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Live Through Us at The Burrow

Redneckgenuity

Yup. We’re rednecks. And proud of it. Our redneckgenuity has saved us thousands of dollars and untold heartache and time. It’s allowed us to do things we would never be able to do otherwise. Anyone who can’t appreciate that, well, we just can’t be friends. (insert appropriate emoji here)

Anywho, we bought a hot tub. Looks a lot like this.

It was used, of course, and they lied to us, of course. The pump was completely rusted and froze up, and the cover for the control panel is still missing. But, the jets and lights all worked, and the pipes were fairly clean.

We spent two months getting it to work, then several days cleaning and disinfecting it. We built a little room around it (still building), and as you can see, it was amazing, awesome, and beautiful.

And then…

We’re sitting in it, the roof finally overhead, and my son (whom I pretty much bought it for) says, “This is just like a real hot tub. It feels like it. It smells like it.” Hot tubs were always his favorite thing at hotels and such. Now we don’t have to worry about finding hotels with them, something I always tried to do because he loved them so much. Nor do we have to worry about the nasty, cause honey, I done seen me some nasty in them hot tubs!

So, right after he says this, the pump starts turning itself off and on. Off and on. I reach over to turn it off. No go. Arlis screams, “Get out! Get out!” We’re all worried it’s gone off the deep end or possessed by aliens like in Maximum Overdrive, and we’re about to be electrocuted any second. He pulls the breaker and it shuts off.

We spent the rest of the evening troubleshooting.

  • It overheated
  • There’s not enough water
  • The filter’s dirty
  • Blah blah blah

Nope. No success. Turns out, that missing top of the control panel was essential for keeping the water out, and as a result of its absence, water got into it.

We took it out, put it in rice, etc. Once dried. We hooked it back up and voila! It’s working again.

Now comes the problem. My original suggestion of Ziplock and duct tape won’t work, they say, because duct tape isn’t water resistant enough. They don’t make that control panel anymore, and even if we were able to get a cover for it, the gel that blocked the moisture from getting into the wiring had to be torn out to get it dry. No, we needed a safe place to mount it, and its original spot was not it.

So, we did this.

This first thing we did was fill up the hole. I found an old Tupperware dish I didn’t even know we had. Arlis cut the bottom out and ground down the edges, sanded it rough on one side and attached it over the hole of where the control panel originally sat with silicone caulking.

 

(I know the picture makes the water look gross, but it was dark.)

Then, we built a place for the control panel to safely rest yet be within reach should we want to use it.

Why yes, the cover is in bad shape. It’s called filling the holes with Great Stuff until we can afford a new one. And yes, it works AMAZING at keeping that sucker warm! Also, the top parts of the walls will be screened in instead of boarded up. This room is a work in progress.

And finally, we needed a way to keep the control panel from getting wet again when our wet fingers reached up and touched the buttons.

And there you have it, folks. Redneckgenuity at its finest. It works great again, and all it took was a bag of rice, and old Tupperware dish, and one Ziplock bag.

*Bows graciously*

Thank you. Thank you. 🙂

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Balance

I recently rewatched one of my favorite lines:

Seven of Nine is toasting at a baby shower and says, “May all of her desires come true except one, so she always has something to strive for.”

I have had many goals and dreams in my life, and I have pursued most if not all of them. I have been a complete homesteader, making or growing all of my own and my family’s food. I homeschooled my child. I have sang on a stage to people literally chanting my name. I even finally got that book written. OK, several books written. And I finally, after several years, got a picture book published, albeit independently.

I’ve failed at more than I’ve succeeded (We outgrew our land and were never able to make a business out of it), but I’m pretty sure that’s normal for everyone. If we all succeeded at everything, as Seven so elegantly put it, what would we have to strive for?

I still have a goal, of course. I’m sure it’s more than obvious. I wish to be traditionally published. Will it ever come true? My doubt is growing, but that’s OK. See, I have something to strive for. We all need dreams. We all need something to look forward to.

A coworker friend of mine cruises a lot. At least once a year, sometimes several, and he told me that without the next cruise to look forward to, he gets horribly depressed. As any longtime reader of this blog knows, I have anxiety, but ever since I started writing, that anxiety has become manageable. Oh don’t get me wrong! The veins in my arms are presently burning with the desire to get something done. That will, unfortunately, never go away. But I can function far better now because of my writing, because I have something to strive for. If that desire is taken away, I become lost. It isn’t pretty. Does this mean that once I get my dream of becoming published I will no longer know what to do? Absolutely not! There are awards to yearn for, accomplishments to be had. I do not believe I could, or will, ever reach the top.

This blog post made an impression on me. Although it’s mainly about people who have peaked and therefore need a new life direction, it can be beneficial to us all, I believe. I’ve often pitied those who have reached the top, especially at a young age. All the athletes and gymnasts, now what do they do? It’s a shame really. We all envy them then, but in reality, their lives are but a tiny flash of joy sandwiched between the desire to reach that joy and the depression which follows.

So maybe I’m better off never reaching this goal. Maybe this is my one desire I will have to strive for. And I’m starting to be OK with that.

POC on a book cover

POC is a broad term including pretty much everyone that isn’t stereotypically white, and since a great deal of the world bunches all us “white people” together into one very stuffy, very stale bowl, it obviously doesn’t include everyone. But I recently watched a presentation by Barry Goldblatt, literary agent for Barry Goldblatt Literary, that spoke to me. He said there is still a firm belief within the publishing world that placing a POC on the cover of a book will keep it from selling, at least as well.

I don’t doubt that. But not for why you think.

As a child, when I saw a POC on a cover of a book, I groaned and moaned because I knew the book was going to be one of those serious “teach kids a lesson” books that would bore me to tears. It was usually a girl with some detrimental look on her face who had lived some terrible life of slavery and concentration camps and while very interesting and educational (probably more interesting to me now as an adult 😉 ) they were not fun. In fact, they were often depressing.

Fast forward to today. We pretty much have the same thing, only now the POC’s are Arabic and Indian.

But wait.

I’ve seen a very very few books with POC on the front that looked fun. Of Giants and Ice is one (although they left the POC off two of the four covers, never figured that out), Princess Cupcake is another. This blog post shares 12 books with POC where the topic isn’t racial. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion looks cute.

I did an internet search and an Amazon search. Both came up with pretty much nothing but serious books that completely turned me off from the get-go. I had to really search to find a book with a POC on the front that was just for fun, like the ones I mentioned above. And I truly think that’s the problem. I think that’s the reason “POC covers don’t sell”. If the publishing community would quit treating POC like some sorrowful event we all have to read with our heads bowed, they would sell more. But that’s just my opinion.

What every character needs, actually … wants

As promised, here’s what I learned about character. Now, this post is not going to go in near the depth the class did, so I highly suggest you check it out.

Every character must have:

  1. A want. If the character needs something, the story is about fate. If they want something, it’s about the story being driven by the character. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they want it.
  2. A weakness. As the instructor in the videos said, “We love Superman because he’s vulnerable to Kryptonite.” Imagine for a moment if he weren’t. Every character has to have a weakness. Maybe it’s their anger, their jealousy. Maybe they’re allergic to air or moondust. It doesn’t matter, just find one (or more) for them.
  3. Where are they from? This is both geographically and emotionally. Their region of upbringing will affect their language, their culture, maybe even their strengths and weaknesses. Think about how growing up an army brat would change a person. Their emotional baggage they bring with them affects their personality, the way they react to anyone and everything. This needs to be discovered before they first word is written.
  4. Where are they going? This one’s a little more difficult to explain as the teacher didn’t explain it very well to me. What he said was if you know where the character is coming from and what they want, you will know how they will react to obstacles they come across or are thrown at them. I think what he meant was, are they going to have a smooth ride? Will they get what they want? What will happen to them along the way? That sort of thing.
  5. What do they do to surprise you? Pantsers’ characters surprise us all the time. I had no idea Anya would get jealous of Gevin when he was chosen, but by golly she did! She was such a strong character to me, book three really shocked me when she broke down and panicked. That should have been a warning bell for me, and it was. The scene where they face their greatest fears? Yeah, that took me days to figure out what hers was. She didn’t seem to have any, and I kinda made one up in the end. But hey, it worked, so there. This is one reason I’m recommending you do all this before you start writing. That way you don’t wait till book 3 of a series to finally discover what gets your character’s goat.

That’s all I’m going to discuss in this post. Again, I highly recommend you take the class, and good luck with your writing!

Handing in my pants – but not permanently of course

I’m gonna knock your all’s socks off.

I’m plotting.

No. Serious plotting. As in, I’m spending today doing nothing more than creating my characters. It used to be that I discovered plot and characters as I wrote. I totally pantsed my stories, unless or course I ran into a dead end or something. Then I brought out my trusty 8-point arc and went from there. But recently, I found the 8-pointer didn’t do it for me anymore. So, I got more serious with my writing.

Now, I’ve always been serious with my writing, and I’ve wanted to take courses for years, but I only recently have been able to (mainly due to not being able to find any, especially cheap enough I can afford it—aka free—and yet still legit). I’m glad I waited to be honest. I think I’m learning more from it now than I would have in the past.

So here’s what I’m taking:

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/creative-writing

It’s a 5 course series offered by Coursera. In order to get graded and join in on the peer reviews, you have to pay the $50/month, but all the lessons and actual assignments are otherwise free, just not the grading a peer reviews. I’ve only done part of the first course, but I’ve learned a great deal and am very impressed. While I plan to do every assignment, no matter how silly I think they may be, I’m also working on my next story while I do.

For example, we’ve learned the major plot points, but explained in a way I’ve never had explained before. I feel like I’ve leveled up to a higher plane or something. Also, we’ve learned about character. And that character drives the plot. I’ve heard a lot about plot driven and character driven before, but I’m only now understanding it. I’m going to explain a bit about the characters’ needs and wants for the story to have a greater depth, but I’m going to make a separate post for it. Here’s a link:

What your story’s characters need.

How to get an agent and/or published for the beginner

Something happened today that made me decide a few things need to be addressed for authors out there trying to get agents and/or published. Someone asked how to get an agent and/or published, and I answered them. When I read their reply, I went back to read their original post and saw, to my astonishment, something I had missed earlier, something I had assumed differently. See, this was a forum specifically for authors seeking agents, but their question said they don’t want money, they just want the “support” of an agent.

That’s a waste of agents’ time, folks. If you have no intentions of following their rules and/or making money, don’t waste their time and yours by querying. And that’s what his answer was. He was an artist who would do whatever, however he wanted with his art. OK. That’s fine and dandy, but no agent is going to support any author. They’re going to represent professional authors.

So for those of you out there dying to be a professional author, here are some basic do’s and don’t’s:

  1. Do your homework. Aka, read every article, blog post, book on the topic. Soon you’ll be able to skip the bogus and go straight for the true, tossing the garbage left and right over your shoulders. This takes years, yes years, to learn, and you still won’t learn it all. Like ever.
  2. Finish the book. Publishers don’t give advances for partial books, and agents will toss you in the trash without so much as a rejection letter. (This is for fiction only. Non-fiction is a completely different world and is not discussed here. If you are specifically wanting to pitch a non-fiction, this post may help you some, but is not directed towards you in any way shape or form) If an agent gets really bored and feels really sorry for you, you might get a letter that says, “Finish a book before querying.”
  3. Self-edit the book. Go over the book. Over and over and over the book. Publishers and agents do not want your rough drafts. Instant rejection without reply.
  4. Buy the latest copy of the Writer’s Market, preferably in your genre, if available. These can be found at the library too sometimes.
  5. Don’t post your book online. I know I post WIP’s. Those are just tiny snippets of whatever I’m working on. There are people who post their whole book online and then ask for representation, and get this, with a link to where their book is posted online included in their query. Biiiiig no no. No one wants to publish a book available for free elsewhere. (This was what “the artist” wanted to do.)
  6. Don’t pitch to publishers until you exhaust all your agents. Agents can’t sell a book to a publisher that’s already turned it down. (Most publishers don’t take unsolicited manuscripts anyway.)
  7. The literary world is small and has a memory. Don’t burn your bridges. If you continuously insist on querying agents/publishers that don’t represent your type of work, in a way they specifically ask people not to, or without being professional, when you finally do write the next best-seller, it’ll be thrown in the trash without being read.

This is by no means an answer to every question. Nor is it meant to be. But it will get you started. If you are unwilling to follow these rules, don’t query. There’s nothing wrong with posting your beautiful literary work online for the world to read, print it on a T-shirt, I don’t care, but don’t waste an agent’s time by querying them if you’re not serious as a professional author. Please.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

This one’s an easy post, and it’s quite common, but not like you think. See, sexual harassment by co-workers is one thing, but what if it’s from the customers?

Lots of waitresses flirt their way through tips, and put up with more than they should to get what they can, but I’m not a waitress. I work in a retail store. A large retail store than spends more money on their lawyers every year than I will make in a lifetime. And I am harassed almost daily by customers.

Yesterday I had an incident where a creepy old man put his arm around me and gave me one of those side hugs. I scooted my way into the cartpusher who was standing next to me. I don’t know this old man. I don’t want to know this old man. If I say, “Don’t touch me,” I can only imagine how that would go over, so I have to save it for when it’s really necessary.

What? You thought an old man hugging me was really necessary? It depends. That’s almost considered normal where I work, which is so so sad. I know of one girl in particular who is harassed by one customer that comes in there. Whenever he comes around, her supervisor tells her to run hide/take a break until he leaves. That’s ridiculous. NO workplace should have a policy that stupid. But mine does.

But aside from that, I was surrounded by other customers and co-workers. Yes, I probably should have told him not to touch me. I was more in shock than anything else. Hopefully I’ll be more prepared next time. I mean, don’t get me wrong. If I had been someplace other than work, I would have hit him, yelled at him, and who knows what else. (I’ve been in that position before, and yes, I defended myself quite well without hesitation) But at work? My options are far more limited. But they shouldn’t be.

I asked a big guy I work with as he walked by if the customers ever touch him. Why yes, feminists, they do. Although he did admit it’s not near as much as “we girls up front” have to put up with. I asked other men there. They’ve all had their fair share, some more than any woman I know that works there. One guy had a female customer reach out and grab a handful of buttcheek. She then told him she wanted to take him home with her. He told her he didn’t appreciate what she did and no, he would not go home with her. And unfortunately, that was the end of it.

So here’s the gist. If a person touches you in an unwanted way or says something you don’t appreciate on the street, you are not looked down upon for physically defending yourself or speaking harshly to them. Just imagine if you reacted that way to a customer. This shouldn’t be a problem. Anyone should be allowed to react the exact same way at work as they would in public.

But here’s the other thing. Let’s say I go public with this. Let’s say this guy harasses me to the point I’m one of the ones that has to hide too, and I call news stations. I lose my job. But see, I’m not a millionaire actress who can afford to retire and never work again or sell a book on the whole event just because I’m famous. I’m nobody. I’m the lowest of the low. If I go public and get fired and sue the company and this and that, no one will hire me afterwards. Nobody. Let’s say I win the lottery and sue the company or something. All they have to do is sue me, get all my money, and then I’m still broke and jobless.

And this, folks, is why harassment at work still exists, and always will exist, until the employer allows us to fight back. And this, is why no one talks about what happens.

Why one writer chose to self-publish. Should you?

Hey, Guys! Today I’m doing something special. I’m posting an open and frank discussion I had with an author friend of mine on why she chose to self-publish. Yes I had her permission ;).

Before I post said discussion, let me tell you a bit about Ms. Angelique Conger to you. Ms. Conger discovered the wonders of writing books later in her life. For years, the stories of ancient women enticed her, challenging her to tell their stories. No one knows or tells the stories of these women, unknown in history, not even most of their names. Many of the stories of their husbands are unknown. Angelique tells their stories as though they sat beside her, whispering their stories into her ear in her series Ancient Matriarchs.
Angelique lives in southern Nevada with her husband, a bird, and two turtles. She looks forward to visits from her grandchildren, and their parents.
She can be found at
http://www.AngeliqueCongerAuthor.com
https://www.amazon.com/Angelique-Conger/e/B01NBPZ1LW

Let me also say before we begin that Ms. Conger’s opinions are her own. We are here to listen to her opinions and thoughts and learn from them.

Soooo, Hi Ms. Conger!

Angelique:
Hi, Debby 🙂

Me:
So tell me, why did you choose to self-pubish?

Angelique:
I had thought I’d try for a traditional publishing contract until I learned how long it took to go through the process. I’m 64 already, and don’t feel like I have time to play their games.

Me:
LOL. The traditional route can take a long time.

Angelique:
Once I started, I realized I like the freedom to make my own choices. I have friends with publishers. They don’t have any control over when their books will be published, or how they look. I like to be in control.

Me:
I can understand that. What reason(s) do you think others have for self publication? Is it mainly a desire for control over their work?

Angelique:
I choose to self publish for control and to get my stories out for others to read when I want them to go out.

Me:
Is writing more of a career or hobby for you?

Angelique
This is a career for me. My husband has poor health. My goal is to reach the point I can support myself if needed. My husband can support us well now, but I will lose most of it if he dies. I’d like to earn enough to take him on a nice vacation.

Me:
A lot of writers are curious as to how plausible it is to make a career in self-publishing. We’ve all heard the instant winner stories like 50 Shades, but the truth is more fail than succeed in making an actual career out of it. What do you think you are doing that will make you one of the successful ones?

Angelique:
I have goals and plans. I have written a series of 4 books, with another 2 planned, and have 2 written for a second series. I published 4 books last year, and plan 4 – 6 more this year. I bought 3 courses that help me with marketing, though it is slow with limited funds.

Me:
I thought about taking marketing courses myself. Do you feel they have helped you?

Angelique
I like the courses by Mark Dawson. They are full of helpful information. I haven’t gone through everything, but the parts I’ve completed have definitely helped. Also, I have a course by Nick Stephenson that helps me understand email marketing.

Me:
Ooo, excellent. Do you mind sharing links to them?

(shared links)
https://learn.selfpublishingformula.com/courses
Self Publishing Formula
Revenue generating online marketing skills and tools for indie authors.
learn.selfpublishingformula.com
(These courses are only offered a couple times a year.)

Angelique:
I have spent more time writing and need to focus more on the marketing side of things. That is the tough part of being self-published, learning how to market, though I hear that even traditional authors end up having to be more involved in marketing now.

Me:
That’s true, but from my research, it’s nothing compared to what selffers do. What they call marketing, I call going out and having a good time! Lol. Do you have any marketing advice you’d like to share with us?

Angelique:
I think marketing is something we have to focus on each day, not just when we think about it. Promotion sites are great for a day or two, maybe a few more days. I haven’t ever tried yet for a BookBub promotion. I don’t really have the funds to pay for it.

Me:
Understandable. They are expensive, and it even appears as though their trends are aiming towards traditional authors.

Angelique:
Marketing includes sharing what’s going on in a newsletter, or social media. It’s promotion sites, and paying for ads on FaceBook and Amazon. I have tried sharing with other authors, and BookFunnel and InstaFreebie. I find the real problem is becoming that people want free books and I want to have them decide to pay me for my work.

Me:
Yes! The freebook war!
I have a friend in real life that makes puh-lenty of money and still refuses to pay for any of her books. She doesn’t think she should have to. This is what we’re fighting.

Angelique:
I have a short story only available when one signs up for my newsletter. It’s not on Amazon or anywhere else. Yet, those readers fill up their eReaders with free books and never purchase anything else.

Me:
Yes. Exactly. It’s sad. And a lot will instantly unsubscribe. And if you put up another book to draw in readers, they will grab it and leave again. There needs to be a way in the newsletter system to prevent anyone who has already unsubscribed from subscribing again to get another book.

Angelique:
Some newsletter services will prevent that. When I was with MailChimp, they prevented those who had unsubscribed from subscribing again. But, all they need to do is use another email address.

Me:
True. I also get a lot of “email@XXX.com” subscribers. I can’t blame them, but still.

Angelique:
It’s a challenge. I understand when people don’t have lots of money, but please, $0.99 isn’t much, nor is $3.99 or $4.99. They pay more for a cup of coffee every day.

Me:
The coffee scenario is used a lot. One person said it was hogwash, that the barista put extra personal time into it and such. Personally I don’t drink coffee and would never pay that much money for something so frivolous, so I never use the comparison.

Angelique:
I never drink coffee. But, don’t tell me a barista spends more time making a special cup of coffee than I take to write a book. My books take months to years to write, plus I pay for covers and editing. I have yet to get back a fraction of what I’ve spent on my books. My books cost less than the fast food meal most people buy at least once a week. I can’t understand the insistence on free books. I think authors shot themselves in the foot when they started giving away free books.

Me:
I agree. Unfortunately, you can’t fight the ones who still do it, and it is them who bring the rest of us down. I refuse to put up a permafree. My work’s better than that.

Angelique:
I only give away the one book. I have given away my first book on a free promo site, and gave away 1800 books, but got few if any reviews, and little read through to the next books. I don’t like free. I do sometimes give free on the first few days a book is out.

Me:
Wouldn’t giving it free on the first few days be giving away your best sales?

Angelique:
I shouldn’t give any away. You are right. I’m probably giving away my best sales. I hate free. I work too hard to give away my work.
I’ve seen the book 1 free to entice book 2. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t. There are too many who will only download free.

Me:
I have seen, and have done myself, giving book 1 free when book 2 is released, that sort of thing. I think there’s also a formula for amount charged with popularity. The whole supply and demand thing. What do you think of those who have already self-published and want to join the traditional scene? Do you think they should hide their previous works until they have to confess or be open up front? Or do you know?

Angelique:
I believe in being honest. I have seen some who are offered traditional contracts because they have good response to their self publishing. I don’t ever plan on going that way. I do not want my books, especially the first few, to be turned into movies or tv shows. I want to retain the rights to make those decisions.

Me:
lol
Yes, a good response always helps, but what about the author who hasn’t sold very many?

Angelique:
For the author who hasn’t sold many, I don’t know. I still think honesty is important. Maybe they aren’t selling more because of the blurb/description or the cover. Those could be helped by a professional.

Me:
I personally know a successful traditional author who went hybrid. Why do you think some of the traditional authors are doing that?
I believe she did it because the piece she wanted to publish wasn’t traditional material. She continues to write for a big 5.

Angelique:
I think they like the opportunity to have more control over when and how their books are published. More power to them, either way. I think publication is a personal choice. I don’t think the traditional way is good for me. I think some authors write things they want to publish, and if the trad publisher won’t, they try self-publishing.

Me:
So, if you had to make a check list as to whether a writer should self-publish or query, what would you write on it?
#1-Would a traditional publisher even be interested?

Angelique:
Desire to control content

Me:
#2-How much are you willing to change your work to suit them? Exactly, content control.

Angelique:
$ available to pay for editing and covers
Willingness to learn marketing
support from family/husband
time to spend on both writing and marketing
Age: time to wait 3 + years for a publisher to decide if they want your work.

Me:
Now, you made some great points, but are they all necessary? What if you don’t want/aren’t willing to market and are willing to accept lower sales as a result? Aka, you’re not in it for the money?

Angelique:
Then, perhaps your writing is a hobby, and you don’t have a burning desire to make sales or don’t need the $ to live.
I think it is a personal choice.

Me:
Well, I think we’ve covered a lot. Do you have anything else you want to add?

Angelique:
I love the opportunity we have today to choose self or traditional publishing. It is wonderful to be able to publish without the gatekeepers.

Me:
I love the choice too. There are a great deal of books that wouldn’t be here that are good if traditional was the only option.

Angelique:
Exactly. Sometimes the things we write are not things traditional publishers would accept, they don’t seem to be ones that would sell. Now, we can write what we want, and can sell books we wrote ages ago, that would have been taken off the shelves by traditional publishers and book sellers. It is a wonderful opportunity to have the right to choose.

Me:
That too! I forgot about books taken down. Excellent point!

Angelique:
It’s all part of the personal control and ability to do what we want with our own work.

Me:
Yes. Anything else?

Angelique:
No, I think I’ve said it all. I’m grateful for the opportunity to self publish and hope I can get the marketing down soon.

Me:
lol-don’t we all! Thanks!

Angelique:
Thanks for the opportunity.

That’s it, folks! Do you self-publish? What were your deciding factors? Do you have questions for those who have self-published? Comment and let us know-see ya next time! 🙂

And FYI, my latest book, What Does Spider Poop Look Like? is now available and currently my best seller. Visit my website for details.

One Wasp Later

So I’m sitting here at my laptop, wearing a long sleeve red shirt, and trying to get a few hours of writing in. Along comes a wasp. I have my window open; it’s raining outside in that sort of gentle, steady way that provides perfect background noise and can lull you to sleep if you let it. Alas, the wasp did not come from the window, it came from my closet. Which is actually scary, because now I’m wondering what else is in my closet. Even now as I write this, having killed said wasp, a wisp of hair is tickling my throat, nearly freaking me out in the process.

So anyway, this wasp flies out of my closet and lands on my right sleeve. It didn’t fly in the normal waspy way. It flew in the “I’m really a lady bug” way. I stopped myself from brushing it off, assuming it was another lady bug, once my brain had registered that it was really too big to be a lady bug. I slowly, cautiously, stretched out my arm to find my worst fear, a wasp.

Sheer panic, folks. Sheer panic. You do not know sheer panic until you are literally frozen solid with the complete inability to perform any actions whatsoever. Ideas flew through my mind, much faster than that wasp flew to my arm, as I searched for a way out of this. New $800 laptop? Who cares? Throw it off. Onto two dogs and cat, better them than me, and hold your arm out as though doing so long enough would detach it from your body.

It didn’t.

Finally I got the idea of taking my shirt off in a way that wouldn’t go near the wasp and then running from my room screaming. Somehow I didn’t break another toe-praise be for that. Arlis refuses to do anything without his electric racket. I make busy cleaning the bathroom sink and await cries of pain or joy, whichever way meant he found it.

And then my husband did the unthinkable. He left me alone with unfinished business. I made him get back in there with me and search. We turned the shirt back right-side-out, no wasp. Don’t care, threw it in the dirty clothes. I’m not wearing it again. We spun the ceiling fan, searched the walls. Then I found it. It flew to the top pane of the open window. He got it with his electric racket, and the world is safe once again.

It’s amazing the interference that one little creature had on our lives.

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