I remember someone telling me, “The first year in a new house is the toughest. It gets better from there.”
Although I don’t recall who said it, I’m grateful to have the phrase come to mind every time I hit a new snag or encounter a new home adventure.
This year the Pacific Northwest has been hit with some unusual weather. I commute thirty miles through the forest and coastal range, and love it. However, the last two months of unexpected snow storms, wind storms, power outages, ice sheets, landslides and so on have made my commute a tad more interesting that I originally planned or was prepared for. My daily commute has become a morning of pulling over to shovel jagged, football sized rocks out of the windy road.
I learned the hard way the sharp corners and dark winter don’t allow for enough stopping warning on the back roads when rocks and land slide into the lane. While driving my brother’s car I came around a corner and had to suddenly choose between ‘big rock’, ‘bigger rocks’, and river. There was no time to stop on the ice.
I gripped the wheel, clenched my teeth and chose ‘big rock’. The impact shattered the front left wheel and ripped open the back left tire. And as luck would have it, I only had one spare. Though I was able to change out the shattered wheel with a flashlight in the freezing rain, I still limped home several miles on a flat.
When I got home I unpacked the car and called my brother to let him know.
“Well, the good news is I think your car will be okay.”
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I’m fine, but you know what really pisses me off?” I said and rushed into a tirade of tears. “I stopped at the store and they were having a really great sale on toilet paper. I thought, cool. I’ll be an adult and stock up the cabinets with toilet paper. But I got home and it’s freaking ONE PLY. Who uses one ply? It’s like wiping your butt with your hand. It’s like toilet paper for the woodland fairies, it’s not even real. I can’t even buy toilet paper right! I can’t even adult! I’m not going to make it out here!”
“Big sister,” he said softly. “I don’t think this is about the toilet paper. I think you just need to get some rest.”
I’m sure I’ll hear about my TP meltdown for years to come, but he was right. It wasn’t about that, it was about the exhaustion of transition. The struggle of trying to stay ahead in an environment that is indifferent to my silly fragile self. Every place I’ve lived, the deserts of Arizona, the valleys in Utah, and the wilds of Alaska – they all have different challenges. Beyond environmental challenges I’m adjusting to changes in available communication, accessibility to basic needs, and a separation from my everyday communities and friends.
While a lot of this was intentional so that I could focus, hear myself again, and breathe…it’s still a sharp curve and tough change.
Sudden needs on the house and emergency repairs were inevitable under the unexpected weather circumstances. After a furnace failure, and water-logged external outlet shortages, a well water fix, and so on, it all piled up. New winter gear, studded tires, shovels, emergency kits, insurance upgrades, home insurance repair requests, long distance tow fees…yadda yadda. It’s the same home owner story for most folks in one form or another. The first year adaptation pains.
All it took was an adrenaline fueled night changing the tire in the rain and the trigger point to breakdown was apparently…toilet paper. Good to know where the limit is.
As the last few weeks have unfolded with these minor issues, and struggles, I’ve been too tired to come home and write, or map, or even plot. I’m just wiped out. It’s temporary, but noticeable.
Up until last month I was matching all Patreon donations dollar for dollar so we could reach the end-goal sooner. But there will be a few months on the map where I won’t be able to match and I’ll be relying solely on Patreon for publication and writing support. I’m grateful for all of it. There’s no way I could have made this headway on the ‘Sinnet of Dragons’ without the donations from supporters. Without Patreon support, I’d still be in beta drafts, and would likely have gotten frustrated and stuck the book back in the drawer. Patrons have brought this manuscript into the light.
I hope to be able to match dollar for dollar again soon, but in the meantime I’m going through the edits on the first half of the manuscript that came back from Madeline Hopkins, and marveling at some of the great notes she made. She’d got an amazing eye for developmental details. We were lucky to get her booked for this book!
We’ve also launched the creative roundtable on Wisegoddess.com and have been getting interest from writers and artists. It’s been a year in the making. The timing was tricky but it finally happened. Please stay tuned for articles and conversations on the site from artists and authors.
Last night I passed by another landslide on my way home. The BLM was opening up one lane of my commute road. I drove by the crew working to clean up the mud and trees that had come down and I thought, “Sure, I could have picked a house in town. I could have chosen a safer, more convenient place to live. Still, there would be no guarantee I wouldn’t have a different set of problems, and there’s no guarantee I’d love it so much.”
Because I do. I love it. I pass four waterfalls, two elk herds, a couple of different micro-climate pockets. I follow the river for fifteen miles of old growth trees, and magical landscapes and before all the little things started to wear me down, I would come home infused, crackling with magical creative energy and couldn’t wait to get to writing.
It will come again. That energy will be back and it will be unstoppable. I’ve just got to make it through the winter and some growing pains. For now, the winter sleep.
Then I’ll be back up and running, and more charged than ever before. And until then, as ever, I’ll be sure to keep you posted!