Life

Copyedits, Plumbing, and Scorpions

It’s been a week in the Mihalik household and it’s only Wednesday. In the best news, I turned in copyedits for Hunt the Stars yesterday, which means it’s continuing to inch ever closer to becoming a real book. To that point, I saw a sample of the interior layout this morning, and it’s looking really good! As a hint, let me just say that I will still need my metallic Sharpies for signings. :)

In less great news, last week our kitchen sink decided that it was done being a sink and wanted to try life as a tiny pool filled with icky drain water. Despite our best efforts (and a 25′ plumbing snake), we were unable to fix it over the weekend, so we called in the pros.

Kind of.

Our normal plumber was busy, but he recommended another company. They were… adequate…ish.

Yesterday, the plumber came out and started working, but after an hour or so, he decided that he needed a longer snake, which he didn’t have, so he’d have to come back.

So today he arrives with his snake and an extension he can hook on to make it longer. So far, so good. He runs 65′ of snake into the pipe, which is probably only 30′ from the sewer clean-out opening, but it doesn’t make it through. So he attaches the next part and keeps going.

Finally, we see the snake in the clean-out, but it doesn’t really look like it has anything on it, and water still isn’t draining. So the plumber decides to pull it back through with a bigger head on it. Still seems reasonable.

Only, he somehow manages to disconnect the two lines, so one gets stuck in the pipe without either end attached or accessible.

The plumber puts in a panicked call to his boss, they confer for a while, and he finally manages to fish it out. But then he’s spooked and refuses to try again, so he puts everything under the sink back together and tries running water.

It drains!

He doesn’t know how or why, but he charges us and skips off on his merry way. We let him go and considered it a sunk cost. Hopefully the drain will continue to work, but if not, we’re hiring someone else. 🤷🏻‍♀️

And, finally, to add insult to injury this week, while I was cooking bacon last night, a scorpion crawled out of the vent hood and fell onto the stovetop. By the time I safely moved the pan without dumping lava-hot grease everywhere, the scorpion had disappeared.

And lest you think I imagined the whole thing, it was Mr. M who pointed it out in the first place. He erroneously claimed it was a lizard, which is why I was trying to move the pan away to save its life. When we both saw Mr. Scorpion chilling on the stove, we switched from rescue to murder and started scrambling for appropriate murder equipment, but the scorpion had vanished.

Today, the scorpion is still missing. I’ve named him Phil and I hope to never see him again.

So that’s how my week is going. 😅 How about you?

The Tomato Thief

A black and white night-vision image of of opossum on our back deck.

This is Larry. Larry is a thief, albeit not a very sneaky one because he made quite the ruckus while climbing up into our container garden. And then, when I opened the door and yelled at him, he just continued munching on tomatoes like I wasn’t even there.

Bold, our Larry.

I wouldn’t begrudge him a tomato or two if he ate the whole thing, but noooooo. Larry likes to eat a few bites and then move on to a nice, fresh tomato, leaving devastation in his wake. For such a little guy, he really can pack away the food.

Larry finally moseyed on after I stepped outside and clapped at him. Lest you think me a heartless monster, I tossed the half-eaten tomatoes after him so he could continue his meal in the woods behind our house. I think he must’ve appreciated the gesture because we haven’t seen him in a couple of days now.

Or he’s just biding his time while planning his next attack. 😂

In non-opossum-related news, I’m still writing the second book of the Starlight’s Shadow trilogy (yes, the series has a name now!). I’m a little over 62k words now and aiming for 100-105k by August 15. I’m still on track, but only just. I haven’t started working weekends yet, but that time is coming soon. Related: how is June almost over?!?!

This book is a little different than the previous one. I thought it was terrible, but I started reading it from the beginning this weekend and it’s not (yet, at least—I’m not finished, lol).

But I can’t edit a blank page, so I’m moving ever onward because for me, at least, editing is waaaaaay easier than drafting. Once I have the whole picture, I can go back and smooth out the rough spots.

I hope. :)

Trying to Unturtle

A turtle hiding in its shell with an arrow point it to labeled "me."

I’ve always been an introvert, but when the pandemic hit, I took it to a whole other level. Like a turtle retreating into its shell, I basically disappeared into my fortress of solitude and lost contact with the outside world—including most of my friends.

The only reason I didn’t become a complete hermit is that my best friend is a huge extrovert and likes to talk on the phone. And my brother. He likes to talk on the phone, too. I’m pretty sure he’s adopted. 😉

Without them continuing to reach out even though I rarely reciprocated, it would’ve just been me and Mr. M in our own little bubble. And even though I always think, oooh, I should check on X, time seems to slip away, and then it’s been three months… then six… then a year, and I’ve yet to check on X.

But we’re starting to see an end to the pandemic on the horizon. More people are getting vaccinated. Travel is picking up. And there’s no reason to continue to turtle, at least not quite as hard, but changing a year-plus habit is hard.

I’ve been meaning to reach out to friends for weeks, literal weeks, and I’ve yet to get it done. It doesn’t help that I’m also on deadline again, which comes with its own brain fog.

I guess I don’t really have a point to this ramble (sorry! see: deadline brain), but if you’ve been turtling, too, know you’re not alone. And I hope my friends don’t blame me for disappearing, just like I don’t blame them. We all did what we had to do to make it through.

Here’s to many happy reunions as we all emerge from our shells and re-establish contact. :)

A Weekend Off

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the US, which meant Mr M had the day off, giving us a three-day weekend. I decided to take the day off, too, because I needed a break. I’ve been chipping away at the next book, but writing is going slooooow, and while I’ve been trying not to work weekends, I haven’t been super successful.

Three whole days of not thinking about work was amazing. We played video games and read books and finished watching Shadow and Bone (someone please give Jesper a spinoff with ten seasons to do whatever he wants).

We also made bacon and tomato sandwiches with tomatoes Mr M grew in the garden. Some people will ruin this sandwich by turning it into a BLT (my husband included), but no one needs lettuce messing up the sheer perfection of thick bacon and homegrown tomatoes on lightly toasted sourdough.

I’ve eaten this for lunch for three days straight (leftovers are amazing!), and I couldn’t be happier. This is one of my go-to meals for the summer. 10/10 would eat everyday.

But now I’ve eaten all of the tomatoes and the holiday is over, so today I’m back at work. Kind of. It’s still going slowly, but the manuscript is over 42k words, so I’m inching ever onward. I have two months to finish it, which should be enough time if only I could find a bit of motivation.

Hunt the Stars turned out amazing, and I love it even more after edits. Book two is a hot mess. Books generally are, when they’re being written, but this one is more so than usual. My alpha readers tell me that it’s not, but I don’t believe them. 😂

The only way out is through, though, so back to it. Wish me luck! 🤞🏻

Friday Fun

I’m still working on edits, but we watched this last night and it was a nice break. It probably won’t be as funny if you don’t play video games, but I laughed so much. Happy Friday!