Life

Nutrition, Fashion, and a Fancy Lunch

One thing I learned from my checkup a couple of weeks ago is that I have to lower my cholesterol. Most of my numbers are pretty good, but my LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) is a bit higher than it should be. It’s balanced out some by a higher HDL (the “good” cholesterol) level, but my doctor still wants me to see what I can do with lifestyle adjustments.

Fortunately, I know all about what to do about that. My first job out of college was at a medical school. I was a writer and public information officer, which meant I wrote articles and news releases about the departments I covered and handled press inquiries relating to those departments. One of those departments during part of my time there was the Center for Human Nutrition, along with nutrition research in general and the clinical nutrition training program. Cholesterol was the biggest thing being discussed at that time. Two of our doctors had won the Nobel Prize for research relating to cholesterol. I’ve written so much stuff about that, and I have the information direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

I even have a book about lowering cholesterol and thereby lowering heart attack risk, which I got at an event relating to the medical school, so I pulled it out and started reading it. That was when I realized how much things change and evolve in science and medicine. The copyright on this book was 1993, and I already could see things that are different now. For one thing, according to the scale in this book, I shouldn’t have to do anything. My LDL would have been well within normal parameters, but they’ve since changed the recommendations, so I now fall within the “nothing to be too alarmed about, but you should probably make some lifestyle changes so things don’t get worse” level. The recipes in the book tend to be pretty high in sugar, and they’ve found since then that high sugar is also a risk factor. It’s a trick to balance lower saturated fat and lower sugar and simple carbs. Avocados are a no-no in the book, and now they’re recommended. I think the views on eggs have also shifted since then.

But that’s how science works. They’re constantly adjusting and fine-tuning as they learn more. What they’re recommending one year may be different from what they recommend later. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to scientists because they change their minds. In fact, you know you’re dealing with good scientists when they’re willing to change their thinking based on evidence.

This book definitely brought back memories because the event where I got it was an interesting one. Because research is so expensive, the school was always doing fundraising activities, which generally involved Dallas society, the wealthy people who mix charity with fun, so they’re always having balls and parties to raise money. I sometimes had to go to these events to write about them, which meant I’d end up at mansions with butlers answering the doorbell. I’d pull up to the valet that they had to use for guest parking in these neighborhoods in my Chevy Cavalier when everyone else had Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars. I was in my very early 20s and making about $20,000 a year, so it was quite a contrast.

For the event where I got the book, I wasn’t yet assigned to the nutrition department, but the university president’s secretary called our office not long before lunchtime one day and said she needed some women to fill seats for a fundraising luncheon. I don’t know if someone had backed out or if they didn’t sell all the tickets, but they didn’t want empty seats. The next thing I know, I’m in the secretary’s car, being whisked off to this fancy luncheon full of Dallas society women. They stuck me in one of the empty seats, and when the lady sitting next to me introduced herself, I realized I was sitting with Margot Perot — wife of the infamous billionaire and sometime presidential candidate H. Ross. Then I learned that the entertainment for the luncheon was a Chanel fashion show. That was awkward because I was wearing a Chanel-style suit from Casual Corner. It wasn’t a true knockoff, no fake logo, or anything like that, but it was definitely that style. I was sitting there in my cheap imitation, surrounded by billionaires and millionaires who wore the real deal.

Models walked around the room while we ate our fancy salads and stopped at each table to describe their outfits and answer any questions. Fortunately, it was mostly resort wear, so no one was wearing the real deal version of my suit. And it turned out that Mrs. Perot was delightfully snarky and had the same attitude about that kind of fashion as I did, so next thing I know, the two of us are Statler and Waldorfing the fashion show. After we were through eating and looking at clothes I’d never be able to afford, there was a speaker. I don’t remember who it was, but it might have been one of the authors of this book, which was given out to each attendee, along with a Chanel goodie bag containing a full-size bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. That perfume alone probably doubled my earnings for that day.

Reading through this book took me back to that day, when I was very much a fish out of water, but one of the top fish was so kind and friendly that she put me at ease. I may have to find a way to put this experience in a book. In the meantime, I need to do a little more research into the current dietary recommendations. I think mostly I need to cut back on the amount of cheese I eat. One of my indulgences during lockdown has been finding the fancy cheeses in the Kroger cheese shop that have been marked down, and that’s generally what I have for lunch. I eat way more than the recommended serving size, I’m sure. I’m also trying to exercise more and at more intensity. I’m the kind of overachiever who wants to get a better “grade” on my next cholesterol test.

writing

Read Recent Books

One of the best pieces of advice for those who are writing with the goal of publication — and this applies whether you’re hoping to get published by one of the major houses or you’re planning to self publish — is to read recent works in your field. It’s good to have a grounding in the classics, but to know where you stand in the market, you need to know what’s being published and what’s succeeding now.

The wisdom of this has become quite clear to me as I try to read my way through the to-be-read bookcase. I think of the 90s as “recent,” but for books, that seems to be ancient history. The pacing is so different then from what you’d find now. You can’t go for the old-school fantasy opening of the hero exploring the castle, then having a long conversation with the wizard about the history of the land.

Or there was the book I just read that’s about a journey. The goal of the journey is in the title of the book. The blurb on the back cover is all about how fantastic this journey will be. But we spend the first quarter of the book wondering if the hero is ever actually going to go anywhere. There are several chapters devoted to setting up why he would want to go on this journey, then once he decides to go, there are more chapters about whether or not he’ll be allowed to go. It’s not as though there’s much suspense to it. It’s there in the title that he’s going to go, so this feels like wasted space.

It would be like if in Raiders of the Lost Ark — a movie whose title tells us is going to be about going after the lost Ark — once Indy decided he needed to take on the quest, instead of him heading straight to Marian, we had to sit through a bunch of faculty meetings to decide if the university was going to let him go. We know he’s going to go. It’s there in the title. You’re just delaying getting to the good part.

The only reason to have that kind of delay and a question as to whether the main character is going to get to do the thing that’s in the title of the story is if you’re raising the stakes and forcing the character to really commit by having the authorities say he can’t go so that he then has to buck authority and go on his own — if Indy has to be so committed to the quest that when the university refuses to grant him leave, he quits, which means he has to succeed because he has nothing to come back to. But having that kind of delay only for him to be told yes instead of just letting him go really slows down the story. I suspect today’s editors would have cut several scenes.

I think there are also different standards today regarding racism and sexism. You can’t get away with having every female character be a courtesan who’s naked most of the time and who exists as a reward for a hero, and you can’t have all the characters with darker skin be some kind of savage or primitive people (and, for a bonus, they all have the kind of hospitality that’s “here, as our guests, enjoy our women).

That doesn’t mean you can’t read older books, but to get a sense for what you need to do with your book in order to succeed, you need to read recent works by people who are around the same publishing level as you. If this would be your first published work, read the first publications by new authors. Reading recent books by bestselling authors won’t tell you much because they’ve earned a lot of leeway. See what it takes to break in now. If you’re planning to self-publish, read the more successful self-published books in your category.

writing, TV

Flawed Characters

I had yet another writing epiphany while watching TV this weekend.

One of the things I struggle with is writing flawed characters. Readers tend to like my characters, but I don’t usually have big character growth arcs of the sort that are necessary to sell books to publishers these days, especially for younger readers. The last couple of projects I’ve sent to my agent, that was one of her biggest complaints, that my characters pretty much have it together at the beginning and don’t have much room to grow. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. When I look at most of my books, my character arcs are mostly about gaining confidence and learning to step out and take action, which works, but I seem to have gone to that well too many times, and it’s not very dramatic.

The other night, I was watching Beecham House on PBS. It’s a frustrating series because it’s beautifully filmed and full of potentially interesting stories, but it’s pretty dull. The series centers around an Englishman in India in the late 1700s who’s trying to build trade relationships outside the East India Company, and he’s competing with the French. He’s a widower with an infant son who’s the heir to a maharaja, and he has to protect the baby from the evil uncle who wants to kill him. His mother has shown up in India with a young woman as her traveling companion who she wants to marry her son (who is so not interested), and his younger brother is a soldier for the East India Company who’s embraced the local culture (in more ways than one), but who is kind of a wastrel. The older brother makes for a pretty dull hero because he’s practically perfect (just a bit dense in trusting the wrong person, but then he doesn’t have the advantage of having watched enough British television to know that guy is always the villain).

But then in the latest episode, the older brother has been framed and arrested, and the younger brother has to step up and deal with everything. I found myself thinking that the series would have worked better if the younger brother had been the main character, the slacker party boy who suddenly has to deal with everything when his practically perfect brother gets in trouble.

And that was when I had my “duh!” realization. The guy who has lessons to learn makes for a more interesting hero. He’s still smart and capable, and he actually figures out that the untrustworthy guy can’t be trusted, but he also has to make some big moral choices and go way out of his comfort zone. And I still like him, even though he isn’t perfect.

It is a bit easier to do this sort of thing on a TV show because the actor can make a big difference. I was prone to like the younger brother because he’s played by an actor I liked in something else, where he played the nice, smart guy, but he’s also got a lot of personal charisma. In print, you have to create that for readers without being able to rely on an attractive actor who may bring positive baggage to the role. Still, the hero who has to step up and go outside his comfort zone and overcome his own flaws to succeed makes for a better story. When I’m struggling with this in the future, I can remember this vivid example.

I keep having these breakthroughs while watching TV, so maybe I should go back to doing more of that. I’ve just about stopped lately, but everything I have watched has given me a big writing realization.

writing

Short Stuff

Earlier this year, I mentioned the Kickstarter for the short story collection I have a story in. The book is now available, for those who didn’t participate in the Kickstarter. There’s more info here.

It’s a collection of stories involving the fae, from various traditions. I’d done a ton of reading about that in preparation for writing my Fairy Tale books, mostly about the traditions and folklore of the British Isles. But when it came time to write this story after I was invited to participate in the anthology, I went in a different direction. I’d been reading some Scandinavian folklore, and I ended up using a bit from Iceland. They have such strong traditions about the fae that, even now, they’ll reroute planned road construction if it might interfere with an area believed to be a fairy habitat.

But the actual seed of the story was something non-magical that happened to me. I’ll tell that story in my next newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up here. I only send about one e-mail a month, plus I’ll send out reminders when there’s a new book.

I don’t write a lot of short stories. I tend to get novel-sized ideas, so all my attempts at short stories either fizzle out, grow out of control, or they get to a certain point and then frantically wrap up before they get too long. But I’m thinking that I may try to write them more often. I recently read a book about the history of Pixar, and one of the things mentioned was why they keep doing the short films even though they don’t really bring in much revenue. They’re mostly something to show ahead of the main feature as a bonus, and they win a lot of awards, but if they didn’t make those shorts, it wouldn’t cut any income from the bottom line. But they use the shorts as a relatively low-cost (in both time and money) way to experiment and learn. It’s a way for new writers and directors to practice making a film without being thrown in head-first in a full-length feature, so it creates a pipeline of talent. It’s also a way to play with technology or concepts.

I might be able to use short pieces in a similar way — to try out new ideas, techniques, or approaches, maybe touch on some of my literary “bucket list” items. Before I started writing Enchanted, Inc., I’d never written a novel in first-person narration, but I had written some fan fiction that way, just to try it. I could use short stories for that sort of thing. Then, as a bonus, if any of them sell, then that’s money, and their publication serves as promotion. Or I could create a collection of my own, use them in the newsletter, etc.

I’ll have to keep that in mind for something to do between books.

But first, I have to wrap up the books I’m working on.

Ice Cream Days

As part of my attempt to change my attitude about hot weather (I hate it), I decided that I would “celebrate” 100-degree days by having ice cream only on those days — according to the official temperature at the airport. I even bought a pint, since at that time they were forecasting a 100-degree day.

Quite abruptly, the weather pattern changed, and we went through a spell of below-normal temperatures and rain. I’m not complaining.

Now, though, they’re forecasting 100+ temperatures from tomorrow through Tuesday, so unless there’s an unexpected twist, I’ll get my ice cream. I’ve been thinking about what I’ll do. I got vanilla so I’d have more options. I could make a fudge sauce, or I could make a strawberry sundae, or just have it with fruit. I figure the more I dwell on it and look forward to it, the less likely we are to actually hit 100, though I guess it’s not much of a victory if it’s only 99, since it’s still hot and I don’t get ice cream.

But there is hope not too far away. Last time I was in Target, they were setting up the school supply display, and this week’s ad included a sale on school supplies. Fall is coming! We just have to get through the rest of July and August … and most of September.

I’m telling myself I really don’t need more notebooks. I don’t need to shop the back-to-school sales. Really.

But I am about to head to the library to pick up all the stuff I had on hold. Then I can hunker down in my cave and wait out the heat.

This is a little later than average for our first 100-degree day, so that’s some consolation. Last year we didn’t get one until late in July, but then the hot weather lingered a lot longer before abruptly turning cold, so there was no real fall. We went from 90-degree weather straight to a freeze before the end of October. I know it doesn’t really work this way, but maybe having our summer on schedule will mean it ends on time.

writing

I Want

I thought I was just about done with this book, aside from one final proofread before sending it to a copyeditor, but I had an epiphany this weekend spurred by a Disney movie.

I’d recorded Moana when ABC showed it a couple of months ago, and this weekend I finally got around to watching it. When the movie got to the big “I want” musical number, I realized what was missing from my book.

Just about every Disney musical has a big musical number near the beginning in which the main character sings about what they want out of life. I don’t know if they did this deliberately in the early days, but modern Disney is well aware of this and has codified the “I Want” song into their process. This isn’t about the story goal — in fact, the character usually sings this song before the story kicks in. It’s about what the character wants out of life, what her deepest desires are. The story provides a way of getting this.

Going back to the beginning, Snow White sings “I’m Wishing,” which is about wanting to find someone who’ll love her. Cinderella sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” but it’s not too specific about what she wants, just that she wants something she can’t allow herself to express. Sleeping Beauty has the “I Wonder” song, which is about wanting to find someone to love her.

During the Classic era, we get our first hint of the kind of song that became popular during the revival, with Alice singing “In a World of My Own,” about the place she’d create if she could make a world that would get her away from where she was.

That expanding of horizons became the main theme of the “I Want” songs in the modern era. Ariel sings about wanting to be part of the human world. Belle sings of wanting “adventure in the great wide somewhere.” Rapunzel wants her life to begin. Anna gets the “I Want” song in Frozen, wanting to get outside the palace.

Note that these all take place before they’re caught up in the story. Ariel doesn’t yet know about Ursula’s spell to give her legs (and I don’t think she’s even rescued Eric yet before she sings). Belle doesn’t know anything about the Beast when she sings about what she wants.

And that’s what my book was missing. I didn’t know what my heroine wanted deep down inside, the need that was within her before she stumbled across a mystery she had to solve. I think it was there, to some extent, but making it more explicit and weaving that into the story really adds to the book. There’s more going on with her emotionally. I may have to add that to my process, figuring out what my characters would sing about in their “I Want” song if they were in a Disney musical.

I think the “I Want” bit is also in the Pixar movies, but it’s less obvious because they don’t stop to sing about it. I’m pondering rewatching a couple today for research. I saw the doctor yesterday and got the first shingles shot, so now I’m feeling the aftereffects and I’m not sure I’m up to doing much today. It feels kind of like a mild case of flu (without the respiratory symptoms), but I understand this is far preferable to actually having shingles. I never had chicken pox — that I know of — so this will protect me from that, and if I had a subclinical infection (a case so mild it went unnoticed, but that would explain why I was generally the only kid in the neighborhood who didn’t get chicken pox) then it will protect me from shingles. I guess it’s one benefit of all the medical craziness going on right now that the shingles shots are available when they used to have a waiting list.

Isolating Times

I had a nice little holiday, though it ended up being fairly busy, as my new refrigerator was delivered Friday, and that meant spending Thursday preparing and Friday putting everything back in order. Now I’m going to dive back in to work before I take my next holiday around my birthday in early August. I did a lot of cooking, listened to a lot of classical patriotic music on the radio and on TV, and watched a livestreamed fireworks show.

Now, though, I’m determined to wrap up these mystery books and get them out into the world, and then get the next one written. Three books should establish the series, and then I can space them out a bit more and write a few other things in between those books. I know most of the advice is to have one series with a lot of books, but I already know that’s a recipe for burnout for me. Maybe I can get by with juggling a few different things. July isn’t good for much around here other than huddling indoors, so I might as well spend the time productively. Then maybe in the fall when it’s cooler (and possibly safer to be around people) I can ease up and let myself play some. Right now, there’s no travel from around here to the rest of the country or to most of the rest of the world because I live in a hot zone and I’d have to quarantine for two weeks. I just hope that comes under better control within the next month or so. Even I’m starting to miss people. Not necessarily large groups or people in general, but there are specific people I would like to see in person again. Though it is nice to not have to come up with excuses not to have to go to social events I’m not super keen on.

This summer has reminded me of a summer I had as a kid. The summer between fifth and sixth grades, my mom had a job and my little brother was in nursery school. I was too old for the nursery, and my parents figured I was mature enough to stay home alone. I did have some rules about not having anyone else in the house and needing advance permission to go to anyone else’s house or to leave the neighborhood, but otherwise I was pretty free, and I recall riding my bike to the next village to go to the swimming pool with a friend quite often, so I don’t think permission was denied. And this was in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language! I have fond memories of that summer. While I did go out and do things with friends, I also spent a lot of quiet time at home (since we were in Germany and the weather wasn’t always ideal for going outside). We had one TV channel in English. During the mornings, they showed old TV series like Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies and (my favorite that summer) Daktari. Then there was a block of soap operas, and that’s when I’d go outside or do something else. In the late afternoon, they tended to show British science fiction things, and I believe that was where I first encountered Doctor Who. We went to the library a lot and I had a good supply of books. I also created an entire city for my Barbie dolls in the basement playroom. I completely remodeled the Dream House and built on additional things, and I sewed clothes for my dolls.That was long before the Internet, and even the phone wasn’t an option because they charged by the minute even for local calls. The phone was only for emergencies.

Although I did get a lot of social interaction when I played outside with friends, and my family was home in the evenings and on weekends, that was a lot like the current lockdown. But now at least I have the luxury of Internet access and phone calls. Although the daytime television programming on broadcast TV isn’t as good as the one channel we got then, there’s so much streaming (even though I don’t watch much). In addition to getting books from the library, I can get just about anything I want electronically.

That summer made me very self-sufficient. I learned how to manage my time without any kind of externally imposed structure, and I got good at amusing myself. It was good training for being self-employed and working at home, and it prepared me for this time.

Life

Time Off

It turns out that book 1 in this series is in reasonably good shape. I should manage to finish this round of revisions tomorrow, and then since there’s a holiday this weekend, I’m going to take a bit of a vacation. Not that I’m going anywhere. But I think I need a mental vacation. I may do some brainstorming and work-related reading, but I won’t try to write. So, I probably won’t be posting here the rest of the week.

My kitchen seems determined to annoy me. Last week, there was the refrigerator saga (still no word about it being delivered). Then over the weekend my toaster oven died. The top element stopped working, so it wouldn’t toast or broil, and having it on “bake” meant the lower element overachieved to try to reach the right temperature, so the bottom of things burned. But Target had the current equivalent of this one, which was at least ten years old, so all is well and I’ll be able to have toast again. Really, during the summer I do a lot of my cooking in the toaster oven so I don’t have to heat up the big oven. I use it for broiling fish, baking potatoes, heating up things that I want to be crisp. I thought about getting something really fancy, but I decided I don’t really have the room for that, and I’d want to do more research. It sounds like when you get one that does too many things, it doesn’t do any of them well. Right now, I just want to be able to make toast, heat up baked goods, and broil fish.

My weekend fun was learning all about the Black Death. Amazon was offering the Great Courses program about that as a free preview this month, so it’s expiring Tuesday, and I realized after I got started that there are 24 episodes. They’re only half an hour each, but that’s still a lot. I really liked the lecturer. She even mentioned that The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is one of her favorite novels (me too!) and confessed that she has a contingency plan for if she gets sent back in time to that time. So I was binge-watching the Black Death this weekend. These were all filmed several years ago, so she had no idea what would be happening now, but it’s interesting how little human behavior has changed in all that time, even though we know a lot more about how disease works now. I am looking forward to moving on to cheerier topics once I finish this. Some of my friends are watching it, too, so we were discussing it on Facebook. This is probably one of those “you know you’re a nerd when …” things.

I’m going to have to figure out what I want to write next — do I do the third book in this mystery series, start working on this fantasy series I’m developing, take another look at the book I wrote last year that needs to be rewritten, play with the women’s fiction idea I’ve had brewing? That’s part of what I’ll be figuring out this week.

Romanticizing Small Towns

I’ve been looking at more women’s fiction, and in addition to the “when her husband left her …” plot, it seems another common thread is small towns.

In the days of chick lit, in the early 2000s, urban settings were the big thing — the single career girl in the big city. Now everything seems to be leaning toward the small town. The woman whose husband dumps her or cheats on her may already be in a small town and has to deal with the social fallout. Or when she leaves, she heads to her small hometown, the small town where a relative lives, the small town where she went on vacation as a child. Even the single woman books, the ones written by authors who got their start in chick lit, seem to be focused on small towns. They’re all about women who leave London to go to a village and open a bookstore/bakery/cafe/shop. Then there are all the Hallmark movies about successful career women in big cities who end up chucking it all to go live in a small town with a down-to-earth guy.

I know a few of the British authors actually do live in small villages, but with the rest of them, as someone who’s actually from a small town, I have to wonder if any of these people have actually lived in a small town. Because starting over in a small town is incredibly difficult. The social circles are generally closed. There aren’t a lot of single men, since most of the men get snagged in sixth grade. There’s not much to do unless you like high school sports.

Mind you, most of these fictional “small” towns aren’t what I’d think of as truly small. They tend to use “small” to refer to populations under about 50,000. A lot of the small towns are in the 20,000 range, which might have more going on. When my family moved to the small town I’m from just before I started high school, the sign at the city limits said the population was 2,180. It might be closer to 5,000 now, but it’s grown rather dramatically, and they expanded the city limits. When we moved there, your dining options were limited to Dairy Queen, a small cafe, a local barbecue place, and a fried chicken place. While I was in high school, we got first a McDonald’s, then a Burger King, and then there was a locally owned restaurant that kept changing, with nothing in that building staying in business for as long as a year. I think the Pizza Inn came after I was out of high school because we had to drive to another town about 14 miles away to go to Pizza Hut when I was in school. It wasn’t at all like the idyllic fictional towns with all their bustling downtown areas with local cafes and coffee shops and romantic date restaurants, and a busy social calendar of festivals, fairs, concerts, and other arts events. There is more of a nightlife there now because a major country music star is from that town and has opened some performance venues that draw big acts, but that was far into the future when I lived there (and I’m not sure how successful it’s been).

Most of my books have been about people who’ve left small towns. I think people from big cities daydream about a romanticized version of small town life, a simpler, quieter place with less traffic, less stress, where everyone knows everyone. If you’ve lived in a small town, you know that’s not necessarily true. The mystery series I’m developing does take place in a small town and involves a heroine who moved from a city, and it probably is closer to the idyllic fictional version than anything real, but for a cozy mystery that’s a genre trope, and I am trying to insert a bit of small-town reality even while making it a place where I wouldn’t mind living.

But it does make me wonder if I could get away with a women’s fiction book about a woman who goes to the small town, learns something about herself, and then takes that lesson back to the city rather than finding love and a close circle of friends and a new home in a small town.

Customer Service

My big distraction this week has been customer service issues.

I noticed that something funny was going on either with one of the electrical circuits in my kitchen or the refrigerator. I looked it up, and after doing some testing, it seems like the problem is with the refrigerator. This is something that’s known to happen with older refrigerators, and this one is nearly 16 years old. It’s working, and I’ve got a workaround going, but it probably needs to be replaced. With the likely issue and with the age of it, this repair would not be worth it.

So I went to order a new refrigerator. Home Depot said they couldn’t deliver anything before mid July, but I found what I needed at Best Buy, and they said they could deliver as soon as Monday. So I placed the order and took the Monday morning delivery slot they offered. Then last night, I got an e-mail saying I needed to set a delivery appointment. I followed their link, and they had the appointment I’d chosen as my second choice and said I needed to choose a first choice before that date, but none were available. I tried doing the online help chat thing, but nothing happened other than it sitting there for two hours saying it would connect me to an agent. I called this morning, used the callback feature, and eventually talked to someone. It turned out that the problem was that they didn’t have that unit in inventory and couldn’t even set a delivery date. I don’t know why they didn’t just say that instead of letting me order and set a delivery date, then telling me I needed to set a new date. So I cancelled that order.

I found almost the same thing at the same price at Lowe’s, and they said they could deliver in 3-7 days, but said they’d be in touch to schedule delivery. I’m waiting on that now. We’ll see if they actually have something. The order confirmation e-mail just says they’ll call with a delivery appointment, but says there may be “delays.” It would be nice if they built the delays into the information they give you when you order. If it’s going to be 4-6 weeks, then put that in up front. Don’t promise 3-7 days.

It seems that this is a combo problem between the pandemic and the trade war. There were already issues from the trade war with China, and then they shut down manufacturing. Plus, people sheltering at home are buying home stuff. I just hope my fridge holds out, since it’s pretty full. The freezer is my main concern. The stuff currently in the fridge will probably be eaten over the weekend, but I’ve got about a month worth of food in the freezer. If I get really desperate, I’ll pick up a dorm fridge and cook the meat in the freezer.

But I did not need this distraction. I’m trying to revise a book, and with having to buy a new refrigerator, I definitely need to get some books out there so I can bring in some money.