Wow. I went to this Garden Center place in Cary today, and...wow.
"Do you need any help?" asked the nice woman, as I staggered through the aisles of bizarre, wildlife-attracting, never-heard-of-it-before-but-god-it's-pretty perennials, gibbering softly.
"Don't mind me," I said vaguely. "I'm just having a plantgasm..."
Whether she was convulsed with amusement or horror, I don't know, because I was distracted by creeping vervain. And campion. And catchfly. And beardstongue. And stuff I've read about but never actually seen in a garden shop before.
I have discovered an interesting fact about myself. If the tag says "Attracts Butterflies" or god forbid, "Attracts Hummingbirds," I will buy it, no questions asked. You could slap a label with a happy butterfly onto a nuclear reactor, and I would begin looking for a place in the yard to put it. It's like my Achillea heel. I am a plant junky.
So now my big front bed has another set of individual plants. It's just about good to go. It will be a bizarre patchwork specimen bed this year, though--the seeded sections are the only thing that might come in in a mass. Otherwise it's one campion here, one salvia here, one thrift here, one weird thing left over from the previous owner here...
Meh. Plants are like plates. It's boring if everything matches.
The house next to us has been for sale, and has sold, and in theory therefore, the lady living there will be moving out.
She had eight cats.
Most of them are outdoors.
I am praying with every ounce and fiber of my being that she is taking the cats with her, and not merely going to dump them irresponsibly here, because if she does A) there is a special place in hell and B) Ursula will have to go cat trapping, and there's probably nothing more guaranteed to ruin your day. Plus I might get one of the other neighbor's cats. I don't mind those two, since they're friendly, fat, elderly, and evidentally when they can be roused to move at all, they specialize in voles. I have not heard any reports of crashing vole populations nationwide, so that's probably fine. It's my songbirds that I feel strongly about. (Yes, yes, someone'll say it, it's NATURE. Well, if a feral domestic cat is "natural" then by that logic, so am I. And I am willing and able to muscle in on that particular food chain, with extreme prejudice and the hose.)
The other problem is that one of her cats is a wailer. And a wailing cat is worse than a barking dog. A barking dog is a pain in the ass, but it's a pain in that ass that eventually turns to white noise, if you're lucky. But there is an excruciating, penetrating quality to the "meeWOWWWOWWWOWWWAAGGGHH..." of a cat that seeps through doors and windows, a piercing, horrific "I AM MISERABLE PAY ATTENTION" that cannot be equalled by anything this side of the Ninth Circle of Hell. I am fully convinced that somewhere in the dark Dantean depths, where Satan stands hip-deep in a frozen lake, perennially paddling the buttocks of Hitler and Judas Iscariot*, the background noise is the wailing of cats. Interspersed with Christmas carols. ALL YEAR LONG.
But she's moving. And because I am an optimist, I will assume she is taking them until proven otherwise.
*Unless he's up in heaven sipping lattes, as recent archaeological fan fic may indicate.
Today I'm working on the 300th page of Digger.
And y'know, I feel kinda proud about that. Proud, and a bit baffled. I keep looking around and going "Wait...what? How did that happen?"
And I can sorta see the end from here. Oh, not for awhile yet. I'd be rather surprised if we didn't hit 500 pages by the end, frankly, and since I'm verbose as hell, there might be even more. But there are certain...mmm...mental landmarks in the narrative, for lack of a better term. As rambling and unplanned as Digger is, the best explanation would be that I'm wandering along, but off in the distance, I see this point in the story, and I know to amble in that direction. The oracular slug was one such landmark, and Murai having a nervous breakdown in the village, and the rats flying, and the encounter at the bridge, and the cold servants emerging from the hole in the floor.
Some of the best bits aren't planned, though--I didn't know the Shadowchild existed until it came out of the bushes, and Ed's mythic interlude and discourse on the nature of evil surprised me as much as anybody. (Ed is definitely the character most likely to surprise me. Which is funny, because Ed's the one character I know the most about.)
But anyway. I know that I have to get to those landmark points, so like mountains on the horizon, I head in that direction. And once I hit one, I line up the next one, and start heading that way. I can generally see quite a few off in the distance, although sometimes new ones'll pop up. I knew about the cold servants coming out of the hole after the first thirty pages, although I didn't know what they WERE for another hundred and some change.
And now I can see the landmarks at the end of the line. They're a long way off--maybe even as far as the cold servants were when I first submitted my proposal to Graphic Smash so many moons ago--but I can at least SEE them. And I feel kinda good about that, too.