Monthly Archives: April 2012

Coming Up For Air

Well I’m finally emerging from what feels like a drowning over the past few weeks. My ongoing “writing project from hell” is scheduled to be finished on Thursday, provided I don’t meet any unexpected hurdles in between now and then.

The weekend before last I took my first day off in a month – Mark was finally home from his training in Louisiana, so I did my usual mammoth trek to upstate NY to see him. Although I felt somewhat anxious about all the work I had to do on this project, I’d already scheduled  a 2-day break into my itinerary, and after not seeing Mark for a month, I was determined to have a couple of days off.

It was so nice to see him again, as well as just to have 2 days doing no work whatsoever. Naturally the house looked like Beirut when I arrived. I sometimes think Mark goes out of his way to annoy me on that front. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I hate clutter that never goes away (ie/ the piles of crap that he leaves around randomly – last weekend he suddenly went into the closet while we were watching TV, and emerged with 2 tennis rackets and a kite! All were just thrown on the floor in front of the TV. That was it! Somehow World War III didn’t break out when I asked him politely to put them back in the closet until he actually needed them).

But anyway, mess aside, we had a nice weekend!

The weather was lovely too, and on Saturday we took a drive to the town of Orwell, just about half an hour south of Watertown, to visit Salmon River Falls.

We didn’t take the steep trek down to the base of the falls because neither of us had decent walking boots on, and it was really rocky down to the bottom.

But we did manage a really nice hike around the rest of the trail.

In the picture above, I’m standing on the ledge that drops off to form the falls. We couldn’t really get a decent view of them from up high along the trail. Maybe one day we’ll be wearing decent walking boots so we can climb down a get some good photos of it.

Afterwards as we headed home, we decided on a little wine tasting! There are quite a few vineyards in the Watertown & upstate NY region in general that offer wine tastings, and it seemed like a perfect day for a tasting! So we hit Yellow Barn Winery, we’d never been there before or even tasted their wine. We were the only folk in the place, so we got quite a bit of attention! And we found a bottle of red that we both enjoyed, and took one home for the evening.

Being Easter weekend, Mark decided he wanted to bake cupcakes for us. So the wine came in handy while he baked.

And the finished product was delicious!

We also decided it was time to get some spring flowers for our little patio area at the back of the house. We don’t have a garden – our house just backs out onto the shared green behind the row of town homes, but the little patio is a good size for us to have some pots of flowers. We’ll see how well they turn out – neither of us are really keen gardeners, so we picked some that looked as if they’d have a good fighting chance if they were to be accidentally abandoned for a while!

Ah well, I’m going to head off to finish off my bottle of beer now! I finished working about an hour ago and decided to celebrate with a beer…….hopefully I can wrap up this project by Thursday evening and get this monkey off my back.

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Creating a Monster

I don’t even have any idea how long it’s been since I was here last – maybe 3 weeks? I haven’t even logged into the blog world at all, so I hope you’re all well. Things have just become even more chaotic than previously.

Since Mark has been away training, I’d decided to throw myself heavily into my freelance business, and that’s been going really well. I was very busy in March, & that was a good feeling, acquiring new clients, etc. Last week I acquired another big client, one that seemed to have a project that was perfect for me.

Unfortunately it’s morphed into a monster, and the original 120 hours-before-April 23 that they asked of me, has turned into a never ending requirement of document revisions, add-ons, and “oh we don’t care how many hours it takes, or how many pages it’ll be, we just want it done right….”. Well that’s fine, but they don’t give me any extra on the deadline while they’re raising the bar on what they want…..

So I just had a long and painful conversation with my contact there, who has been so nice all along, letting him know basically that I’m halfway through the allotted 120 hours now, and not even halfway through the document, due to their add-ons. And I just can’t fit any more than 60 hours in between now and the deadline   – simple maths will do the trick there. I feel like I’m just bringing up the elephant in the room that nobody wants to admit to! I already have a full time job and am doing this in my spare time. There just aren’t enough hours in my week to give any more than what I originally agreed to.

But naturally they’re making it all my problem, and about how much of a predicament I’m putting them in. I feel horribly frustrated. My priority is helping them meet their deadline, but they’ve changed the goalpost numerous times now, I just can’t keep up with it.

So I’ve sent them some suggestions of science writers to network with, and have even told them I’ll cap my hours right now and won’t even charge them any more – I’ll just work on my currently-completed draft at the halfway mark, & get that perfectly squared away for them, while someone else works in parallel on the remainder. Realistically, that’s the only way they’ll meet their deadline since they keep adding to what they originally outlined.

Never turn your back on the coffee-ready mug, even for a couple of seconds…..

My poor car has also been a pain in my backside too. In 3 weeks it’s visited VW 3 times…..wheel bearings needed attention first, the car was horribly loud for a while. What a difference it made when they attended to that issue! Three days later the a/c died….and 10 days after that, my check-engine light made an appearance. More than $2000 later, it’s ok again…..as I was leaving VW today when they’d dealt with the engine issue, the guy who took care of me said: “See you Monday, kid!”……I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!!

On a lighter note, Mark is home again as of a couple of days ago. He’s happy to have a real bed again, and it’ll be nice to see him tomorrow. It’ll also be a welcome break for me since I’ve not stopped working, days and nights, since he went away at the beginning of March!

Sadly the nice care package that I mailed to him at Fort Polk was returned to me a week after I mailed it 😦 –   I was really annoyed because the box had been opened up, and then badly re-sealed, and 80% of the stuff I’d put in there had been taken out. Honestly, I wish whomever had delved into it had just kept it. It made me sad to think someone had been in there, going through the personal stuff I mailed, like notes and photos. Swines.

"I know you can smell burned cat fur….I just jumped on the oven, onto the open-flame-burner, scared myself to death, and now I'm feeling rather sheepish……"

OK, I’ll have to get back to my writing project…..it’s been good therapy taking a 15 minute break though! Hope you’re all well……one day I might even get to read again about what you’ve all been up to!