(Niceville, Florida; October 17, 2021) – The long journey I embarked upon this past May is nearly over as I engage in the final prep work around the Emerald Duck before my household goods.
This has been an intense and busy time, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon! My household goods arrive later this month and I’ll finally shift full time to Pensacola. Things will once again kick off when that glorious event happens. I’ll be living full time in Pensacola starting that day…in a house crammed with a jumbled disarray of a plethora of personal possession all perniciously pestering me for attention! Setting up a house is not an easy day of hanging pictures on the wall, organizing the closets, and then sitting back enjoying a sip of wine while the sun sets gracefully over a quiet horizon.
Setting up house is living inside a four-dimensional tesseract whose multiple parts are all out of place. Want to use the bathroom? Climb over the living room furniture. Want to go cook dinner? The cookery gear is hidden in a bedroom. Want to hit the rack and sleep for the night? Good luck finding the bed frame in the garage and excavating the sheets from under the yard tools that got put in the pantry.
The funniest thing I’ve encountered as I set up utilities and all is the number of people in Pensacola who’ve never moved in their lives. These people apologize to me, expressing sympathy for the suffering I’m surely enduring as I navigate this nasty nightmare of lifestyle logistics. I just laugh and tell them I grew up in the Air Force and was career Navy. Frankly, I don’t know anything about a life that doesn’t involve moving.
By the way, Pensacola is a Navy town. How in the name of John Q. Arbuckle did it get filled with people who’ve never even moved once?!
Moving is like any other long-term, complex project. You have to plan it, keep organized, and, most importantly, be realistic. I’ve got a chance to get the Emerald Duck prepped before my stuff arrives, meaning I can get the painting done and shelves put up, etc., without tripping over my furniture. Even so, it’s a lot of work. I’d have liked to get the painting all done in one day, but that’s not a realistic goal. Painting just one wall in the Great Hall (entry hall) took over three hours. That includes taping off the area, painting with the roller, using the edging brush, doing touch-ups, and then clean up.
Pacing yourself is critical to getting a new place set up without losing your sanity (I lost my sanity long ago, but I just ordered some new sanity from Wayfair. Should be here in a few days.). Pacing and realistic expectations will keep your stress level reduced from the level of a charging herd of inebriated elephants stomping you into a puddle of pudding to one of blissful peace—the kind you feel when you’re being buzzed by swarming hummingbirds intent on guzzling your Dr. Pepper.
Still, I closed on the house September 23, and this is only October 17. I’ve got the painting done. The garage is as set up with shelves as it can be before I have everything here and can start tweaking out the details. I got some new furniture in place to replace some old, broken-down things and to utilize the space more efficiently. I’m done with everything I can do ahead of time.
Buying a house is enough to drive anyone around the twist. During this time I’ve also been engaged in my first pass editing run at And So It Begins, the third Accidental Detective novel. I’ll be getting with Jerry, my editor, beginning in December, and by early January we’ll be elbows-deep in the guts of the book, tearing through it with a metaphorical scalpel. However, before that can happen, I have to finish this first pass…and this first pass requires me to rewrite and reimagine vast swaths of the novel.
I drafted And So It Begins in 2018. This is 2021 and I have two novels under my belt. My skills are far superior to what they were in 2018, so a great deal of the novel has to be rewritten to bring it up to my current standards before I even show it to Jerry. Either I do this now, or else I’ll be doing it the night before each of Jerry and I’s working sessions, and that’s no way to get this book ready for its release April 20th of next year!
Still, I don’t want to seem like I’m not enjoying myself. I’ve got a truckload on my plate right now (or a truckload of plates spinning on my loaded table, if you will), but I’m setting up only the second house I’ve ever owned, and I’m doing it in a city I’ve wanted to live in since I was a kid—Pensacola. I’ve had fun using the house’s floorplans and my own rather formidable imagination to envision how I’m going to set up each room. I’m also excited to have a dedicated studio again. Unlike my improvised studio in Silverdale, or the mobile studio I’m writing and broadcasting from now, the Emerald Duck’s studio will be a specific room with a background conducive to filming quality videos while affording a specific workspace to write in that’s fully separate from my living area.
My work area was right off my living area in Washington State. That made it very hard to psychologically ‘feel’ like I was able to leave work and ‘go home’ at the end of a writing day. The experience was not unlike being aboard ship again, where we effectively lived and worked in the same space. You’re psychologically prepared for that reality on a Navy vessel, not in your own home. Having the two rooms fully separated (living area downstairs, studio upstairs) is a feature I went over the moon about…just as soon as I found a cow who could jump that high.
I’ve written before about ‘perspective.’ When you’re snowed under, even by a slew of good things happening to you, it builds stress. That’s a natural human reaction we all experience to some degree or other. Preventing that stress from crossing the line into an unhealthy level of anxiety requires you to pace yourself, set realistic goals about how much you can accomplish at once, and accept there will be things you won’t anticipate and have to juggle on the fly. Perspective means recognizing you’re in a stressful situation and taking evasive action proactively to maintain your health and good humor. For a control freak like me who hates disorder (PTSD-inspired anxiety disorders are not helped by a cluttered, disorganized environment!), keeping that kind of perspective is critical to maintaining my health.
Still, the Emerald Duck is commissioned and being fitted out now. I’m excited to start living full-time in Pensacola while being only an hour’s drive from my family homestead in Niceville. These next few years are going to be fun!
…Just my thoughts!
Check out my video on this topic at: https://youtu.be/jxd8fauO9VE
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