First, Splinter is coming out next week! I'm excited, of course, and will update you with buy links for the book as soon as they're available. It's only going to be available in ebook format. Lots of people ask me why, and the reason is that I have to pay to make it available in paperback, and frankly I never recup the costs of it. Almost all of my books sales are ebooks and the paperbacks just don't move, so I invest that money in promotion of the electronic version instead. If you'd like a sneak peek at Splinter, you can check out the short story I posted on ReadWave yesterday titled "Fractured". It's told from the point of view of Amelia Eaton, the doctor on Jovan I and Leigh Lybrand's best friend, and it gives a great setup to the novel because it hints at something important that happens about 18 months before Splinter opens. Go check it out - the story is only 800 words, and you can read it in less than 5 minutes.
If you were on social media Thursday, then you know my car broke down when I went out to lunch that day. What a story! I actually went out to pick up a Christmas gift I ordered for Rick. They tried to deliver it to the house, but unbeknownst to me, they sent it with a signature required, so when it arrived Wednesday and I wasn't there, they left a nice little card in the mailbox. So I already had to explain to Rick why the post office was trying to deliver a parcel to me, because he gets home before I do. I had to go to the post office Thursday to pick it up, or they were going to return it to the sender, which I didn't want, of course. I made it all the way to the post office (I didn't realize how far out in the boondocks the post office serving our zip code was!) and the car started smoking when I pulled back in the parking lot at work. I went in to tell my co-workers what was happening, and took it straight to a mechanic that set up shop about 2/10 of a mile from my house. The car started overheating on that ride, and I had to stop twice to rest the engine before it shut off. (Thank goodness my office is only about 3 miles from home). But thanks be to God, I made it. I walked home carrying my purse, work bag, and Rick's gift (which was bigger than I expected, but thank goodness not heavy). And also thankfully, nobody saw me walking home, as it's a dirt road with little traffic from my house to that mechanic. It turns out that a valve in my radiator had a hole in it, and all of the antifreeze leaked out. They fixed it the same day, which was amazing, and I picked it up before work yesterday (they wanted it to sit overnight to make sure it didn't leak any more antifreeze). The car's doing fine now, but it relieved me of $281. To replace a $8 part, I might add.
Speaking of Rick, he did recover from the tissue infection in his cheek. It was a painful ordeal, and we're glad it's over. We still aren't sure how he got it. I surmise it has something to do with working in a middle school and handling all of those student and teacher iPads. People can be pretty nasty sometimes. We actually had a good weekend last weekend, because he felt better and we had a chance to have a "date day" for the first time in about a month. We went to the gun show, out to lunch, and to see Thor: The Dark World. We enjoyed it and it was great to have a chance to go out and do something fun together. But now he's down again, because he got a flu shot yesterday, and it has him feeling run down today. He hasn't had a flu shot in a few years, and it seems to have knocked him out this time. He can't seem to win. This should pass by tomorrow or Monday according to the paperwork they gave him.
Ollie is over his kidney infection, but it left him with nerve inflammation in his leg. Some days are better than others. I've bugged the vet about it several time and even took Ollie back because of it. The vet said it will get better in time, but inflammation takes a while to go down, and little Ollie seems to be a slow healer. Some days are better than others. I hate it because I can tell the leg is really bothering him sometimes. But he still sings, and plays, and he's eating very well. The vet said to try to get him to work that leg - a kind of "physical therapy" - and we're trying but again, some days are better than others. We all know that the changing weather isn't helping matters either, because I can tell it bugs him more when it's cold. Poor little fellow.
Christmas shopping is 80% done. I know I won't finish before Thanksgiving, but that's okay because I think I can finish in early December with this rate of progress. I have to, because the workload at my job peaks in December. Along with a December 16th exam deadline, we also have everybody wanting to get licensed before the end of the year so they can start on projects at the beginning of the new year. It's insanity, and I've learned that I have to plan ahead to handle "the crush" if I want to keep from drowning. It can get overwhelming, between a heavy workload and your family and social life picking up for the holidays. Why every place I've worked seems to hit a "crunch time" between Thanksgiving and Christmas is beyond me - I guess it must be a trend no matter where you work. Things just get more active all around during the holidays. But thank God, I hope that planning ahead will keep me sane. I was so stressed and overwhelmed last holiday season that I was miserable and couldn't enjoy the holidays even when I was finally away from all the madness. I just couldn't seem to "wind down" from everything pounding on me, and I don't ever want to be in that place again. I'll err on the side of wisdom and take people snickering and calling me "anal" if it means I can keep an even keel once it all busts loose in a few weeks and actually be able to enjoy the season like we're supposed to.
And that reminds me to give you a follow up that I should have done a while ago. I know I said in July that I was having problems with being angry all the time and at so many people and situations because of the crazy amount of change since last December. I wanted to let you know that I am feeling better and I think I'm making progress in this area. It's not easy to deal with anger. Of course, you have every right to be angry when people are making decisions that you have to pay the price for, but that doesn't give you justification to stay angry. That's putting yourself in a prison and, as I said in July, that's not the kind of person I want to be. I see now that sometimes people just make bad decisions, and whatever consequences you suffer for it, they suffer much more because they're in the middle of it. Periphery problems, as I was struggling with at the time, pass much faster than being in the dead center of the chaos. But another issue is that I also realize that I'm not the only one that was overwhelmed. Many people were, and some still are, but everybody is trying to get settled in a better place. I see intent to make progress and it's paid off in some ways already, so I'm content to hang in there and keep things moving in a right direction. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we're called to do, but it's possible through prayer. Moving on can be hard too, but again it's possible if you're willing to learn from the past and gain wisdom from all that you experience. I have heard that more change may be on the way for me in the new year, and that's okay as well. I see some benefits to it and while I realize that a learning curve and adjustments might be on the horizon (again), I prayed over it and feel this is for ultimate good for me and many others. Nothing is definite, but I'll pass along more if and when it comes to pass.
I think the greatest thing I've come to learn over these past months as I worked through the anger issue is that I had an error in my own perception. I was in a rut for so many years at my old workplace, that I thought the "normal" state of being was just that - being in a groove. But that's not right. I've come to see that the constant change and state of flux I've seen over the past 3 years is actually the norm, and that 6 year rut was the exception. I've been working so long and hard to "get settled down," and now I realize that the proper state of life is actually change and constant motion. "Normal" is constant work and striving toward something better, to making the next steps and to moving ahead, not settling in a groove of the "same old same old" that slowly kills your soul. The happiness I thought I had in those days was nothing more than comfort of routine and fear of change, and I really had to be jolted to get out of that deceptive trap. Although I wouldn't relive that adjustment phase again for any amount of money or reward, I will say that I'm glad it happened, because my life is in a much better place, and the happiness I have now is based not on "comfort," but on faith and gratitude for a life that I finally realize is filled to overflowing with blessings. I had it backwards, and that's been part of my anger and adjustment problems to this big life change since 2010. That was a major revelation to me, and it helped me to start making steps in a positive direction in my own attitude and expectations of life.
So am I still going through with the big life evaluation and purge I planned for January 1? It doesn't look like I need to. I see where things fit now, and I also see the progress and change on the horizon that I was hoping for.
Well, I think that's quite enough for one day. I hope you're all doing well. Take care, and have a great weekend.