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.
This was a weekly blog updating on Fridays, but life got busy so now I pop in now and then to let you know I'm still chipping away at my stories. If you look back through the archive you'll find weekly 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! Check out my Short Stories section for free downloads of most of my writing, too!