Motion Sickness

Querying makes me queasy.

It’s October, and I’m back on the query train, and I’m queasy as hell. Someone get me a dramamine. Sent two off today and I feel like crawling under the covers and moaning ’til dark,  succumbing to the writer’s interior monologue that goes, “who the hell am I kidding? What was I thinking, to write that book, much less send out queries about it? Why do I think anyone would want to read my crap? ARRGGH! Oh this is horrendous! I should be so embarrassed! These New York agents are going to laugh my queries out of their inboxes faster than you can say “memoir,” while they’re venting to their colleagues, “DAMMIT ANOTHER F***ING MEMOIR!”

Why can’t I write YA fiction like everyone else on the planet? You know, stuff that appeals to a market that actually seems to exist? Why can’t I write fiction at all? How does anyone do it, come up with characters and plots and settings and stories that break your heart? Why are all my heartbreaking stories true?

I had a great phone interview yesterday for a job I want. I have to write something and send it in before I show up to an in-person interview next Tuesday. Which means I have less than a week to go full overthink on a 300-500 word piece that should be as easy as falling off a log and then have a full-blown wardrobe crisis. Already scheduled a haircut. Can’t afford new clothes or the haircut but what else can I do?

I have four CNF pieces pending with lit mags, one of which is for an October issue and Submittable still says, “In Progress.” But October itself is “in progress.” WTF? Or am I just such a rookie that I don’t know how this is supposed to work?

I feel another round of displacement-activity-wallpaper-stripping-and-painting coming on. After the downstairs bathroom, the big finale is going to be the front hall, which has two layers of wallpaper:  some kind of heavy striped 1970’s looking fabric, over an adorable 1940s-1950s red-kerchiefy-Betty-Crocker-cookbook-cover looking kind of pattern, as far as I can tell, from the snippet of it that shows in a spot where the stripes have eroded. I’ll have to try and remove or go around an old doorbell chime thing that’s almost a foot square and the paddle on the steamer thing I rented last time is way too big to go above doors and into corners so what do I do about that? Shouldn’t there be some kind of attachment for that? Why am I asking you? I should be asking the guys-who-know-how-to-do-things-who-should-be-enjoying-retirement-now-but-have-to-keep-working-at-the-big-box-hardware-store-for-the-health-insurance. These nice guys give good advice. They all appear to have suffered back or hip or limb injuries in their past professions. One of them even showed me what’s left of one of his fingers.  Note to self: don’t use power sawing equipment. Good thing I don’t need a power saw to steam off wallpaper. Not that I might not want to use one by the time I’m halfway through the job.

I am now in possession of my brother’s power washer and if it ever stops raining I have to use it to clean my deck, which I have never done before. Apparently the force of the thing is capable of “puncturing” skin, and probably breaking toes, so I’ll wear my reinforced toe boots from my warehouse days. Then if I succeed in cleaning the deck I’ll have to go back to the big box store and get the guy-who-knows-about-paint-and-stuff to limp over with his bad back and show me what kind of stuff I have to spread all over the deck once I clean it and which variety of said stuff is the least toxic variety, and how to apply it and whether I have to wear a gas mask or something while I do it. Oh, God! This do-it-your-self-ing will be the death of me if waiting for an answer on my writing doesn’t kill me first.

The kitchen floor needs washing and the second load of laundry is dry and Angelic Daughter needs me to make a vat of her late father’s “magic” chicken soup which does have a way of miraculously curing what ails you, if he helps me from beyond with the proportions of things, because he was an on-the-fly chef who didn’t write down his recipes, which makes me an on-the-fly-cook who prays, when I’m not cowering under the covers with writer’s meltdown.

There’s only one way to handle this.

Nap.

A good two hours of oblivion will at least be a good two hours less of anxiety.  The floor and the laundry can wait, and I’ll still have time to make the soup.

Off to the land of Nod, I remain,

Your overthinking, obsessive, oddball

Ridiculouswoman

Washer, Wasps and Weeds

Words while I wait.

Yesterday,  workout, downstairs. Find Angelic Daughter in the laundry room, putting dripping wet clothes into the dryer.

Accuse her of pressing “pause” on the washer to speed the job.

Put dripping clothes back in washer.  Press “drain and spin.”

Hear horrible grinding noise, followed by normal spinning noise.

Washer switches off. Lid unlocks.

Voila, DRIPPING WET CLOTHES.

Apologize to Angelic Daughter for false accusation. And for tone in which it was delivered. BAD MOTHER.

Accept that the washing machine is broken. Oh, YAY.

While considering which card I can scrape enough credit off to pay for repairs, decide to do the yard work, still all sweaty from the workout, ensuring one shower, not two.

What planning!

Agenda includes tree trimming, and raking out one section worth of Creeping Charlie from the “lawn.” The crab tree by the deck reliably blooms profusely each May.  Mike was much better at shaping it than I am (it helped that he was 10 inches taller than me). My efforts this spring resulted in a wedge- shaped tree, high at the back, sloping down to a sort of newsboy-cap brim, instead of the lovely globe Mike used to achieve.

Got out the ladder and the long-pole trimmer. Nipped those dopey-looking branches sticking up at the top, that I couldn’t see last time because the blaring sun was in my eyes. Cloudy morning today, just right.

As I nipped and snipped, I noticed a bloom of bugs coming out of the tree. Buzzing. Bees! Yay me! Saving the pollinators!

Except when I got around to the other side and looked up through the branches, I saw something like this:

paper-wasp-2225117_640

And the “reptiles,” as Dr. Maturin would call them, crawling all over it didn’t look like ordinary bees. For starters, they were mostly black.

Abandon tree trimming until species of reptile is identified by shape and nature of nest.

Just then, neighbor, also out to do her yard work, calls to me, identifying what I have come to refer to as “nasty viney weed” on her side of the fence, but technically still on my property. Yes, of course, pull it out!

Never one for half measures, she takes a blowtorch to it.

Walking over to observe, I notice that there is a proliferation (oh, my, aren’t we full of vocabulary today) of nasty viney weed (nightshade — eeewwww!) strangling about a third of the woodsy perimeter of my yard, where it reliably appears each year, and where I laboriously pull it out a few times a every summer. Ineffective, but there’s too much good stuff near it to use the blowtorch method. Repetition of the laborious pulling is the key. Clearly I have been slacking on that.

An hour later, with two yard waste bags full of nasty viney weed, about 15 mosquito bites on each cheek (not talking face here) and a plethora (oh, my, proliferation AND plethora – alliterative vocabulary, how impressive) of scratches from the sharp needles of the spruce trees I had been rummaging around under, pulling nasty viney weed out by its roots, it’s shower time. No Creeping Charlie removal.

Washed and rinsed (but not spun), I make a spinach and Swiss omelet using fresh spinach from my garden.

Time to consult the all-knowing internet vis-a-vis reptile nest. Find that ‘the bald-faced hornet constructs a papery nest with a cap on top and a hole in the bottom, which will grow in size as the colony grows. This is an aggressive species with a particularly painful sting. Do not attempt to remove on your own. Consult a professional.’

Sigh. Calculate how much MORE credit I can wring from that card.

Consider leaving the nest undisturbed until it freezes because ‘the colony will die in winter and the nest will not be reused,’ but it is in the crab tree, close to the deck, and near the vegetable garden.

Contact reptile removal company. How much? That much?! And you use insecticide to kill them first (yes, ma’am, see “particularly agressive, painful sting,” above) then you come back a few days later to remove the nest?

You’ll keep that nasty wasp killing stuff off my veggies, right? And you won’t kill the good bees and butterflies that come to the front garden I planted specifically to attract them?

This morning, instead of raking Creeping Charlie, I placed the soaker hose around the squash growing in the former chicken run, while waiting for the call with the “window” of time when I must wait again for the reptile remover.

And the washer repair guy isn’t coming until next Friday.

Sigh.

Washer, wasps, weeds, waiting and words.

At least I like one of those things.

Waiting, watering and writing, I remain, your resigned-to-her-fate,

Ridiculouswoman

Washing machine image by ITAK_studio from Pixabay

Wasp’s nest image by Bernell MacDonald from Pixabay