Getting to It, Again

Things have been crazy since I last posted, three weeks ago.

In that time, we’ve sold an apartment building, realized our house was waaaay over budget (and figured out some ways we can mitigate that), and contracted to buy another apartment building. Oh, and there was a holiday in there too, for which I had to do extra cooking and cleaning (fortunately, I had help).

So yeah, no time or more importantly, brain, for writing or blogging.

The apartments are kind of a big deal, because that’s most of our retirement. We manage them ourselves, and that has made them more profitable than they otherwise would have been. We can’t exactly do that once we move, so we decided to sell them, and buy something in Tennessee. This has all involved me collecting a lot of paperwork, executing contracts, researching potential purchases, and more–enough that I’ve had no brain for writing. Fortunately, the new apartments we’re under contract to buy make good money–enough that it will help with the house’s budget overages. So it’s all good.

My husband took a few more house pictures when he went there last week to look at the apartments. The exterior is finally getting paint. The fireplace on the back porch is done, and drywall is also done. I picked out interior paint colors and emailed the builder, so that comes next.

          

What I’ve Been Reading: In the past three weeks, I’ve completed two nonfiction books, plus a short story anthology.

The Fiction River was enjoyable as they always are, and yes, there were two or three stories I skipped because they were in first person present tense. Despite the title, only a couple of the stories were romance; the others dealt with love for one’s children, family, friends, or even a place.

The Due Diligence Handbook was all about things to look for and check into when under contract to buy commercial property, which includes apartment buildings larger than four units. We are under contract to buy 23 units, so this seemed worthwhile. It really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, though, and a lot of it was not applicable to apartments, but more focused on retail, office, or other types of commercial property.

Work Optional was a good book about preparing for retirement, and was written by the author of the Our Next Life blog. Like the blog, the book goes over the financial aspects of preparing for retirement, but focuses mostly on the emotional side of it and planning what you’ll do with your time–material that isn’t well-covered in many other retirement resources. Recommended, whether you think you’ll be able to retire early or are just hoping for a traditional retirement starting in your mid-60s.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhh….. (see above). The apartment and house stuff pretty much took over my brainspace for the past few weeks. There just wasn’t anything left for writing. It was compounded by the fact that I’m in a stuck spot right now. So this week, I’m going to try to ease back into it with a very modest goal–100 words a day, for five days. We’ll see how that goes.

What about you–do you sometimes feel  like there just isn’t any brain left for writing (or something else)? Have you read any good books lately? What’s been going on in your life? And how are you doing with your goals, whatever they might be (I hope better than me!)? 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.

Late Start, Round Two

ROW80 Round Two began last week. Or if you prefer, second quarter of the year.

And I totally missed it.

I do have an excuse reason: we were in Tennessee, a few days later than originally planned. We’d originally planned to go Thursday through Sunday, but DH was sick so we waited a few days and left on Sunday instead, after he was feeling better. I guess some people can get out their laptops and write while in the car… I’m not one of them. And by the time we got in the writing and blog just weren’t happening.

Monday was a whirlwind, though much better than the last day that busy. We started out grabbing some paint chips for the house, then looked at flooring, and that took a good while longer than I expected. But I’m very happy with what we picked out! We wanted something with the look of hardwood, but that wouldn’t be practical with two big dogs, so we went with vinyl plank. Good vinyl is very convincing, and it’s also less expensive than hardwood, so win! Did I mention we’re over budget? So double-win!

After that, we drove by an apartment building our commercial Realtor sent us info on. And while all this was going on, our Realtor in Ohio was calling us. The apartment we’re selling here is under contract, but there have been some odd things about it all, so we’ve been expecting the deal to fall through. It was supposed to close on April 15th… but the buyer decided he wanted to close last Tuesday! So DH was scrambling making phone calls to the title agency and various other players to see if that could happen. The title agency later informed us that they couldn’t pull everything together that quickly, so the buyer would have to wait. We’re supposed to close this week. We’ll see what happens!

Island countertop chosen by my husband

After checking out the TN apartment, and grabbing a quick bite to eat, we went to the kitchen cabinet vendor to confirm our cabinet choices made over email, and to pick out countertops. DH surprised me when he actually made a suggestion on the latter, and it was a bold, dramatic pattern I would have never expected from him. This countertop will be on the island, which will have black cabinets. The rest of the kitchen will have the grey stained cabinets, with black galaxy granite. We have the latter in our house now and love it (the copper fleck is great for hiding crumbs!).

Then we went to meet the builder at the house. We’d already stopped by the night before, but had some questions for him. Workers were there installing insulation. We used our paint chips to decide on the specific exterior colors (as in, other than “brown”). Since my last update, the stone has been added, deck railings mostly finished, and more of the shake siding on the center section that hadn’t been completed yet. The metal roof over the breezeway and part of the porches is done. They also put the hot tub on the porch, since it will be much more difficult to move it there once drywall goes in (soon!). Fireplace inserts were also in, and more work on the plumbing and electrical.

For the colors, most of the house will be the darker brown shown here. It’s about the same color as the decking. Trim will be the medium brown, and the shake siding will be the lighter color.

 

      

     

In other news, the unwelcome business proposed for across the street has postponed their zoning hearing for a third time. Another commercial zoning request in our area was just denied on all the reasons our opposition group is asking for this one to be denied. I hope the landowner and his employees are figuring out that the re-zoning policy does not favor them, and just give up and go elsewhere. But until they do, the neighbors and I are continuing to keep a close watch on the situation.

What I’ve Been Reading: Why yes, I still managed to do some reading. Last week, I finished Trader’s Honour, by Patty Jansen. This is a YA science fiction, and while its predecessor didn’t feel very YA, this one did, mainly because amidst saving the world (or at least her part of it), the main character was worried about college (or their equivalent), and a guy she liked. I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to Book 3 in the series.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Despite my lack of a check-in last week, that’s been moving along, too. My goal last week, thinking we were going to TN on Thursday, was to write 2000 words, and this past week’s goal was to have been 2500. I ended up with about 2200 words last week, and 2600 this week, so happy with that. There’s bound to be some extra craziness this week with the apartment closing and paperwork collection for that, so I’m going to stick with a goal of writing five days, for 2500 words again.

What about you–how have your last couple of weeks been? Any surprises (good ones, I hope!)? How are you doing with whatever goals you may be working toward, whether writing 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.

Family First

This week, I lowered my writing goals a bit, because I knew I’d be spending more time with my family–and family comes first in my priorities, definitely above writing. Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a good blog post about this a few weeks ago, and it’s worth the read on the importance of setting these priorities, especially when we have limited time and energy.

When regifting is cool: the bell to the left of our wedding cake topper was a gift from my mom – she received it for her 25th anniversary!

This week, we celebrated my being married to my own personal hero for 25 years. That’s a long time! And it’s been great. We’re looking forward to 25 more years, starting with an adventure moving to a new house in a new state. DH and I went out to our favorite special-occasion restaurant on Tuesday, the day of our anniversary. We’d planned to have my parents and our daughter and her partner over for a celebration at our home yesterday. My mom wound up hurting her back, so we went to see her on Friday instead, and enjoyed spending time with the kids over the weekend. My mom was feeling a bit better, and we had a nice visit (with my dad, too). And having the kids over is always fun.

So not much focus on the writing, but that’s OK.

Nothing to report on in Tennessee, but I hope to have some more house pictures soon. Oh, and this is why my husband and I didn’t buy each other any gifts–we’re buying each other a new house, LOL!

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m not going to name this week’s book, because while I enjoyed it, it really ticked me off.

I knew when I bought it that it was short, no problem. I knew it was the start of a series, so I expected that there would be some plot points not tied up at the end.

Except what it actually was, was the start of a serial.

Meaning nothing was tied up. It left off in the middle of the action, and nothing was complete.

I’ve read serials before, and it’s fine when I know that’s what I’m getting into. I’ll typically wait on them until the whole series is out, so I can grab the next book right away. In this case, there’s one more book out, but I have zero expectation that it’s finished, so I’ll pass on that. Fool me once, you know?

I also got a nonfiction book from the library that just wasn’t doing anything for me, so I let the loan expire. No big deal.

So not a good week for reading. I’ve started another novel by an author I know will deliver, and I bought an omnibus of the series, so no worries about being left hanging. I already read the first book, and it was appropriately tied up (with a few things left loose) so I have no worries about this one.

What I’ve Been Writing: With all the celebrations, I lowered my weekly goal to four days writing, of 500 words each. I hit that goal with 2200 words. Normally, I’d raise the words/day for this week, but it could be a busy one too, so I’m leaving it at 500. I’m also still getting a feel for the story, so more is pushing it.

What about you–any celebrations in your life lately? They don’t need to be a milestone like mine! How’s your reading been? Do you like serials, or stick to fully-finished books? How have you been doing on whatever goals you’re working on, whether writing 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.

Cabinet Shopping

That’s what we did for the new house this week. We also had a tenant move out of one of our apartments, and that unit was due for new cabinets as well – the ones it had were original, from the 1970’s, and were cheapies back then. So we went to Cabinet Factories Outlet of Richmond (Indiana). This is where we bought the cabinets for our flip house, twice, and we paid about half for them that we would have from a big box store.

Side note about this shopping trip only readers would appreciate: we took a different route there than we usually do, and went through the small, historic town of Fairhaven, Ohio, which was featured in The Mycologist, a historical fiction book I read a few months ago, so that was cool to see!

An example of the cabinets for the new house

The apartment cabinets, we could have obtained from a big box store for about the same as we paid in Richmond, but the ones we bought were nicer. We also gave them info to work up a quote for our new house. I already talked to a supplier in TN that our builder uses, but if we can get them significantly cheaper in Richmond, it will be worthwhile to drive over there, pick them up, and take them to TN ourselves (they don’t deliver). My mom was familiar with the brand they quoted us, and said it’s a very good product.

Not much news on the unwanted business across the street from our house in TN. They have been working on the corrective measures the county and state are requiring of them to fix some of the environmental damage they’ve done, so that’s a good thing. Their zoning request is still on the preliminary agenda for March, but that happens automatically when one requests a postponement. They’re required to post notices of the zoning change request at the property fifteen days prior to the meeting, and those haven’t appeared, so that tells us they are indeed postponing again, as they’ve communicated to the media (our group is still keeping an eye on things, however). One article published last week quoted the CEO (not the landowner) saying that if this location doesn’t work out, they’ll buy land elsewhere for the business. That sounds really good to us  and our neighbors! Hopefully it will be in a location more suitable for their business, rather than trying to force a big commercial project into a residential community.

There has also not been much going on at the house itself–I think the builder finally was able to get the rest of the windows in, since they had a couple of dry days, but not being able to do that has delayed them a bit.

On another note, only one week until Daylight Savings Time, whooooo! I am always happy to have that extra hour of daylight in the evening, and it helps my energy levels, too. My fatigue hasn’t been as bad this winter as the past few, I think because I’m working remote. But I’m still glad for DST! I’d like to have it year-round, because I hate the time change, but better to have the change than to be stuck on standard time all year.

What I’ve Been Reading: Still haven’t finished anything – the fiction I’m reading right now is actually six novellas/short novels in one, that makes for a really long book. I’m enjoying it, but will discuss when I finish. One of my requested nonfiction books also came in from the library and I started that, too.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Finished the corrections, and Time’s Guardian is off to my first reader (and copyeditor #1)! I also started my next WIP, which will most likely be the last in the Saturn Society series. My goals was just to start on it – anything, even if just a sentence. I got about 125 words in, so that’s a win!  I had a hard time the past couple of weeks finding time for the edits, so this week, I want to ease back into writing new words. My goal is to write at least 250 words/day, for five days.

What’s going on in your life? Done any shopping lately? Do you prefer Daylight Savings Time, Standard Time, or just hate the change? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing 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.

Busy, but not Accomplishing Much

Ever had one of those days, or weeks, when you feel like you’ve been busy the whole time, but haven’t marked much off your to-do list?

I was discussing this phenomenon with my daughter recently, and she said when she has days like that, she looks back and realizes she actually was busy–with chores. Stuff that needs to be done, but isn’t part of our regular goals.

I’ve had one of those weeks, but I can’t blame chores. In this case, it’s Facebook, mainly keeping track of our groups in Tennessee who are working on fighting the zoning change across the street from our new house. That’s something no one in the neighborhood wants. I am not able to do much from 300 miles away, but moderating the groups is one way I can help, along with little bits of research, so I’ve been doing those things. I have a website to work on today for them, so this will be a short post.

I don’t have any new photos of the house, but work is continuing there, and as far as I know, all is on schedule.

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What I’ve been Reading: My own book! I’d hoped to get through the read this past week, but only got about halfway through. Part of that is because I haven’t had the time to devote to it that I wanted, the other part is simply because, have I mentioned it’s a long book? I’ve been watching workshop videos while on the treadmill, so no nonfiction reading either (though the videos count, right?).

What I’ve been Writing: Again, nothing. I’m focusing on the read-through of my WIP. That’s also the plan for this coming week. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to finish the read-through, so I can then move on to revisions.

What about you–ever have one of those days, or weeks? What’s been going on in your life? And how are you doing with whatever goals you might have, writing 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.

Finished the Book!

It was thisclose, and I got it done! Now I am doing a read-through before sending it to my editor. More later in this post…

In Tennessee, things continue to escalate with the proposed new business, and our neighbors are meeting as I write this to strategize about some public meetings coming up. One of our neighbors rented a high-quality drone and took aerial photos of the grading, clearing, modification of a stream, and other environmental damages the owner has already done, all without permits. Unfortunately, from what I hear the typical MO in that area is to grade/clear/build first and ask forgiveness later. But while getting photos of the property in question, our neighbor also took some very cool pictures of our house.

He also took some video, and we could see the guys installing siding on the side of the house where the breezeway is. Cool! All the windows are in except for the trapezoids on top, and all the doors are in except for the front. They have been finishing up the siding and building the breezeway this past week. And no, our driveway is not as crazy-steep as it looks in the photo on the right. It’s steep, but not that bad!

What I’ve Been Reading: I not only finished writing my current book, but I also finished reading two books. For fiction, I read an anthology of short stories: Fiction River: Hard Choices, edited by Dean Wesley Smith. There were three of the twenty stories I skipped that just weren’t to my liking, one of which was in present tense (which I hate). Interestingly enough, there were two other present tense stories in the anthology, but they were so well-written it didn’t bother me enough to skip them! And two of the stories I didn’t like were in past. Just goes to show these things are always a matter of taste.

In nonfiction, I finished a book I bought and started probably three months ago, Find Your Focus Zone, by Lucy J. Palladino. I’m not sure why this book took me so long to read, unless it was because I mostly read it on the treadmill, and I split that time up by also watching workshop videos. It gave a lot of interesting psychological background on why we have trouble staying on task, and offered some techniques to deal with it. It was published in 2007 so was outdated. Most noticeable was the absence of any discussion on social media, but the techniques and background in the book about email and web surfing apply to that just fine. I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it, but it was worth a read.

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What I’ve Been Writing: My goal this week was to write 5,000 words or finish the book. I met that goal! It only took about 2,000 words to finish the book, and thank goodness, as that thing clocked in at 155,000 words! My next longest book, Time’s Fugitive, is 143,000 words. So yes, I have some cutting to do. I also had all kinds of other writing-related stuff I wanted to work on this week, and none of that got done, mostly because I’ve been too wrapped up in Tennessee drama, and I’m watching Facebook like it’s a train wreck. Social media is normally not a problem for me because I just don’t get on it, but I need to keep up with this and contribute in any way I can from 300 miles away.

Anyway, back to writing: my goals for this week are to finish the read-through, and to send out a newsletter. I keep putting off the latter, and I need to get on it. I have TONS of books that I don’t want to move, and who better to give them to than my readers?

How about you–any cool surprises in your life recently? Any surprises at all? Have you read any good books lately? How are you doing with whatever goals you might be working on, writing 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.

 

Mostly Writing

This has been a relatively uneventful week, at least for me. Things are still happening in Tennessee: no new pictures, but the builder tells us that the windows are now in the house, except for the custom shapes. Siding has gone up (though I don’t know if it’s finished), and work continues on HVAC and electrical. I also got a call from the kitchen cabinet vendor, and saw the specific brand and style of cabinets he recommended, which were just what we wanted (at least until we see the price, then we’ll know for sure!). Work continues regarding the commercial development across the street, too, mostly in the form of emails to government officials, in brainstorming other ways to stop or at least downsize it, and in efforts to meet with the landowner for more discussion. The neighbors are meeting later this afternoon, and I will call in.

On the current home front, the Pit of Doom is no more. I mean, it’s still there, it’s just not a Pit of Doom anymore. It’s just a regular little room–it could even be a safe room. It now has a proper floor thanks to a helpful neighbor, some mini-mix concrete, and my husband’s ingenuity in rigging up a drainage pipe chute, held in place with an engine hoist. Mr. Goodwrench is a good guy to have around!

It’s been nasty cold here in southwest Ohio, and I’ve hunkered down and focused on my writing. More on that below.

What I’ve Been Reading: Since it’s too cold to walk outside, I’ve been using the treadmill and reading nonfiction, though I have not yet finished that book. I did finally finish the novel. It took so long partly because it’s a long book, but mostly because I had so much else going on that I could only read a chapter–sometimes only a scene–each night. That book is My Name is A’yen, by Rachel Leigh Smith, and I enjoyed it a lot. I will admit it took me a little time to really get into this book, but that’s been true of some of my favorites, like Patty Jansen’s Icefire series. Ms. Smith markets her work as being mostly focused on the hero, and it definitely was, but it did not give the heroine short-shift as I feared it might. Despite getting less focus, she was still a well-developed, sympathetic character who experienced growth. But the best thing about this science-fiction romance was probably the world-building. The setting was 3,000-some years in the future, and while some of the minor characters were from Earth, it was set in space and on other worlds. The cultures were very well-developed, but it was done in a manner where everything wasn’t handed to the reader early on. Instead, the writing stayed in close point-of-view where if a character wouldn’t naturally think about what a particular phrase means, the reader doesn’t get that information until it fits into context. It threw me a bit at first, but was fine once I decided to roll with it. I enjoyed this book, and plan to pick up the next in the series. Recommended for those who enjoy sci-fi romance!

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What I’ve Been Writing: My goal this week was to write at least 1,000 words a day, five days–a pace I haven’t hit in several years. I made it, with 5,371 words! Even better, my WIP is thisclose to being finished–definitely within 5,000 words. So for this week, I plan to write 1,000 words a day, five days, or until the WIP is finished. If I finish early, I will plan to spend that time skimming back over the book, because I know there’s some sloppy writing near the beginning. I also need to start working on a revamp of this website, get a newsletter out, and do numerous other publishing tasks I’ve been putting off. So my plan is also to spend at least five hours on my writing or related tasks–finish the WIP, and use the remaining time on something noted above.

How has your week been? How’s the weather like where you are? Have you read any good books lately? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, writing 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.

Construction Update

I somehow managed to get a once-a-week blogging streak going, so I’m posting today’s update mostly to keep that.

This week was a busy one, as it probably was for most people with the holidays. I finished my shopping on Tuesday, which is better than I usually do. Normally, I put off buying stocking stuffers until a day or so before Christmas, but this year I got it all early. It’s more important now than in the past, as starting this year, stocking stuff is all my husband and I are getting for each other. Now all that’s left to do is tidy up the house, and cook Christmas dinner. My mom brings a lot of that, so that’s easier than it sounds.

Tennessee Update: the house is going up fast. The builder sent us these pictures just two days after our neighbor sent us last week’s.

      

From left to right, the back of the house, the front, and the garage. There will be decks all across the back side. And wow, does the place look huge! It isn’t that big a house – about 2000 square feet, plus the lower level. That will be unfinished, which we will do later.

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m reading an entertaining fiction book in a series I love, but haven’t finished anything this week. I have not had much time to read other than a chapter or so before bed, so it’s going slowly. I didn’t read any nonfiction this week besides blog posts.

What I’ve Been Writing: The writing is still coming along slowly. I hit my not-very-ambitious goal of writing at least 200 words, for five days this week, so that’s a win. I also finished Dean Wesley Smith’s video series about writing a clean first draft. Most of it was reiterating stuff I’ve already read/heard from him before, but he finally described his “cycling” method of writing the way I’ve always thought of it: revising as you go. I’ve been working toward this myself, as I find it a lot more fun than writing sloppy first, then doing a massive revision (which is how I used to write). I”m not convinced that this is the way to go for everyone (even Smith says “every writer is different”), but it might be something worth trying if you haven’t.

I also discovered some plot holes in my WIP–pretty typical when writing time travel. So this week, my goal is to spend at least an hour total on my WIP, starting with fixing this, and maybe or maybe not including new words.

What about you–what’s going on in your world? Are you finished with your holiday preparations, if you celebrate? What are your plans for the week? I love hearing from you–please share in the comments! And finally, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all!

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.

The Purge Begins

No, not like the TV show. I’m talking about stuff–my stuff. Way too much stuff that’s collected in my house in the 25 years we’ve lived here, and has got to go before we move next summer.

I went through a big purge of stuff a couple years ago, but never got around to my office or garage. Let’s not even talk about my husband’s garage–yes, he has his own, he is Mr. Goodwrench, after all. But even in the parts of the house I got to, clutter has re-accumulated since the last purge. In some cases, not enough was purged to begin with–there’s still stuff there that I don’t want enough to move. So out it must go.

I’m happy to save I’ve managed to decrapulate my office, working just fifteen minutes a day over the past two weeks, Flylady style. (And isn’t “decrapulate” a great word?  So perfect for what I’m doing.) Today I worked in the basement, where there were still wood scraps, tools, and mostly trash from back last summer, when I was building mudroom and closet shelves for our flip house that we sold in July.

Now the purging will get tougher. I’ve hit the areas I missed on the last purge, so now it will really be a matter of asking if I want something enough to be worth moving it–and asking that of almost everything. The other challenge is that a lot of what needs to go is my husband’s, but he’s the kind who will wait until right before he needs to begin packing.

One side of my future office, with less bookshelf space than the current one (door is to the right)

Much of what I need to get rid of is books–and you all know how tough that is! In some cases, these are books I loved–but not enough to re-read them (something I almost never do anyway). I gave away a few boxes of them in my Readers Group Newsletter, then stopped due to just not having enough time and energy. Now it’s time to start that back up, so if you want to win a box of books, now’s a great time to join! Just click the link above.

House Update: Not much has gone on since our visit, as it’s mostly rained since then. The waterproofers were able to get their work in on the day we left, before the next rain, and plumbing for the basement drains is in. But this week is finally supposed to be dry, and they should be able to get the basement floor poured, then framing begins!

What I’ve Been Reading: My new Kindle Paperwhite came in this week, yay! I can now read in the dark again. Still haven’t finished anything there, now that I’m reading two novels–the paper one I already started, and am continuing when I go to bed before my husband, and an ebook I’m reading when it needs to be in the dark. So nothing to report there yet. In nonfiction, I finished Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. (On a funny note, when we first got our daughter a cell phone, she used to get tons of calls for Dave Evans from bill collectors until I yelled at one and told them the phone number was an eleven-year-old girl’s, and we didn’t know any Dave Evans. Somehow, I don’t think it was this guy. 🙂 ) I will admit this book didn’t do a lot for me, mostly because it turns out I’m not its intended audience. It’s focused on careers, and is geared toward people who are unhappy with their life or just don’t know what they want to do, and is full of exercises to work through to get ideas and figure that out. It’s ideal for recent grads, retirees looking for an encore career, or for anyone who wants a big change in that area. Judging from my recent career win in getting approval to take my job with me when we move, you might correctly guess I’m not in that position. The book also had lots of examples about people who were going through that, which I enjoyed. I guess what I got out of this the most is assurance that I’m on the right path with the changes I’m working on right now, and that’s not a bad thing!

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What I’ve been Writing: Another 1400 words–which equals goal met, whoo-hoo! The Coach.me app has really helped, especially on those days I just don’t feel like writing. Okay, I did take two of those this week, but my goal allowed for that, so no worries. I also met my goal of increased output on the days I did write, and got over 200 words each time. Still not tons in itself, especially considering how many people won NaNoWriMo this year (or even participated and “failed” to success by writing more than they otherwise would have), but hey, I’ll take it! Coach.me is also helping me with decluttering. Like writing, I have a goal to work on that at least five days/week.

Since this week is likely to be a busy one with all kinds of holiday to-do’s coming up, I’m going to stick with the same goal–200 words/day, for at least five days. Other goals include continuing with the purging, and getting the Christmas decorations up and most of my shopping done (thank you, Amazon!).

What about you–do you have stuff you need to purge? What about books–how do you purge them? If you celebrate the holidays, how are your preparations coming along? And how are you doing with whatever goals you may have, whether writing or otherwise? I’d love to hear from you–please share in the comments!

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.

Slow Progress

That’s the case both with our new house, and with my writing. But much better than no progress, right?

We went to Tennessee for a couple days last week. Not much had changed with the house since the last photos I posted, but it had been two months since we were last there, and we wanted to check it out anyway. Since my last update, mostly what had been done was gravel laid in the driveway and in the basement, and the safe room built. This wasn’t something on our plans or that we requested, but our builder says the walls need to be built under the front porch regardless, so why not make it something useful?

Safe Room under the front porch

 

View from the front of the house, with garage on the right

 

This will be the view from the front porch – much different, with the leaves off the trees

Pictures are one thing, but standing in our soon-to-be basement and garage were quite another! We also met with our commercial real estate agent, who’s ready to step in and help us find and buy rental property down there as soon as the apartment building here in Ohio sells. Turns out her husband owns a brewery, and even though it’s not yet open to the public, they invited us over to see the place and enjoy some samples! The beer was fantastic, and it was tons of fun hanging out with them and the guys who were helping them build out their tasting room. We also had fun getting to know our next door neighbor, and our favorite server at our favorite restaurant (yes, we already have one, LOL). I even managed to keep up with my writing goals while we were there!

Thanksgiving was our usual nice, simple event with no drama–my favorite, and something I’m always thankful for. It did seem a little weird when my husband asked to take photos of us at the table, since it will be our last Thanksgiving in this house. It got really quiet for a few minutes there, but overall it was a nice, happy family get-together.

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m reading both a nonfiction book and a novel right now, but haven’t finished either, so I’ll discuss here after I have. The fiction reading is going slowly because I finally caved in to the ads to trade in my Kindle, and sent it back to Amazon while I could still get $25 for it, as opposed to only $5. It holds a charge, but only for a few days, and it’s getting difficult to charge since the USB socket no longer makes a good connection. So I figured I’d trade it in while I could still get the higher amount. My new one hasn’t come in yet, so I’m reading a paper book. No problem, except that means I have to turn off the light when my husband comes to bed. I miss my Kindle, because I like reading in the dark.

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What I’ve Been Writing: I met my stretch goal of writing all seven days this week, including the two nights we were in Tennessee and on Thanksgiving! It wasn’t that much, as I’m still baby-stepping my way with a 100 words/day goal, but I’ll take those words, especially since I finished a difficult chapter. The Coach.me app has been a big help, because I really love checking off that goal every day. It’s helped with my decluttering goal too, though I only got five days of that in due to our trip. This week, I’d like to up the writing goal a bit, and go for 200 words/day, for at least five days this week.

What about you–did you have a nice Thanksgiving? Have you done anything unusual and/or fun lately? How are you doing with whatever goals you may have, whether writing or something else? Please share in the comments–I love hearing 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.