Not a very grab-the-audience title for this blog post, but I'm not lying. The next short story will start its updates next week (March 6). You're stuck with just my ramblings today.
MWA HA HA HA.... ha? I'm not good at the evil laugh lol.
This week's adventures in parenting just had my 8yo sick for the week. Again. Three separate sets of symptoms, each set of symptoms coming its own fever, in three weeks. This kid's immune system should be bullet proof by summer.
My adventures in writing were a complete scratch due to my adventures in physiotherapy. On Tuesday I was able to do a bit of drafting on a side story – as in a random idea popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone until I typed out some of it – but that was it. My hands and wrists have been too sore to type (or to knit, which also sucks a lot). I had a physio appointment this morning, however, and now have a new set of home exercises and a letter going to my doctor to open up conversations about pain management during physio and / or alternate options instead of or in addition to physio.
So... sick kids, sick me, sore me, and that's about it. The bonus this week is that the weather has been warm, and sunshine is a wonderful thing to see again. :)
Happy Friday! Below is the final part of Old Mine, New Purpose, and that means the free downloads are available over on my Short Stories page. Or you can click here to go straight to the page :)
I've been getting a bunch of editing done this week. My goal had started out as paring down the word count on one story, and polishing another to get it ready for blog updates. The attempt at paring down upped the word count by 2000 new words, and the polished one is... too sad for blogging I think?
It appears that my only solution is to use the novelette for blogging and post up the sad story on Wattpad. Might as well share both, eh? :D Which means Hybrids will start as blog updates on March 6, 2020. Hope you have a great weekend!
3. This Could Work
“I used your lawyer,” he announced. She looked over her reading glasses at him with a frown and then went back to reviewing the documents.
Every expression of interest he’d gotten had a signed promissory contract dedicating the needed remaining funds for the areas they were interested in, if they were selected as the winning bidder, after initial construction was complete. She set the file on the table and picked up the first of three private investment contracts, each with people Dillan had gotten investments from before and giving them small percentages in ownership in return for almost all of the initial funding for completing construction up to the point where the spa and hotel would become involved. Everything was in order. He even had proposals from four marketing firms who were supported as acceptable companies by the hotel and spa owners interested in developing the idea.
“I know. It’s hole in the ground and a neat idea and I already paid my half of the inheritance for it without talking to you first. I used my own money and got a loan to make up the difference and it’s a big risk right now. Big as in huge. But the location, and the potential! I really think that with your contacts and experience, and the agreements that I already have, that –”
“This could work,” she interrupted to finish.
“That’s what I think, yes, and –”
“No, Dill, I mean that I agree with you. This could work,” Terry said. “Doug and I would have to dip into our savings, but not as much as we’ve had to before. You’ve secured most of the funds needed for construction to initiate the big investor contributions. I mean, we’d have to stage the hotel first and use a portion of their initial contribution toward the spa and then the spa’s initial contribution would repay the hotel, but those progress and completion payments from both would… well, it would work.”
“Don’t forget about the commercial farm. From what I’ve researched, they’ll be operating and providing first stage income that can be invested into the end of initial construction too.”
“The public gardens would be a final project, typical to landscaping, and will just have to be planned around hotel completion dates. Even with the usual expected problems for construction, we’re not dependent on environmental conditions and can schedule work at summer paces regardless of season.”
“So that’s a yes?”
“That’s a ‘I have to talk to Doug’, Dillan.”
“Yes!” he whispered, pumping a fist.
“You’re fifty-two years old. Please stop acting like a teenager.”
He stuck his tongue out at her and then jumped back, laughing, when she faked an attempt to slap it back into his mouth. “I can act however I want because the ten-year returns on this would mean you can pay off both of Julie and Angie’s student debts for them and still replace your dipped-into savings.”
“Only if it works.”
“You just said it would,” he said, grinning.
“I said it could.”
“Could means would.”
“Could means might. Come on, you little twerp. Let’s go talk to Doug.” Terry replaced all the contracts and closed the blue folder around them before lifting it to hand to Dillan.
“You’re inviting me along for the conversation?”
“I’m inviting you along for dinner. This conversation is best had while we’re eating.”
“Because Doug needs to be happy to agree and good food will create that?” Dillan asked, his posture suddenly uncertain as his grip tightened on the folder.
“No,” Terry said, stretching and glancing at her watch. “Because we’ve been down here for almost three hours, I’m getting hungry, and we’ll need to talk to Doug for just as long as you’ve had me down here. Come on and roll up the plans on that table. We’ll need everything I was looking at so we can explain all of this well enough.”
Dillan beamed a smile at her and – again – nearly skipped to the table she’d sent him to. She couldn’t help but grin at his back. Having an engaging, excitable, and charming little brother could be a pain in the ass. But, she thought, glancing at the plans she was rolling up, he had a pretty good reason here to be excited, engaged, and charming about.
“I’m glad you like my hole,” he called, smirking, as he finished rolling up the blueprints for the mine. She stepped faster than he expected, bonking him in the head with the roll of plans she had before he could get out of reach.
“Smart-mouth kid,” she accused him.
“Bossy old –”
“Don’t get rude,” she interrupted before he could finish. “I haven’t agreed to anything,” she said, adding a threat to her tone and pointing a finger at him. He grinned wider and collected the flashlights into his pockets before picking up the roll of blueprints.
“Bet you didn’t think you guys would get to retire, did you?” he asked.
“Off one of your schemes? I still don’t,” she teased. He froze and stared at her, realizing only after a moment that she was chiding him. “Come on. I’m hungry.”
He offered his elbow for the walk out. She linked arms with him and listened to him babble about the plans for each room they passed all the way back to the gate. She smiled at the darkness this time when he turned off the lights at the switch box. This could work.
Hi, all! I'm running rather late with this update today, but it's for a good reason I promise :)
I got to volunteer at my kids' school this morning, helping out at their Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser activities. Talk about a super fun morning! The classes each came through two or three at a time, and us volunteers had stations all around the gym for different skip rope games and challenges.
As for the rest of my week, well... I've had a chronic repetitive strain injury in both my right and left forearms and wrists for getting close to thirty years now. Since leaving my day job and becoming an at-home mom and full-time writer two years ago, which means being able to dictate my own schedule and activities most hours of the day, my pain levels have dropped significantly. So significantly, I started to wonder if I might just be able to get pain-free one day and still have full use of both (or at least one) of my hands.
My doctor took my confession of pain seriously and, after some encouraging tests (x-rays showed no visible joint deterioration, and nerve test results came back as fully functioning in both arms), I started physiotherapy two weeks ago. I've had three appointments so far, and I have to say: OUCH! Yes, this stuff hurts lol. It's not as awful as I expected so far, however, and the awesome physiotherapist I'm seeing listens to what I'm saying. We use the exercise log I'm keeping to adjust and modify my at-home exercises as needed, and I make sure I do my exercises so I have progress to use for adjustments and modifications. I don't know if this will help (previous attempts had negative impacts), but if it does there's hope of recovering at least partially, and if it doesn't I have record of why not.
It's so foreign to dream about one day not having pain, but what an amazing thing to ponder. Hope you have a great weekend!
2. The Best for Last
The prints that described the rest of the mine were impressive. The area that had been rented for filing, the top section of rooms, was the smallest square footage. Looking down through the earth, with the main shaft at the center and imagining the mine’s levels fit into four equal quadrants of a circle, the top level wouldn’t have filled one quadrant. The second level, at a lower elevation, was about one and a half quadrants. The lowest level filled the remaining almost-half of the circle. Due to maintaining structural integrity, none of the levels overlapped. Dillan’s initial description for the levels as being ‘stairs’ made sense in how they stepped in dropping elevations around the central shaft. Ventilation tunnels and other points of access for regular use and emergencies were all noted on each level on the blueprints.
“Okay, so you bought a really nice hole,” Terry finally admitted. “Why am I down here though? I don’t see any diamonds.”
“This was a mine for stone or some kind of ore, not diamonds. And you’re here because of this,” Dillan said, leading her to the next table that was full of paperwork… for a spa?
Per the plan that he’d come up with, the entire top level would be a dedicated health and beauty spa, complete with hiking trails and a picnic area outside. So far, he’d already garnered interest from three wellness companies who wanted more information about the location and development progress.
The second level was being billed as a hotel. Dillan had been in and out of the hospitality industry for the past twenty years, so the spa and hotel plans were detailed, smart, and – even Terry had to note – surprisingly good. The hotel would also boast a unique banquet and event hall in the largest room, making the hotel and spa an interesting destination for both corporate and personal occasions.
“This part is a joke, right?” Terry asked, squinting at the plan for the third and lowest level as she tried to find a reason for it even existing.
“Nope. This is actually the part I’m most proud of. I got the idea when I stumbled onto subterranean farming articles while I was researching.”
Dillan proudly showed off the stack of blueprints for water recycling, rain capturing, walking paths… the whole third level was intended to be a greenhouse. Due to another large entryway to that level from outside, and the majority of worker facilities being there so already having the necessary plumbing to begin from, more than half of the third level was redesigned in the plans to become a working hydroponics farm for strawberries and spices. There was a necessary partition – complete with sound dampening – that would be built between the working farm and the rooms nearest to the hotel. Those rooms would be converted into public gardens and parks, accessible to hotel guests or through certain spa packages, and available individually as rental event destinations or mock-outdoor exercise class locations.
The hotel portion included the gardens on the third level and had five interested chains, and one interested private party. The farm already had fourteen interested clients and the mining company’s investment came in the form of onboarding and overseeing the corporation selected to run the commercial farm – the partnership with Dillan providing them a low-risk way to experiment with converting closed mines into more profitable options than file storage sites, as well as a potentially large public image boost.
Terry straightened and stretched her back. She looked around the room they were in through the ideas Dillan had about it and found herself seeing much too easily what he wanted to create. Her career contracting in commercial development, however, left a heavy sigh waiting in the center of her chest. What he wanted to do wasn’t possible on her half of the inheritance from their dad passing away. After liquidating assets, the numbers looked big in personal bank accounts, but they were very small numbers in the development world.
“I knew you were going to get that look, so I saved the best for last,” Dillan said. He was almost skipping (something her fifty-five year old eyes didn’t need to see) on his way to a lonely file cabinet standing against the nearest wall. The blue folder in his hands when he came back to where she was waiting had taken on his trembling excitement as he held it out to her.
The sigh inside her chest hissed out between her teeth as she took the folder. She expected to read a lot of not much in the pages it contained. Dillan often used her to review his contracts because she was better at the legal wording than he’d ever practiced to become, and often the first draft contracts he procured based on ‘interest’ were awful; lots of fancy wording that amounted to him footing all the cost and them receiving all the profits. After her reviews and provision of counter offers, ninety percent of the ‘interest’ would disappear. Dillan had scraped by on the ten percent of his ideas that got funded.
Inside the folder was not what she expected. At all.
Why are the kids sick again? I'm actually asking. We just got past the icky virus a week ago, so what's up with the underage yuck in our house again today? And, yes, I am asking these questions as my hubby hits the first recovery day of the cold he's had all week...
I'm not sure where my better half picked up this latest virus, usually the kids bring the illnesses home from school and he and I get sick after they do. (Our previous neighbor was a teacher for grade three and grade four students, and lovingly referred to her classroom as a petri dish.) So far I haven't started on symptoms yet. Do you think this cold would skip me if I hid all weekend? No? Well... humph. It was worth asking lol.
It was my birthday last week and I'm now officially 40. Maybe strange to a lot of people, but I was legitimately excited for this birthday, and I actually enjoyed the day. That's likely due in a large part to my current circle of people being awesome and there was no worry this year about anyone attempting to "make the birthday special". No surprises, no forced large-scale socializing, no expensive outings, just a nice day and some well wishes and a lot of smiles. I even ended up with a migraine in the evening, and my good mood remained while hiding in a dark room on enough pain medication to know I was completely unfit to operate heavy machinery.
For the writing side of things... depression and anxiety are still steadily eating away at my creativity. I've been able to thumb my nose at them and get some editing done, but this week hasn't been great. It really would be lovely to have a switch where my internal Voice of Can't can be shut off. At the very least, a volume knob that could be installed so I can turn it down. This week, rather than writing, I often changed the internal radio station to the channel for hanging out with kids and working on things to help out family. For the writing side, getting editing done works for me, for now.
For the knitting side, I figured out how to read a pattern! Not just a knit stitch / purl stitch beginner's pattern, but one with slip stitches and pretty shapes! Not cording yet, or double knitting, I'm just entering into the medium-difficulty range. The hard stuff still confuses the heck out of me lol. Hope you have a great weekend!
1. A Very Nice Hole
“Oh good. You bought a hole.” Terry was less than impressed, if the look on her face and the tone of her voice could be used as gauges.
“A mine, yes. One that was recently abandoned for mining and is up to the latest safety codes.” Dillan ignored his sister’s lack of excitement, he was easily excited enough for both of them.
“Great. Instead of just any hole, it’s a large one. Good investment for your half of the inheritance.” She covered her face with her hands in a way only ever used to hide rampant disappointment.
“I did actually put in a lot of research on this, and the company I bought it from is interested in investing in my idea.”
“If?” she asked.
“You bought something they didn’t want anymore, so their interest is only there if…?”
Dillan laughed. “No ‘if’ this time. They’re legit interested. I just need one more investor to make it work.”
“Oh, for… this is why I’m standing in front of a gate on a dead-end road? You want my half of the inheritance to sink into your hole?”
“That sounded really naughty,” he said, smirking. She smacked him in the back of the head, just like when they’d been kids, and he laughed as hard as he would have at thirteen. “Come on, at least let me show you what I’m planning before you decide to write me off.”
The keys jingled as he took them from his jacket pocket and shook out the one he needed from the rest on the ring. The lock clicking open echoed through the metal tubing it was built into and then Dillan pulled the gate just far enough for both of them to walk through.
“If you throw me off a cliff in there, I’m haunting you like a poltergeist.”
“There are no cliffs, and the river exposures are covered with steel mesh so I can’t drown you either,” he said, holding out a flashlight to her. “Besides, Doug should be your beneficiary by now. You guys have been married long enough that I doubt I’d get anything.”
“True,” she admitted, taking the high-powered light with a sigh.
Dillan beamed a thousand watt smile at her for even considering looking at his latest innovation, and she glared back at him with twenty years of experience behind each of his previous ideas barely keeping him financially independent. None of his ideas had failed, really, but none had ever taken off well enough to individually support him the way that he’d imagined. Unfortunately, his unsinkable optimism about every new idea based on the partial successes of his previous ones persisted. That meant Terry got dragged along for the journey with him on at least half.
Having an engaging, excitable, and charming little brother could be a pain in the ass. However, she’d never suffered from being convinced to invest. At least with the risks he took, she always got her money back.
At least, that’s how it’s been in the past, she thought, dubiously shining the beam of the flashlight around at the tunnel entrance.
“Okay, so you know, this place is completely safe. It was rated as bomb shelter approved by the city in event of emergencies, and the company I bought it from had been renting some of the higher rooms as secure file storage before deciding to sell.”
“That’s comforting,” Terry replied, not at all comforted at the thought of going underground.
Dillan clicked on his flashlight and shone it toward a specific point, searching that area of the wall for a moment. The switch-box and connected cabling looked like some kind of strange, mechanical spider bolted to the cut stone.
“As well,” he said, walking over to the switch box. “I called the power company last week just after I took possession.” He pulled all the levers, one at a time, and bright LED lights flared to life along the tunnel. Dillan clicked off his flashlight and smiled at his big sister. “The lights only extend to the rooms used for file storage, but that’s only how far we have to go. I have a map in case you want to check out more, though.”
The dark intimidation of the spacious tunnel evaporated under the lights. Terry clicked off her flashlight and followed her brother deeper into the mine. He babbled about rooms and pillars, ventilation, a main shaft, and what he called staired levels (because he couldn’t remember the actual term) as they went.
The lit rooms that had been rented for file storage still contained tables and chairs which Dillan had purchased along with the mine. Scrapes on the floors showed where the file cabinets had been. The rooms were a great deal larger than Terry had expected and, despite being underground and humid, the environment was comfortably cool and felt unrestricted. They turned into the last room that had lighting, the tunnel continuing darkly away into complete shadow. Rather than bare furniture, these tables were covered with paperwork.
“Welcome to my orifice,” Dillan said, gesturing widely for Terry to walk with him toward the nearest table.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!