Wed. January 20, 2016
Cloudy and cold
Busy few days. I was exhausted when I got home from work on Saturday. Was not very productive. I’ve started on the books entered in the contest. The ones that are good are quite good; the ones that miss the mark do so in similar ways. They have too much unnecessary information dumped into scenes instead of integrated into them, lack logic, are poorly edited and/or copyedited. In a couple of cases, they are merely a re-telling of stories that hit the bestseller lists, with a few name and location changes, but trying to fit the formula so closely they don’t bring anything unique to the table. Those are simply poorly executed, pale imitations of books that worked. There are a few that have unique and interesting premises, but the writing is so awkward that they wind up not working. But I learn a lot from each book i read.
I’m also reading my friend’s manuscript. I’ve got some notes for her — this is her first foray into writing a novel. She usually writes biography.
Got a nice chunk of work done on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. It’s not chugging along as quickly as I would like, but I like what I’m doing, if that makes any sense.
Tried several ways to fix the short radio play. Finally found something that worked, and did a nice chunk of that on Tuesday morning. I’m close to finishing, and will be able to get it out on deadline.
Watched the second season of BROADCHURCH, which was well done, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, which is one of those movies that, in my opinion, was probably more fun to make than to watch. It’s a great tribute to the stunt choreographers, it’s beautifully shot, but I didn’t really care about anything.
Did a lot of laundry — it was New Year’s Eve the last time I did laundry, so it stacked up.
We had snow Sunday into Monday — not much, but just enough so I didn’t feel like running around on Monday. Tuesday morning, I was up early, and hit Country Gardens to get a load of wood. The car coughed when it started, but start it did, and I got there, loaded up, got home, unloaded.
We then loaded the garbage to take it to the dump — and the car wouldn’t start. I’ve suspected for awhile that a new battery was in my immediate future — this is still the original battery, and the car turns nine years old this year. It’s done very well.
So I call AAA, give them all the information, tell them I need a new battery (one of the services they now provide). The guy shows up pretty fast, but he won’t change the battery. He gives me a song and dance about how the car can’t be turned off once he’s jump started me, it’s something much more serious, and I have to take it straight to the dealer. I know my car — I know it’s the battery. But he’s insistent I need a complete electrical diagnostic and a whole bunch of other stuff. He said I didn’t want to “try” a new battery because it was $170 dollars at least — interesting, since the battery replacement service AAA claims to provide promises only $130.
I grab the Kindle and get in the now-running car and drive to the local dealer, rather than going to my regular mechanic in Plymouth (because I wasn’t sure I’d make it to Plymouth and didn’t want to break down on the way). I apologized at the dealership for coming in without an appointment and explained the situation. They figured I was right, and that we should try a new battery first. The diagnostic is an overnight thing, and let’s try the simple solution first.
It didn’t take them long to replace the battery and run a quick system check (without the elaborate overnight). Yeah, it was the battery. Of course, since I went to the dealer, it was MUCH more expensive than if the AAA guy had simply replaced it per my contract with AAA. But he didn’t want to bother, so he gave me sturm & drang and sent me to the dealer. The dealer was very nice and gave me a discount, but it was still more than I expected to have to shell out during these weeks. The dealer also told me that they’ve been getting a lot of these cases lately, where the tow driver gives them a story, jumps them, and sends them in, rather than actually doing what they were sent out to do.
Why am I paying for AAA again? I rejoined them a couple of years ago because the car is getting older and I wanted to feel secure in case something happened. This does not make me feel secure. If anything, it reminds me why I left AAA when I was a teenager, I broke down on the NY Thruway during July 4th, I had drunks shooting over the top of the car, I called them, they said there was nothing they could do, and they left me there. Not acceptable. You can bet they’re going to hear from me about it.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an element of sexism involved — woman doesn’t know what’s wrong with the car, I can spin a story. I may not be a mechanic, but I know my car. It’s one of the reason I always go to Plymouth — because they don’t assume I’m an idiot.
So, not only did I have to pay more than I should have, but I lost a day set aside for getting things done. It didn’t take that long at the dealer (they were very nice to take me quickly), but it still added several hours to something that should have been a quick swap out of dead battery for new battery, and I was so exhausted by the time I got back, I couldn’t even think about driving over the bridge and dealing with errands.
Instead I spent the afternoon working on contest entries. So i didn’t completely lose the day, but what I hoped to get done will have to wait until next week, weather permitting.
We’re supposed to get slammed with a big storm next weekend. So I’ve got supplies set in, and we’ll see.
Today, I have a meeting for work in the morning, and then a long afternoon. There’s supposed to be a major upgrade on the software we use to check out and catalog, so we’ll see what fresh hell tomorrow brings.
More Mercury Retrograde — I heard back on a submission I’d made to a magazine. The story was rejected. Fine, it happens. However, it wasn’t the story that I sent. In fact, looking through my files (just to be sure), I don’t have any story with that name on my computer or flash drive. I remember sending a different story to that publication, and that’s the story that’s in the Submission log. So I’m seriously confused. I don’t know whether to say something or just write off the publication and not submit again.
I’m ready for Mercury to go direct!
I’m also deeply thankful to the car for getting me home safely with a load of wood in it, and not conking out until we were back in the garage!
Have a wonderful week, people!