Keeping everything in balance is not easy. I tend to work full out on something and then move to something else and so on, but I usually keep things balanced over the long haul. But I realized a few weeks ago that I had neglected my car and yard since last fall and so got right on it. I washed my car last week and also cleaned the inside. I was way overdue in changing the oil, but got that taken care of too.
In the yard, I replaced some plants that had died and bought a couple of landscape items to replace other plants. It’s probably true in every yard that there are spots where nothing will grow—whatever is planted dies within a year or two. It took me about 20 years to figure out a solution. Now, in those places, I replace plants with a big rock or bench or large cement turtle. Those won’t die. This morning, my bench and turtle were delivered. And I just love them.
Earlier this week in the house, I decided to clean the blinds on the windows facing south, which I try to do at least once a year. I had no idea that this one job would lead to major spring cleaning. Since cleaning the blinds made the windows dirtier, I washed them on the inside. Well, then it seemed like I needed to wash all the windows in the house on the inside, which I did. (And when we have a stretch of nice days, I’ll do the outsides.) Then I noticed the sun damage on the dark wood windowsills and trim around each window. So out came the Old English scratch cover. And I didn’t stop at the windows; that led to touching up the rest of the dark wood trim in the house. With a cat, there was plenty to cover––scratches here, there, and everywhere.
Then I noticed how my teak furniture had a few scratches also. So I put away the Old English and got out the teak oil. With its oiled finish, not a hard finish, teak should have the oil replenished every year, and some pieces were looking quite dry. For the past few years, I’ve been hit and miss––only doing a piece now and then when it looked really dry. I decided to do it right this year. It took some time because much of my furniture is teak. I carefully oiled every single piece and later wiped off the excess.
With so much now looking so good, the piles of stuff on the kitchen counter became much more noticeable—a real eyesore. So I removed everything to the dining room table and chairs and the stovetop. Then I cleaned the tile and resealed the grout. The most time consuming part was sorting through all the stuff and deciding which to keep and which to toss. I really should do the same with the tile in the bathrooms—fortunately there is very little stuff to contend with there.
My house is 31 years old and I’ve owned it for 29 of those years. I haven’t remodeled the kitchen or bathrooms, but I’ve replaced appliances when they no longer worked—such as the microwave and dishwasher in 2000. Now, I need to have both sinks replaced in my bathroom; the faucet isn’t working very well on one and the sink leaks on the other. Next week those will be replaced.
In the past two months, I’ve had the chimney cleaned and the septic tank pumped—both done before any problems. I’ll be having someone come next week to see about reinforcing the garage and the basement because I worry about future mega earthquakes. And this summer, I’ll be replacing a very tall post that helps support the upper deck. I’ve discovered dry rot at its base.
The last several blog posts have chronicled my efforts to promote my books and this one has shown my attempts to catch up regarding my car, yard, and house. But I just realized the other day that I’ve totally neglected something else I wanted to work on this year––my third book. I got started on it, in early January, but it’s been on the back burner since the boxes filled with The Crossings Guide arrived on January 9. I had hoped to get this third book together before I headed to California in April. That gives me only a month before I’m gone for three weeks. This third book, about animals I have known, will be my next get-caught-up-on project.
While I was focused on cleaning this past week, my new book was reviewed in Eugene’s Register-Guard last Sunday:
Florence’s Judy Fleagle, a former writer and editor for Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines, has published The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans. A smaller format than Ray Allen’s Oregon Coast Bridges, this postcard version impressively conveys the splendor of Oregon’s coastal crossings. Power-packed with history and individual bridge features, this glossy gem is a mid-journey glove box resource, trip planner and memory sparker; crossingsauthor.wordpress.com. ––Brian Juenemann, marketing director for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and staff writer for NWBooklovers.org.
Although it was only a paragraph in the middle of a review column primarily about another book, it generated more hits on my blog that day and the next than I’ve ever had before. I was absolutely thrilled with the review. And I wouldn’t have even known about it if my friend Jan Jett, who now lives in Eugene, hadn’t let me know.
A week after the book arrived last January, I sent out PR info and the book cover photo by e-mail as well as actual books sent via snail mail to numerous newspapers. So if any of you living in Salem, Portland, Astoria, Newport, Coos Bay, Medford, or Ashland see anything about The Crossings Guide in your newspaper, please let me know.
I did squeeze in a few hours on book-related stuff one day this week, doing follow-up e-mails to a dozen places that indicated in January that they were interested in the Guide but wanted to wait until March to order. I’ve only heard back from one and they do indeed want some books. So next week I’ll be back in the groove either mailing books or making trips up or down the coast to deliver them.
At the writer’s conference in Gold Beach a couple of weeks ago, I overheard one of my favorite writers saying that he had been so busy attending book fairs and other events that he didn’t have time to do as much writing as he wanted. And another of my favorite writers was bemoaning the fact that he had so overworked and overscheduled himself that he has to totally reorganize his work life.
It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only writer struggling with trying to keep everything in balance.