Dear Amazon/Kobo/Everybody I know,
Please stop recommending Fifty Shades of Grey to me.
Now, I will be the first person to admit my reading habits are not exactly highly cultured. I read a lot of Young Adult fiction, primarily because I can only read something for approximately 36 seconds before I am interrupted by a “Mom”, or a “Hon”, or a “Holy shit the dog got out the gate and appears to be gnawing on the neighbour’s Bichon”, but also because I enjoy it. I like zombies, magic, steampunk, werewolves, all that good schlock. I have also been known to read (and re-read) pulpy horror fiction and self-help books.
And I am certainly not above reading p0rn-y romances. But I do prefer that they have a plot, that does not just involve the female lead overcoming her clumsiness and standing around moping after the guy, and I really do insist that their male lead characters are not abusive douche-waffles.
It’s just how I roll.
So while I appreciate that you are all no longer recommending Twilight, it cannot happen soon enough that the hype around this other complete bullshit of a trilogy dies down.
(Related: Dear Authors, please stop spinning your books into trilogies because they seem to be the magical formula for success. They’re not all meant to be trilogies. If your writing is good and your characters are compelling, I will keep reading to book 5 and beyond (see: the Outlander series or Game of Thrones). If your characters are boring and your phrasing makes me twitch, I will give up after the first book with no regard for whether or not I ever find out if Esther’s latent magical ability saved the world or not.)
(Also related: Dear Authors, if you are a good writer and I like your characters, labeling your first book as part of a trilogy is kind of a jerk move. You’ve basically just told me in advance that I will have to wait 3 years to find out what happens. Also that it ends, which I never want to hear about my favorite characters. Write faster.)
(Also related: I probably spend too much money on e-books.)
A while ago a friend offered to update my blog for me.
“What, like guest post?” I said.
“No, pretend to be you,” she clarified.
I made a face. My brain automatically thought, “my readers would be mad at me!”, and then pointed out that I likely don’t have any readers that would care anymore. Because I haven’t updated my blog.
“What would you say?” I asked. I was pretty sure nobody could pretend to be ME convincingly. Because I am a unique and special snowflake.
“Probably, I dunno, I’m sorry I haven’t updated in so LONG, and ohmygod I feel so GUILTY, and something about I’ve been so busy blah blah blah.”
That does sound…quite a lot like me.
How to survive the winter in 700 sq ft with two adults, a child, and a large dog (without completely losing your shit)
Last spring we got seepage into the basement that resulted in life forms spawning and rising up to kill us. We had the whole thing ripped out last October, and then we had to wait for insurance to pay us back so that we could rebuild.
So we waited.
It was…a really long winter. Our house is only 700 square feet, and we have two grown adults, one four-year-old and all his accoutrements, and a 70 lb dog. It gets as cold here in Saskatchewan as you would think it would, so going outside is not really an option most of the time. Losing exactly half of our functional space (and cramming all of our stuff into the other half) was a bit of a strain. We’re just starting to rebuild now, but at least we’ve been able to go outside for a while, and hopefully we’ll have a functional basement before September.
(We’re totally ready for the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m sure it would be less stressful.)
1. Be a basket case.
Baskets make all your crap look pretty. I have baskets for hats, mitts, toys, magazines, DVDs, workout equipment, sewing supplies, old bills, you name it. You don’t have to stack things neatly or organize them, you just have to cram them into a basket and it looks WAY better.
(That one on the bottom is getting a little full, and threatening the aesthetic. Whatever.)
Or vacuum, or whatever. For some reason clean floors make the whole place look bigger. This might not affect other people as much, but this dog sheds at least two other small dogs a day. I couldn’t figure out how she could eat so much and not get fat, but she’s putting all of her energy into hair production.
Further to this: if you have hardwood floors, you can just open a can of that wax stuff and your brain is fooled into thinking it looks clean because it smells clean. At least for a little while.
3. Binge and purge.
Do you need that? Are you sure? Have you used it in the last 60 days? No? FUCKING GET RID OF IT. Seriously, I got rid of so much stuff, quite a lot of it belonging to the four year old, and nobody noticed. Even I barely noticed a dent. Someone else could use it, or it could be recycled, so you can even feel virtuous at the same time. Just…get it out of your house. Consider it a step towards enlightenment.
4. Go bi-level.
Big shelves with small things on them are stupid. I divided up all of my available real estate with little mini shelves, so this shit isn’t all over my (fairly limited) counter space. I applied this theory in all closets, too.
5. Let yourself completely lose your shit sometimes anyway.
Yeah, sometimes you just have to. I got a little twitchy and stabby despite all of my organizational efforts. I banished Alfred and the kid once or twice to go live with the inlaws for the weekend, so I could clean and purge and just feel like there was more space, in peace. They lived. You’ll live too.
Soon I will have all these clever tricks AND my basement back. Whatever will I do with all my space?
(End up buying a bigger house right away, probably.)
Last week someone from my derby league demanded to know when I was going to blog again.
"I don't know," I snarked, "there has been this thing taking up all of my time. I THINK IT'S CALLED ROLLER DERBY."
Seriously, derby does take up a lot of time.
But, mostly, I haven't blogged because I'm just not doing anything. I am weeding my garden. I am working industriously to build a patio out of the part of my yard that has been an unused dog run for 6 years.
(By "working industriously", I mean "hiring the bobcat operator and picking out bricks".)
(I am also "working industriously" to re-finish my basement, and that "working industriously" means hiring the concrete contractor but also taking a week off of work to frame and drywall. Whee.)
I am going to 4-year-olds' birthday parties and playdates. I am playing in the sprinkler. I am going to meetings, going for runs, registering my child for kindergarten, hanging out with friends, making mojitos. I am doing things, I guess, but just Life Stuff.
Regular old Contented Life Stuff. It's pretty boring unless you're me, and then it's pretty sweet.