Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hooray for the Internet! Also, NaNo Updates.

Gather round children, as I tell you a tale of woe.

The house we were renting blew up. Not literally, but figuratively. The hot water heater stopped working and the circuit breaker was so old the electrician couldn't find replacement fuses in the three weeks between it stopping and us moving out. The dishwasher was broken before we moved in, so hand washing dishes in cold water was fun, let me tell you.

The fridge stopped working, the electricity bill was atrocious due to the aforementioned old circuit breakers, and none of the windows sealed up (very common for old houses in Puerto Rico, I must mention) so while we ran the AC at night the cold air went out the cracks and cervices. 

It was also a much longer commute than my husband was expecting and gas is way more expensive than in the States.

We decided it was time to move and gave notice. Our stuff STILL hasn't arrived from the States, so we tried to hurry up before it arrived, so we wouldn't have to move it twice. We found a place, signed the paperwork and called the electricity and water companies to get things switched over to the new town.

This took all day of being on hold. We had to enlist the help of one of my husband's coworkers because most of the people we talked to over the phone aren't fluent in English. 

Side note: you really should be fluent in Spanish to live in Puerto Rico. A lot of people made it out like we would have no issues speaking only basic Spanish, but that is so not true. Most people speak some English. You can go out to eat, go to public buildings, go to the grocery store, and get by. But there will be a time when you need to be fluent in Spanish, like say the security guard who opens the gate to your neighborhood, or the realtor who is showing the apartment you want, and you'll be completely screwed. 

This is not to say that the entire island has to cater to English speakers. They don't. It's our job to be able to communicate in the dominate language of the country we're living in, and that language is Spanish. English is more ubiquitous than in other foreign countries, but it's still an issue. An issue I hope won’t exist too much longer, as I am studying Spanish diligently, but unfortunately the people I’ve run into need me to understand what they’re saying beyond greetings.

Anyway, back to the horror story that has been the last few weeks. We get the utilities switched over and are told it will be 3-5 business days to turn them on, and Monday was a holiday. This was a Friday. We find a cute little vacation home to stay in for a few days while we wait for them to turn the stuff on.

Tuesday night we drive to the new place to check. We open the door only to step in a two inch puddle of water. The lights are on, and so is the water. In fact, the former tenant left the beday running in the upstairs master bathroom, and it’s flooded the top floor, and flowing over the balcony to the entire downstairs. 

Two hours later, we managed to squeegee all the water from the upstairs, to the downstairs, onto our balcony where it’s draining. Thank God this was Puerto Rico, and everything is tile floors. The next few days we spend cleaning the condo from top to bottom. It’s laid out like a townhouse, with the bedrooms upstairs and the living room, kitchen, and sunroom downstairs. We also have a penthouse level on the roof. It’s more spacious than the townhouses I’ve seen in the States though, hence it being more like a condo. 

After we finished cleaning all the things, including the kitchen from top to bottom, we went shopping for food, and necessary items we had been using at the other house. We also set up to have the Internet installed on Tuesday.

On top of that, I’ve been fielding calls to the moving company, trying to figure out where the heck our stuff is. It’s been a month and a half longer than they said it would be, and they told us it was “customs” holding things up. Every time I call for an update, they say it will be another week or two. We called customs and they have no idea what the moving company is talking about,  since they don’t deal with household goods. Let’s remember, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. They have customs, but it’s not as rigorous as if we were moving to Germany. So I asked for the landing number and the cargo company they were using. I am currently waiting for them to get back to me on that.

It’s been good times, I tell you what.

Somehow, despite missing many days of writing, I’m about on track with NaNo. The good news was I managed to get really, really ahead in the first week, and that managed to make a nice buffer for me. Adding to that, when I have a writing session I can usually blow the bare minimum daily word count out of the park. 

Of course, the “this book totally sucks and I am a sucky, sucky loser” feeling hasn’t gone away. That’s a special part of the process that just keeps giving. :D
It’s a weird balance though…when real life is blowing up around me, I crave the escape that writing provides. The extra stress and anxiety makes drafting harder, but it’s also a welcome retreat. 

I’m not going to blow the NaNo word count out of the water like I have in the past, finishing with ridiculously high word counts like 70, 90, or even 150K like I did that first year, but I feel confident that I will win NaNo this year, and then keep going. This draft shouldn’t take as long to write as ZOMBIE ROAD TRIP did, mostly thanks to a) regular naptimes for the toddler, and b) said toddler sleeping through the night, so I am not in turn, exhausted every day.

There’s the updates and why this NaNo have been distinctly lacking in me frantically posting about how it’s all going sideways, and DOOM!

But don’t worry. Now that I have Internet again, I should be able to fill your days with regular updates of terror and distress. 

How’s your NaNo coming along? How’s your Turkey day plans?


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