by Susan Seyfarth
I'm obsessed with insulation.
I know. Weird, right? I've been living in this house for almost ten years now, & while the heating bills in the deepest, darkest heart of winter can be a little steep, they're not impossible. January always stings but no worse than the year before. We budget for it & we're fine.
But my husband had a boys night out last weekend & when he arrived home at nearly 3 a.m., I was still sitting in front of the computer googling geothermal heat pumps & pellet stoves. And then I laid awake for the rest of the night fretting about unsealed joist spaces, uninsulated kneewalls (don't ask) & the fact that my bathroom fans apparently vent directly into the insulation in my attic rather than out the roof as god intended.
But as I said, this is nothing new. My house has been in exactly this condition for the previous nine winters & we have survived handily. Ice does not form in the toilet bowls overnight & we have not yet had to twist hay into sticks to burn in the stove for warmth, a la Laura Ingalls Wilder.
So what's going on, you ask? Why the obsession with insulation?
I think it's because I'm in the middle of writing a new book. I'm in the middle & I'm terrified.
The middle is a scary place . The middle is where the fun beginning is over & the awesome, crackerjack ending hasn't yet begun. It's the part where all those wonderfully inventive seeds you sowed at the beginning have to do the hard work of becoming that incredible ending they have the potential for. Only now you can't remember exactly how all those dots were supposed to connect. You can't see your way anymore, & you're lost & afraid. You think, "This is it. I used up all my talent on my previous books. I'm finished."
So I'm in that dark place professionally. Then I look outside & see that the world is a dangerous place & the economy is perilously close to the crapper. Is it any wonder that I'm feeling the need to control something? Heck, anything.
So okay, what are my choices? As a stay at home mom, about the only things in my world that fall under my direct control are my writing (not going well; see above), my kids (who, it should be noted, are not all that controllable) & my house.
Which explains why I'm obsessed with battening down the hatches for the coming season of hardship. Winter is bearing down on me & I don't feel any more prepared for it than I do to write the rest of this book. So I'm cracking down hard on the only thing under my control. And googling the crap out of alternative energy. And writing into the void on pure faith that something will turn up.
Something always does.
So what about you? What do you do when you're afraid? What do you grab hold of when the world seems to be spinning out of control? A bowl of ice cream? The remote control? A romance novel? Insulation? Tell me about your geothermal heat pump & your solar panels! Come on. Somebody's got them, right? Fess up!