House For Sale. As Is. New Roof! (Some Assembly Required.)

It’s been over a week since Operation Re-Roof and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. Of course, four days after the new roof is on–it hails. For a full minute or more small chunks of ice drop from the sky in a meteorological hazing ritual. A trial by fire, you might joke, except that it is really a trial by ice.

“You couldn’t have done this three weeks ago!?” I yell at the clouds who defiantly rumble back with such a loud clap of thunder I am thrown to the ground and pelted with more ice.

I’m still in recovery mode. I dedicated a full four days to the project and pushed myself to my physical and emotional limits. I do not know if I have pushed myself like this before. I imagine this is the closest I will ever get to bootcamp.

Certainly, I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish. What we were able to accomplish. (I’m still in awe of the family members who stuck with me through the project.) Yet, even knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would have had it any other way. In the end, it all feels worth it. Continue reading

More Home Improvement

The hardware store is basically a second home to me. I spend enough time there that all the employees know my name and have recently even begun inviting me to social gatherings such as block parties or their children’s birthdays. It’s nice of them, certainly, but it makes my shopping trips that much longer when I have to stop for cake, ice cream, and the appropriate amount of social interaction.

Of course, it’s rude to arrive empty handed, so I find myself at a different store, hunting for a present, usually a gift card inside another card. For as many cards as Hallmark makes, they have little in the line of “child of employee of store I visit far too often” so I’m usually browsing through the section “for complete strangers” while trying to figure out what is age appropriate for the particular occasion. Continue reading

Home ownership and the subsequent adventures.

It’s well known among DIY homeowners that any home improvement project will take three to eight times longer than expected. The project will also require n + 2 trips to the hardware store where n is the number of trips one would reasonably expect the project to require.

As always, the project begins with optimism. You are increasing your quality of life, improving your homes resale value, and adding another task to your list of personal accomplishments.

It’s a cause for celebration, or will be, once it’s done.

The first trip to the hardware store is always the best. You spend some time checking out the sales and weighing options. This is when you make the most important decisions about how much money you would like to spend on this project. Though what you would like to spend has little effect on the actual end cost.

Sadly, it is statistically improbably that you will purchase everything you need on that first try. Likely, you’ve forgotten an important adapter, or purchased the wrong size. Perhaps you’ve misremembered your screw inventory or assume that you have the right parts at home, when you actually don’t. Continue reading

The Emperor’s Soul

I found myself at the local library, waiting for a computer to do the things computers are suppose to do and take a while to accomplish. I decided this would be a perfect time to find a new book to read and stumbled onto a novella by Brandon Sanderson.

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson is a wonderful little story. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Sanderson that doesn’t make Lord of the Rings look brief and I was very interested to see how his style worked for smaller tales–it works quite well.

Plot-wise, the story a simple tale about a young thief who was caught stealing and now must complete a difficult task for her captors to be let go. Will she be able to tackle this impossible task? Will she be able to escape? Will they kill her anyway? The story kept me guessing till the end.

I am continually impressed with Sanderson’s magical constructs. The magic in the world of The Stormlight Archive series filled me with longing to experience Stormlight. Despite being a lighteyes, I never will, because that magic doesn’t exist in the real world. But I can imagine that it actually might. When I moved on to the Mistborn Trilogy, I was enthralled by how different the magic was. By the end of those books I wished I was Mistborn.

Within each universe Sanderson creates, there’s a different set of magical principals, yet each is as solid as the laws of physics. They are well thought out and consistent, it feels like it could be real.

That said, the magic within this book, does seem the most fuzzy to me. The idea of rewriting an objects history to forge an object into a different version of itself can be difficult to wrap your mind around. But then, isn’t that what magic is suppose to be? Mind bending? Not-logical? Supernatural? Exciting?

Sanderson is a prolific writer and quickly becoming one of my favorite authors of all time. If you’re at all into the fantasy genre and haven’t picked up one of his books, The Emperor’s Soul might be a good place to start. It will give you a good feel for his style and the world’s he creates. If you find it enjoyable, I would definitely recommend moving on to some of this other work.