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  • Christine Shuck

Accepting Reality, Dreaming About Tomorrow


Bad News First

A week ago, in the midst of being ill for the second time with a crummy cold or Covid, not sure which, I decided to shut down both of our short-term rentals for a couple of days.


It couldn't have come at the worst time.


I didn't realize it, but a few days before, when there had been the briefest of power outages (all of five seconds), the little space heater in the Airstream had turned off, and not turned back on.


The temperatures sank to single digits, the pipes inside of the Airstream water heater, filter, and shower mechanism all froze. A few days later, around the time I wasn't feeling well and decided to just block the days from any new rentals, the temps rose, the pipes burst, and on the 26th of January, over 1,500 gallons of water ran through the hose connected to Cottage West, into the Airstream, and, eventually, out of it.

Yeah.


In one day, we used over half of a month's normal water usage.


Add to that that it wasn't just one little piece of pipe, but the water heater itself, and the shower connection, all needed replacing.


We got that all done, including ordering a new heated hose since the one we had purchased was leaking near the coupler at Cottage West at a concerning rate.


New guests came in last night. This morning, they called to tell us that they were leaving and said, "We left a few dishes. We washed most of them yesterday before the pipes froze."


The pipes...what?!


We went down to the Airstream immediately, with me slipping and falling in the snow along the way. Sure enough, the pipes that lead INTO the Airstream were frozen. Inside it is fine, but outside? Not so much.


And that, unfortunately, was the last straw. I had to accept reality. December is doable. It's rare that it gets below freezing, but January through March? That's a no go. So I've shut down the Airstream for those months. Sometimes you just have to accept reality.


A Slight Shuffling of Priorities

While I was working my way through one illness after another, and stuck with a sick baby, I wasn't really up to writing. With the house full of kids due to snow days, I'm still not. But it was a good time to go through my different works in progress and see exactly where I stood on each of them.


I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to numbers and percentages - so it should be no great surprise that I have an Excel spreadsheet that tracks my progress in each book currently planned or in progress.


I usually have an estimate word count based on the type of book it is. Non-fiction books tend to be shorter, my fantasy series The Chronicles of Liv Rowan will likely be on the shorter side, and most of my other fiction novels come in at around 90-100k word count.


So I track by word count, but I also track by chapter. Sometimes there is a wide discrepancy between word count and completed chapters, but between the two, I usually have a pretty good idea of how much further I have to go on any given book.


Here is a screenshot of what I'm talking about...

My focus landed on Quit Your Job, Change Your Life: 40 Life-Changing Strategies for the Disaffected.


I started this book back when I was earning my life coaching certificate more than a decade ago. It sprung out of an assignment in which I needed to create a coaching model that I would move my clients through, and kind of blossomed from there.




How About AI Audio?

As if life itself doesn't toss curveballs my way each day, I toss my own into the mix with regularity. And I decided to give another avenue of potential income a try, after following a couple of authors who are braving the waters of YouTube. Specifically, they are uploading their audiobooks read by A.I. voices. I've been listening to Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn podcast, and when another author posted about MicMonster as an affordable choice for AI voiceovers/narration, I decided to check them out.


I was impressed at how close they are to human voices. I've invested around $235 in the MicMonster and Movavi Video Editor software and I hope to put up an audiobook each month onto YouTube. I'll start with Tales of the Collapse, which is the third book in the War's End series.


After I get Tales of the Collapse up, I'll turn towards getting the second and third books of the G581 series up, one per month, as well as Smoke and Steel, Fate's Highway, and The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale.


By the time those are out, I should have another book done. Likely two or even three this year, and those will follow as quickly as possible, being uploaded on a monthly basis after the others are up and done. Eventually, I hope to monetize a YouTube channel. That's impossible right now since I need at least 1,000 followers and over 4,000 hours of viewed videos, with nothing posted yet. But it is an avenue to work on.


For now, I've added G581: The Departure to YouTube for those of you interested in hearing the audiobook. This was professionally narrated, and YouTube prefers I submit content that isn't elsewhere, but I needed to put out something so I could test the software I'm currently learning how to use, and it was readily available.


I would love it if you would click Subscribe on my YouTube channel. The sooner I begin building a base of followers, the sooner I can actually make money at it.


More Floors and Some Gratuitous After Pics

Re-doing these floors, while living in the house at the same time, is a heck of an experience, let me tell you!


We started with our double bedroom/library - two 12x12 rooms that are connected. I slept on a hard, uncomfortable couch for a full week!


But I have to say, the after photos (taken before we had to fill the rooms with furniture from the other double 12x12 room) were stunning...

It doesn't look like this at the moment. Instead, there is furniture and stuff shoved in everywhere here, and in the nursery and my husband's office and the attic as we desperately squirreled away two rooms full of stuff so that we could begin work on the next two rooms' floors...

My crafty husband salvaged some of the wood from the rear bedroom closet. Some was rotted, but plenty of it could be re-used. He put in new tongue-in-groove boards into the closet where the any color differences (and knots - none of the 120+ year old planks in the upstairs have knots) wouldn't be seen. I got busy mixing up wood glue and sawdust and filling the gaps. Despite the light appearance when it was still wet, it the glue/sawdust mixture dried dark and sanded away easily.


We started with 36 grit, then went up to 60, then 80, and finally 120 grit. From what we can tell, the floors had never been sanded, so we weren't worried about losing too much wood. We were more concerned about getting the heavy varnish and thick paint off!


The new wood inside of the closet (not shown) shows a marked difference in color. We will also need to go back over some areas since it is light in some spots.


Tomorrow, I will go over all of the walls, wipe down every piece of moulding and wood door and window frames with a damp rag, and we will apply the stain and poly to all of it as well. It's going to look FABULOUS!



Find Me on Facebook

Join my group General Malcontent's Grumbles and Scribbles on Facebook and get plenty of weird memes, the opportunity to read my newest releases for free, pics of the family, and other author news. I look forward to seeing you there!


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