Feb. 17th, 2017

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 So the big news around here is that WE FINALLY GOT ALL OUR STUFF ON WEDNESDAY.

SEVEN MONTHS.

IT TOOK SEVEN MONTHS TO GET THE REST OF OUR BELONGINGS.


Anyway, the house is a sea of boxes - there was a point when the movers were bringing them all in and I wanted to throw my hands in the air and shout 'OKAY, WE'RE GOOD, PLEASE STOP'. I spent most of Wednesday unpacking and trying to sort things, helped out because the nanny was here in the morning and the housekeeper was here in the afternoon and Bill was home all day. Thursday afternoon was the same, because the housekeeper was back and Andrew was gone all day with school and a birthday party / field trip, and this afternoon I'm going to try to do a little more but seeing as it's a weekend, I'm unlikely to do much since there's no one to watch Charlie. (Bill is taking Andrew to the local Comic Con. He and I are going tomorrow evening. I also feel bad asking him to do anything, because his gout is acting up and the kids keep stepping on his infected toe, and unfortunately what I need most is hauling of boxes to and fro, or watching Charlie so I can haul boxes to and fro.)

Among the ridiculous things I have so far found:

-- a lampshade, but no lamp
-- sheets to the guest room bed that we put in storage
-- a box of books marked "cookbooks", but which contained only three cookbooks and the rest are Bill's statistics and economics texts from college 20 years ago (and which he STILL refuses to give away)
-- so. many. winter. clothes.
-- ice hockey sticks
-- five thousand packages of Kleenex, paper towels, and toilet paper, all of which made lots of sense when we were supposed to be going to Uzbekistan, and none of which make sense here. 

The toy room is so packed with boxes I can't even unpack it, because there's nowhere to put the toys I unpack. The kitchen is livable, except I'm running out of room for storage, which is problematic, because I also have nowhere to put the paper towels and Kleenex and toilet paper, which is filling up the upstairs closet that was meant to be for linen, and all the linen is still sitting in laundry baskets waiting to be put away.

So basically, I currently live in a mess. I'm beginning to wonder why it is we own all this stuff, when I managed pretty well for seven months without it. (Okay, I grant you that every few days I would sit and howl about how much I missed my KitchenAid. But still. The kids did just fine without ten thousand boxes of toys, and yeah, it would have been handy to have some extra wrapping paper and I'm really glad the printer is here because I desperately need to print a few things, but still.)

But Cleo has her favorite cat bed back, and Charlie has his trike and his Big Red Car, and Andrew came home from school on Wednesday and saw the piles of books and immediately sat right down on the couch and started to read them, which was just awesome. Bill has all the clothes he forgot to pack (i.e., now he owns more than three white undershirts, hurrah). Somewhere in there, I have a workout bra, but I've pretty much given up on unpacking my own boxes until the rest of the house is better.

IN OTHER NEWS:

1. Charlie has a new nanny. The first day she took Charlie to the park, she came back and gave me a full run-down of everything he did and who he played with and their activities and how much he ate. By the third day, she was putting him down for a nap in ten minutes flat. Charlie is quite taken with her and when they leave for the park, he marches out with her, waving and calling "Bye!" She's a keeper. 

The best part, of course, is when they come back and he comes running in, sees me, does a dance, and then runs pell-mell for my legs. Which is so much like what Andrew did at preschool when he was 2-1/2 that it just tickles me pink.

Speaking of which, we've gotten word that Charlie's definitely in the preschool here starting in September; we just have to decide how often. They only run in the mornings, Sunday through Thursday, so it's a question of how many days we want him to go. 

2.  Andrew is doing okay. We've got a finalized ILP for him (the local version of an IEP) and there's a mess in getting his school fees paid because I guess there are certain cables in certain channels that never got sent because neither Bill nor I have sent Andrew to school overseas before, and no one bothered to tell Bill, "Hey, you have to do this thing." Our sponsors also do not have kids in the school and the CLO here is.... less than useful when it comes to anything other than planning trips to other places. Basically, it was a case of us not knowing we didn't know something. Oh well. It's going to get taken care of eventually; hopefully without us having to pay the fees and then get reimbursed because I'm pretty sure that would never actually happen.

3. Cleo has successfully defended her territory outside the house. It probably helps that most of the other cats here are either total wimps, or so conditioned to the locals Not Liking Cats that they don't stay if there's the slightest indication that they aren't welcome. She doesn't wander far - there's really not that far to wander - but she has her favorite spots and she knows how to get home, so I'm reconciled to having an indoor/outdoor cat again. 

She also was chased by a dog the other week, and made it halfway up a palm tree before she stopped. She managed to get down again okay and hightailed it home. (The dog wasn't dangerous - he's the pet of a family in our cul-de-sac, a large golden who is very young and very energetic and very, very untrained, and the family claimed he just wanted to play but I'm not entirely convinced of that. Especially since I asked them several times to take their dog inside so I could rescue Cleo and get her inside, and they just keep going on about how nice the dog was.)

4. So after having written 90,000 words of fic in January... I then turned around and wrote 30,000 words of fic in 8 days last week. There was a thing on Tumblr for Yuri On Ice - basically, a prompt a day for eight days running, you could take the prompt and write or draw or vid or whatever. I wasn't going to participate... but that afternoon, I started to write a fic that I'd had in my head, and I realized that evening, having finished the first part, that it fits the first day's prompt perfectly.

And then I realized that every subsequent prompt actually matched where I wanted the story to go.

So, with about an hour left in the day in which I could post the fic and still have it count for the challenge... I decided to post it. Basically, I wrote and posted a work in progress, which I never do, because I'm terrible about finishing them. 

Except this time... I did. And omgosh, it was so. much. fun. I know a lot of people write that way, but now I completely understand the thrill of it, the way the adrenaline gets under your skin and how the comments really do spur you on to writing the next chapter. I've always tweaked chapters based on comments... but this time, I was able to really take comments and ideas and run with them, and they absolutely influenced the latter half of the story. 

It was undoubtedly a seriously eye-opening experience, writing like that. It was amazing. I want to do it again, if the opportunity arises. 

(The fic in question is here, if you want to read it.)

The only downside is that I've written over 130,000 words this year so far... and none of it is for Pen. I feel somewhat guilty about that. I've been ignoring Pen for a while, and I shouldn't, except... I'm just stuck on what to write for her. I wish the words flowed as easily for her as they do for what I'm writing now, or that I had some kind of prompt thing for Pen the way I seem to find prompts for fic. Ugh. If I could knock out a 30K story for Pen in a week... and do that repeatedly... I could actually do really well with her, and be writing at a pace that most people in the know say is a requirement for being successful as an ebook author. 

Except I can't do that without ideas. I've clearly got the time and the ability - I've proven that to myself over the last six weeks. I just need the ideas

(Which means I probably should be reading more.)

5. Which leads into the next part: my Kindle is dying. It takes a couple of minutes and several aborted reboots in order to get it up and running again, which makes me think it's only a matter of time before it just refuses to start at all one day. And that would be majorly depressing; I've got a lot of notes stored on there for various things I've read and I don't want to lose them. (The stories and books themselves are in my Cloud so I don't lose anything I've downloaded or purchased; I'm not sure the notes are backed up, though, nor do I know how to back them up myself.)

So at some point, I need to buy another Kindle. Except I'm not sure I can have one sent out from the States - if the battery is on the APO no-no list - so it won't be until at least April that I can get a replacement. (Bill has to go back briefly for a training thing.) 

I can't remember when I bought my Kindle - Andrew was still little, so it's definitely not older than about five or six years, and I had it in Cairo, so it's not less than four. That seems like a pretty good investment to me (about $30 a year at the most), so I don't mind buying another Paperwhite. (I don't care about all the apps that a Fire comes with, unless one of you can convince me otherwise.)

Anyway, that about wraps up everything here. Charlie's been asleep for slightly more than an hour so I should probably get unpacking again a little bit. I suspect there's an IKEA run in my future, in terms of trying to organize the house. Which is... not a bad thing. The nice thing about before our stuff arrived - and I thought this even before it all showed up - is all the space we had. Everything was just nice and open, you know? Like living in a Container Store. Which is... okay, kinda impersonal, but also very comfortable in terms of being able to find stuff fast because you're not having to sort through piles of other stuff.

Oh dear. Bill's starting to unpack things. I better go.


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