My rug-cleaning fiasco

pixabay image

Once again, I jump in feet first and use my brain second. Mistakes and failures are great teachers, and I seem to repeatedly rely on them to make life interesting.

This one involves not writing, but rugs.

It started with Tornado Boy (age barely-4) who stayed at our house last weekend. After indulging in bowls of ice cream with Grampy, he suffered a sugar-crash, decided to go to bed, and then perked up with an ill-fated second wind – the kind that’s usually headed toward disaster. Tornado Boy left his clothes in the bedroom along with his brain and decided to enjoy the balmy outdoors in his birthday suit.

Grampy and I were on the lawn, and Tornado Boy was on the elevated deck being wild and silly. Amidst his antics, he picks up the garden hose and starts blasting the lawn and garden with water, waving it around like a lunatic and trying to spray us. We’re laughing at how cute he is until he aims the hose at the open window into our living room.

Grampy and I yell to stop, but Tonado Boy is in Crazy-Over-Tired-Land, and the water is spraying a jet stream into the house. From where we’re standing, there’s no access to the deck and, completely delirious, Tornado Boy is having the time of his life. With no end to the torrent in sight, I sprint around the house, take the steps three at a time, run the length of the deck, and grab the hose. Tornado Boy looks at me with a bewildered expression and explains that he was “washing the house.”

Grampy disappears for a walk with the dogs while Tornado Boy and I face the mess.

The living room is soaked: couches, chairs, rug, computers, tables, mail… the floor is a puddle. I drag the rug outside onto the deck, move the furniture around, and use every towel in the house to dry things off. We all take a deep breath and go to bed.

The next day, after Tornado Boy goes home, I decide that I might as well wash the rugs since they’re long overdue for a cleaning.

(This is where Grammy has her turn at making a mess.)

I drag the upstairs rug out to the deck too. I go down to the barn and get the rug-cleaning machine, bring it up to the house, and fill it with water and dish liquid because I don’t have any rug cleaner and I’m out of laundry soap. I tap the ON button and nothing happens. The Hoover is dead (unsurprising since it was in the barn during the last flood).

But that doesn’t stop the determined. I squirt dish liquid on the larger of the two carpets and get out the hubby’s power-washer. If it can blast moss off the deck, it can blast dirt out of the rug, right? So I spray the carpet and start scrubbing it with my bare feet. I water some more, add more soap, and lather it up. Works great!

Then, I try to spray the soap off.

Well, spraying soap off a flat, saturated rug doesn’t work, even with a power-washer. It creates bubbles, lots of bubbles, massive impenetrable mountains of bubbles. I need to drape the rug over the deck railings so I can hose off the soap, but full of water, it weighs about 400 pounds. It’s not budging until it dries – soap and bubbles intact.

Having learned from my mistakes, I march off to tackle the smaller carpet. I drape it over the rails first, skip the dish liquid, and just power-wash it. Easy peasy. It will dry in place.  A couple hours of blogging later, I find the large carpet dry enough to drag and heave over the tops of the deck chairs for a hose-down. I check the clock, and the rugs have 5 hours to dry before Grampy gets home from work.

By the time the Subaru climbs the mountain, all evidence of the crime is cleaned up. He’ll never know. And my carpets look clean!

Now, I guess you can see which side of the family Tornado Boy takes after. 😀

 

250 Words per Hour

words-per-hour

pixabay

Not long ago, my muse gave me an ultimatum (here) – Write or Else!

So I’ve been writing, keeping up my end of the bargain and then some, writing 6-10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I start at 5 a.m. and write until about 3. Then 3-4 hours of blogging. It’s been a challenge especially when the holidays started revving up.

For me, writing that many hours means letting other things slide like getting dressed, showering, brushing teeth, eating, cooking, laundry, holiday shopping, dishes, and vacuuming. Coffee is about all that gets accomplished with religious fervency.

This morning, a couple of people stopped by unexpectedly to have me sign some paperwork (our area is getting high-speed internet in 2017!). We stood outside in the sleet because I just couldn’t bear to usher them into my disaster area. When I went back inside, I walked by a mirror and noticed that my clothes were on backwards and inside out. Seams showing and the tag of my shirt flapping at my throat like a teeny white necktie. Ha ha. Yeesh.

But I also finished the first draft of the fourth book in my next series. I write about 250 words per hour. A first draft takes me about 400 hours. Subsequent drafts, maybe another 400 for a total of 800 hours per book. Four books? That’s about 3,200 hours.

Now really? Tell me. What writer has time to worry about whether her clothes are on front forward and right-side out? What do you let slide?

Careful what you wish for…You might just get it.

download (8)If you look back through my posts, you might notice an ongoing desire for balance in my life.

An admitted writing addict, there’s nothing more I like to do more than rise from bed at 4:00 in the morning, brew a cup of coffee, and relax back in my recliner, laptop across my knees. I can write for 12 hours straight without a break (except for that second hot cup).

image from taragallina.blogspot.com

image from taragallina.blogspot.com

In truth, I can write for 16 hours straight, oblivious to the passing time. I have no particular desire to eat, shower, cook, do housework, enjoy the sunshine, go to movies, or communicate with friends, family, or spouse. My husband comes home from work and I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t moved. He thinks I’m in a coma.

image from lilaccu.deviantart.com

image from lilaccu.deviantart.com

In truth, I’ve been extraordinarily busy. I’ve had a tumultuous and exhausting day battling the soulless. I’ve lost loyal companions, my sword arm weighs a ton, the city is in flames, and the future of human civilization hinges on my next choice. I need to unearth the enemy’s fatal flaw before time runs dry and the world descends into chaos. With all this responsibility, who has time for laundry?

He rolls his eyes when I tell him I need a maid…and a cook.

Well, this real world of friends, family, and chores only has so much patience for my writing addiction. I know with utter certainty that I don’t want to wake up one morning and find that all I have left in my life resides inside my head. Therefore, the need for balance.

Careful what you wish for…you just might get it.

  • The Overlord

    The Overlord

    My daughter graced me with a grandchild. I now spend two full days a week with a drum-obsessed overlord. Almost-two-year-olds are more exhausting than the soulless (though much cuter).

  • Big energy is trying to run a mega pipeline through my little town’s drinking water supply. As a writer and advocate for my community’s viability, I’ve become an activist fighting the oppressive, polluting robber barons.
  • The overlord commented on the spider webs in my living room. You can always rely on a child for the painful truth. He says it’s “spooky.”
  • Over the past two years, the yard has morphed into a prehistoric jungle. I can’t see my patio. I have two months until the overlord’s second birthday party to get it into a less mortifying state.
  • I’ve started blogging and following blogs and making friends all over the world that I genuinely care about. Now, that’s a little too much fun and I can’t stop.
image from site.google.com

image from site.google.com

My initial reaction to the onset of balance was a troubling case of writing withdrawal: shakiness, irritability, insomnia, and hives. I found myself dropping things, burning dinner, taking naps, and – believe it or not – vacuuming. I had shameful relapses, like allowing the overlord to watch cartoons while I polish up some dialog on the laptop.

Five months later, I’m pleased to announce a gradual adjustment. The urge to write all day every day continues to invade my consciousness, but I’m working the program. A sense of balance is taking hold, and I’m settling into a new blend of busy-ness that makes room for more of the chaos and joys of life. The overlord and I have been spending more time at the park, building and smashing sand castles.

How do you maintain balance when the story calls? I’d love to hear your secrets.