End of July Report

We got back from Vegas last night. My beloved had to go for a work conference, and he doesn’t fly without me, so I had a writer’s retreat. Nope, I didn’t gamble, didn’t see any shows, shoot, I only went outside twice, and the second time it was so hot we got about 100 feet and retreated to the air conditioning. I did a lot of writing, shopped some, and ate some really good (and some really not good) food. It’s not the traditional Vegas experience, but it worked for me.

The month didn’t have a great start. Early July never does since we always have company about that time. Mid-month it picked up a bit since I knew I had my retreat coming up. I got back on the wagon with some world building rather than jumping right back into the WIP, and it paid off. By the time we were settled into the Mandalay Bay Resort And Hotel, I had a clear picture of what I needed to do.

It wasn’t without drama. My laptop died last year, and since I only work remotely a few weeks a year, I write on my iPad with a wireless keyboard. It’s bare bones, but it travels light. This time, I arrived not realizing that while the Word and Excel apps are free, you need a subscription to actually use them. Not only that, but I didn’t have the current version of  my WIP, even though I specifically remember saving it in the right place.

Whatever.

I busted out a new Google Doc and worked from memory. Amazingly, it only required the sacrifice of 38 words when I got home. I’d started with basically what I ended with in Scrivener, but I wrote it better, so the old words got cut. I’m not heartbroken.

Here are the numbers for those of you keeping score:

July time: 32.4 hours

YTD time: 199.67 hours

July words: 12,981

YTD words: 101,227

Yes, that’s right! I broke 100k! Today, as a matter of fact. I haven’t gone back through my old spreadsheets to see if and when the last time was, but I’m pretty certain it wasn’t in July. I have a lofty plan to average 25,000 words a month for the rest of the year so I can break another 100k. I know, the numbers don’t match, but I’ve got a good month’s worth of activities (excluding Christmas, because I don’t know what we’re doing yet) that will keep me away from Balphrahn, so that will carry me right up to the new year. If I plan 25,000 and only hit 20,000 I might not end up too much behind.

In the meantime, the book 1 draft is done, and the book 2 draft is started. I call that a win.

Birthday Boy Redux

I ran across this today and decided to share it again for Alex’s birthday. Some of it has changed. He now has a masters degree, full time job, apartment, and fiancée. We won’t celebrate his birthday in person. In fact, his birthday cards will be late and I texted him at work.

I’m a little torn today because while I’m glad he has built himself the start of a grown-up life, my mommy heart misses him. I’m told this is how it’s supposed to be, and that it won’t ever change much, so I’m going with it.

I hope you enjoy the blast from the past and I’ll see you next week.

——-

He’s never really been small; we took him home from the hospital in a 3 month onesie. All the newborn clothes I’d picked up at yard sales got packed back up for the next baby.

At 5, he had a life plan worked out. At 7, he was a theologian. About 10, his strong sense of moral outrage kicked in, but he’s never let it override logic, and he’s good at trying to see other sides of issues. He would make a good lawyer, but that’s not even on his radar.

I’ve watched him grow from the cutest little butterball baby and toddler you could ever want to see, through the ornery gangly teen years, into manhood. He still has a plan for his life, but it’s a little different than it was at 5. He’s still planning on being in the military; that hasn’t changed. He’s always been interested in the military. He’s my itchy foot kid; travel light and don’t stay anywhere too long.

I don’t know how it’s possible, but he turns 21 today. He didn’t want a party, and presents are optional. He just wants to go to dinner somewhere that he can order a beer. I expect he’ll have his party next month when he goes back to school, which isn’t too surprising. It’s more fun to celebrate with frat brothers!

Every birthday is a little more bittersweet. Every year they move away from Eric and me a little bit more. Our roles have changed from disciplinary to advisory. Pretty soon they’ll both be off on their own and birthdays will be celebrated via mail and telephone. Not this one, though. For this one, we’ll still have a birthday cake at home.

Happy 21st birthday, Alex!

Here’s what I’m doing this week

Our friends are in town for the week, and we had our daughter with us for a few days. It’s been busy, but it always is. Not pictured: Fresh pasta and a couple of movies.

We went to opening weekend at the Bristol Renaissance Faire,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

had a group pic at the Museum of Science and Industry,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and worked on getting spruce roots out of the yard in preparation for our new patio.

 

Hope y’all are well and staying out of trouble!

Long-Term Benefits

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a veteran–USAF, 1986-1994. When I left active duty, our children and I followed my husband around the globe for 11 more years before he retired. My two decades with the USAF taught me a lot of things, like hospital corners. I’d only heard about them until basic training. I still use them every time I make my bed.

Then there’s t-shirt folding. I bet you didn’t know there’s a specific way to fold a t-shirt. Leave me a comment if you’re curious and I’ll describe it in detail.

There is one thing I learned that stands out above everything else: Embracing The Suck.

Full disclosure: We didn’t actually call it that. I didn’t know there was a name until I saw it on Facebook a week or two ago. Although I haven’t verified* it, I think it’s a phrase the US Army uses. We didn’t name it. We lived it.

Embracing The Suck comes into play when the phone rings at 3 a.m. and you learn you have half an hour to get to work. If you’re a single airman, that’s hard enough, but we were a dual military couple with two toddlers. We had half an hour to get ourselves ready, get the babies out of bed and take them to day care (thank goodness the director got the call before any of the other commanders, so they were ready for us). After reporting in, we got to work 12 hours, pick up the cranky babies, eat cereal for dinner, and crash. Sometimes we did that for a week straight. If we were really lucky, we had a heads up the night before so we could pack extra clothes in our kids’ backpacks. After Desert Storm started, that usually happened about once a quarter.

Embracing The Suck means you get to work with the flu; leave your family for several months with 18 hours notice; deliver equipment to aircraft on the flightline regardless of the weather; follow orders (usually stupid ones) with no explanation; keep your mouth shut when the Base Commander acts like a jackass, run PT at 7:00 a.m. in 90* heat and 100% humidity. And we had it the easiest of all the services. That’s why they call us the Chair Force.

Embracing The Suck in my 20s was good character building. It beat the whiner out of me, made me finish growing up. People think I’m nuts when I say Desert Storm was the best thing that ever happened to me. My husband deployed when our son was three weeks old, and he was gone seven months. I was still active duty and came thiiiiiiiiiiis close to deploying myself. I would have, if I’d been ordered to, but the hubby was over there, I had an infant, and my long-term child care givers were trapped by snow in Idaho. The chief agree to push me back a rotation, but by then I’d already cross-trained into a field for which I was better suited.

Over the years, I’ve been grateful for the experience in trying times. These days, I draw on that experience every day. Traffic here is a bear. Good thing I know how to Embrace The Suck.

 

*If you can verify it, please leave a comment