Ugh

Last week was…not a good week.  Monday, both kids were home, and Daniel spiked a low-grade fever (lethargic and flushed).  Which meant he was home Tuesday, getting into stuff, and hanging about under elbow (he felt pretty much all the way better, but school rules keep him home for 24 hrs after fever breaks on its own).  I got a couple things done on Wednesday, and then he came home broken-hearted: his girlfriend (yes, girlfriend–never mind that he’s 10 and she’s 9) was moving out of the school with her family.  So I wound up with a weepy boy in my lap for a lot of the evening.

Friday, I triggered a CFS flare.  Kinda came out of nowhere–hit fast, hard, and nasty as I was finishing up the grocery shopping.  Spent the rest of Friday out of commission; spent a lot of Saturday like that, too, because there are always things that need done on a daily basis and I can’t take a day off of everything.  Kept pecking away at writing, but longhand, mostly, and longhand on Sunday.  I still need to transcribe what I got done.

Like I said: I did get a couple things done, even transcribed and finished, early in the week.  Gods and Monsters is sitting at 72,000 words.  4,000 words more than it ended the previous week at.  I have no idea how much I have to transcribe sitting in my draft book.  And I’m working today.  I still hope I can finish the first draft within the week (or two).   Cross your fingers for me, please.

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New laptop

I got my new laptop yesterday.  Spent some time setting it up and getting it usable, and tightening down the privacy settings (shutting Cortana off to the extent that I can–the stupid thing always runs in the background, and I can’t totally kill the program so that it doesn’t eat memory).

I got a tiny bit transcribed today–it was a family visit day, so I took the laptop up to my mom’s and did a little bit (both file/folder organization so I can find the stuff I’m working on, and transcribing from draft book to novel file).  The thing was telling me that I had thirteen hours of battery life.

Got home and started re-downloading my music from Amazon (all I can do until later–the one jump drive I can currently use has irreplaceable photos and files, so it won’t get used).  On battery.  For the past two or three hours.  And it’s saying I still have 7.5 hours left.

I’m impressed.

The keyboard is comfortable and responsive, and the up/down arrows are half-size keys, set between the left/right arrows.  The shift key is your standard itty-bitty-bit longer than your enter key.  Which makes for comfortable, more accurate typing.

Next week, my kids go back to school.  Not Monday (teacher in-service day) but on Tuesday.

Currently, I have 68,000 words, with another 10K planned between here and the end of the book.  I have maybe another 10K-15K words planned to flesh out some of the side plots and characters, and weave it into the main plot.  And then, the first draft will be done.

I think I can get it done in the next two weeks, but I’ve thought that before, damn it.

However.

This time.  This time, I have the tools for the job: a laptop with a good keyboard, good headphones, writing music, pens, paper, and ink.

Mildly irritated

I got this laptop, a Lenovo IdeaPad, in July of 2017.  Right away, I had a mild complaint: the shift key on the right side is half-sized.  And there’s an up arrow right next to it.  I got an ergonomic keyboard (that I shouldn’t have cheaped out on, because I have several complaints about it), and used that while getting used to the stupidity that Lenovo did with the keyboard.

I’ve had another complaint for the past two months: the case around the monitor has cracked, and is getting worse.  Despite being incredibly careful, and no longer closing the laptop at all, it’s gotten to the point that the monitor will reposition itself, and the plastic case around the monitor separates when I try to move it back.

I’d gotten fifteen months’ use out of the damn thing.  And this is beyond the irritation with Windows 10, the keyboard, and Office setting itself up as a rental rather than a purchase.

When I was using Acer laptops, I usually got at least two years’ use out of them before things started going tits-up.

I have an Acer Aspire on order from Amazon.  It’ll arrive on Friday.

In the meantime, I’ve been fighting wave after wave of chronic fatigue flareups.  Four months ago or so, my endocrinologist reduced my thyroid meds, and I started having issues.  I’ve been put on a different one,* and I’ve started feeling better.

I’m irritated that a slightly high level of thyroid hormone, to the point my doc’s concerned about it, seems to be best for the chronic fatigue, and that I feel awful when the doctor’s happier.

I’m hopeful that the new meds don’t wind up with my doc hyperventilating and shoving me back on the synthetic T4 replacement without listening to my preferences because it’s what she thinks is best.

I have been still writing, but I’ve been having to back up almost as much as I’ve been going forward.  When brain has the dumbs, the words just don’t work right.

That seems to be, finally, fixing itself as I get used to the new meds.  Crossing fingers.

 

*I’m on natural thyroid replacement, which includes T4 (inactive) and T3 (active), rather than just the T4 that my body’s supposed to convert and maybe doesn’t do properly.   

Just a little frustrating.

I had a manuscript sent me by a friend edited (up to the last fifty pages, or so).  And I had a chapter and a half done and ready to be added to my manuscript, which would have brought the total up to something like a little over 2/3 of my planned length.

And then, Microsoft decided it was time to update.  Without telling me.  Nor letting me choose when to do it.

I deeply and sincerely hate Windows 10.

Especially since Office decided that, since I am no longer employed with the university, I wouldn’t be allowed to use the version of Office I’d downloaded and had been using for the past year and a half.  And it locked me out of Word.  I can open old documents, but I can’t change them, and I can’t save anything.

Why, no–I hadn’t saved the editing work I’d done.  Thanks for asking.  Nor had I gotten everything saved on my work.

It recovered what I’d been writing okay, and I managed to get it transcribed to another program (since Word wouldn’t let me save it at all) but wouldn’t recover the editing work.  I’ve spent the last month trying.  I finally managed to get it to recover that, and was starting to work on transcribing what I’d done to LibreOffice’s word processor…and Microsoft decided it was time to update.  Again.  To fix the things it screwed up with October’s update.

Guess what I haven’t been able to re-recover.

I had managed to get 26 pgs of almost 150 of editing transcribed.  But no more than that.

Bah.

I still can’t use Word, either.  I could get one of the earlier versions of Office.  If I trusted eBay sellers to sell unopened boxes with unused keys.  And if I could afford even that small amount of cash outflow (taxes plus saving for house and car insurance plus saving for tuition).  Since it’s not in the cards, and I won’t pay a hundred bucks to rent the one program from Office I use for the next year, and buying the program is right out*…time to turn to the free programs.

OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

Truth be told, I think I like LibreOffice a little bit better than OpenOffice.  Yeah, they’re almost identical, but in my opinion (and really, since I’m the writer, who else’s opinion matters, here?), LibreOffice’s word processor is a little bit less awkward to use than OpenOffice’s.

I hadn’t quit writing, though.  I have a bunch of stuff that I need to get transcribed from my notebook that I carry with me.  Hopefully, I can finish things up in fairly short order.

I really, really hate Windows 10.  If I had the brain processing power/speed, I’d work on learning Linux so that I could dump the program that treats me like an idiot child that can’t be trusted to take care of an expensive devise on their own.  Especially now that Word isn’t an option anymore.

 

Week’s plans

I will acknowledge: plans change.  Sometimes with no notice whatsoever.  I’d had plans to finish up the book last week.  I ended up running in after Kathryn on Monday morning, which threw a lot off, and I never got back on track.  Then came Thursday.  And then Friday.  Last week’s plans didn’t happen the way I’d wanted them to.  At all.

But so far, my week’s plans include beta reading/editing for a friend, and writing.  I’ll be finishing up the first draft of Gods and Monsters, God willing.

The kids have no scheduled days off this week, and hopefully, we won’t have any more tragedies happening right outside my front door.

(After last week’s fatal hit and run, I was thankful to have the kids home on the following day, due to a scheduled teacher in-service, but I got very little actually done last week).

I’m really hoping for a peaceful, productive week.  I’m still fighting to recover from the last flareup of the chronic health condition that makes getting anything done damn near impossible.  I need the peace to make it easier to recover–stress triggers flares.  I need the productivity because I’m starting to edge toward depression again.

God have mercy…

I wrote my quota yesterday (2500 words, scattered through three chapters of the current project, Gods and Monsters, bringing total word count up around 63-65K words).

But I am distracted again, today.

I have reason.

There was a hit and run just about forty yards from my driveway, this morning.  Big rig hit a kid waiting on the bus.  I don’t have a whole lot of information, but I’m not focusing well.

Wonder why.

I’ve heard half a dozen things: that the driver has been caught, that they haven’t; that the kid has passed on, that they are still in critical condition; that the kid was a 10 yr old boy, that the kid was a small girl…  Nothing is concrete.  Just that there was a horrific tragedy happen just a little ways down from my door.

I can’t do anything.  I can’t do anything for the parent who may or may not have lost a child.  I can’t focus enough to write.  I can’t scrape up the motivation to get up and do things for my family.

All I’m doing is waiting to hear concrete facts of what happened at 7:00 this morning, just a little ways east of my house.

And praying.

Update: The child was an 8yr old girl.  She didn’t make it.

It’s easy.

Not the writing, not always (thought it usually is, for me).

No, getting knocked out of the groove.

Last week, I hit a block.  I started a chapter for the current project, but wasn’t sure where it fit, or why that character had introduced themselves at that point.

I could not do any more work for a while.  My brain felt like four mice on an exercise wheel (with a fifth riding the outside going whee!!!!).  So I started re-reading what I had done, editing, and adding more details here and there (and a scene in other places).

And then, this morning, I had a dream just as I was waking, and it fell into place when I woke.  No, don’t remember the dream.  Just remember why the character appeared, and what purpose he was going to serve.  And was just starting to get stuck into the writing groove when a headache hit.  And then the phone rang, just as I got breakfast/lunch fixed so I could take some aspirin.

School was calling.  Kathryn’d taken a tumble down the bleachers before school, and had hurt her hand or wrist–they weren’t sure which, or how bad, but she wasn’t able to write.  I’ve been keeping an eye on her, today, and it seems like she’d hurt the outside edge of her writing hand.  Right where it rests on the desk when she’s writing.  It’s bruised.

Her wrist seems fine, unless she bumps the bruise, which sends pain shooting down her pinkie, and up through her wrist into her arm.  I don’t think she needs to go to urgent care for x-rays, based on her behavior and the lack of swelling.  And based on the fact that she’s been able to draw and write after I gave her a dose of Tylenol.

But I haven’t been able to get back into the writing groove since.  I’ll try again later, after the kids go to bed.  Because I’m in the home stretch, now, and I know where the book is going and how it’s going to get there.