with the people, who aren't accustomed to big dogs.

We had a chance to sleep in their camp trailer too, which was really good for us, we had our own space and we've been thinking about getting one some day, so it worked out perfect. We loved it, but in order to buy one, we would need to buy a pickup, which seems like an unneccesary expense. We'll probably end up sticking to a teardrop trailer or something the Element can pull.

All in all, it was a nice Thanksgiving. We had to leave around six that night so that I could work, and again, the boys were well-behaved on the ride home.

As I predicted, Walgreens had a terrible Black Friday. Between the mix of items and the lack of a finite hours of sale, when I left at 9am on Friday, we were already down $3,000 from the year before. Thanksgiving itself was slower than usual too. From what I saw, it looked like most people were only shopping for big ticket items, and were picking up a lot less impulse stuff than usual. I haven't been into the store since then, but I'd imagine a pretty poor showing.

It was kind of a pain working one graves shift in the middle of my days off, and Friday, was mostly a bust as far as getting anything done after work was concerned. We did head out to Home Depot with my mom to grab a Black Friday special, a dryer for $280, to replace the one that her mysterious destructive static field obliterated. Naturally, they only received nine of the dryers and were long out by the time we got there around three, but they were very cool about it. They have a deal where you can pay for it then and when it comes in, they'll deliver it for free to your house. The salesman was very friendly and competent and despite the busy store, took the time to find us the accessories that we would need too. Then they let us buy them at the same time. I was pretty damned impressed. I fell asleep in my chair reading around 7, and drifted in and out of consciousness after that. Beautiful weather that day too.

Writing - 
Not really anything here, and unfortunately, looking ahead at the coming weeks, something tells me that The Whispering Ferns is going to have to wait until January if I want to get anything done on it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Last night at work, I started prepping for our big Black Friday sales at Walgreens. I'm tempted to put quotation marks around "BIG" (There, I just did.) because Walgreens has a very iffy idea of what it means to have a Black Friday sale. Typically, you go to places like Sears and buy things like $100 pool tables and save $300 on a miter saw. Big, premier stuff that you can't usually afford. Either that, or you hit up places like Wal-Mart for ridiculously cheap prices on a few items and middlin deals on the rest. Like $50 for an off-brand flat screen TV, but they only have... Thirty-Three of them. Clearly, those will sell out in sixteen minutes, so they hope you'll bite on some of the slightly less outrageous deals like Care Bears or memory cards. AT any rate, Black Friday is all about ludicrous prices on pretty decent products, with a small amount on hand. That's why people line up outside of the stores at 5am, hoping to get one of those elusive few. There's all sorts of websites, with driving plans and buying strategies, even the best way to load your cart with the stuff as you race through the store. Crazy, says I.

Back when I ran a Chevron, I used to like opening on Black Friday, chatting with the shoppers as the girded their loins for the assault or helping them lick their wounds with a doughnut afterwards. Now that I work for a major retailer, things a re a bit different, but I still like working that morning. With a few notable exceptions, most of the shoppers are in a pretty good mod and fun to work with. Of course, like I said, my job has a different idea about what Black Friday is. Unlike the big box stores, Walgreens advertises a bizarre mix of no-brand toys, Christmas Decor and everyday essentials. It's evolved over the years too, going from outright deals for a limited time, to mail in rebates, with the products changing a lot over the years too.

This year, they're changing things a bit again, instead of having a three hour sale, they're running little specials on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and running them all day instead of a few hours. For the day itself, I have to confess, it seems like a silly mix of sale items - Fake Potted Trees, some Webkins, LED lights, frozen pizza....It doesn't seem like anything worth getting out of bed on a cold morning to me. Luckily for me, I'll already be up and out of bed. I work Thursday night from Midnight to 9am.
This means my wife and I will jet down to Salt Lake City Wednesday morning, spend the night at her brother's new home for Thanksgiving the next day, take a quick nap and drive back to Idaho in time for work that night. Sounds like a hassle, and it kind of is, but I really don't mind working Black Friday, and though it's in the middle of my "Off Days" the knowledge that I wont have to work Christmas because of the shift makes everything a bit sweeter.

Having Thanksgiving in a different city and with the Graves' should be interesting. My immediate family never really got into Thanksgiving too much. My mom makes the best stuffing around and my extended family always has a big shindig, but for some reason my brother and I never really got into the spirit. Frankly, I think it's kind of a silly holiday. I don't think we need an official holiday to celebrate what we're thankful for, we should do that year-round and as for celebrating family, well, there's other BS holidays for that too. I'm not really sure where my Meh-ness for Turkey-Day (A phrase that drives me nuts, by the way) came from, but even as a young kid, in the midst of two dozen family members, you'd typically find me in the corner with a book, ignoring people.

As we got older, my mom and brother and I started doing our own thing, going to a movie, eating a turkey, decorating the tree, more than anything, reveling in the vacant city that reveals itself during holidays.

So Thanksgiving should be a change, a smaller family group in a different town, football on the TV. In a way, it may be more of a traditional holiday than I've ever really had.

I almost didn't make it to the holiday, Some damned fool at work thought it would be clever to stack the trees we're selling at work as high as possible, going so far as to stand a ladder in top of  the top bay in the stockroom, and stack it as high as they could from there. When I went to get them down in preparation of the sale, I quickly realized how precarious the stack really was.

I pulled out one box and the entire stack went down, like a huge game of Jenga. Boxes buffeted me in the face and back, pushing me back and away from the stack, my feet stumbling along the bay, 20 feet above the cement stockroom floor. I felt my feet teeter on the edge and lost track of where I was standing. My glasses were knocked away and everything went fuzzy. Then, there was nothing but air beneath me and I fell.

Luckily, I had stumbled around like Mr. Magoo long enough that by the time I lost my balance, the trees had beat me down to the ground and I only fell around four feet, onto the stack of banged up and bedraggled artificial trees.

Almost had to change my pants that night, I can tell you that!

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from someone who's just happy to be here without any broken bones!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Re-Railed, for a night, at least.

Well, happily, a desperate move paid off last night, if only possibly temporarily...

We stripped my new writing room to the walls, emptying the closet and piling all of my computer stuff into the increasingly messy front room, which has become a kind of slush pile for our crap so far.

This left us a bit ghetto but serviceable big ol' dog kennel. After loading it up with kongs, treats, toys, stuffed beasties and rawhide, both pig and cow, we loaded both dogs in before work last night.

So far it seems to be a success! Now, granted, one night does not a celebration beg, but they were pretty good, according to the report from me mum in the basement. They wrestled a bit and Pooka whined, but there was no 8-hour marathon barking/drooling/hyperventilating session like the nights before. Huzzah and Vohnkar!

Of course, now the heating element in our dryer seems to have gone kaputski....


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Disaster rides a fluffy white dog named after a horse...

Now Playing -
Running Down a Dream by Tom Petty

Life - 

It was all going so (Semi) well.... My mom and brother moved into the basement, our schedules were mostly meshing and we'd even started introducing the dogs to each other without teeth and hair flying.

Then Lindsay and I had to go back to work. We put Ludo and Pooka in their kennels like usual and left. Apparently, Pooka took it upon himself to bark the entire time we were gone, only stopping to drool horribly and bark some more. Great Pyrenees are herding dogs and when we are home, he likes to make the rounds, checking on everyone. I think being locked in his kennel was usually a good thing, he could rest secure in the knowledge that all of the inhabitants were locked up safely. Now that we have people in the basement though, it freaks him out.

We've tried everything. Moving the kennel, insulating it and the room with blankets, lots of toys... nothing doing. So then we moved on to bark collars. All the citronella one did was make his fur lemony fresh and it only rarely heard his bark. Last night, we tried the sonic collar, and from what we can tell, last night was the worst one yet. Pooka barked non-stop and I think the collar freaked him out even more. When we let him out of his kennel, he looked like he'd been doused with a hose and left in a sauna. He was even weak on his feet, desperate for water from all of the barking.

All we have left is the shock collar. If my brother's dog was nice, all we'd really have to do is have the boys sleep downstairs with my mom at nights. It might make him a bit more restless during the days when we sleep, but all would be well. Instead, we'll either have to hope the shock collar works or try and finagle some way of having my momo sleep upstairs with our boys when we're on shift, locking Scout in the basement. It's not super fair to Scout, though she is the reason Pooka has to be locked up when we're gone and someone else is home.

I don't know, I'm kind of at a loss, my wit's end.  Also, my Sony DVD player that I've had without a hitch for over 8 years suddenly decided to stop working yesterday. So much for this move helping my damn karma. Unless karma wants me to get so pissed off and frustrated that I murder a nun.

It's also pretty negative on the transferring front. Both districts would take me, but they can't, thanks to the company's ridiculous Shift Leader Initiative, which will require any store I want to transfer to to lose two assistants rather than one - one to be replaced the useless and horrible shift leader position and then one so that I could come over. The best laid plans........

Writing - 

Trucking along on this, I've made a good revision pass on the first six chapters. I'll likely want to do a second before sending it out, but I'm liking the added scenes so far.

The Last Sentence - 

He didn't want to lose the key, so he carefully threaded it onto the chain around his neck beside the key to his apartment in New York.

From - "The Whispering Ferns" (WIP)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cleaning Up and "Twilight" Innovations!

Life - 

Been ever so busy, and need to jet pretty quickly, but a couple of brief points for ya today.

The two worst things to clean up when you work Graves at a Drug Store - 

Snow Globes
When they break, you get glass, massive amounts of glitter, an odd water-esque substance and little pieces of Disney Princesses everywhere. How do you clean this up? A mop gets glass in it and a broom gets too wet to function properly. And glitter gets everywhere, promptly drying permanently to whatever it touches.

Massive, horrible explosions of poo all over the bathroom toilet, floor, stall, toilet dispenser and walls.
This happens far more often than you could ever possibly conceive. And cleaning it up is even worse. That's when you decide to ignore it and if someone questions you, claim that it must have happened after your shift. I don't know how this happens or how the culprit could possibly escape unscathed, but there'd better be a special place in Hell for them.

My breakthrough Innovation in products for the Twilight series of books and movies - 

Twilight Toothpaste!

This is clearly a must have. Blood red, so that it looks like you're feasting chastely on the fluid of your beloved and just like the studly and (with the exception of his hair) well groomed star of Twilight, Edward Cullen, it makes you SPARKLE!

I'll expect my royalty check any day now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My cold little writing room

Now Playing -
Soon by My Bloody Valentine

Life - 
Not a lot going on in the last couple of days. Moved a fridge, which required the removal of three doors and almost the door of the fridge itslef, but it was mostly uneventful. We've also started introducing our boys to Scout (My brother's overly protective, nippy DevilDog) After a slightly heartstopping moment earler when she came upstairs and confronted Pooka, who acted shocked that all dogs did in fact not want to be his friend and be drooled on, we installed a baby gate on the stairs and have been slowly letting the dogs meet each other through the gate outside. This will no doubt be a very long process.

We have been watching and enjoying LEVERAGE on DVD. It stars Timothy Hutton, who has begun looking like Gary Oldman as he ages and is a different con or heist each episode. The cast is excellent, with perfect chemistry. Check it out!

Made McClanahan's Creamy Shepherd's Pie yesterday for lunch and quickly won over a skeptical mother and brother. There's something about the name Shepherd's Pie that puts people off. For lunch today, it was slow roasted Gumbo, which meant I was up at 7am to get it prepped so that it would be ready for lunch. Good stuff. We've decided to try using Okra in other dishes. It may become my secret ingredient. (Not that it would be a secret once someone has looked at a dish, Okra's pretty obvious.) Tonight, my brother's grilling mysterious root vegetables and pork on the grill... Will keep you updated on that.

Back to work tomorrow. Bah. I feel like very little Day Offage has been accomplished this week and the following sets of days off will just get more packed as Christmas approaches.

Writing - 
I'm really happy where I'm sitting with the rewrites on The Whispering Ferns, so far I'm around 2500 words in, and it's sounding a lot smoother and getting to the action faster. Better and faster, always a good thing!

Unfortunately, my new writing room, AKA the closet is quite chilly. Maybe I'll write more when the feeling returns to my fingers.

The Last Sentence - 

"Some Folks say you can't see the forest for the trees, it's the other way around out here."

From - "The Whispering Ferns" (WIP)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My House, Half Full, Half Over-Full

Now Playing -
Windfall by Dead Can Dance

Life - 
I spent all day yesterday moving my mom and brother into the basement of our house. It has begun.

The move itself went pretty smoothly, especially considering everything was done with my Element and thanks to my mother's Gallbladder operation and my brother's twin kidney infection and bonus mystery infection, I had to do all of the moving myself. My family isn't really the packing type either. Lindsay and I have a tendency to over-pack, loading boxes months before we even have a glimmer of a place in mind, labeling boxes, planning for needs, etc etc. Most folks I've helped move have been more along the lines of "Let me move these clothes off of this couch so that we can get it upstairs. I'll throw the rest of this in a trash bag and we can pack that. But all in all, it's not been bad.

I do have a lot of pets in the house now, 3 cats - our two, Sassafras and Clover and my mom's cat, Savannah. 4 dogs, our boys, Ludo and Pooka, my mom's Cocker Spaniel, Bella and my brother's cute but super-neurotic and overly protective Border Collie/Shepherd mix, Scout. Bella and our kids get along really well, and my dogs love Savannah - Ludo almost adopted her when we had her here before giving her to my mom for Christmas last year, but Scout is a wild card. They haven't met yet, but she has a history of being pretty snippy and we're worried that there could be some sparks bebtween her and my dogs. We'll see. My main concern is that my dogs won't take it well and attack back. I don't really think Scout could hurt them much, as long as we keep an eye on things, but if one of my dogs got angry, he could be hard to control, regardless of how unlikely it would be.

Other than that and only having one bathroom upstairs, it's going well. Thank goodness.

It snowed here last night, leaving the city pretty and white, it really feels like the holidays are getting close now. It makes me want to sit in my chair with some wassail and read a book.

Writing - 
I re-wrote the first page of The Whispering Ferns last night and I'm finally happy with where it starts. Unfortunately, my eyes started to droop very quickly and that's all I got done. I'm looking forward to some progress in the next few days.

The Last Sentence - 
"Young James!"

From - "The Whispering Ferns" (WIP)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Writer...

Now Playing -
Putting On The Ritz by Taco

Life -  

Hey, I got an email from Jonny Porkpie, thanking me for my review of his book, The Corpse Wore Pasties! He even has it posted on his website.  (I'm on the right side, below a description of the book) Rock and roll, baby!

Sadly, that was the highlight of the day yesterday, I got a pretty good chunk of friendly but discouraging emails from the stores I hope to transfer to. The essential situation is that my company is in the middle of cutting a manager in each store, adding instead a half-powered position of shift leader. That means that for me to get an opening and transfer to a new store, they have to lose one manager, promote this shift leader, then lose a second manager in order to accommodate me. That's not out of the question, but it does make things much harder than it would have seven months ago.

All this makes it even more important that I achieve some measure of success with my...

Writing - 

Just before bed yesterday afternoon, the mail arrived, within the pile of mildly junk related mail, I found an envelope addressed to myself, written in my own handwriting. Odd, I thought. I don't recall writing myself a letter... Then I noticed the postmark, New York City. Blast, and to think, fifteen seconds ago, I was quite sleepy and ready for bed, not wide awake and filled with anticipation and dread!

Now, to be quite frank and straightforward, as I've promised myself and my three readers I would, I never expected anything but a rejection letter. In fact, it's reached the point that a  rejection letter would actually be best for Smith and Moonstone Bay. I've designed it as a series, with adventures digging for treasure, hunting monsters and tracking Sasquatch. A contest with a generic publishing contract and no agent involvement would probably mean the end of those adventures, or the possibility of them being continued in a different form. I was willing to take the chance though, because I needed the deadline to prompt me to write the book and if, by some rare chance I won, it would be a springboard into other books.

Dear Writer, the letter read, followed by a brief little paragraph that included words like We are sorry and we wish you every success. Then they stated that my manuscript was returned herewith, most regretfully. Now, that could have been the problem, all that was in the envelope beside the letter was an invite to enter in the 2010 contest and the cover sheet to my novel.... Man, I hope that isn't all I sent!  I can only assume, judging by the existence of a clause in the rules stating that MS would NOT be returned, that this form letter is just an old format. Silly Delacorte!

Anyway, to make a long story short (Too late!) I did not win the eighteenth annual Delacorte Yearling Contest. I did receive my first official rejection letter though, and that makes me feel like an Official Aspiring Author (TM)

Last night, when I staggered from bed and headed off to work, I think I discovered the right place to start The Whispering Ferns. It still needs some work, but I'm really very excited about the idea of finishing my new edits and starting to query for agents!  Wish me luck people! And time to get the writing done in the first place. The holidays, work, having my mom and brother move in, trying to transfer and life in general is not very conducive to effective writing habits.

The Last Sentence - 

The man was almost as wide as he was tall, like a great Kodiak bear, escaped from the circus and running free in the Seattle Airport.

From - "The Whispering Ferns" (WIP)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Packing the Fall. Again.

Now Playing -
Life Gets Better by Booth and the Bad Angel

Life - 
Well, it was right around a year ago that we started packing in earnest for what we thought was to be our triumphant trip to Washington to run a Motel. This year, we are once again packing, and again, in anticipation of a potential move West. Of course, the main reason we're doing it right now is so that my mom and brother can come and move in with us, living in the basement.... Urgh. We want to do this right though, not just shove everything in boxes, in the hopes that they'll then be loaded onto a moving truck when I get a transfer. So far the library is packed and mostly moved and the dog's kennels, where they stay when we're at work have been moved upstairs. Still a lot of work ahead of us, to say nothing of the integration afterwards!

Book Reviews - 

I read two great books this time around, two very different books too. One was about a girl in love with a boy that becomes a wolf when he gets cold, and the other was about a dog that becomes a detective when a girl goes cold. Lots of fun!

by Maggie Stiefvater
2009, 392 pages

Beneath the gorgeous cover and design of the book lurks an even more magnificent beast, lyrical and poetic.

Virtually drips with a forbidden and incomprehensible love that leaves you longing for that first taste again.

Shiver has a unique take on Werewolves that is pure fairy tale, yet seems more realistic than many stories.

Should be more popular than Twilight, or any other book of that ilk.

For some reason, the subtle blue ink and the simple chapter/temperature headings really rock my socks. It's amazing the difference little touches like that make.


(Maggie is also a talented artist and musician, I strongly suggest that everyone visit her website, watch the teaser for Shiver and fall in love with it the way I did!)

by Jonny Porkpie
2009, 225 pages
(Advance Reader Copy Review, the book is released on November 24, 2009!)

Not your grandpappy's crime novel, though you can bet he wishes he had something so titillating and funny to hide in the basement.

Written by the self-appointed "Burlesque Mayor of New York City," Porkpie comes off so appealing and hilarious that the reader wants to quit their day job and start a career as one of his steamer trunk members. (I assume he has a steamer trunk instead of a cabinet...)

Full of colorful and naughty characters, many so good that they have to be true.

The official Go-To book for underwear metaphors!

This is crime for the Rockabilly Geekcore set, for anyone with tats, piercings, comic books and an Apple computer. For anyone that ever put on a trenchcoat and had to decide between Marlowe and Gibson when it comes time to accessorize. Highly Recommended!


(For more info on the Hard Case Crime series of books, check out their website. They also offer a mail order book club that is very, very cool.)

Writing - 

Progress at long last! I finally found my new beginning for The Whispering Ferns. After deciding months ago that it needed to have a snappier opening, I cut the first three chapters (roughly) starting the book as Smith is on the plane on the way out to Washington state to live with his aunt and uncle. The problem was where to start it. I'd considered starting it with one of his dreams, but it's cliche. The last thing I want to do is scare someone off for starting a book with a dream. Finally, I found a place that I like. I need to re-jigger it a bit, but it should let me get a bit of backstory in easily and sound pretty strong.

Now if I can find time to really dive into it....

The Last Sentence - 

"My dad's a famous explorer, you know. Well, kind of famous anyway."

From - "The Whispering Ferns" (WIP)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reviews Of Unusual Size!

I'm still trying to find a format I really like for my reviews... let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas, fair readers!

by Ed McBain
 1958, 157 pages

A twisty, hardboiled delight!

Dialogue that goes on for pages and you wish would never end

Not a huge fan of the title 

The characters in this are a treat, colorful and awesome. Especially the character's names.

 Fairly predictable but satisfactory ending


by Stuart Woods
 2008, 392 pages

An author I'd never read before, he writes fast paced, fairly light hearted thrillers.

Great sense of humor running through the book.

A few scenes seemed tacked in for length and tittilation, not something I generally poo-poo, but they felt out of place.

A pretty great villain that wasn't given much to do.

In retrospect, no one really did much in the entire book.


by Patricia Cornwell
 2006, 289 pages

A somewhat hackneyed thriller about a murder, a new crime detection method and a governmental race.

I often found myself bored and distracted while reading.

All of the main characters were too full of themselves and their little quirks.

It felt at times like the author was pretty pretentious too, though that may have been influenced by her goofy photo on the back cover

I got this book at a rest area just over the Idaho border, part of the truly excellent BookCrossing program, a voluntary read and release phenomenon - check 'em out! What a fun idea! Too bad the book was a letdown, but it just inspires me to get ones out there that I do like and admire.


by James Patterson & Howard Roughan
2005, 406 pages

Goofy, obvious plot about a scheming, money-hungry black widow and a detective investigating her.

The cover and for that matter, the title really have nothing to do with the story.

Though eye-rollingly bad at times, the book was still a page-turner, moving quickly and enjoyably.

These books always make me wonder what percentage each author actually writes.

It warns you not to give away the ending. Too bad the book does halfway through...


by Ruby Jean Jenson
1995, 397 pages

A chilling idea for the plot, only executed well about 3/4 of the time.

There were a surprising number of typos in the book, and a lot of phrases that were worded almost the same as previous ones, distracting my mind from the story.

80% of the story is told from the POV of children. I assume this was intended to increase the tension, but it usually just made me annoyed at the way she wrote children.

The villains were scary and I found myself wishing that I got to learn more about their backstory rather than yet another sentence describing their half-smile of perfect features.

There's something about horror novels written in the 80's and 90's that all seem to have the same feel to their writing, it's something intangible. I can only describe it as "awkward sentences designed to evoke suspense that usually don't" This book had a lot of them.


by Jonathan Barnes
2007, 353 pages

A wry, witty and macabre detective novel, set in Victorian England.

Characters so inspired and original that you could read an entire book about them drinking tea and wandering around town and it would stay compelling.

Gorgeous narration, both clever and sneaky, poetic and evocative.

Drags a bit at the end, yet feels rushed and too pat at the same time.

I can't wait to track down Barnes' next novel!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Events of a potentially large magnitude

Our debatably brilliant and insane plans for the near future.

Big, sweeping changes are afoot in the ROUS household! Starting next week, my wife and I are getting a few new additions to the house, changing the dynamic of our lives in a very dramatic way, hopefully for the better.

Ever since we decided that we would transfer out West, rather than waiting and trying to buy a motel while living in Pocatello, we have tried to decide what to do with our house here. Thought about selling it, but the market is pretty rough now, though no where near as bad in this town and the area where we live. Either way though, we'd end up selling it for less than it's worth and it could take quite a while to unload it. We considered renting it, but that's never fun, inviting and trusting someone to live in and take care of a house while you live a thousand miles away is often an invitation to disaster. It's a possibility still, if it came down to it, but we'd like to avoid it.

Instead of those, we came up with an alternative that, if we're lucky, will work even better and give us some peace of mind if and when we can move. However, in order for it to happen, we have to start the wheels moving a few months before we leave town.

My mom and brother currently live in my Grandma and Grandpa's old house. Technically, it belongs to the state or some agency like that, something to do with her rest home and money distribution. I don't know any details, but I do know that if my grandmother died, the house would revert to a governmental agency of some sort. It's also a huge pit of insanity! There are only a couple of working outlets, the water heater is one I wrestled down into the crawlspace with half an element, the walls have mold and in cold weather, mice. There is a spot on the roof where the tiles have disintegrated into powder that is now being protected from the elements by a tarp and some rocks. The oven can't be turned on, lest all of the other fuses blow.... the list could literally continue for longer.

I don't know how they've stayed there as long as they have, frankly. So as of next week sometime, Lindsay and I will have two new basement roommates. Five if you count their dogs and cat. They'll live with us until I can get a transfer, staying in the two basement bedrooms and after we move out, they'll take over the payments on the house. This is mostly a good thing. It means giving up a lot of our privacy and private space, but it means we'll be forced to start packing and we'll save money on bills until we leave in addition to getting rid of a lot of the uncertainties about the house when I transfer.

I'm sure there'll be issues. We only have one bathroom, and it's off of our bedroom. She sleeps at night, works in the mornings and is up in the evenings, we work at night, sleep in the evenings and my brother works at night and sleeps... the rest of the time, so at any given time, there'll be someone asleep in the house. My major concern is my brother's dog. She's really not well trained and can be downright violent, something my dogs are not in the least. I have concerns about their compatibilities, but if worse comes to worse, we can keep his dog in the basement at all times or something.

Hopefully, this will only be for around 70 days. Oh dear lord I hope it's only for that long....

I figure if nothing else, this should score us some MAJOR karma points, right? When I get a moment, I'll have to post a photo of Lindsay's new writing room. Her old one was the library. Her new one is the hall closet...

As of yesterday, we have started querying Lindsay's book and I sent off a few transfer requests, so wish us luck and patience!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Life - 
Man, This year Halloween really snuck up on us! We'd planned to be totally prepped and ready for the Sixth Annual Brain Eaters party by the thirtieth so that we could take the day of off and just kind of goof off. Watch movies, carve pumpkins, what have you. Instead, we found ourselves scrambling up to the last minute, rushing against the clock to finish before guests arrived, dealing with a few dozen trick-or-treaters in the midst.

What is the Brain Eaters? some of you may ask. That is our annual shindig, a party most excellent, most wild, most wicked. It started a few years ago with my roommate Rob and I and we've continued it since, each year getting a bit more elaborate, and sometimes a bit more efficient. We typically get around 20-50 people, this year was no exception, clocking somewhere around forty guests (I'll have to wait until the photos are developed to get a truly accurate count... things have gotten a bit muddled!) It starts around 9 usually, but we actually had guests an hour early, while I was still wandering around in my jeans and bed-head, trying to get things assembled.

A lot of fun again, and as we try to keep it, no drama and with the exception of a close call between my windpipe and some brains, there were no fatalities! Every year we have the same basics; Jello-Vodka brains, Jungle Juice, Lime Punch, Bean Dip, a kitchen for chatting, the front room filled with fog and black light for dancing, a porch for the smokers or people that need a break from the crush of folks, a halloween movie playing in the basement (Though that got no action this year..) Wassail, lots of disposable cameras and me, who has been drinking since noon-ish.

Added this year were a good chunk of glow in the dark webs, courtesy of my new web gun (Speaking of which, if you buy one, buy the UV webs, not the glow in the dark ones, they arent very effective at all) we covered the furniture and the floor of the dance room with white sheets and we blocked in the porch a bit to give some shelter form the cold Idaho wind. 

To be honest, we were pretty sure this year would be the smallest yet, despite attempting to make it our grand finale. There were a lot of sick people, many of our regulars have moved on to families or different towns, my in-laws bailed on us, in fact, up until the day before, we'd considered canceling. Instead, we got slammed with people and actually ended up running out of nearly everything by 1:30 in the morning, the earliest we've ever ended. In fact, we usally have a few liters of juice left and all that remained this year were the dregs. I was pretty surprised. 

I actually felt bad about running out of everything, even the wassail and the punch, the non-alcoholic stuff was gone, and we had a few stragglers show up, but in a way it was kind of nice that the evening was over. Maybe I'm getting too old for this kind of party, or maybe it was the choking fit I'd had at the very beginning of the night, but I'd had a headache a lot of the night and I was looking forward to eating a bit and heading to bed.

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty successful party. I overheard one girl talking on her phone to a friend, with both ends shouting so I could hear the other side too, and when her friend called house parties lame, my guest responded "Then you've never been to this house party!"

This will (Hopefully) be our last Brain Eaters party, and it was good to see it go well. I'll make it a point of posting pics once I get them developed so everyone can get in on the debauchery.