lydamorehouse: (cranky aizen)
My family has a very unusual attitude towards truancy. We encourage Mason to practice it from time to time, as needed, to blow off steam and to have a 'mental health' day/practice self-care. I don't ask a lot of questions or make any requirements for him to use these days. Mason just knows that he's allowed to say that he needs a day now-and-again.

On Thursday, driving in to school, Mason said, "You know how we sometimes just take off and drive somewhere? Today would be a good day to do that."

So, we turned around, I called him in sick, and we went home so he could catch up on a bit of sleep. Then, we talked about what kind of adventure he wanted, and, since it was really cold and there was supposed to be a winter storm moving in around us, we decided to stick close to home. After a comforting lunch, we headed out to Como Zoo. We spent most of our time in the Conservatory, because it's warm in there. Here's the view looking up at the glass dome.

looking up at the Como Conservatory's glass dome

This was just what the doctor ordered. Mason and I chatted about what's going on in his life, while strolling through the heat and the humidity of the conservatory. Because of the time of year, a lot of the tropical plants had fruit. We saw a Buddha's hand, coffee beans on the coffee tree, several ripening cocoa pods, and a bunch of other stuff that made me think that maybe I should try to take over the Conservatory when the apocalypse comes. I mean, they have COFFEE!

Then, because we're insane, we decided to see which animals might be out enjoying the sub-arctic temperatures. No surprise, perhaps, but the Siberian tiger thought it was lovely out.

Siberian tiger in the Minnesota snow

As I wrote on Facebook: 'Not the polar bear, surprisingly, she was sleeping. The Siberian tiger was out, as were the wolves, the reindeer, the bison, and the arctic foxes which I have LITERALLY never seen at Como Zoo before, despite having walked passed their labeled area for YEARS. The two foxes were prancing they were so happy that the temps were sub-zero windchills."

I couldn't get a good picture of the arctic foxes because probably all you'd see would be two eyes and a nose. They are MADE to perfectly blend with the snow, after all. But, they were very, very adorable. Potentially worth braving the temperatures to see, honestly. The Como Zoo is still kind of the sad zoo (as opposed to the MN Zoo, which we just call "the big zoo"), in that a lot of their "enclosures" are still little more than chain link fences, but they've been slowly renovating the place to improve the animals' quality of life. The foxes, unfortunately, are still in a very small-sh space, so that's why I'd say "potentially" worth a visit. Your enjoyment would totally depend on whether or not you can stand that kind of zoo.

Then, on Friday, Mason was officially home from school, but I let him sleep in while I met a friend on Friday to go to the Science Museum. As part of his job, Mason gets free passes to the museum and this friend had been looking for cheap/free things to do during the day. I ended up cancelling on my usual ladies to hang out with her, but I had previously planned to go on Tuesday, but that was the day the plumbing broke. What I would say about our trip to the museum was that, if you go, you totally should spend some time in the Race exhibit. It's... well, I mean, parts of it are heartbreaking and awful, but it's extremely well done. Anna and I probably spent the majority of our time in that room. It was a moderately quiet room, not being a favorite of the countless screaming argonauts (aka other people's children), which was also nice for us, as Anna is deaf/hard of hearing.

But, also, there are dinosaurs! This is a "compi" from Jurassic World (Compsognathus).

a Compi!  (Compsognathus)

Anna and I don't know each other terribly well--this is the third time we've done something together, though the first time it was just us. I would definitely hang out with her again. She's lovely company. 

In other news, I continue to try to find a plumber for our upstairs bathtub. The good news is that we have a fully functional bathroom on the first floor that has a tub, so we're not out anything while we figure out what we're doing. I had one set of plumbers out already, Ryan Plumbing, whose estimate was 1,500 - 2,000 bucks, as they figured they'd have to rip up the kitchen ceiling to get at all the pipes. Weld Plumbing called back and would like to wait and talk to their owner about whether or not they think they're the right people, which I told them was FINE as we're in a buyer's market, as we can just let it sit there until we get the right people with the right price. Weld was the first group who said that they thought there might be a way to McGyver it, if we wanted to try a fix for ourselves... which made me like them a bit more than the Ryan guys, but the chances of them calling back seemed kind of slim, you know? As soon as "I have to talk to the owner" comes out, it either means they think your job is too small for them or they otherwise don't want to do it at all.

BUT. I'm going to keep calling a couple of outfits every day because seriously, we have all the time we need to figure this out. It's a BIT WEIRD to take a full soaking bath downstairs while the rest of the family is hanging out in the living room, but it's definitely not the end of the world. 

I've been mostly keeping up with my spell of the day, but I'll catch up on posting about those the next entry. I've got to wrap this up as I need to run off to pick up Mason from his job in about five minutes.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...that went down the drain? THIS drain?

a snapped lead pipe on a dusty floor.

Magic works, people. Magic WORKS.

Unfortunately.

I think, at least, I reversed the spell soon enough that it won't cost us the full amount that I had written on the paper, but holy hell.

So, what happened? Well, Mason went to take his bath last night. A wash cloth fell behind the tub. He couldn't reach it, so he thought, "I'll shift the tub a little." The other pipes going into the tub are clearly flexible, so he didn't even consider the 110 year old lead pipe connecting the tub to the drain pipe. SNAP! And a, "Ummmm.... mom? Ima?"

He feels terrible, but we all talked about THAT SPELL, so no one is blaming him. Or me, for that matter. We're all pretty cranky with Llwellyn's spell proof reader, but you know... the truth is, if it snapped that easily, it was bound to happen. My reversal of the spell may have saved us from the "what if" of had Mason not noticed until it was time to drain his bath.  That might have cost us a new pipe, a new bathroom floor, and, as this is our second story bathroom, a new kitchen ceiling as well.

As we say here in Minnesota: Could be worse.

Today I was supposed to meet my friend Anna D. at the Science Museum, but that will be postponed until Friday, as I have to ADUT today and secure a plumber.  Fun times!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I left Diversicon 19 with a huge list of things I need to read -- many of them are comicbooks, of course, but also on the list is a re-read of Milton and several young adult novels with new-to-me authors. (Also, the list of movies grows longer as well.)

Otherwise, I think the most awesome part of being a special guest was access to a minion. Shawn was truly horrified when, on Sunday, after our upstairs bathroom sink's plumbing decided to 'splode right before I was meant to leave for the con, I actually called my minion on the phone to request a special latte delivered to my first panel. Shawn is a traditional Minnesotan from the Iron Range, and the idea of actually _imposing_ on someone, even someone who says they're happy to do such things, is EVIl and WRONG and there is a SPECIAL place in HELL for those who would _impose!!!_

But I'm not from here. I'm from the East Coast (of the Mississippi, in Wisconsin,) where people are brassy and loud and demanding. I have no shame and I take people at their word. If they say they're my gopher and are happy to fetch things for me, I assume they mean it.

Which, of course, has caused no end of trouble for me here in the Norwegian stronghold of Minnehiem (see Steve Fox's post on Facebook about the Thor panel and how cool it would be to rename Minnesota "Minnehiem" in honor of the fact that the original Dr. Donald Blake/Thor is supposed to be a Minnesotan.)

The other cool thing about Diversicon and honorable guesting was the fact that I got to be on all the panels about the things I never usually get to talk about, which is to say comic books. Usually, I don't have enough expertise (being a mere fan) to rate a comic book/comic book movie panel, but I got to pull strings, as it were, and get myself a prime seat on both the Captain America panel and Thor. In other fun sidenotes, I am slowly corrupting Eleanor Arnason into a comic geek (at least as far as the movies are concerned. She asked me on the way home from Captain America, "Do you think comic books are modern mythology?" I said, "Of course!" Because, they are in so many ways. Like ancient myths they're popular, they're epic, ever changing through generations of storytelling, and they reflect the modern human's take on the questions about Truth and Honor and Heroism with the capital letters.)

I had a lot of fun. And I got to bond with David G. Hartwell over ties, as I was wearing several of my grandfather's ties at various times at the convention (on Saturday I had three "costume changes," though, alas, never into Tate's get-up.) He suggested that my grandfather was likely wearing the ties I favor sometime in the 50s and/or early 60s. I guess the slim, square-cut pink one I wore on Sunday really narrowed (pardon the pun) down the date, as those were only popular for a very short period.

That was fascinating to me, because the family story that came with the tie collection was that these were the ties that Grandpa wore to take my grandmother dancing. My grandpa was working class (having worked his whole life in a blue collar job at Trane Company), and many of these ties are very fancy indeed. Some are silk. It's interesting timing if this is accurate, because my father, the middle child, would have been a teenager in the mid-50s, and I always had had the sense that these dancing dates were earlier... perhaps they were simply a long standing tradition (which, frankly is quite romantic.)

I also got to reconnect with some people I don't see very often, and, in fact, am going to slip off later today to meet up with one, [livejournal.com profile] jiawen, at noon today. Hooray!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
The plumber arrived yesterday only an hour later than promised and did the work in about two; everything was fixed by three o'clock when I had to go fetch Mason from school. The bill was not astronomical, either. Love my handyman service. I kiss them. Although now I have to get on their schedule so that someone will come and patch the two holes I have in my walls (on in the ceiling, the other behind the couch in the TV room.) Ah well. Holes I can live with.

In other news, I (as Tate only) am now Twittering. I tweet. I hear all you kids are into it. Please feel free to follow me or friend me or whatever.

Today is also promising to be very busy. After I pick Mason up in a couple of hours, I'll be headed off to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book of weird hauntings that I put on reserve on Tuesday. It was one of those books that I dithered over. It's kind of cheesy, but when I found myself telling stories I'd skimmed to my partner in the car an hour later, I thought, "I should have bought that." Luckily, when I called B&N they were able to grab it and put in on-hold behind the counter.

Mason also wants to check out the Star Wars section, since we didn't get to it during our last visit. (He got stuck in the humor section, reading GARFIELD.) Then, it's off to pick up our CSA box from Driftless Organics (beets! whoot!), and then a little cat herding as we try to get Ms. Deliah (the cat that Barney from Tate's books is largely based on) into her carrier and off to the vet for shots and "animal wellness" check-up.

I think Mason gets another fast-food dinner, which is only ironic given all the farm-fresh, organic produce we'll have in the car. He got one yesterday (McD's, alas,) because the kitchen was still completely in disarray. I'd had time to mop the floor, but not return all the tables and whatnot back in place. I let him eat some crap while I dusted and replaced everything -- from pictures on the wall to our various cups and such we leave out. When [livejournal.com profile] seanmmurphy came over he noiced that everything was much more sparkily than usual. (It's true. I almost took a picture. The kitchen, outside of the big hole, has never looked better. I'm only sad that Shawn was in Seattle and missed seeing the results. It'll be dust-ridden by Saturday, mark my words.)

This morning started out strange because I got handed a very cryptic note from one of Mason's classmates. A phone call later it turned into one of those conversations with the uninitiated that I hate. Mason's friend has a mom who decided that, after having met me, that writing must be "the life." She started a book and now called me up to basically ask when she could expect the money to start rolling in.

There's stuff she needs to pay for, see.

Oh. Well. Hmmm. How do I... Hmmm.

And, you know, I hate to burst that bubble of enthusiasm. I don't want to have to tell people that I could not afford to stay home an write if my partner didn't pay the bills. Money isn't the reason a person should consider a career in writing, because even when it's going gangbusters, like it is for me, it comes in drips and drabs and you can't count on it to pay the bills. You just can't.

That conversation sucks. Nobody wants to hear it. Everyone wants to hear how easy it is to break in, and how we're all going to end up like Stephanie Meyer or J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. It's really, really hard to tell someone who is looking for some hope and inspiration that those people are lucky and they only represent 1% of writers. Most of us don't even make above poverty level wages. Sorry.

*sigh*

I didn't actually get around to all that on the phone. That's a conversation, I decided, for face-to-face. Instead, I told her to enjoy the process. Keep at it. Writing can be a very fulfilling and creative and wonderful way to spend your time. And if you can find the writing itself an enjoyable task, then rest... well, the rest won't seem so bad.

Honest.

We're going to get together later this week to talk writing. I'll try to break it to her gently. Wish me luck.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today has not started out terribly well. I'm currently awaiting a plumber. We woke up this morning ridiculously early as Shawn is off to Seattle for a conference. About an hour into her morning getting-ready routine Shawn came and sat on the bed with a look of deep concern. She said, "Bad news. Really, really bad news. We have a leak."

Of course my immediate thought was, "Oh my god, the fish tanks!"

So, strangely, I was relieved to discover that it was only the kitchen ceiling.

Oh, wait. The kitchen ceiling?? That's not good. But, we have a remodeling/handyman service that we love, called Platnium Remodeling. They did our downstairs bathroom (which I still haven't finished repainting), but we couldn't have been more pleased with their work. So I called them. They had to foist us off to their sub-contractor plumber guy, but at least someone is coming TODAY.

I spent the morning moving furnature out of the kitchen, because it seems pretty obvious from the advancing water stains that they're going to have to take down much of the ceiling to replace the pipes.

Yippee.

Although, really, it could be worse, as we like to say in Minnesota. We do have another working toliet (thanks to Platnium's previous work) and, with Shawn out of town, the stress-to-zen ratio will be in favor of the zen. I haven't, so far, gotten a lot of work done on the novel today, but, again, with Shawn out-of-town I will have potentially more time tonight - depending on how cooperative Mason is at bed time. Still, I don't always sleep well when she's out of town and I may take advantage of that for writing.

In other, completely unrelated news, I may join Twitter after all. The compelling reason to came from a reader of Tate's who posted on her/my blog yesterday. The reader knew, for instance, the pub date for my young-adult novel, because she gets Anne Soward's twitter feed. *I* didn't even know that. (If you're curious Penguin is saying August 2010).

Ack.

But one thing at a time, as they say. For now, I am "floating in space awaiting a rescue." (Anyone else a fan of Daniel Keys Moran?)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
So our pumbler/handyman came right away, mostly on-time day-before-yesterday and not only fixed the broken pipe, but also installed the new faucets. Hooray! I am now repeating the mantra, "Never try to fix plumbing yourself... always call a professional... never try to fix plumbing yourself...."

In other news, Mason had an early release day yesterday and so, right after school, we "hit the slopes" at Como Park. It was a bit nippy (as we say here in Minnesota), and I'm proud to say Mason was ready to quit before I was. All that working out seems to be paying off in terms of stamina, at any rate. After our twenty minutes of screaming sledding on the orange saucer from heck, we hit the library for some good books and home to snuggle under blankets with hot chocolate. Tell me that doesn't sounds like the perfect day.

In support of A Day without Gay, I didn't write. Yeah, I can tell you're really feeling the pain I inflicted by my work stoppage. Hmmm, I think I see a small flaw in this protest as I seem to have only hurt myself. No one even noticed my lack of writing, I'll bet. And, given that yesterday was my very last day of my Loft class, I elected to actually go to work, rather than "call in gay," 'cuz, uh, I want to keep getting hired at the Loft and if I hadn't shown no one would have turned in evaluations.

So... Up the (*cough*) strike! Uh, or something.

I'm also trying my hand at the second tarot card (Magician) in my Marvel deck. I have to say I'm not terribly pleased with it, if only because I pretty much suck at drawing "gizmos" and Mr. Fantastic's lab should be full of them. However, I *did* have the clever plan to draw an image of the Negative Zone's portal in the background behind Mr. Fantastic, so that when the card might be reversed it would loom large in the foreground, reminding me, at least, of the Civil War's prison, etc., and other mis-uses, IMHO, of Mr. Fantastic's magic/genius.

Even though I'm not all the happy with it, I'll finish it and post it tomorrow.

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