Category Archives: doing it wrong

What’s the Title of the Blog?

Just in case anyone missed my endless social media flogging, I had a new story come out this week. Here’s the link:

Skinny Charlie’s Orbiting Teepee.

And in other author news, I finally have an announcement about book 2: It will be here September 5.

I finished the last bits today and put it all together. I need to double check the files and take a break to rest my eyeballs in a gentle saline solution. I’ve been staring at the screen too long.

I’ve been dying to write a long rant about my bank but since I had a story come out, I didn’t want that to be the top post. But now that the furor has passed, I’ll go ahead.

Every couple has to figure out their own way to share money. Our general attitude is that it’s both of our money, but we keep it in separate piles. For my main separate pile I had Bob on the savings but I opened the checking later so he wasn’t on that. (Spoiler alert: he’s still not on it.)

The bank sent me a notice that they automatically enrolled me in their overdraft protection program. I did not want to be automatically enrolled in anything. Since I have a savings account, I wanted that to be my overdraft protection.

I logged into that account and commenced with the clicking and the clicking. It kept telling me I don’t have a savings account.

Later, when I had time to dick around, I phoned. They said, you have to have the same people on the checking account and the savings account if you want to link them.

So I logged back in and commenced with the clicking until I sent Bob an invitation to join the checking account. He received no invite. We did this for two rounds before we found time to both sit in the room at the same time and phone them again.

Turns out Bob did not have an email account linked to the savings so who knows where they were sending the invitation.

We were on the phone with them for 45 minutes. I have no idea what the problem was. Something something credit card. We don’t have a credit card. Bob reading off endless data for their files. We finally begged to end the call, we have lives.

Last I checked, Bob is still pending to be added to the account. I still don’t know what’s what. All this so I can use my savings as overdraft protection. Number of purchases I have overdrafted in my lifetime: 0.

I have many more people who are doing it wrong for future stories. Terrible legal booksellers? New story on that. The rental house next door? Funny you should ask.

More details to come.

My sweetheart has a medical procedure this week that requires dietary prep including 24 hours of fasting later this week. Pray for us!

I’ve got the okay to stay home tomorrow during the eclipse-o-pocalypse. Everyone enjoy your moon on sun action.

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I’m Back! Or Am I?

I saw this photo in my endless unedited photostream and it looked so otherworldly it took me awhile to figure out what it was. This is someplace in Madison, Wisconsin. I should look it up but I need to run out the door in 3 minutes.

I am back in town after a whirlwind trip to CA last weekend. I’m still running around trying to do more than I can handle. But I did some social things, too. And I baked two pies this morning and taking one to a get together this afternoon.

I have a story coming out in Apex Magazine tomorrow. Read the whole issue — it’s really good. Here’s the forward from guest editor Amy Sturgis. And don’t miss Rebecca Roanhorse’s story Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience. It’s a good companion piece with mine.

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Beg-A-Thon Wrap Up and Future News

We had a couple of baby raccoons hanging out several weeks ago. I took both these terrible pictures from inside the house. They make cute little chittering sounds. I was a little worried about them wandering around during the daylight but it’s nature. I’m sure they’re fine. Someone has been chewing on the pumpkins out front.

The write-a-thon is finished. I finished everything I wanted to but not as much as I hoped.

I’m not going to work too hard next month on new stuff but I will be prepping all the stuff to get the book published.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed. Last figure I saw they’d raised over $18,000.

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Things Never Change

Portland food trucks. I am a big fan of Caspian Kabob which colleague and I refer to as Narnia.

Today is the last day that I gave myself to be 100% no worries about the book. Yesterday I felt under the weather and spent the entire day in bed reading or in front of the TV. I’m not sure if I was really fighting off something or my body was like: enough already. We’re taking a day off.

Today I started by trying a new exercise program that was super fun and upon completion I lost 90% of the feeling and strength in my arms. I spent the rest of the day trying to get caught up on 1000 things like defrosting the chest freezer (done!) and flipping my closet so the winter stuff is put away and warm weather stuff is up front. I’m still woefully behind on administrivia.

I like the stickie notes for the computer desktop and when I have something to deal with later I paste to a sticky note. Right now I have at least 15 stickie notes on the desktop which is too many. I took a screenshot that I was going to post but I think there are passwords and other stuff that you don’t want to just blurt out to the world. I need to reel in the stickie notes.

Also when I’m writing I create tons of files and I have a system(ish) but I’ve completely ignored it lately so I have files all over the place that I need to rename and redate and put in a place where I can find them if I need them.

That sort of stuff.

Tomorrow I’m back at it. I have tidying up on the manuscript that I can do without early reader feedback. And I have to write the blurb and strategize my release. There is no shortage of things to do.

RE: Garden

It’s too chilly for the tomatoes to do anything. The rest of it is raging. I have sunflowers taking over. A lot of my greens have already bolted but they’re so pretty I’ve left them. Looks like surprise(!) potatoes are happening. The pumpkin/squash situation is looking good. The berry patch has been neglected and still is going nuts. I’m hoping to clean up out there tomorrow afternoon.

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Book 3 is Finished(ish)

I went to take pictures of the garden and look: raspberries! I’m going to pick tomorrow.

Book #3 out of all written, or #2 in the series I’m working on, has just gone off to beta readers. Whew!

Estimated release date is first week of September — but we’ll see.

For weeks I have ignored every other aspect of life so I am going to spend a week letting my brain grow back and getting organized and doing some pleasure reading and paying attention to the yard. Then I need to plot for the new release.

These stupid things are eating my dahlias. I have about 30 scraps of paper on my desk of things I need to do and dealing with these monsters is at the top of the list.

More updates soon.

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Super Quick Update

This weekend I completed my fixing the continuity issues pass on my manuscript. Next weekend I have to proofread and clean up for the first readers and then it’s out the door for a month.

I have made a list of about 500 things that I plan to do during that time which is hilarious because I still need to prep for the promotional part and I will never get most of those things done. I should make the list say: read books and sit on couch for a better chance of success.

But, feels good to see forward motion on the manuscript. I have struggled with this one and I’m not super confident but I feel better about it.

These are tomatoes my cousin sent me. They came in a box and I was not sure how this would work but they were well packed and looked fine upon arrival. The directions said if you couldn’t plant immediately then repot and I didn’t have time for either because I was headed out of town but I made time for planting.

It was supposed to be hot over the weekend so I was worried I would return to shriveled bits but they doubled in size. I will shop for tomatoes like this in the future. The plants I put out that I sprouted on my window sill look terrible. I have to keep the windows closed or I can hear them screaming.

Garden is in good shape. I have lots of sunflowers and a few greens, beets, carrots, pumpkins and potatoes out there.

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Everyone Is Stupid

Earlier this year I organized our bag collection. We have grocery bags and tote bags and reusable bags and bags full of bags. If my goal was to have the most bags, I would be so happy.

I always feel bad bitching about my health insurance because I know so many people struggle with health care but I feel like my healthcare’s stupidity contributes to the problem.

My plan has a wellness program and I’m not completely sure how it works. The website is confusing to navigate and the information mostly incomprehensible. Sometimes when I login they tell me to complete a survey to get money I can use for health care. So I tell them that I eat salad and exercise.

They sent me a card and told me it had money on it. I didn’t need any health care at that time so I didn’t use it. Then I had a prescription, but I forgot about the card so I didn’t use it.

I did another program where I had to login, and go through multiple levels of authentication every day, to tell them I exercised. You know what? I exercise all the time and I really resent spending 10 minutes a day logging into a website to “prove” it. They put more money on my card. I understand I can also do a diabetes thing and a few things that aren’t applicable like have a baby or quit smoking.

I did some physical therapy earlier this year and used the card for my co-pays. Great, I guess this thing works.

Then I had a general physical which I didn’t think I needed since I am perfectly healthy but they were super aggressive about scheduling so I did it. (Do a search for “Do I need an annual physical?” and let me know if you come up with anything that says, OMG-yes, because I don’t think you will.)

And they did a whole bunch of tests because of course they do. And I got a bill because some of them weren’t covered. I went to the clinic to pay my bill and I thought I had a few bucks left on my “wellness” card so I asked them to try that and it covered the whole thing.

Huh. Okay.

TODAY — I got a letter in the mail asking me to provide all kinds of documentation from my appointment to prove those were covered charges on the wellness card.

Picture me in a rage with flames shooting out of my ears, because honestly, the amount that they covered does not cover the dollar value of my time to comply with their petty request. The card covered charges at the doctor. What else is the “wellness” card for? Not like I bought pizza and hookers – which of course now I wish I did.

If I thought I could go to the clinic and pay for the services and charge back the “wellness card” I would but I am certain that is more trouble than it’s worth so now I’m going to stew on it all weekend and then waste my time dealing with them.

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No One Wants A Check For A Dollar

Here’s a better photo of the front yard tulips. They’re kinda pretty but see photo below.

I’m too lazy to check my archives right now but I bet I have complained at least once a year about how much I hate filling out my Oregon tax form. I have even stated that they could keep their refund if they would exempt me from filling out that form.

I hated it just as much this year as I always do.

Look how beat up these tulips appear, bruised and moldy. Plus their green parts look all mangled.

When all was said and done they owed me $3.

I don’t need $3 plus if they give you a refund you have to calculate it on your next year’s tax form and there’s a place to add it in and then a place to take it out and then a place to add it back in. If there is a complex and ridiculous hoop to make the taxpayer leap through, Oregon is one to do it.

There is the option of donating your refund, but you have to fill out another form. I was so outraged I was going to make them give me the stupid $3 except, come on. I filled out another form.

Apparently I made a rounding error on my tax form which Oregon kindly fixed for me and then sent me a check for $1.

I hardly ever make risotto because I always expect it to be more trouble that it is.

This recipe for risotto with peas and sausage was in the NYT a couple of weeks ago. I’m trying to get the freezer cleaned out so I can defrost it and I had some sausages I wanted to use so this jumped out at me.

It came out fantastic even when I half-assed it. I was in a hurry. I had a soccer match on TV starting up.

If you haven’t made risotto, give it a shot. Even badly done, it’s good.

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Stunning Development

You may find it hard to believe but I have completely lost track of what I’m doing here.

I thought I had photos of my flowers out front all cropped and ready to post. Instead, I found this one tulip photo.

I wasn’t overwhelmed with my tulips this year. They were okay-pretty. But there have been years where I drove up and thought: my flowers are so amazing. Then I would get out of the car and stand there and admire them.

This year I thought maybe they suffered from too much rain. Does that happen? I also buy the cheapest bulbs. Maybe that’s the problem?

All the flowers out front are long gone. There are still a few tulips in the back and the irises are just coming in. Last year we had crazy hot weather just as the irises came out and that was the end of that.

Should we be so lucky this year.

I think I’ve mentioned that house across the street I refer to as the bro house.

Our cool neighbors moved and a couple of years later we still haven’t figured out what’s going on there. I am not the world’s most outgoing neighbor but I at least wave. No person who lives (stays) there has ever even made eye contact with me.

It is not a large house — I think maybe 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. The basement was unfinished last time I was there. Small yard. I think I have identified two regular residents (bros). One guy has a dog. There are any number of cars coming and going from that house. Different cars parked overnight – most of them black SUVs. Mostly guys but occasionally women.

I don’t think it’s drugs. Nothing about it seems like drugs. I’m wondering if there’s a company where people travel a lot and this is the place to crash when they’re in town? They’ve had a few parties but generally nothing to complain about — just odd situation.

About 6 weeks ago they woke me up at 2:40am on a Friday night (Saturday morning). I assumed it must be a sweetheart quarrel – why else would people be talking outside in the middle of the night? But then the following week, they woke me up at the exact same time. I could hear car doors slam and people drive off. Bob said it must be a party breaking up but why would the party break up at the same time each week?

I came up with the idea that maybe someone has an early shift and they are headed to work. Except why they stand around outside talking before going off to work?

The following week it happened again, same time. But I haven’t heard them since.

It’s a mystery.

This isn’t particularly relevant to where I’m at in my process, but so I can feel like I’m making forward progress I’ll post my latest stat:

The manuscript that ate my brain:

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Heavy Bags of Money

A few years ago I decided to round up all the little dishes and boxes of coins we have around here and roll them and take them to the bank.

The bank said: you don’t have to roll coin.

They emptied out all my rolls, brought me the empty papers and then put my coins in a machine.

We have accumulated a lot of coins again so I threw them in a bag so I could take them to the bank. I told colleague what I was up to and he, too, brought in a giant bag of coins. More than that even.

We merrily took off for the bank with giant heavy bags of coins. When we arrived, the bank said: we were the last [of this] bank in the country to have coin machines but we got rid of them a couple of weeks ago. You can roll them and bring them back.

We brought our heavy bags of money to lunch and then carried them back to the office and rolled our coin. We ran out and I went back to the bank and announced we needed more rolling papers.

In the end colleague turned in $124 and we had $71.

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