February 23, 2013
Welcome to Hell. Population: Me.
February started a little rocky, with a healthy dose of "Where the fuck did January go?" When one leads a busy, hectic life, this is to be expected, however.
So, I'm going along, minding my own business, and manuscript hopping. I finish Haven 8 and put it aside because I feel there is something missing, something that just isn't quite "right." So, while I'm letting things percolate, I dive back into The Moonlight Breed 11 and am nearing the finish line. It's late at night, I have maybe two chapters to finish this beast up, and it's about time for a break.
I plug in my external hard drive, save all of my work, and then decide this would be a good time to let Windows Updates do its thing. While my computer is hooking up its equivalent of a caffeine drip, I make a phone call, go around the house picking up a few things here and there, and just generally put my laptop out of my mind for a little while.
An hour later, I return to my computer fans freaking the hell out and...wait for it... the Blue Screen of Death. This isn't just any blue screen, though. There are tons of words that makes no sense. What did make sense, however, was the one line that informed me: RESTORING TO FACTORY SETTINGS 98% COMPLETE.
Quick as lightning, I shut down my computer, wring my hands like any good damsel in distress, and cross my fingers that this is all some bad joke.
Well, of course not. After booting up my laptop, it becomes apparent that I have lost EVERYTHING. When it says Factory Settings, it means it. Well, I just backed everything up on my external hard drive, so all should be good, right? Wrong. My poor little hard drive is fried. All the files are corrupted. Plugging it into my computer makes my laptop freak out again. To top it all off, I find that the last manuscript I submitted is still sitting in my Sent folder in my email account. Okay, well, that's not so bad. At least I still have that.
The attachment is corrupted and can't be sent. Fucking fantastic.
So, here I am at 3:00 in the morning, not sure if I should scream or cry. In the end, I just sat on the sofa and stared blankly at the wall for an hour and half. Then I calmly got up, opened a new Word document, and began writing everything all over again. I think I was still in shock at this point. All of my WIPs are gone. All of my contracts, cover art, edits...everything. We're talking over 300k words, just gone.
The hubby--aka, computer genius--comes home from a business trip and informs me that, yes, I am royally screwed. The Geek Squad is kind enough to confirm this. So, what's a girl to do? The only thing I can do... start over and keep typing away until I get it all back.
If you look at the Coming Soon page on my website, you'll see that Haven 8 is there with some vague TBA information. I haven't removed it, though I'm in the middle of rewriting it, because it's just too damn depressing.
A few people have recommended Drop Box or other online file storage sites. Call me paranoid, but I'm not comfortable having my manuscripts and important documents available on the web. *shrugs* Thankfully, however, hubs has hooked me up with a wireless hard drive, so hopefully this won't be a problem in the future.
After this devastating loss, I decide I need a little R&R with some peace and quiet to get as much work done as possible. What better place to do this than a secluded cabin in the Ozark Mountains?
After a couple of false starts and further delays, I finally arrived in Parthenon, Arkansas on Monday evening. Even with the thunderstorm that followed me in, it was beautiful, quiet, and just what I was looking for. The first night was a little iffy. I'm not used to being alone with only the sounds of nature, and every little noise had me ready to jump out of my skin.
The next day was great, though. I was getting back to my country roots, went on a hike, and actually got a bit of work done...all before lunch. That afternoon was when things went drastically downhill.
Almost 2 years ago, I had a crown placed on a bottom molar on the right side. Tuesday afternoon, this tooth began to ache like a son of a bitch. I took some Ibuprofen, curled up on the sofa, and hoped it would pass soon. Well, after spending most of the night walking the floor, crying, and generally cursing my own existence, I called a local dentist on Wednesday morning. When I say local, I mean in the nearest town with a population of more than 400, which ended up being a 40 minute drive through winding mountain roads.
They couldn't work me in until 2:00 that afternoon, which means I didn't actually see a dentist until after 3:00. After one x-ray and a little prodding that sent me into tears again, the dentist declares that I have a severe infection and have broken the tooth below the gum line. It needs to come out immediately, but guess what? She doesn't do that. She doesn't do extractions, root canals, or I suppose anything other than fillings and cleanings. So, what am I going to do? Well, drive to Branson, MO, an hour away, to see an oral surgeon, according to her.
Well, of course, it's the end of the work day by this point, and there are no oral surgeons with openings to see me. So, the dentist writes me a prescription for 12 Loracet and some Penicillin. Another 30 minutes of trying to find a pharmacy and actually get my prescription filled, and I finally have sweet relief in this tiny orange bottle.
Only, it didn't work. I'm up most of the night again. I'm eating Loracet and Ibuprofen like candy, while religiously taking the Penicillin every six hours. The right side of my face is now red, swollen, and the skin is extremely dry and flaky from the hot compress that has become a constant companion.
I awake near dawn on Thursday to discover that some time during this painful journey, I have come down with a virus. I am at once congested and dealing with a runny nose. My ear is throbbing, and my throat feels like I've swallowed glass. The heater is cranked up to 75 degrees, I have a fire going, two layers of sweats, two blankets, and I'm still freezing. I don't think I have ever been this miserable.
Why didn't I just go home?
Winter Storm Q
Northern Arkansas didn't see much snow, but a layer of ice covered the roads Wednesday night and Thursday, making travel nearly impossible. By Friday morning, I haven't eaten since Tuesday afternoon, I can barely swallow, so even drinking water is torturous. Did I mention I'm hypoglycemic? Yeah, so all of this means my blood sugar is freaking out on top of everything else. I'm taking so many pain medications for my tooth that I'm afraid to take anything else for being sick. I felt helpless and hopeless. I was pretty sure I was going to die in those mountains.
Friday morning, the temperature finally rises above freezing, and I decide I'm getting the hell out of Dodge. So, I pack my things and make the nine hour drive back to Indianapolis -- sans pain pills because they make me sleepy. Not a good combination while driving 80mph on the interstate.
Somewhere near the Indiana border, I somehow miss my exit and end up on I-57 North toward Chicago with no place to exit. After this lovely 30 minute detour, I'm finally back on track, thankful to be getting close to home. Of course, that's when life decides to slap me upside the head and laugh.
At this point, I should be 10 minutes from home. This is when I discover there has been an accident on I-70, preventing me from driving through Indianapolis. After a detour south toward Kentucky, and a winding loop around the entire city, I finally arrive home 30 minutes later, ready to fall onto the nearest flat surface and die.
I somehow make it through the night, and props to my hubs for being a wonderful nurse. When I was coherent enough to shower, I popped another 600mg Ibuprofen and trotted my unhappy self to the emergency dentist just two miles down the street.
It's a dental ER, so I knew I was going to have to wait forever, but they're good. I knew it would be worth it. While it did take over an hour to be able to see a dentist, after 4 different x-rays, the dentist informs me that he sees no infection, cracks, fissures, or anything else that would indicate an otherwise healthy tooth. So, why all the pain?
Apparently, I needed a bite adjustment. The crown on my molar was too elevated, leading to that tooth to be taking all the pressure of my bite for almost 2 years now. If someone continuously punched you in the arm for 2 years, it would eventually hurt like hell, too, right? So, he filed down the crown, which already feels a million times better, and told me to come back in a week -- or sooner if the pain doesn't go away in the next 2-3 days.
At this point, I'm tempted to crawl into my cave and never leave my house again. At the very least, I have anxiety about ever leaving the city again.
Now that I don't have to take all of these pain meds, and the dentist said he saw no reason to continue taking the penicillin, I can finally take something for this cold/virus. Which is exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to take some NyQuil, fall into bed, and I'll talk to everyone when I wake up...tomorrow.