The End of The Beginning


What a couple of weeks it’s been! That’s mainly why I haven’t written in ages. And where do I even begin?

Let’s start with the car.

I had a trusty, faithful Hyundai Santa Fe since 2013. That thing’s been everywhere. Took it on an amazing road trip from New York State up to St. John’s, Newfoundland. And back. Drove it up and down the Catskills and Adirondacks. Jersey Shore. And to the grocery store and schools and cousins and movies and everywhere in between. Along the way, it garnered 151,024 miles, and gave me every indication it’d last that many more.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the car on an innocent trip to the grocery store. Between me and the store is a mountain. I went to the grocery store with no problem. It was on the way back from the grocery store that Ms. Santa Fe gasped, wheezed and flicked on her engine light. I went from 55 mph to 35 mph and I still had about a third of the way to go up the mountain. But she made it and I glided down, through town and into my driveway…just. It died as the back tires got in, but didn’t have enough power to allow me to straighten it out.

I let out a sigh. Christ, this is the last thing I need.

Silently, I hoped it was the fuel pump or injector. Exactly the same thing had happened to me with my PT Cruiser and it wasn’t too big of a deal to fix. I had the car towed to the dealer, who, upon examination, told me the engine was fried. Done. Over.


Oh, but if I wanted to pay $8000 for a new engine, they’d be happy to fix it for me.


I checked my finances. I have a bit of a reserve fund to replace my septic tank, which I’m about to do, plus paint the exterior of my home, which I’m desperate to do, and replace the heater, which if I don’t do, will certainly freeze this winter.

But the furnace guy said he’d try to coax one more winter out of that furnace. He just replaced the recirculating pump, and there was a great chance he’d be able to keep it going a bit longer.

So I did a bit of research and bit my wallet. I managed to come up with enough money to afford to lease a Honda HRV, just like the one above. Though I adored my Santa Fe, this car’s just what I needed. I got a deal I could afford – a reasonable down payment and subsequent monthly payments. As I pulled out of the dealer, that new car smell put a smile on my face. Its peppy pickup and free satellite radio made me laugh out loud. And it’s RED! How fun is that! While of course everyone’s saying the cops are going to stop me because I have a red car, I’m saying that at 57 it’s about time I drove one.

During all this, I get an email from my agent. She’s had time for nothing, so she gave my book to an associate to read. And as she put it, the associate LOVED IT. L-O-V-E-D  I-T! It had everything a reader/agent/editor/publisher could want in a book – an interesting premise, politics, danger, suspense…and spice! That news alone shook me awake, as she sent the email in the middle of the night and I read it as I got out of bed. Next thing you know, I get an email from her as I’m at the car dealership. She’s going to one of the biggest trade conferences in the country. She has a ton of appointments and parties to attend. Can I send her a one-page summary of the book’s basic facts?

As I’m sitting at the dealership, trying not to panic because I have to write a hefty down payment and still wondering if I can afford all this, I allow this news to wash over me. I text her back. I’ll have it to you by tomorrow. Please sell the book. My car died. I have to get a new one. I’m at the dealer! She answers back with a smile and says she sure hopes she sells it too. And she’s a well-regarded agent. I’m lucky to have her. I know she’ll do her best and people tend to believe her when she tells them she has a good property. Which, of course, my book is.

Phipp’s has been all over the place with my hours. I’ve been getting more of them, a lot more, it seems. Every time my schedule seems paltry, my boss tends to give me more hours if he can. Most of the time he does, but oftentimes it’s out of his hands. Orders come down from Corporate. It doesn’t matter if stuff isn’t on shelves. It doesn’t matter is there’s no one on the sales floor. The payroll’s too high. And yet I keep applying and applying for positions all over the place with no results.

A freelance job has come my way, it pays well and I start soon. But it’s most likely short term. Still, with my cut hours (in a couple of weeks I’m only scheduled for 17.5 hours!!), I can use that time to work on my remote freelance job. But then today, I receive a text from a place where I volunteer my time. They offer to put me on a contract for more freelance work. I’ve yet to speak to the person about it, but still, it seems like both these freelance jobs will certainly smooth out the rough edges until something permanent comes along.

So I’ve been separated from my husband for almost two years. In that time, I managed to buy a house, move to a quaint small town, make new friends (really, really good friends), become more involved in my area’s cultural scene, joined a gym to take better care of myself, finish my book and buy a car. It’s really a good start and the end of the beginning of my new life. I still have more growing and settling to do. But even as shaky and stuck as I’ve been recently, whether I realized it or not, I’ve made some progress.

Gingerly, I’m hoping my life is turning around. And a better future lies within grasp.

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