Monday, October 25, 2010

Life is a balanced act

No, not a balancing act. A balanced one.

For the first time in months I'm working on a Work In Progress that I just love. The characters are really solidly in my head and the plot is tight, and I'm making huge progress. I'm averaging a chapter every other day -- a finished, polished, solid chapter. This is the way I used to write, before I got bogged down for some unknown reason, last spring.

The other side of the fulcrum? My home life is out of whack. Nothing major, just car trouble. I took the car in for its 30k checkup, expecting to spend $300-$400. Instead I'm spending 10 times that.

I'll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor.

Yep, $3500. The car has been in the shop for a week, waiting for parts and/or being worked on by mechanics. Plural. This is a car that ran just fine. All I anticipated was a spark plug change, etc. But turns out mice got in and made a nest out of the entire electrical system ("awesome," one service guy said. "It was awesome." Not the word I would use to describe it, but I get the point). EVERYTHING electrical has to be replaced.

Keep in mind: this is a car that is parked in a garage and is driven every day. Every single day. So it's been 'protected.' This begs the question of what is happening to my husband's car and his truck, which sit outside and are not always driven on a daily basis. You're right. I don't want to know until I've paid the bill for my car.

So there you have: the balance of life. On the up side of the teeter-totter: my writing. I thought I had lost the writing mojo because this summer was such a drag, writing-wise.

On the downside: mice.

And on the up-side: my cats, who now get to play in the garage now and again. They are going to have a field day...

Yep. Life really is a teeter-totter, isn't it?


Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Yikes, how awful!!! I feel mine is a definite balancing act. I'm behind on my writing on a mss that has a deadline, but I'm really ahead because I figure I'll have it done ahead of time if I can ever get back to it(but I've got an agent requested mss that I'm working on and 2 bear orders to get out)'s the other stuff like you, that is giving me money pains--the cracked tooth that will cost me $5,000 to replace, the AC that went out, and next week it will be 90 degrees, so it's still too danged hot to live without out that will cost $4,000, and the stove that's out, that if I fix the issues right will cost a couple of thousand, and my computer isn't working. Well, the tooth is getting fixed. Everything else will have to wait, because the taxes just came due! *sigh*! So I'm feeling your pain!!!

J L said...

Wow -- my gripe is a drop in the bucket, so to speak, to what you're going through! Hang in there and here's hoping you hit the lottery or something...

Emma Leigh said...

Life is definitely a balancing act. Writing can suffer for me when my personal life is out of balance.

Excellent post.

Sheila Tenold said...

Perhaps you can use this car vs mice crisis is a story. Of Mice and ....

Yikes! I can't believe how costly electrical car rewiring can be. I think I'm in the wrong business. Do those guys get $50 dollars an hour or what?

I, too, feel your pain.

J L said...

Sheila, they said it was going to take a full day to fix it because they have to remove the dashboard, etc. And yeah: somebody is getting $50/hour -- I doubt if the mechanic is, but I think it works out to about $100/hour (split between the dealer, the company, the mechanic, and who knows who else?)

I am planning to use this in a book. I already have the plot in mind, etc. And believe me, I'm making notes!

Cai said...

YIKES! Those meeces (10 points if you can name the cartoon character who said that! LOL) can be expensive!!

Sorry you're having rodent issues - can't you turn one of the cats loose in the garage for a day or two? :)

I'm SURE you've already got this plotted into a book, though! LOL

J L said...

Oh, now this is going to bug me all day. "I love meeces to pieces..." Who said that!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Was it Syvestor the cat who said I love meeses to pieces?

Anyway JL, your kitties will have a field day in the garage. I'd put them out there in the early evening, though mice can be active all during the day. And there's at least one homeless mouse in your garage right now.

I'm glad you got your writing mojo back. We have to respect the process, and let it play out, or at least I do. Trying to force it results in wooden characters.

I enjoyed reading your post!


Mona Risk said...

JL, everytime I take my car to be fixed, I end up paying ten times more than what my husband estimates or what he pays when he takes it. I am convinced that mechanics are male chauvinists who try to trick every women who come to their garages.

Glad the writing is going well. Send your hubby to have the car fixed and concentrate on your story. I do that now. It's less expensive.

J L said...

And I have good news!

The service guy called -- the car is ready and it will only cost $1700 not $3500. Turns out when they tore it all apart, only one gadget had to be replaced, not 2.


Mouse traps are in place and I'm coaching the cats on KILL KILL KILL.

Boy, I didn't know I was so bloodthirsty!

Jill James said...

Life is a teeter-totter, but anytime the writing is on the upside is a good thing. Sorry about the mice, that is just too strange. Should be in a thriller somewhere, have bad guy let loose the mice of war.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

So glad to hear the damage wasn't as expensive as they originally said. Repairs are always a nightmare. Good to hear the writing is taking you to a happy place. I had some of that going on with mine and now it seems to be back on track. That is always a good thing!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Glad the cost wasn't as terrible as you thought it would be, J.L. Rats, mice and cockroaches...they are adaptive critters...sneaking around in places they shouldn't be and moving so fast that they scare us. Makes me shiver to think of 'em. When I hear stories like yours, I always wonder if the mice get free rides in your car...were they hanging on with their tiny claws when you took those tight corners?

I"m pleased your writing is going well-and the speed...I'm so impressed!