Hello! The kids are back in school and order has been restored! At least, to approximately the same extent there was order during the first half of this school year. It's a semi-regular sleeping and eating schedule. That's about as close to order as my world is usually capable of getting lol.
I skipped on the "new year, new start, new whatever..." stuff this year. A lot of people find positive motivation in it, but this year I'm too tired so I'm letting myself be tired. The plan is to get through the needed grind from what the coming months will throw at us, based on what the previous months have thrown at us, and then steal moments to breathe when there are breaks. My annoyingly buoyant optimism has been taking a kicking and right now hoping hurts.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still annoyingly optimistic about the grind eventually having breaks (and even an end one day), I just need a rest from packing around the hope. Yes, it's depression weighing heavily to press the hopeful feelings into a bruising hard spot. And yes, it's completely situational – as in once this situation closes things will change and new struggles / opportunities will come up. My "right now" is tired, though, so I'm giving myself space to feel crappy about feeling crappy. I'll get to a point of being annoyed at living inside a crappy head space and find ways to kick myself out of it eventually because therapy helps and I have some healthy-for-me coping tools now; one of which is to let myself feel how I'm feeling without judging the emotion. So... the emotion for now is being allowed to be felt even though I have judgingly labeled it "crappy". (Having a tool and using it are two different things, okay? Lol)
I've mostly been working on editing this week. I dove back into that sci-fi novella, which is out with a few beta readers at the moment so I want to get re-familiar with the story in case of questions and/or feedback, and I'm prepping my romance novellas for adding to Wattpad. I'm still slowly posting my short stories into Wattpad and I like the platform so far. It seemed like a good idea to add When it's Not Right and When it's Not Perfect into the mix, too. The paperbacks and ebooks will continue to be for sale in my Etsy. :)
The outside temperatures have now dropped into the Canadian winter range of "it's how cold?!" and staying inside to work on editing and the sci-fi novella's cover design is my preferred place to be.
We trade extremely cold weeks every winter for a plethora of poisonous reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids. So, as much as I do not enjoy these weeks where the air is so cold it makes my skin hurt, I do like our blandly populated springs, summers, and autumns. This extra-cold blast we're currently having can also kill off a bunch of hibernating mosquitoes if the weather stays extra-cold for about two weeks, which would be awesome as seasons change. Less mosquitoes would definitely make for a better spring. Gotta find the positives, right? Hope you have a good weekend!
Dally didn’t really feel the miracle the news said was occurring for the islands. He did believe they were relatively safe at the moment. The aggressive part of the storm was stalled over open water and these small portions of inhabited land were trapped in the eye. Looking at satellite images collected over the past two weeks, the storm expanded and shrank as if it was synchronized with the tides. Canna had sped up the footage and run it on an endless loop to make the whole thing throb like a heartbeat.
Because being trapped inside an immobile hurricane wasn’t creepy enough.
The real miracle was, in Dally’s opinion, the three cruise liners that had been chased here by the storm. The islands would have run out of safe drinking water days after the initial landfall without the ships’ desalination plants working to give everyone fresh water. Boats of all shapes and sizes ferried empty containers to the ships and fresh water back to the docks.
The down side were the thousands of extra people the ships had brought. These little islands had never been prepared for this amount of demand, and the resources of the ships hadn’t lasted as long as they needed to. The news anchors all estimated that the worst of the storm would pass the islands in as little as a day once it started moving again. There was no precedent in recorded history for the storm stopping, though, so exactly when it would start moving couldn’t be predicted. Some news stations had started comparing the storm to the Red Spot on Jupiter.
Dally walked over to the truck and opened the door with one hand, the box of supplies balanced between his knee, the side of the truck, and his other hand. He shoved the supplies into the middle of the bench seat and then climbed in beside it. The supply run only been four and a half hours this week, but the supplies he’d gotten were half what they’d been able to have last week. Add to that, angry and frightened tourists had trampled the farms at higher elevations the same day the storm had gotten stuck – as if they’d never been only hungry before – and now there wasn’t any way to extend rations safely. They didn’t have nearly enough local crops to attempt supplementing rations because the storm surge had flooded out most of the farms at lower elevations.
Dally shook his head and started the truck. It would be a true miracle when the storm started moving again. Until then… he needed to get home.
Their house was easy to find. Their roof had been damaged by the first hit of the hurricane, and trees around all the houses along this street had been knocked over. Luckily, they hadn’t been hit by any of the falling trees. None of the storm damage made their house stand out as much as the lack of other damage did. Other houses were dealing with broken windows and smashed-in doors, the small gardens which had looked nice now were trampled or uprooted. Dally and Canna’s garden was still in a mess, just not because of looters. It was a mess because Reduke liked to roll in the flowers.
Not seeing it in the front, Dally assumed Reduke was around the back of the house, probably sleeping in the shade. The beast of a mutt had shown up when the storm made landfall. Limping, soaked, shivering and exhausted, Canna had seen it through the windows as she was shuttering them and then gone out in the wind and rain to coax it inside. They’d taken pictures and made missing animal posters, thinking maybe the giant dog had fled from one of the cruise ships, but nobody from the ships or the islands came to claim it after the storm stopped and the better weather let them hand the posters out.
The collar it wore was plain leather. The tags and buckle on the collar were rusted steel. One tag had a few remaining flecks of the paint that had once covered it, but nothing else, and the other tag had the dog’s name stamped into it in big letters: REDUKE. Dally and Canna assumed that was its name, anyway. The dog answered to it. They still couldn’t tell if it was male or female, so just called Reduke ‘it’ and didn’t bother after that.
“Hello, Reduke!” Dally called as he was climbing out of the truck. A few moments later the familiar, dark shape sauntered out from the shadows between houses. Reduke was yawning wide and stretching its long legs with each step.
Dally and Canna both agreed that they couldn’t tell if Reduke was brown or grey, so they just settled on calling its short hair ‘dark’. The same with its eyes; in some light they were yellow and in others… Dally decided to think of it as ‘not yellow’. Reduke was a strange, big dog that looked mostly like a Great Dane in the pictures online. Those dogs had big rectangles for heads, though, and Reduke’s head was more of a long triangle with a squared off nose. Great Danes didn’t seem to have bone structures as thick as Reduke’s, either, and their fur was described as short and stiff instead of the silken softness of Reduke’s coat.
Reduke leaned on Dally’s hip with a contented groan and smiled up at Dally, stopping the man from reaching back into the truck for the box of supplies. Dally laughed and scrubbed his fingers into the loose skin around the scruff of its neck, digging under the collar in the way that made Reduke’s eyes close and back leg twitch. The big dog huffed and shook when the scratches ended, stepping away to do so and freeing Dally to reach back into the truck and get the supplies.
“Come on, Reduke,” Dally invited as he swung the truck door closed with his elbow. “Let’s get this stuff inside so we can put it away.”
Dally could feel eyes on him as he walked to his front door. People on this street didn’t like Reduke much. Considering the damages to their houses when the looters had come through, he wouldn’t like to every day see the reason someone else’s house had been saved, either.
Reduke also just had a strange effect on people. Adults got quieter around it, and kids either tried to ride it and hang on it or would cry and cling tighter to their parents. Nobody ever petted Reduke without it specifically walking up to them (except small kids that ran up to it, they could pet it as much as they wanted because it would lie down for them to climb on). Canna’s oversized heart made her go out into the storm and pull the dog into the house. It hadn’t wanted to come at first, shying away from her, but then let her coax it into the kitchen to dry off and warm up.
The limp had healed up with rest and fresh water, but the dog didn’t eat anything they tried to give it. After the worst of the storm front passed, four days after Canna brought it inside, they’d let it out and expected not to see it again. Later that day, Reduke had come back and barked to be let in. Its belly was full, if the quiet belches it was doing while napping could be believed, and it had stayed with them for the rest of the day. The next morning, they’d let it out again and a few hours later it had come back, full and sleepy.
Welcome to 2020! New year, new hopes, and all that. :)
The kids having change-in-routine nightmares has continued for this past week, meaning sleep has been disrupted to the point of any schedule for it being laughable. Cue up the band in my head for a cringe-worthy solo in anxiety... It's been a rough week. The nasty voice took advantage of having a foggy head to yell inside of. I know it's just a nasty voice, but the words still have impact. I wasn't able to get much writing done, which never helps as writing is something that shushes the nasty voice, but I got to some editing in one of my novellas and I have a couple of scenes imagined for the big manuscript. I'm looking forward to the regular routine of the school schedule almost as much as I'd been looking forward to the two week break lol.
Hopefully the first few days of 2020 have been treating you well. Have a great weekend!
1. Supply Run
The shelves and bins he could see were either empty or the few remaining products on them were in various stages of rotten. A line of people still waiting to come in and be disappointed made a tail from the soldiers and security guards at the front doors all the way around the corner and onto the next block. Only one person was allowed in the store at a time. Dally stepped inside and looked around, the view surprisingly even worse than last week.
“Well. Ain’t this just superb,” Dally muttered. The nearest security guard frowned at him. Probably he should’ve kept those words inside his head. As with most of what he did say, hindsight for what had been verbalized provided him with the knowledge that he should have remained silent.
Ah well. Nothing for it now. He just had to hope Canna would have good luck at the dock.
He hurried past the worst of the smells in the produce section, finding an onion that wasn’t too moldy to use. Surprisingly, along the otherwise empty rows of products, some flour bags small enough to fit in the rations box he’d been given were still unspoiled, hidden at the back of a high top shelf, and after taking two there was still room for the three boxes of sugar cubes from the back of another top. He moved a bag of flour and a box of sugar cubes to the front of the next shelf down. The woman who’d been in line behind him wouldn’t be able to reach these things due to her age and her cane. At least this way he knew, when her turn came to be inside the store, she’d have something more to find than the given rations at the exit.
He hurried past the dairy section – it wasn’t somewhere to spend time and everyone knew, now, not to open the magnetically sealed doors. Going past the pharmacy section, the abundance of toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes gave him pause so he grabbed four of each. Then stopped at the shelf for soaps and got a brick of six bars, each individually wrapped, and two bottles of shampoo. It was still weird going past the broken shelves for baby stuff. People had literally torn them apart out of frustration once the shelves were empty.
The butcher’s counter had a hand written list of available meats and cuts taped to the front of the glass display and a tired butcher behind it. There were only three items left on the list that weren’t crossed out yet.
“Two cuts of beef, please?” Dally asked.
She squinted at the ration card pinned to his shirt to confirm he was allowed to have two cuts and then nodded and walked into the windowed room behind the deli counter. Dally watched her as he waited for the meat. There wasn’t really anything else to do and, after the first round of riots, he still didn’t trust putting things down when whatever he’d been holding wasn’t in his line of sight. She wrapped the cuts into waxed, brown paper and wrote ‘beef’ on each package. He won half a smile when he held up the box for her to toss the packages into.
“Swish! Three points,” he said, winking at her, when the first package landed in the middle of his scavenged supplies. She was still chuckling as she tossed the second one. “Six to nothing! You win!”
She pumped her fist once. “Yes!” she said once her elbow was level with her waist.
They shared a smile and he turned away to finish up his supply run through the bakery. He’d said the right thing that time and didn’t want to ruin the moment by adding anything else.
The words ‘supply run’ got stuck in his mind. Three weeks ago (before the storm warning) he would have called it a trip for groceries, or a run to the market, or stopping off at the store. Today it was a supply run. The words got stuck in his thoughts because that terminology sounded normal. Then again, today’s normal was a four hour wait in line for the few groceries he would leave with and he didn’t even want to think about how late Canna would be getting home after going for water and – hopefully – fish.
The baker handed him the required loaf ration based on the card pinned to his shirt. Two loaves; one for him and one for Canna. Then he gave Dally the usual gift package wrapped up in whatever paper the store had once used for flowers. The gift was sometimes a cake, but usually bland muffins. It was a good thought, though, and appreciated. The baker seemed extra careful with his gift package this week, so Dally hoped for cake.
Canned goods were handed out by the soldier just before exiting. Dally’s ration card said that he could have two cans of hard beans, four cans of fruit, and four cans of vegetables. The soldier filled the card, and then lifted the two loaves of bread to hide a single, sealed cup of fruit salad under them.
“We found the case yesterday,” the soldier said with a smile. “You’re lucky, this is the last one.”
“Oh,” Dally said, his eyebrows pulling the middle of his forehead down.
“You allergic?” the soldier asked.
“No, not me. I just… behind me in the line was an old woman and then a mom and little girl. I think the little girl would like the fruit cup more than me.”
The soldier beamed a smile and took out the fruit cup, tucking it away where he’d first gotten it from.
“I think you just made someone’s day a lot more special,” the soldier said.
“I hope at least a little better,” Dally replied with a shrug.
The guards at the store’s exit confirmed his supplies, marked his ration card with today’s date and the date he’d be allowed to come back to the store, and then he was able to leave. The sunshine felt weird considering the gloom of the store and the quiet of the people on the street outside. Having bright, quiet days after the storm was weird.
After the storm might be a bit of exaggeration, Dally thought as he looked toward the horizon in all directions. The walls of wind and rain rose up to meet angry clouds towering high above any buildings in view. Since the storm had become strangely stationary two and a half weeks ago, only two emergency helicopters had managed to get through to the islands trapped in the middle. That was where the soldiers had come from. Weather all over the world was affected, now. Nobody could explain what was going on.
Hello! Everyone sleeping well and eating healthy over the holidays?
Lol! Me either :)
I'd planned to not sleep in this week, but that got all messed up with both kids having change-in-schedule nightmares. They've been good enough to alternate nights (except for that one night... two big kids do not fit well with mom in only a double bed lol), but disrupted sleeping has made my plan for a good routine impossible so far. On the plus side, our holidays have been really easy for socializing due to really liking everyone we socialized with, and every day so far has included a block of quiet time. My hubby, myself, and our kids are all introverts. The quiet time blocks are wonderful.
We did venture out and perform Boxing Day / Week Sale shopping yesterday. It's something I don't remember willingly doing in all of my years of being alive for this lifetime, but yesterday I knew I wanted to pick up some out-of-the-ordinary things and I wanted to get them on sale if I could. Turns out I could for most of what I needed. Stores were busier than I like, and today I'm grateful to be home without commitments, but the shopping got done and my high anxiety never got the chance to spike into an attack. I'm calling it a win.
Part 4 is the final part of How I Met Him, and that means having it posted today also comes with the free downloads! Just click here to jump over and download your free ebook. A new story will start next Friday... next year!
I'm looking forward to the weekend and then the arrival of 2020 next week. I hope you all have a great weekend, and that the best good luck of the New Year finds you and stays with you throughout all twelve months!
“No, I’m just excited to be going for dinner with someone who knows work doesn’t only happen in an office building during office hours,” I said.
“Going for dinner? You didn’t just take my number to be polite?”
It was my turn to laugh. By the look on his face, he’d really expected me to toss his number. “I’ve got things planned this week, but we could do an early dinner on Sunday if you want?”
“Really? I mean, yeah. Sunday would work for me if it works for you,” he said.
“Great.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket with his number and texted him while standing in the stairwell door to my floor. “Now you’ve got my number, too,” I said, smiling as his phone beeped.
“Okay, great! I’ll text you tomorrow or… is tomorrow okay or…?” He laughed nervously and shifted the carry-out bag in his hands. “I haven’t dated in a while. What’s the expectation?”
“I’m expecting we’ll have a place figured out to meet at on Sunday, before the time we’re planning to meet there. Bad relationship?” I asked, tacking on the question carefully as I knew there was potential for a heavy answer.
“Good relationship. Or, at least, I thought it was. Bad ending. About a year ago.”
“Sounds like a story to spin over dinner,” I offered.
“That would be amazing. I mean, I’d like that,” he cleared his throat loudly. “I’m going to go deliver this before I say anything else stupid. I think I’ve hit my quota for today.”
“I like how you’re talking so far, so consider the quota empty enough that texting tomorrow is fine.”
“Very cool,” he said. I was still looking at him when he realized his own little cartoon heart was bobbing over his head. I was also blushing hard from being looked at like that, so at least the reflected color from my face matched the imagery. “I’m going to go drop this off while I’m still emotionally writhing about the awkward things I’m apparently still saying. Then I can start panicking about what to text you tomorrow once I’m safely alone out on the street.” He hefted the carry-out bag and leaned his whole body to gesture toward the stairs leading up.
“You can text later tonight and ask about appropriate topics to text about tomorrow if you need to?”
“I might actually do that now that I know I can,” he admitted. We were both smiling and waving as I stepped into the hallway and out of holding the stairs’ door open. The stairwell door closed before I’d gotten to my apartment and I heard the echo of his excited whoo clearly. I had to agree with him, it had been ages since I’d felt this giddy about a date.
I emailed Amber from my desktop with my updated schedule for the week, including that I was done the auction commission and would drop off pictures of it for her tomorrow, and then got the stand lights set up for the formal photos. The stars looked ready to spiral off the canvas in the first, and the leaves appeared to have only stilled between gusts of wind in the second. In the third, the little spider’s eyes held the sky in reflection. In all three, I saw maybe a hundred things that I could tweak and improve, but there wasn’t anything I wanted to change.
I turned off the stand lights and took a few low-quality photos with my phone using just the overhead lighting and then texted the best one to Amber with the message that these pieces were my new favorites. She wouldn’t be able to see the details, but she’d been by for coffee last week and knew what I’d been finishing. I included the magnified pics I’d snapped of the spider’s eyes, the dew drop, one of the leaf designs, and the twin stars I was the most proud of because of color matching to reality. Amber surprised me by still being awake to message back a bunch of hearts.
I tucked into my pajamas and curled up on my chair with my sketch book to look through the work I’d done today over a cup of tea. One of my cloud sketches had a really great shape that sparked in my brain in a good way. I darkened those lines so I would see it immediately tomorrow before I flipped to the next page to see what was there. A few pages on, I darkened in a couple strolling through the museum and added a few lines to look more like me… and Anthony. (Of course I was being silly, but it was a good silly.) The flower in the sidewalk definitely needed to be painted. My next three commissions were already planned, so I’d be painting on my own time for the sidewalk flower. It wasn’t going to be a big piece, though, so that wouldn’t be a problem.
My phone chimed. Probably my mom, she was the only one who texted this late. I ignored it because I was darkening in the shadows and adding highlight colors in pencils to the sidewalk flower while the memory was fresh. Painting it would be easier with a good reference. I finished my tea and decided to work on the flower sketch again during morning sunlight hours, picking up my phone after putting down my pad.
Anthony had messaged me.
I opened it hesitantly, hoping he wasn’t a hidden creep asking what I was wearing to bed or if I planned to touch myself before going to sleep. He was only taking up my offer of pre-texting to inquire if he should open tomorrow’s texting with a joking comment about the weather on our working-from-home commutes, or with saying good morning and asking how I was. I breathed a sigh of relief and texted back that either was a good option so he could pick from both of those based on how he was feeling. He replied with a thumbs-up emoji almost immediately.
I left my phone plugged in at its usual place in the studio while I got ready for bed, catching myself smiling each time I saw my reflection. It had been a pretty good day. Tomorrow wasn’t looking bad, either. I was most excited for Sunday, though.
Mid-week bonus story update! I want to wrap this one up by the end of this year, so today seems like a good day for a bonus update. If you're celebrating something right now, I hope your holidays are treating you well, and that you're safe and happy wherever you are. :)
The watercolor attempt just left my angry flowers looking creepily faded. I shaded in a small blonde girl in a blue dress between them, looking up at the suddenly enormous blossoms, and let the dress colors run at bit at the edges. Adding gnarled and smeared stems and stalks finished it so that now my playtime working with watercolors looked like Wonderland through the author’s acid-drenched glasses. It wasn’t awful once it had the appearance of ‘it’s supposed to look menacing and messy’, so I left it out to dry rather than scrapping the whole thing.
Having my first success with watercolors – as in I liked the result, not as in getting a decent grade in a class with them – definitely restored my view of today being a (so far) great day. Plus my little, star-struck spider was ogling the night sky in the most adorable way when I sat back from my easel and stretched. The pearl of dew I’d spent so much time on looked like I should wipe away some stray wetness that had gotten onto the artwork.
I powered up my good camera and got about a dozen high-definition photos of the series in the early afternoon light. Later, once it was dark out, I’d flick on the stand lighting and get all my studio shots for Amber. Over the years of selling my paintings, though, I’d learned it was always good to have photos on hand in multiple lightings. Some clients had a hard time imagining how a piece would look in the place they wanted it and similar lighting conditions helped with decision making.
I decided to check my phone after showering. Amber’s reply to the building wanting free lobby art was cc’d to me – something she didn’t normally do – and wasn’t even remotely scathing. Standing there in a towel, I read that instead of telling them which side of a bridge to jump off of, she was offering them a popular piece I had coming out of being rented for a display, with a side of including advertising flyers for the auction in a couple of weeks. Leave it to Amber to set up getting paid twice for one painting and then layer on free marketing in her favor. I’d also been cc’d in all the negotiations, but those stayed civil and without any entertainment value. At the end of the chain of emails, the auction was getting free advertising and I was getting unexpected income from a painting. Not a lot of unexpected income but, as I grabbed my keys and locked the door to head out to the diner, definitely an extra bonus point for today.
All my friends at Mick’s Diner were doing great. My timing for showing up was perfect and I picked up three shifts to cover someone’s vacation from Wednesday to Friday, and Cartlon, my favorite chef in the history of ever, was in the back so I got the tastiest version of lunch offered on the menu. As I was leaving, the cute delivery guy was coming in to pick up for someone so I got to chat with him again while he was waiting for the order. That conversation ended with a phone number for the cute delivery guy, who was named Anthony, burning a hole in my jacket pocket and a promise to text and set up for a dinner together rather than him just dropping it off.
Cartlon mocked up a dad-lecture for me about dating safety as I paid my bill. I think I strained an eye rolling them so hard. I was still single in my thirties for a reason, and it wasn’t because I was dumb about dating. Standards that didn’t drop just meant my perfect-for-me guy was harder to find, and I knew I was already happy single so anyone added into my life had to bring additional good. I wasn’t into playing the repetitive marrying games that my mom had thrived on.
I’d planned ahead when leaving my apartment and already had my sketchbook, charcoal, pencils and pastels in my bag. The weather was dry and a bit cloudy, so I sat outside after a bus ride and sketched trees and clouds in a park I hadn’t been to in a while. Tea at the museum café was accompanied with faceless people admiring displays or walking through the halls. A flower boldly growing from a crack between a sidewalk and a brick-fronted building across the side alley from the patio where I had dinner kept me pleasantly occupied until the street lights came on and let me know it was time to catch the bus home.
My eating-out budget for this month had been used up in twenty-four hours, but I was still smiling and adding strokes to a blank page on the ride back home, creating a specter-filled trolley ambling through a ghost town with charcoal. Unexpected potholes (I didn’t usually take this bus route) provided wavering depth I could smear into other shapes and give varying focal points.
Anthony was delivering for someone else in my building so I had company and conversation for the walk up to my floor. It turned out he was a contract engineer who did most of his work designing from home, and he did deliveries as a way to get out of the house. I swear, there must’ve been a tiny cartoon heart that popped up over my head. I was going to be making dinner plans with someone who understood working from home!
The last person I’d tried dating had been a nine-to-five advocate and believed if I wasn’t leaving my apartment for work then I wasn’t working. Obviously the dating hadn’t gotten past a third attempt at dinner with him, but the lesson learned was holding strong. I had achieved a place in my life where I only worked outside the home when I wanted to (and only for Mick’s), and I refused to be shamed for it. Every new date opened with the conversation about work. Nobody, myself included, needed to be harassed or degraded in their relationships about working hours or locations.
Anthony caught me looking at him with that little heart over my head and chuckled in the most adorable way. “I’m not rich, if that’s what you’re thinking,” he’d hazarded.
“It’s really not healthy to eat so late,” she whispered. “You need to start thinking of your weight, Carlynn,” she added. I smiled wider as I pictured her ducking over her phone and holding a hand around her mouth so Shane wouldn’t bawl her out for getting on my case about things that were none of my mom’s business.
“Mom, I work out four days a week when I’m not hiking. I’ve out-pressed you at the gym every time we go together and I out-ran you on every 10-K race you’ve signed us up for. Add to that, on my last checkup my doctor said I was one of her top ten healthiest patients. I’m pretty sure my weight is fine.”
“I’m allowed to worry,” she rebutted.
“Mom, you’re a toothpick. My femurs are probably thicker than your thighs. My curves keep me huggable and I love them.”
“I love you, too,” she added, purposefully ignoring that I was talking about my body and she was talking about me as the person living in my body. My mom was never going to admit someone standing up and still having a belly roll could be healthy unless women’s magazines started revolutionary articles about more than just how to get rid of the rolls. Meanwhile, since realizing her opinion was hers and not mine, me and my elastic waistbands enjoyed being happy. Plus, sushi as an eight o’clock reward for finishing that series early? Yes please!
“I know you do. I love you, too. So tell me about Shane’s work trip this past week. How did it go?”
She spun off into the retelling of what he’d talked to her about during and after his trip. The interruptions he offered this time were ones that she let me hear and pretty soon she had her cell on speaker so I could talk to both of them. My dinner arrived while we were still chatting and the delivery guy was the usual one – the really cute one – who’d been bringing my orders for the past six months and giving me five-minute conversations whenever he dropped off. We winked at each other because I was on the phone and he waved as I swung the door closed.
I hung up the call and enjoyed my dinner in front of the movie I’d paused when the ring tone for my mom had started. Tomorrow was going to be my day off. I made the decision for it as I was snuggling into bed. My agent wasn’t expecting me to call before Wednesday, and my friends would all be at work, so it was a day to totally do whatever I wanted without having to worry about anything.
Morning sunlight through the studio windows made my Starlit Spider series pop off the canvases, each one fifty-six inches high and twenty inches wide. I still loved the shifting focus between the three of them. These were definitely going to stay my favorites for a long time. However, I was going to have to figure out a better name before taking these to the auction they’d been commissioned to be part of. I doubted people would pay well for a set that had ‘spider’ in the title. Maybe I could go with something like Shifting Focus for A View from the Web? Probably I should have a morning coffee before trying to think of a name.
With breakfast in my stomach and fresh coffee in hand, I came back to my studio to just sit in my chair and look out the windows at the city passing a few floors down. I made enough off my art now that I could afford my own place. It wasn’t fancy. The larger of the two bedrooms was my studio. I still kept the phone number for the diner where I used to serve tables full time, and they’d call now and then when they needed help covering shifts around employee vacations. With this week suddenly open, I had the option of calling to see if they had any shifts for me over the next couple of days. I didn’t need the hours, but having some extra cash leading into autumn and holiday shopping never hurt.
Instead of calling, though, I could use asking for hours as a great excuse to go and visit everyone after the lunch rush today. That thought made me smile so I decided to make it the plan. That plan also gave me the whole morning free, which meant a workout at the gym across the street before a shower and still lots of time for some sketching. I wanted to play around with free-handing watercolors again. Hitting the gym, then watercolors, then shower, then lunch at the diner, and then the whole rest of the day for sketching. I smiled into my coffee. That was a nearly perfect day!
My usual food deliverer, the cute one, came to the same gym and I was lucky enough to see him and chat for a couple minutes on my way in while he was heading out. I made the mistake of checking emails during my workout and almost fell off the treadmill. Not for anything bad, I was laughing. Some downtown company wanted lobby art and was ‘offering the opportunity for massive exposure’. They were only paying the cost of physical materials, which they had written as being expected to be under two hundred dollars.
I emailed them back with a copy of my saved script that politely thanked them and gave them my agent’s contact information should they wish to pursue a commission. Amber was a great agent who had a switch installed in her brain that clicked from being a wonderful, warm and caring person to a woman capable of living off spite and breathing venom, so her ability to layer a response with polite ‘fuck off’ messages was extraordinary. Probably I’d get a snotty reply from the people wanting free work done for their lobby that amounted to a tantrum over not being able to remove my copyright watermarks from every online image of my work. If that was the response which came in, it would die in my trash folder; I wouldn’t even bother sending it to Amber.
Seriously, though, how am I supposed to live off ‘exposure’ as a wage? Last time I looked into it, grocery stores don’t let people pay at the tills with ‘The Bank of Don’t You Know Who I Am?’ cheques.
A blog with quick updates about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and where I can vent my short stories weekly for everyone to read for free!