Your website could end up cat-egorized under “Cat Hair Balls”:
Thanks Mom, for letting me know. A paperwork oversight, centered mainly on, um, me.
After my last snowplowing episode I bought chains. The good news? They work great (as the photo below indicates) (and thanks, patient local parts store guys who helped me order them). The bad news? They come in a rinky-dink plastic case with little plastic tabs that refuse to open in, umm, cold weather, effectively locking them away no matter how you pray or pry. Until finally, with the kids already late for school and the driveway still impassable, you raise the whole works high above your head, and with all the rage you can muster, you go into gorilla slam-dunk mode and…well, see the second photo, which was actually taken prior to the first.
Started the day by doing the turtle-flop into a puddle of freezing rain while unloading green bins of tin cans.
Subsequently re-started the day.
For the first time in years, I was actually prepared for the deer season opener. All my gear laid out in the pole barn, everything in its proper pocket, all outerwear hung in the fresh air and de-scented, a new stand set up in the spot I’d been eyeing for the past three years but hadn’t gotten to, shooting lanes trimmed, everything done. When the alarm beeped at 5 a.m. (or, as we call it, “O’dark-thirty”), I didn’t hit snooze but rather rose and dressed and set out through the trees for the far valley where my stand stood. When I arrived, I arranged everything to be easily at hand, settled into my seat, switched off my headlamp, and looking to the east, marveled that I was actually set to hunt before the horizon had even begun to gray.
As a side note–and this may or may not mean anything to you, but it’s huge for me–because for once things had gone as planned and I hadn’t had to lumber-jog to the stand in order to get there before sunrise as per usual, I wasn’t starting the day as a steamy mouth-breathing sweat-ball.
Nope, I was just sitting there at room temperature and resting heart rate, rifle across my knees, waiting for sunrise. By lifelong habit, I slid my hand along the rifle stock to check the safety.
And discovered that I had forgotten to remove the trigger lock.
Envision now, if you will, a muttering, self-loathing gorilla clad in blaze orange as he clambers down the stand and embarks on a thudding half-mile jog a half-mile uphill through burdock, brush, and pine trees until he reaches his office above the garage where he keeps the key, unlocks his trigger, then thuds back downhill through the dark and back to his tree stand where shortly he sits with sweat dripping down his back and steam rising from his bald head, the high-pitched whine of his blood pressure audible over the sound of the morning’s first birds.
At 7:30 a.m. a doe entered the clearing, followed by a six-point buck. Had a tag for each, filled each.
Modest deer, trophy venison.
Reader Chris C. has sharp eyes and points out that on page 162 of Visiting Tom I refer to Tom’s car as a “long-gone Ford convertible” despite the fact that it was introduced on page 5 as “a white ’49 Chevy convertible.” I have checked, and Chris is quite right. I’m pretty sure it was a Chevy, but I’m going to check with Tom.
Chris also raised a question about the size of the engine. I will ask Tom about that as well.
If you’re new around here, you know I enjoy it when readers contact me with errors they’ve spotted, with one caveat: Anyone who notifies me in the tone of gotcha!, will be dinging on deaf ears. The tens of thousands of words in each book go through rigorous edits, revisions, copyedits, proofreadings, and generalized scrutiny – when something slips through it is despite all the best efforts of a whole team of good folks and as a matter of principle I stand up for the hard work they do.
That said, I want to get things right. And Chris was most congenial. Therefore, he will now have his observations tagged “oops!” so you can find them with all my other errors, literary and not. (Sometimes I even find them myself.)
Absently drinking from an empty coffee cup while writing with eyes on the screen is the equilibrial equivalent to missing the nonexistent top stair-step while carrying laundry.
If you Tweeted me at 1:58 a.m. “I’m on my way back to Whiskey Dick’s” and at 2:17 a.m. “What up?”, um, wrong # and I’m not gonna make it.
Sometimes in my eagerness to make personal connections in the book signing line my mind jumps to inaccurate conclusions, then reinforces them madly. All through Minnesota I kept meeting people who said they’d seen me when I visited Carleton College, and when the very first person said this, I immediately thought of the time I spoke at the Festival of Faith and Writing. And so every time someone said they saw me at Carleton, I spoke effusively of my time there, including how much fun I had sharing a panel with Joshilyn Jackson. The Carleton folks would look a little confused at this, but smiled politely anyway.
Then during the Michigan swing, folks started telling me they’d seen me at the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing, and without pause I’d yammer like mad about all the Calvin alum I met in Minnesota, and we’d speculate happily on how they all came to wind up there.
Not until I’m all the way back home here in the little room over the garage do I figure out I’ve been conflating Carleton College of Northfield, Minnesota, with Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
So: Carleton, Calvin, I meant what I said, even if you all went home talking about how hopelessly confused that poor boy was.
Figured it out now.
For most of my book tours, I stay at your basic Super 8-style motels. There are exceptions, as when I’m in a big city and a more central location is beneficial. And although my publisher very kindly offers to pre-book my hotels, I generally prefer to do it myself on the fly, in case I decide to drive all night or there is some other logistical advantage that develops. Also, after a day of locating radio stations and bookstores and other stops, a pre-booked hotel is just one more place you have to find. Easier to just pull off the interstate and grab a room.
So. All that to provide context for this:
I have a break today before heading home tomorrow. That means today is a day for going through receipts, writing thank-you notes, catching up on email, sorting through all the gifts and books and odds and ends that have accumulated in the car. As such, it’s one time when I can use a touch more workspace than the standard modest motel room provides. So yesterday I went online and looked for something reasonably priced but including a desk or somesuch. Found a great deal on a suite-type setup that includes a dining room table where I can spread out my stuff to sort and work. Best part? It was only $10 more than the average Super 8 room. So I pounced.
Arrived. Carted all my stuff up from the car. Big spacious room, well-lit, and yep, a dining room table. Emptied everything out on the table, got to work. Coffee, happy as a clam. Bedtime rolls around. And then I realize something is missing.
There is no bed.
Kinda missed that on the website pics, I reckon. It’s one of those rooms intended for meetings, or for family events in which everyone has their own room but wants a central gathering place. Now that price begins to make a little more sense.
There is a couch. Didn’t sleep half bad…
Burned five good minutes yesterday throwing breakers and switches trying to figure out why the air compressor wouldn’t run before I realized the tank was full.