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Showing posts from 2020

Sixteen

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I remember turning sixteen back in the early 1980s. 
Sixteen. Wow. That was probably bigger than twenty-one or even thirty.  Sixteen was, for us at the time the age of Independence.  It was the age when we could start working, and start driving.  Back then there were no "conditional" licenses or permits.  On your sixteenth birthday you could go to DMV, take the test and walk out with your full license.  I already had a car waiting for me - a 1974 Ford Pinto. It was so long ago the CT plates were still all numbers, no letters. My first plate was 686-696. 

Yes, it was a Pinto, and it was ten years old when I got it but it was the first slice of real freedom I had.  We lived far from town in a place where there was no public transportation.  Once I got my license, on my birthday, I was off and running.  I got my first job immediately.  
I will never understand this thing where kids are turning eighteen and twenty years old and don't have a license and don't care about driv…

Justice, Mercy and Everything In Between

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I spend a lot of time in the courthouses of Gaston and Cleveland Counties (NC) lately.  Working for a property management company is never easy but the year 2020 has presented a lot of unique problems for people like us. Yep, there is this thing called Covid which has effected pretty much everyone - even people who haven't so much as sneezed since early spring. For some it's brought tragedy and to others it's just an enormous inconvenience. For still others it's an excuse. We manage almost 400 homes so we've got a pretty good mix of all the above as tenants. 
We have tenants who have had Covid (yes, and recovered). We've had tenants who have lost their jobs because "non essential" businesses closed down. We've also had tenants whose income has been completely unaffected and haven't missed a beat. Unfortunately we also have tenants who have not only not lost any income but have profited from the situation (hello, Stimulus?) and have made the dec…

Cast Down; Remnants

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The following is an excerpt from one of the new Cast Down series novels I'm working on. This one is called "Remnants".  It's a companion novel to "A New England Haunting" and can be read independently of the first book, though it will make a little more sense if read as part of the series. Old friends from Ridgefield may recognize the location I've chosen and put a spin on for this book. I'm using the first concept for the cover art here, but there is a piece of original artwork being created for the amazing cover that will go on the book once it's finished!
Revelation 12:7-9Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.The old mansion tha…

Cast Down Series; Preview

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The following is a brief excerpt from Cast Down. The series of three books (one available now, two coming soon) are companion novels that will not need to be read in any particular order to be enjoyed, although they are related with several characters making "crossover" appearances in each.
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Branches scratched lightly at the window of the little girl’s bedroom as she chattered happily at the invisible friend in the rocking chair. “An’ then next year, I’m gonna go to school the whole day,” she announced happily. She paused and listened intently for a few moments, cocking her head and paying close attention. “You want another towel? Okay, Melissa, I’ll go ask Mrs. Henderson for one,” she agreed as she jumped to her feet and ran out of the room.
Maureen Henderson dried off the last dinner plate and put it back into the cabinet. She folded the dishtowel adorned with brightly colored roosters and hung it back in its place. With her own children long grown and her grandc…

Gifts of the Spirit

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1st Corinthians 12: 4-11"There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each per…

RIP, Thomas!

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RIP, old friend. My husband and I work for a property management company. We manage almost 400 mobile homes in 16 communities in 2 counties. The owner of the company likes to employ folks who live in his homes because they have a vested interest in the communities and it's a great way to get his monthly rent on time! We sometimes refer to the employment situation as "The Island of the Misfit Toys". Thomas was one such Misfit Toy. Thomas did odd jobs for us, wherever an extra pair of hands was needed. His very favorite thing to do was play "Repo Man", which consisted of cleaning all the belongings left behind when every anyone moved out of one of the units. It didn't matter how nasty the job was, he was happy to go. Thomas didn't have an overabundance of education but that man KNEW stuff. He'd walked a rough mile or two in his life, for sure.
In the picture below, he and our office manager (who gets her hands dirty on a regular basis) were just about …

The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend

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Divide and Conquer! How long has this tactic been employed? Since Satan divided man from God in the Garden? Everywhere I look now it's what I see, over and over. Black versus White, Gay versus Straight, Christian versus Muslim, everyone versus the Police and craziest yet; Christian versus Christian. There have always been conflicts between groups but the rate of escalation in just the last few months alone has been startling.In some parts of the country the Covid "shelter in place" practices have been much more intense than they have been for us down here in a fairly rural area of NC. We've been able to come and go pretty freely, and masks are not as much of a thing here as they are elsewhere. I can't even really blame the isolation for what I'm seeing just in our neighborhood alone. The hostility of neighbor for neighbor is something we didn't really have before this year. Attitudes are changing. People don't seem to have even common courtesy towards…

Weekend of Life and Death

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Today is Memorial Day.  It's cloudy, it's supposed to rain cats and dogs all afternoon. Marty is working today because it's double-time for him. It's a paid holiday for me, too, but I'm taking the day to stay home and process. 
Friday night the Sabbath rolled in and was welcomed. It was a long week. It was a hectic week and we were both tired. Sabbath is our time to truly rest together, to set aside the worries of the world. We recharge. I cooked dinner for a change and we ate together. We turned in early. It was nice. Before I headed to bed I took the card I'd bought for Marty and left it on his chair so he'd see it first thing in the morning since he gets up so much earlier than I do.
Saturday morning came. It was Marty's 56th birthday. It was a nice quiet day, which we needed. We couldn't visit with friends - some were out of town for work, one had just had knee replacement surgery, others are more in the "at risk" group and really aren&#…

Don't Forget to be an A-hole!

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"Don't forget to be an asshole today!"
They were the first words I heard the other morning. 
I was sitting on my new deck (that is a whole 'nother story, but the deck is almost done), having my cup of coffee with Bodie.


It was about 8:30 in the morning and the neighborhood was quiet.  For a community this size it is a surprisingly quiet place to live.  The silence was suddenly broken by a familiar voice from next door.  Lisa.  I love Lisa.  She was "hand picked" to be our neighbor and then to be our coworker as well.  Lisa's Italian.  She's from Chicago.  Soft-spoken she is not.  "Don't forget to be an asshole today!" she yelled back in to her husband as she walked out the front door.  "And if you forget how, just call me and I'll remind you!"
I mentioned that Lisa works with us.  She was hired to handle sales because she has real estate experience and she could sell ice water in Siberia.  Her husband, Joe also works with us …

Cast Down; Masked

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One more benefit to this recent "Great Pause" we've all been going through is that I've had some time to get back to writing.  A little here, a little there as my brain-fog has been clearing from my bout with elevated blood sugars. One of the projects I've gotten back to is the long overdue sequel to Cast Down; A New England Haunting. The new book will be titled Cast Down; Masked and is the story of one of the characters we meet in the first novel - Carrie. Here is a brief excerpt from the current work in process.

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Carrie sat in the front passenger seat of the minivan and watched as the other members of her team went up onto the front porch of the old house and spoke at length with the young woman who’d answered the door.She assumed that was the person who’d made contact with Mike and arranged for them to come out.She glanced at her watch and noted their time of arrival on the small notepad she carried with her.It was 7:35, and the sunlight …

Chapter 11 - Diagnosis: Liabetes

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I recently told an old and dear friend, "Dude, I not only live in a trailer park, I work in them. I do evictions. Tell me I am not living the most entertaining life ever."

There are still days when I'm looking around this new little reality of mine and thinking, How did I get here? Those are the days when I'm quite sure God has a wicked sense of humor. The company now owns fifteen mobile home parks, so that's roughly 375 homes to manage. I've been in each and every one of these homes over the last five years. I've cleaned them, inspected them, painted them, photographed them. If anyone has a question about a home, I have an answer; Yes, that's the one that had the toilet that got clogged and the tenant continued to use it for two weeks without being able to flush before calling us; that's the one the tenant painted the interior florescent orange and we had to use six gallons of Kilz to cover it; that's the one where the old lady died sitting i…

The Year was 1982

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The year was 1982. The place was Ridgefield, Connecticut. The photo is from the high school yearbook, and the group you see is the Theater Club. That year we produced a fall play - The Rhimers of Eldritch and a spring musical - Hello, Dolly! I can still name just about everyone in the picture. I'm still very close friends with a couple of people, still Facebook friends with more than half. Oh, yeah, and I'm married to one of them.

A few years ago my class (not the same one he graduated in) had our thirty year reunion. Thirty years. I have no idea how that happened. I never had kids so I still don't feel like I'm even thirty years old myself, never mind graduating school that long ago. Anyway, my class had a thirty year reunion up in Connecticut, and we'd just moved down to North Carolina. Money was tight; we were eating mac and cheese every night and hoping the power wasn't going to shut off, there was no way I could have gotten up there for that reunion even …

Chapter 10 - Attack of the Hair Creatures!

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Even I shrieked in terror.

Seriously. Someone was showering with these creatures. My husband questioned what sort of foul adhesive was holding those creatures to the shower wall. Sincerely, isn't getting clean the point of taking a shower? How do you accomplish that in this? Are you going to complain about the landlord on social media when you don't get your security deposit back? If you do, and I catch you, I'm posting the pictures and tagging you. It's like going to the zoo and seeing monkeys flinging feces. 

Could you sleep knowing that this was lurking in your master bath? I couldn't. Then again, I haven't touched on the horrors of the master bedroom. The bed consists of four mattresses piled on top of each other. I see how colorful the top mattress is. I'm not looking forward to seeing what the one on the bottom looks like. 

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite. Ever heard that? Ever wonder what a bedbug really was? Or if they actua…

Pawprints on my Heart

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Coda came into my life when I was coming to the end of my thirties. I'm in my fifties now. He was a little bundle of joy that became a huge bundle of joy. I don't think he gave me a minute of trouble in his whole life. Coda was in my life before my husband. And somehow I guess on some level I thought he would always be with me.

His first home was in East Haven, CT where we lived just down the road from the town beach. What could make for a happier puppyhood for a lab? He was a fantastic swimmer and got plenty of time in the water. We had a fenced in yard he could play ball in, and we even made a poured concrete ornamental pond for him to dip in and cool off in between rounds of fetch.

He made no protest at all when we brought other dogs into the house; some were fosters, others belonged to people who stayed with us for a few months here and there, and one special pup named Adoc became his brother. Sadly, we lost Adoc to illness when he was only four and a half years old. Coda…