Friday, June 29, 2012

Personal Status Update

I just realized how long it's been since my last post, so here's a quick update.
  • Insurance company is telling me my house is underinsured and so they aren't paying for all the repairs.  They are willing to write a check for ~$16K, but that leaves us ~$3K short on the cost of repairs.  We are shopping for competing bids, but may have to set up a payment plan, assuming the contractor will let us do so.  (Note: I'm insured for $163K, the price of the house - they say the cost to replace it is $260K.  Thanks Hurricane Ike for driving up construction costs.)
  • I had jury duty for two days last week and it threw off my schedule for several things.  Plus, one of the other jurors shared a cold, so I was zonked for several days.  I stayed home from work one day, but had to go in to do crucial things the other two.  When I got home those days, I watched legend of Korra as that was the limit of my energy.  Good series though - greatly enjoyed it.
  • This week's writing became an investigation of the Martian landscape.  I needed to actually place the Mars colony and lay it out as fighting happens there.  I stripped out the last scene as it was all "tell" and no "show", which is poor storytelling.  In order to improve it, I needed to work out the specifics of how the public colony connects with the four corporate enclaves.  That's done enough that I can resume writing...sometime next week.
  • The Aldelle Group Pathfinder RPG game has had scheduling issues due to the DM's work schedule.  He's working two jobs, so we are adapting to his schedule.  The Pulp Hero game starts a new chapter this saturday and the following Saturday will be the second session of the Champions game.  I'm looking towards both.  They are once a month, all day games.
That's it for now.  More later.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So this is an excerpt from the email I sent to my family about the tree that fell on my garage last week.
Tuesday had several things go wrong.  North Houston had a strong thunderstorm blow through shortly after I got home.  The power went out about 4:45 pm and then the big oak tree in our back yard was blown down about 5:00, landing on our garage.  Phones and water were still working, but we were part of the 110,000 houses without power.  We got a call in to the insurance company almost immediately, but the power company's phones were jammed.  In the end, [my wife]'s folks were able to get a call in from Washington for us.
After the rain stopped (about 6:00 pm), we were able to force the garage doors open and get the cars out.  My car had drywall all over it, but that was about it (as far as the cars go).  The left railing for the garage door is bent and the door came partially off it when we lifted it.
At about 8:30 pm, the insurance company's tree cutters showed up and spent the next four hours with a chainsaw cutting away branches and eventually getting the tree off the garage.  (They were part of the emergency response from the insurance company and will bill them directly).  Once the tree was down on the ground, they put tarps on the garage roof and helped us pull the garage door back down.  They left between 12:30 am or 1:00 am, probably much to our neighbors satisfaction and relief.
Our power finally came back on at 2:41 am.  I happened to be awake after sleeping a couple hours as I was cold and contemplating pulling on a blanket.  I was out of it enough that I forgot to turn off my alarm clock and was awoken by it at 5:00 am and hit snooze 3 times before I awoke enough to remember I wasn't going in.  I got maybe another hour or so of sleep and then it was too bright to sleep any more, so I got up and showered.
I spent the morning in contact with work getting that squared away and doing some online training so I would not have to burn any vacation time waiting for the insurance adjuster and the contractor.  At 10:00 am a dumpster was dropped off for the tree cutters and they arrived at 11:00 am to start moving all the wood into the dumpster (we kept about a third of the tree as firewood).  They finished at 1:00 pm or so.  At about 2:00 pm the insurance guy arrived and did his thing.  At 3:00 pm the contractor showed and did his thing.  At 4:00 pm the contractors roof specialist showed and got specific counts of beam and brackets needed and then left.
All the electricity for the house runs from the back of the garage, through the damaged area, through the breezeway, and into the house.  Because of this, we are still waiting for the contractor's electrician to come by and see if they can do the work without cutting power to the house for a couple days or not.  Once he gets his stuff in to the contractor, the contractor and the insurance company will hash out the cost, the insurance company will cut a check for half to get work started (the rest after work is done and invoiced submitted), and repairs will finally start.  Our deductable is $1000.00, which we believe we will have, although timing might be tricky.  We'll see.
So, that's what's been going on in my life recently.
UPDATE: The electricia came by this past Monday (the 18th) while I was at Jury Duty and pointed out to my wife that, in addition to the power for the house running underneath where the tree fell, the gas line ALSO runs there.  We missed that originally - luckily, so did the tree.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chapter 6: Call to Arms - Draft Complete!

Finally!  Wow, that chapter took forever to write.  Part of the time sink was the restructuring of the chapter and needing to create material from skimpy notes, sometimes as short as a single bullet point for an entire complex scene.  Nevertheless, I have completed the draft of that chapter.  I spent the day Saturday doing the writing to finish the chapter, packing in 3000 words.  Why so much in one day?  We'll I explain that in tomorrow's post.  The short version is that weather knocked out power and blew an oak tree down on my garage.  My joy knew definite bounds.

The notes for Chapter 7 look better organized, but I thought that about the last chapter as well.  I'll discover what land mines I set for myself as I get into the chapter.  There is a lot of war in Chapter 7, which will up the word count a lot and probably require more on-the-spot research.

Current word count: 49, 313 words

Oh, I'm writing this from the past, but when it appears (Monday the 18th), I'll be on my way downtown for jury duty.  Last time I got picked, but the case ended by 5:00 pm, so I didn't have to come back a second day.  Before that it was show up and read.  Go to the voir dire and wait for the jury to be selected from the people ahead of you.  Try not to fall asleep and drool.  Still, beats the alternative. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chapter 6: Call to Arms - Status Update 6

Chapter 6 is speeding up.  I'm writing one of the big "ah-ha!" moments.  After this scene, there are only three more in this chapter and we'll reach Chapter 7, when all hell breaks loose.  Chapter 7 will be long as there is a lot of action in it and the story starts resolving.  Chapter 8 is the aftermath and denouement and that will conclude the first draft of the novel.

I've made it back to sections I outlined early on, which is why things are speeding up.  That plus taking a day off for my birthday let me get some serious writing time in.  Well, that and a trip to the new LEGO store that opened nearby, the Apple store for some new ear buds, and the Godiva shop for a free key lime truffle (membership has its privileges).  By the time this posts, it will be my actual birthday and I'll be doing birthday things, followed by Tea things the next day (supporting the wife's activities - not politics, actual tea).  If I squeeze anymore writing in this weekend, I'll post an additional update Tuesday.  If not, it'll likely be Thursday before the next update.

Current word count: 46,038 words

That's it for now - Later!