When Only an HEA Will Do

I’ve been in the same house for more than thirty years, and one of few things I’ve done by way of major maintenance is have the two-story “sleeping” porch replaced. I must have hired the Daryl Brothers for that job, because within a year, my dog (weighed 65lbs wringing wet) had trashed the railings, nails were popping, and unsightliness was re-establishing itself at a tidy gallop.

Much bad language ensued on my part, and I did not attempt in ensuing years to remedy the situation because look how that turned out last time. Or something.

In any event, the porch deteriorated to the point that once again, I could no longer stand it. Then we had a pandemic, and I wasn’t about to let just anybody on the premises. Welp, the pandemic is subsiding, lumber prices are not, and George who recently painted the house (note to self: no more having the house painted) knew this other guy, JD, and JD is a porch whisperer.

“It is time, Simba,” says me, because I will never again get the legit phone number of a porch whisperer. I turned JD loose on the rebuilding, with George singing back up. You KNOW what happens next. Every time George tapped on the door and said, “Miss Grace, we wanna show you somthin’,” I got another lesson on how not to build a porch. The Daryl Brothers and their predecessors hadn’t used the right nails or staples, the main support beam was rotten, the house was not square, on and on and on.

The price of the job has nearly doubled, and while it will be a beautiful porch (eventually), it’s costing me dearly, all so the skunks under the porch can stay out of the wet.

I had just finished yet another one of these gotta-show-you-something tutorials with the porch whisperer when I received a notification from my bank that my balance was low. “That doesn’t make any sense…” says me.

Except it does make sense, if somebody has hacked my debit card, and drained my account to the penny. Fraud Protection promised to investigate all forty-leven-thousand charges for $105.53 from the Kroger in Richmond where I have never set foot…but first, Bank of America “had” to let all those charges go through, meaning the checks I wrote to the porch whisperer, lumber yard, and-and-and bounced, and…

And then the scale told me something I had suspected, which I can blame on a meds switch, but still, it’s not my meds standing on the scale. It’s darling little me.

And then the washing machine died.

In the grand scheme of things, these are not big problems. They are nuisance problems and I have the resources to solve them. But I was daunted by the day, and tired of looking on bright sides and being grateful and detaching and all that other grown up stuff.

I bought myself some flowers to plant. I downloaded a few more Happily Ever Afters, I had a bite of some really good John Kelly chocolate fudge sent to me by my niece (I could taste the love), and fixed myself a lovely hot cuppa tea. That did not make everything come right, but I was comforted and fortified, and ready to take on the world again come morning.

How do you indulge after a bad day (or during one)? I’ll add three names to my ARC list for Miss Desirable.


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24 comments on “When Only an HEA Will Do

  1. Oh boy… you’ve had a horrendous week!
    House repairs are costly- our kitchen/deck/windows project in scheduled to start in July. I am prepared that the remaining windows were not properly installed ( cuz the other 20 were not done correctly!)
    Meal planning takes work but it does keep me on track with my weight.
    When it all overwhelms me – Greg and I walk the beach. It’s peaceful!
    I may have a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate or escape in a good book. Greg never snitches on me & he loves me unconditionally.
    Take care.

  2. I think it’s something in the climate of our country, but Hubby’s business account had a similar issue right after Christmas–check fraud, with the business bank insisting those checks go through, police, post office (mail fraud as well since the real checks had been put in a postbox right outside the post office) etc. etc. Not good because, as an independent contractor, January 15 is estimated tax day and LOTS of our personal things like Medicare, comes of of the business account, which had to be changed to a new one YIKES, it’s awful! We are still recovering.
    I’ve been doing a lot of reading and just trying to keep up with my *normal* work and Hubby is *putting out fires* when a new wrinkle pops up in the ever wrinkling situations.

    How are we handling it? In a word–dessert, and baking. I just baked a cheesecake today and have been making scones and muffins and pies regularly. It helps and I know it’s not helping with my weight but SOMETIMES it’s okay.

    Things will settle down and the bank has already refunded about 7/8 of the money stolen. The rest of it we will have to decide if we should hire a lawyer to get it back. In the meantime COOKIES!

  3. I started off yesterday with a good plan and a happy well being feeling that I would get all the jobs done on my list.I waited at the bus stop and started to take root on the grass verge when the bus finally arrived 30 mine late. it was packed with folk not looking amused.I managed to find a seat at the back after asking the youth to take his feet off the seat.He uttered a disgusting word and I sat down.Another person nearby said the reason the bus was late was because the only road into town was closed due to filming along the seafront.Two famous stars were there and we had to take a 2mile detour away from the crowds.Eventually I arrived at the store,I wanted to have about 80 photos printed.Three years worth of travels,before lockdown and recently.Last time I was there I could do them myself no problem.But new printing computers faced me.I could not get it going,I tried the next and the next until a very nice young man came over and proceeded to show me.Luckily he was not busy so he operated the scrolling and I selected the pictures.Job done.All was calm so I continued to pick up some groceries and make my way back to catch the bus.Not one bus in sight. One hour later we all climbed on and started to realise we were in a gridlock situation my freezer food was thawing and the paper carrier bag falling apart.The bus driver was going mad,several people were swearing.I thought to myself this had better be a good film when it’s finished.Colin Fifth and Olivia Coleman have a lot to answer to.Two hours later I arrived home,had to cook the the now soggy food.change of menu for tonight.Oh well not the best of days but I have a good book to read later.Never a Duke awaits and in no time at all I will have my HEA.Perfect.

  4. Wishing you patience and endurance, Grace. Feeling a bit overwhelmed myself, I clicked through to the John Kelly website, but my financial woes of late make their prices fall even outside my special treat category. Hope things improve quickly and that the new porch will eventually provide the perfect spot to drink a good cuppa.

  5. Oh the horrors of home renovation! About 30 years ago we embarked on two huge additions to our ranch home. Even with detailed architect drawings, permits in hand and a highly recommended contractor on retainer, it was something I lived through (barely!) once in my life and hoped never to experience again. We lived without part of our roof (in the cold Northeast!) for days on end, our upstairs kitchen was unusable for weeks (though we had a tiny pseudo kitchen in the basement that was pressed into service), and had contractors working outside and peering into windows for 15 months straight! The end result was worth it because we lived in that house for over 25 years after completing the reno and really loved it, but at the time I sincerely questioned my sanity. Then we bought our current house, a sad fixer-upper, though the work was cosmetic rather than structural. Still, we lived without a kitchen for weeks (with no backup except a microwave) while floors, appliances and counters were replaced, took turns revamping 3 bathrooms, and did a bunch of other improvements. Whew! This time, THIS time, I really mean it… no more renovations for me! But back to your question, what do I do to indulge after a bad day (or 15 months of bad days)? My go to guilty pleasure is good dark chocolate. During the height of Covid, I gained a lot of weight, because I love to cook and frankly, there was little else to do other than planning and cooking meals. But in January of 2021 I decided that enough was enough and embarked on a serious diet. I lost the Covid weight and then some and am determined never to inflate to those proportions again. However, I also recognize that I still need some gratification in my life, so I allow myself 1 “Free” day per week, when I will have a few pieces of chocolate. That day floats during the week depending on events. My other guilty pleasure is to sit with a cup of hot chocolate and read for an hour or two, cat on my lap, and wrapped in a fuzzy blanket. That gives me the strength to face the next challenge. Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  6. Ugh, I was having “A Day” on Thursday, all kinds of little things going wrong, then I left work to find my catalytic converter was stolen from my prius parked on the same block as a busy gas station, a dog walker loved route, and 2 blocks from the governor’s mansion in broad daylight with a witness who called the police. That’s someone who is certain they can be gone quick. Spend the next few hours dealing with insurance and the mechanic etc. I just went to bed to read with a book and a cup of tea. It was a good decision. My husband is from Kyiv and his father is still there so there is instant perspective. We can deal with being down to one car and can afford the repair, it certainly isn’t a worst case scenario so we just try to breathe and be gentle.

  7. Grace, I’m sharing your pain. The damage to my porch ceiling after a windstorm came in under my windstorm deductible & trying to find ANYONE who will answer their phone, much less come out & put the pieces back up or replace during the summer construction boom is right up there with flying porkers. My account has a whopping 23 cents in it as we roll into the new month thanks to the current economy & unavoidable medical bills. And the bureaucrazies of the HOA sent a form letter that I was in violation for my “weed beds” without deigning to explain in what way. Or where I was going to find the income to do anything any different.

    One of my good neighbors (we won’t talk about the one whose guests with fishing poles had to be told to move along back to their own property after they plopped themselves down in mine without invitation) came over with a bottle of noxious chemicals to douse the tiny puffs of green stuff growing out the expansion joints in my driveway, bless her. She’s trying to figure out what weeds the dimwits think they’ve seen unless it’s a few strands of grass that escaped the mower/edger & my neighbor who tends my yard is offended on my behalf as well as his own since they’re casting aspersions on his work.

    I’ve gained back every pound I’d lost prior to 2020 when I could afford better food & wasn’t reduced to solitary confinement between the plague & medical procedures. Stress is doing us no favors on top of everything else.

    What helps is:
    A rack of beauty products & makeup courtesy of some YouTuber beauty channel angels & their PR hauls so I can slather skin care & put on war paint daily as a morale boost.

    Binge watching Bollywood movies on the internet – watching Kunal Kapoor’s gorgeous face & lovely long legs gyrating on screen to a catchy beat will elicit a rousing hallelujah chorus from the ghosts of my long departed ovaries every time. He even starred in a thriller about a writer with writer’s block hiding his more successful pen name paying the bills from his traditional publisher & his ex wife Amazing what’s included in Amazon Prime.

    Getting a listen of James Langton’s dulcet voice narrating another chapter of our Grace’s latest audiobook while I do chores will soothe my rage at the injustice of trying to stretch a fixed income to handle the cumulative idiocy of politicians everywhere- a plague on all their houses!

  8. I’m so sorry you’re having such difficulties with your house and banking, Grace. My go to in annoying times is always chocolate and a good book like “Never A Duke”, which I just read yesterday and enjoyed immensely! Also, we had skunks living under our deck and the animal control officer said to pour ammonia all around the foundation of the house and splash it under the deck. They don’t like the smell and they have never come back!

  9. I treat myself to some ice cream or chocolate. If I don’t feel like eating something sweet, I will buy a book. That is how I solve the blues.

  10. Sometimes I just cry. I know it doesn’t solve anything but I can’t always stop it. Otherwise, a little bit of wine can at least take the edge of the badness off for me. (I really mean just a little bit as I’m a total lightweight and after some bad hangovers in my 20s, learned the next day’s pain was definitely not worth it.)
    It’s awful when bad things happen to good people and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. I can only hope that your troubles will lessen soon.

  11. What do I do on a really bad day? Funny you should ask. Sometimes I just sit down and cry. When I do my dogs rush over, jump on me and “shower” me with dog kisses until I start laughing.

    Recently I was at a Dr. appt. following up on an unexplained pain the day before which had resolved to make a long story short I wound up in the emergency room because I had a collapsed lung. The treatment requires hospital admission. I had a total panic attack trying to find a way to get my dogs taken care of. Amazingly people who barely knew me stepped up to help me out. I was in the hospital for 4 days. The hospital part was tolerable I guess, but only because my pups were safe. I have to tell you the “feel the love/ gratitude” meter was pinned on unbelievable. Talk about feeling the love!

    • BTW – While in the hospital stuck in bed I read HEAs to stay out of “what it all means” in my head and to pass the time.

  12. I do hate when bad things happen in clusters. With any luck your chain of bad luck is over. When things are rotten for me, I do much like you did: read (more than usual), eat some chocolate, and cuddle with my cats. Our house is old enough that we are in the repair or else stage for so many things so I’ve had plenty of those evenings.

  13. I have a lovely deck re-built during Covid that did not cost double the price. Use my guy next time. When I do have a bad day, which I am blessed to say is not very often I make a tall bourbon & coke and read or re-read one of your books. I’m in the middle of your latest and I am smiling all the way through. Ned deserves is HEA, and so do you.

    Thank you for sharing your gift with words with us.

  14. Theft is a violation. I was ID thefted a few years back. The computers and algorithms don’t care who you are, that you’re a living, breathing, feeling individual. Or you thought you were. Poor workmanship is a type of theft, too.

    I react inappropriately. I freeze, go to bed, pull the covers over my head and leave.

    When I was younger, I literally did, except sometimes was even angrier finding myself a long ways from home (on foot or pedal bike) with a long way back. I pounded the piano. I listened to loud, angsty rock or bagpipes, danced and sang along. Dropkick Murphys, anyone?

    Wishing you chocolate, flowers, inspiration and the speedy return of every red cent. Because of you, Tubby & Coos has an order for Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners and for their Juvenile Detention Center this weekend.

  15. That was quite a day(s) for you. When I get too many gutter balls in a row, I have a glass of wine, read a favorite Grace Burrowes (usually The Duke’s Disaster) and go to bed early. I start the next morning with a list.

  16. Oh, wow. You are having a bad 2022 so far. I only hope it improves – that you recover your money, get a new debit card, and that the guys who are rebuilding your porch do a good job (and don’t find any more expensive problems). In my opinion, your weight scale is reflecting the load of crap that has landed on you. On the plus side, your niece is really sweet.

    I did housework yesterday until after 11 PM and rewarded myself with a cup of hot black coffee and an ice cream bar.

    I am becoming leary about using my debit card for online purchases. I use it on Amazon but that is about it.

  17. When I was a child, a cuddle in the rocker with my mother or having someone brush my long heavy hair soothed me. When I was a teenager, I immersed myself in books usually with an ice cream pail full of homemade chocolate chip cookies beside me. College dorm life included lots of back/neck rubs given and received during stressful periods, and naps when available. As a working adult, books, chocolate chip cookies (or just good chocolate), naps and the occasional massage appointment stood me in good stead when life got a little ‘hairy’. Now that I am older, my concentration is failing me. I can’t always settle into a good book and have to resort to TV with the hope that something will catch and hold my attention and distract my thoughts. (Having some sweet baked goods or chocolate or cashews to hand is generally a given.) I still find going to a garden centre is almost always a pick me up, or browsing in unique stores—anything that allows me to daydream and see possibilities. Treating myself to a specialty coffee at an interesting locale, and just soaking in the atmosphere and people gazing gives me new perspective, too. And on days when I really feel poorly, an actual dreaming nap works wonders, as well.

  18. I indulge in a good book and some peppermint gum.
    And I turn on my favorite Chopin in the background. It’s so soothing!

    Sorry you’ve had more downs than ups lately, Grace!

  19. It does not always help to “count your blessings”, dear friend! Rave on and use profanity, if necessary, in any and all languages.

    Upon reading your “essay”, I immediately thought what in Hades has this lady ever done to deserve…..etc. That don’t help either!!! I then recalled a book titled “Bad Things Happen to Good People”! Ain’t it the truth!!!

    Much love,

    Sondra Boykin (Kahalley)

  20. Holy Kamoley, Miss G, sometimes it really is Some Times!!! For what it’s worth, these are a few things that have Gotten Me Through: the ocean I am lucky enough to live near; sweat – as in lifting heavy stuff; a playlist that includes “The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster”, Eliza Gilkyson’s “Paradise Hotel”, Garnet Rogers and his brother Stan – almost everything, Karl Jenkins, Joe Cocker, Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Cello Suites; the phrase: This, Too, Shall Pass. And, when all else fails, Gin. Still breathing…….