The Old Good News/Bad News Thing

Back in the day when the Junior Halls were in school, there was always that moment when they walked in the door and hope still existed. But invariably one of them would open his mouth (because let’s be real here, it was always one of the male Junior Halls) and say, “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” Also invariably, the good news would also turn out to be bad news, slightly dressed up.

Not to be sexist but I wonder if that’s more of a male thing? Because Big Brother will often send me texts of the good news/bad news variety when it comes to the house we co-own at the beach. And I always wonder if he understands how the good news/bad news thing works.

The latest bit of a situation involved a raccoon in the attic. There is no way to spin a raccoon in the attic in a positive light. And how did the raccoon get in the attic? He (or she) punched a hole through the soffit outside the screen porch, and just for good measure, said raccoon clawed its way through the screen on the porch, too, and had a little look see out there.

So torn up screen, a hole in the soffit, and a frisky raccoon on the loose. You may be wondering where the good news was in this scenario; I was, too. Apparently, the good news was that we had a pest control company that had a critter-getter guy and he’d come out and set a trap for the raccoon. You may also be wondering what sort of bait is used to catch a raccoon.

I don’t know about other places where raccoons are running wild but here, they use fancy cat food for bait. Which was sort of funny to me since there are a TON of feral cats around here (to catch the rats). Not surprisingly, every morning, there’d be a cat in the trap. Until finally, two weeks later, there was a raccoon in the trap! Good news for us, very bad news for the raccoon.

Then, and coincidentally, our AC was not working. That is very bad news when the temps get up to the 90s no matter what kind of ocean breeze you may have. And I suspected that it really wasn’t much of a coincidence that we had AC problems and a raccoon-in-the-attic problem since as you may have guessed, all the duct work is in the attic.

Sure enough, as bad news goes, one of the ducts had been shredded by the raccoon. But the good news is, we found out that a few of the ducts weren’t connected to the main duct. And the even better news is that as HVAC system repairs go, sealing a few ducts and replacing a bit of a raccoon-shredded duct is not a big deal. And we might have never realized that our air was going up into the attic if the raccoon hadn’t showed up.

So the raccoon in the attic turned out to be about the best news ever. And that, Big Brother, is how you spin a good news/bad news story.

P.S. Which brings me to my latest Muffin post, Good News/Bad News. So if you’d like a little writing inspiration for those times when you get bad news, take a look. Also, I have a picture of the raccoon proof but I can’t remember how to get an image in my post. And the bad news is, I’ve hit my quota for the day on the thinking and such. The good news is, I’ll just do something here that may not make any sense but you’ll see the raccoon tracks. You’re welcome.

What Happened to February?

If a month, say February, for example, has only 28 days, one can’t be blamed if one is sipping on a cuppa and glances over at the calendar to see March staring in one’s face and realizes one has completely skipped the monthly post on one’s personal blog.

So let’s just move on as if nothing’s amiss here. But February did seem to dash by. Or maybe that’s just me? I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and/or organizing around the old Hall House AND listening to a lot of music whilst doing so and time has just flown! Also, I think perhaps I owe the dearly departed Mister Man an apology.

See, that man would sit in his office working, blasting his rock ‘n roll favorites way beyond the air waves of that room. Now, I like rock ‘n roll as much as the next person. Maybe more since I worked in radio back in the day. BUT.

There is a time and place for listening to Iron Butterfly and it’s not when one’s writer wife is trying to think up the next brilliant Great American Novel. Or even the next blog post for the Muffin.

It’s not that Mister Man set out to purposefully sabotage my great thoughts. It’s just that music was a necessary soundtrack for his work and so when I would (nicely) ask him to shut off the &*^& music, he would argue (nicely) that I should go elsewhere to work. Things would not so nicely escalate and eventually, he’d turn down the music a smidge because he was after all, working and actually making money, and apparently that carried more weight.

Whatever. The point is, since the first of the year and my Major Cleaning and Organizing Frenzy, I’ve found that listening to music has been very conducive to getting the work done and keeping me in a very fine mood. And certain work (such as emptying kitchen cabinets) requires ABBA, whilst other work, say writing this here post, requires Kris Kristofferson. And for optimum efficiency, the music must…well, blast throughout the house.

So, sorry, Mister Man, I get it now. And you can get all caught up with my February brilliant thoughts over at the Muffin. There’s Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign (and I’m working away on that manuscript! You’ll get it when you read the post.) and Letting Go of the SPECTACULAR.

(And thanks, Mister Man and Kris Kristofferson, for inspiring this February post. You heard me. February. You want to argue, take it up with the Calendar Powers That Be.)

Still Miffed But Whatever

As you may recall well over a month ago, I was thoroughly put out with technology. Specifically, the changes made at this here WordPress blog that once allowed me to write at ease but now requires the use of brain cells heretofore relegated to dealing with the once-every-five-years computer glitch.

Pfffft.

To be honest, I thought if I waited a bit, all would be well when I returned. That the mechanics of blogging here would all be miraculously back to just the way I like it, what’s normal for me. But alas, despite my denial strategy, nothing changed and I’m still grappling with my new blogging-at-Wordpress reality.

Come to think of it, the denial strategy is not a very effective tool in the whole Life Toolbox thingie, is it?

Nope, what’s called for is pulling up one’s bootstraps, facing situations head on, chin up, and no crying in baseball (if you’re a Braves fan).

Look! I added a picture where I wanted it!

So let’s just carry on and take a look at what I had to say about feeling lucky, in life and in publishing, over at The Muffin. At the time, I didn’t have any wedding photos from the Big Event, but if I’m lucky, I’ll find a way to add my favorite pic of Oldest Junior Hall and his Princess Bride. I’d also like to add that, fortunately, it’s been nearly a month now, and all the wedding guests have been quite well, thank you. So happily, we dodged making the 11 o’clock Atlanta Covid News.

While I was waiting and quarantining myself, I turned to some creepy mystery reading because it is my favorite spooky month, after all. I read a Victorian period mystery that was in first person present tense (*shivers*) and I had plenty to say about that, too, over at the Muffin.

I did not say the name of the novel, however, and I’m sure you’re thinking what’s so creepy about a Victorian period mystery (unless you’re thinking of Jack the Ripper and the White Chapel murders and then you’d be a clever one, wouldn’t you)? AND though the Ripper came up, sprinkled here and there, that was not the main creep factor in this novel. It was all about hanging, which was a pretty ghastly and common means of dealing with the criminal element in the 1800s. And there is a LOT more to hanging than just throwing a noose around a neck. So if you’re up for a bit of grisly, and you think you’d like to give first person present reading a whack, take a look at The Hangman’s Secret.

And so that’s about it for October. I sincerely hope that when next we meet, I’ll be well and truly used to blogging here. A little tolerance and kindness would be nice, too, because however it goes in just a week, some people are still going to be miffed. For us all, then, I offer a few words that always make me feel better:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have OVERCOME the world.” (John 16:33)