A Pause, A Scramble, And A New Routine

Not my normal posting day, I know, but I wanted to get in an early April update. March is thankfully behind me. If everything had gone to January’s plan, it would’ve been hectic enough with the move. But Life apparently decided that would be too simple.

The Pause

My mother-in-law passed away on the 8th. As you know, we were prepared, but it’s never easy to say goodbye to loved ones. The funeral on the 13th was a small affair simply because she outlived nearly all of her contemporaries—and too many even from her children’s generation. We take some comfort in the fact that she’s no longer in pain, but we will miss her so much.

I also picked up a nasty bronchitis in March that really wiped me out between the funeral and the move, and it’s still hanging around. Needless to say, that impacted my desire and ability to write even when I had the time last month.

The Scramble

Otherwise known as a major move into a brand new house. If you’ve done it, you know it’s never easy. We’ve identified a few issues the builder needs to address, and undoubtedly there will be more. That’s par for the course. The late winter and early spring were too cold to finish the exterior paint, seed the yard, or lay the asphalt driveway. So the perimeter still looks like a construction zone until those can be wrapped up. And we have to be extra careful not to drag mud and gravel inside—definitely not a good mix with wood floors and light-colored carpets.

newoffice

Panoramic view of the new office, which is nowhere near done

 

The New Routine

This includes a new route to work since we’ve moved to another city. My husband will be able to telework one or two days a week, which will be really nice for him. Luckily, we each have our own office in the new house, which will make it easier on those days when we’re both working from home.

I also hope this means I can ease into a new writing schedule that is for the sheer enjoyment of writing and not simply a coping mechanism with all the changes March brought. All things considered, the writing numbers weren’t bad. I added 5,197 words to the manuscript and managed to write on 17 days. Of course, that was all at the first part of the month. It’s time to start fresh for April and see if I can pick up where I left off.

This rainbow appeared our last week in the old townhouse. The source was unexpected.

This rainbow appeared our last week in the old townhouse. The source was unexpected.

It was the sun reflecting off a parking sign.

It was the sun reflecting off a parking sign.

I still won’t be posting every week, but you should be seeing more of me around your blogs!

54 thoughts on “A Pause, A Scramble, And A New Routine

  1. It’s nice to see you. I’m sorry that March has been such a difficult month for you, it’s sad to lose a family member.
    It’s always stressful to move house, but it will be great when you start to get things arranged as you want them. I hope April is a better month!

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    • Thanks, Clowie. I’m really thinking we should have downsized before the move…. But we’re doing a bit of it now, trying to minimize clutter so it doesn’t build up again too soon. April should be better, and so far so good (at least 13 hours into it). Slowly but surely, we’ll get there. I plan on doing some writing this evening, so we’ll see how that goes!

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    • March was definitely one of those stretches that you hope not to encounter again. But each day we’re feeling a bit better, and it looks like Spring is actually going to stick around for a bit. After a cold, dark winter, that’s a relief! We’re definitely looking forward to hanging out in the new city and getting settled for the long haul.

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  2. In the middle of my own move, but thankfully, there was no loss to compound this craziness. Last year my mother passed, so there have more than enough transitions without another death.
    I am surrounded by boxes and empty rooms and know it will be that way at the new house for awhile, too.
    I love the pictures. I need to take some so I can post about this in the aftermath (although I’ve been posting about the process all along, so my readers might be sick of it by now).

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    • Try to stay sane with the move! Of course, that’s easier said than done. All the boxes and chaos (even if it’s controlled) make me restless, and it’s so hard to concentrate on anything. My office is finally taking shape, so that should help give me at least one space that feels more normal. I’ll need that to get back into a good writing routine.

      The before and after shots make a good reminder that we’ve survived the upheaval, too. Things really will come together! Hang in there, and imagine how nice the new space will be when you’re done unpacking!

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  3. Sorry about your mother-in-law…and your illness. It sounds like you’re glad March blew out and I hope you have a calmer April. The office looks beautiful!

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    • Thanks, Charissa. I’m definitely glad to see March in the rearview mirror. Now, I’m working on focusing forward—getting the new house in order and getting back on track with the manuscript. The characters have been more than patient with me, and they’d like to get a move on again. Now, if we can just agree where to hang the artwork in the new office!

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  4. Simply a hug in support and consolation.
    Your old environment was sending you off with flying colors? Pretty cool for such a happy encouraging message to arrive like that.
    Rest up. That bronchitis stuff is hard to shake. Sun is good!
    Telecommuting is wonderful. You almost feel like you have your life back – even if it’s a few days a week. Our office found people were much more productive.
    Office with a window. You’ll fit in fine there.
    Hopefully the weather is warming up – and they can get the outside done…meanwhile shoes off at the door. Been nice to see you around the neighborhood again!

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    • Thanks, Mouse. I immediately thought of you and RC Cat when I saw that rainbow in the old kitchen!

      Happily, March is behind us, and every day we’re feeling a bit better. Some long-awaited sunshine and milder temperatures are helping, too. Even 50s feel good right now after our colder than average winter. I think that’s 2 years in a row where the rest of the world had warmer than average conditions—and then there was us!

      I love telecommuting. I’ve been doing it for years, and I’m glad my husband’s going to have the chance to do it, too. I’m definitely far more productive working at home than I am in the office. All that noise from surrounding cubes can drive me crazy sometimes. I just need to finish putting this new office together, and then I think the writing will get back on a good track. I really want a rough draft of the manuscript done by summer!

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  5. Hi JM, good to hear from you. I know what those big life stressors can do to you and you’re doing a few at one time. That’s always been my motto–bring em’ all at once and then get on with things. Take care of yourself through all this and be well. I too am looking at new writing strategies. Good luck to you and welcome to your new home–very exciting, isn’t it?

    Have a wonderful week.

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    • Thanks, Brigitte, it’s great to see you, too! And I’m looking forward to blogging about happier things again. I doubt I’ll post weekly again until I’ve completed a draft of the manuscript, but a couple of times a month should be doable. And once the new office is set up, I hope to get back into that writing groove I found in January and February.

      I’m working on not stressing about word counts and deadlines and instead trying to find a routine that’s comfortable and works for me and my Muse. I think I’ll make better progress and write better drafts that way. So here’s to both of us finding the right strategies for us!

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  6. Condolences to the loss of your mother in law, JM. She is safe now. I hope you get over your bronchitis soon so that you can truly enjoy your beautiful new home and early spring. That great spacious new office space will surely be inspiring for your writing!

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    • Thanks, Helga. With the turn of the calendar, I’m looking forward again. We may be exhausted still, but we’re feeling a bit better as each day goes by. And I’m planning on doing some writing this evening to get back into the groove I found in January and February. Given everything that happened in March, I think 5,000+ new words was actually a good accomplishment!

      Now, to get the office finished and have that good place for sitting down with the Muse and characters!

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  7. Nice to hear an update from you. Sorry again about your MIL. What a stressful time. And then to get sick on top of it all. (Of course, all the stress probably contributed to you getting sick. Stress loves to do mean things like that.) But how nice to be in a lovely new place, and how nice you both have your own office! Separate spaces keep a marriage happy. 🙂

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    • I’m positive the stress led to the sickness. It wears down the body and immune system, but of course, you know that! 🙂

      My husband finally admitted that he was looking forward to having an office of his own again. It’s been five years since he last had that dedicated space. Since I work from home most of the time, I’ve been the one with my own space during that period. But now, he’s got a bigger office than I do. 🙂 It should work well for him with the telecommuting. Separate spaces are definitely good—especially for two introverts!

      Now I just have to finish getting mine together so I can get back into that nice writing routine I did in January and February. 🙂

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  8. Thanks, Carol. I’m focusing forward now that April is here. There are still plenty of things needing to be done at the new house, but we’ll get there eventually. I’m really looking forward to spending some happy hours writing in the new office, especially when I get it laid out just right. I’m getting there. Now I need to figure out where I want the art work and to find a few more plants to green it up. 🙂

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    • So many people I know had this nasty cold/bronchial bug this winter. And 6-8 weeks of hacking and coughing has been the norm. Let’s hope April is a good month for all of us, and we can enjoy the spring! 🙂

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  9. Nice to have March and all its challenges behind you. You had two big transitions–the loss of a loved one and a new home. No wonder you got sick. I trust you’re taking good care of yourself–sounds like it from previous comments. Your office looks like a good size. That’s the room, besides the kitchen, that I always finished first when I moved.

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    • I actually wish the office had a bigger closet, but I can work with what’s there. I like to hide supplies in there as much as possible to keep a neater look in the main room. I still have to decide where to hang most of the artwork, but I have four new plants so far for greening it up. I think they’ll help create a good atmosphere for work and writing. And the kitchen is almost done, too. Like you, I need that space to be organized as soon as possible!

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    • Thanks, Scott. 🙂 It’s been a stressful start to the year, but I hope to have that new rough draft of the manuscript done before summer. A few scenes are giving me a hard time, but I’m trying to get just something sketched out for them. Then I’ll have something to work with. As they say, we can’t edit a blank page!

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  10. So sorry to hear about your MIL, JM. Like you said, even expecting it doesn’t make it any easier. I hope you get settled into your new place and routine soon. Glad to hear you’ve still made some progress through everything you’ve faced!

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    • Thanks, Phillip. We’re getting there, albeit a bit slowly. Where’s Scotty with that transporter when you really need him? Forget about away missions—furniture moving is the real function! 🙂

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  11. You have lots going on, and bronchitis on top of it. Tough. I don’t look forward to the stress of my move across country. I know there is stress involved building a new house as well. Loved the rainbow photo. Good luck getting everything ironed out with the house and hope you’re feeling 100% soon.

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    • Thanks, Lori. Some days are better than others with the bronchitis. It’s very damp and rainy today, and that seems to be triggering more coughing than I’ve had recently. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

      You’ve got that big move coming, and any downsizing you can do before then would really help on the other end. 🙂 I wish we would’ve scaled back even moving only 20 miles or so! Despite the stress and headaches, we know we’re really going to enjoy the new place once we’re settled. I’m sure you will, too. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Chrissie. Spring’s running late this year, but it’s finally arrived. The cherry blossom peak is predicted for the 11th to 14th, so we’re getting close! It’s hard to beat Spring in the Mid-Atlantic when it happens, so I’m looking forward to these next few weeks—even if my allergies will drive me nuts!

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    • I think it’ll be a nice place to work, especially when it’s finished. I’m still deciding where to put the art work, but I’m also enjoying adding some plants. We didn’t have any while we were renting, and I’m looking forward to having that greenery around the house again. Very calming and good for the air!

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  12. So sorry about your mother-in-law, JM, March sounds like a very difficult time. Hope you’re starting to feel a little better from your bronchitis and settling in after the move. I hope that office brings you much inspiration.

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    • Thank you, Andrea. April is off to a much better start, even though we’re still busy with settling in and cleaning the old place. I think we’ll be well into the new routine by the end of the month. Or so I hope! The office is taking shape, although I still have to decide how to hang the rest of the artwork and do some fine-tuning on the organization. So far, though, it feels like a comfortable place to create and work.

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    • Thanks, Britt. New beginnings are definitely underway. We’re really hoping to settle into this house for the long-term. So far, it’s meeting all our hopes and expectations. And that feels like a good way to start April and the rest of the year. 🙂 Now to just shake the last of the bronchitis sooner rather than later!

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  13. My sincere condolences on the passing of your Mother in law. March sounds so stressful for you; I hope April brings health, a more-settled home, and contentment with your writing!

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    • Thank you, Cindi. It was definitely one of those stretches you don’t want to revisit. But we’re moving forward, even if we’re exhausted from moving. If all goes well, we should be well-settled and done cleaning the old place by the end of this month. So we’ll be ready to relax and enjoy the summer, and just maybe I can finish that first rough draft of the manuscript by then!

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  14. My goodness. So much to comment on. Very sorry for the loss of your mother-in-law. A dear friend of mine was 95 when she passed away. It was the same sort of feeling. Glad she’s no longer in pain. It was so hard to see her that way near the end. But I do so miss her at times.
    Also sorry for the illness. No fun. But very happy and excited for you about the new house coming along. You each get your own office! That’s something my husband and I dream about! It will be fabulous when it’s all finished, and the anticipation of getting those final touches done will make your love for your new home that much greater. Congrats on that and all the writing you managed to get done despite everything else! Best of luck with April!

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    • I did pack a bit into that post, didn’t I…. I hope the ones moving forward will be more in keeping with my usual life! And maybe include news of good progress on the writing front. I did so well in February, and I’d love to have another stretch like that. My characters have really been far more patient with me than I deserve. 😉

      It’ll take some time to really get settled, but I hope we’ll be mostly there by the end of this month. Even though there’s so much to do, we’re really enjoying the new house, which I take as a good sign for staying here long-term. We have this tendency to move every 5 years or so, but maybe this house and location will finally buck that trend!

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      • Characters being patient. That’s awesome and yet so true. I totally get that! Yes, feeling settled into one place will be wonderful, I’m sure. Or, if you get the itch again, I hope you make a huge profit when you sell that house! Or perhaps I shouldn’t even put the idea in your head!

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  15. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mother-in-law, but having been there, I understand all the angles to what you’ve gone through. I can also appreciate why you’re glad to leave March behind 🙂 Wow – what a month of ups and downs. Looking forward to more posts!

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    • Thanks, Gwen. I could do without another stretch like March for a long, long time. This move was exhausting, so maybe we’re really ready to stay settled in one place for more than a few years, which has been our usual pattern. We want this place to take us through retirement! There’s still a lot of work to do, so April’s writing progress might not meet February’s, but I hope to improve on March. We’ll see! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Luciana. I’ve started writing here, and while the word count per day isn’t high, it’s fairly steady. Once we’re through the bulk of the settling in, I should have more energy for the writing—especially when I have the office set up exactly the way I’d like it. 🙂

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  16. You’ve had a lot going on, hopefully it’s all settling down now. It seems to have been pretty quick since you first announced about getting the house built and actually moving in, although it might not seem quick to you! Sometimes you hear of these projects dragging on and on. Those last finishing off bits might end up taking longer than the whole rest of it did! (Not that I’m trying to be pessimistic, just that that’s how things go sometimes isn’t it – once the essentials are done, other things drift). Hope you find the enjoyment of writing again this month.

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    • Thanks, Vanessa. 🙂 It’s all a bit tiring still. And wrenching my back yesterday didn’t help. I’ve tried to keep moving today, but I bet tomorrow morning will be really rough. 😦 At times it did feel like the process was dragging, but overall, the time went quickly. And you’re right—getting truly settled in might take longer than construction did!

      Right now, I’m really enjoying getting new houseplants. While we were renting, we didn’t have any, and I missed them. So it’s fun to be picking up some old favorites and trying new varieties. We’re including a number of species that are good for cleaning the air this time around. I already think I can feel a difference, although that could be the placebo effect. 🙂

      Writing is becoming more enjoyable this year, and I think that will continue. And that idea makes me very happy. 🙂

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