One Thing After Another

A couple of weeks ago, my parents emailed me with a picture of a big old pine wardrobe that someone in their condo building was giving away. I showed Ken the picture and he thought about it for a minute, then said, “You know that built-in cupboard in the upstairs hallway, the one made out of plywood that we keep sheets and pillowcases in?”

Me: It’s not plywood. It’s just not the best wood, but it’s not horrible.
Ken: I’ve always hated it. What if I rip out the built-in and we replace it with that wardrobe?
Me: It’s built right into the ceiling. You’d have to replace the drywall and then patch and paint behind it.
Ken: Cool!

We picked up the wardrobe from the very elderly parents of the guy who lived in my parents’ building. They were literally adorable, both in their 90s. He insisted on helping Ken and his son carry the wardrobe out to our trailer, while she insisted on showing me their house, including the rugs that she’d hand-knotted herself. We promised to send pictures of the wardrobe in place once we’d completed the project. And so the process began, as most home renovations do, in the ‘one thing leads to another’ school of fix-it projects.

1) Rip out the old linen closet. Discover a very cool hollow space at the base that would be perfect for hiding valuables, or love letters, or human remains, or old clocks. Discover that there is NOTHING in there. Wander the house in existential disappointment for 10 minutes.

2) Find some drywall for the ceiling. The old linen cupboard pre-dated the upgrade to the hallway, and the previous owners had simply drywalled AROUND it, which left quite a gap. Go to the store to buy drywall compound. Purchase Pokémon toys, shampoo, and chocolate in addition to drywall compound because I’m AT THE STORE, KEN.

3) Put up the drywall. Tape it and patch it, as well as all the holes in the wall where the nine-inch nails were holding everything in place. Not Nine Inch Nails the band, because that would have been super cool. But no—just stupidly long nails that ripped out pieces of lathe and plaster when Ken crowbarred the cupboard out.

4) Continue to apply drywall compound, because Ken is a fanatic.

5) Let the drywall compound dry. Search the house for the one can of paint that might match the rest of the walls in the hallway. Find three different cans, none of which match. Determine that now the ENTIRE hallway will have to be repainted.

6) Sand the drywall compound that coats the walls like a powdery white lover until you’ve almost scrubbed into the next room so that the walls that will be hidden behind the new wardrobe will be supersmooth. Spend half an hour vacuuming up all the dust.

7) Contemplate the waste of opportunity around having a very large space that would have been perfect for gold bullion, a severed hand, or even a rat skeleton, but which has been squandered. Realize that reality is never as good as your imagination and that you may be obsessing just a tad.

8) Mix two colours of paint together to get an approximate match. Decide that it’s not approximate enough to avoid having to repaint the ENTIRE hallway.

9) Curse the wardrobe. Curse it long and curse it deep. Rip a small piece of painted wallpaper off to get a match at the paint store. Meet a girl who is a WHIZ at paint mixing and who makes you paint that is indistinguishable from the rest of the hallway.

10) Realize that, if nothing else, the whole experience has provided you with a writing topic in a week in which not much happened.

In other news, there are less than 3 weeks until At The End Of It All, my new short story collection, drops. I’m super-excited. I don’t know how these things work, but if you want to host me on a blog tour once it’s out, I’ll repay the favour by promoting you and your own work, or posting a review, or whatever you like. I’ll even come to your house and look for ghosts, or name a character in my next book after you. I’m easy. And if you want to grab At The End Of It All as soon as it’s released, you can go to the Potter’s Grove website, or pick it up on Amazon.

Creative Wednesdays: My Spooky Six Interview with Willow Croft

Thanks to my good friend Willow Croft of Willow Croft: Bringer of Nightmares and Storms for her unique and very fun interview with me for The Horror Tree’s Spooky Six Interview Series. I hope you enjoy finding out more about me, especially the reason why I never dangle my arm off the bed. You can read it here on The Horror Tree!

Pressing Questions

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting ready to set up a WordPress post, and I suddenly noticed that below the place where it says, ‘Add title’, there was some faint text. I looked more closely and the text said, “What are your feelings about eating meat?”

And I was like, Are you judging me, WORDPRESS? Because the post I was setting up was fairly bacon-heavy, and how the hell did they even know that, let alone start pestering me about it? For the record, I would prefer NOT to eat meat, but I’m realistic in that a) I like the taste of most of it (organ meats aside, because they are extremely gross), and no one has yet to discover a vegetarian bacon that tastes as good as the real thing. On the other hand, I had an experience not long ago when I called a government agency to complain about the way that a truck I was following on the highway was transporting turkeys, presumably to the slaughterhouse, and it was so awful that I called Ken crying. The so-called veterinarian that answered my call was less than helpful, and told me that the turkeys were “probably huddled together for warmth rather than being stacked on top of each other”, and that didn’t make me feel any better AT ALL.

But I don’t want to get into the complexities of eating meat versus being vegetarian, because WordPress is still doing that weird thing right now. I started to set up my post for this week, and right below ‘Add title’, it says “Tell us one thing you hope people never say about you.” And my response is “Who the f*ck is US?!” Is this WordPress trying to make some extra cash by blackmailing random bloggers?

Random Blogger: Ooh, good question. Hmm. Well, I hope people never say I’m a murderer, because THAT was in self-defense.
WordPress: Self-defense, you say? We’ll see about that.

5 minutes later…

WordPress: According to our investigation, it was NOT self-defense. You owe us twenty-five thousand dollars to keep quiet about this.
Random Blogger: Damn
.

All I can think is that WordPress is playing the long game, hoping that some blogger desperate for a topic will fall for their ploy. Does anyone really open up the site without a topic in mind, just praying that WordPress will provide inspiration? And yes, I see the irony in this whole debate, because I wouldn’t have a topic MYSELF if it wasn’t for these bizarre WordPress prompts. So with that in mind, here are the things I hope people never say about me:

1) I’m good at math (because that would be a LOT to live up to).
2) I’m not funny (but I’m not actually that funny in person so it’s ok).
3) I have too many clocks (I just bought another one at the antique market where I work and it’s so gorgeous and it was so cheap that I carried it downstairs cradling it in my arms like a baby).
4) My nickname is NOT Player One (because it totally is, even if I’m the only one who thinks so).
5) I’m too old to dance like no one is watching. (I regularly dance behind the till at work when no one is watching, although sometimes customers see me and give me a thumbs-up, and yes there’s music because we have a radio playing behind the till just in case you thought I was one of those people who dance to music in their own heads, which I also do sometimes but just not at work).

Screw you, WordPress—I’ve fallen for your little game.

In other news, if you read my post last Monday, you’ll know that my new short story collection At The End Of It All is now available for pre-order but I posted the wrong link. It would be a great Christmas gift for you or someone you love, so if you want to order it, you can go here: At The End Of It All.  Also, in honour of the new collection coming out soon, Potter’s Grove has put my first short story collection, Feasting Upon The Bones, (which got some very good reviews and would also make a great Christmas gift) on sale for a limited time and you can find it here: Feasting Upon The Bones

Marvelous Monday: My New Book!

Just a quick surprise post to let you all know that my new short story collection, At The End Of It All: Stories From The Shadows is now available for pre-order from Potter’s Grove Press! I’m super-excited about this collection, which features a foreword written by my friend and writer extraordinaire, Steven Baird from Ordinary Handsome, and if you haven’t read him or follow his blog, you definitely should–he’s the kind of writer I love to read. His work leaves me breathless, every single time.

At The End Of It All has been my heart’s work for the last year; I started writing it not long after Feasting Upon The Bones was published. It contains 27 short stories, some flash fiction, some a little longer and some shorter, and I’m extremely proud of it. And I’m especially thrilled by the cover image that Potters Grove has chosen–they really are the best, and possess a tremendous creative vision that aligns perfectly with my own. As you know, Christmas is coming and what a perfect gift a spooky collection of stories makes! So if you’d like to give the gift of literature, you can pre-order here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BPTQC5DM