Sorry for no blog last week, but my wife and I took a trip to Seattle. I took lots of cool pictures. Some day I’ll show them to you. My thanks to Kathleen for the use of her house while we visited – the most beautiful place you could stay on Pudget Sound.
But the point of the blog today is that wonderful sense of accomplishment you get when you finish a project. In this case, a project I began in 1998. Yes, in under 1/4 of a century I managed to do what I should have done during the Clinton presidency.
While we were in Seattle, my mother graciously flew in to take care of Stormy. Stormy, being a delicate sort, is not the kind of dog you put in a kennel. She would probably be so freaked by being abandoned again that she’d never recover. Thus we provide dog-sitters. My mother is an expert on the subject, and she graciously agreed to come and take care of her Sheltie grand-dog while we wandered about in the rain on the left-coast.
During our absence, my mom cleaned out the cupboards in our dry pantry. For those of you who don’t have 100 year old houses on the prairie, that’s an unheated room where you stored the flour, dry goods, linen, etc., and saved on the heating bill. Adjacent to our kitchen, it is – unrefinished. Just like the kitchen. The only two rooms in the house that are still craptacular after 25 years of home-ownership.
My mom was very proud of organizing that mess. I think she was inspired because I warned her about the glass door that wasn’t actually properly fastened, but if she was careful it would be okay. Yeah, 20 years ago I just gave up on making it work and walked away. But after seeing a ray of hope, I resolved to actually fix it. So that first night back I worked on it for about 30 minutes and threw in the towel. It needed some contemplation to make it work.
Saturday, armed with the appropriate tools (a drill, a Swiss Army knife (official toolkit of Cryptologic Direct Support Operators everywhere), a hammer, a vise grip, and a can of PAM) I did some cogitating, and with my wife’s help, got the old hinge pins out. After about 20 minutes of mentally working over what went wrong, it dawned on me that the hinge pieces on the doors themselves were installed backwards. I may/may not be responsible for this, as once the wood had been stripped by a friend, and I have taken to blaming them for everything that is wrong in that room.
After flipping the pieces, and moving the doors to the appropriate locations, they closed on hinge pins for the first time in a long time. Now I was inspired, and told my wife that soon (Meaning months, or years) I would install the locks. Still had to buy them.
I was putting a few scattered things away in the newly safe cupboards and what should I find but the hardware purchased at the time the wood was stripped. Now I had no excuses.
For the next 1.5 hours I installed cupboard pulls, door locks, and some self esteem. When I was done I realized that I might be married to a saint: never once during those 20 years did she nag me about getting this done.
Why did it take so long? Because life. The things were good enough, and there was the daily grind of cooking, writing, laundry, illness, tragedy, warm days outside, and the other million things that keep you from finishing something so easy.
Now, in a shocking move, I installed a security brace to an unused exterior door that would frustrate most SWAT teams with a battering ram. That only took 3 years, and I did it the following day. Look for more things I keep forgetting in the near future. Except the paper towel rack. I remember to buy one every time I get home from a store that sells them. That’s going on about 4 years.
Thank you, Kip Courtemanche, for letting me get away with not finishing the projects I start until my mother shames me into doing so.
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NEW BOOK COMING THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
My second novel, Nicholas of Haiti, will be available Thanksgiving weekend. Details will be forthcoming, including the cover and synopsis, shortly. Put aside your money for the Kindle, print, and audio book versions. This is not a sequel to Assault on Saint Agnes, but a unique book in the speculative Christian fiction world.
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