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I owe major apologies to godricgal and slightly less but still major apologies to jdbracknell and gilpin25. godricgal's horse won over at the grand_national community moderated by jdbracknell and gilpin25 and I am over a week late in getting her fic prize done. I really am sorry, guys. I have 5 billion excuses to offer, but it really boils down to I suck.

I have reached the conclusion that being at my parents' house is not conducive to fic writing. I'm so used to doing it at my own apartment, when I can do things (like sleep, eat, hang out with friends, etc.) on MY schedule. At my folks' house, everything is dictated by when everyone else has to be up for their regular jobs, when they get home from work, etc. If I try to work on fic in the evening, it means sacrificing the only time I can really spend with my family and getting guilt trips from my mom (or is that just me feeling guilty and projecting?). I've been trying to make it all work and get the fic done in the morning before th sister comes home for lunch and then Dad gets home from work about an hour after she goes back to work, but obviously I haven't been trying hard enough since the fic still isn't done.

On top of the regular difficulties of trying to find fic writing time around my limited family time, these past few weeks have been extremely busy for me. My vacation, while nice and certainly a retreat from the frenzy and stress that was comps, has been anything but naps and relaxation. In the past few weeks I have:

been sick for about a week-and-a-half, split between two different occasions. Also, my mom has been very sick twice (we are starting to wonder if her gallbladder might need to be removed) so of course I had to help take care of her. Poor Mom;

gone dress shopping multiple times for my sister's wedding. My life would be easier if she were capable of making a decision. Not that I'm one to talk since I have a tendency toward indecisiveness myself, but really now;

spent several days following a strict schedule of reading, watching training videos, and participating in conference calls ostensibly in preparation for my summer job. The conference calls were long and boring and the DVDs were long and mostly boring. I usually got through the readings much more quickly than I was supposed to so did have a bit of spare time then, but there is a bunch of other stuff I still need to do to get ready for teaching and doing that already would have been a much better use of my time than the way they did the retraining;

survived three or four thunderstorms. This ordinarily wouldn't be anything of note but our chow/shepherd rescue dog, Ginger, is very gun shy. She is terrified of loud noises and thunder sends her into a panic. The only way to get her calm for even a minute or two at a time is to hold her tight and pet her and try to convince her she is safe and you'll protect her. Even then she'll whimper and break away after a while to run around, make a mess on the carpet in her panic, and generally try to find some way to get away from the big bad noise. It sucks for me when she starts doing that at 3:00 or 4:00 am. Since I don't have to get up to go to work and the dogs generally sleep in my room when I'm home so I'm the first to hear her whimpering anyway, I'm the default to get up and deal with her. Of course, it sucks even more for her. The poor baby;

taken a motorcycle safety course, got my motorcycle license, gone motorcycle shopping, helped pick out a motorcycle for my sister, practiced riding around the neighborhood on her motorcycle with the expectation of buying a similar one, if not the same model, for myself when I get back to Virginia;

worked on one fic for godricgal and decided it was becoming too big and there was no way I could have it done in time. I then began work on a much smaller plot bunny with the expectation that it would be done by the deadline. So much for my expectations;

got the house ready for guys to come clean the carpets yesterday. This basically meant spending all morning moving all small furniture, rugs, and general stuff accumulated on the floors to tiled areas (the kitchen and bathrooms) and the dining room since they weren't going to clean that carpet. I then had to hide in my bedroom and try to keep the four dogs calm in there with me while the dogs clearly thought strange men were "OMG! in my house!" so they just wanted to bark their heads off and try to get through the locked door to investigate these men and protect their home. Today I am trying to move everything back onto the now dried carpets and I'm a bit tired of moving furniture.

Despite all the delays and the fact that the fic is still not done, I guarantee it will not make it to the two weeks overdue mark. It is very easy for me to make this promise. Tomorrow, I am hoping to meet up with one of my friends from undergrad whom I haven't seen in years because he was active duty Air Force and has been stationed places like Alaska and Korea for the past several years. I'm really looking forward to seeing him again, but can pretty much guarantee no fic work time tomorrow. On Friday, however, my parents, myself, and one of the dogs are heading to my grandparents for the next week. This means I will be in the back of a car for about 8 hours with no internet, no work for IRD, no motorcycle, no getting sick (knock on wood), no need to move furniture, and basically no reason why I can't plop my laptop on my lap and finish the fic. It will be posted by the end of the weekend or Monday at the latest. Also, I haven't been commenting much to other people's LJ entries, I haven't really been posting much of my own, and I don't remember the last time I turned on an IM program. Hopefully things will settle down and I'll find the time soon.


lady_bracknell at 7:48 pm on 23 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I think you'll find we're a pretty understanding bunch ;).

Sorry life hasn't been treating you well, and I hope you and your mum are feeling better.

Totally get the not being able to write while forced to fit into someone else's schedule thing. I got barely anything done when I was at my parents', because they get up at 6, make a lot of noise and then don't leave until 8, when I'd normally get up, but I never adjusted to earlier nights, so I was down two hour's sleep a night.

They also like to take their time about cooking and eating in the evening, so they'd come home around 6, talk about what to make for dinner until around half seven, and we'd eat around half eight - so I'd look up after dinner and my evening would be gone.

But I felt rude either not offering to help with making dinner (even though I found their pace nothing short of maddening, since when I cook, it takes as long as the longest thing takes to cook and not a second more - I'm an ergonomic cook) or retiring to my room as soon as I'd finished eating.

Oh, and did I mention my mother poisoned me? We had this conversation:

Me: It doesn't look like wheat-free pasta.
Mum: It is. I checked.
Me: Are you sure? Because the stuff I buy is more yellow...
Mum: No, it is.
Me: It's just, wheat does make me very ill....
Mum: Maybe it's a different brand?

I accept this, because, truth be told, I'm starting to feel guilty about questioning her, because she's giving me the Mother Puppy Eyes.

Two hours later, puking my guts up, tongue the size of a baby whale.

Hope things ease up for you soon :D.
bratty_jedi at 5:12 pm on 24 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I figured y'all wouldn't mind, but that doesn't stop me from feeling a bit guilty.

The other night, I had to read a young adult novel that I will be teaching to the middle/high schoolers this summer. I read it from about 11:00 pm to 2:30 am. At about 1:30, my mom came into my room wanting to know why I was still awake and telling my that I wouldn't be good for anything the next day and I should go to bed. I told her I was fine, but it just kind of made me realize just how different are our mindsets on schedules. Oh well. I love spending time with the family and trying to mesh with their schedules is well worth it.

That sucks with your mom trying to kill you (sucks is probably a bit of an understatement for that). I hope your feeling better now and no more problems. I've known people to purposefully serve things others were allergic to because the servers "don't believe" in allergies and swore its all in the mind and someone won't have a reaction if they don't know the food is there. Yeah. Care to guess how well that always works out?
lady_bracknell at 6:32 pm on 24 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Oddly, I think that's exactly what my mum did. She thinks I've been misdiagnosed and I've got some kind of imbalance (she's spoken to her herbalist, who says that I could easily correct the problem with four or five months of Chinese herbal medicine at £150 a week), so she's always on at me to try that, or to eat the things I have problems with to see if the problem's gone away.

I'm hoping being violently ill will have quashed her half-baked theories and finally she'll accept that perhaps I know slightly more about my own condition than she does. Although to be honest, I'm not counting on it, lol.
bratty_jedi at 3:27 am on 25 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
That really sucks. Mom's should not be allowed to pull the mother puppy eyes/guilt trips when they really are just manipulating you. Evil. Hopefully she caught on this time, though she might say it was just because you were suspicious and it was still just in your head.
bratty_jedi at 3:28 am on 25 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to blame the random ' in mom'smoms on tiredness. I should go to bed.
lady_bracknell at 9:34 am on 25 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
My mother is, as I may have mentioned elsewhere, nuts. Mr Bracknell always thought I was being a bit mean about her, but now, having spent two weeks in her company, he's come round to my way of thinking, with a proper Ron-style "She really is mental."
gilpin25 at 8:03 pm on 23 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, don't beat yourself up, because I was two days late! So it could be argued you're only following the fine example you were set by a community mod.

Besides RL - and living with parents - gets in the way of fan fic. I think we all know and agree on that one, so fret not. It gives us something to look forward to. :)
godricgal at 8:29 pm on 23 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, don't worry about the fic on my account! I'd rather you a) didn't have the added stress, b) had the time to write it to your satisfaction and c) wrote in a timeframe that makes it enjoyable to write, and not a chore.

It's not easy writing in a different place, I can't even do it in another place in my flat, other than my bed, it's just habit, not to mention the difficulties of being in company. I'm going home for Whitsun this weekend, and I'm going to get none of the four fics I'm currently trying to get written done. My dad goes to be ridiculously early, and Mum likes to stay up a bit, so I always feel I have to keep her company.

Anyway, I hope things calm down for you and you can squeeze in a little relaxation into your holiday.

But you owe no apologies, I'm looking forward to reading the fic whenever it's ready. :)
bratty_jedi at 3:25 am on 25 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
It really is tough adjusting to someone else's schedule. Just about any amount of stress and chaos in my own life (just about any=anything less than comps level) is easier to work around than less stress plus other people's schedules. Don't ask me how I'll adjust if I ever find a boyfriend again.

Thanks for the patience. I knew you wouldn't mind, but that doesn't stop me from feeling a bit bad.
bratty_jedi at 5:13 pm on 24 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Following the mod's example and then some since I'm extending your two days to almost two weeks.

Thanks. Hopefully the finished product won't disappoint too much. That's one of the hazards of being late. I'm always afraid people will think "Oh, it took extra time so it must be extra good" when that is never the case for me.
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 8:35 pm on 23 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I had made up my mind that if there had been no sight of you by the end of today, I was going to email or shout out to cyberspace where has my Rachael gone!

You've had a very hectic few weeks. Hang in there, chica, you'll get back to normal soon. And I'm saying prayers for your mom, too!
bratty_jedi at 3:23 am on 25 May 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I sorry I disappeared and made you worry. I kind of like the idea of you yelling into cybersapce for someone to find your Rachael, though. :)

I'm sure things will be OK soon. I mean, I'll be working my butt off all summer, but I'll be doing it in my own apartment with no roommate, even, let alone family so I'll certainly be online more on my days off, which won't be Saturday and Sunday though I don't know when they will be yet.

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