Category Archives: Personal

Wait, where did July go?

Man, this month flew by. I don’t know if it’s the quarantine messing with my time sense or what, but in some ways this year is going faster than usual, and in others it’s dragging.

I didn’t work on Swan for the last three days because, well, Tuesday was my birthday, I spent most of Wednesday having a health televisit and working on a massive triple lemon layer cake as a belated birthday cake for Ramón and myself (and oh, it was lush — homemade lemon curd filling, lemon Genoise sponge, and lemon buttercream icing. My sponges rose! Since this is the first time I ever made a Genoise sponge, I lay all thanks at the feet of GBBO for teaching me the secrets of how to make one properly), and yesterday … hell, I don’t know what happened yesterday. I had to go out and hit multiple stores, and by the time I got back and disinfected everything I was tired and still had to make dinner.

But today, I have visited the vampires for my mid-year oil change, and as soon as Ramón finishes his lunch and heads back upstairs (he’s watching anime right now, which means I have my headphones on with Florence + the Machine) I’m opening the WIP and getting down to work. Knowing that I’m halfway through the book is a great feeling because everything’s pretty much downhill from here. Once that’s done, I return to King of Blades and get THAT puppy done, tra la.

Well, that could have gone better

So yesterday was my birthday, and while I wasn’t expecting fireworks and a marching band due to COVID, I did think we’d have a nice day with a nice cake and a nice dinner.

The day started out with Ramón presenting me with my present, a set of bread lames for cutting slits in bread loaves before baking so that they don’t rip. I was delighted and kissed him thoroughly, then got up and ran out to get the makings for a really great lemon cake with homemade lemon curd between the layers. Upon my return home I disinfected everything and showered as usual, at which point I saw a text message that a bouquet of flowers had been delivered and should be retrieved from the doorstep. I didn’t see any flowers on the way in, but I went out and double-checked the porch anyway. No flowers. Huh.

I then checked the text message a little closer and saw that the flowers had been delivered about five miles away to an address very similar to mine (same street number, slightly different street name). Since we get mail for these people at least three times a year, I wasn’t surprised but was somewhat miffed as I knew my sister was the one who sent the flowers. I replied with a text saying, “Yeah, you delivered them to the wrong address” in the hopes that the mistake would be rectified.

And then I got a second text message — from the people at this other address. Apparently my phone number was on the message tag and they pinged me to say, “Yeah, we have your flowers, wanna come pick them up?” Oooookay. So I got dressed in my second set of clothing and mask for the day and headed out … only to realize as I pulled up in front of their house that 1) I have no idea what the viral load in their house is, and 2) I cannot disinfect a bouquet. Shit. I pulled my phone back out and told them to keep the bouquet with my compliments, then went home, whereupon I put the SECOND set of clothes and mask into the wash and cleaned up again.

By this point my knee had started complaining about the humidity, the amount of movement I have been engaging in, and to be quite frank my PMS kicked in with a vengeance. As I strongly suspected I would throw cake pans through the kitchen window at this point, I said “Fuck it” to making the cake, with plans to make it the next day.

At which point my sister called to find out what I thought about the bouquet. I explained the contretemps and thanked her for her thoughtfulness (it had balloons and everything, wah!), and she agreed that I should have left the bouquet with the other people since there was no way to bring it in safely. We had a nice chat and made tentative plans to get together in March or April next year.

By now my PMS had gotten worse, plus I was feeling hot and really tired. I slogged through making chicken Alfredo, wondering at the monster chicken breasts I wound up getting from Kroger. With dinner finished, I realized I wasn’t hungry at all and went upstairs to take a nap. Woke up at 9:30 PM feeling moderately better, as well as moderately hungry.

The Alfredo was not a culinary triumph. The chicken breasts turned out to be stringy and unpleasant-tasting, and I stopped eating after half a bowl, throwing out the rest of it. I’ve clearly been spoiled, getting chicken and other meat from a local butcher, but this meal confirms that getting our meat from there was a good choice. Consoling myself with a PB&J, I watched a couple of episodes of GBBO until bedtime, tossed and turned until 3 AM, got up to watch some Jack Whitehouse comedy specials, then went back to bed.

So, yeah, not the greatest of birthdays. But to be honest it’s hardly the worst, either. A couple of minor annoyances, unpleasant chicken, and a hormone storm, no biggie. And I did get a nifty set of bread lames, a pretty birthday bouquet (at a distance), and a slew of best wishes from people on social media, so that made the day great.

Oh, boy. That was an adventure

FB just reminded me of what I was doing on this day in 2014, so I thought I’d share it with you:

“Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Cleaning Mortar Chips Out Of a Swimming Pool! Tonight’s contestant is Nicola Cameron from Plano, Texas — let’s give her a big hand!

“Now, Ms. Cameron has spent the last two days removing old cement, mastic, and epoxy from her hot tub rim in preparation for re-cementing and mortaring the missing coping stones back into place, and a bunch of the debris has fallen into her pool as a result. Let’s see how she’s going to get it out.

“Ooh, she’s starting by trying to scoop up the biggest chunks with her skimmer. It’s not quite working as she’d hoped, I’m afraid — too bad, it was a good idea. She’s changing out the skimmer head for a brush head and brushing it all into a large pile — smart move! Now she’s getting out her vortex vacuum head and attaching it and the garden hose to suck that debris right up.

“Oh, no! The vortex caused by the hose isn’t quite enough to pick up the larger pieces. I haven’t heard cursing like that since I was in the Marines!

“On to Round Two — she’s brushing all the pieces into the shallow end and — wow, she’s getting her wet-dry shop vac out and sucking them up! Great move, Ms. Cameron!

“Wait a minute — the shop vac move worked with the small pieces, but the vac is too efficient and is filling almost immediately and there are still large shards at the bottom of her pool. Is she going to throw herself on the mercy of her pool cleaning service for help?

“NO! I cannot believe this, people — she is taking off her glasses, and — YES, yes, she is jumping fully clothed into the pool in her best impersonation of a pearl diver and collecting the shards manually. This woman is determined! Wait, I’m hearing her mutter something about shark week, prehensile toes and ‘See, Mom, I TOLD you they’d come in handy.’ And she’s gotten all of the debris out of the pool! Well done, Ms. Cameron!

“Well, this has been an amazing episode of Cleaning Mortar Chips Out Of a Swimming Pool! Tune in tomorrow when Ms. Cameron is going to don protective gear and use dilute muriatic acid to remove the mortar haze from her flagstones. Good night, everyone!”

In even more entertaining news, here’s another snippet from Shadow of the Swan:


Henry regretted the words the moment they left his mouth. Miss Wallingford recoiled as if slapped, and even Mwanda shifted against the door as if uncomfortable. “Really, Harry,” she muttered.

He cursed his own lack of tact. He could still taste Louisa Wallingford’s blood, its complex flavor lingering on his palate like the finest of wines, and it had the same effect as wine on a human. The bottled stuff couldn’t wash it away, much as he wished it would. Drinking directly from a human was a different matter entirely than drinking stored blood. He would now be able to sense Louisa Wallingford no matter where she was, divine her moods, even anticipate her actions once he got to know her better.

He had been able to ignore the humans he had drunk from in the past, block them from his awareness. But combined with his assignment, it would be impossible to ignore this bright, beautiful, and exasperating young woman. Even now he could feel her fear, combined with a half-angry curiosity as she digested the news he had dumped so gracelessly in her lap.

With care, he replaced the half-full bottle of blood on the table and leaned forward. “Miss Wallingford, you are a sensible young woman. It is not my intention to frighten you unnecessarily, but I would be remiss if I didn’t impress upon you the gravity of your situation. Your uncle has recruited not only the entirety of the ministry but her majesty the queen in order to protect you from this Fae noble. The best solution we have found is your marriage to Robert Bainbridge, which must take place as quickly as possible. Once you are married, you are no longer bound by the terms of this Fae contract and will be safe. That is why everything is happening at such an unusual pace.”

He wasn’t surprised when the young woman drained her glass of wine at a gulp. “What’s the name of my erstwhile suitor?”

He remembered she was an academic like her uncle. Information was what she needed at this moment to stay in control. “Avery, of House Eala. He rules over his own court within Faerie, and his formal title is the Swan King. If you want to know more about him, I would suggest asking your uncle when we return. He knows far more about the contract with your family than I do.”

“Listen to him, girl.” Mwanda came forward, silk swishing with the movement. The mocking expression was gone, replaced by grim seriousness. “The Fae are far more powerful than even the ministry likes to admit, and you don’t want to be in one’s power. If marrying this Bainbridge is the only way of getting away from them, do it tomorrow. Hire a carriage and take him up to Gretna Green, then tumble him immediately afterwards.”

The thought of Louisa Wallingford in bed with another man sent a unexpected surge of rage through him, and he had to will himself to stay calm. You’re blood-struck, that’s all. It’ll fade in time. “Mwanda,” he growled.

“This isn’t the time for prudery, Harry,” she shot back. “The girl needs to protect herself, and if some words before a priest and a bedding will do it, then that’s what she needs to do.”

“Enough.” Louisa held up a hand that only showed the faintest of tremors. “Please. Mr. Carstairs, may we return home? I need to speak with my uncle.”

He glanced at Mwanda, who shrugged. “The carriage should be here soon. I’ll see if Remy has that shirt for you yet.”

Today? Not so prolific

It happens. Sometimes you wake up and everything is firing on all cylinders. You crank out 5-6K without breaking a sweat, you bop through the cleaning and the working out, everyone in your house is getting along, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, Ryan Reynolds is bringing you a frosty martini made with Aviation Gin (Ryan, call me!), and all is right with the world.

And then there are days like this, where you wake up feeling like nothing is meshing correctly. You know you have stuff to mail, but convincing yourself to sit down, put things in packages, and haul your ass to the post office to mail them all off feels like climbing Everest. You’ve got a word quota to hit, but your characters have decided not to talk to you and putting something, anything on the page is like pulling teeth. And not only have the cats decided to be little assholes all day, but one of them has started leaving the foulest deuces in the breakfast nook litter box, which hotboxes the entire living room as a result.

It’s days like these that make day drinking so damn attractive. In fact, I think I may make myself an absinthe, take a shower, and go to bed early. Fuck it, I’m an adult, I can go to bed at 10 PM if I want.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

On the plus side, we finally got Ramón’s new passport pictures taken, so at least that’s a tick in the W column, but even that took all afternoon. The British passport office wanted digital pics taken against a light-colored wall. We do not have a single light-colored wall in this house, so we tried putting up foamboard, sheets, et al. The results were not good. Frustrated, he finally wound up going to Walgreens for a pro photo. The British passport portal rejected it because “his eyes weren’t level.” Oy. I finally hit on moving a mirror off a very narrow beigeish wall next to the front door, standing him in front of it, and taking a picture.

Well, I kissed him first, because the picture he took at Walgreens made him look like he was about to break his foot off in someone’s ass. The portal accepted the second of my pictures, and his new passport will feature him with a serious expression but a twinkle in his eye, which is a huge improvement.

And I now have a brand-new gouge in my palm because Jasmine, She of the Skittiness, was resting her chin on my arm in her patented, “Pet me, please,” pose. When I did, she immediately started grumbling, got up and stepped on the laptop keyboard, then on my hand as I tried to get her off before she hosed this post. And she does not know when to keep her claws retracted, bless her idiotic little cat heart. Yeah, it’s time for alcohol and bed.

Hello, 5 AM, My Old Friend

So I woke up this morning after a dream that was apparently inspired by elements of “Goodbye Earl” by the Chicks (no justified killing of an abusive husband, but I observed two couple’s arguments, spent some time in a really nice kitchen that overlooked a great apartment complex after one boyfriend decided to switch apartments with his old girlfriend and go move in with his new girlfriend, and wound up in the middle of what looked like Wisconsin, judging from the rolling hills and all of the silos, as part of a mass job interview for a tech writing position. Yeah, I don’t understand that last part, either).

And then it was 5 AM, and my brain said, “Okay, you went to sleep at midnight, that’s enough, we’re going to play “Goodbye Earl” on earworm loop until you get up.” Thanks, brain. So I’m here, having fed and watered the J Crew, and I figure I’ll get in maybe four hours of writing before that stupid mass in my skull gives up and I can go back to bed at 10 AM for three more hours of sleep.

And then I made the mistake of checking Twitter and found out that not only does DHS intend to take its cobbled-together SS shitshow in Portland nationwide, but John Lewis died this morning. The best way to pay tribute is to get into some good trouble.

Sometimes you have to improvise

Being a reasonable person who doesn’t want to catch the ‘rona, I try to plan meals in advance so that I can cut down on the number of store runs and still have everything I need on hand. Sometimes, however, you (and by you, I mean I) forget things, which throws a wrench into the meal planning procedure.

Such as today, when I had planned on making burgers and fries for dinner. Because I knew damn well I’d gotten ground beef the last time I went to the store, you know? Except that apparently my mind was playing stupid games for stupid prizes once again and I’d already used the ground beef (either that, or it fell out in the trunk of my car. The temps have been around the triple digit point here for the last few days. I’m dreading what I’m going to find when I go out there tomorrow and check).

So, sweet potato fries but no ground beef, and I don’t want to hazmat up and go out to the store just for protein. I check the freezer — tilapia (nice, but we don’t have any fresh veggies that Ramón can eat without extreme digestive unease), kielbasa, hot dogs, OOH. I still had a container of the homemade gyro meatball mix I’d made back in May.

Pulled that out and let it defrost while I continued my study of the fridge. Nope, no tzatziki sauce, but I did have light sour cream, minced garlic, and green onions. That mixed up into a lovely creamy sauce, and one of the white onions that are a staple here got chopped up for garnish. Ramón doesn’t like spinach so I couldn’t add any to his sandwich, but I was able to slather it on mine.

One last issue — bread. We didn’t have any pita bread, but I did buy some naan bread when it was on sale back in March and froze it. Pulled that out to defrost. (If worse came to worse I would’ve made biscuits and ladled everything over that, or taken a crack at making frybread. But the cooking gods were smiling on me for once.)

Et voila — homemade gyro meatballs on garlic naan bread topped with a sour cream sauce, onions, spinach, and sweet potato fries on the side. Turned out to be darn tasty, and I didn’t have to put on a bra. I call that a win.

So, that lurgy I was talking about back in January…

You may remember this post on January 10th, where I mentioned that I was just getting over a rather nasty cold that I’d caught over New Year’s, and how it had produced the most amazing neon yellow mucus I had ever seen (a color that has never come out of my nose before, by the way).

There was a fairly significant gap between that post and the next post on March 16, and the truth of it was that I was sick as a freaking dog in January and February. My cold did finally end, but on January 15 I started coughing. The cough settled in my chest, and despite drinking lots of fluids and taking OTC cough meds it didn’t resolve, to the point where I assumed I had developed bronchitis. (Why assumed? Well, because our health insurance is the HDHP type that doesn’t pay for doctor’s visits, and I was damned if I was dragging my exhausted ass over to the doctor’s office to be told, “Yeah, you have bronchitis, go home and drink lots of fluids” and pay $181 for the privilege.)

My coughing and general malaise got to the point where I had to tell my project manager, “Look, I know we’re on deadline but I am barely functional right now. So this is what I’m gonna do — I’ll get up, do some work for as long as I can, then go back to bed when I have to, then get back up and do some more work, and I’ll keep doing that around the clock until I have my deliverables done.” Yeah, I know — I’m insane. But it was only the two of us on this project and if I went to bed for a week there was simply no way she’d be able to get everything done, so I sucked it up. I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t remember much of that week, but apparently I do good work even on autopilot.

I started feeling moderately functional after about ten days, but the cough never really stopped, and I never got “better.” Things would start to improve and I’d have hope, and then I’d feel like crap again and sleep the weekend away. This continued until the third week of February, which means I had five weeks of feeling like absolute garbage. I was hoping to hold out until my physical at the end of February because I wouldn’t have to pay for that, but after week five I gave up and headed into a local CareNow to see if they could help. The doctor listened to my symptoms, decided I had a sinus infection (which I assumed I had as well), prescribed me antibiotics and prednisone, and told me to go home and use saline sprays lavishly on my nasal mucosa. I did, and by the time my physical rolled around the next week I was feeling pretty okay thanks to the prednisone.

Two strange things happened at my physical, though. My blood pressure, which had been under control, had gone up again, to the point where my doctor increased my BP medicine. And my blood oxygen, measured by one of those pulse oximeters, was 96%. In all the time that I’ve had one of those things clipped to my finger during an exam, my blood oxygen level was almost always 99%. Once it dropped to 98%, but that was the lowest it had gone.

Now it was down to 96%, and my blood pressure was up. Right around this time, we started getting the first real warning signs that the US was going to be hit by COVID-19. That’s when I started doing incremental stockups at the store, in case one of us caught it and had to be quarantined for two weeks. But I wasn’t worried about what had just happened to me because everyone said that we hadn’t had any cases of COVID in the States yet, so it couldn’t have been that, right? It had just been a weird, nasty viral respiratory bug that had knocked me on my ass for five weeks, elevated my blood pressure, and reduced my blood oxygenation…

Except. The first laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 had been confirmed on January 20, 2020. So for me to have developed it on January 15 was not impossible.

Now, to answer the expected questions:

  • How could I have caught it? Well, I had spent the time around NYE wandering around the DFW metroplex with my family and interacting with other people a lot more than I usually did. Also, Dallas is the American Airlines hub and we have people coming in from other countries all the damn time, so it was hardly unexpected that a virus that originated overseas would show up here.
  • If I caught it, wouldn’t Ramón have caught it as well? Since he doesn’t have sick days, he isolated himself from me as soon as I got sick — he slept downstairs for a week and only saw me when he brought up food and meds. Even then, he did spend a number of weeks in February and March feeling like crap, but we assumed it was a milder case of what I had.
  • Have I gone in for a COVID-19 test? Well, no, because they weren’t available here in February. By the time I realized there was a good chance I’d had it, I would have tested as negative.
  • Antibody test? Those are now available, but as research is indicating that COVID-19 antibodies fade after 2-3 months and I’m well past that period now, there doesn’t seem much point to it.
  • Why do I think I had it? Apart from the neon yellow mucus, the symptoms of that respiratory bug, and those weird readings at my physical, I have not felt *right* since December. My mental acuity and ability to focus have definitely gone down a couple of notches, I have to take naps now to get through the day, and I get winded vacuuming the living room.
  • But you’ve been staying at home since March 13 — couldn’t some of those symptoms be related to staying inside for so long? Yeah, but I’m a writer — I’ve spent the last nine years inside. I never had to take naps before. And the reduction in my ability to focus is kind of telling.

So, that’s why you didn’t hear anything from me for almost two months. I’m talking about this now to explain why we’re being rigorous about masking, only going to the store, and disinfecting anything that comes in the house. If it is possible to catch COVID-19 multiple times, as research is beginning to indicate, I do NOT want that shit again and neither does Ramón. Once was more than enough.

This is not the time to beat yourself up

Justin A. Reynolds posted something on Twitter today that really resonated with me:

I know a lot of writers who are monsters when it comes to output. They plot everything, they schedule everything, they crank out books every six weeks or so. We’re talking dedicated, y’all. But a lot of them haven’t been able to maintain their previous schedule these last few months, and they’re worried and scared because this is how they make their money and pay their bills.

Non-writers are feeling this, too. They’re trying to juggle WFH, taking care of the kids, taking care of the parents, keeping a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, and do all of this while wearing masks, washing their hands, and taking every precaution they can to keep the ‘rona away.

So let me reiterate that you’re all doing the best you can in an incredibly stressful and dangerous situation. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because you missed a deadline, or your house is messy, or your kids ate waffles for dinner again. Right now, we’re in survival mode — if eating cookies helps you get through another day, fuck it, eat the damn cookies. Color in your coloring book, turn off social media and decompress, do whatever it takes to cut yourself some slack.

History shows that humanity will get through this, just as we got through the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu. Mind you, the world on the other side of those pandemics was a different place from the world before them. And the world after COVID-19 will look different from the world we knew in 2019.

But it will be there. Hopefully it’ll be a better world where we learned some badly needed lessons. We won’t know until we get there. In the meantime, as Justin says, YOU be kind to YOU. Stay safe.

Where’d You Go, Nicola?

You can see the subtle reference to Where’d You Go, Bernadette in the title. Because I’m clever that way.

I think I need to apologize to everyone who follows me, reads my books, and has supported me over the years for 2019. My output, or lack thereof, has been a big issue all year, and I’ve pretty much spent my time re-releasing books for which the rights have been returned to me.

So, why no new books this year? Well, it’s complicated, and some of it is personal, but the upshot of it is, I spent the first half of the year stressing over Ramón’s impending unemployment, and the second half of the year scrambling to cover bills while he looked for a new job and then getting a contract job of my own.

Let’s talk about the stress first. No matter what La Bohème or RENT would like you to believe, stress does not help your average creative type. In fact, it tends to shut us right the hell down. And knowing that 1) Ramón’s contract would end right on my birthday, and 2) he’s now of an age where the contract jobs–actually, the jobs full stop–are becoming thinner and thinner) made buckling down to work kinda difficult.

I mean, I tried. I got started on Uncertainty Principle, and King of Blades, and Shifter Woods: Claw, kept picking at the holiday romcom novella, and wrote down notes for a sorta-sequel to To My Muse. But bills kept piling up, and trying to juggle them and keep a roof over our heads and the J Crew fed with R’s impending unemployment staring us in the face made it difficult to focus. It didn’t help that I could make more money right away by creating jewelry, so I focused on that for much of the year.

And then in May, Ramón admitted that he was worried about the job situation, and as much as he hated it would I mind looking for a job? Not being a selfish asshole I said of course, brushed off my resume, and started hunting around on Linkedin and Indeed. It took a couple of months and one false start, but by mid-July I had signed a contract with my current employer to do specialized tech writing for them on a client-by-client basis.

When my birthday came, Ramón handed in his card and laptop, signed up for unemployment, and started job hunting with a vengeance. In the meantime I started work at the end of August, juggled our finances even faster because I wasn’t making as much as he had been, and prayed that he would find a job soon. As it turned out he didn’t find anything until October and didn’t start until mid-November, which made August through November … interesting. Yeah, let’s call it interesting.

But. My beloved is now gainfully employed for a year, with a company that is known for extending its contracts, and he’s building a good rep with his contract company so even if the client doesn’t extend his contract he should be able to find something else fairly quickly. In this year, while he pays the daily bills I plan on taking any contract jobs that come my way with an eye towards clearing off all of our outstanding bills (two have already been cleared and in the first half of next year I work on zeroing out our credit cards) and finally getting my bad knee replaced. Once that’s done, I’m going to sock away as much money as humanly possible in case his current contract isn’t extended or he can’t find another job soon afterwards. Because man, being broke over the holidays sucks ass.

That being said, having money again relieves a lot of stress, so I do intend to put out at least three titles in 2020 (for one thing, I have to take some time off after the knee surgery, so what better time to write?) And I want to thank everyone who has hung in there with me and waited for things to settle down to the point where I could get back to the keyboard and do what I do best. I adore you all to bits, and I really hope that you’ll enjoy what will be coming out from me next year.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a happy and safe December, and watch Ryan Reynolds’s new Aviation Gin commercial because that shit is hilarious.

Reorganizing the office (or: Nicola is reminded yet again that she’s not 16 anymore)

I am a lucky writer because I have my own office in my home. Since we moved into this house my office has been where I work on graphic art, website design, and jewelry. It is not, however, where I work on my writing because I prefer to write on my laptop and the office is not structured for me to be able to do that (it’s a long, complicated story involving weird ergonomics, bad eyesight, my office being the place where we plug into our internet, and me having a day job when we first moved in here).

Anyhoo, for about a year now I’ve had a plan to reorganize the office so that I could write in there. This would involve shifting our printers and routers onto one shelving unit (at the moment they’re on separate stands at opposite corners of the room. Don’t ask), allowing me to move other furniture around and open up a space next to the window. I could then stick the wing chair-cum-recliner that’s currently in the library in that space, giving me 1) an ergonomically comfortable place to sit and write 2) in my office, which 3) has a door that I could close when I need some peace and freaking quiet from the J Crew. (Also, we now have a 3-D printer which apparently is going to live in the breakfast nook/cat dining area. Since that is about five feet from where I’m currently sitting, it behooves me to find another place to write.)

The Issue — in order to move things around and do some very necessary vacuuming/dusting before I set up the heavy duty shelving unit that would hold the printers/servers et al, I would have to disconnect the internet router for about an hour. Ramón works from home, and then he spends the rest of his time online so, yeah, this was problematic. BUT — he has a regular D&D game every couple of weeks where he’s out of the house for six hours or so. The next game was tonight, so as soon as he headed off to slay orcs and bicker with his friends over loot I headed out to pick up everything I would need for Operation: Help Nic Write.

First stop — Office Depot, for a storage box that would match one I already have in my office and would hold all the paper, forms, and other detritus we have for the printers (you would not believe some of the weird forms we have). Next up was Home Depot, where I wandered around for a good half hour because I knew damn well they had an HDX Decorative Wire Chrome Heavy Duty Shelving Unit, but none of the clerks seemed to know where it was if it wasn’t in Aisle 7 with the rest of the closet organizing stuff. Turns out it was at the back of the store where they keep all the storage boxes and other metal shelving units, so if you ever need a bad boy that can hold over 3,000 lbs worth of stuff, check there first.

On a side note, it’s 70 pounds. Getting it into the car was a joy. I wound up “walking” the box from the car to the door, which I’m sure amused the neighbors.

Next up, World Market for the lumbar pillows I would need to make the wing chair comfy again. I’ve been working in the living room since December because the wing chair was starting to make my legs ache and the arm chair and footstool in here are perfect for a lap desk and my laptop. But it’s the living room, aka a public area, and it’s right next to the open plan kitchen — quite apart from the cats regularly slugging it out for my attention and the whole “let’s put the 3-D printer in the breakfast nook” thing, the living room is not really the best place for me to work seeing as someone else in this house also works from home and likes to watch anime while he eats lunch. Which he is perfectly entitled to, because I have my own freaking office where I SHOULD be working.

The last two stops were Pet Supplies Plus for wet food before the J Crew devoured us in our sleep, and Kroger so that we ourselves could have something to nosh on tonight and tomorrow. By the time I got back to the house I was already tired from all the walking around I’d been doing, so I took a break to load books into my new store at Eden Books (more on that in another blog post, but they’re a new online vendor for romance and women’s fiction and look to fill the gap that the implosion of All Romance eBooks left) before girding my loins and getting to work. I knew I had one absolutely mandatory task tonight — I HAD to get the shelving unit upstairs and put together as well as all the computer stuff reconnected before Ramón got home from the game, because he has to do a cut at 6 AM tomorrow morning.

I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty details — suffice it to say that there was much cursing and sweating, as well as dealing with a certain orange cat who lives to sprawl directly in my path while I’m carrying stuff. But the shelving unit is up, all the printer/computer stuff has been transferred there, I successfully reconnected everything, I now have a BUTTLOAD more storage space in my office, and Ramón is thrilled because the stand that used to hold the printers is the perfect size to hold the 3-D printer and he won’t have to hunt around for something else. Mind you, my office is still a torn-apart wreck because I haven’t finished moving furniture around to open up that gap for the chair, I desperately need to dust and vacuum everything, my body is currently cursing at me in fluent Sumerian for humping heavy stuff up and down the stairs multiple times, and I’m drenched in sweat and desperately need a shower before I turn in. But I can already tell that this is going to be very good for my productivity.

Assuming I can still move in the morning. Whee…