Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My evil two week plan

Today I thought I'd share with you an image of a beautiful blackberry tart:

Probably that's not very nice of me, especially if you read Hugs as you're starting your day, because you will now be craving blackberry pastry for the duration unless you are not at all into that sort of thing.  And good luck finding one if you are into that sort of thing.  I'd never seen one myself until I happened to stop by Epi, my favourite house-neighbourhood bakery, after a site visit to the house.  After site visits I keep walking over to the neighbourhood's big shopping street to get the bus home, hoping that I will arrive long enough before the next bus is due so that I can justify popping in there... and every time, the bus shows up as I'm crossing the street to the stop.  But not last week!

The tart was delicious, by the way, as was the challah loaf I picked up while I was there because Rare Opportunity.  Say what you like about the many splendours of downtown living, there are no bakeries to compare with the deliciousness of the ones within walking distance of our house, and I will be very happy to be in close proximity to them again some day.

The tart really has nothing to do with the evil two week plan though.  Also it is much prettier than the evil two week plan.

The Evil Two Week Plan

Here's the deal: around this time last winter I promised myself I would finish at least the first draft of an entire manuscript of a novel by the end of the first week of March.

Crazy as that sounds - and if you've ever tried to write a novel or renovate a house, never mind do both at the same time you're trying to deal with your day job, you will know it sounds very crazy indeed - I made good progress.  I would have finished well before Christmas if the people overseeing our house project hadn't turned out to be such a problem, to say nothing of the consultants they brought in - whew!  Anyway I had to take over and find a whole new team, and while that was the right decision in every way, it's cost me all my writing time.

But here we are folks: it's February 23 as I type this, with just two weeks to go before my seemingly arbitrary deadline.  Actually it's a very valid deadline as my schedule becomes even more insane starting from that point until probably next Christmas.  It's now or never for putting my head down and getting this goal met.

Obviously I can't pull that off without giving up something.  It can't be sleep either, because I'm already lucky to get six hours out of every twenty four (and sometimes it's twelve over forty-eight.)  And I'm not giving up posting to the blog every day, because I really like doing that and it was SUCH a drag when I had to drop down to once or twice a week last year.  I also can't give up the renovation management, obviously.

That pretty much leaves 'magic', doesn't it?  Let's hope some magic kicks in soon.

No really, the first thing to get tossed will be any semblance of meal planning or preparation.  Lately a lot of that has boiled down to a brief discussion between Pete and I that results in random takeout or cheese and crackers or pre-cut vegetables and dip or a grocery store salad, but for the next two weeks it's going to be Pete having that conversation with himself.  He's going to do what he did last year when I started this process, and visit my favourite posh grocer's for delicious salads and schnitzels and grilled salmon and lemon squares, so there's always something sensible in the fridge.  And I'm just going to barrel through as many hours as my brain will let me.

To cheat a little more quiet time, I have been knocking myself out to give everybody what they need on the house for the next little while.  Appliance selection?  Done.  Revised HVAC plan?  Approved by the city and installation on hold till the materials are ready.  Fireplace? Narrowed down to one, which we should go look at in person before ordering but might not because it is the only one we like anyway. Deposits for all sorts of expensive things? Paid, and I am trying not to think about how.  Custom designed in-floor heating material plan? Ready in (believe it or not) two weeks, after which they still have to make the boards.  Hardwood? Square footage locked down and ready to order as soon as we source stair treads and bullnose fronts to match it (don't ask.)  Tiles?  oh criminy.  Yeah, still not 100% on the tiles, but the samples from the shortlist are getting ordered and I can totally put off the final choice for another two weeks even if they arrive before that. 

(Tile-related digression (not to worry, I am containing this to one paragraph):I have been in denial about the tiles since we were pressured to choose them all last year around this time.  I didn't like what we'd picked but figured I could sort it out closer to the install date, and that is pretty much Now...  After a few paralyzing efforts I drew up a chart so I could see exactly how many things need tile and how many tiled areas can be the same as each other so there is less to choose.  You know why I was finding the tile so overwhelming?  Turns out I had to pick for the kitchen backsplash, the fireplace surround, the powder room and three other bathrooms - two of which have walk in showers with tiled shower floors that have to blend with the wall and floor tiles in those rooms - the front hall, and the laundry room.  That is a lot of tile. End digression.)

That, my friends, is the project management plan.  With all that done, I should be able to sneak off from that job for most of the day for two weeks and not hold anybody else up.

Thankfully laundry is something you can do while muddling through a plot point in your mind, so I can keep that from spiraling out of control.

And while there may not be a lot of time to knit, there will be some, so I know I can still have knitting things to show and tell here at Hugs.

I even cleaned the bathrooms last night.  Not sure how long they can stay nice and shiny, but at least they'll start out nice!

It seemed appropriate to close with an old picture of Rosa's amazing and totally magical walnut cookies.
Wish I could get her to cater my writing break with these babies!

What do you think? Can I pull this off?

(maybe better not to answer that.  just go have a great day, and I will see you back here tomorrow, okay?)

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