Ever heard the advice “write what you know?”
Yeah, that’s garbage advice. Write what you want to know.
There’s a famously often misquoted bit of wisdom from Mark Twain that goes like this:
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t”
How it’s misquoted: Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.
This picture represents real life. At least it represents my life. Let me fill you in:
Around July (my birthday) I started looking into getting a dog. I work from home, I have a fenced yard, my kids are older, and I really wanted a buddy for walkies and couch cuddles. I didn’t care much about the dog’s sex, size, age — I just wanted a good fit. I also wanted a rescue dog.
If you’ve ever tried to adopt a dog from a rescue agency, let me tell you those people don’t mess around. I had to fill out a ten-page questionnaire, list all pets I’d had since the beginning of time, give them the name & number of any vet I’d ever used, provide phone numbers for three references not related to me, and plop down a deposit. When I finally qualified as a prospective pet owner, I was informed that the agency would choose the best pet for me based on my profile.
Okay, I’m paying $250 for a dog I don’t get to pick out myself. Um. After choosing my dog, the agency would send someone out for a home visit to see if they approved of my living situation. Seems like a bit of power went to someone’s head but, okay, I’m still on board because I want a rescue dog. Finally, several weeks after I first applied, I was approved for a dog named “Russell,” a male dog of unknown mixed breeds. Super. By the time I worked out a good time for a home visit, Russell was gone. What?
Nevermind, the agency said, they had another dog that might be a good fit, a corgi mix named “Flash.” Cool, cool. I called the agency three times over the next week trying to schedule the required home visit for this dog. They never answered the phone (I left messages) and they never returned my calls. Weird.
Now I’m ready to kick ass and take names and send a “dude, what’s up?” email to which I get no reply. Hm.
And now the roller coaster of my life reaches the top of the incline heading into the first drop. Hubs informs me that we need to MOVE. SOON. His father is in failing health and we need to move next door to him (his dad owns that house too) so we can help out. Still cool, cool, right? Oh, dad doesn’t want any animals in the house. I put the dog on hold (they weren’t responding to my calls & emails anyway), put up my hands and ride the rails down into household moving logistics mode.
We decide to rent out our current home (which is paid for) to our son and his friend and move just before Christmas. We buy furniture, curtains, kitchen stuff (because we’re generous parents and are leaving our old stuff for our son & his roommate to use), and start fixing up the house (hadn’t been lived in for years) so we could make the big move.
And then black mold happened. Yup. Entire upstairs bathroom of the house we’re supposed to move in to is moldy & it has to go. We call contractors and bathroom remodel specialists (yes, there is such a thing). First estimate comes in at $16,000. We can’t afford that and it isn’t even our house so father-in-law agrees to pay. Cool, cool. Except, he can’t agree on a contractor no matter how many we call. Bathroom remodel is stalled and I don’t want to live in a black mold swamp.
At family Christmas, it is confirmed that he wants us to move next door and he will pay for new bathroom. Excellent. Ten days later, he changed his mind. The move is now all off. Hubs and I’m now scrambling in damage control to find son and roommate a new place to live that they can afford and trying to figure out what to do with an entire new living room ensemble that doesn’t fit in our current house.
We work this out in a few days. Then my rollercoaster has one of those loop-the-loop features. Son #2 informs us that possible roommate got mad and moved in with someone else–and it is ALL our fault that he can’t afford to move out now. While hanging upside down on the first loop, Son #1 comes home and announces he’ll be moving back home (for reasons).
If I wrote this in a book you wouldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t either.
This life is what I know and I sure as hell don’t want to write a novel about it. I’m going to write what I WANT to know which is lovely gowns, gallant lords, and beautiful estates with no roller coasters.