Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Monday Mumblings

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Long weekend here at the Manor. Paul had the worst of it with car work.

Last Monday I mentioned that I was going to have to get new tires for the car and have a front end alignment. (For the car, not me. Get your head out of the gutter!) I dropped the one appointment I'd made because I looked up the tires they wanted me to get. Oh, dear. Customer reviews ranted about tread separating from the tire after a short period of time and other ills. I decided that was not the set of tires for me, and went looking for another set.

I found them at another chain here in town, and called the first place to cancel. "Okay," they said. No problem. I thought that was too easy. Turns out I was right. They called me an hour after the scheduled appointment time wondering where the heck I was. Grr. Right before that the other chain called with the bad news that the car needed the bushings on both controller arms replaced. This was not a cheap job. I had 'em go ahead and change the tires and Paul went looking for parts. He found some through a parts chain and ordered them. Well, yes. There is more to it than that. The bushings are part of the whole controller arm. Of course, to change the bushings you have to remove the controller arm, pull it apart, put the new bushings in using a hydraulic press (!), and you're done. Save for the putting it all back together bit, of course. I can see why they wanted an arm and a leg to change the arm bushings. (But if they wanted an arm and a leg...never mind.) Turns out the whole arm cost just a tad more than the bushings, so he ordered the parts and set to work.

As any shade tree mechanic will tell you, it's never as easy as it looks on paper. (Funny, my mom was telling me the same thing about a refinishing project she's doing. "It looks so easy on TV!" That's because they have editors to cut out the cussing and the time it takes to dry and sand and apply stain again because of bubbles in the finish. But I digress.) Long story short, he finally got the job done after a few trips to get some extra sockets and rent some special tool. I suspect it still cost less than the mechanic would have been charged because it turns out the ball joint on one side needed to be replaced as well.

Considering the mileage on this car I'm not surprised that this stuff has to be done. If anything, I'm surprised it held out this long.

I took the car back for a front end alignment this morning and all is well. I'm pleased to report that it drives much better. We suspected the rear alignment was off, and they did make some adjustment in that area.

And there was MUCH rejoicing. Or there will be, until the charge card bill arrives.

My job this afternoon was to do further work on the ergonomics issue here at the desk. I've pulled my monitor shelf down. I'm not sure it'll help, but I'm willing to give it a few days for my body to readjust to the new configuration.

While I was deep in that project the mail arrived:

mail call!

Those are galleys for my Two of the Deadliest story. I've been through them once, and I'll let them rest a day and go through them one more time.

The verdict? Well, I'm always very hard on myself. There were some bits that bothered the heck out of me. Yet, I suspect if I had never read the story those bits wouldn't be so bad. It's hard to tell at this point. Still, as I approached the end of the story I could fell the pace pick up and even though I knew how it was going to end, I was really anticipating the last bit.

Yeah, so I amuse easily.

Many thanks to Elizabeth George for her kind suggestions on the pacing. She was spot on, obviously.

The galley stage is always exciting. That's the point when it really hits home that this book is going to happen. Oh, the advance check and the contract should have sealed the deal, but there's something about seeing my words laid out on the page that makes it all seem real. Sounds silly, doesn't it?

(BTW, you've heard me mention HarperCollins as the publisher, so you may wonder about Tekno Books. They're the anthology packager. If you want an explanation, please make a note in the comments.)

I need to do a couple more things before I step away from the desk. More tomorrow.

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Filed under: Writing   Life         
8/11/2008 7:14:13 PM
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