|Quirky Author Lesley A. Diehl|
We made our trip north from Florida to our home in Upstate New York without incident. That was much better than having a cat sick on the road or our car hit by a drunk driver in a motel parking lot. And we came back to glorious weather, always a problematic issue this early in the season. We’ve had snow here on May 18. This year it was in the seventies for the first ten days, and we worked outside redoing our perennial garden and building an addition to our shed. Things were just humming along. I should have known it wouldn’t last.
One thing you must know about me is that I have a thing about clean and organized closets. I leave them in disarray when we leave here in the fall. They’re filled with stuff I decided to move out of sight during the summer or items I meant to put into the yard sale in July, and, to be honest, all those must haves’ I bought at other yard sales, but couldn’t find room for when I got them home. I blithely cruise through my winter in Florida, all that closet jumble out of my mind. Our place in the south is so much smaller than the one in New York that my closets there can hardly hold the necessary items unless everything is in its predetermined place. So they never get too messy.
So why am I telling you all this? What’s this compulsion with cleaning closets got to do with writing? It’s simple. Unless those closets are neat, clean and organized, I can’t write. Given the idyllic nature of our trip this year, you’d think I’d be sitting on closets that could star on HGTV. Not so. I haven’t even cracked the door on any of them, and we’ve been back for three weeks.
The gods of misfortune have been letting me have it, thinking, I suppose, that having experienced nirvana on the road I should be able to handle a shot of chaos now. Here’s why I’m not cleaning them and, therefore, why my writing is not on track. Those of you who know about the ghost that inhabits my cottage may want to believe that Fred, the ghost, is getting back at me for abandoning him the entire winter to a cold house. That’s possible. I won’t rule it out. Fred has his ways of getting my attention.
Here’s what’s been happening since we got back. The weather changed; we went from mid-seventies for over a week to several nights of severe frost. My lilacs are not happy. Two nights after we got here, I noticed long vertical streaks of something black on our walls. Mold or soot? It appears to be soot. The furnace guy says nothing is wrong with the furnace. Perhaps it’s running fine now, but sometime while we were gone it left us those streaks. We washed walls for two days. The streaks remained. We’ll have to repaint.
We began to rip out the downstairs bathroom to put in a washer and dryer. Everything was going fine until the shut-off valves for the hot water broke, and we had a minor flood in the basement. No hot water for several days. We showered at our health club, a twenty mile trip to town.
The good news? Hubby announced when I returned from my shower today that we now have hot water. Do I dare lay my hand on the closet door handle?
Better news? Hubby’s motorcycle started right up when he pulled it out of the storage shed. I think he may get on it and ride into the sunset, leaving me with an unfinished bathroom. I wouldn’t blame him.
The best news? I wrote this, didn’t I, and my closets are still a mess. Maybe there’s a new me—the gal who writes while her house crumbles around her.
I’ll bet many of you have some quirky thing you have to do to be able to write. C’mon. Fess up. Share with us.
Lesley is the author of two books with Oak Tree Press: Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed.