Saturday October 21st, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: intransigent.

It had to end eventually. This v-less prompt inspired by its use in Cabinet Battle #1.

Cold, wet, and windy day here. Not much fun, but the forecast seems to think it was just for today and that the next week should see sunshine and reasonable temperatures.

Fingers crossed they're right.

Mine:

Arguing with you
Is like fighting a wall;
There is no winning -
You're so thick you can't fall.

Friday October 20th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something: visceral.

Yeah, might as well keep it going.

Had both the boys with me in town this morning. Miles put on another show at the coffee shop while I tried (and eventually succeeded) to buy Max a hot chocolate. Had to drag him out of the kitchen three times.

Kat's parents had the boys for the afternoon, so I got some (awkward) laundry done and rested a bit. Why awkward? Our basement stairs are finally, finally being redone, but our basement is currently inaccessible. That's also where our washer and dryer are.

So I had to bring a basket of laundry up to Kat's parents house and use their machines. Hoping to be able to get back into our basement early next week.

Mine:

I'd apologize, but I don't think it's my fault - not really. There's no thought involved. Certainly no conscious choice being made.

Whenever I see his face I just start punching it.

Thursday October 19th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the viscount.

Yup.

Had a pretty fun day with Miles. Did some shopping and hung out at the bakery this morning, had a Skype chat with my parents, walked around the farm, and hung out on Main Street for a little bit this afternoon.

He put on quite a show in my favorite coffee shop. The intention was to go in, grab a coffee to go, and then go for a walk in town. But he started off with showing a tiny piece of leaf that he'd found on the sidewalk to about seven different people. Then he decided the best thing ever would be to take off his toque and have an older gentleman put it back on for him.

Over and over and over again.

Eventually convinced him to leave. He kept wanting to go back in though. That was around the time I decided it was time to head home.

Mine:

"Sire."

"What is it now?"

"The Viscount of Rusted Bridge has come to see you."

"Again? Can that man not take a bloody hint?"

"Apparently not, sire, no."

"Did he say what he wants?"

"No, but I believe it is safe to assume that he's found another way to stake his claim as a duke, sire."

"Yes, it does seem like he's given up on earl and marquess, doesn't it? Fine, show him to the Grey Room."

"Shall I have tea prepared?"

"Only if it has been sufficiently poisoned."

"Of course, sire."

Wednesday October 18th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: viscous.

What? Just making sure you guys are paying attention...

Windy, chilly day here. Had the boys in town with me for a bit this morning before deciding to head indoors to catch the end of StrongStart. It was pretty busy but with only about half an hour to be there it was manageable.

Hung out with them at Kat's parents house after lunch so that she could have a session with one of her clients. Kat is driving Max to Learning Centre tomorrow and spending the day helping out there, so I'll be with Miles.

We shall see what sort of shenanigans we can get up to here in town.

Mine:

"That looks... oh man. I just ate, okay? Please don't stick your fingers in... oh man."

"You going to be okay?"

"That looks nasty. How are you not wearing gloves right now?"

"I think you're overreacting."

"Over...?"

"Jeez, look how thick this stuff is. Gonna need the special soap tonight to get this off."

"I'm going to be sick."

"Oh, pull yourself together man! We're professionals and we have a job to do."

"I didn't sign up for... this."

"Oh, relax. At least this stuff didn't come out of your nose."

Tuesday October 17th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that is: vicious.

Inspired by the wind in (and on the way home from) Penticton today. Those gusts whipping shreds of leaves and street dirt into my face can go screw themselves, thank you very much. The ones pushing the car around on the drive home can do the same.

Otherwise? It was a productive trip. Got some groceries. Did some clothes shopping for myself and the boys. Picked up something for Kat. And... applied for EI.

I've never even tried to get EI before, but I think now is the right time. It's been a long six months and the relief pool is not going to get me enough work to pay the bills. It is, however and hopefully, going to get me hours that will get me closer to having enough seniority to apply for internal job postings, so there's good reason to stick with it.

Ideally? I'll get a little break to recover and spend time with the kids (and write!) and then a full time position will come up with the town.

But if this helps us get through the next half a year and then I return to the caretaker contract that would be good too.

Mine:

Rumours swirled and curled
around her in the hallways,
so vile and untrue

*     *     *

The sign says Beware
of Dog but he looks so cute!
I'm sure he's just - ahhhhh!

Monday October 16th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: unreliable.

Kat was at her Penticton office today so I took the boys with me to drop off my work keys at Public Works this morning. I'd wanted to relabel them as the ones I'd originally put on were pretty well worn off and I only knew which was which out of habit.

I took them around the yard to show them all the trucks and equipment (Miles' fav was the 'dumper truck', though he seemed to think all the trucks were dump trucks by the end) before coming back home.

And now I'm fully finished with the job, for reals.

Heading up to Penticton tomorrow to get a few things done. On my own, even. Should be good.

Mine:

"Will you be there?"

"Of course."

Why did I even ask? Worse, why did I bother believing?

"Okay, see you at nine. We'll be counting on you."

"Wouldn't miss it for the world."

No one is ever going to offer you the world in return for missing anything. And yet you're never there when we need you. For what, then? What are you exchanging for your presence by your family's side? What is the price?

Tell me, I beg of you. I will pay it gladly.

"All right. We'll save you a seat. Love you."

"I love you too."

Sure, throw that lie on top of the heap as well. It acts as a fine blanket.

Sunday October 15th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: catching up.

All caught up on comments again.

But there is more catching up to be done...

Mine:

When I started my contract with the town back in April it quickly became apparent that we would need a second vehicle sooner than later. I was starting my shifts too early for Kat to drop me off and ending them too late for her to pick me up. That meant for the four days I worked in a row, she was basically stuck at home with the boys.

That... didn't seem sustainable for the next six months.

So we started looking pretty much right away. And found what we were looking for before I'd even received my first paycheque. We wanted a larger vehicle to hold all four of us and all the stuff we'd be hauling around, especially on road trips that involve overnight stays.

We bought this Pontiac Montana during the first week of May (I honestly don't remember the exact date):


It's looking rather dusty there but I swear it's clean on the inside.

Why didn't I mention this purchase at the time? A couple reasons. The big one being that life was very, very busy. I didn't even have a decent picture of it to share (I actually took the above today in preparation for this post).

The other major factor in the delayed reveal? I was not super thrilled with purchasing a minivan. It fits our needs and whatever blah blah blah, but it's not exactly a vehicle I'd aspired to owning. In fact, I still insist on calling it our van, not our minivan.

As though the distinction makes any sort of difference.

Anyway. I think that gets me almost completely caught up. Just one more thing coming and I should be getting to that this week sometime.

Oooh, mysterious.

Saturday October 14th, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the last day.

And another chapter comes to an end. I didn't exactly cruise over the finish line, as I hustled around town giving all the washrooms a final clean. I haven't even tried to do all the washrooms in one day since my first four day shift back in April (when I didn't know any better).

Got 'em done though, with enough time left at the end of the day to clean out the truck and organize supplies a little bit.

With it being a bit of a special day, I'm ignoring my own four line limitation. I hope you'll forgive me.

Mine:

My final day began beneath the stars.
There were no bikes on the road,
No vans, no trucks, no cars.

The cold was bitter and fierce
And continually pierced
My shirt, my sweater, my jacket -
I was shivering so hard
My teeth were making a racket.

My hands are blocks of ice,
My fingers can take
No more, so here I am
Texting silly poems to my love
On my coffee break.

The sun never shined,
Clouds permanently lined
The sky from north to south
And east to west.
But at the end of it all
I completed my quest:
The bathrooms, all clean.

Now the job has ended
So it is time
To end scene.

Friday October 13th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the after party.

Hard to believe tomorrow will be my last day on the job. Six months went by pretty dang quickly.

With all of my office cleanings behind me, I'll be spending the day giving the washrooms one last clean before all but three of them are locked up for the winter tomorrow night. It's past time, really, as all but a couple of them have hardly seen any use in the last couple of weeks.

Anyway. One final early morning wake up to go.

Good night!

Mine:

"Where are you off to?"

"Uh, the after party?"

"Our daughter just had her second birthday celebration - there is no after party."

"... I guess you didn't get the invite then."

Thursday October 12th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the trophy.

Fairly quiet day at work. Ending with a little something different for the office clean once again: they've started renovating the Public Works building, beginning with the break room. So they've shifted the crew to another room (a reasonably spacious storage room that at least has room for the tables, chairs, fridge, microwaves, and coffee maker).

So I cleaned the office and washroom as usual, skipped the under construction area, and did what I could with the temporary break room.

All the while wondering why everything is happening during my final four days...

Oh well, just two to go now!

Mine:

"Here, darling, I've bought you a new dress."

"Oh, thank you Charles! It's very... bright. And sparkly."

"And gold!"

"Yes, Charles, that too."

"Don't you like it darling? It matches the shoes I bought for you yesterday!"

"Of course I do, Charles. You know I like everything you buy me."

"Oh, good."

"It's just..."

"Yes, darling?"

"It's just that I'm beginning to worry that you might be taking this whole trophy wife thing a little too literally."

"Oh, come now darling! I treat you with the utmost respect and dignity. I listen when you're yammering on about whatever it is you're always yammering on about. We even do things together that you like to do, on occasion."

"Yes, I suppose that's true, Charles. And it's not like you're asking me to carry around a bowling ball now, is it?"

"Oh! That reminds me! The rest of your gift..."

Wednesday October 11th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the devil's noose.

This afternoon I was asked to clean a room at Destination Osoyoos that I'd not previously had access to. After I was done they wanted me to close the blinds, which didn't seem like much of a request.

By the time I'd finished fighting with the cord I thought otherwise.

I usually have a shower after I get home from work, which gives me some quiet time to process my day. Tonight while I was in there I started thinking about those blinds and how much I hated the person who tied up the cord, whose tie job I casually referred to as 'the devil's noose'. I liked it so much that I had to make a prompt out of it.

So here we are.

Three days to go!

Mine:

The rope around my neck is impossibly hot. It should be on fire, the way it's burning me. I can almost hear the skin crackling like a steak on a frying pan doused with too much oil. The smell is... I don't want to think about the smell.

I twist this way and that, use my fingers to try to force a gap that can be used to loosen its grip on me. But there is no relief. There is no escape.

The devil's noose has a hold on me and it isn't letting go.

"Are you... comfortable?" a deep, rumbling voice asks. I can feel the echoes reverberating in my chest.

"No!" My voice is hoarse, rasping. My mouth is drier than grains of sand on a midday beach. The pain is... exquisite.

"Exquisite?" His laughter is a monstrous thing. "You flatter me."

"Get out of my head."

"Make me."

The challenge forces my eyes open for the first time. My regret is immediate and immense. Everything is on fire. I try not to look at anything too closely but I still see tormented faces and blackened bones.

I am surrounded by misery.

"Surrounded," he says. "And very much a part of it as well."

The noose tightens and I fall to my knees, clutching at the burning rope with both hands. I can feel the skin on my palms blistering and peeling away. Escape is hopeless but I will not stop fighting. I cannot stop. I must not.

"Oh, you will," he says with that terrible laugh. "You will."

Tuesday October 10th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the beginning of the end.

Parents managed to leave this morning without too many tears being shed. Took the boys to StrongStart shortly afterward to keep them distracted. Seemed to work out okay.

Beginning my final four day stretch with Public Works tomorrow. It's going to be a chilly week, but at least the end is very much in sight.

Mine:

This may not be the
end, but I can certainly
see it from here... *yay*

*     *     *

I said I love you
and you just sort of smiled and
didn't say it back

Monday October 9th, 2017

The exercise:

Well, it has certainly been a long time since I've made use of the Last Line Prompt. So, of course, now that I'm bringing it back around I'm changing the rules a little bit.

This time I want you to take any line from a song and use it as your last. Still the same idea, knowing your ending before you begin writing, just tweaking things slightly.

Oh, and just to be a pain, the song you pluck your line from has to be one on the Hamilton soundtrack.

You're welcome.

Had a good day with the boys and my parents. Lunch out in town with everybody, harvesting fruit and veggies with Max and my parents while Miles napped. A yummy borscht dinner together.

Will be sad to see them go tomorrow.

Mine:

Wait For It - Hamilton Soundtrack

I am deeply misunderstood by the likes of you. You have made so many incorrect assumptions. You hold even more misconceptions.

Allow me to shed some light and clarity for you. It is probably best if you save your thanks until later.

Trust me.

So. Where to begin? Perhaps it would be wise to commence with my response to those responsible for my downfall. You think I've gone into hiding? You consider my silence a sign of weakness or, even worse, cowardice?

These men took everything from me. My wealth, my power, my loved ones. Do you really think that I would do nothing in the face of their hateful actions? Do you really think I would turn the other cheek? Do you really think that I will show these men mercy?

And, to be clear, know that I count you among them. You have not escaped my attention.

All of you have mistaken the cause of my inaction. Like the fools you are. So allow me, if you will, to spell this out for you simpletons.

I'm not standing still.

I am lying in wait.

Sunday October 8th, 2017

The exercise:

The first week of October kinda slipped by before I realized it, so let us return to The Dream Kingdom before any more days sneak past me.

Had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with my parents this evening. We roasted a whole chicken, did up some potatoes and yams and peas, and had some wine to go with it. It was good to have them here for the holiday.

We've got one more full day with them before they head for home Tuesday morning. Not looking forward to how the boys will take their departure.

Mine:

"I don't know how these people can wear this everyday," Dylan muttered as he tried to scratch an unreachable itch on his back. "I'm going to lose my mind and I've only been wearing this for ten minutes."

"They must only wear clothes outdoors and just walk around their homes naked," Olivia said, completely unaware of the effect her words had on her friends. "They can't possibly wear these outfits all day."

"At least your clothes fit properly," Josh pointed out from where he was lying on the cart. "Did you have to steal the clothes from a walking blimp?"

"These are an isolated, impoverished people," Nystor reminded them. "Magic is dangerously unreliable here. They have little to work with and do the best they can. Their lot is not their fault."

"Whatever." Dylan paused to try to reach the itch with his other hand. "All right. So remind me again what the plan is? I can't concentrate with all this itchiness going on all over the place."

"Does that mean you're going to get naked before this is all over?" Olivia asked with an arched eyebrow.

"Try to focus, children," Nystor cut in. "Our... informant, once he was fully recovered from his near suffocation, was quite useful. We now know that there was an unusual burst of activity at The Lighthouse shortly after King Brekstan was taken and that was followed by a steep increase in security. If the king is not being held here, The Islanders are doing a fine job of misdirection."

"Right," Dylan grunted.

"We already knew that the only approach to The Lighthouse has to be through the village of Sandsekt, which makes our current disguises highly necessary - especially with the tower's meteorite foundations. We cannot expect to be able to maintain any sort of magical disguise once we get within a few hundred feet of its gates."

"So we're just going to hope these will be okay?" Josh asked, patting the blanket between himself and Nystor that covered Olivia and Dylan's swords.

"Can't exactly go in there unarmed," Olivia countered.

"I think that's enough bickering for now," Nystor said with a poorly concealed sigh. "We are approaching the outskirts of the village."

Saturday October 7th, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: opening night.

The Vancouver Canucks opened their 2017-18 season this evening with a 3-2 victory over Edmonton. They're not expected to be significantly better than the team that finished second-last in the league last season, but the first game of the year is always good for some baseless optimism.

Kat and I joined Becky and Adam in helping their parents finish off the apple pick this afternoon. The two of them have been going hard for much too long and are hitting a wall, so we're pitching in to get them over the finish line. The pick should get finished tomorrow morning.

Then all we have to do is convince them to get some well deserved rest.

Mine:

We're making our debut -
We're all brand new!
So, if it's okay with you,
I think I'll fake the flu...

Friday October 6th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the hearing test.

Another (cold) day in the books. Next four days off, and then the final run of four commences. Very much looking forward to doing something else for a while.

They were doing hearing tests this morning (the crew has to do one annually because so many of them work with loud machinery) and I (eventually) opted to join in. It's been a long time since my last one, so I was feeling a bit nervous.

Turns out my hearing is pretty much perfect and that I did the best on the test of everybody who did it this morning.

Must remember to rub that in their faces next week...

Mine:

"Did you hear that?"

"Knock it off, Derek."

"Come on, I'm just trying to make sure your hearing is okay after the accident!"

"Your accident... and if you set off one more firework in my office I'm going to fire you."

Thursday October 5th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: disguised.

I think my boys are born entertainers. Certainly in my parents eyes they are.

The silence in the house, now that they're asleep, is rather deafening.

Going to miss all that happy noise tomorrow while I'm at work. Thankfully I'll have the next four days off to make up for it.

Mine:

"The exhibit is magnificent - you've done an amazing job!"

"That's very kind of you. I'm particularly proud of this display."

"I can see wh... wait. Isn't that the artifact that was chewed up by our resident rat family?"

"It certainly is! You've got a keen eye."

"There was hardly anything left of it!"

"Yes, well, that's why I've got it almost entirely buried underneath artificial snow. Luckily for me the arctic discovery show was put into storage last week, so there was plenty of the stuff to go around."

"That's great and everything, but... wasn't that artifact dug out of an archaeological site in Egypt?"

Wednesday October 4th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the anomaly.

Another day of work down, only five to go. Chilly again in the morning, reasonably warm in the afternoon, got chilly again when I was heading home.

My parents arrived this afternoon for a visit. Looking forward to spending tomorrow hanging out with them and the boys. They were already having a blast by the time I got home and that was only for about an hour.

I suspect we'll all be quite worn out by tomorrow night.

Mine:

"There's an anomaly in one of your reports."

"Oh?"

"You didn't think I'd notice?"

"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about."

"Page fifty, Derek."

"Which one is that again?"

"Oh, you don't recall? Here, I'll show you. It's certainly easy enough to find."

"Why's that?"

"Because it was filled out entirely in crayon."

"It's what?"

"Pink crayon."

"... okay, my daughter may have done that one for me."

Tuesday October 3rd, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something: delicate.

Very cold start to the day, but it got quite reasonable once the sun was up. The lack of wind definitely helped.

Six days left!

Mine:

She's like a flower
clinging to her petals while
the summer winds scream

*     *     *

The box was labelled
Fragile. I wish you'd just told
me it was your heart

Monday October 2nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the artifact.

Spent the day with the boys while Kat went up to Penticton to work out of her new office there. She's going to be there every other Monday, with the hope of having a few face to face clients. It's a shared space with a masseuse who doesn't work Mondays so it's looking pretty ideal at this point.

Took the boys grocery shopping and then to the park this morning. Miles immediately spotted a seagull and went chasing after it. Not long after that he found a duck to chase. Had to get them home before he chased something into the lake.

Back to work for a couple days before I get Thursday off. Looking like it will be a chilly start to the day.

Mine:

"What are we looking for down here?"

"I'll know it when I see it."

"That's... not helpful."

"Just keep the flashlight steady, okay?"

"What... did you hear that?"

"Hey! Shiny shiny over here, remember?"

"But I heard something move over there. Hello? Who's there?"

"It's probably just a rat. I'm pretty sure there's a family or two or three of them down here."

"Probably? Two or three? I'm not enjoying the uncertainty of this little adventure."

"Relax... hey, shine that thing over here. I think this is what we need."

"If I hear any more doubt coming out of your mouth I'm handing in my resignation as soon as -"

"This is it! The exhibit is going to be so much better because of... oh, damn it."

"Do I want to know?"

"I think one of the rats might have eaten part... well, most of the artifact."

Sunday October 1st, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: order.

Working just one day feels weird. But other than a couple minor annoyances (the wind this afternoon being one of them), things went pretty smoothly. So now my final Sunday joins Monday in the rear view. My last Tuesday will be coming up next.

Not that I'm counting days or anything.

Mine:

Outside the lines
Remains colourless -
Don't you dare
Erase them, lest
Randomness take over.

Saturday September 30th, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: a poor response.

Ah, Trump.

Hard to believe we've come to the end of September already. Hoping things might slow down a little bit once my contract finishes up, but I suppose that's unlikely.

Back to work tomorrow, just for the day. Weather is supposed to be pretty chilly, so I imagine things will be fairly quiet.

Max helped me make apple sauce this afternoon while Kat and Miles napped. Looking forward to having more time and energy to do things like that this fall and winter.

Mine:

Thinking of a trip to San Juan?
You shouldn't.
What would I do if I lived there?
I wouldn't.

Friday September 29th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the fruit pickers.

Look at me, all caught up on comments. Pretty sure it's been at least six months since I could say that.

Planning on making some changes so that I can keep it this way. I'm quite done with getting so far behind on replying to comments. Thank you for your patience while I've been such a poor host.

Had the morning to myself (thus the comment catch up). Spent the afternoon with the boys. Sunshine. Good first day off.

Mine:

"Well, I'm done for the day."

"It's not even noon!"

"Yeah, but look at all the apples I've picked!"

"What, barely half a bin... and there are bite marks in all of these."

Thursday September 28th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: illuminated.

Another day down. Eight remain.

I've got the next two days off, then I'm working Sunday for Tammy (it's her anniversary and her husband is taking her to a concert in Kelowna), I'm off Monday, then back Tuesday and Wednesday. Tammy's taking Thursday for me, then I've got Friday.

After all that convoluted nonsense, I'll have my final four days off in a row, then work my final four days in a row.

Max had another good day at learning centre today. Looking forward to being able to take him once work finishes up, as I'd really like to meet his teacher and classmates.

Mine:

The light bulb
Above your head
Is burned out.
You're all out
Of ideas but
Chock-full of doubt.

There's no doubt
You'll burn bright
Again one day,
But it's hard today
To see you with
Nothing to say.

Wednesday September 27th, 2017

The exercise:

Write something which takes place at: the birthday party.

We had a StrongStart field trip at our farm this morning. Obviously I missed out on it, but it sounds like it went well. Max loves being the farm tour guide so I'm sure he was fully in his element.

With the sun shining all day there were more people out and about once again but it has yet to result in much additional work for me.

Sounds pretty ideal, actually. More of the same tomorrow?

Yes, please.

Mine:

The birthday boy is bawling
And throwing a fit since
His cake is splattered all over the
Room.
Guess he wasn't quick enough
To blow out the flames
Before the dynamite candles went
Boom.

Tuesday September 26th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the blackout.

Weather was quite nice today, so the parks were a bit busier than they have been recently. By early afternoon I was wishing I'd brought shorts to change into. With more of the same expected tomorrow I think I'll just start the day with shorts and suffer through the early morning cold.

Only ten days of work to go!

Mine:

Sitting in the dark
pining for a candle as
the monsters draw near

*     *     *

The wind rattles the
windows as another tree
topples in the yard

Monday September 25th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the protest.

Things just get more and more interesting to the south. Who knows when and where and how this will all come to an end.

Another quiet day at work. Still not a complaint.

Mine:

A show of silent unity,
Against a loud-mouthed bully,
That some people don't seem to get -
At least not fully.

They kneel, they sit, they link their arms,
And ignore those who cry folly!
Determined to win this battle
Without firing a volley...

Sunday September 24th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that goes: above and beyond.

Back to work I go, tomorrow.

Mine:

Whenever I've worked the weekend before having to clean Town Hall on Monday, I've tried to get some cleaning done ahead of time. The washrooms at minimum, anything beyond that when I've had the time. Anything to make the end of day clean on Monday more manageable.

On weeks when I work Sunday but not Monday, I've tried to get a few things done for Tammy as well. And when it's the other way around I usually ask her to do whatever she can over the weekend to make life easier for me, because it really is much too big of a job to do in the less than two hours we get to do it in.

Anyway. We've been texting each other at the end of our shifts to let the person coming back to work know of any issues or anything that might need extra attention. This evening when Tammy sent her text she slipped this one in as though it were no big deal: I cleaned Town Hall completely. You might want to check the upstairs kitchen garbage tomorrow though, just to make sure it doesn't get too smelly.

I replied back: You cleaned all of Town Hall? Above and beyond, milady.

So now, all of a sudden, I'm (pretty much) done with the office that's been the biggest pain to clean all summer. What a great, totally unexpected way to start my work week.

Saturday September 23rd, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the obstacle course.

Max got a free ticket to do the Freak'n Farmer obstacle race through learning centre (and he's been very excited to do it ever since we explained what it was), so we headed up to Covert Farms this morning for him to do the 'mini' course. Which, at 1.5 km, didn't seem super mini by the end.

Anyway. He rocked it. Over balancing obstacles, climbing up and down obstacles, running full out from station to station, getting wet and muddy, swinging over a pile of tomatoes (seriously) - he did it all. We were very proud of him.

Here he is with the medal he got after crossing the finish line:


It's my favorite picture of the day, partially because most of my pictures of him doing the obstacles were taken from so far away (because he was out there doing it without us). He can't wait to do it again. And I just might have to do the adult version next year.

Mine:

Look at him doing it
Without a single piece of armor!
Go my little man go -
You are a damned fine Freak'n Farmer!

Friday September 22nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the liaison.

Took the boys to StrongStart this morning, then Max spent the afternoon with Kat's parents. Miles joined him after his nap, so I was able to get some rest.

I can feel myself losing the battle with sleep as I type this, so I best get on with the show.

Mine:

You're confused, that's easy enough to tell. You know I hate my job, yet I do it so very well. You think there must be a story here, some wild and crazy tale.

But really, it's all because Henri has me in constant fear of revealing to the world his blackmail...

Thursday September 21st, 2017

The exercise:

Let us make use of the Random CD prompt once again, shall we? Go find a song as randomly as you're able to and borrow its first line for the opening of your writing today. Then... take it from there! Credit goes where it's due, as always.

Hung out with Miles today while Kat spent the day in Penticton after dropping Max off at learning centre. Kat was able to get a few things done, Max had another great time in OK Falls, and Miles and I kept ourselves entertained with grocery shopping, a visit to the bakery, and playing around the house.

Tomorrow... is Friday, right? Okay. That means I've got both the boys all day so that Kat can get some work done. We shall see what sort of trouble we can get up to.

Mine:

Sunsets For Somebody Else by Jack Johnson

I know I've seen your face somewhere. But where? When was it? A long time ago, surely - I would remember if I saw you more recently. My memory is not so terrible as that.

And I am very good with faces. Always have been. One of my precious few gifts is the ability to match names to faces. So know that I speak from a position of authority when I say that this is not a case of misplaced familiarity. You don't have one of those faces, as they say.

It is unique in ways both pleasing and... unsettling. I blame your eyes for that. There is a darkness there that... well, that I'd rather not find there. They have borne witness to things better left unseen. I wonder... were those dark deeds done by your own hands?

I hope not.

And I wonder, too, if my inability to place your face is due to only seeing it partially before now. Was it hidden beneath a downturned hat? Concealed by shadows? Were you trying to escape my notice, stranger who may not be quite as strange as I might hope?

Why would you do that? What possible interest might my goings on be of to you? To anyone, really. I am not that interesting, not that important. Just ask my ex-wife. Any of them. So why keep a watchful eye on little old nobody me?

Bah. It is getting late. I must stop asking questions of your photograph before it begins answering me back. That would surely guarantee me a sleepless night.

For if it did that, I would most certainly not like its replies...

Wednesday September 20th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the misnomer.

Beautiful, sunny yet cool morning. Really pleasant walking around collecting not a lot of litter.

This afternoon dark clouds came blowing in and things were not quite so nice out there.

I guess it's that time of year.

Happy to have reached my third to last weekend with this job.

Mine:

"Sir? Can you please sit down? The folks behind you can't see."

"Lucky them."

"Sir. I don't appreciate that. At all. I've worked very hard on this presentation."

"Doesn't show though, does it? I mean, come on guys, I can't be alone on this one."

"I believe that you are. And I invite you to leave so that everyone else may enjoy this information session without interruption."

"Enjoy, Mr. Aldim? I see you're aiming high. I suppose there's something to be admired about that."

"Please leave, sir. I beg of you."

"No need to beg, Mr. Aldim - I was just going anyway. Forgot my cigarettes in my room. Penthouse suite, by the way. In case any of the ladies in attendance were wondering."

"This is highly ina-"

"I mean, other than you two. You ladies were very definitely wondering."

"Monsieur Henri, get -"

"Oh, please don't call me that. You sound like you've got a mouthful of worms when you sat it like that."

"Out! Get Out!"

"I just said I was leaving! Weren't you listening, Mr. Aldim?"

"And that is not my name!"

"It's not?"

"It's Mr. Albright and you know it!"

"Yes, well, from what I've seen and heard tonight, that is very definitely a misnomer..."

Tuesday September 19th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the pioneer.

I was cold for most of the day at work, even with a sweatshirt on over top of my longsleeve shirt. I am still getting accustomed to the fall weather.

Miles has had a fever for the last couple of days so Kat brought him to the hospital in Oliver to get him checked out late this afternoon. I joined them after I got off work, by which time they'd already been waiting an hour in emergency and Miles was mostly feeling better. There would be another hour to wait before the doctor could see him, so of course he was basically back to normal by then.

He wants to check him for a bladder infection, just to be sure, but hopefully we're already out of the woods on this one.

Kat's dad had already gotten Max to sleep by the time I got home, so the only time I saw him awake today was when he woke up just before I left for work. Which is better than not at all, I suppose.

One more day and then weekend time.

Mine:

He blazes trails with
no concern for direction -
he's not going back.

*     *     *

I will conquer this
wilderness and make it my
own... or die trying.

Monday September 18th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: unsteady.

A long overdue return to the Wastelands is in order (thanks Greg for the nudge in the comments a while back). I am feeling inspired at the moment, so hopefully the next installment will not have to wait so excessively long.

It was cold enough today that I had to wear pants instead of shorts to work. First time since... May?

I even was rained on for a little bit in the afternoon.

Only 14 days of work remain.

Fall has arrived.

Mine:

I study the items in Master Francis' supply closet by the light of a fluttering, unsteady candle. My left hand is shakier than I would like it to be, but I've regained enough strength to do what I require. I think.

The sack at my feet is already mostly full of the supplies that I need but I am still in need of weapons. I am not impressed by what I've found in the closet. I grab one of Master Francis' needles and test its weight. Running from my fingertips to my elbow, it is certainly intimidating. I'd rather not get close enough to make use of it, but better safe than sorry.

I drop it into the sack and frown at the remaining options. Maybe I should have started with the tool shed where -

"Sebastien!" The automaton's form nearly fills the doorway between the workshop and the hallway leading to the bedrooms. I remind myself that I am doing nothing wrong. Well, not especially wrong.

"Xavier." A few moments of whirs and clicks pass before he speaks again. "Are you intending on killing Master Francis in his sleep?"

"What?"

"Because I must inform you that I cannot allow that."

"No, of course not! Why would I do that? Why would you think that?"

"Then what are you doing with Master's things in the middle of the night? You should be asleep. You still need to recover from your injuries."

"I have recovered enough." Close enough, anyway. "I am going to find the North Ridge Brigands."

"And what do you plan to do once you find them?"

"Blow one of their ships from the sky." The candle is shaking badly now, so I set it down on a nearby workbench. "With as many of them aboard it as possible."

"Ah, you wish to avenge the deaths of your friends."

"I had no friends aboard my ship," I tell him and it is true. I respected Captain Miranda but we rarely spoke. The crew meant little to nothing to me. They were a means to an end, that was all. "This is about the principle of the thing. A man cannot be blasted out of the sky and then walk away without a proper response. That would be cowardice."

"I see." A lengthier pause this time, filled with grinding and clicks. I'm beginning to wonder if Sebastien has malfunctioned when he says, "I will go with you."

"What? You can't abandon Master Francis like that."

"I will reprogram Scout V42 so that it can perform my duties for our Master during my absence. I have done it before."

"Okay... but why would you want to help me?"

"The Brigands are not good people, Xavier. They have done harm to many innocent men and women... and automatons. I will not miss an opportunity to see them pay for their misdeeds. If you are able to get even with them in the process, all the better."

"Oh, I do not intend to get even, Sebastien," I say with a grim smile. "I intend to come out of this well ahead. Those bastards owe this pilot a ship."

Sunday September 17th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the omission.

Had a really nice time at the fair today. The whole farm family was there, so Max and Natalie got to go on the rides together again while Kat's parents helped with keeping an eye on Miles.

Max went horse riding again and did great:


We were all pretty tired as we headed for home, but we caught a break with Miles napping for most of the drive.

It was a good tired though.

Still not looking forward to getting up tomorrow morning to go to work.

Mine:

He claims it was an error of omission but I know he's just wishing I don't look too closely because I won't like what I see. A bit of unintentional forgetting, nothing too upsetting, that's what he'd have me believe.

Well forget THAT. I'm going on the attack. I'm grabbing my microscope, my telescope, hell even my periscope. I'll use my magnifying glass to examine his ass. No lies will escape my eyes.

His coronation will not survive the devastation of my investigation.

Saturday September 16th, 2017

The exercise:

Following up on last Saturday's prompt, today we shall write four line poems about: your outside voice.

Work went by quickly today, which is always nice. Very much looking forward to the fair tomorrow.

Mine:

I can see that you really need to go -
It must be so hard to wait, I bet.
But I do still need a few more minutes,
This washroom is just not clean quite yet...

Friday September 15th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: fractions.

Managed to get both Max and myself haircuts this afternoon, as Miles napped for the first time in... three or four days. All three of us are now much better off because of it.

Back to work for a day tomorrow, then off for the Rock Creek Fair, then back for three more days.

I am so not going to have any bloody idea what day it is by the time this stretch is over.

Mine:

Things are only half seen in the land of in between. Noises, from the softest whispers to the most savage of roars, are only heard in thirds. And distances are much shorter - perhaps only a quarter of what they ought to be.

There is a way to escape this place, but less than an eighth keep their faith long enough to find it...