Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy (late) 4th of July ... and Other Stuff

(cross-posted at the Intrigue Authors blog)

Hope you all had a happy 4th of July!

So as well as celebrating the 4th, I an continuing to celebrate the end of the latest Mercury in retrograde cycle, which ended several days ago. Normally, I'm not one of those people who lives and dies by my horoscope, though I have to say, I do fit in well with the conventional Scorpio profile--which is, long story short, an emotion-driven, intuitive hermit with big eyes. But that, I feel, is more of a coincidence than anything. Although I could probably be talked into changing my mind about that when Mercury is in retrograde.

Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, meaning that it appears to be moving backwards in the sky throughout the Zodiac--an illusion caused by the orbital rotation of the Earth in relation to the other planets. According to, Mercury "rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education, and transportation.... Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry."

Is it any wonder that news that Mercury is in retrograde passes like wildfire among many writers? Communication AND technology gown awry--what fun.

I'm convinced that Mercury goes into retrograde simply to mess with me. Here's a list of every communication and mechanical thing in my life that went astray or awry during the latest period:

* A flight I was on from DC to Minneapolis was turned away from the airport ten minutes before we landed and diverted to Madison. Four hours of uncomfortableness later, the plane lifted off and attempted to land in Minneapolis DURING A TORNADO WATCH. This resulted in all sorts of fun turbulence that had me literally wondering if the plane was going to flip over and wishing that it would already, because if I'm going to die anyway, it might as well be over with quickly.

It also resulted in the people behind me having a nice 'I love you, man' moment that the romance writer in me might have enjoyed if I hadn't been contemplating my own mortality at the time.

* My clothes dryer stopped working. Of course, it feigned competence the entire time, emitting all the usual whirring noises, blasts of hot air, and actually tumbling my clothes around for hours. Did it dry them? No, it did not.

This is, of course, a mere three months after I paid the Sears repair guy way too much money to fix said dryer. But I'm not bitter.

* My mop handle broke. My environmentally conscious email to the company asking whether I could purchase just the handle without having to waste resources and buy the whole mop again went unanswered.

Was it my email that went awry, or the Method corporation's customer service policy? You decide.

* The produce drawer on my refrigerator cracked in two. This might be due to the fact that I married Lenny from Of Mice and Men (only in that he's constantly breaking things because he doesn't know his own strength.) and not Mercury's whereabouts.

* My laptop froze one day while I was working, emitted a series of mini-explosion noises, and died unceremoniously in my arms. It's taken me three weeks and five distraught phone calls to technical support to get the problem properly diagnosed (No, my laptop did not explode just because I installed Lego Star Wars without rebooting first! No, I did not spill anything on it. NO, I don't download attachments from the Queen of Timbuktu because she promised to leave me her millions. NO! Just ... no.) and a series of replacement parts ordered. The guy who was supposed to come install said replacement parts was delayed by two days.

* My craptacular Kenmore vacuum cleaner stopped sucking the way I want it to for the thousandth time, and started sucking on a whole new level. This particular vacuum (not-so-affectionately known around my house as The Soul-Sucking Lemon from Sears) was voted a "best buy" by Consumer Reports, BTW. It's a "best buy" if you don't mind it breaking down three or four times a year, so you can take it in for repairs and enjoy three weeks of nasty buildup forming into a light crust on your carpet while you wait for your best buy to come back from the shop.

I bought a new one--a highly regarded and highly expensive German brand, because someone told me, "You could drop it off a building, and it still wouldn't break." Although not about to test this theory, I am thrilled with its performance.

In the spirit of mangled communications spurred on by Mercury in retrograde, I hid it in a back closet and did not tell my cheap@$$ husband, who thinks that The Soul-Sucking Lemon from Sears suddenly decided to rally and actually clean the dirt off the carpet instead of picking it up and spewing it back into the air like a lint-and-sand fountain.

Now that Mercury is out of retrograde, I'm not sure when the Dirt-Sucking Miracle from Germany is going to, so to speak, come out of the closet. Whenever I feel like watching the dh whip out his calculators and household spreadsheets and working himself into a frenzy of budget-adjusting frugality, I guess.

* My husband ignored my repeated requests to pick up his socks and sweep up his stray coffee grounds from the kitchen counter before I take all of his socks and coffee bags and have a bonfire in the back yard. Of course, he ignores such requests when Mercury is not in retrograde, but it's nice to have something else to blame for a change.

* The paisley scarf Rachel Ray wore in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial was mistaken by a prominent newspaper columnist as being a (checkered) keffiyeh worn by Palestinian political extremists, and Dunkin' Donuts was forced to pull the ad. This has nothing to do with me, as I do not have a Dunkin' Donuts near me and I do not own a keffiyeh--or a paisley scarf cleverly masquerading as a keffiyeh. I was just glad to see that Rachel Ray's life is hard during Mercury in retrograde, too.

Anyone do anything exciting for the 4th? And did you survive Mercury in Retrograde unscathed?


Kim said...

Oh, Tracy, can I relate to the household appliances meltdown. First it was our fridge (needed repair man), then it was our dryer (needed repair man), and washing machine (again repair man), then dryer went on fritz again. Same thing as yours: would tumble and tumble the clothes all day long but never dry them. No wonder our electrical bill shot through the roof. Bought new-used dryer to replace useless one. New-used dryer turned out to be WORSE than other dryer. Finally broke down and bought new dryer. Fingers crossed. Oh, and Henry (our vaccuum) is tired. Tired of sucking that is. Hmmmmmmm, I'm seeing a pattern here. Oh, and let's not forget the fridge that stopped getting cold or the gas cooktop that won't start until I manually light it. Just going to have to live with that one; I feel as if I've personally bought the repair man a new car with as many trips he's made to our house. Now, what I find so interesting is that my mother has had basically all the same appliances for twenty plus years. And they still work beautifully. I really do think it's true what they say: they don't make them like they used to.

Cathy in AK said...

Was Mercury still in retrograde on July 13/14? That was the 24 hour period I was attempting to fly back to Spokane after visiting with Sharron for a few days. Weather delay in Baltimore caused by massive storms stretching from Montreal to Florida? Check. Not one, but two mechanical difficulties resulting in a delayed flight out of Denver? Check and check. It took an extra 16 hours and a few winks of sleep on the floor of the Denver airport to finally get to where I was going. At least it happened at the END of my trip and didn't cut into my visit.

Tell hubby you need a new vacuum. And not for your birthday or Christmas.

Tracy Montoya said...

Kim, it's SO true. We have an antique toaster, and I could probably run that thing over with my car and it would still work!

Tracy Montoya said...

Cathy, it was May 26 through July 4, but apparently, the residual effects can last for a bit. This one was brutal! The next one starts on Sept. 24. That SUCKS about your 16-hour delay!

Cathy in AK said...

The next one is around Sept 24? Crap. My Mom's b-day is the 25th and mine is the 27th. I think I'll stay in bed.

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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