Empty Totes and Driving in the Rain

Yes, I’ve been away for a bit, likely because I tend write too long social media posts. Today, though, I arrived at the conclusion that it was time to return to my collected thoughts in my own alcove. After all, it’s been that kind of year. As a bonus, the exercise of getting words on paper can keep me out of mischief and allow my beta readers to do their thing without being pestered to distraction.

After nearly three years, my career took a sudden and unexpected turn. This was a December event, and I must admit that although I found myself relieved (for reasons that do not need to be explored here) I still slid into survival mode. At least until I could get back to a place where I didn’t stress over budgets and the like. Problem was that there were any number of things going on at the time, some of which had to be reduced, eliminated, or paused. Like projects involving the renovation of my home.

That’s the part that reminds me of driving in the rain. I reviewed a book that I still treasure that talks about that process. The need to keep focused on where you are going, even if the road turns bad and the vehicle seems on the verge of going out of control. Eventually, I managed to sort things out and rebuild work and life with manageable schedules, budgets, and goals.

I started with reinventing my work schedule. I do taxes, it was time for taxes, and so getting a gig doing taxes was no big deal. My fill in has turned into a seasonal “how ever many hours I need” kind of thing with benefits and company supported training, testing, and certification. With the extended tax season and a testing schedule that took me into the first week in June, I was working crazy hours for nearly six months. This new venture is a nice fit with a client that needed more hours, but not full time.

The arrangement gives me the flexibility to get back into writing. I’ve had a novel I’ve been toying with since pre-plague that is now a finished piece (The Seeker). Volume two (The Amulet) of the trilogy is on my to-do list within the next month or so. There was another short story that readers wanted to see more of, so a second novel is now starting the beta-read rounds (The Metamorphosis).

That brings me to these past few weeks. I tend to like things organized, but that is an issue when you are constantly in the middle of some renovation project and life is a bit unsettled. Due to the hurry-up-and-wait portion of, I’m ready for contractor “A” but they aren’t available until the fifth Sunday of the 8th month if and only if it isn’t raining. I still have a few things that need to be finished, but I’ve chosen to move forward with what I can do. This past week I finished the second bathroom to the current stopping point. At least they are now both functional.

I am also in the process of defending myself against the heat. Luckily, I scheduled the whole thing during a lull in the season so my work will be done within a tolerable wait time. That means, of course, that I need to get a few more things organized in this house to make that transition neat and without a lot of do-over. Hence, today’s exercise in reorganizing the room I use for cleaning and fixing supplies. The room is really an extra-large closet space used as a dark room by the previous owner. It can get a bit topsy turvy rather quickly.

Sigh. What a disaster of in between projects, almost done projects, things used here but not there. Today, however, was the day to get better organized and prepare for the next few months. Plans are to complete another dozen or so open projects and I needed to know what I had and what I needed. This is where the empty tote comes in.

How does one end up with an empty tote? I mean, don’t you just keep stuffing things in until they fall apart and then buy two more? Thank goodness I didn’t run off to the store to buy organizing stuff before I got started! Then, there is that bucket/tote filled with cables and cords. Some seemed safe, some were questionable, and some had those ends that you just know are for one specific thing and lord knows what that was. Well, we don’t need that anymore, now do we? At least not until we realize that our favorite mini-rug cleaner is missing its cord and the bag is already out in the garbage bin. Oops. And that little machine was so useful during the caregiving time of my life. The fact that I haven’t used it in over six years shouldn’t condemn it to oblivion, should it? Empty totes, you see, can be helpful.

I must admit that I’ve been reminded of several old lessons, nearly forgotten lessons.

Although you shouldn’t stress over the possible losses or changes you may face, you do need to be prepared for when the earth moves. It is never good to grow complacent and survival skills, or plan Bs are always good to have around. Driving in the rain, whether forecasted or not, is a talent we can all use effectively.

Sometimes life is anything but organized. Honestly, life rarely is organized. Sometimes we must learn to set priorities and let the rest of those to dos wait their turn. The earth is still spinning-round and whether the hall gets painted this week or three months from now will not unduly impact the world at large.

Empty totes are for the things in life that we may need to think on before we cut them loose. Some days, the things they keep for us are just what we are looking for.

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