Friday, September 30, 2016

Aaagghh!!



Hi, All!

Am not really complaining.  I know you all have awful schedules, many of you with children, demanding careers, and other issues.  But I just want to grumble about the month of September.  Remember that collectively, you are the shrink I can't afford.

I sold the book I'm working on in January while Ron was in the hospital, so, while it's always thrilling to make a sale, my mind was on other things.  I gave myself a long lead time for it because I knew a lot of personal concerns were going to take precedence.  So, I thought I had set my deadline for the complete book at December 1.

Getting Ron well again took much of the first half of the year.  We had many doctor visits, a whole new regimen of medications, PT, some scary TIA moments, and finally, he was doing pretty well.  So I spent the summer on the front porch with my computer (rain or shine) finishing a project I'd had in mind for a long time.  It's completion was something I had to do for me, and since I'd given myself such a long lead time on the current book, I considered myself in good shape.

Ha!  I did achieve my goal and had a wonderful time doing it.  But when I went to clean my office to make room for a new mess with the new book, I ran across the contract, which had been buried under the last reshuffle.  My deadline was (AACK!  Duh, duh, duhhhh!) November 1st!  It was August 30th.

Okay.  I had all of September to write the book, and all of October to edit.  I felt I had control.  Then the doctor prescribed another round of PT for Ron because his walking is becoming more and more difficult and he wanted to see if Medicare would pay for a motorized scooter.  But they require a PT report.  So, that meant PT twice a week for four weeks - and it began the first week in September.  PT itself is no big deal.  It's an hour.  But getting him dressed, down the stairs, in a cab, up an elevator takes about an hour and a half and depletes all the romance I have in me.  We also go by the hospital's coffee shop, which makes a mocha he can't resist.  That's another half an hour, plus the reverse of down the elevator, in a cab, up the stairs, changed into comfortable clothes - with the dog and cats who  are happy to see us helping.

Then, the company who has serviced our oil furnace for forty years, declared it dead last April.  It's an old 'octopus' thing that's giant with seven or eight ducts covered in asbestos.  Removing the asbestos and the old furnace to replace it with gas would cost $15,000.  We didn't have $1,500.  I imagined us closing ourselves behind the pocket doors with our space heater.  But  one clever young man got the idea of just leaving everything there and putting the very small new gas furnace right beside it.  It's a little more complicated than that, but that's essentially what they did - for $3,000 - and their client advocate got us a loan from Craft 3 (Not sure what that is, but I love them!) that we pay back on our gas bill over a 10 year period! (Remember my blog on the miracles in my life?  Here's another!)

This has been going since last May and they arrived last week to make the installation.  They had to create some parts on site, so for the last four days it has sounded like a machine shop in here.  They're at work in the basement but all the vents are open to make the connections, and it sounds like they're standing beside me.  Pounding on metal, power drilling, male laughter.  (That's not hard to take, but still distracting.)   Hard to think, much less write.

Believe it, or not, baseball season has been a great help to me.  Many of my days have left me no time to write, but there's been a Seattle Mariner's baseball game almost every afternoon or evening  for months.  (They're the closest Oregonians have to a home team.)  And I have three uninterrupted hours to write because Ron's just on the other side of the pocket doors, glued to the television with a cup of chai tea (blech!) and a bowl of popcorn.  I'm in the dining room with his old target-shooting ear protectors and two cats and the dog.  They seem to know I need quiet, because they pick their spots and sleep.

I'm at about 260 pages with another 100 to go.   Good thing October is a long month.  Baseball will be in post season early in October, and I'm not sure the Mariners will make it.  Football is just weekends, so that's not a lot of help.  Anyway, I trudge on as we all do when the going gets rough.

This will probably be my last Heartwarming.  I'm good at making the most of whatever time I have to write, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.  The house is falling down around us and while that works for Halloween decor, it's not great for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  (Slight exaggeration there.  Fortunately, shabby chic is still in, so we're holding up.)

My point is, that by this time next year, I'll be visiting the blog as a reader rather than a writer.  Even though words are my business, I can't find any appropriate to the feelings I have for each and every one of you.  It has so expanded my world to share your lives and let you into mine.  You are the kindest and most caring group I've ever been a part of and in big and small ways, that sustains me every day.

This isn't goodbye today - but the day is coming and on the chance I'm still in deadline mode and blithering, I want you to know what I feel while I'm still lucid.

Happy Weekend, Everybody!

31 comments:

  1. I'll focus on the positives first: that Ron is feeling better, you hopefully have heat now and September is almost over.

    I am selfishly sorry if you do follow through with your decision not to write anymore, Muriel, since I enjoy your books so much, but--again looking at the positives--it will give you more time with Ron, Claire and your two cats.

    As for baseball, after last night's loss for the Jays, I'd rather not talk about it. Hockey on the other hand? Yay, Team Canada, Sidney Crosby and Brad Marchand (whose short-handed goal with 43.1 seconds remaining lifted Canada to a 2-1 victory over Team Europe and earned them the World Cup of Hockey title). Finally, because we do write romance I have to get this in. I always wanted my heroes on the cover of my books to look like Hugh Jackman or for my current work in progress, Josh Holloway. Well, if you haven't seen a picture of Sidney Crosby, you might want to have a look and consider his appearance for your hero! Have a look: https://binged.it/2dEX6NM

    Muriel, I do hope October onward will be wonderful for you!

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    1. All right, Kate! I'm so happy for Team Canada. Will have to check out that prospective cover hero. Half the players in baseball are more mature, but they have their own charm. I'm looking forward to a happy October, too. Thanks, Kate.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear that you'll stop writing, Muriel. I'm hoping there are another few books that will tap away at you until you give in and write them. ;) But I'm so glad to hear that someone found a solution and got you a new furnace! And I'm even happier to hear that your husband is doing well!

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    1. Hi, Patricia! Yes, blessings abound. There's always a story banging around inside my head, but after all the years of deadline-living, am looking forward to an open road ahead. Thanks, Patricia.

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  3. All the best to you and Ron, Muriel. This has been a rough year for you but I hope that when things settle down, you will be able to write more books. It's a huge commitment, I know. Good luck with your deadline this time. Must have been a real shock to learn you had less time!

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    1. It was! I kept rereading it in disbelief. But, my own fault. Working hard to make it happen. Low temps woke me right up on my walk this morning, so I should be sharp for the day's work. Seriously. Had to haul out my leather jacket and my woolly hat! Thanks, Leigh.

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  4. Muriel you have wonderful coping skills and such a terrific sense of humor. Sorry this year has been the pits. Here's hoping the following months go smoothly for you and Ron.

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    1. Thank you, Marion. I can't imagine how you writers with full-time jobs do it. I'm sure all will eventually be well, I just have to keep writing and make the deadline happen. Then I'm looking forward to November and December as a civilian making ornaments and cookies and a total Christmas fool of myself!

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  5. Hang in there Muriel. The month of October will come and go and then you'll be there for your sweetie. Life seems to go in seasons. One ends but new ones open up and begin. Thanks for all the great books we've had to read.

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    1. Thank you, Sandra. I've had such a fun career, but do look forward to the open road - metaphorically. When Ron's dawdling, because he loves to look at everything when we get out - even for PT - I look forward to not thinking, "I have to get home to write!" Happy Weekend.

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  6. Aw...I hate to hear that we'll no longer be able to read your wonderful books, Muriel, but I completely understand. Perhaps it's time to relax and enjoy time with Ron without the pressures of contract deadlines. For me, writing under contract is different from writing for the joy of it. Wishing you all the best. I have no doubt you'll get the book done...can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thank you, Jill. I've lived my life on a deadline, and while its conducive to making the most of your time, I'm usually thinking two months into the future. I'm sure it's even worse for editorial staff and the art and production departments. Looking forward to just simply being.

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  7. I'm pulling for you, Muriel. I know you'll get it done. Good luck on the furnace and the Marineers and Ron's PT. I hope life settles into a comfortable position for you soon.

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    1. Thank you, Beth. Life's good, but time should have Gumby arms at the moment. I appreciate the good wishes.

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  8. Muriel, I selfishly hope you continue to blog (like I've been doing) even without a Heartwarming under contract. We still love your wisdom. I also think after you get this book behind you that on your doggie walks, stories will begin to creep back in. You are a writer's writer. Have always been, and so many love your books. Readers need more books from the heart. Do I understand the strain you've been under, yes I do. And I am so happy that some kind souls got you a new furnace. It's nice to know that some programs in the world are helping good people. My fingers are doubly crossed for you to make this deadline. I'm confident you will.

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    1. Thanks, Roz! Why don't you just move your computer to the house next door to me. We've been so lucky to stumble onto the nicest people doing the kindest things for others. Thank you for all the warm words. Thoughts are always stirring around in my brain, but now I don't feel quite so compelled to get them published.

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  9. Well, Muriel...How adult of you to know when to quit...On the other hand - WAAAAAHHH! Say it ain't so!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Mel! It is so, I'm afraid. Maybe I'll finally learn to cook. No, there has to be something more fun in my future. I'll keep you posted.

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  10. Hi, Muriel, I'm guessing that even after this book, you'll still have stories to tell. And maybe without the pressure of a deadline the writing will come easier. You'll be able to let it flow and work at your own pace. Good luck with this deadline, though, and I'll be looking forward to your book.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I seem to have lost the ability to keep all the balls in the air regarding plot as things shift and change with characters moving on their own. Now I have to keep stopping, make a million notes so I can see it on paper, then trudge forward. Not necessarily time efficient, but I'm working hard. Happy weekend.

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  11. I agree with Melinda!! WAAAAAAHH!! I love your life stories! But at least I have your books!

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    1. Thank you, Patricia. If I was more important I'd write a memoir. My family's life is interesting, though. Maybe a saga. Somewhere down the road.

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  12. Well, Muriel, congratulations - once again you've made me laugh and cry all in the length of one short blog post. Do you know how difficult that is? You have a such a gift with words and with conveying emotion. I'm so sorry for what you've been going through, but inspired and encouraged by your positive attitude. Like Roz, I'm selfishly hoping you'll still continue to blog with us. I look forward to your posts. (And, maybe, in the process you'll find that you have some more books to write, too.) In the meantime, good luck with this deadline! I know you'll hit it out of the park - just like the Mariners(;

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    1. Thank you Carol. I have to borrow the Mariners' mantra: KEEP FIGHTING. I'll keep in touch with all of you for sure.

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  13. You've made me laugh more than you'll ever know on this blog. So much so that I went online searching for some of your books to add to my TBR list. I've always appreciated your posts and I'm sorry that you won't be writing for Harlequin any longer, but I'm sure they'll be other good things in store for you and Ron. I still look forward to reading your comments here. You've inspired me on many a day.

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    1. Thank you, Laurie. And you're the constant inspiration to all of us that readers do care about us. Ron and I will keep doing what we do, I just won't have to worry about splitting my attention. Thanks for buying my books. It always amazes me when someone who isn't related to me is reading something I wrote. Happy weekend.

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  14. Muriel, as usual, I'm late to the party here as I don't get home from work until late. This is such sad news to me, and I'm going to chalk this up to your being overwhelmed right now. All that you are doing for Ron, and then deadlines as well can make a person nuts. This I know--truly. Your books and stories are so lovely and so perfect for Heartwarming, that to think of the future without them, made my heart skip a beat. Not good. In any event, what you choose will be the right choice. And like Laurie, I need to go shopping and buy more of your books---now before they're all gone!
    Take care...keep posting, if you can. I miss you already.

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  15. Catherine, you're such a sweetheart! You all are. I'll be visiting all the time, and reading everyone's excellent character advice and writing tips. I'll probably be writing in my mind, anyway. Thanks, Catherine!

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  16. Oh, Muriel, I hope something changes between now and then. I've counted on the joy of your stories since Winter's Bounty. That being said, I'm glad Ron's doing well and that your furnace is back in fighting shape.

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  17. Muriel, I'm late to blog comments and catch up too, and when I read this post just now, my heart sank. I'm so very sorry for all you're going through but glad little blessings are coming your way. We love you here, so no matter what, please keep visiting us! No more Muriel books makes me sad too, but I know you have to do what you have to do. Big, big hug!

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  18. "It definitely sounds like you have been kept busy - I hope things are continuing to improve.
    As a fellow-writer who was staying with family during a kitchen renovation last year, I can totally relate to having to find a way to work through the noise - thank goodness for headphones!"

    Levi Eslinger @ Capital Plumbing

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