A Weekend of Zombies and Peopling

Yesterday, my bff invited me to an outdoor dance class to learn part of the iconic zombie dance from Michael Jackson’s Thriller for spooky season. In case you need a reminder, here it is (jump to about 8:28 if it doesn’t start there automatically):

Now, I am not a dancer. I’m not remotely a dancer. I have decent rhythm thanks to a lot of high school band, but I’ve got zero moves. That being said, I still like to occasionally throw myself into silliness, and I’m old enough to own that I’m terrible and I just don’t care.

So I ripped up an old t-shirt for that real zombie look and headed out to muddle my way through a dance routine.

It. Was. A. BLAST!

I remain absolutely terrible, but I got most of the moves in the right order, if not with the right amount of finesse. But I figure a zombie would lumber rather than shimmy, so I was just going for that truly authentic zombie experience. 😂

There’s a video, which will never, ever see the light of day because it’s hilarious, but here’s a photo of me in my five-minute zombie finery:

A photo of me in a ripped up t-shirt, pretending to be a zombie on a rooftop parking garage downtown with a tall blue glass building behind me.

After I finished being a zombie, Mr M and I had an outdoor cul-de-sac potluck where I had to remember how to make small talk. It was nice to meet all of the neighbors we haven’t had a chance to yet (mostly because I am a hermit at the best of times and the pandemic wasn’t exactly that), but I am now done with people for a while, lol. I forgot how draining socializing can be, even when it’s fun.

How about you? Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Office Organization

Yesterday, we built IKEA shelves for our office closet, which before was kind of a black hole of disorganization. I can ignore messy clutter for a long, LONG, L-O-N-G time, but there comes a point when my brain’s like NOPE and it has to be fixed.

That was this weekend.

Unfortunately, starting any project like this means taking everything out of the closet, spreading the clutter all over the rest of the room (and bathroom, in this case, since it’s the closest other room with space to stack boxes).

And every project leads to seventeen more. Because our office is really just a bedroom, it had a clothes rod and shelf that had to come out. Then we found there wasn’t any wall paint behind the shelf because it’d been there since the house was built, so I had to go find the painting stuff and hastily patch it up.

Then we realized we were going to have to build the shelf frames in the closet because they wouldn’t clear the door.

But, we were victorious… mostly. 😂 We still need some pretty boxes to organize things, so most of the stuff hasn’t been put away yet, but the main pieces are in. Behold!

A picture of the new shelves and drawers in our office closet, still mostly empty.
Still mostly empty, but getting there!

Some of the shelves were out of stock, so we have to wait for a restock. The project is really only half done, but we made a lot of progress in a single day. So much so, in fact, that I’m sore today from all the lifting and carrying and bending and twisting.

Oh, and before I fell into an organizational hole, I absolutely devoured T. Kingfisher’s Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine. A forger, an assassin, a fallen paladin, and a scholar go on a not entirely voluntary quest to save their city from destruction by clockwork warriors. It’s a delight! I’m now reading Swordheart, which is set in the same world, and I’m enjoying it just as much. If you missed these when they came out, check out a sample!

And let me know if you’ve read anything fantastic lately. Or tackled any organizational projects of your own. We can celebrate/commiserate together. :)

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. :)