Frustration

Being a writer and person who takes care of just about everything around the house with a bum arm (getting better each day) is frustrating. I’m not that person to sit and do nothing. On a typical day before noon I have cleaned the house, done the dishes, run to the store, painted a miniature or two, and written a blog post. For the past week I have slept in late, watched a lot of TV (there isn’t much good on Netflix, Amazon, or any other form of electronic media), and tried to find a comfortable way to sit.

Watching the house get dirtier and more disorganized by the day frustrates me. Barb and the kids are doing what they can, but they don’t have the time to take care of the day to day stuff like I do. A good sweep, a good mop, a good vacuum, a good dusting, and a good dose of tidying up, nothing major but enough that I am bothered by it.

Not being able to buckle a seat belt or drive is also frustrating, thankfully this week everything is working out so a friend can pick up the kids from school. The ache and pain, constantly trying to find a comfortable position is also frustrating, I don’t enjoy sitting around for long periods of time. I can read, but only if the book is on table, because holding a book while my arm is in a sling is…yep, you guessed it frustrating.

I cannot cook. I could cook if someone else did all of the prep. Due to schedules that hasn’t worked out well. I also cut myself trying to cut a steak into slices for a sandwich. I stopped counting how many times I dropped the fork each time I made a cut.

Most frustrating of all is the writing. I can somewhat write in a notebook provided the notebook lays flat, I can find a way to prop my bum arm up without undo stress, and the background ache doesn’t, which is almost always does, force the writing out of my head.

I’d love to be able to sit down for a lengthy period of time to bang out more Puddles and Whiskers and Menagerie. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to. The ideas are there. The voices are there. The other arm required for fast typing is not. To give you a scale, each paragraph of this is followed by 5 to 10 minutes of rest and massage.

Hardly a way to create a flow of writing. Like I said things seem to be improving in small steps. I would prefer larger steps and a lot less frustration.

 

The “UpSide” of Being Sick

I had to check my phone to see what day it is, this happens when I am sick. On the plus side it is not Saturday, which means I have not been sick that long and I am feeling better. Not great, but an improvement over yesterday. The negative side, the voices have left my head preferably for the safer grounds of where I am not sick. The voices being the characters I write about. They will return…when I am healthier.

Laying in bed reading, being sick, and watching copious amounts of Bourdain I wonder if there is any benefit, to me, in getting sick from time to time. The immediate answer is no. For the two to three days I tend to stay sick, my productivity drops to something that most people would recognize as “normal.” I don’t like the inactivity enforced upon me, I am an active person who prides himself of doing lots of stuff with his time. Lying in bed watching TV is not one of those things…unless sick.

I did hit upon a few good things, I get lots of sleep. In fact over the last two days I have slept more than I tend to sleep in four days. I don’t sleep a lot. I go to bed late and get up early. As long as the pattern is maintained I do not suffer, when the scheduled gets tossed into the dumpster then I pay for it. So I have gotten lots of sleep.

I get to read. That may sound odd, I read every day, but when sick I marathon read. By my bed is a stack of books, on a variety of different subjects and genres, the stack varies from 3 to 10 books. I read through them over a period of time, adding to the stack frequently. When sick, such as now, I burn through the books. Over the past 24 hours I have finished two books. These were not great works, crap books in fact, you know the science fiction or whatever genre that are pumped out in mass by writers who’s only talent is the ability to put some words together using someone else’s ideas. I used crap books to break up the bigger books. When sick, however, I devour the crap books they take my mind off being sick and that is the joy of a good crap book.

I get time off from being a parent. I know no parent ever stops being a parent, but if you have kids you know there are times when someone else steps up and does all of the parenting, those moments are golden. Unfortunately, I have to get sick. I have spent the last 10 years raising our children to be as self-sufficient as they can. This is why. While Barb is at work and I am sick the kids need to be able to get their own food without asking me if it is okay. They need to be able to bathe on their own, clean, and if necessary cook (warm up) using the microwave.

Finally, I get toys or in this case a toy. Barb knowing my love for Stikbots bought me a new one while she was getting medication I needed.

An Explosion Of Reading

I don’t like cleaning up after other people, read my family, however that is one of my many jobs as a stay at home dad. Before you click away, this is not a post about bitching about anything, especially cleaning. This is a post about reading. Yes reading.

While cleaning up I have picked up six books and I know when I go back to cleaning I will find more. We are a family of readers. We did not used to be a family a readers, we used to be parents of children who did not want to read. Those were sad times.

Barb reads one book at a time, I read several books at a time. The point, being both of us read and have read around the children all of their lives. Part of their bedtime routine used to be Barb reading to them Harry Potter and more. Lots of reading. I believe reading is important for everyone for every facet of life. Reading has so many benefits.

The children wanted nothing to do with books or reading beyond what was required of them-school or rules for a game on a card put in front of them necessary for play-see really specific.

Then something happened. I have no clue what or exactly when; one day no reading and no desire to read then BAM books everywhere. Maybe not that fast, but one day our boy who hated reading wanted to play Warhammer 40k and read the rules. The rules lead to a codex, then another codex, then another codex, and then books.

Our girl began reading before him, she picked up a book and ran with it. Awesome we had lots of books for her to read and at her pace we thought we had plenty of time before we needed to get more. DONE! Her pace went up dramatically, along with her retention and comprehension.

Her reading got him reading more. Then his reading upped her game and her upped game, upped his game. The bonus, a lot of changes around the house:

The television died, sure they still watch something from time to time, but the days of coming home and plopping down in front of the TV are over…for now.

Conversations are deeper, richer, more frequent, and not about whatever toy they want.

As a family we have three main vices: game stores, bookstores, and craft stores. The kids did not like book or craft stores. Now, and this just happened, birthday trips (a tradition of ours, the birthday person gets to go wherever they want within reason) are to bookstores.

Instead of no books or one book bought grudgingly, a stack of books for each child. Books are one thing we do not mind spending money on. We are rethinking that a tiny bit. 🙂 For her birthday, our girl left the bookstore with three books, she wanted the remaining nine in the series.

Faces in books, great conversations, books for us to read (read one of your kid’s books just so you can carry on a conversation), and more family activities, doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Binge Rearranging Spice Book Reading

Nothing new and yet a bunch of new stuff. I thought I had the kitchen in order. Then I thought to myself, how could I make this better, so I ordered a hanging door spice rack. The thought being to free up shelf space and make the pantry smell awesome. Unfortunately, Amazon was not able to send me one nor send me a replacement…well, allow me to amend that as I just finished a third chat with an Amazon person, now I have a new order ID and a delivery date. Crossing fingers, there are a lot of to spices to move.

See what happened is in anticipation of the spice rack, I moved all of the spices to make room for a kitchen appliance that would fit better. The spices ended up on a counter in a pile, then on a shelf in a pile, and finally today on a shelf in good order…and hopefully, Monday, on a spice rack. I tell you this, I will not be moving the spices again until I see a spice rack. 🙂

Like a butterfly flapping his wings in China and causing rain…you pick the place…moving the spice rack lead to moving games which lead moving books which lead to several days of rearranging the house.

In and around rearranging, I have been writing, as you may have read. Things are starting to take shape, especially with the compilation of notes coming along nicely. I will be continuing to post bits and pieces and revising them here; I find it fun to do and I hope that there are some people who are getting something out seeing a writing process (definitely not the writing process).

And in and round rearranging and writing I have been on a reading binge. Every so often, I get on this binge where I devour every book in front of me. This binge has been rather interesting:

Dangerous Dames: The Plutonium Blonde and The Doomsday Brunette by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem was a pleasant surprise. A cyber-noir detective setting with Zachary Nixon Johnson as the last Private Eye in the year 2057. Fast pace, great dialog, and fun stories to follow along.

In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez is the second book I have read by the author. I did not care for the main character Never Dead Ned nor the pacing. This seemed like it could have been a shorter story.

Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez however (third book I’ve read by author) was a non-stop page turner. I finished the book before I realized it, following along with Phil and Teri and their Raccoon deity of luck Lucky. This was a great book, for me not a dull moment and I wanted to know what happened to each of the characters.

At the moment I am in two books X-Men Siege by Christopher Golden and Star Wars Battlefront Twilight Company by Alexander Freed. I don’t have a good grasp on either, Siege is an older book written in an older style which is a bit disjointed and stilted. Twilight Company starts off odd and carries that forth, by odd meaning really short chapters on different characters without a chance, yet, to get to know them or care what is happening.

 

Like An Alligator and Other HOT News

Another day in the bath tub of cool water lounging like an alligator. No prey stopped by. Hell, not even someone with a burger and fries. Thus, I lounged until I could stand the water no more. Roughly an hour, for those interested in my alligator time.

So what happened today?

I spent the day making arrangements to move or start moving on Monday! That’s right long suffering readers, we start moving on Monday. This means I should be returning to regular gaming, food, and reasonable amounts of fun soon. I could barely contain my excitement.

Unfortunately, it was too hot to pack. And I didn’t care! Lounge like an alligator and drive around taking care of business and looking for air conditioning not being used properly. How could I tell? If I wasn’t in the air conditioning, it was not being used properly, that simple.

Best part of setting up everything was discovering since the last time I had to turn on utilities that they have consolidated. This meant instead of four phone calls, I only had to make one. Sure there was a lot of transferring me around, but in the end everything was taken care of. Not bad modern world.

That was my day, taking care of most of the necessary business to start moving next week. There may be a day or two where I do not post because of internet issues, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. Right now I am going to dive back into my tub of water and relax for the rest of the weekend. If all goes well, there will be a game or two to talk about before Moving Monday.

….

WAIT! Don’t go yet. I have a book review. You know my love of shitty books or crapbooks or whatever term you choose for those serial books usually related to another property, such as Halo books or a Roleplaying Game; you pick them up, happy if it is a good read, and then put them on the shelf to be forgotten for a while. I have a serial book that you should read, ALL of you should read: Liar’s Blade by Tim Pratt.

Liar’s Blade is part of the Pathfinder novel series; each one from what I can tell is self-contained. So no need to worry if you have missed anything, you have not. Liar’s Blade is the first novel with Roderick and his talking sword Hrym. Roderick is not a sword waving hero, he is more roguish, relying on wit, charm, and a good dose of humor and banter with Hrym to get out of trouble. Tim Pratt writes a good book, many times I laughed out loud at a description or dialogue between characters.

Liar’s Blade moves swiftly, but not so swift that you get lost or feel that the author is rushing. The action is easy to follow, not overly complex or filled with useless descriptions. The characters grow throughout the book, especially Roderick and Hrym. If you are looking for a good, light summer read get a copy.

Now you can go about your day. 🙂

Reading Graphic Novels and Relaxing

A day for relaxation before the start of another busy time. Move in date is in 9 days and there is plenty of packing left to do. At least plenty to do from the perspective of typewhatevermakesalotoflistsandignores them person. I see stuff that should be in boxes or needs to be in boxes or soon will be in boxes or will get into a box or else everywhere I turn. Sure some of that stuff is in stores or other people’s places, but damnit, those things I see should be in boxes. Everything should be in boxes!

Sorry about that. I see boxes everywhere.

For my day of relaxation I spent the day, up to this point, in the kitchen and enjoying for the first time in a long time comic books. Kitchen part is easy a strawberry sauce, a plum sauce, a peach sauce, and a lemon sauce for starters. Rice in the rice cooker and chicken cut into chunks for frying later. Lemon chicken is the intended dish, but if someone wants to make strawberry, plum, or peach chicken more power to them. I was going to make crab rangoon, but not feeling having to stand over a fryer twice.

Comic books have been a pain. I used to be an avid comic book reader with a large collection, most of which I sold off long ago. Until today, my collection consisted of a few graphic novels and a complete collection of Dynamo Joe. After last weekend and this weekend, the family collection (as I am calling it now) has expanded greatly. Thanks to a buy 2 graphic novels get 1 free sale at Barnes and Noble I have both kids and all of the adults reading comic books. It is great.

For someone who was into comic books or for someone who has never venture into comic books, purchasing graphic novels can be a major pain in the ass. Once I removed the nostalgia part of the equation, such as really wanting to get graphic novels of the Mutant Massacre and Days of Future Past, the problem became where to start, especially with the kids. Nothing worse than jumping into the middle of a storyline or hitting the end or not knowing what is going on.

Thankfully, and I do mean thankfully, both Marvel and DC recently went through some major rebranding and rebuilding. I am sure comic book purists were pissed that everything changed. I am not. All new stories at the beginning. These allow everyone to read a graphic novel and not wonder what they are missing. Instead, start at the beginning and if they like what they read get the next one. Even better they are numbered now (I have no idea how long they have been numbered other than to say, when I was a reader graphic novels were not numbered sequentially for easy purchase).

So here I sit with a bunch of Marvel graphic novels and I am loving every moment. I find out Wolverine is dead, but there is a new Wolverine and I loved the graphic novel. Laura, is a great change of character and at the same time evokes many positive memories of old Wolverine stories. Uncanny X-Men: Superior is an interesting twist, at least to me, on the X-Men trope, plus I am a huge Magneto fan.

The end result, the best result of today’s day of relaxation has been sharing stories that all of us read in graphic novels.

Let’s Play Catch Up

It has been a while, don’t count the days! Since I have had much to say about anything other than house blah blah disaster blah blah shit news blah blah. And while you would be correct in assuming that the house has dominated much of our time and mentalemotional state around here, you would be incorrect in assuming it occupied it all, thus in an effort to kick things into a new gear I will catch you up on a bunch of things that are of interest to me and that I used to write about, don’t count the days, before blah blah…

Robotech RPG Tactics

When I last left off nothing had happened. In the time between then and now….NOTHING HAS HAPPENED! One day, when I am an adult and capable of understanding these things, someone is going to have to explain to me in small words and stick figures how one shit kicker company out of Michigan (Palladium Books) and Kickstarter were allowed to take 1.1 MILLION dollars and no one is responsible for the mess that remains.

Food

I broke down today, not that way, and went grocery shopping. I will be cooking, SOLAR VORTEX (if there is a POLAR VORTEX there needs to be a heat version) withstanding. I am looking forward to cranking out some lemon chicken and moo gai pan on the stove that refuses to cooperate one last time.

What happened to FU! Slowcooker? Like every other writing project (see below), put on hold until I have a writing space that is not a box of bento boxes. Speaking of bentos, I have received a request for bento boxes for the upcoming school year. So thinking of starting a local homemade lunch delivery business for school years…ah I dream.

Reading

While we have (screeching sound) I have been reading. I started with Dune. I have not read Dune. I thought I had, but pretty obvious I have not. So far, I am enjoying Dune. Not the best nor the worst. Something I have been enjoying, immensely, has been The Business of Death Omnibus by Trent Jamieson. The main character sends spirits onto the next phase, Death is on a holiday, and all hell breaks loose. Fun, fast moving, and emotionally moving in a couple of scenes, I highly recommend it.

Writing

Everything is on hold. Has been on hold since (screeching noise)…I have a notebook where I write down ideas for later and some things I am working on with a friend. People have sent me stuff to work on and that has been nice. But until I set up my office space, I am a writerless writer other than the blog (that is not a put down, just an observation that pre (screeching noise) I used to pump out 3 to 5k words a day).

Gaming

Munchkin and inebriated games of Cards Against Humanity have been it, other than video games. That being said, once the move is completed we have Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn, Star Wars Rebellion, and a metric shit ton of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game to play. Our Rise of the Runelords game was interrupted, there is Wrath of the Righteous to play, and soon Mummies Mask. Don’t get me started on the character decks packed away. I weep for the lost gaming time.

However, once the move is completed there will be LOTS of gaming. As a family we drooled over the Star Wars Rebellion board, pointing at the planets and recounting what we knew. And the pieces…tiny death stars what more do I need to say?

Wrap Up

Since (screeching noise) this blog has been occupied by a lot of (screeching noise). That is coming to an end (unless something goes seriously sideways). We are setting up for a lot of gaming, food, and writing. Please be patient and thank you for sticking through (screeching noise).

-Mgmt.