Latest in New House Adventures

crocus bud

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.

CapriCon 40 coming right up!

My first convention of 2020 is only 20 hours away!
CapriCon is happening February 13-16, 2020, Westin Hotel, Wheeling, IL

Several wonderful author friends are sharing a dealer’s room table with me. We have quite a variety of delightful books and book-related shiny things. Wait, let me try that again with more exclamatory excitement:
Seven authors! So many sub-genres! Meet us! Browse the pretties! Maybe buy a thing or two! (BUT NO PRESSURE!) 

I’ll be in several programs too, conveniently listed below. Plus Friday night at 5:30 I’ll be doing a a Book Speed-Dating event in room River C. Join the panelists for entertaining & thought-provoking discussions!

O Captain, My Captain
Thursday 6:30 PM
Room: Ravinia B
Join us as we recognize women in roles of leadership in SF/F. Captain Janeway, Commander Ivanova (who is ALWAYS right), Captain Marvel, Admiral Honor Harrington, and Captain “Starbuck” Thrace demonstrate that it’s not strictly a “boy’s club” anymore. Who are your favorite women in leadership roles in SF/F? Your inspirations?

Nonfiction for Fiction Writers
Friday 10:00 AM
Room: Botanic A
We often hear writers advised to read widely, both in and out of our genre. What are some kinds of nonfiction reading that can help broaden your fiction writing? Our panelists recommend memoirs, history, cookbooks, podcasts, subreddits, true crime, whatever else has caught their interest and driven them to write more deeply.

Just Deserts
Friday 11:30 AM
Room: Ravinia B
Tropics doesn’t just mean Caribbean islands or fabulous tropical rainforests. Deserts are part of the tropics too. Many recent fantasy stories have desert settings, many bearing more than a passing resemblance to North Africa. Camels, beautiful horses, long robes, independent tribes, and more than a little misogyny fill these stories. Can we do anything else with desert settings? What other societies could develop there?

The Future Climate of Chicago and the Midwest
Saturday 11:30 AM, Room: Willow B
What do global warming trends predict for Chicago and the Midwest? As our local climate becomes more tropical, what will the impacts be on people, plants, animals and our environment?

Pirates are Not Just in the Caribbean
Saturday 2:30 PM
Room: Botanic A
Captain Dan Seavey stole lumber, alcohol and even whole ships right in Lake Michigan. Piracy was a global phenomenon that persists to this day. Our panelists discuss the past and future of global piracy. Why do we romanticize historical pirates, who were often really vicious bad guys? What does modern day piracy say about the socioeconomic impacts of the world we live in? Is climate change playing a role?

So Bad it’s Good
Saturday 8:30 PM
Room: Willow B
Our panelists discuss their favorite “so bad it’s good” films. And what about supposedly “good” movies that are actually bad?

When not at these events, I’ll be most easily found in the Dealer Room.  This is a super-friendly, super-fun, convention. I’m excited about meeting new friends and catching up with old ones.

See y’all on the other side of the con.

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Image by adamtepl from Pixabay