This is my expressionism.

A Report on October

During the month of October, I learned many things, some about myself and some about the world around me. For instance I learned that I dislike driving in Narnia. I also learned that natural selection doesn’t always work in this day and age.

The month started and ended with snow. We were all set to have a late peak for fall foliage as September ended. This would have been very good for us financially speaking as there would have been a lot more bookings at the end of October (people like dying leaves, what can I say?). Unfortunately at the very beginning of October there was a very cold snap and one morning our guests woke up to about a quarter inch of snow on the ground. Rather unusual and it set the colors forward by about two weeks. Fast forward to the end of the month. Last Friday (Oct 29) it started to snow. It started around 3 and by the time I asked to leave early at around 9 there were already a couple inches on the ground. I drove home at about 15 mph and still managed to slide my front wheels and do a 180. I have come to the conclusion that I hate driving in Narnia.

October is the busiest month of the year where I work for one reason: dying leaves. People come from hundreds of miles away to see our fall foliage. I’m sure other people know about leaf peepers, those nuts that come out once a year to look at leaves, experience nature, and drive infuriatingly slowly. Once a year they and their special breed of madness descend upon us. People actually book a year ad a half in advance for some of our rooms. Then of course there are the people that booked the cheapest rooms we sell two days before and pitch a fit when they get here because they don’t have a world class view of the valley. Yes, the leafers are a special breed, and not necessarily in a good way (we have people now in November upset that all the foliage is gone. I keep explaining nine inches of snow will do that).

Even among the leaf peepers there are those people you would swear are just too stupid to live. This October we had one fire and one almost fire. The fire occurred on a Monday night in one of our suites. A couple was cold (or perhaps just really liked fire) and built themselves a roaring blaze in the fire place. In the middle of the night their neighbor came to complain. The night auditor (the only staff member on duty) could see flames shooting out of the chimney we she stepped outside to look. It took two fire extinguishers to put out the twelve logs they’d stuffed into the fire place. They fire department still had to come to put out the chimney. And they worst part of all of this? The neighbor kept blocking everyone’s way because they weren’t done complaining.

About a week later the second incident involving fire happened. We were hosting a wedding and some of the drunker guess decided that it would be a wonderful, romantic gesture to set off luminaries. They’re kind of like miniature, candle powered hot air balloons. Apparently our guests did not realize that ‘fire + dead leaves’ does not equal ‘romantic’, but does equal ‘flaming inferno of death’. Thankfully the park service was able to retrieve the luminaries before this unfortunate scenario occurred.

People ask me how I like my job, and most of the time I can say I like it well enough. Then there are the nights when I thank god some idiot hasn’t managed to kill us all.

Remember, the more you work with the public, the more you realize how many morons there are.


I’m Living in Bedlam

How sad is it when work is the eye of the storm? Life is at it again. Saturday night the water quit at the house we’re renting out (yes, the house we’ve spent so much time and money on). Figuring it was the well, the renters waited until morning, then had someone go check on it. The well is fine, and all the other houses that use it have water. So my dad called in our plumber (on triple overtime since it was a Sunday). The plumber, who I will call Noah-please take what symbolism from that as you can, was the one that found the wet spot on the lawn. A little digging (and a lot of bailing) revealed a broken water main. Noah tried to put a temporary patch on the pipe, but to no avail. They didn’t get water back until today. No word yet on how much it’s going to cost.

Then, this morning, my father went to clean the cat’s litter box and found the floor covered in blue liquid. After a search, it was discovered to be coming out of the white metal cabinet where we keep out cleaning supplies. To make long story short, a full container of floor cleaner leaked it’s contents all over everything. This does mean out laundry room floor is very clean. Great, I know.

And before I forget, I want to wish my parents a happy anniversary, though I think it might be a little late. Yes, their anniversary was today. My mom told my dad he really knows how to make the day memorable, but if they have too many more like this, she doesn’t think she’s going to make it.

Remember, memorable doesn’t always mean something you want to remember.

An Update on the Dinosaur

With the various “ransom” notes and taunting floating about and then the sudden silence on the topic of the dinosaur, I didn’t hold out much hope for solving the mystery (I actually just assumed he would show up on his own). But as the days passed and we drew no closer to figuring out where he was, I started to worry. Then another clue appeared.

This photo appeared on the bulliten board a few days after the dinosaur dissapeared.

We tried to figure out who’s house that was. I’m not sure if you can see it, but there’s a tire swing hanging from the tree. I talked with some of the guys who work with us and they IDed the shoe as a basketball shoe. This is interesting since only one person in the office plays basketball: my supervisor-the one who I was originally giving the dinosaur to.

Then I talked with another of the front desk agents (we’ll call her Twilight for sake of anonymity) and she told me an interesting story: she’d found the dinosaur and given it to my supervisor.

As near as I can figure, this is what happened. After I left the dinosaur, someone hid it and left a ransom note. Twilight found said dinosaur and handed it over to my supervisor. My supervisor then took it home and took it’s picture, all the while denying that she’d even seen it. By the way, the shoes don’t belong to her, they belong to her girlfriend’s son.

Yeah, just another day at the office.

Remember, always know who wears what type of shoes at your office. Especially when there’s a mystery to solve.

Did and To Do

So it might have been a while since I last posted. And by a while, I mean..way too long for me to write here without feeling embarrassed. Some things that have happened since my last post:

June ended (thank God) and I’m still alive
I’ve finished and submitted a story to the FISH anthology over at Dagan
I’ve started another short story that doesn’t’ want to stay short
I still haven’t gotten back to work on the novella/novel
My old computer blue screened
I bought a new computer I’ve named Bathshiba (it’s a Toshiba)
Worked the busiest days since the beginning of the year. Still not as bad as fall, though.
Cleaned out the last of my uncle’s crap from the other house.
Ripped up carpeting, tack strips and carpet padding from over there.
Cleaned and tried to do some general maintenance
I’ve lived through a (comparatively minor) earthquake
I am looking forward to a hurricane while I’m at work on Sunday (not)

So there you go. My life for the past two months condensed into a short list. There have also been several books read and a lot of cartoon watching (don’t judge, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest was an awesome series, not only because Jonny and Hadji were awesome, but Jessie actually did stuff!). I do feel a little bad that I haven’t gotten more done (like that novel) but working, both at my paying job and at the other house seem to have eaten a lot of my dwindling free time (I’m holding steady at one day off a week, but when that one day falls can vary). I’m hoping, though, that I will be able to get some serious writing done before the really busy season starts, though.

Supercharged Immune system, ACTIVATE! Work has been beating down on me, and is currently trying to infect me. I refuse to be sick. Do you hear me? I refuse! /random interjection

To compliment my “Did List” I suppose I should put up a “To Do” list:

Survive work
Finish cleaning/remodeling the other house
Refuse to get sick from work (Let’s just say there’s crud going around at work)
Finish my Fat Girl in a Strange Land story
Get a friend’s blog up and running
Try not to be driven insane by work
Clean our house, lord it needs it
Work on shiny things
Read more books
Try not to commit homicide at work (I’m joking. Most of the people I deal with are lovely. Most of the people.)
FINISH THAT NOVEL! (This really shouldn’t be so far down on the list…)

I promise I’ve got oodles of pictures I need to post (some other time) and other blogs I need to write (again, some other time). Someone please be sure to smack me once in a while and make sure I actually do so? Thanks.

Remember, just because you did it doesn’t mean it’s done. And yes, I mean you, cleaning!

June Kind of Sucks

Yes, the month of June is on me s*** list. Mostly because I haven’t been this busy since I was in high school. To give you a breakdown, this past Thursday we had dinner guests (though thankfully two of the eight we thought were coming didn’t show up). Today is the five year reunion of my high school class (wait, what? How can it have been that long. Oh wait, I have that other class ring on, don’t I? The one from college…). Monday we have my Dad’s cousin to dinner, then Thursday my grandparents and one set of aunt/uncle are passing through on their way to one of the Carolinas (can’t remember which). The Monday after that begins the week of hell, aka Vacation Bible School. I’ll be getting up at 8am, doing VBS until noon, then going to work, all week. That Friday my grandparents come back and this time they’re staying because that Saturday is the 75th anniversary of Shenandoah National Park. Wonderful, except that it means I’m going to be SWAMPED at work. Days when we’re full are a little better, though, because we can tell people we don’t have anywhere to move them to (Oh, my room is too hot, move me. Oh, there’s a tree blocking my view, move me. Etc). I just want to say that I hate dealing with the public. They’re stupid and think the entire world revolves around them (This mattress is too soft. Could you please bring one from another building to replace it, I don’t want to change buildings. For reference, they would have had to haul the mattress up the side of the mountain.)

I will say that after all that is over, things should start to slow down. Should. Except that I’m still working on a submission for the Fish anthology and as soon as all of this is over, the Shock Totem Flash Fiction Contest will be starting up again. And somewhere in there I want to work more on turning that novella into a book.

I hate you, June. Be July already.


I feel better now.

Anyone else having a busy summer? Let me know in comments so we can commiserate.

Return of the Revenge of the Mad Gardener

It is once again weed ripping season, and it seems I’m the only one who has even a minimal amount of time to do so (despite being the only member of the household that works 40 hours a week). I am not writing this post to complain, however. I’m writing it to show off my new hat! I can’t remember if I ever showed you all the old mad gardener hat. I loved it to death. The only problem with it was that it actually belonged to my mother. For some reason she didn’t seem to want me decorating it or wearing it around the house or anything fun like that. I might or might not have mentioned that I was given my own hat for Christmas. Now, it’s not as nice a hat as the one my mother has, but I that’s okay since I can decorate this one.

This is the hat in question. As you can see, I haven't done that much to it, just added a chin strap and a bit of decoration. Nothing too much, right?

Nothing outrageous, just a little fashion. Though I suppose I should let you see the decoration I added to it.

Yes, those are peacock feathers. They make me incredibly happy.

I attached the peacock feathers to a beautiful broach given to me by one of my friends. I love my hat more than I can express; I just have to be careful not to take it out when it’s windy.

As an aside I’ll talk about writing for a little bit. My interview over at Dagan Books is live. You can read it here. I’ve written a novella for a contest. When the contest is finished, I’m going to turn it into a novel. On a related note, I’ve discovered I can write 30,000 words in a month if I try. At the same time I have to ignore the little things, like friends, family and regular bathing (that last one was a joke). Back to the point of the matter, though. What I’m trying to say is that hopefully by the end of summer I will have the completed first draft of a novel I never intended to write. Yipee!

Remember, the novel you end up writing is probably the one that ambushed you and draged you off by the throat.

Please comment; comments make me feel loved.

Ah Spammers, How I Love Thee (Not)

I think that spammers have realized something very important about web blogs. If they stroke the ego of the person they are trying to spam, they are much more likely to be allowed to keep their spam on the page on which they put it. I’m not sure exactly when they discovered it, but they seem to have all done so at one time (a discussion on how many spammers there actually are and if they are connected to a hive mind can be carried out in the comments section). I checked in on my blog today to find there were 11 spammer messages. Now some of these were very nice and sweet spammer messages that I might have considered leaving if they had been on an actual blog post. Here’s one of them from Scholarships Single Mother:

Hiya! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the nice data you’ve got here on this post. I can be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.

Ignoring the obvious grammatical issues, it’s actually a rather nice note. Here’s another one from e-liquid:

We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

Once again, a very sweet note, despite the grammatical indications that it’s a generated message. Some of them were almost sweet enough for me to consider keeping them. There was only one problem – they were ALL made on my About the Author page. I keep a very short bio there. So yes, nice try spammers, but you’re going to have to do better than that.

On a completely unrelated note, I may or may not have announced that one of my stories, “Relevant Information From the Tel Najmah Site”, will appear in the In Situ Anthology. I am extremely excited about this and will keep all of you updated on that. Thanks to everyone who wished me well already.

Well, I must be off. I have friends to annoy, dart gun fights to visit, and terror to instill into the hearts of freshmen. It’s going to be a wonderful evening.

Comments are greatly appreciated. It makes me think I’m not just talking to myself and the spammers.