Sunday, May 20, 2018

The final moving post.

Are y'all as sick of our move as we are?

I bet you're not!

Kitty, Amy and I spent all afternoon at our old apartment, getting rid of all the stuff we didn't take with us and doing the final cleaning. And not a moment too soon.

I don't think I've ever blogged about why we were in such a hurry to move. The building we've just left is currently undergoing renovation. Now I've lived in rental complexes that were under renovation before, but this is the first time I've ever experienced a renovation of apartments while people are living in them. And we're not just talking about swapping out appliances. Our unit was slated for a premium upgrade -- installing a washer-dryer, opening up the kitchen to let in natural light, swapping out the old appliances for stainless steel, swapping out the old bathroom vanity, tearing out and replacing the radiators in each room. The only thing they're not doing in occupied units that they're doing in vacant units is ripping out the wall-to-wall carpet and putting in vinyl plank flooring.

Sounds great, right? Except installing the washer-dryer has involved drilling through concrete to run the water and drain lines and multiple entrances of our unit for installation of everything. This started over the winter and is not yet done. In fact, there was a notice stuck in our door when we got there today that the building management plans is just now ready to do the final wiring and plumbing and put up drywall. Between the workers' access and the county inspections after each step (necessary, but still), we counted four entrances to our unit over the next two weeks. And we still wouldn't have a washer-dryer -- installation is yet another step that won't be done 'til sometime this summer.

And that's only part of the reno, as I said. The kitchen redo involves knocking out a wall and moving the breaker box for the whole apartment, among other things. And it's supposed to take two weeks. While we're living there. (As I observed to the resident manager, couples who choose to renovate their kitchens sometimes get divorced over it.)

This is apart from the leak in the hallway near our apartment from who-knows-where: maybe another unit, maybe the laundry room. The carpet has been wet for months.

So we gave our notice and moved out. Our new place has a washer-dryer, a much bigger kitchen, two bathrooms (we only had one in the old place), a balcony, and vinyl plank flooring.

I admit I didn't want to move. I'd been in the old building for eight years and I loved the location. And the packing/sorting/packing/giving away/unpacking/cleaning is such a huge hassle. But this new place suits us better. And going back over to the old place today emphasized what a good decision we'd made. Old place = depressing. New place = new home.

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If I don't pick a release date for the memoir, I'll never get it out the door. So let's say Thursday, June 7, is the day I'll unleash Mom's House on the world. More to come next week.

Also, I still need to do a giveaway for the Transcendence books. Look for that to happen in mid- to late June.

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These moments of bloggy renovation have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers with feet of clay.

In case social media somehow missed out on informing you: Here in the United States, today is Mother's Day. What started simply as a day to honor all mothers has become ridiculously commercial. Hallmark started it with Mother's Day greeting cards, but soon the florists, restauranteurs, and spa owners got into the act. Nowadays, you're not supposed to just tell Mom thanks for all she's done for you -- you're supposed to gather the family to wine and dine her and shower her with gifts.

I'm not the sort of person who would turn down flowers and a meal I don't have to cook. But I'm mindful of the folks for whom this is kind of a lousy day: women who want to be moms but aren't, for whatever reason; women who are no longer in contact with their children; women whose mothers have died; and women who have learned, or who have come to realize, that their mothers weren't exactly the Hallmark ideal.

It's late enough in the day that we can talk about imperfect mothers, right? Brunch is long since over and the grandkids have gone to bed. It's just us grownups. We don't have to sugar-coat the holiday tonight. We can admit that not every mother is perfect.

My mother died in 2008 at the age of ninety-three. She was born before the Depression, one of six kids in a family headed by parents who were immigrants from what was then Czechoslovakia.

As a child, of course, I thought she was perfect. Then I got older, and became certain I would raise my own kids differently than she had raised me. But she was still Mom to me.

Then I had kids of my own, and yes, I did a lot of things differently -- but not everything. And now she was Grandma as well as Mom -- but I still didn't think of her as anything else. I had long since stopped considering her to be perfect and I got annoyed with her a lot, but it didn't occur to me to think of her as a person apart from the relationship I had with her.

It wasn't until she began losing her memory in her final years that I could see her as a separate person. A woman. Human. Imperfect. A product of her time, yes, and of the family she had grown up in -- and of ours, too. All the things she had experienced in her life had made her who she was. And then dementia began to take them away.

Given time and perspective, I think, we are all capable of reaching a point where we realize that everyone we meet is doing the best they can with what life has given them to work with. It may take us longer to realize that about some people than others.

So today, I can say, "Thanks, Mom. I know now that you did the best you could with what life gave you to work with."

That's not a bad epitaph, all things considered. I hope someday my own kids will say the same of me.

***
Speaking of families of origin: Progress on Mom's House, my memoir, has been suspended since we began packing for the move. We're in the new place now, and while we still have some stuff to wrap up at the old place, I am just about ready to pick up the book again and -- at long last -- get it out the door. Look for the launch in the first or second week of June.

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These moments of familial blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

We have winners!

It's nearly moving day for us here at La Casa Cantwell, and we have all hit the stage where we are so totally over it.

The old place looks like a disaster area, but nearly everything is packed. Today (and yesterday -- long story, don't ask) we finished assembling the wardrobe at the new place. The movers will be here bright and early tomorrow morning.

And you, my friends, are the most awesome ever, because I will not have to move those two sets (13 books each!) of the paperback editions of the books in the Pipe Woman Chronicles universe.

Please help me congratulate Stephanie Grant and Amanda Smith, the winners of the giveaway! Ladies, I've emailed you for your addresses so I know where to send your books. (If you don't see my email, please check your spam folder.)

I'd love to write more tonight, but I still have to pack up the kitchen (aieeeee...). Thanks to everyone for playing -- you're the best!

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These moments of bloggy winning have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Moving sale.

Moving. Ugh.

I mentioned last week that we're moving to a new apartment. Along with the usual packing and sorting and packing, we spent several hours yesterday at IKEA. I spent most of today at the new place, assembling the wardrobe I bought yesterday. Good times.

Anyway, there's a lot of packing still to be done, but one thing I would like to not have to pack are a bunch of paperback books in inventory. I bought several copies of each of the books in the Pipe Woman Chronicles last year, intending to run a giveaway on Goodreads...and forgot. The good news is that I now have two -- count 'em, two -- full sets of the three series to give away to you, faithful hearth/myth readers.

Sorry that the photos of the prizes are so awful. The lighting was bad and I've already packed my book stands. But all the books there! In order, they are:

The Pipe Woman Chronicles
Seized
Fissured
Tapped
Gravid
Annealed

Land, Sea, Sky
Crosswind
Undertow
Scorched Earth

Pipe Woman's Legacy
Dragon's Web
Firebird's Snare
Spider's Lifeline
Turtle's Weir

And the second edition of A Billion Gods and Goddesses: The Mythology of the Pipe Woman Chronicles.

The fun starts tonight and ends Saturday night, May 5th, at 7:00pm Eastern time. Unfortunately, I can only afford to ship these sets to folks in the US and Canada. (I also have a couple of sets of the Transcendence series that I meant to give away in this contest, but I realized I'd already packed them. So I guess I'll be giving those away next month -- and since there are only three books in that series, I'll be able to ship them anywhere.)

Of course, the usual and customary rules apply:

1. Friends and family may definitely enter.
2. Winners of previous contests may win again.
3. There will be a winner. I am not moving these books!
4. As always, the judge's decision is arbitrary, capricious, and final.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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These moments of contested blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.