Fri. April 29, 2022: Extricating from Tracfone’s Harassment

image courtesy of Alexander Andrews via Unsplash.com

Friday, April 29, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto Retrograde

Sunny and cold

The Retrogrades are starting, and Pluto goes retrograde today, and stays retrograde until October 8. Pluto’s retrograde works to reveal what’s hidden and force us to face fears, causing long-lasting transformations. Tomorrow is Beltane Eve with a new moon and a solar eclipse, so there’s a lot going on, and if you’re wondering why your emotions are all over the place, take a deep breath and a nap.

I had high hopes for yesterday, which were quickly dashed. I had trouble focusing in meditation. Charlotte had no such issues, spending most of the session quietly on my lap.

Then, Tracfone started again. First, they sent a text saying the phone number transfer was happening. Then, they began a series of phone calls in escalating harassment along the lines of “this is our number and we decide when and if it transfers.” They kept demanding a series of “press this key and that key” – which wasn’t possible, because one of the issues with that smartphone is that the dial pad was dumped and couldn’t be retrieved. Basically making the phone useless. Which has been explained to them, in detail, over a dozen times. Anything that they deemed wasn’t used “often enough” (which, by their definition, is multiple times a day) was removed from the phone. My mom is 97. She doesn’t need to dial her phone every day. So the dial pad was removed and the phone was even more useless than possible. In addition to the whole thing that she doesn’t need a smartphone and it was too difficult for her to learn. They were also trying to force another month’s payment while they ‘considered’ whether or not to release the number.

I turned off the phone, went back to Consumer Cellular, cancelled the transfer and got a new phone number. I was able to end SIX MONTHS of torment and harassment in five minutes.

Tracfone could have solved this issue six months ago in fifteen minutes and kept a customer they’d had for a decade. Instead, they chose harassment, believing if they harassed long and hard enough, we would just cave and pay them whatever they demanded and do whatever they demanded.

As much of a pain in the ass it is to let everyone know her new number, it’s better than Tracfone’s unacceptable harassment. Not to mention the literally thousands of dollars I’ve lost in billable hours/work time because of this.

The service ran out at the end of the day, and we are done with Tracfone. I am filing a formal complaint with the state’s division of public utilities, under which cellphones fall, but at least they’re not getting anymore money out of us, and can’t call anymore.

The new number needs a bit of time to settle down. In the first 12 hours, we had to block 4 scam calls.

At least they’re not like Verizon, which demanded a $4.99 charge every month for every number blocked, so one really couldn’t afford to block numbers.

I was exhausted by the end of that debacle, but also relieved that we’re done. And my mom has a simple flip phone that she can actually use, and that works.

I lost all the time blocked off for writing.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun. It’s such a great group.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage for something on which I’d been requested, and grabbed another script to read today. I’ll be a little under my nut for this pay period, but I need to focus on the contest entries over the weekend, and possibly into part of next week.

I spent some time on Ello, and put up a tarot post over on Ko-fi.

We did some Monthology brainstorming for a project logo, which we can slap around all over the place on websites and stickers and whatever. I mean, there are 50 of us, we can have an impact and get people interested and excited about the project.

Knowledge Unicorns went well. We’ve set our final virtual meeting date for late May, before Memorial Day weekend. More of an online party than anything else, to celebrate what we’ve built over the past two and a half years, and that we survived, at least so far.

I keep talking about how great Ello is, but friends are having trouble signing up. I feel bad about that, since I’ve been hawking the site. But the numbers I get on it are high – well over 100 for most posts, and over 1000 for others. In addition to cross-posting content, I also need to create specific content for that platform. Just not sure what yet.

Speaking of trouble signing up, Prime Storage, which bought the CubeSmart storage facility on Cape, is ignoring my requests for customer service and assistance setting up auto-pay. Their website will not acknowledge me as an existing customer or allow me to sign up as a new customer. It just keeps booting me out. I have no doubt this is intentional – they are trying to make sure there are late payments, so they can charge late fees. So I have to write a check and send it express mail to make sure it gets there on time. And you better believe I’m going to make them sign for it. AND send them the tracking number.

Another hateful company.

Worked on contest entries last night. I’m a little behind where I hoped I’d be, so I have to push hard this weekend. But that’s okay. Everything will get done by deadline, and it’s always exciting to read such a wide range of new work.

Going to hit the page this morning. I need to finish the first draft of the radio play by tomorrow for Dramatists Guild’s End of Play event. I have a seminar with them this afternoon, which should be interesting, on curating one’s archive.

I have to make the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, and the liquor store.

This afternoon, I’ll turn around another script and go back to the contest entries.

Tomorrow, we’re switching out the winter curtains to the lace panels, swapping out some early spring fabric for more summery fabric, and doing other houseworky things that have somehow become part of Saturday’s routine. I also have an online yoga session tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll have to finish the first draft of the radio play and do contest entries.

Saturday is Beltane Eve, the new moon, the eclipse; Sunday is Beltane and the start of May. Another month whizzing past.

April definitely was more chaotic and less productive than I’d hoped, but I’m looking forward to May and spring and plants and all that good stuff.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Thurs. April 28, 2022: Dealing with the Creative and the Inept

image courtesy of Kranich 17 via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Day Before Dark Moon

Cloudy/sunny/cold

Buckle up, buttercups. Retrogrades start again tomorrow.

The latest on the garden hijinks is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday, I pushed hard in the morning and had to ease off in the afternoon, because I wore myself out.

I got a good chunk done on The Big Project, one section of a little over 1400 words, and a start on the next section. I need to get back into its rhythm and push hard in May, because I have to be in good shape in June, when it needs to start going live. I was worried I’d lost the voice there a bit, but I haven’t. The writing itself takes much, much longer than a normal 1400 words of an outlined piece would take because of the level and structure that has to be in the first draft, or I can’t move on to the next section. Each part has to compress the process of what would normally be the first three drafts for me. It’s been a learning curve.

Tracfone and Consumer Cellular are both being dicks about the phone transfer. Tracfone, after sending multiple texts confirming that the transfer was going through, is holding the phone number hostage. They won’t finish the transfer unless I pay for an additional month (the month is up today). Consumer Cellular SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN IN TOUCH as soon as there was a problem, but, of course, heaven forbid they actually provide customer service. I was trying not to be a nudge and waiting for the 3-5 business day period they said it could take before I followed up. When I should have been riding their inept asses from Day 1.

Summary: avoid both these companies if you have the choice.

It’s a shame, because Tracfone used to be a great, no fuss company. I hope they go out of business soon. They don’t deserve to have customers.

I’ve been trying to set up the autopay for the storage unit with the company who bought the facility, and I can’t get into their system to do it. Nor does anyone at the facility or the main office respond. This is intentional, of course, so they can charge late fees. Horrible company. I didn’t think anyone could be worse than U-Haul, but this company just might be.

I FINALLY got an appointment with a mechanic that’s not afraid of working on a VW. It’s for May 10. I have basically been without a car for six months, which is getting frustrating. It didn’t matter so much in the winter, because the weather kept us from doing much, but there are things that need to get done out of walking radius.

I got in touch with the landlord about the gas company wanting to do an inside service line inspection. The gas company couldn’t give me a straight answer about what they needed to see for the inspection, and I suspect it has to do with how lines come into the building in the basement, which is a landlord thing, not a me thing.

I gave myself the day off from script coverage. I worked on contest entries and read for pleasure instead. I was completely worn out from dealing with the stupid and the incompetent.

Tessa woke me up at 4 again (I am not a happy camper). She didn’t want me on the bed in the sewing room and fussed at me until I moved to the couch.

But I’m not complaining too much, because I heard about a friend whose elderly cat recently died, and I want to enjoy every moment I have with mine. Even when they’re being little pills.

Meditation this morning, then back to the page, then Freelance Chat, then script coverage and contest entries. Oh, yeah, and by late morning, fighting some more with Consumer Cellular and Tracfone. The number of billable hours I have lost because of their incompetence is infuriating.

Have a good one! Catch you tomorrow.

Wed. April 27, 2022: Creative Expansion and Unnecessary Stress

image courtesy of mohammad Hassan via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was a mixed day. I managed a good bit of admin in the morning; I have to, or the number of emails becomes overwhelming. It rained a good portion of the day, although I managed to get home from the laundromat before it started, and dashed out in a quick pause in the afternoon to get the garbage out.

I went back and started re-establishing myself over on Ello, and remembered why I enjoy that platform so much. I cross-post a lot of what’s here over there; haven’t yet decided how I want to do new content.

On the wave of the work I’d done on The Big Project at the laundromat, I did another section. I am still way, way, waaaaay behind where I need to be on it, and I have to double down on it in May.

I had some additional material to look at for the contest, which was just forwarded to me (late), and dealt with that. One category is now officially finalized. I’d hoped to have the second category done today, but it’s more likely to be tomorrow or Friday (likely Friday). That depends how much script coverage comes in. Right now, I just have one more script to cover today. I’d hoped for two tomorrow and two on Friday to end this pay period close to what I need, but it looks doubtful.

I set up a Ko-fi page. I think it’s a better fit for me than Patreon, because there’s less pressure for tiered content and constant content. I still want to add new material pretty regularly, and use it to play with material that’s out of my wheelhouse a bit, or with pieces that I know are strong, but haven’t found the right market.

For instance, I posted “Fallout” which is one of my favorite flash fiction pieces. It’s received excellent feedback, but never the right market fit. So it’s here, and it’s getting positive response.

I also want to do some tarot pieces, using different decks. I’d considered doing it on Instagram (inspired by other tarot readers who do a great job on that platform). But it’s too complicated to do from my phone, so I’ll do it on Ko-fi instead.

It’s not that I think I’ll make a huge profit or anything on Ko-fi. I figure the money I get can be then used to support fellow creators on the platform. It’s basically going to be the same $3 going round and round forever.

And, it gives me a no-pressure playground.

It’s likely I will leave (or severely cut back to only promotions) Twitter in a few months, once the Muskrat purchase goes through, I intend to enjoy what I enjoy and use it to its fullest potential between now and then.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon and well into the evening.

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are in the last few weeks. Some of the kids are graduating high school; no one knows what the next school year will bring. Some of the families plan to continue homeschooling their kids because they’re doing so much better; others are going to wait and see. In any case, they have built among themselves, the parents and the kids, a strong support system, and I can step back at the end of this school year without guilt. I was a strong voice in keeping the kids out of school because there is no such thing as safety in school right now, either from COVID or school shootings. And I helped the parents and kids make it possible to stay as safe as possible for two and a half years. I walked my talk. Now, as their situations have evolved, they need to make a variety of decisions, and it’s time for me to step back.

Still fighting with both Tracfone and Consumer Cellular to get my mom’s number transferred. Both companies are basically crap, but there aren’t any other choices for the simple flip phones anymore. We have to make this transfer to Consumer Cellular happen.

The company who bought the storage facility on Cape where we’ve got the rest of our stuff is AWFUL. Zero customer service and badly disorganized.  So I have to dig in this summer and take on as much extra work as possible so I can afford to bring the stuff up in fall – provided I can even get a storage unit around here. Because CubeSmart pulled such crap, selling us off to someone else out of the blue, announcing it the day after last month’s payment, I will certainly not rent from them in the future. They actually had the gall to send an email stating that they were up for an award and wanted me to vote for them! I don’t think so.

And I still haven’t been able to get an appointment to get the car fixed.

I am royally fed up and ready to go back to bed and tell everyone to fuck right off. I have a horrible headache like creatures dancing inside my head wearing cleats and wielding pickaxes. Tessa woke me at 4 this morning. Not a happy camper.

Instead, I have to go back to the page and work.

Tues. April 26, 2022: A Reasonably Restful Weekend

image courtesy of haegenmatteORG via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cooler

For once, this Tuesday post won’t be pages and pages. There’s a post over on the GDR site about putting together the pieces that have been discussed there over the past few weeks.

I picked this photo because people love their hammocks around here, and are starting to put them up again for the summer.

Friday, we set out the plants on the porch for the day. It was quite lovely, and I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s prescription and stopped at the liquor store on the way back. I was testing a pair of cute flats, rather than the boots I’ve worn all winter. While the cute shoes are fine if I drive somewhere, walking a three-mile round trip didn’t work in them. I had bleeding blisters and my ankles hurt from the concrete. Live and learn. I need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

Expanded the pitch to my Llewellyn editor and sent that off. Hopefully, she’ll want one of the two ideas. Of course, I thought of a third idea once I sent it off; I can either save that for next year, or, if she doesn’t like either of my ideas, counter with this one. Although I would prefer to do some practical work on the idea this year so I can more accurately write about it.

Spent the whole day Friday on contest entries. I was so happy I could work on them out on the porch.  One category is complete. The second category should be done tomorrow, or Thursday latest, and the final category by next Monday. I truly enjoyed the work, although more and more of the admin is being pushed onto the judges, without the pay going up. But we’re paid, which is more than most contests do.

At the end of the day, I oiled the other Adirondack chairs. It makes me laugh that I bought these chairs out on the Cape, the first summer we lived there. And yet here, where we are close to the actual Adirondacks, they’re selling Hyannisport rockers! (Hyannisport is an upscale enclave on the water, near where I used to live).

Juggling several books to read for pleasure, in addition to all the contest reading. I absolutely loved PROVENCE, 1970 by Luke Barr, about MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, et al, who convened there for several weeks of cooking and talking. They were at turning points in their lives and careers, and the food world was also at a turning point. The talk about Sonoma County, in California, at that time, kind of reminds me of what’s going on here with the farm-to-table movement.

The plants had to come in overnight, because it’s still going down to the thirties at night.  They went out on the porch on Saturday, came back in Saturday night. I had the chance to oil the bistro table. Sunday, it was too cloudy and cold to put them out at all, but we brought them out again on Monday, while it was sunny. And today, I will oil the small table.

I still have to oil the bistro chairs and the bench out on the back balcony, but I have to wait until the temperature stops going down so low at night, or the wood will crack.

Saturday, I read and puttered and arranged and rearranged a few things around the house. I took it easy, feeling weary, and needing the time to rest. I did a good bit of percolation on several projects, just letting my mind roam freely through them, poking at different aspects and seeing what came out. I’ve narrowed too much of that creative time out, and I need to create space for it again, because the work is so much better when I do.

I treated myself, on Saturday, to smoked trout with a touch of horseradish cream on buttered rye bread and prosecco (making like a Venetian with the latter). It was perfect. Saturday night dinner was very simple – leftover ham (I feel like we’ll never be done with the leftovers) with vegetables turned into a ham pot pie.

Sunday morning, I made biscuits, and, later in the day, I did an easy chocolate mousse. But the rest of the day, I puttered around, noodled with ideas, and re-read APPETITE FOR LIFE, the wonderful Julia Child biography. I’d read it when it first came out, in 1997, and enjoyed it. I appreciate it even more this time around.

I broke my “day of disconnect” to keep an eye on the elections in France and Slovenia. Glad to see the fascists lost, at least for the moment. Would that we could remove them from positions of power here, too. The lack of consequences for crimes committed publicly in real time is appalling.

While I understand that people want to reconnect, the photos of people who should know better behaving irresponsible at conferences, festivals, and events are deeply disturbing. No one better act surprised when they get sick. Because it is “when” and not “if.”

Yesterday morning, Tessa got me up early, awakening me out of “busy dreams.” They weren’t bad dreams at all, but I was very busy in them, and woke up exhausted. Still, we got our morning routine done, and the plants out.

I tried to get in contact with the mechanic, and they were closed yesterday. I’m getting really frustrated. Also, the transfer of my mom’s number was initiated on Thursday, late in the day, and it’s still not complete. This let’s-screw-the-customer-because-we’re-the-only-choice is revolting.

I got some blogging done, working ahead a bit. I need to start spending more time over on Ello and build up that platform. If Elon Musk buys Twitter, and it looks like he’s succeeded, that’s it for me over there, which is a shame, because it’s my favorite platform. Don’t like FB, and resent that I feel forced to be on it. Instagram has so many scammers on it that it harms my pleasure in it, although I block daily. I never even bothered to join Reddit, because all I see from it are people being awful to each other.  My website posts are connected to Tumblr, but I rarely spend much time on it.

We’ll see. Don’t borrow trouble, right? Keep my own sites going. Limit my time on sites that no longer serve my needs. Do the work. I’m reconfiguring my relationship to work, in general, so I might as well reconfigure it with social media, too.

The weather was gorgeous. Walked up to the library to drop off/pick up books. Trees and bushes and flowers are coming into bloom, and it’s gorgeous. The smells are wonderful, too.

Did my script coverage sitting on the porch, enjoying the nice weather. Did a 20-minute mid-day meditation, which was also good. And then went back to working on more contest entries.

Up around 5 this morning, thanks to Tessa. Who needs an alarm clock, when one has a Tessa? Although she’s more about what she wants when she wants it, then consistent time. It wasn’t raining yet, so once I did my yoga, I bundled up the laundry and hauled it over to the laundromat. Got it turned around quickly, although forty-five minutes in, other people showed up to do their laundry. They were perfectly fine; we acknowledged each other and did their own thing. I’m just proprietary about the laundromat early in the morning, because I can get so much work done.

And I did get good work done, on The Big Project, which I hope to continue this morning, in and around trying to get an appointment with the damn mechanic, and some other admin stuff, and more script coverage.

I got home before the rain started, so I’ll call that a win!

Have a good one!

Mon. April 25, 2022: Planning

image courtesy of Shira via Pixabayc.om

We’re getting into Retrogrades again, starting near the end of this week — Pluto goes retrograde on the 29th, Mercury on May 10, and they pile on from there.

So this week, I want to plan for the next few months (if that’s at all possible). I want to take all this interior work I’ve been doing, and figure out how to manifest it externally.

It’s not about items on a To-Do list. It’s about manifesting what I want on the “I Am” list.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on April 25, 2022 at 5:33 am  Comments (1)  

Fri. April 22, 2022: Earth Day!

image courtesy of Purwaka Seta via pixabay.com

Friday, April 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Sunny and pleasant

Earth Day!

How lovely that we have a beautiful day in which to celebrate Earth Day. I have a couple of errands I will do later on foot, to enjoy it.

I had trouble settling into meditation yesterday morning.

After breakfast, I dealt with emails and with admin work. Then, I sent off the trio of Frieda/Laz plays to the radio producer in NY who was interested in them.

I spent a good chunk of time converting “Pier-less Crime” (the third Frieda/Laz play) into US Numbered Format for the producer in Minnesota. I’d already converted “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” thank goodness. I got both of them off to Minnesota. That company is recording the first one in June, so if it goes well and they want more, they’ve got them in house and can just license them, and we’re good. They’re a trustworthy company; I’ve worked with them on several plays.

In the afternoon, I turned around a script coverage, and I answered follow-up questions on a previous coverage.

A book I ordered arrived, and I’m looking forward to reading it, probably a week or two down the road. The Ipsy bag arrived, full of lovely things for the coming month.

My mom’s new cellphone arrived, and we started the activation process from Tracfone (which has devolved from mere incompetence into harassment) to Consumer Cellular (who is no great shakes either, but at least they had a decent phone, and let’s see how the plan works). Anyway, it’s a cute red flip phone with talk and text, which is all she wants, and not a Smartphone that’s too complicated for her, so she is happy. Getting the contacts in was a hassle, but we got that done. Now, we just have to wait for the migration to complete. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.

I’m really tired of these companies treating customers like criminals and claiming it’s in the name of “security.” If you assume everyone is a criminal, you shouldn’t be in business.

I have zero sympathy for Disney right now. They could have avoided all this crap by simply not funding right wing extremists in the first place, and then pretending they supported LGBTQ, and facing backlash from Republicans. Disney always tries to play both sides against the middle for maximum profit, and I hope this costs them a lot of money. They will win, in the end, because they have the lawyers and the money. And, frankly, they built the infrastructure in that area, so they’re going to defend it. It’s just performance for the GOP base, anyway. They’ll all be back in bed together in a few days. Not weeks or months. Days. Even if they pretend otherwise.

Still have a migraine, but I’m hoping that the lovely weather and doing errands on foot will mitigate it. Plants can go out on the porch again today, yay!

I’m focusing on contest entries today, and will probably work through the weekend on them, so I can make my final decision, write up the reviews for the winners, and submit the results over next week.

Before that, though, I want to get in some work on “Owe Me” and on The Big Project.

Have a good weekend. I’m hoping it will warm and sunny, so I can enjoy reading amongst the plants!

Thurs. April 21, 2022: Customer Dis-Service Causes Migraine

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and cool

Yesterday was another frustrating day. It started well – laundry, work on The Big Project, signing the contract with the marketing agency and setting up the appropriate virtual and physical folders, expanding the pitch to my Llewellyn editor.

I did a quick grocery run, and the store gave me my little Norway spruce seedling as my Earth Day gift, which made me so happy. I know, it cost them nothing, but it made me happy. And a library run to drop off/pick up books.

I researched new phones for my mom. Tracfone refuses to fix the problem, which is that they forced a smartphone on her that she can’t use and is afraid of. They will not give her one she can use. They won’t even let me buy one. And her plan runs out next week. I’m not going to put money into a phone she can’t use. So I researched companies to see where I could get her a phone that she can use. Most companies only offer smartphones, so that wouldn’t work. One company had the perfect phone, but the company was recently acquired and it looks like it will be dissolved by June, and I’m not going through this whole process again. I found another phone that looks like it will work, and a reasonable plan. I had a live chat with a representative, everything seemed fine, I put through the order – and then the “billing” department started making demands and accused me of – I don’t even know what they’re accusing me of. Why do businesses now attack customers and assume they’re all criminals? Why do I want to do business with a company who treats me like crap?

It was a nightmare. A completely unnecessary nightmare. Not to mention ableist, misogynistic, and elder abuse bullshit.

Supposedly the phone shipped and we will have it tomorrow. Switching over the number better not be another nightmare. Because I want it to be done – I am not doing this anymore. I am, however, as soon as everything is properly transferred over, going to tell Tracfone to shove it up their ass, and filing a complaint against them with the FCC.

So that took hours when it should have taken minutes, and wrecked me for the day. But I still had to get client work done. So I dug in and did it.

You know what I’m getting sick of? Writers based in cities writing about agriculturally based environments and ignoring the weather. The weather decides the structure of the day. One can ignore weather in cities, in fact it’s often a point of pride to overcome weather, but not where the weather determines if there’s going to be a harvest or not.

I had an online yoga class in the evening with a group specifically geared to busy professional women without children. I’m glad I did it, but it made me realize that I need to go back to class in a studio, once I feel comfortable. No idea when that will be, but I need to be in class where I can get adjustments from the teacher. I’m trying to figure out if I should expand my home practice with longer sessions, or several sessions broken up over the course of the day.

By the end of the day, I felt awful, with an excruciating migraine, which hasn’t abated at all today.

I have meditation this morning, and then it’s back to work. Got to catch up from what was derailed yesterday, and try to work ahead.

There’s a post over on Gratitude and Growth on how the plants are coming along.

I just want to go back to bed, but that is not an option.

Wed. April 20, 2022: Pizza Woes

image courtesy of zuzana gazdikova via pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Cloudy and mild

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment, all around. I started fairly strong: pitched my Llewellyn editor, got a new book for review, reviewed the agency contract and asked necessary questions, had yet another positive interaction with the NYC radio producer. I caught up on some emails with friends.

I was getting ready to work on the radio play when I was hit with a wave of nausea. Out of nowhere. Just felt awful. And my injection site from the vaccine started hurting again, too, but it’s been over a week since the vaccine, so that didn’t make sense.

I dosed myself with ginger tea, which helped, but the energy was gone. I had to fight my way through the rain and the wind to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes, and stopped at the bank on the way back to deposit the check from the radio play from the company in Minnesota.

Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to stay upright. I got through a few hundred emails. I withdrew from the Dramatists Guild networking session that evening, because I didn’t feel well enough. I turned around only one script. I’m fine on deadlines, but I’d wanted to do two. I worked on a few contest entries. But that was it.

The contract points were smoothed out, so I have to sign the initial contract and the NDA and get them in this morning. My Llewellyn editor wants more information on the article pitches, and will make her decision next week. I have to send a couple of scripts to the NYC radio producer; he’s excited to read something fun and frothy.

I’m still trying to pin down the mechanic to get the car fixed.

I decided to order in pizza, which might not have been the smartest choice on a queasy stomach, but I wanted pizza. So I ordered it. And it never showed up. Two hours later, I asked for a refund. The ordering happens through AllHungry.com, not directly with the restaurant. It took a dozen exchanges before they even tried to get me a refund. They said the pizza place told them it was delivered, and it was no longer their problem. I said it hadn’t been delivered to me, and if their delivery guy is handing off orders to randos on the street, that is not my problem, and, at this point, they were an accessory to fraud. A dozen exchanges later, they claimed I would get a refund, but it would take 10 days. Which is just ridiculous. They take it out of my account instantly, but it takes 10 days to go back? And it’s not like I was trying to get anything except my order, for which I paid, in the first place. So I don’t want to use AllHungry again to order, and, as much as I like this pizza place, I am reluctant to order again.

Fortunately, there are two other good places in town, although only one of the others delivers.

But AllHungry? More like Stay Hungry and get ripped off.

Now, we’re all human. We make mistakes. We’re in a pandemic, and places are short staffed (which is why I tip 40-50% when I order delivery). My life is not ruined because I didn’t get a pizza.  But when a mistake is made, then fix it. All I did, when I contacted them, was politely tell them the order had never arrived, and to please issue a refund. It was inappropriate for them to accuse me of lying. The correct response is to find out what happened, and then issue the refund. They have my record of orders. I don’t order things, pretend I haven’t gotten them, and request a refund. AllHungry’s response was inappropriate. It shouldn’t take 12 exchanges and a filing with the BBB to get them to fix a problem.

I dreamed about working on a dance piece and taking dance notations down last night. No idea where that came from.

I was up early and off to the laundromat first thing. Two loads of laundry, and back quickly. While I was at the laundromat, I used the time to work on The Big Project. I was worried I’d gone off-tone, but it’s holding together. I just have to get more done on it, and fast. And I have to turn around two scripts today, because they’re due first thing tomorrow.

At some point, I have to take a break and go to the grocery store. They’ve offered me a small tree as a thank you for being a regular customer. I do not know where I am going to put the small tree, but I want the small tree (separation anxiety much from my lilacs)? So if they still have any small trees, I will accept mine, and deal with the consequences later.

It looks like another storm is coming through, so I’ll work on The Big Project and “Owe Me”, turn around the contract, and send the extended pitch to my editor, and go later in the morning. Unless it’s snowing.

Have a good one.

Tues. April 19, 2022: Stormy Weather

image courtesy of Andrei Kuleshov via pixabay.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Waning Moon

Rainy and cool

My brain wanted to take Friday off, although I had a good early morning writing session out on the front porch. But I slogged through a bunch of emails. There are some places to which I want to send an LOI, but it would have been stupid to send it on the Friday of a holiday weekend, so those go out today. I also have to find a way to get in touch with this mysterious garage who supposedly can fix my car but has no website in the 21st century. And mail my state quarterly taxes.

I did write, polish, and send off my book review before deadline. The only book they had to review was one I’m not qualified to review (it’s on early childhood education), so another thing on today’s list is to get back in touch and see what else has come in.

It was lovely and sunny, although cooler.

I turned around a script coverage, and decided to start my weekend.

Saturday, I rested and read a lot. I needed the time off. It was raining pretty hard most of the day, and I was glad not to have to go out. I’d hoped to walk down to the coffee shop opposite MassMOCA and give it a try, but that’s put off until it can actually be a pleasant walk.

I set up the ironing board and the craft paper and spent a couple of hours lifting wax out of various tablecloths and altar cloths. It takes a good bit of paper, and one has to work fast, so it doesn’t absorb through the paper and onto the iron. But I got it done, and then slowly started handwashing the fabrics. Some of the dyes from the candles will need to be taken out with the bleach pen, but most of it came out well.

Only people who haven’t worked in film and television think it has nothing to do with actual life skills.

Noodled some ideas in my head for various projects and let them percolate. Percolation time in necessary.

By Saturday afternoon, we brought in all the plants, because the temperature dropped hard and fast. Vacuumed, washed floors, changed beds, the usual Saturday housework.

Baked biscuits early Sunday morning. The weather kept cycled through accumulating snow to sun to rain to accumulating snow all day. I was glad to stay in.

Although we no longer celebrate Easter, my mom wanted baked ham for mid-day dinner, so that’s what I made. I thought it was too sweet (even though I hadn’t put anything on it). That’s the second disappointing ham we’ve had (Christmas ham was okay, but not brilliant), so I think/hope we’re done with it for a while. We have enough for some leftovers, and I’ll make a ham pot pie in a couple of days. I made soup with the bone, adding in garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, and spinach, so we’ll have that for a couple of lunches this week. I’d made chocolate mousse for dessert, so at least we had that.

Read a couple of Ngaio Marsh books, and an art mystery by Iain Pears set in Venice.

Unpacked a couple of boxes of decorations that had been in my office in the other house. Most of them have various new homes; some of them will be repacked into the box of decorations that we aren’t using right now. The “New Orleans Aunties” set of dolls I brought back from the Crescent City years ago now have their own shelf on the front porch, with their beads and the little chest of Crown Royal.

But mostly, I rested. I still feel the aftereffects of Shot 4.

Yesterday was a holiday here in the state, and I was damn well going to take it! It was sunny and cold.

I took some bills, including the federal quarterly taxes, and headed for the post office to mail them and buy stamps. Then, I headed over toward Mass MOCA, to try out the coffee shop. Which is no longer there, and the space now holds a Mexican restaurant. So, as far as I can tell, there’s no independent coffee shop in walking distance of the house. In a college town. Which makes no sense to me at all. Cumberland Farms and Burger King don’t cut it.

I’m not someone who goes out and buys a cup of coffee every day (I make excellent coffee at home), but sometimes, when I’m out and about, I like the option.

Makes me think I should bring up the espresso machine on the next trip to storage.

Picked up a few bits and bobs on the way home – some plant stakes, some hair elastics, some highlighters for the upcoming multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. That type of thing.

It was warm enough to move the plants back out to the porch. I worked on contest entries out there, too. I also started oiling the porch furniture with the teak oil. I don’t have the room to spread everything out and do it all at once, so I’m doing one piece, letting it dry, then moving on. I got one of the Adirondack chairs done. I’m also cleaning and polishing the wooden sills around the windows, with another kind of oil. They are in desperate need of some TLC.

The tabletop fountain I ordered arrived, much more quickly than I expected. It’s simple, but nice. I set it up, put in the batteries, put in the water. It’s a little noisy for the size, but looks good and works well. I put a plate of crystals in front of it. And there’s the healing/meditation altar, inspired by the Twitter pal who said a blessing for me at St. Anthony’s Well last week.

The check arrived for the radio play in Minnesota. That was quick. We only talked about it a couple of days ago.

I saw an email from the potential client with whom I had the video conference last week. I fully expected it to be a “thanks, but no thanks.” Instead, it’s a contract and an NDA. I’ll read it and see if there are any points to negotiate before I sign, but it looks like I’ll be doing some freelancing for an agency. That will expand my parameters and skills a bit, no doubt.

I’ve been giving feedback on a friend’s synopsis for a TV pilot. It’s so good. I’m so excited for her. She’s entering it in a contest.

I’d been playing with the idea of taking a short trip this summer, to dip my toe back into the traveling waters, and even looked at flights. But with the inept Trump-appointed judge striking down the mask mandate on public transportation, that’s off. It also means it’s unlikely that I take the bus down to NYC for a quick museum trip, which I’d also hoped to do. It’s just not worth the risk. I’m glad the conference at which I’m teaching stayed virtual.

The storm woke me at 4 AM. In upstate NY, they were told to expect up to a foot of snow. Here, they keep changing their minds as to whether it’s snow or rain over the next few days. So far, just rain. I have to dash down to the post office to mail my state quarterly taxes today, but that’s my only foray out. I’d hoped to go to the laundromat, but not in this weather.

I have a lot of admin to handle today, and turn around the contract, check in with my editor to see if there are any new books to review, pitch to my Llewellyn editor for 2024. Work on the radio plays. Work on the Big Project. Turn around two scripts. Fight with Tracfone about my mom’s phone. Try to get in touch with the mechanic who supposedly can fix my car. Work on contest entries.

I’d better get going, hadn’t I? There’s a mid-month check in over on the GDR site. And I have a Dramatists Guild virtual event tonight (which I can actually do, since Knowledge Unicorns is on Easter break).

Have a good one!

Mon. April 18, 2022: Intent for the Week –Rearrange

image courtesy of Anna Pismenskova via pixabay.com

“Rearrange” — that’s nice and vague, isn’t it?

Well, there’s a lot to rearrange. Part of it is rearranging my workday, what I’ve been trying to do these past few weeks, to match the best task to the best energy at any given point, instead of simply plowing through a list. The list only exists in my head, anyway, since writing down a daily To-Do list stopped being a positive tool for me years ago.

As part of the ongoing spring cleaning/continuing to unpack, I’m rearranging things in the house. Less following a feng shui template than shifting things until they look and feel right (and then they usually wind up being in the right spot anyway).

There will be a good deal of trying something, finding it’s not working, and shifting. But that’s okay. That’s part of the process. Then I’ll find something that works — until it doesn’t, and I’ll have to shift again. But that’s one of the reasons I prefer to freelance. I don’t have to get trapped in someone else’s idea of how a workday is structured.

What’s your intent for the week?

Published in: on April 18, 2022 at 6:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Fri. April 15, 2022: Piling On

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Friday, April 15, 2022

Waxing Moon

Sunny and cooler

Yesterday was sunny and pleasant. Today is sunny and cooler. By tomorrow night, it will be below freezing. Totally wacky weather.

I had trouble settling into meditation, mostly because I felt so bad, but once I did, it was fine.

I got the next three pages written of “Owe Me” which feels good. I know where I need it to end, but now I have to figure out how to get from where I am now to where I need to be at the end. Not quite sure how to get there yet, but I’ll figure it out. I hate writing in small bits like this. I prefer writing longer sections, but each of these small portions sets up new challenges (which is the point of the piece), but I don’t yet know how to solve them.

Had a late morning video conference with a potential new client. We had a great talk, and he likes my writing a lot. I don’t do much work in his area of specialization, so that might knock me out completely, which is fine. It was definitely worth the conversation, and I sent off additional materials asked for as soon as we finished.

Headed off to the store for round colored lights for the kitchen window, plant stakes, a new small rug for Tessa’s room, and an outdoor rug for the back balcony. We couldn’t find one we liked for the front porch yet.  Came back, took down the winter curtains in the kitchen (no curtains up in summer). Took down the white lights. Got the rest of the spilled wax scraped off the sill and the window (without damaging either). Got the new lights up, which are so pretty, even in daylight, because the light makes them sparkle. The new rug looks great in Tessa’s room. She’s still not sure about it, but Charlotte and Willa both love it.

In the afternoon, I sat on the porch working. First, I finished reading the next book for review (which I will write and send off today). Then, I started reading LEGENDS AND LATTES by Travis Baldree, a cozy fantasy that Deborah Blake recommended. Absolutely loved it. It’s clever and fun and the world building is lovely and the characters are wonderful.

The weather changed (as it does). We are high enough to be able to watch thunderstorms roll around between the mountains, which is really cool. We are even high enough so I got to drive through a raincloud the other day, something I didn’t even know was possible. Which was also really cool.

Part of me felt guilty for taking part of the afternoon off to read a book because I wanted to, but that’s why I freelance: to work my own schedule. I was achy and headachy, and would not do my best work on script coverage, and those writers deserve better from me. So, I adjusted the task to the energy.

Didn’t feel like cooking, so I ordered Chinese, and it was perfect. I felt well enough to run Knowledge Unicorns, and it was a good session. Many schools are either closed or doing half day tomorrow, and April break is next week, so no sessions.

After dinner, I felt much better, and could focus on script coverage. Turned around the two scripts I needed to get done. It meant working until 10 PM, but that was fine. Freelance. Can work any hours I want, and I felt better and working then made sense. The whole point of not working 9-5 is NOT WORKING 9-5.

Once I was done with the coverage, I could settle in and finish LEGENDS AND LATTES, which I did a little before midnight. Charlotte put herself to bed earlier than that, and Tessa was thrilled to have me all to herself.

So this whole Elon Musk/Twitter thing is disconcerting. He is NOT a supporter of free speech – his actions against his own workers prove that. If he ends up buying Twitter, yes, then I will have to leave. I would miss people, but I functioned before social media, and I can function without Twitter. I will start spending more time on ello.co again, which I’ve always liked, but it takes more time and deeper interactions than Twitter, and I’ve neglected it lately.  I spend very little time on FB and the only reason I haven’t cancelled my accounts is because I have some friends who are only on FB and I’d lose regular touch with them. I’m on the fence about Instagram because of all the fake accounts and scams, although I’d hate to lose my “fun” account that has little to do with marketing and promotion, and is just my playground.

We’re all going to be signing up for a lot of newsletters over the next few weeks, aren’t we?

Besides, if Musk destroys Twitter, some other social media platform will start up. I mean, there was a time when MySpace was one of the few choices, and look what’s sprung up since.

Slept well. It’s cooler today, but I could still do my first writing session on the porch. My storage facility on Cape has been sold, and I don’t like the new owners. So, somehow, over the summer, after I get the car fixed, I’ll have to put together the money and find a unit out here and hire movers and get it all brought across the state. Not looking forward to the expense.

Had to set some boundaries with a project. The editor is setting up yet another place to check for information, this time on a platform I loathe. It’s so scattered; I shouldn’t have to check multiple sites/apps to stay up-to-date on where things are. I was ready to burst into tears at the very thought of it. There needs to be ONE central source of information. It’s too damn much. It’s too much “ooh, shiny” and not enough focus. Handling the large group writers involved is huge work, and the editor is doing an amazing job, but things are getting more and more scattered and fractured. Maybe that’s the way it has to process for this particular project, but I am at my outer limits of being able to add any more on. I turned in my lore on my characters and on my organizations, so all I have to do is sit down and write my story (which I’ve blocked time off to do in May). Once I do the roughest of first drafts, I will go back in and layer the details that are affected by what the other collaborators have created that affect what I do, and double-check details (as I’ve made myself available for any of them, if they need information from me). But I can’t spend hours every day making the rounds of multiple sites as things change. We’ve created the world; now we have to inhabit it. And so much that’s been created is color and flavor for the stories, rather than trying to put everything into the stories all at once.

The reason I’ve been able to have a lifelong career in the arts, earning my living at it, instead of creating “on the side” is because I am ruthless about cutting out what interferes with the creative work. I have no regrets. I make no apologies.

Most places around here are taking this as a four-day weekend, or starting their weekend after a half day. Monday is a state holiday here (Patriots’ Day) and the Boston Marathon. I’m thinking of taking it as a holiday from client work, and focusing on the radio plays, The Big Project, and the CAST IRON MURDER edits. I also want to get through a lot of contest entries this weekend. I have a pretty good idea in two categories of who’s shaping up to be finalists, but need to hone it down some more, and then I can focus on the third category.

I also want to rest a lot. While I’m starting to get back on my feet, I still have lingering effects from Shot 4, which are not fun. Part of it, too, is accepting that I am not twenty anymore, and can’t push the way I used to. And that I don’t WANT to be in a constant state of overwork and hustle. We were sold that bill of goods, and it was false. It’s time to learn from that and create something better.

Anyway, have a lovely Whatever You Celebrate, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Thurs. April 14, 2022: Figuring Out The Healing

image courtesy of Pexels via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly Sunny and warm

There’s a post detailing the latest plantings over on Gratitude and Growth.

Yesterday was not as productive as I’d hoped (familiar refrain), mostly because I’m still not feeling well. I was feeling well enough to try to function, but bad enough so that everything and every ONE was an irritant.

I got through some email and did some prep for this morning’s meeting. I did some plotting for a couple more radio plays.

I went to the library, to drop off/pick up a stack of books in each direction. Something I read in one of my other books had a reference to playwright Ben Jonson, and that led me back to Elizabethan Theatre and an idea with which I’ve been playing for years. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it work. I think by making it an alt-universe, and giving certain creative people the ability to understand multiple alt-universes, I can fix those challenges. Anyway, the research books are coming in. Time to open a fresh notebook and take good notes. In all my spare time. Yeah.

Grocery shopping, where I spent more than intended, but we are now set for a while, except for things like eggs, milk, bread.  And, even though we don’t celebrate Easter, I got my mom the Easter ham she wanted, and I’ll make a baked ham for Sunday.

Of course, one of the reasons I spent more than intended is because prices keep going up.

Mailed some bills, and some mail which had been misdelivered. There’s another street whose spelling has one more letter than my street, and I often get mail for the person at the same number on that street. I mark it as misdelivered and how, and put it back in the box.

Stopped at the liquor store, and found some new-to-me wines to try. Time to lighten up the wines for the season. Switch to lighter reds, and, eventually, over to rosé in the summer, because a good rosé goes with everything.

Home, exhausted. I stacked a few too many errands in that trip. Normally, it would make sense, but I’m still feeling poorly.

At the grocery store, I was in constant inner dialogue, since I was so grumpy. This is where meditation techniques come in handy. It was the constant question: Does this have anything to do with you? The answer was, of course, no. So drop it and move on. Because NONE of the people filling their carts and going about their lives were the cause of my irritation. They wouldn’t even have added to it on a normal day. Nothing they were doing was about me. And none of them deserved to have me take my irritability out on them. So I didn’t. Because they don’t deserve to have their day dampened by my irritation.

So what IS the source of my irritability? A lot of it is still feeling bad after the 4th shot. I’m still achy, headachy, fatigued, and I’m tired of being tired. But more of it, I think is rooted in residual burnout, that I don’t have the time and resources to take a full break to recover. I have to focus on earning money for this major car repair. I have to get the car repaired. I have to keep up the housework, the cooking, the bills, the deadlines. Taking a weekend won’t fix it. I need a serious break. And I don’t have the option to take one.

What I am doing is rearranging my workday to fit energy levels, and matching each task to the energy best suited for it. I also want to get more enjoyment out of each day, including maximum enjoyment in the work. That means adjusting the kind of work I take on. I updated some profile information on a few referral sites, because there are certain types of work that, even six months ago, I was open to accepting, that I no longer want. There’s another arts referral/networking site where I need to create one (or more) profiles to draw the kind of work I want to draw. I have to think about how to create those profiles to best hit. Creating the Pages on Stages website was the right choice; I’m already seeing positive results from it.

It’s a process, and will take time, but it will pay off, I think. Drawing in more of the work I truly enjoy will take off a lot of pressure. Expanding the client base will take off a lot of the pressure. Raising rates for certain projects will take off a lot of the pressure.

That will give me the healing time I haven’t had post-surgeries, post-move.

What if, instead of feeling like I have to get out and network and enter into community life here, I just  . . .don’t? At least for this year? What if I only do what I want to do, and don’t feel like I “have” to be out and about? Like I “have” to network and put myself out there? The pandemic made us feel isolated and disconnected, and we all fought so hard to stay connected. What if I take more time to be solitary, virtually, as well as physically? There are still friends I haven’t seen in years with whom I hope to reconnect in person, and friends I like to see semi-regularly, which I still want to see. But rather than the whole “be out there building the network” thing, maybe I will take a different approach and a different route, at least this year.

Maybe, for me, part of the healing has to do with solitude, rather than isolation.

Not push people away, if they come into my life organically. But not dash around forcibly trying to add people into my life right now, either.

I’m still exploring that theory. I don’t have definite answers yet. I need to trust my intuition, and put it above the clamor of the “experts.” Because they don’t live in my skin. They haven’t lived what I have the past few years. They don’t have the knowledge to make proclamations on my life.

I can adjust my work, I can adjust my creative life, I can spend time enjoying what I enjoy, and limit external pressures.

I’ve never lived my life the way other people told me I “had” to. In spite of a decade on Cape where too many people tried to emotionally batter me into conformity, it didn’t work. And I’m not in that situation anymore, so why not enjoy what’s so different about things here? Because it is very different, and people tend to give each other more breathing room.

It’s a process, right? Try things, some work, some don’t. But what I’m being told are definitives aren’t necessarily relative to me personally, or to this new region.

So why not create my own definitives?

Although the thought of creating yet anything else is exhausting, but the act of creation tends to be restorative.

It was up in the high 70’s yesterday, and we opened all the windows and left the plants on the porch overnight. It was so nice to sleep with the windows open! This morning was the first day of the season I could do my early morning writing and have that first cup of coffee out on the porch, with Tessa keeping me company. It’s supposed to be warm again tonight, but then gets cold on Saturday, back down into the 30’s.

Meditation this morning. Then, some time at the page, before a video conference with a potential client. Then, some more errands and script coverage. I need to finish reading a book for review, so I can write the review tomorrow.

I think I’m going to take Monday as a holiday. I mean, I’m in a state where it’s a holiday, why not enjoy it?

Have a good whatever-you-celebrate, and I’ll catch you on the other side.

Published in: on April 14, 2022 at 8:05 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 14, 2022: Figuring Out The Healing  
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Wed. April 13, 2022: The Lack of Professionalism is Frustrating

image courtesy of Andrea Piaquadio via pexels.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Waxing Moon

Partly cloudy and cool

Well, yesterday was a frustrating day. In spite of still feeling lousy, I pulled myself together and took the car to the mechanic on time. Only to have them refuse to fix the problem because it would “take too long.” WTF? So now I have the phone number of some sketchy guy who “specializes in foreign cars” (my car may be a VW, but it was built in a plant in Tennessee). The guy doesn’t even have a website, and I’m supposed to trust a very expensive repair to him? Because the repair I need is going to cost about a grand. Not happy about that at all. Also displeased with a mechanic who only wants to do quick repairs.

So I am not a happy camper.

Felt like crap when I got home. I still had a dull headache, body aches, and the brain fog was bad. The Tylenol nauseated me, but I took more anyway to clear up the brain fog enough to turn around a script.

Haven’t been able to do any creative work, though, which is frustrating. One of the parents handled Knowledge Unicorns last night, because I wasn’t up to it.

I listened to the first episode of the series in which the NY-based radio producer is interested in having me write. The production quality is outstanding.  It’s definitely a darker, more dystopian tone than my comic noir pieces – mine lean a little too much in the direction of froth and farce. But “Owe Me” and the comic horror piece are more in tone with it, and I’m pretty sure “The Collector” would work (which he already has), although I’ll probably have to do some revisions. The Mr. Ding-A-Ling creepy ice cream truck has been around again lately, and that’s getting something percolating. And maybe a haunted amusement park. We’ll see.

Plants went out onto the porch when the sun finally came out. It’s a lot of pots to haul in and out. Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to leave them on the porch, and, soon after that, move the ones we want onto the back balcony.

Today I need to do library and grocery runs. And figure out what to do about the fucking car.

But first, I’m going to spend some quality time on the page, since it’s been several days. And I have two scripts to turn around this afternoon, and a book to review, and I have to get back to contest entries. No matter how I feel, I have to get back to work, because heaven forbid we have a society that gives us room to, you know, be human.

Published in: on April 13, 2022 at 6:32 am  Comments (4)  
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