Sometimes life imitates art–in my case, a novel in progress, and a bad one at that, although there are some very sound elements of good writing. As I have taught for years in my writing workshops, all writing projects have the same basic structure: a beginning, a middle and an end. And each component of the writing process is building blocks of three. There is in any story a conflict: one against oneself, one against another, one against God. Like many good stories, my story incorporates them all, and I am still looking for a resolution. Maybe I unearthed a cosmic truth, because it all started with a plane trip to Honolulu to get the fourth book of the Bully Dogs series completed in draft for my readers, so that I could fulfill my promise to have the book done before the next Ice Age.
I had recently had new blinds installed and the facia popped on a few of them, requiring the installer to come back and repair them. When I saw that one had a bulge, rather than call again, I thought I would just fix it myself. The chair was the right height, but the material a little slippery; falling off, I hit the back of the chair’s edge, which left me in considerable agony with a nasty, painful bruise on my whole left side which curtailed any walking expeditions for most of the week.
But I could still sit at the computer and write while the vacuum-bot did its job to clean The Vog grit up; only it would sweep for a minute and then park itself next to me. Weird and just a bit creepy. But it did decide to work the third day and brought me a dead cockroach. “Oh, thanks,” I said, from on top of the couch, “for doing your job.” I am okay once I have on rubber gloves and shoes to pick up and dispose of the carcass, but it was quite a maneuver to get from the couch to the kitchen without getting within six feet of the bot.
On the last day, as I am leaving for the airport, because I was early to the lobby and the cab was not due for another ten minutes, I, in my obsessive mode, decided to do another visual sweep of the condo, just to make sure the stovetop burners were off, the hot and cold water to the washer tight and off, and the all faucets completely shut off. The last room I checked was the front bathroom, and there beside the toilet was a big bug (when I did an internet search, the closest match was the Great Asian Horned Beetle). I wear a size 7-1/2 shoe and it was longer than that. I had no time to deal with that thing; it would require me to change into jeans, socks, boots, long-sleeved shirt, gloves, sunglasses and hat. I had a cab waiting downstairs, so if my sonic scream did not kill it, and Heaven forbid it is a pregnant female, I had to leave it for another time. My daughter has a first year wedding anniversary coming up in September and I have offered them airfare and a place to stay while they are in Oahu.
I am telling this to my daughter who has stayed the night at my house—”oh, by the way, Mother, the air conditioning is not working”—so that she and her husband can borrow the Ford Explorer to go whale watching up at Anacortes on Wednesday. She laughs, miming the big bug to small bug with forefinger and thumb as she pulls away from the driveway; an hour later she is frantically trying to call me to tell me the car has blown an engine on I-5. The main reason I still have a landline is that cell calls are dropped here at my house; that day, apparently work was being done on the substation and we were temporarily out of service. My cell phone was doing a software update for twenty-five minutes and then would not let a call be completed. But, in the end, cars were switched, broken-down car towed, and daughter got some awesome pictures of whales.
But, the saga continues. Thursday morning, July 4th, at about 4 AM, my husband wakes me with the dreaded, “I think we have a problem.” Usually that problem would be waking me at 4 AM. A six dollar part broke on the upstairs toilet and gallons of clean water damaged the upstairs and downstairs of our house. On the hottest, record-breaking day of the year, we are without air conditioning (which is out of warranty) until July 29th. And, those big blowers that Servpro installed throughout the house to dry out everything jacked the temperature up to 106 degrees. “Why can’t we go to a motel?” I screamed at my lizard-husband, “Think of it as a long weekend of camping!” He just waves to me as he drives off to his air conditioned office. Well, my idea of camping is room service at the Kahala on Oahu.
What is life’s lessons here, I wondered? Not to let things bug me? Don’t sweat the small stuff? After all, nothing of value was lost, but time and temper and money. I got the exact car, down to the color, I have wanted to trade the Explorer for when I rented the Ford Edge. And sweating is a good way to detox the body, right?. I have yet to figure a life lesson connection to the air conditioning, the frozen engine, and toilet; but as husband pointed out, all three had something to do with water. Not to drown in self-pity? Perhaps it has something to do with Karma and patience; I think I could be a whole more patient in Hawaii. So I have decided that the theme of this year in the life of me is: “That’s Life!” the lyrics by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon, and the most famous version by Frank Sinatra. I’m just gonna change the last lines a bit from:
But if there’s nothin’ shakin’ come this here July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball a-and die
But if there’s nothin’ shakin’ come this here July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball a-and fly
My daughter just informed me that buying a one-way ticket to Honolulu is not a good option, as there is a tropical storm moving in. (Sigh.) Well, as they say, that’s life.