Friday, June 24, 2016

hustle & bustle

Warning: The content of this post will likely disappoint those of you expecting me to write about con artistry and women's fashions from the 1800's.

The Screw Iowa Writers Workshop is coming to Wisconsin this year! On Monday I go retrieve my writing group (sans Nina, who is in China with her beloved husband this time) and we have a full week together. Team Testosterone is giving up their bedrooms upstairs for their aunties, which has meant tidying up and airing out that adolescent funk smell. Laundry and dusting, scrubbing of bathrooms and sweeping of porches have taken place. People say there's nothing like hosting a party to make you get stuff done, and that's the truth around here.

I'll run to the grocery store on Sunday after church and pick up all the essentials.  Monday I'll strip the boys' beds and remake them, then shuffle them off to the basement where they'll camp for the week. Wednesday I'm hosting an open house for anyone interested in meeting these swell writers.  (Locals: my house, 6:30-9:30, feel free to drop by! We'll have wine, beer, soda and munchies.  Books will be for sale, as well.) 

My annual week with these women is a balm to my spirit. I rarely get to discuss writing on the same level with other people in everyday life, most of my friends are readers only. I'm excited to hash out everyone's current projects and discover the feedback they'll give me on mine (the sequel to Across the River).  They always teach me so much and I walk away inspired to tackle whatever I'm working on.  Plus,I can't wait to find out the minutia going on in their lives, talk about politics and art and books. And I'm excited to finally host these women and give them the same royal treatment I've always enjoyed at their homes.

I've written up a short list of day trip options so they can experience the best of The Dairy State during their visit. Wisconsin has a wealth of summer offerings, including iconic experiences like a Friday night fish fry.

What else is new here? Mr. T has his first job and is learning to really appreciate free time after working 40 hours a week. Having a job has made him infinitely more pleasant from my end, and every day he comes home with a story that has made me belly laugh. He's a summer custodian at the elementary school, so scrubbing desks and unloading classrooms got added to his skill set. Mr. B is fishing and hanging out with buddies, going to wrestling camp and experiencing growth as a ballplayer while his team loses a lot. Mr. G's doing the same thing (with less fishing, more sports).  We've had some frustrated baseball players around here this summer, but you don't learn as much from winning, so the long-term benefit will come. 

It's funny how low-key this place has become. With Mr. T driving, I don't have to run every errand myself anymore. Mr. G can walk himself over to summer school and Mr. B's pals are free-range on our country block thanks to their ATVs. The other day I pulled weeds and listened to the younger two in the pool with their buddies. Half of the crew has lower voices now and everyone is tall enough to look me in the eye. I can't believe how these kids keep changing before my eyes, thickening and lengthening and each heading in their own direction. Their shoes take up all the floor space in the laundry room and they sure can EAT.

I also took a hike around our entire property, then hooked onto the trail around the wetland behind us. Thanks to that wetland, our woods doesn't flood like it used to, though the creek is still really high right now. It was great to have access to our land and thanks to the wind, I wasn't bugged by any mosquitoes or flies. The eagle's nest has 3 eaglets, I scared up 2 fawns, several squirrels and something that rustled and scurried off into the undergrowth--raccoon? opossum? turkey?  I tromped and inhaled the rich, cool smell of the woods and the hot, sweet smell from the clover blooming in the fields. Everything is blooming right now.  We've had a number of thunderstorms blow through in the past couple weeks, but have experienced minimal tree damage. Only one large tree had fallen across the path, but Mr. D will take his chainsaw out to deal with it this weekend.

Among the other noteworthy blessings:
our well tested negative for arsenic, so we get to keep it.
the mosquitoes have been scarce.
nights have been cool--we haven't turned on the AC yet.
some lovely reviews on Across the River.
I get to help teach some terrific 3rd graders every Sunday morning (bonus: I'm reading in my daily devotions exactly the same sections we're studying on Sundays--OT stuff, Ruth last week, Hannah this week).
my friend Jocelyn published THIS!
Mr. G got a 1 year delay on any orthodontist visits.
our neighbors' Breakfast on the Farm event went perfectly.
a tall stack of summer reading material.
dinner out with Mr. D's friends visiting from Iowa last Saturday night--the sweetest couple and fun to catch up with them.

Spill it, reader. What's got you hustlin' this month?


  1. No wonder you haven't been writing on the blog much. Your life is full of lots of wonderful things. Having that much property to walk and explore has got to be good for the body and the soul.
    Sorry the baseball season isn't what they'd hoped. Lessons are being learned, though, for sure.
    Isn't it the best to have another driver in the house? We're halfway to having a second one, and I am looking forward to it!
    Enjoy the week with your writing friends!

  2. Such wonderful news! I only wish I was in Wisconsin to take advantage of your open house. The description of summer with older kids, the perfect weather... it all sounds lovely.
    I'm keeping busy vending at the weekly farmers' market, physical therapy, and work -- none of which can be described as eloquently as you managed in your post.

  3. YAY! I'm so excited you get to spend a week with your peeps. Wish I was local so I could come met those rock stars. Have a great time!

  4. Sequel! Yay! I loved Across the River.

  5. Summer PE, that's what's keeping us hopping. It's thrown our whole summer schedule out of whack (and while they are too nice to admit it, I think it's thrown my entire office out of whack because I've changed my schedule to better schlep my girl) but ONE MORE WEEK and we're done. Then it's off to our normal summer shenanigans. Lake, camp, river with a real live actual vacation planned in August.

  6. PS....enjoy the week! It sounds lovely!

  7. I was marveling at how you DO stuff and bring G peoe together and appreciate things, and then all of a sudden, there was my name, and you were being G kind specifically to me. You are goodness.

  8. I was school custodian for the summer after my senior year. I can still remember the smell of the paint and the cleaning supplies. We scrubbed and painted EVERYTHING.

  9. Wow! So many wonderful things happening in your 'hood. It all sounds fabulous! I hope you and your writers have a fantastic time!

  10. Sounds like a great start to your summer. Enjoy showing off your state and how fabulous the Midwest can be in the summertime :-)

  11. Sounds like a good whirlwind! I can't believe Mr. T's first job is 40 hrs/wk! That's intense! Good for him though --I hope he's saving for something important :-) Emma starts her driver's ed class in a couple of weeks, and all her friends are learning this summer too --it's kind of weird!

    I hope you have a great week with your writer friends!

  12. If your group is interested, look into the Fox Valley Symphony's free concert at the T-Rats stadium on Friday, July 1. Someone you might know is in the group singing the National Anthem!

  13. Eaglets, WOW! Our summer is quite fine also, although unbelievably dry, we need SOME rains!

  14. We just moved. I was blessed to be able to move to a "farm-ette" with my daughter and her family. I have my own space (about 1500 sq ft) and pay the same amount in rent. Added bonus - I get to see three of my grandchildren every day. Doesn't get much better than this.

  15. Hmm, it sounds to me like your summer is going very nicely!

  16. I dreamed last night that I hiked around your property with you. it was lovely (as I'm sure it is in real life).


Spill it, reader.