Sunday, August 13, 2017

Partying, writing, and letting my husband drive my car

Washington Old Hall, Sunderland

Once again, it's the weekend, so it's time to write a blog post.
Not much has happened in the last week or so, but nonetheless, I'll mention a few things.
First of all, Steve got his Theory Test done, so he's half way through towards getting his license. This meant that he needed extra time with my car, which was something I really thought I could ignore until he had his own car. After years of having the dreaded manual shift and almost burning the whole clutch out waiting in traffic for an hour one morning, going to work, I traded it in for a little automatic Toyota Yaris. (I love that car!) Now I can concentrate on the road and cars and roundabouts -- not the stupid gear shift, hand brake, clutch control nonsense that's absolutely painful when sitting in some horrendous traffic through Newcastle each morning.
Anyway, I called our insurance company yesterday and we have Steve as an infrequent driver on my car. So he drove me to Beamish yesterday on the windy, country roads. To be fair, he did all right, but I was convinced I was going to be run off the road because I was so close to the left-hand side of the car.
I think it's fair to say I have an issue with the lack of control.
Work has been the same as usual. I'm still counting down the days until my holiday (5 weeks and two days). In the meantime, I have work parties that I can go to, but as all introverts have to struggle with -- do I go and be social or do I stay home and wish I had a social life? My main problem is location. I work every other weekend, and I live an hour away on the bus. That means if I do go anywhere, I have to take public transport to work, get a lift to the party (or even take a bus and hang out until official party time) then get a taxi home.
Plus, is it my age, or is hanging out in the bar for hours really, really boring? I mean, when I was in Florida, I could hang out with my friends for hours but we generally mixed it up with shopping, dining, drinking, and nightclub dancing. Then we could add some well-deserved drama when we were around other people who did strange things at said nightclub.
I know it's a very British thing to just hanging out at a pub, but I've tried it but after 2 hours, I'm just bored to tears. I guess if you go to different places it's more fun but, meh.
I did buy some cool Chelsea boots for the occasion though, just in case I want to go anywhere.
I don't like not being thin anymore either. Being chubby and trying to look cute is just not one of my strong suits. One of the girls at work said she'd pick me up and I could get ready at her house. My first thought was, "I'll be dressed for work. That's as ready and as dressy as I get these days."
But at any rate, the writing has been still a struggle, especially to stay focused and get chipping away at the actual project. I always liked pantsing my projects and letting them grow organically, as Stephen King says, but without a clear direction, I'm just writing bits of a whole and I need to know how they fit together.
Amy Pohler is right. Writing is hard.
If I were able to just write and hang out and not have the outside forces of the universe giving me reasons to stay distracted, I would have had a couple more rough drafts under my belt. I've even thought of just going back to one of my last projects and editing the crap out of that in order to have something productive to construct. At least then I could have an aim in mind because I know where I wanted those projects to go.
Instead, however, I'm blogging and playing The Sims 4 and hanging out at home with Steve and Jake (the cat) as I always do on Sundays. At least I have written something today, but that's small potatoes compared to what I should be doing.
It's a beautiful day outside and I'm indoors. Such is my life.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

House redecorating, holiday prep, driving, and losing writing

Morning stroll.

Well, it's my day off so it's blogging day.

Since my last post in June we've been doing more house remodeling than traveling. First of all, we live in a little two bedroom flat. It was built in the 80s so it's not that old but it hasn't been renovated for ages, so it needs a good make-over.
The first thing we did was get new blinds for the place. Steve stays home to work on Tuesdays, and with the sun blaring at us from the valley around 2PM on, it gets unbearably hot in the living room. (Insert my whining about why there is no air conditioning in the United Kingdom.) So I saw an ad in the paper that I happened to be looking at in the library one day and they had everything measured and cut within a few days of my initial call. Apparently, our flat has bigger windows than most homes, so I am pretty pleased that not only do we have an awesome view, but we have an awesome ability to look at it.
Now we have blackout blinds in each room, so I can come home from a long day of helping all the people with their IT queries, draw the blinds, grab a cider from the fridge and relax. It's a priceless luxury, I tell you that much.
The next thing on our list is the bathroom. We're getting the full suite redone so I actually have counter space (hooray!) instead of just dealing with a pedestal sink that can barely hold a toothbrush and a bottle of handwash. Now, the best part about our plumber coming to see us was that he immediately commented on how hot and humid our flat was. We have never had a vent working in our bathroom and there's no window to let the steam out, so it gets really damp in our place. Of course, neither of us have been smart enough to put two and two together and figure out that what we need is a dehumidifier along with a vent for the bathroom.
Now we have the dehumidifier and the ventilation will be included in our new bathroom suite which will be installed when we get back from the Florida trip in October. (Another hooray!)
Our other revamping adventure includes a kitchen which I'm still skeptical about. We planned everything with IKEA a couple of weeks ago, and as awesome as the thing seems, it's a big process for a little flat. I mean if we sell or rent the place out, it will increase the value, I guess. However, I will finally have a dishwasher again (I've been without for 6 and 1/2 years) plus a big refrigerator (ours is about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide - keeping a Thanksgiving turkey in it is non-negotiable). This will be tough to part with if we move from our little flat on the cul-de-sac with the awesome view.

Now, for the traveling bit -- we've taken a small visit to Washington Old Hall because it is the home of George Washington's ancestors. We've planned out our Florida trip and instead of taking a mini holiday to Nashville or Las Vegas while we're in the USA, I made the executive decision for us to take a cruise over one of the weekends we didn't have anything else planned.
I have never thought I wanted to go on a cruise but for the price and convenience, not to mention the fact that I don't have to drive or be mindful of some itinerary for a few days, I chose a 3-day cruise to The Bahamas. If it's too crowded or we hate it, fair enough, we don't have to do it again. But, if my parents end up moving back to Ohio (something they've considered since 1989) then this may be our last chance to go on one. My friends in Florida have been on zillions and enjoy it, so I may as well give it a whirl.

Speaking of driving, I've been practicing my driving a little more now that it's half term (school's out!) so the roads are less hectic. I still take the bus on Tuesdays because I like using it as reading day. Long bus rides = getting reading done. So I've driven to the coast on the weekends, even went to a library by myself in the car. I used to absolutely love driving, now it just makes me nervous if I don't know where I'm going.

Steve has just passed his Driving Theory Test though, so he's well on his way to getting his license. I'm so excited for him because he's wanted this for a very long time. Plus, it will be an immense help to have two drivers within the same household. When you want to take the bus you can, but if not, there's always the car.

For the writing bit -- I was complaining on Twitter that I had lost a bit of writing that I remembered doing not too long ago. It was part of a WIP that I've been playing around with for a couple of years now. It wasn't monumental or anything, it just had the tone right for the relationship between the mother and the daughter. I use Evernote, Scrivener, OneNote, Novlr, and 750 Words to keep my writing available on the fly. I've had to hunt before for bits of writing, but I usually find it. This one has just vanished and I honestly don't remember where or when I write the scene.

So absolutely frustrating.

Anyway, my life has been about work and I think Steve is fed up with hearing about me whine about it. I'm in desperate need of a vacation so next month I will be in Florida with the biggest smile on my face. (More and more hoorays!)