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  • I was once told that nothing good comes easy.  If that’s true, then this house must be glorious.
    • We applied for the mortgage in early June, and thought that the recommended 45 days for it to process was a bit excessive.  Imagine our shock when we were frantically providing paperwork, money, and explanations less than a business day before our closing.
    • My bank has a very convenient web portal for uploading the myriad pieces of paperwork that you have to provide when applying for a mortgage.  Of course, the lady we worked with didn’t seem to have a handle in using it, so we ended up emailing her most of it anyway.  Several times.  In a couple of different versions.  And it all had to get to her immediately or our mortgage would be denied and the world would end.
    • Day of closing was a real treat.  Our 9 AM appointment to sign all the paperwork was delayed by several hours BECAUSE THE MORTGAGE COMPANY DIDN’T THINK IT NECESSARY TO SEND THEIR APPROVAL AND MONEY TO THE TITLE COMPANY.
    • I will say that the actual signing went rather smoothly. I think I signed my name more for the mortgage than I ever did for a security clearance.
  • We moved in this week, and it’s been a marathon.  The movers got the big stuff and a lot of things we’d packed, and we’ve spent the last three days taking other things over from the old house.
    • The look on the movers’ faces when they saw the Coca-Cola machine, arcade game, pinball machine, and jukebox was priceless.
    • You’ve never known stress until you’ve got three coolers full of frozen meat and vegetables in the bed of your truck and you get stuck in a traffic jam in July.
    • All that canned food and such we have gathered so that we have the necessary amount of shelf-stable food for emergencies?  Yeah, my ammunition was lighter.
    • It’s amazing how quickly you go from “We have to keep this because it might come in handy” to “Forget it, let’s get another dumpster” when you have to drive 20 minutes each way with each truckload of stuff.
  • Irish Woman is happy that we now own a riding lawn mower, complete with two cup holders.  One is for the beer that she will drink while mowing the lawn.  The other is for the other beer she will drink while mowing the lawn.
  • Boo has had some misgivings about moving out of the only house he’s ever known, but seems to be adjusting.  Having a basement he can hang out in, a neighborhood full of kids, and a buddy who lives a couple of doors down seem to help.
  • For the first time in my life, I have a home with more than one bathroom.  I’m not sure how to handle this.
  • The dogs are finally returning to normal.  We put them into a kennel for a couple of nights while we moved to the new house, which freaks both of them out. Then we didn’t return to their house, with all new smells and rooms to explore. Plus, there are other dogs visible from our kitchen window, so they have someone to yell at.

Today’s Earworm


  • Only mad dogs and Irish Women mow lawns under the mid-day sun.
  • Irish Woman says that taking a nap puts me in an awful mood.
    • I disagree.  Naps put me in a wonderful mood.  It’s the waking up from a nap that puts me in an awful mood.
  • Nothing makes you go from “I think I need to wash and vacuum the truck” to “I need to detail clean the truck” as quickly as a Labrador Retriever dancing in two extra huge root beers on the floor boards and upholstery.
  • When you’re dealing with a dog dancing in soft drinks in your truck cab, you need to be careful to remember to grab the dog’s medicine you put on the truck’s roof before taking off at a high rate of speed.
    • I guess if it’s good enough to pay for once, it’s good enough to pay for twice.

Book Review – Intensely Familiar

Alma Boykin continues the story of Lelia Chan and her Familiar Tay in Intensely Familiar.

Home is the Hunter . . .

Something moves in the darkness, hunting the hunters. An ambush leaves Lelia Chan weak and troubled. Her husband André returns from an extended deployment with problems of his own, some old, some new. Both shadow mages and their Familiars need rest. Their enemy, however, does not.

Magic solves magical problems: that’s the rule among Riverton’s magic users. But what if it doesn’t? Especially against a foe who is Intensely Familiar.

Intensely Familiar starts with a punch to the gut and keeps you reading until the last sentence.  Like the rest of the series, it is a character-driven tale with fast, intense action sequences. It’s not a thriller, but it keeps your attention through good story telling and pacing.

Lelia Chan is wholly fleshed out by now, but Ms. Boykin continues to let her grow and evolve without forcing the character forward.  Her husband, Andre, is also well done, but we are still learning about him as a central character in the story.  Other characters, such as her employer, Arthur, round out a cast that we can all relate to.

Intensely Familiar ends a multi-book story arc and hints to more in the future.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where Ms. Boykin takes her characters.


  • I know it doesn’t count as camping if we get a cabin and sleep in beds, but I have to wonder why I’m just as tired as I would be if we slept on the ground and hiked all day.
  • The first night we were there, I brought in the food cooler, but left the beer cooler out.
    • The raccoons opened that one and gave everything a good pawing over with their muddy feet.
    • No worries, said I, as I drained the beer cooler, gave all of the bottles a going over with a Clorox wipe, then put them back.  It’s nature, I said.  They’re just following their rambunctious instincts.
  • The second night, I arrived back at our campsite approximately 15 minutes after sundown to interrupt a raccoon smorgasbord in progress.  It looked like I’d thrown a hand grenade in a hen house as the fuzzy little bastards unassed the cabin’s porch.
    • This time, they gave both coolers a good going over, and I had to separate out the contaminated food from the still-vapor-locked stuff.
    • That is, of course, once I’d cleaned up the bologna, cheese, blackberries, and raw bratwurst they had strewn across the porch.
    • I ended up having to throw out all of the uncooked breakfast sausage, the ham, the leftover sausage gravy, and almost all of the fresh fruit.
    • Did I mention that this was after dark and I could see their beady little eyes watching every move I made?
  • Breakfast on Sunday, for two adults and a 12 year old with a hollow leg, consisted of a pineapple that I cut up with my pocket knife, bananas, hot dogs, 2 day old biscuits with jelly, and coffee.
  • Because of all this, I am declaring an official jihad against the thieving rascals.  No longer will I gently prod them off of my porch at night.  Nor will I indulge my lovely wife when she defends them based on their cuteness.
  • During our travels to and from the wilds of southern Indiana, I had the unique experience of stopping at a convenience store in an area whose drug problem has made the national news more than once.
    • The display of novelty glassware was only dwarfed by the “It’s not ephedrine anymore!” stimulant selection on the other side of the register.
    • Also, who would have guessed that the folk around there needed so many metal scrubbing pads?
  • The work to finalize the purchase of our new home continues.  The inspections are complete, with the exception of the one done by the Veteran’s Affairs folks.  I’m happy to say that our new home has a modern septic system, no evidence of termites, and the minor issues with the roof are being taken care of as I type this.
    • Irish Woman is already shopping for the pool she wants for the back yard.
  • The current work in progress is off to the beta readers, and I have a wonderful cover in the works from the nice lady who did my last cover.  Should have some snippets from it in the next few weeks.

How My Day Went

Me – Did you do the thing?
Them – Yes, I did the thing.
Me, a couple hours later, with definitive proof that they did not, in fact, do the thing – Why isn’t the thing done?
Them, after some silence on the line – Well, doing the thing was hard and boring. Why don’t you get someone else to do the thing?
Me, getting The Voice out and polishing it a bit – Because everyone else is doing their own things
Them, now sounding offended – But I don’t know how to do the thing. Nobody taught me how to do the thing.
Me – You’ve been doing the thing, incorrectly, for a decade. And here’s the email I sent you with instructions my cat could have followed for doing the thing.  Just do the thing and it will be done.
Them, now defensive – Why do we have to do the thing? Nobody wants to do the thing.
Me, now with both The Voice and two drops of Retsin – The thing needs to be done, it needs to be done right, and if you don’t do the thing right, the people who pay you to do the thing are going to be angry.
Them – Well, I’ll try to do the thing sometime next week. I’ve got other things I need to do.
Me – Name them.
Them – What?
Me – What are the other things you have to do now?
Them – Well, you know, just.. things.
Me – You not doing the thing correctly, right now, is stopping me and other people from doing other things that need to be done.
Them – So? Those aren’t my things to do.
Me – Just do the thing. Now.
Them – Why are you so mean? I mean, I’ll try now, but I’ll just break things.
Me, trying to remember why I got into this line of work – If you break things, you will fix even more things.
Them – But I’m getting off work in an hour or two.
Me – The thing takes 20 minutes if you do it right, and it’s only just now past lunch. Do. The. Thing.
Them, now really out of sorts that someone would tell, not ask, not cajole, not bribe, them to do the thing – Alright, alright, I’ll do the thing, but when it breaks, it’s your problem.
Other Them, 15 minutes later – Hey, the thing is broken.
First Them – You see? I told you. Now the thing is broken and it’s your fault for making me touch it.
Me, giving my monitor the migraine salute – Did you do the thing the way I told you to?
Them – No, I did the thing the way I wanted to. Now it’s broken. Listen, I gotta run. Just fix the thing and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help out when I get back tomorrow.
The sound of someone abruptly ending an electronic conversation and disappearing back to whatever realm they go to when they’re not on the clock.
Me, beating head against desk, trying to make the hurting stop – This is why we can’t have nice things!

Today’s Earworm

Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet



  • Well, after several years of talking about it, numerous negotiations on what we both want and are willing to compromise on, both of us choosing hills we’re willing to die on, intense discussions about moving to North Dakota and taking up some honest living or another, stalking areas we wanted to live in, a couple of false starts, then a sprint to get to a house that we both liked before it was gobbled up, Irish Woman and I have started the process of purchasing a new home.
  • We looked at two houses yesterday.  Both were very nice.
    • Both properties were on the market for a little more than 24 hours when we took a tour.
    • One was a bungalow built in 1916.  It had been added onto, and had a lot of character and other things that made me like it.  It was on the edge of the country, with one of my favorite watering holes just down the street.
    • It also had plumbing and wiring very similar to our current house, which gave me pause.  One of my goals was to not get another fixer-upper.
    • By the time we got done looking at the bungalow, someone else had put in an offer, so deciding to not bid on it got easier.
    • The other house was a relatively new (well, newer than the house we have now) ranch on a nice lot in a neighborhood that we’ve been keeping an eye on.
    • We looked at the second house, then talked on its porch for a few minutes before asking our realtor to make an offer.
    • The market around here is so hot that a lot of properties don’t even make it to the realty sites before they’re sold.
  • With that, we began the paperwork part of this process.  As much work as this is to do electronically, I cannot imagine how it was done in the days of carbon paper.
  • Today, I have provided the following things to our bank:
    • VA certificate
    • Statements from our checking, savings, and investment accounts
    • A copy of our contract to buy the house
    • A picture of the check I wrote for the deposit
    • Our latest statement on our current mortgage
    • A genealogy going back five generations on both sides
    • Our latest horoscopes
    • Proof that we are, indeed, human.
    • Pawprint impressions from both dogs and one of the cats
    • An offer of our son’s hand in marriage to the last scion of some obscure Italian nobility. I’m told she’s quite lovely.
  • Finding someone to do the home and septic inspections was an adventure all by itself.  Apparently I’m just one of a million yokels who are buying homes these days.  I found one, count them, one inspector who could get the job done in the ten days we have per the contract.
  • Our plan is to move out of our current place, then fix, paint, clean, and polish everything so that we can put it on the market.  We’ve already gotten the plumbing fixed, and more is to come.
  • Hopefully, by the time the Kentucky Derby rolls around on Labor Day, we’ll be settled into our new house one county over and will only have one mortgage.

Review – Forget Nothing

Michelle C. Meyers and Jason Anspach teamed up to explore the life one of the more intriguing characters in the Galaxy’s Edge series.  Their work pays off big time in “Forget Nothing

She Chose the Hardest Way

The daughter of a Legion war hero, fighting was in Andien Broxin’s blood. But the battles Republic marines face on strange and alien worlds are a far cry from the vaunted, brutal, no-holds-barred conflicts fought at the edge of the galaxy by the elite legionnaires.

Until a devastating war erupts right in the Republic’s stellar backyard.

Newly stationed on a mid-core planet being harassed by terrorist revolutionaries, Andien and her fellow “hullbusters” find themselves right in the middle of a desperate fight for survival. All their training, standards, discipline—all the hard paths—have led to this. If she and her fellow marines are to come out of this alive, Andien will have to find out who she truly is…and what she can become.

We first met Andien Broxin on Kublar in Legionnaire, the first book in the series, and the character became more and more important to the series in later books.  She’s tough, talented, and dedicated to her mission.  Forget Nothing takes us back to when Andien was an officer in the Republic Marines.  This female warrior is capable, but believable. Yes, she kicks ass and leads from the front, but she’s not a cartoonish GI Jane who beats up grown men and has a pithy comment to spit out over their prostrate bodies.

Meyers and Anspach wrote this character in a way that reminds me of the best leaders I have known, regardless of their gender.  She pushes herself constantly, but the characters has limits that push back.  She’s experienced, but has things to learn as the story goes on.  She’s brave, but is written in a way that you can feel her overcoming the shock and fear of combat.

The other character that stood out in the story was Gunny O’Neill.  If you’ve ever known an old, crusty NCO who was a master at motivating his troops with sharp comments and wry wit, you’ll recognize him immediately.  I laughed long and hard at some of his absolutely genius dialogue.  I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve heard some, but not all, of it before, because it’s been directed at me.

Forget Nothing is well-paced, and Khristine Hvam’s narration is almost 100% spot on.  The story flows through several sequences that flesh out Andien Broxin as a person and an officer, then rushes into several excellent combat sequences.  The character is allowed to make mistakes, then struggle to overcome them.

If you’ve enjoyed the other books in Galaxy’s Edge, I think you’ll enjoy how the authors filled out this character and gave us a good understanding of her backstory and how she’s put together. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Andien.

With Apologies to Kipling

I went into a Walmart to buy a box of shells,
The manager ‘e up an’ sez, “Those we no longer sell.”
The girls be’ind the register they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Gun Nut this, an’ Gun Nut that, an’ “Gun Nut, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Firearms Owner”, when the mob comes to play
The mob comes to play, my boys, the mob comes to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Firearms Owner”, when the mob comes to play.

I went into a concert as sober as could be,
They waved the guy with a bong in his pocket through, but had no time for me;
They pointed to a “NO GUNS” sign affixed upon the wall,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they give me a call!
For it’s Gun Nut this, an’ Gun Nut that, an’ “Gun Nuts not allowed!”;
But it’s “Can you defend my shop, friend?” when the thugs form a crowd,
The thugs form a crowd, my boys, the thugs form a crowd,
O it’s “Can you defend my shop, friend?” when the thugs form a crowd.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ folks like me who their guns they want to keep
Is cheaper than cleaning up the streets, an’ that’d be starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ honest people when they want to shoot a bit
Is five times better business than voters knowing you’re a twit.
Then it’s Gun Nut this, an’ Gun Nut that, an’ “Gun Nut, wait your turn!”
But it’s “Neighbor, can I borrow a gun?” when the towns begin to burn,
The towns begin to burn, my boys, the towns begin to burn,
O it’s “Neighbor, can I borrow a gun?” when the towns begin to burn.

We aren’t no Dirty Harry’s, nor we aren’t no madmen too,
But honorable folk with firearms, just citizens, like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, honorable citizens with firearms don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Gun Nut this, an’ Gun Nut that, an’ “Gun nut, fall in line”,
But it’s “Please protect the unprepared, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please protect the unprepared, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ bans for magazines, an’ suppressors, an’ ammo, an’ all:
But we’ll stand a turn at guard with you if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about with empty promises, but prove it to our face
The gun is just a tool, it’s the man sets the pace.
For it’s Gun Nut this, an’ Gun Nut that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Gun Nut this, an’ Gun Nut that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Gun Nut ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Gun Nut sees!

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