Tuesday 11 May 2010

Sometimes the only thing you can do is re-read your favourite YA fantasy novels

Friends, it's been a fucking atrocious few days. Hubby and I returned from our vacation a week and a half ago all refreshed and in love with life. On Saturday afternoon, almost a week after our our return, we had to close the shop early because sewage was flooding the basement. We're re-opening tomorrow. In the meantime, we've:

1) Called the landlord, who told us to call the city;
2) Called the city, who told us to wait while they got someone else to call us;
3) Waited 2 hours for the city to return our call;
4) Called an on-call (yes, just like a doctor) plumber when the city said it was the landlord's issue;
5) Waited a few hours for the plumber to arrive;
6) Cried (not we, just me on this one) upstairs while the plumber tore some wall down using a sawzall while my husband held him up on the wobbly boards keeping them out of the sewage on the floor;
7) Informed by plumber that my assessment of all this as a "shit storm" is pretty accurate, actually, and that there would be no using any water until things got fixed;
8) Cry more when also informed by plumber that no one can come back till Monday;
9) Sunday until approx. noon today: wake up and get dressed quickly to go to the bathroom in the hospital across the street; eat out for every meal because cooking without sending water down the drain is possible but washing up after isn't (but I should have thought of using a twig, like the guy in Cold Comfort Farm; silly me!); smell bad and look rumpled; make a painful decision about part of my non-bookish life and cry much more; alternate between manically doing laundry at the laundromat (because they have a pretty good washroom there) and struggling to stay awake; and
10) Temporarily abandon Pat Barker's The Eye in the Door for the familiar and dependable words of Garth Nix, specifically the first book in the Abhorsen trilogy, Sabriel, which represents him at his best; those Keys to the Kingdom books sure are repetitive, bleh.

(Also, please be advised that I am aware that the above likely holds a very loose relationship to grammar; I am too tired to care, frankly.)

I believe I first read Sabriel about five years ago but as it's of the pre-blogal era, I'm not certain. I do recall reading it with great attention and excitement on an aeroplane, either to or from Halifax. Sabriel is seriously good times: walking Dead (but not zombies per se), necromancers, magic, talking cats...really, what's not to love?

Sabriel is a yarn of the sort I like best and so when I found myself full of despair on the weekend and hubby and I facing the real possibility that in one way or another, we may have to move the shop when our lease runs out in the fall - because our landlord will do anything to not spend money, including allowing the whole thing to fall down - I decided I needed something reliable, and when I think of really reliable I think of something I've read and loved already.

It came down to Sabriel, The Golden Compass, and The Diamond Age but Sabriel won because it's the easiest of the three reliables I could think of. And easy was really important too.

So, as much as other people can do has been done for the basement. The source of the problem is fixed. The smell seems sufficiently under control. We've gotten rid of about 200 ruined books (sob) and there are many, many more to go...My soul hurts, yes. Did Sabriel help? Yes. There was and continues to be a lot of gruesome work to do, but between such events...bookish refuge. Which, along with my hubby and our sweet catties, has helped me not really flip the hell out.

Back to work and the grimness of Pat Barker on WWI tomorrow.


Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

Ah, that's terrible! I hope the worst is past.

I am reading a novel in which the hero works at the used bookstore from hell. Maybe I'll write about it, to help cheer you up.

Katy said...

Oh crap (literally)! I'm glad you're getting things back to normal now, but wow. I think I would have had several teary tantrums over my ruined books if I were in your shoes. :(

Stefanie said...

Oh Colleen, that really stinks! I hope things are getting back to normal.

Trapunto said...

I am speechless! I want to say something comforting like "this happened to me once and I know how it is," but it didn't, and the grand leap of the imagination from landlord stress and contractor wrangling to anything involving the words "sewage on the floor" is one I won't even attempt!

I'm so, so sorry. YA necromancy sounds about right for perspective and distraction.

I listened to the audio version of Sabriel while I was building and painting planter boxes, now abandoned four stressful rentals and three cootie-ridden landlords ago. What a surprise it was. Nothing was like it at the time, and nothing since (that I know of) trying to be like it has measured up.

Y S Lee said...

Oh, GOD - I'd no idea it was that bad. I'm so sorry to hear it. *shakes fist at scumbag slumlord*

J.G. said...

I'm with you. Sometimes the best way to deal with reality is to escape it for long stretches of time.

Hope things are looking better for you by now!

Jeanne said...

Yep, your title pretty much says it all.

Heidenkind said...

I'm sorry. It seems like everyone is having a shitty week! But don't worry, soon it will be over and seem like a bad dream (that's what I tell myself every day after work, anyway).

I didn't you liked Sabriel. My brother loves it and loaned it to me to read years and years ago, but I haven't yet. I know, how terrible of me, huh? Maybe I should give it a try and see if it will help my shitty week, too.

Bookphilia said...

You guys are the best.

The store is reopened. We continue to get rid of damaged books but we're also finding a remarkable number of really good ones in the basement - stowed there by the previous owners because they didn't know they were great books...? Who knows, but I'll take the multiple consolation prizes, thank you very much.

Mel u said...

I am glad your store is back open!