Technically it's still Friday, so I can pretend I didn't get busy today and forget to put out my blog this morning ;)
Also, if I'd gotten this out on time today, I wouldn't have been getting it done while in a good mood. Why the good mood? For the first thing, Karma really is a bitch, and she bit someone who royally deserved it. A good friend called me today and let me know that some trouble he'd had years ago, and which has followed him into some current issues, got a large bit of well-deserved closure today. It was a good call and brightened my day.
For the second thing, for some reason I've been getting sleep... and that reason is therapy. My therapist is back from her holidays and I had someone I could gob all the uglies to without repercussion. Added bonus: she provided positive reinforcement for the stuff I'd managed to get through, and then had suggestions and Path Forward ideas for some of the financial problems that I hadn't thought of as options before.
The third reason is that this was the first full week of regular school. I've mentioned before that schedules give me structure, and structure gives me sanity through predictable routine (as long as the interactions in that routine are not consistently crappy, ie: not like my previous job lol). This kids-in-school schedule is full of pretty awesome people, though, so the sanity boost has been huge.
That means more writing, more reading, and more editing. End result? More stories for you :) Hope you have a great weekend!
2. Sweet Tea & Brownies
This house had been a living fairy tale for every child that encountered it, complete with a mysterious old woman and her quick-to-smile husband. Gran brewed sweet tea in jars on the windowsills and hung dried spices from the ceilings of each room to keep the energy clean and positive. She burned incense to purify the air, kept mirrors at every entrance to reflect away bad spirits, and hung small, silver bells and a knot of red yarn on every door to protect the rooms. A cherry tree and a peach tree dominated the half-wild gardens in the back yard. Tarot cards that she claimed were blessed by a Druid had always sat beside a thick beeswax candle on the kitchen table like a centerpiece and all the furniture in the house was placed based on Feng Shui philosophy to ensure energy was channeled for the maximum benefit of everyone who entered.
Only the bathroom got bleach-based cleaners, because outhouses were dug away from the house and garden for a reason and bleach made sure the sentiment remained despite indoor plumbing. Gran cleaned with vinegar for a lot, and all-natural dish soap that Grandma bought for her for the rest. The wood floors had always shone with regular oilings.
The house had been well-maintained structurally, too. The windows and roof had been replaced only five or six years ago, and the siding and insulation updated a year before that. Pop had repaved the driveway twice while they’d been living here and the second time was still holding up perfectly well. Plus, Pop had been a plumber, so his tinkering after retirement had included updating all the piping and drains to the latest codes before he’d passed away about a year ago. The hot water tank and furnace were only three years old, Bissette’s mom and husband had bought them as a surprise when Gran had gotten the entire house’s electrical updated to current.
The impossible thing seemed to be thinking of this place as hers rather than as Gran and Pop’s. Most of the furniture was gone already, as were the keepsakes and heirlooms. Gran had been pretty specific in her will about who got what, and nobody had been left out. A few cousins had grumbled that Bissette had gotten the house, but Gran had written the house was meant for Bissette because she was the only one who still understood that the dishwasher and kitchen window had to be kept open a crack for the fairies who rested in there to come and go as they pleased.
Bisette left her backpack and roamed the few rooms. Shadows made by dust belied where furniture had been and a lack of discoloration on the walls spoke of the photos and paintings that had been hanging there. All the mirrors had been left, and all the usual spices hung in small bundles from the nails and hooks Gran had on hand at the time she’d put the first ones up. Every door tinkled like laughter and each closet smelled of the laundry soap Gran had made using a few things from the grocery store and the plants in her garden. The jar of her liquid soap sat on the shelf above the washing machine, the recipe for making more beside it.
The little china cabinet was empty. Whoever had cleaned it out had also cleaned it up because there wasn’t any dust. Bissette smiled faintly as she opened one of the ornate glass doors and the missing tang of vinegar jumped out to greet her like an unexpected hug.
The kitchen table, with its set of four nearly-matching chairs, was looking empty without the cards and candle in the center. The dining room chairs and table, the fancy ones that weren’t part of a set but had matched close enough to the built-in china cabinet to look like they all were, had left only the evidence of a few dents in the hardwood. That was fine, though. The fancy table had always felt stiff in the house, and it was too big for the room. The living room had been squished because of it. Bissette’s favorite memories had been around the kitchen table, reading cards and having tea from the jars on the windowsill, so having that table still here felt good.
The cat flap on the back door bumped and one of the neighbor’s three cats froze mid-step in the hallway when Bissette looked over at it. Gran always said the cats were welcome because the brownies that rode them were too small to get around on their own. Bissette looked in the fridge and found some milk that hadn’t expired. The last of the non-pretty dishes were scattered around the kitchen cupboards so she poured some milk in a chipped bowl and some sweet tea in a shot glass, putting both on the floor for the cat and the brownie to drink. The cat rubbed her legs and purred a thanks before settling down at the expected treat.
Holding a deep breath, Bissette unlocked the kitchen door and stepped out onto the patio. The gardens hummed with more bees that she could hope to count and her siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles laughed around the barbeque at Grandma’s. A few called over the hedge that she should come back before they ate everything. She laughed and joined a few joking comments as she was looking for what she knew had to be here, waved at everyone – assuring them she’d be back over soon – and then took the heavy, clay dish and metal plate inside to wipe off the dust and wash away the algae that had soured the dishes. Gran kept the big bowl out there with fresh water for passing trolls to dip their mugs, and the iron in the enameled plate kept the fairies from stealing the trolls’ daily biscuit.
She set the bowl and plate to dry in the sink and then cracked open both the window over the sink and the dishwasher after hanging the dishrag over the tap. Going through the rest of the kitchen cupboards proved that there was everything needed to make baking powder biscuits for breakfast tomorrow if she slept here tonight. There was a box of herbal tea and some incense cones at the back of a drawer too, which would be nice for after dinner, and still one chair in the living room to sit in that was near the wall closest to her grandma’s house.
Why are Authors crazy? I can't answer that, but I can provide bits of my own thoughts so that you can piece together why I may be.