Update. Next Publication is: Under Strange Suns, available digitally August 2015, print version due December 2015, Twilight Times Books.

Settling In

I’ve been in the new house about three weeks now. The majority of the unpacking is complete. It is even conceivable a car could be parked in the garage soon. But that doesn’t mean I’m nearly finished. Oh, no. The torrent of chores may have dwindled to a stream, but the flow continues.

Of growing urgency is the need to buy a lawnmower. The grass inches ever taller. I’ve been hitting stores over the last couple of days, searching for a grass cutter. But I want a reel mower, not a power mower. I don’t want to deal with engines and gasoline. The lawn isn’t that big. But autumn nears and even those stores that do stock reel mowers have cleared away the inventory. Back to Amazon, I guess. Some assembly required, indeed.

I bought a caulking gun. And caulk. This means, I suppose, impending caulking. My television died in its sleep. So, I had to buy another one. You guessed it, Amazon. ETA: any day now. Various items of furniture remain on the to-be-purchased list. One piece at a time, I suppose, except for dining room chairs and bar stools. Buying those piecemeal makes little sense.

Hear that sound? That’s my wallet screaming.

Grout sealed. Check. Minor job done. But fences, now there’s an undertaking. And getting a concrete slab poured out back. And…well, it just goes on.

It’s like writing a book, in a sense. The task consists of a continually evolving sequence of chores. Plot, character motivation, distinctive characterization, narrative pace, planting information, evocative description. Reaching a goal — say establishing an important plot point — requires achieving a certain number of subgoals, like ensuring a character would be likely to make a certain statement, meaning prior demonstration of a certain personality, earlier utterance of similar statements, etc. And then something unexpected demands another series of actions. Then reaching the primary goal reveals another series of tasks yet to complete. It goes on and on.

Except, it doesn’t. Eventually, you finish writing the book. Editing and proofreading are complete, and the book is off the printer. You’re done. But with a house, it never ends. Never. Regular maintenance requires maintaining. Regularly. New chores pop up. Re-design and remodeling will occur, whether you want it or not, especially when one’s spouse has a background in architecture and design.

So, settling in, yes. Settled? Never.