New House Update

Pepper has Moved In
Yes, there are still a handful of boxes that need to be rummaged through and the things found therein sorted and distributed. My list of projects to deal with is growing, not shrinking. But still this place is starting to feel a whole lot more like home than just another stopping place in life’s long journey. And Oh! let me tell you that is nice.

An interesting side note on all this. Last November I hurt my back. Since then I’ve been seeing a line of doctors and physical therapists trying to get better. This one small strain has pretty much impacted all the things I’d normally rather be doing. You know hiking, running, biking and kayaking. Going into the move in April I was terrified that I was going to re-injure or exacerbate this already difficult problem. The good news is that I’ve made it through that tunnel and can now see some light.

Being Fat on Island

Yesterday afternoon I got to take a spin on my Surly riding through the nature preserve just outside our house, down the hill, and onto the beach. The dog and I rode south along the East Passage until we got to a tide break that had water smacking into it’s side. The ride was fun, but, I realized as I cranked my way back up the hill, I am horribly out of shape.

 

I Volunteer to Master the Ceremony

BRB Rates so Low (even on my café’s bulletin board)

 

I was working out some thoughts on the 2015 Hugo nomination short list when it occurred to me, “This year is your year to host the awards ceremony.” In fact, what better year could there be?

I’m a Science Fiction author that nearly no one knows. My books and stories rate so low on pretty much any publication list that their mere mention can be counted on to elicit an underwhelming “What, who?” from anyone unlucky or bored enough to be reading reviews that far below the fold. Because of this I am peerless and practiced at holding my head up just high enough to pass below the hangman’s knot. I know the perils of invisibility all too well, and as such I’ll be able to represent those nominated without outshining or upstaging.

I can remain pleasant, nay even jovial, in the company of uncomfortably narcissistic people. You can find asshats in any workplace, but I’ve spent more than two decades working at places unnaturally blessed with them. My scorn for their ostentatious choices in everything from cars parked below the office block to project timelines remains necessarily obscured. I have a demonstrable track record of being able to separate myself from crazy; quietly look on with a smile while not partaking from the kool-aid.

We’re located so darn close, a measly 279 miles from Spokane, and thus my speaking fee would be necessarily be a fire sale bargain. I drive a Prius, which is powered by weasel farts, and I can complete the round trip drive in less time than it would take to get through a TSA inspection line on a single tank of stoat emissions. Plus, I’ve already bought my ticket.

This year’s Hugo award script is going to be a cinch to write. In fact, I’ve already worked out the basics.

I’ll open a tastefully off-white envelope as if I’ve never looked inside. “The 2015 rocket for best novel,” I’ll say, “goes to Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword.” Everyone will clap and cheer, Ann will walk across the stage and accept her award, thank a few people for her successes, and then return to her seat.

This announcement will be followed by about five minutes of me saying, in a dead pan voice, “No award.” I will wait for applause, holding my breath and counting to twenty-seven, knowing that they’re just not going to happen before moving on to each subsequent envelope. I’m telling you I’ve got this.

Speaker for the Dogs

“Dad, what does Bender say?” he asks me, fully expecting an answer.

I want to break into the chorus of “What Does the Fox Say,” but the coffee cup is already at my lips and I simply struggle to swallow. A-bear asks of me the impossible, fully expecting I’ll have the capacity to deliver. The possibility that I might not have the answer to this or any question never enters his mind. I am practiced at this, I can make up the difference.

My first boy, who is nearly 18 and soon on his way to college, wasn’t so much this way. With him I could do no wrong. At a time in my life when I made so many mistakes and failed so miserably my reputation with him remained golden. I couldn’t be tarnished and looking back that far I know that the reason I stopped screwing up had a lot to do with living up to his expectations of me.

“Bender wants your table crumbs, he says ‘give me all your cinnamon roll,'” I reply after chocking down a hot mouthful of java-juice. It burns on its way down, so I have a little trouble imitating the begging Bender, who table-sharks our local coffee café, with the appropriate element of Scooby Doo.

“No he doesn’t,” Aral replies with indignation, “he says, ‘Rut row, give me all your cinnamon roll.’ Ah ha ha ha ha!” He’s got his Scooby down, which is surprising since he’s only ever heard it from my mouth.

“You’re right, little cub.”

Time enough …

Last night I went to bed intending to get up early. I wanted to do some yoga. Maybe sit for a peaceful moment, listen to my breathing or the rain. I went to bed early and then didn’t sleep, staring out the window at the clouds, backlit by the city, as the rolled their way north. When I did obtain some slumber I had anxiety dreams. Seems even I don’t think I deserve a house on the island, because last night, while in the moving truck crossing the Sound, the ferry went down with all hands. And this morning there I sit, at the bottom of the Salish Sea, amongst all our household goods. Notably, my dog sits next to me on the bench of the moving truck.

Dreams are creepy sometimes. I don’t even know why I was in the moving truck. But the most lasting effect of that little gem is that this morning when my alarm went off, I simply turned it off and rolled over snuggling under the down comforter.

A-bear has asked me several times just this morning what dogs are saying, he expects that I’ll interpret their body language and translate this into words he can understand. Pepper jumping around at the front door? “Errrrmahgerd, I have’ta pee!” The Maltese walking down the sidewalk with its owner? “Can I have some kisses, please? Just little kisses.” The guy walking this dog wasn’t impressed. And Bender at the coffee shop, who perpetually orbits under the table sniffing around for a tasty snack.

My leitmotiv seems to be acting as Speaker for the Dogs. For this I am thankful, life couldn’t have blessed me more. And so, sitting at the café sipping my favorite cuppa, I’m going to give myself permission let go of my house buying anxiety. I’m going to, at least for a time, forget all my self imposed deadlines and write for the joy of it. I’m going to talk like Scooby Doo and make my youngest son squeal with glee. I’m giving myself permission to simply be that guy. Not the idealized person I imagine I should be, but the guy I actually am. The person the moment calls for.