This morning I awoke sore and tired from a long day yesterday working at one of the rental houses. The dear boys who had lived there one short year utterly trashed the place. The levels of gank and ick are hard to describe, not to mention the broken windows, stained carpet, clogged sink (found a butter knife in the pipe!), and scuffed up walls.
We had professionals come in to clean. Twice. The carpet cleaner we keep on speed dial did his magic. K has replaced tile, installed new window blinds, and stripped the carpet off the stairs and covered them with sturdy Marmoleum.
The painter is over there as I type. Yesterday we prepped four rooms for him – a considerable feat since he’s using a sprayer (due to the textured ceilings) and everything we didn’t want painted “latte” had to be covered with tape or plastic. I vacuumed up cobwebs and filled holes with spackle while K took down doors and primed them outside. And do twenty-something young men really need to stick glow-in-the-dark stars all over their ceiling? Really? Apparently one did.
We also cleaned out all the air conditioning units and the heat registers and replaced the furnace filter, blah blah usual maintenance. Dirty jobs, but normal. After a dinner of leftovers and an hour watching the recorded PGA tournament, K went to bed about ten. I settled in and worked on my second review of the page proofs for A Deadly Row to Hoe for a couple of hours.
At seven this morning I rolled out of bed and plunged into the day. Even though I’m tired at the moment, I seem to have a lot of energy these days. That’s good, because there is so much to do. I think the extra zoom in my step has to do with the advent of autumn – little signs like cooler nights and meals that consist entirely of corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, green beans and melon. The freezer is filling with produce from the garden and the farmers market. Juice squeezed from grapes (heated slightly and then mashed in a food mill) and mixed with honey and Bordeaux yeast ferments in a gallon jug in the sink. A few yellow cottonwood leaves have drifted down to the patio. Their brethren will soon follow.
So first thing, coffee mug in hand, I picked a big bowl of yellow wax beans and another of rattlesnake and purple pole beans. Six zucchini were of a decent size to freeze, and the broccoli had produced enough ancillary heads to warrant harvest and freezing.
Back inside I checked email and learned that the copy edits for Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti that were scheduled to come to me on the 22nd were sitting in my inbox and due back on the 20th. Schedules move a lot, but it’s a crazy week to take that on. K’s birthday is on Friday and I’m figuring out a little get together and the rental still needs work (but has to be done by Wednesday). Still, if I finish the Deadly Row to Hoe proofs today (a stretch) then I should be able to pull off the copy edits for Magical Bakery Mystery #2 on time.
So: The beans and broccoli are blanched and frozen. The zucchini is sliced and frozen. The yogurt maker is slowly heating milk and culture on the counter, and piima cream perks away in the cupboard to be made into butter later in the week. Thanks to those extra two hours I spent last night, half the page proofs are done, and I have a couple hours before heading back over to the rental to mow the yard and clean screens and windows. Then on to dinner and discussion with the fabulous ladies of the Old Town Writing Group.
I really do love fall, and all that goes with it – gardens, produce, getting ready for winter, and, of course, deadlines. I love the variety of my days, and the freedom despite the busyness. K and I are our own bosses, and do our work on our own terms. We’ve both taken risks to be able to live like that. Sometimes I just have to remind myself how extraordinarily good life is – hard work, late nights and all.