Latest in New House Adventures

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I promised a more cheerful post. This is as close as it gets.

The header photo comes from my yard, where spring is springing on.  Happy little crocus flower, reminding me the world keeps turning and the best thing to do is keep on keeping on. (Which for a crocus means fighting frost and dodging bunny teeth. In my case it means practicing kindness, taking ALL the precautions, & looking for new ways to help others.)

Working on fiction is hard when the real timeline is doing the whole “truth stranger than fiction” thing. Not much to share on that front.

But!  There was progress on the basement renovation before things slowed to a cautious COVID-19 related crawl. Let’s peek in on that, shall we?

First, the whatnot room. I don’t have “before” pics of this zone from the real estate listing or from move-in. It’s hard to take a good pic of an unlighted room filled with paint-splashed chunky workbenches, low-hanging pipery, gnarly wiring, and beadboard walls enclosing some sealed plumbing leftover from a 1930’s vintage throne-style toilet.

Yeah. So the first image I had of this area was taken after extensive demo & cleanup, and it was none too appealing even then.

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And now

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Look, new floors! And lighting!

The window has a deep frame just begging me to put plants there, and there are LIGHTS, and VENTILATION, and in the background on the right? That’s going to be a half bath soon. We’ll go from 1 toilet to 3 when it’s complete, and let me tell you, I am giddy about that.

See, the 1st floor bathroom has also been out of commission during the construction–to get the drains & pipes upgraded. Well worth it, and I don’t regret the decision, but…um…let’s just say that now that Spouseman & I are both home all day long every day, I am really looking forward to having multiple toilets again.

Anyway. Onward to the mechanicals area.

This was another hard zone to get “before” pics of, due to lack of lighting and general ick factor. Now it’s all brightly lit and open, with a window that works, and an upgraded circuit breaker box behind that swank wood panel.  Washer & dryer are scheduled to arrive Tuesday, so I’m hoping things stay below the Dire Catastrophe level & delivery goes as planned.

(Small digression to point out this hope is grounded in wanting PEOPLE TO NOT BE DYING, not about me not being inconvenienced by a deadly fucking pandemic. Does that sound grumpy? Well, I might be a little bit raw from CONSTANTLY seeing my name associated with a zillion tweets & memes about being insensitive, selfish, pushy, whiny, entitled, tone-deaf, arrogant, clueless, nasty, and generally awful. Maybe. But I’ll rant about that in another post. THIS MY HAPPY POST.)

ANYway. Back from digression to take a look at the main hall. The part of the basement people see first, coming downstairs. It kinda sets the whole tone.

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Yeah. That sets a tone.
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Now. Lights! Doors! Window frames!

The floors here are under protective covers right now while the trim & moldings go in, but it’s fresh & bright and so easy to see how comfy & cozy it will be when it’s done.

And it SMELLS good. (happy, happy sigh.)

Okay. that’s more than enough for one update. As usual, I’m now questioning whether I should even post it, (see above re:self-doubts on the topics of selfishness & tone-deaf bragging etc)  But I AM gonna post it, and here’s why: when I get scared & overwhelmed, being reminded of good things happening anywhere lifts my spirits.

Things are hard right now for so many people, in so many ways, and this a big happy in my life. So if even one other person feels the way I do about collecting other-happies, that makes sharing (inflicting?) this on the world worthwhile. Right?

I’ll just have to hope so.

Until later, friends.

Writer Reading Report: No Longer On Hiatus

I read a lot.  I have Opinions. Why haven’t I been sharing?

Therein lies a tale.

Here’s the story of why I haven’t been inflicting my reading list or any other media adventures on people for…about a year now? Yeah.

I stopped doing it when the sharing started hurting. That happened after I received one too many remarks meant (I think, in retrospect) as compliments. Things like “I could never read that much/you are always reading/how can you get anything else done/So many? I’m lucky I read a book a year/ how do you find the time?” Etc, etc.

I find admiration and envy difficult to parse through. A lot of it comes down to tone, and when I even suspect I’ve made someone else feel inadequate or envious, I have an unavoidable reaction.

I stop doing it. Sometimes forever.

Yeah. I know. Not rational, not proportional, but also…not negotiable.

I was taught many lessons at a young age about the awfulness of flaunting, bragging, or acting superior. So when I get a sense that anyone thinks I’m being a self-absorbed egotistical, conceited asshole about (whatever it is) I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut. Or the head. Or both.

It really, physically hurts.  And every time I think about the activity, it hurts just as badly, all over again. If I shut up and go away & don’t DO whatever-it-is, it stops hurting.

So. That’s why posts about Stuff I do when I’m not writing comes and goes in fits & starts, and why one of my original blog staples — lists of tedious daily life accomplishments–rarely get posted at all now.  (It was making someone feel guilty about not getting as much done, and that sucked all the joy out of it.)

So far, people still universally like hearing about the new house & baking things. That’s why those topics have taken over the blog.

Here’s a happy new twist.

Not-so-long ago I learned that not everyone processes idle remarks as kick- in- the- gut personal condemnations. My kind of reaction to perceived negative feedback is called “rejection sensitivity dysphoria,” and it skips along hand-in-hand with sky-high energy levels, an interest-based attention span, and sensory sensitivities. It’s a real thing.

It isn’t me being thin-skinned, overreacting or childish, it’s just wiring at work.

IT’S SO FUN TO BE ME.

(another fun fact: pair up boundless physical energy with chronic pain/fatigue and you get a result that looks like perfectly normal from average viewing distance! It’s nothing like normal from the inside, where I can feel exhausted even while doing a lot and hurt all the time but can neglect self care because (squirrel!) means I forget to notice. The pairing goes a long way towards explaining how I’ve flown under the diagnostic radar all these years.)

BUT I DIGRESS. As fucking usual.

ANYway. It’s been long enough that the achy, scrapey bruised pain about reading lists has dulled to a bearable level, and also I want to use this new self-awareness of my reactions to break free of the rejection cycle in the future.

So I’ll be giving it yet another try.  Next post, I’ll catch up on What I’ve Been Reading Since New Year. It’ll be synopsis edition, but IT WILL HAPPEN.

Until later!

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Prickles up, ready to face the world. (image: pixabay.com)

Living the Quiet Online Life (sorta)

Followup 2 to my “Imma stop feeling guilty about dodging the gotta-be-visible-gotta-react-gotta-be-involved 24/7 noisefest that is modern life” post. Followup 1 is here.

The why of it all is simple: the choice had to be made.

I can interact, manage life’s material necessities, or ideate and create. Not all three. And the world is not forgiving of missing work shifts or failure to pay bills, so it’s the interaction I must trim back.

Each of those activities uses distinct, competing parts of my brain.  Think of them as differing fighting styles or building skills. Each one requires a different set of weapons/tools and protective equipment.

I can clank through my day using two full tool sets at once, but all three? Not happening. (With construction in my basement right now, the analogy could be that plumbers and carpenters can work at once, or HVAC and plumbers, or HVAC and the carpenters, but all three? No one would have room to move!)

Also, switching from one mentality to another is a process not unlike taking off one set of weapons and armor and donning a new set. It takes time and energy to put away all the discarded equipment  properly and get all the new buckles done up right. It’s more efficient to pick which set (s) to use and stick with them for longer timeframes.

Interactive Communications is the skillset that takes the most time and energy to use and maintain.

My non-writing professions all demand extensive, regular communication. I got into them because I’m drawn to learning difficult things over easy ones. Plus it’s much easier to handle interaction in a structured system when I have a clearly defined role. Counselor. Teacher. Retailer. Trainer. Public Service Staffer.

So I’m good at communicating and interacting with people in a variety of environments. Humility not being one of my virtues, I would even say I am VERY good it.

I take pride in being able to readily talk with acquaintances and strangers, to share, inform and persuade–but I do NOT enjoy it.

No, seriously.  The number of people in the WORLD with whom I can interact comfortably–no filter, no forethought before every word, no constant conscious processing of pitfalls and consequences–is a small number.

Writing is work too. HARD work. But it’s work that lets me create, so it’s worth the effort. Hanging out with friends is worth the effort because friends ( yes, that IS a reason.)  But those things are both hard and also two different KINDS of effort.

I can’t do the creative writing if I ALSO have to be ready and able to write or to talk my way through interactions AND have to be able to remember things like eating, dressing, paying bills, and getting to important appointments.

So. Less Interacting. MOAR WRITING. That’s the plan.

Everybody wins.

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Image by gadost0 from Pixabay