Change of Plans

I’d expected to be blogging late tonight again. I’d planned to attend a cousin’s birthday party with my dad today, which is in southern Kentucky, a three-hour drive each way. But Dad woke up not feeling well, so I had to call another cousin with our regrets. I was looking forward to seeing some relatives I really like, whom I hadn’t seen in years, and meeting some new to me, plus spending time with my dad. While that’s disappointing, it opens up a whole lot of possibilities when I’m gaining a day I didn’t expect to have free.

The last cucumber, and some of our first tomatoes, for my parents

I’ve already done several things today that would have otherwise been put off, or not done at all, like laundry (which otherwise would have waited until tomorrow) and making cucumber chips, something I’ve wanted to try for several weeks but haven’t had time (the cucumber chips are in the dehydrator as I write this). And I’m planning to stop over at my parents’ for a visit later this afternoon (my dad isn’t contagious, he’s just not up to spending six hours in the car), and take them a few goodies from our garden. Later, I’m hoping to start in on some decluttering, which I desperately need to do, given that I’m planning to move in about a year. I may even have some time to work on my writing. None of these things would have gotten done if today had gone as planned, so I’m making the best of this unexpected day.

Tennessee update: We haven’t heard from the builder yet on a confirmed groundbreaking day. My husband left a message with him yesterday. We did hear from the lender though, and they need just a couple more things from us. One is verification of our vacant land insurance, easily obtained from our agent.

The other is a letter from my employer. What I’m hoping to do is to take my job with me, and work remote. From a technical standpoint, there’s no reason I can’t do this–in fact, I already do work remote 2-3 days a week. I’ve done this for a year and it hasn’t been a problem. But now I need to get official permission to do so full-time, and from 300 miles away, which means a conversation with my manager that I hadn’t planned on having until we were a couple months out from moving. My manager is a pretty laid-back guy, and we already have other people on our team in other locations (doing other things, not my project), so there’s a good chance he’ll be fine with that. My company has allowed it before too–they even have a guy who did so on the employee testimonial page on the website. But it’s not 100%, which is what’s giving me anxiety over having this conversation. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll have to go to the lender and ask them to do the loan as if for a second home, which carries its own risks. So wish me luck!

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m in the middle of another Fiction River anthology, and also started a novel, but nothing to report on just yet, so I’ll give a mention to a nonfiction book I read a few months ago: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson. This was a big bestseller last year, and who wouldn’t find that title intriguing? The basic premise is that we cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary stress by placing priority on too many things–in other words, by caring too much. This book encourages readers to pick and choose a few things to focus our energies on, and stop giving a f*ck about the rest. One theory I found particularly interesting was about the human need for problems to solve (or challenges), and this is why some people turn into the crotchety, “get off my lawn” folks–because all of their needs are met, they don’t have any real problems, and don’t have anything better to concern themselves with. While it didn’t contain any great revelations for me, this book was a good reminder to not sweat the small stuff, and worth a read.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Either I’m getting better at not sweating the small stuff with my writing, or (more likely), the exercises in Holly Lisle’s How to Write Villains workshop aren’t as difficult and time-consuming as I expected. Got the exercises from Week 6 done, and shooting for Week 7’s lesson and exercises for this week.

What about you–have you had an unexpected block of free time pop up any time recently? What did you do with it? Or what would you do, if you haven’t had one lately? How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working on, whether writing-related or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

7 Responses to \

  1. Wow, Jennette, you’ve got a lot on your plate! How wonderful that you’ll probably be able to work remote full-time. Hope your boss gives you a thumbs up and you can breathe easy. A year is going to fly by.

    That cucumber and those tomatoes look mighty yummy. Hope the cucumber chips turn out. Sounds like a super healthy snack.

    Awesome that your villain class exercises are coming easy for you. Very cool! I’ve been dealing with family drama. 🙁

  2. Goals? Oh crap. You reminded me I need to keep working on my synopsis for Alien Desires. There’s a contest I can enter that WIP, but I need a synopsis, which, of course, I hate to write. Registration doesn’t open until Aug 15, but if I can submit and pay by the end of the month, it’s $5 off. So that’s my goal. Getting it finished by then and then hope it’s not too long, because I can only send 7200 words, synopsis included!

    Sorry you didn’t get to go to the reunion. Hopefully you’ll be able to make it next time.

  3. A friend from out of state was going to be at a retreat center a two-hour-drive away today and I was going to go down to see her. Friday, I decided that I just have had too much going on and that I didn’t need to be on the road for four hours to see her for a couple hour visit. Instead I went to my daughter’s today, forty minutes away, and got some stuff done with her. It was a much more relaxing day. I would have really loved to just stay home altogether, but I haven’t been to my daughter’s house in over a month, so it was about time.

  4. Lynn, the cucumber chips tasted really good – what there was of them! They dried up to almost nothing. Will try again with thicker slices. Hope the family drama clears up soon!

    LOL Stacy – you’ve had a lot going on with moving and all! But now you’re in the new house, get going on that synopsis! Good luck with it, and the contest!

    Chris, that sounds like my life, lately. Goes back to my post last week – sometimes we have to say no even to fun things – but glad your day ended up still being fun!

  5. It’s so nice to have an unplanned free day! Good for you. I’m curious about the Villains class–what do you think of it? Generally, my life is full of unplanned, must-attend-to events of a medical nature. But I’ve had extra time lately due to not as much family medical issues going on–and thank goodness for that! I’ve been preparing for my book to launch and am working on two different story outline. I finished reading one book and am trying to decide which one I’ll start next. This week I hope to finish the outline of my novella and get back to writing it. I also have to get the files online for my print book. And this week there will be more than a few medical appointments.

  6. Unlike you, I have run out of days with still too much stuff to do. I’m getting ready to go on vacation for a few days and there seems like tons of things that need to get done before we go. It’s sort of mind boggling because last week I felt ahead of the game. Today, I feel so far behind I want to just sit down and cry. I need to read that book you’re reading.

    I’m glad you got to some things that otherwise would have sat unfinished. Those “extra” days are nice to have once in a while.

    Have a great week!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. Lynette, the villains class is interesting. It’s gotten me thinking about my villains in ways I hadn’t before. OTOH, I’m not sure there’s enough to directly use that it’s worth $100 – though it also might be too early to make a determination. I know, wishy-washy answer – sorry! I’ll give it a more thorough review once I finish – hopefully, that will help! Hope all your medical appointments go well, and you get a break from them soon.

    Patricia, the too-full days are what I’m used to, so that’s why this one was such a surprise. And UGH the “before you go” stuff is no fun, that’s for sure. We had to deal with that when my husband owned the bar. You should give The Subtle Art a read when you have time. And happy vacation!