The Return of Pandemonic

I can hardly believe it has been three years since I posted as Pandemonic. However, lest you think I have been lazy, incarcerated, or perhaps both, my real life person has been busy writing novels. Also busy working in the Real Life business, but that’s boring.

So far, I have completed three novels, self-published one, and am in the process of editing the other two. Also working on finishing a fourth. So I have been very busy. I’ve also been blogging in my real name.

So why would I come back to the Pandemonic blog?

In a word, anonymity. I love that while here, I am a nameless, faceless pandemonic person. My other blog features my real name. There I feel as though I can’t quite cut loose as myself. You always have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes. If you can say one thing about the modern man, most of us are too sensitive to take a joke, and too closed minded to look at things from varying perspectives.

This is why Pandemonic’s Time and Space was started: as a way to vent and bitch and moan and be politically incorrect without suffering the slings of Internet trolls. Been there, done that, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

I nearly forgot the password and the email address I had used to launch this area of WordPress. But…obviously not. Perhaps I am not getting as old as I thought I was.

Anywhooo…I will be changing around the look of the blog. I feel a bigger need for anonymity.

Advertisements

The Demonics Host an Unwanted Visitor

Last night, the Demonic family hosted a most unwanted visitor:

A squirrel.

People who know me know I hate squirrels with a passion. I don’t want them in my neighborhood, much less in my house. I see them as glorified rodents, rats with big fluffy tails. I don’t like rats in the house either, which is why when Mr. D became enamored of them a few years ago, I told him they had to stay in the office, not in my house.

Anyway, said creature slid down the chimney. (Damn those roofers who forgot to put up the critter barrier!) He landed on our gas logs and decided he didn’t like the look of the arrangement, so he threw a couple of them around, thus ensuring his escape from behind the glass doors.

Behind our fireplace is the sunroom, where I keep my cranky love bird and all of my orchids. The bird eats seeds; squirrels eat seeds. Squirrels like green things; orchids are green things. Ergo, the squirrel went for the sunroom.

I had heard some crashing about when I was upstairs, but figured it was just the cat and dog in some spirited play. They tend to chase each other around the house. I yelled downstairs and the noise stopped so I figured that was the source.

An hour later, Mr. D comes home and we prepare dinner. Mr. D hears an unusual noise coming from the direction of the living room, which is a misnomer because we never use the room. “What’s that?” he says.

“It’s just the bird.”

“Doesn’t sound like the bird.”

We go about our business, and the noise becomes louder. Mr. D goes to investigate and confronts a very fat squirrel. He manages to corral the critter in the sunroom, which is no easy task. Trying to herd a squirrel is much like trying to herd a cat.

The cat follows, but at a reasonably safe distance, the coward. The dog retreats to her crate upstairs.  She’s not stupid. The bird is going nuts, hopping from one side of the cage to the other. Cranky lovebird is trapped in the sunroom.

Mr. D grabs a broom and attempts to broom it into a corner. No luck. The squirrel is almost as big as the cat, and is bleeding profusely. There’s squirrel blood on the doors and windows.

Our sunroom is full of windows. Eleven to be exact, and they extend from ceiling to near the floor. Being an old house, there’s considerable framework around the windows. Our unwanted visitor parks his butt at the top of the windows, and traverses them to get around the room.

We lay out a critter trap which we have saved from when we lived in a northern suburb and used to trap baby skunks from under our deck. You would think peanut butter covered almonds would entice a battered squirrel, but no.

After dinner, we go back and attempt to round up the squirrel. Mr. D gives up when the squirrel dive bombs him from across the room. Flying squirrel? My friends, all squirrels fly. He secured the room, and we went upstairs and did the same before going to sleep.

This morning, Mr. D opened one of the windows, which hasn’t been open for at least 40 years. (No screens. I was going to have some made, but it cost too much.) It was still dark outside, but the squirrel wasn’t budging. In fact, he sat on the windowsill of the open window but refused to go. I told Mr. D to take his broom and shoo him out. When he attempted this, the squirrel lunged at him again.

It’s 20 freaking degrees outside and we had to go to work. It took an enormous amount of sneakiness to get the birdcage out of the room. Mr. D again secured the room and we left.

I emailed the roofer and let him know he should get a critter catcher on our chimney TODAY. Not tomorrow, not next week, but this morning.  I’m keeping the number of our local critter control company handy in case our house guest refuses to vacate by noon.

I’m not going back in until that thing is gone.

Mr. Demonic Buys a Craftsman Circular Saw

One thing that is going on in our house is urban renewal. We cannot sell our house, because in our Tundra town and in this financial environment, a buyer would turn their nose up at our house and snap up a foreclosed 6-bedroom mansion for less than $250,000. No joke. We are among the unfortunate empty nesters who have a four-bedroom house for two people and no way to unload it to downsize.

There’s nothing wrong with this scenario, of course. I happen to love our house. Every night when I go to bed, I look out through our wall of windows to oak trees and stars. My bedroom is like a hotel room, and my bathroom is to die for.

Before the economy really headed south last year (and that is literally as well as figuratively), Mr. Demonic started upon a plan of home improvements. At the time we were flush, so we spent a summer of enduring painters and carpenters. Last winter, we completed the gutting of the bathroom in the old, 1927 part of the house, complete with Jacuzzi tub and granite. It was probably overkill in a room that’s only 6’x6′ (or maybe smaller) but hey, at least now it’s not peacock blue from floor to ceiling.

This year is a different story. This year, we barely have enough money to make the mortgage. True, Mr. D put us on an aggressive mortgage schedule, 15 years, and he pays extra on the months when he can. We could have cushioned ourselves with a 30-year, but Mr. D thinks we won’t be around in 30 years. (He’s right.)

Around Christmas time, we decided to redo Ms. MiniD’s old room. She had pasted all sorts of memorabilia on the walls, which were an unsavory green. Think frog poop. She also spilled fingernail polish remover on the hardwood floors we had redone before moving in. It was a mess.

I picked a more calming sage green, and Mr. D set about painting. He was also going to put in crown moulding to match the rest of the house.

A little back story: Mr. D is a fuss budget when it comes to home repair. If it’s not 100% perfect, he’s not happy. When my oldest was just a fetus, Mr. D set about to redo a room and make it a nursery. I kid you not when I say that the room and the baby came at about the same time. Mr. D was redoing wood trim, and every time something came out less than perfect, he chopped up the wood, threw it in the fireplace and took a trip to Home Depot for more. It took two whole months to wallpaper one wall.

Mr. D is handy, but not really. He’s self-schooled and tries very hard, but if he can afford it, would rather pay a professional. That’s because they can complete the task in less time.

Last week, Mr. D went to Sears. People who know us know he’s in the store all the time. He returned with a huge box. It was a circular saw. A HUGE circular saw. He informed me it was to cut the crown moulding, because his tiny little miter box couldn’t do the intricate angle.

Today, I helped Mr. D hold long strips of wood while he cut them, right in the bedroom. My first impression: Mr. D isn’t very safety conscious. He works with his mug of coffee right on the saw and with no goggles or gloves. My second impression: a circular saw makes a lot of noise and sawdust, sawdust that gets tracked throughout the house by people, cats and dogs.

He had to cut each piece three or four times. That’s because it had to be perfect.

I prayed Mr. D wouldn’t slip and cut himself. I don’t do blood very well.

All is well. We both emerged from the room unscathed.

Writes, Rites and Re-Writes

I haven’t been here much, because as some know, I went to the writers’ conference in San Francisco, and that pumped me up but good. My head is full of ideas and strategies, and I’m as juiced up as Ms. MiniD on her ADD meds. When I’m not working the day job, I’m writing.

In fact, I’m writing so much, I’m beginning to neglect the house.  I used to clean our bathroom and the dog’s area every couple of weeks, but it’s now been three weeks and neither has been done. Gracie’s bed is starting to smell like dog, and although I took out the rugs and swept the bath, I haven’t done much else.

The other thing suffering is my exercise routine and my violin practice. The middle of me is getting back to post-holiday spread, so I suppose I’d better make time for that. As for violin, thankfully the teacher has given me a break and I’m doing easy pieces, plus scales.

Thank goodness it’s not nice out yet, or my yard would be knee length in grass.

Why exercise, clean or play the violin when you can write?

The blame goes to NaNoWriMo. Thanks to November writing month, I have established a routine, which is quite amazing when you consider what kind of world-class procrastinator I am. Without fail, I go home in the afternoon and pound out a couple thousand words on my new book. It’s a relief in a way, because this one is light and hopefully humorous, whereas the first one was dark. There’s a happy ending in the first one, but no hook up. There’s a happy ending in the second one, and a hook up.

I know I have to go back to the first one and rewrite, but I’m letting that one marinate for a while, at least another week or two. I have an online friend looking at it first, then I’ll go in, then send it on for the “real” editing. My first baby is going to have to undergo massive surgery, and I’m not quite up for the challenge yet. But, I know I will be, once I get the bones going on the second one.

So, if anyone wants to volunteer to come and clean my house, I’m game. I’m sorry I can’t pay with money, but I can always whip up a good meal.

Living in the Tundra

I have often hinted that my location is in the “Tundra.” Not to offend any caribou or polar bears in the so-called real tundra, I have to admit that, no, I’m not quite that far north. Some days it feels like it. Other times we are blessed with rain instead of snow and strangely warm weather instead of cold. This coming week will not be of the tropic variety.

Preparing for a week-long onslaught of high temperatures in the single digits, low temperatures below zero and wind chills way, way below zero takes a bit of planning. I personally hate grocery shopping in frigid temperatures, so I plan accordingly. When there’s snow on the ground, there are less parking spaces in the lot. That’s because the snow plow guys build a great big mountain of snow in one corner. It’s also hell to push your cart  across a snow-packed parking lot. I remarked to one check out clerk that the carts should have skis. She was not impressed.

I have different pieces of outerwear for varying temperatures. I started doing this when I lived in the Twin Cities, where it can be brutally cold in the winter, and for a very long time. Over 40 degrees, and I can get by with leather. A nice wool coat does fine between 30 and 40 degrees. I have a parka for the 20 to 30 degree range. Anything below 20 degrees, and I get out the fur.

I’m sure the animal lovers and PETA cringe at the mere mention of fur. I’m unashamedly a carnivore, so why wouldn’t I make use of the rest of an animal’s body? After all, I’m not making coats from dog or kitty, or hamsters. Having had different coats in my life, the consensus is that the warmest outerwear is made from fur, then down. My one fur is Mongolian lamb, a kicky little coat I purchased from eBay because it reminded me of a coat I had in Minnesota that was subsequently destroyed in a housefire. The other one is something I can’t even pronounce. I can proudly say that no American animals were harmed in the production of either garment. One came from Mongolia, the other from Canada.

The other pre-zero Tundra preparation is to make sure the hats are located and the gloves and mittens have mates. I don’t know about anyone else, but my household loses more gloves and mittens than socks in the dryer. I don’t understand it, because I keep all of them in baskets above my china cabinet. Every winter, I take the baskets down and for some reason am usually missing one or more glove(s).

This year, I have also had to consider Grace, the dog. She’s a Boston terrier, and when it’s colder than 20 degrees and there is more than a couple of inches of snow on the ground, she doesn’t like to go outside. I have attempted to allay her fears and her chills by getting her a coat to wear and by shoveling a clear spot to do her business only a few feet from the deck. We had another blizzard last night, so I was out shoveling my grass. I’m sure it’s comical to see, but it’s a necessary precaution to avoid in the house accidents.

When it’s this cold, I also have to refill the humidifier in the music room about four times a day. That’s four gallons a day! If I didn’t, my violin would go quickly out of tune. I also have to make sure my flannel lined khakis are washed and available, and that I have plenty of wool socks.

I only have 24 hours before the temperatures take a nose dive, so I will be off. Anyone who complains of their supposedly “cold” weather and I find out it’s above zero will get no sympathy from me.

Conspicuously Absent

I’m not posting much here these days, but I’m not sorry. The Little Cat would be proud to know that I’ve been typing my fingers to the bone, working on my novel. I have given myself a deadline of my birthday (coming up fast) to finish this epic tome. I plan on shipping it to several people 1. to read to gauge the enjoyment factor, and 2. for editing purposes as soon as it’s complete.

At over 435 pages and growing (double spaced), I have the end in sight. I know how it’s going to end and am giving myself seven, maybe eight chapters to get there. Hallelujia and pass the friggin’ pitcher of margaritas. Well, maybe not yet. Maybe for my birthday. Yeah, I know that 10% will likely be edited out.

I am seriously trying to overcome my deficiency when it comes to time management, procrastination and general laziness. These are lifelong character flaws that I am finding difficult to correct. However, this is not to say that I’m rolling over and dying in the goopy soup that is my character. I may be old, but you can always teach an old dog new tricks.

Hmm… maybe not my old dog, Grace. She appears to be set in her ways.

Other news from the tundra? Well, the prodigal daughter is still here. Three more weeks. I’m not sure I can stand it. Yes, I love her, but she drives me nutty, as I am sure I am doing to her too. Plus, she tries to read over my shoulder. She knows I’m writing a book and wants to know if she’s in it. (No. That will be the next book. Bwaaahhh wahhh wahh…) Normally, I can’t work under that kind of pressure, but I’m trying.

So, I’m absent. Here, but not here.

See you later.

Lower Tundra Weather Update

It’s friggin’ freezing outside! No, it’s Super-Friggin’ cold!

Well, let me amend that. It’s 15 degrees and dropping. The wind is blowing gusts of 45 mph, meaning I don’t care how well your house is built, it feels like you’re outside if you’re unlucky enough to sit by a window. I am thusly unlucky, since most of my house is window. With the wind gusts, it’s about 0 degrees counting windchill. Needless to say, my wind chimes are rocking.

The dog went out, peed quickly, and came back inside. She wouldn’t do #2 outside, and instead picked a nice spot right by the door. (I can’t blame her, not on a day like today.) The cat poked his head out for less than a second and thought better of the game of having Mr. Demonic chase him around the yard. Besides, there’s about a foot of snow, making small animals going into the yard look like they are drowning in snow drifts.

Mr. D went out to plow the lots. Not with the plow, mind you, because we don’t have a plow. With a snowblower and snow shovel. One lot is about 10,000 square feet, almost an acre. With the wind blowing as it is, I am thinking it is an exercise in futility, but you can’t tell him anything.

I hear that even my southern neighbors are getting a nice dose of winterly blast. So much for global warming.

It’s only 11 a.m., but I’m going to get myself a hot toddy.