May your holiday season be filled with all the things that bring you joy.
Four years ago Harry and I got married on Smathers Beach in Key West. Harry and I are going to dinner tonight, but neither of us is much in the mood to celebrate after the crazy day we had yesterday.
I had decided to work at home because in addition to doubling the dosage of my blood pressure medicine, my doctor had prescribed a diuretic. I didn’t want to drive until I found out how I reacted to the new medication. The prescription bottle said it may cause dizziness and to be careful driving or operating machinery, so I didn’t want to chance the 20 mile commute to Durham. Turns out, it doesn’t make me dizzy, just sleepy. I feel like I’m walking in a fog, must be what it feels like to have normal blood pressure.
It should have been a relaxing day working at home. Since Harry works at home, I was looking forward to spending the day with him. Except that we had scheduled John, from Triangle Handyman, whom I highly recommend, to come and replace our hot water heater. It took all day to change out, which meant the water and furnace where shut off. So, here I was at home, first day on a diuretic, and I couldn’t flush the toilet. At least it was warm outside so the lack of heat wasn’t an issue.
That would have been bad enough, but about 9:00 AM, as I was reviewing a batch of science test questions from a writer, my cell phone rang. I was upstairs in my office; my cell was in my purse downstairs. I decided to let it ring. Then the landline rang. Seeing a 607 area code and thinking my daughter must be in trouble, I answered. The call was from Binghamton, New York, but was not Lynn, instead her landlord. He started the conversation with, “We’ve got a problem here.”
I felt my blood pressure rise, new meds withstanding–I had cosigned Lynn’s lease. It turned out to be a misunderstanding. I called Lynn, she called the landlord, and now everything’s hunky dunky, except the rise in my blood pressure.
When the handyman left to go to lunch I let our black lab Alex out. By the time I noticed the open gate, Alex was to hell and gone. I called him, but the blockhead had other ideas, like frolicking in the mud. Harry walked trying to find him and John drove his truck (thanks John) and I drove my car, calling him. I found Alex in his favorite escape route–the yards of an adjacent street where he’s been known to get mucho affection from our neighbors. What fun for him.
The excitable boy put muddy paw prints over most of the exterior of the driver’s side of my “new” car–it’s about six months old–before I could get the door unlocked. Alex then got mud all over the back seat before I got him home. Meanwhile our water is still shut off. I can’t make a soap water to clean my car, so I used Windex and paper towels. I was outgunned by Carolina mud and soon gave up. It is now no secret to anyone who sees my car that I have a dog. I love the blockhead anyway.
Alex was restricted to the house while John was working on the heater outside. Otherwise Alex would have supervised and generally gotten in the way. But he wasn’t happy inside while John was outside. Alex paced, barked and made it clear he wasn’t going to tolerate John out in his yard without him. His continual barking kept me awake–I was tired all afternoon from the medication–but made it almost impossible to work.
Then, when John turned the water back on, water started leaking from the hot water faucet in our kitchen sink. The handle was stripped. It had been loose for a while and Harry and I had procrastinated fixing it, maybe just a coincidence that it chose yesterday for its final gasp. So, I turned off the hot water to the kitchen sink and John gave Harry instructions in how to install a new faucet. We’ll see how that goes Saturday. Meanwhile we have no hot water in the kitchen and won’t be able to run the dishwasher unless we run it on cold.
When John was ready to leave, he realized he had left his tape measure in the shed, so he went outside to get it. When he tried to come back into the house, Alex wouldn’t let him onto the back deck, let alone the back door. We certainly don’t have to worry about anyone breaking into our house.
This morning I took my blood pressure and amazingly it’s normal.
Happy anniversary Harry. If we survived yesterday, we can survive anything!
My short story “Nothing but Trouble” is now online in the December issue of Word Catalyst Magazine. For a young mother with three children and a dog named Trouble, daily life is a struggle–until it takes an unexpected twist in “Nothing but Trouble.”
It’s a beautiful story that leaves me with a renewed assumption that “The more things change, the more they stay the same”! — Shirley Allard, editor, Word Catalyst
“Nothing but Trouble” has been a two year journey from idea to print. I wrote a draft of the story back in October of 2006. Harry had read a few of Hal Borland’s nature editorials aloud to me and I was addicted to Borland’s vivid and colorful descriptions. I woke up at 3 am with the idea of a Stephen King type story written in Hal Borland prose. I wrote the first draft of the story before going to work. Originally titled “Pulse of Autumn, this first draft was a completely different story than the one you’ll read in Word Catalyst.
My writing group thought “Pulse of Autumn”, was well written and they liked the language, but felt it needed more conflict. So I rewrote the story adding three children and a dog named Trouble. The focus was different than the first version, no longer a tribute to the clear, crisp, sunny days of autumn, so I retitled it “Nothing but Trouble.”
You, dear readers, can decide if the story has enough of a hook for you. Did I add enough conflict to make it interesting? I hope you enjoy it.