Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Saga of a Missing Mousetrap and Deconstruction

So, early yesterday morning, Hubs and I were sitting in the office when we heard the telltale snap of a mouse getting thwacked in a trap out in the garage.  Once he'd had his coffee and had sufficiently woken up to start the days chores, he went out there.

No mouse.  No trap.

The hunt began.

The mouse, with trap attached, had gotten up under the wooden deck/ramp thingie out in the garage.  With no way to reach it, we kind of shrugged and decided to tackle it later.  It wasn't going anywhere.

After lunch, Hubs decided to take the deck/ramp thingie apart.  I mean, we've been here five and a half years and have never seen what's under there anyway, so it was a worthy project, even if there wasn't a mouse who was going to stink up the place eventually.

So, he went to work pulling up boards and sheets of particle board.  We found a bunch of Max's missing kitty toys under the ramp part.  But no mouse.  Under the deck part, we found more kitty toys and the original wooden step from the house into the garage.  But no mouse.

And no holes for it to have escaped into the walls of the garage.

And no trap, so it was still dragging that damn thing.

We searched everywhere.  Not under the jeep.  No under the boat.  Not under the work bench, in the bathroom, behind the tools, beneath the mower...

Beside the deck/ramp thingie is a wooden platform.  It has slats with holes that things fall through to land beneath.  (Don't look at me, I didn't make the damn thing.  Hubs didn't either.)  I shined a flashlight through the holes and lit on the trap.  Gnarly.  Didn't see the mouse, though, so it was all good.

Except once started, Hubs wanted to finish the project and get it all cleaned underneath that thing, too.  More pried boards.  OMG, the loads of dust, junk, and mouse poop underneath it all.  :gag:  And the trap.  With the mouse still attached.

Near as we can figure it, the mouse, having realized it had no way to escape underneath the deck/ramp thingie, had ventured back out into the garage, climbed the platform and fallen through the slats.

Hubs dispatched the mouse and cleaned up all the gunk and detritus from however many years that thing had been there (at least 6 years - just before we moved here - but no more than 17, when the garage was added on).  Wearing a filter mask, so he didn't breathe mouse poop dust.  (He didn't want me even out there during this, and I was OK with that.)

By then, it was dinner time, so he put it back together just enough so neither of us would kill ourselves stepping into the garage, and left the rest of it for today.  Yeah, four hours worth of it*.

Today, Hubs will put it all back together with additional wood to block the holes the mouse originally used to get up underneath there.

Ah, life in the wilds of SWMO.

*Hubs spent four hours on it.  I was in the living room reading and watching reruns of House and Criminal Minds.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 45

Another week gone by.  :waves:

I spent most of the week editing my brains out.  Finally, Friday evening, I gave up and sent Unequal back to the AWE.  I believe I said something like 'I can no longer deal with this unholy thing', because at that point, it was an unholy thing to me.  Waiting for its head to spin around 'unholy thing'.  But that's just me.  I do love this book, even if I wanted to throw holy water at it and chant in Latin.  Hopefully, AWE won't want to drive a stake through my heart for sending it back to her.

Saturday was a day off.  I do need to get back to working on UatB.  I'm hoping putting some massive distance between it and my brain will shake something loose, and I'll be able to look at it objectively again.

Blink of an I is currently on sale.  Through Tuesday night.  Not seeing any bites, even though I have been posting in FB groups.  Maybe people just don't want a thought-provoking, meaty book right now.  :shrug:  This does not give me great hopes for the launch of Unequal.  Oh, well.  It's going to be out in the world whether anyone wants it or not.  So there.  =op

Speaking of Unequal, my editor likes it.  Despite all the pink, she really did have nice things to say about it.  And I fixed most of the pink, so the next edit letter shouldn't be so long.  :fingers crossed:

I got some reading done, despite the edits.  I'll probably read more this week.  I have a boatload of choices.

My postcards came in.  Ahead of schedule.  I'll get some of them out to certain persons this week.

Regular firearms deer season started yesterday morning.  I'll be wearing orange in the woods for the next ten days.  Here's hoping none of my deer get got.

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.  Picked up the bird and it's in the freezer until Hubs is ready to thaw it.

When I woke up yesterday, it was 17 degrees F.  Yuck.  That should tamp down the last of the bugs, though, and make the snakes go to their winter lodgings for the next few months.  Time for me to play in the woods.

I also baked a new recipe yesterday - Pumpkin Pie Bread.  Super yummy.  Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Pie Bread

3 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash ground cloves
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
¾ cup evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray two 9x5” bread pans with cooking spray – sides and bottoms.  Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin.  Add dry mixture to wet by thirds, alternating with evaporated milk, stirring each time until just combined.  When everything is together in one batter, pour evenly into the pans.  Bake at 350F for 65-75 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly in pans so the loaves come out clean, then turn out of pans.  Slice and serve.  It’s awesome right out of the oven, but even better the next day.

And that's it for me.  Here's to a quieter upcoming week. 

What's been up with you?

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 11/10/18

Well, hello there.  Welcome back.  Grab a cup of whatever and pull up a chair.  It was a tad better this week for reading, which didn't do my editing any good but it's good for the soul.

I downloaded three new books on Sunday because Amazon offered me a $1 if I spent $6.  Umm, yeah, I did that.  A paid for an urban fantasy and a suspense, and I picked up a cozy mystery on their dime (all of which from my wishlist).

I also picked up nine hardcopy books for $2 at a local thrift store.  Romantic suspense (2), suspense (1), mystery (3), crime (1), literature (1), anthology about fishing (1).  One of the mysteries I already had.  Derp.  Otherwise, it was a good haul - Christie, MacLean, Marsh, Remarque, Whitney, St. Claire, Asimov, and one unknown to me, plus the anthology which has some known (including Zane Grey and Ernest Hemingway) and some unknown authors.

Now, on to the actual reading...

79) The Snow in Her Eyes by Cedar Sanderson (11/6/18) - UF* - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but way underappreciated.  Total page-turner.  I read it in a day.
Review: "SQUEE! A perfect blend of suspense and paranormal. Loved the plot. Loved the mystery. Loved the characters. An incredibly fast read. I inhaled it. More please."
Now, some other reviews had a problem with the fact that it starts with the MC standing over the body of a dead kid.  Not a gruesomely dead kid, but some people seem to have a problem with it anyway.   If your squick factor can't handle dead kids, avoid it.  But if you avoid it, you're missing out on one hell of a book.

78) The Opening Chase by Cap Daniels (11/6/18) - Suspense*  - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  (I thought it was when I downloaded it a month ago, but I might be remembering wrong.)
Review: "This reads a lot like a Vince Flynn novel, but with a nod toward the old masters like Spillane and MacLean. Oh, he had me going there for a bit with the love interest thing, but it all worked out well. Awesome book. Can't wait to read the next.|"

No DNFs.

I'm currently reading The Golden Unicorn by Phyllis A. Whitney - one of the books I picked up at the thrift store.  I haven't made a lot of headway because I've been under the gun on my edits.  I finished them last night and sent the book of to my AWE (Awesome, wonderful editor).  Now, I might have a chance to read more.

What have you been reading?  Pick up anything good?  Get anything new?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thursday This n That

The election is over for this time and it didn't turn out as bad as I'd feared.  Not as good as I'd hoped either, but apparently mid-term elections are like that.  We got our resident wicked witch out of congress.  I wish Michigan could've ousted theirs, too, but between Flint and Detroit, it wasn't likely.  I think Josh will do a good job for Missouri and for the U.S.

Oh, and they defeated the gas tax prop, so MO remains one of the lowest gas tax states.  Yay.  My main gas station was at $2.42 on Tuesday.  Every penny I don't have to shell out is good.

On Tuesday, Hubs and I went to town.  He needed to hit the barber and I needed to get out of the house.  I dropped him off and then went to a thrift store I hadn't visited before.  Oh, I knew it was there, but it's name implied that it was all clothing.  Except someone told me they had books in there somewhere, too.  Lo and behold, they did.  Not a huge area, but the books were stacked double deep.  I went through them all and picked out what I really wanted, then went through again to round out my purchase.  Lucky me, they were having a sale - 6 paperbacks for $1 and 3 hardcovers for $1.  Yes, I only got 9 books.  Most of their offerings were romances, stuff I'd read, or stuff I wasn't interested in.  Still, I got an old Alastair MacLean I didn't already have.  And an old Agatha Christie I didn't already have.  Plus, my favorite Phyllis Whitney in first edition hardcover.  And various others.  $2 out the door.  Cha ching.  Wrapped it up and got back to the barber right after Hubs haircut was finished, so it was all good.  (Not that it matters much.  He enjoys chatting with the barber.  The guy's a hoot.)

The autumn colors are past their peak now, but it's still pretty spectacular out there.

I really need to remember to buy stamps.  I have a note on my desk, but I've been to the post office twice since I wrote the note and still no stamps. 

Speaking of stamps, I got my postcards.

Speaking of postcards, Blink of an I is on sale right now.  (It's on the postcard, doncha know.)

I think I've learned my lesson not to do three sales within a month's time.  By the third sale, I'm burned out on marketing.  I was kinda burned out at the second sale.  I really need to get the word out there on FB and junk.

Speaking of FB, they changed stuff again.  I used to go through my newsfeed and then go over to my Pages feed to see what FB hadn't bothered to put in my newsfeed.  This morning, I clicked on Pages and it took me to a page that showed me my own pages.  And gave me a place where I could manage all the pages I like.  But no feed to see what those pages were showing.  Good thing I have all those pages bookmarked, but what a pain in the ass.  Thanks, FB.

Someone really needs to design an awesome competitor for Facebook. One people will happily join and migrate over to.  There are others, but they're all pale comparisons because people won't leave the great FB.  Myself included.  Why leave a party where all your friends are to go to a party where no one is and the chips are stale?  Even when the first party is run by dorks and is populated by like 90% dorks.  If the awesome 10% aren't at the other party, bringing with them awesome appetizers and snacks, there's no point.  :shrug:

Okay, that's more than enough out of me this morning.  What's up with you?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Adapt the Critters or Adapt Yourself?

One thing confuses me about the time change... Okay, everything confuses me about the time change, but until we can get the government to stop doing this to us, we're stuck with it... Anyway, what confuses me is why we even attempt to make our animals adapt to it.  Isn't it easier to change the feeding schedule so they never even notice this weird human thing we do?

This hadn't occurred to me until years ago when I was talking with a woman whose husband worked at the local feedlot.

Now, if you're not familiar with a feedlot, it's where the farmers send their young steers to fatten up before they head to market.  Imagine huge pens with thousands of cows each, standing around waiting to get fed.  And they get fed on a schedule.  Which they're used to.

Then comes the time change.

So, anyway, she was telling me the worst part of the time change is getting all those cows to adapt to the new feeding schedule.  Easily a hundred thousand cows waiting an extra hour for their feed every fall.  Apparently, it's quite the loud and raucous affair.

And it occurred to me.  Why force all those cows to adapt when it would be easier to set the feeding schedule to when the cows expect to eat? 

At home, I adjusted my own thinking.  I mean, it's a real pain to get Kira to move her expectations an hour.  She meows.  She carries on.  She gets in my personal space and pats at me.  Way easier for me to feed her an hour earlier. 

If one cat can make that much racket, imagine what a hundred thousand cows can do.

Around here, we have scads of turkey raising facilities.  Little Butterball signs at the ends of the driveways point them out, but you can see the long, low buildings as you drive down the highway.  Right now, I'm guessing those turkeys are having to adjust to being fed an hour later than they're used to.  And the Tyson farms with all those chickens.  And birds are dumber than cows. 

Wouldn't all these animals be under less stress if we were the ones to adjust?  Contented animals make for more plentiful and tastier meat. 

Speaking of feeding, Kira is reminding me that it's time for her morning food.  She got fed at around 6:30am before the time change, so now it's 5:30am.  I'm up by this time most mornings, so it's no big deal.  And if I wasn't up, she'd wake me up - just like before the time change.

How about you?  Do you adapt or do you make them adapt?  How's that working for you?

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 44

The end of the year is really creeping up on me.  Gah.  Where did the year go??

Anyway, I really got on a bit of a roll with the edits.  Finally.  It's still a slog and I'm still only getting a couple dozen pages done a day.  I'm pretty sure I won't make my deadline unless I do some marathon work today and tomorrow.  But if I keep my nose to the grindstone, I will get this to my editor sometime this week.  (And I'll have a flat nose.)

Marketing pretty much failed.  The Sleeping Ugly sale finished up with only one sale and a book's worth of page reads.  But I didn't pay for any advertising, so there's that.  I have another sale coming up.  Blink of an I will be on sale November 7th thru the 13th.  And no, I didn't get any advertising set up for that either.  Derp.  I really need to get off my dead ass and get that stuff done.  Maybe I'll manage something spectacular in December.  Yah, right.

There'll be new marketing materials soon.  I ordered the postcards on Wednesday and they shipped Thursday.  I'll drop a note or something, so any of you who want one can get one.

I read a book!  It wasn't a great book, but I read it.

I went fishing a few times, but didn't catch much of anything.

The exercise/activity thing included a lot of walking.  I haven't stepped on the scale to see the lack of progress.  I really need to get back at it before I backslide more.

Finally got out and did some woods work again.  I think I overdid it, but that's life.  By the way, it's gorgeous here right now.  This is the most beautiful autumn we've had since I moved here.  Our dogwoods are outdoing themselves.

Pay-job sent me a pile of work, which is always good.  Gotta fund this writing thing somehow.

Anyway, that's about all I can think of right now.  Tell me what's going on with you.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-Up - 11/3/18

My brain is so far up my edit hole, I don't have much mental space for reading right now.  Maybe when I feel like I'm making better progress on this thing. 

 You'll notice I'm at 77 books read so far.  Thirteen left to read to reach my updated goal of 90 and two months to do it in.  At this rate, I'm not sure I'll hit it.  I don't suppose flipping through a coloring book counts, eh?  ;o)

Meanwhile, here's the super short list...

77) Meg & The Mystery Man by Elise Title (11/1/18) - Romance - 3 stars.  No review.  Another of the old romances I picked up at the thrift store last month.  I needed something to blow the gunk out of my head, so I chose romance.  Eh.  I finished it, but it didn't really blow my skirt up.  Considering this is the first book I've finished in two weeks, I'm calling it a win.

No DNFs either.


I'm not currently reading anything.  I do have a couple unread books on my Kindle and a ton of unread hardcopies, but nothing's exciting me.  It's all edits, all the time right now.  I rolled over the 100 page mark last night.  Only a couple hundred pages left to go.  Blerg.

What did you read last week?  Anything really get your blood moving and the pages turning?