Home Alone Adventures

Which is exactly what I don’t want when BW goes on his winter break. What I want is a quiet house, little to no cooking, and hibernation routine.

The first disruption in this planned bliss happened when I had to go back to the dentist because they found a stupid cavity on my regular check up. Still quick and home, get to work and all’s well.

It worked that way for several days. Just me and the dogs. Get up, feed and water dogs. Go to work. Let dogs in because it’s freaking cold, but dogs behave so continue work. Put dogs out at workout time–except for a single digit day where I didn’t have the heart leave them outside for 90 minutes. But they embraced their good fortune and behaved.

Parker’s “I’ll be good!” pose. Photo by NR
Atticus with toys. Photo by NR

Sign books if it’s signing day, and have the wonderful Janeen bring me a salad from Vesta. Feed dogs. Feed self.

And since I have galleys, do galleys in the evening in the quiet.

Put dogs out, let dogs in. Rinse and repeat until bedtime.

This is great!!!

Great for me, and great for BW who’s enjoying the balmy breezes of Hawaii.

Then Tuesday happened. My lane is already an ice rink–which Logan reports on his after-school visit is pretty awful. And he’s pleased because all his teachers said there probably wouldn’t be any school Wednesday. I’m out of the loop–why not? Ice storm coming.

So I check, oh yes indeed. Snow, sleet, freezing rain, starting any minute, and through the morning. With forecasted accumulations of an inch on the ice.

That’s very bad.

I call my weekly housekeeper who comes Wednesday, tell her don’t even try it. It’s already bad, and it’ll be worse. Stay home.

I plan to call my amazing landscaper guy after the storm to have him spread salt or whatever works. No point doing that until after.

We get a little snow, but mostly it’s that freezing rain, and everything’s covered with ice in the morning. And it’s still spitting down. What do I care? I’m going to work right upstairs.

Ice! Photo by NR

Morning routine–with a little nervous in taking out recyclables, but I’m careful. Dogs in, dogs out, work, work. Stop work to call landscaper. Go work out. Cold, gloomy, icy, but I don’t care.

I’m a little amazed to hear my guy out there while I’m sweating in the gym. That was fast.

Fast enough Janeen’s able to bring up books. Sign books. Bye, bye.

Feed dogs, consider feeding self.

And the lights flicker, everything beeps, then goes out.

I’m not initially worried. I have a full-house generator. I wait for few seconds to hear that muffled roar. Instead, I hear a roolf–roolf sort of grinding, and no power.

This is not good.

As this has never happened before, I’m baffled. Am forced to call BW to ask who to call. It’s single digits, and we have no heat, no light, no water, no nothing.

Somehow he finds the number for the people who installed the generator years ago. They’ll send someone within the hour.

Meanwhile Logan and I are texting as their power’s out, too. Normally, I’d have them all come up here in the light and warm, but I have no light and warm.

I stick a mini flashlight in my pocket, get out full-sized ones, light candles, light the gas fireplace. 

Talk to generator guys. Service guy is finishing up another emergency call and will head out.

That grinding worries me a lot. I’m no mechanic but it sounds like something going to burn up or just can’t get going. What to do if we can’t get it fixed and the power doesn’t come back?

Possibly call the inn, see if there are rooms. But that would mean I leave my dogs out in single digits all night. And I’m not entirely sure now that it’s dark, temps dropping, I can get down the lane.

Pace, mull, worry. I can only use my cell, which I’m busy charging with a portable charger, and cell service is iffy here. But the service guy gets though, is on his way.

Maybe we’ll get lucky. I keep Logan and the gang updated. I could send them to the inn if necessary. Just not sure about leaving the dogs out all night so I may need to tough it out.

Meanwhile the smoke alarm and house alarm are beeping constantly as there’s no AC. I have a raging headache by the time the very nice Robert arrives.

The dogs are thrilled! Another human.

He goes down, gets to work. He works quite some time.

And nothing.

Comes back up after this some time, tells me they’re going to try to get me a portable generator as mine’s going to need more work. Apparently it hasn’t been serviced in a decade, was low on oil, etc, etc.

I feel my head explode. This is BW’s job. He has his jobs, I have mine. Why do we have no maintenance contract on an essential tool? I say to Robert, when my husband gets home from Maui, I’m going to beat him with a hammer.

Robert laughs. He doesn’t know I have a hammer and I know how to use it.

He goes out because it’s easier to get cell service outside. I hear him go down, work some again. Then he comes up. They haven’t been able to find a portable for me. He’d tried another fix, but no luck.

They’ll come back in the morning, he’s so sorry.

Not his fault, and he’s been out there in the cold and dark for over two hours.

As we’re talking, the lights come on, everything stops the stupid beeping. I’m afraid the universe is messing with me. I ask Robert. Is the power really back on?

He grins. Oh yeah, you got power.

Such is my state that I say out loud and with extreme joy: Oh, fucking A.

He laughs again.

Text Logan, and yes, they’re back in business. We exchange virtual high fives.

Somewhere around eight-thirty, I finally feed myself.

And when BW calls we have a very unhappy conversation. He’s genuinely and sincerely sorry — but sorry don’t cut it, pal. LOL.

I probably won’t beat him with a hammer–but I’ve already arranged for semi-annual maintenance. This will never happen again.

I have to say through those four stressful hours I thought about the people in Puerto Rico who’ve been without power for months. It makes me sick and sad. I could’ve camped out in here for a night–did it for longer than that before the generator (which is why we have one). I had places I could go if the outage lasted more than a few hours.

For me, this was an inconvenience–fairly serious as it’s cold and there are grandkids and animals to think of. But basically an inconvenience.

And an adventure I could’ve done without.

But things are back to normal. My lane got a second hit of salt–because it’s bad out there. I scrubbed a couple of floors because my housekeeper couldn’t make it here. I found a bucket of ash to throw over the worst of the ice on the way to the trash and the bird feeder–though it’s still pretty dicey.

I’m getting my work done, my workouts in, and my house is nice and quiet.

It’s another gray and gloomy day, but due to that second hit of salt, the flower delivery guy made it up the lane. And I have such pretty, cheerful flowers sent by my editor. Dark In Death hit number one! Yay! 

#1 on the NYT flowers. Photo by NR.
More flowers.

I also have my monthly flowers–when it’s gloomy, flowers bring the light.

I have the fireplace going, candles lit, happy dogs, and I believe I’ll pour myself a glass of wine when I finish this, maybe settle into the quiet with a book. 

Antidote for gloom. Photo by NR

And hope my only adventures are inside those pages.

Nora

62 thoughts on “Home Alone Adventures”

  1. Reading Dark in Death now. Thank heaven and J D Robb for this engaging book in a week of off and on snow. I want to stay in and boycott winter. I can relate to your frustration

  2. I am SO glad it all worked out for you! Thank you for sharing your genuine exasperation with BW. We have all been there! I devoured my Dark in Death right away, and that was a wonderful winter read! I got a bit dizzy thinking of all your many changes of perspectives in that, too: as author, as voice of Eve, as perspective of the killer – and many more. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with all of us. Nothing keeps the dark of winter at bay as well as your wonderful stories!

  3. Whew, that involved a lot tension. It was like reading a book because I didn’t know how it was going to end. Was electricity going to come back on,was Nora going to freeze, or was BW going to be found murdered. LOL Glad to hear everthing turned out well.

    1. I was surprised to read the dogs eat outside….especially in freezing weather. More surprised that they are left outside for any length of time in freezing weather…..

  4. Oh my – my husband suggested BW might wish to extend his trip lol. He’s coming home to a red hot mama. But, there’s always revenge- throw away one from each pair of socks, remove batteries from remote and watch as he frantically tries to find tv’s G spot, etc. And so true, those still without power can’t be forgotten! So glad your power is back, enjoy your “me” time.

  5. Glad to hear the power came back on so you wouldn’t have to tough it out. My sister recently moved to New Hampshire. She has a generator for when the power goes out; she had to prime it a couple of mornings while I was visiting so it would work when needed. I like the idea of annual or more frequent servicing to make sure all is in working order. Hopefully, you’ll have no more such interruptions. Stay warm, stay happy and enjoy the dogs and grandkids.

  6. I thought for sure that the flowers were from BW, in apology. Maybe he’ll bring some offering from Hawaii as a way of apologizing. 😉

  7. Oh! That’s terrible Nora. Good thing your power came back on at the right time. We’re getting a snow storm here right now and I have no shovel! I was out for a couple hours this morning and while I was gone, someone waltzed themselves up my 6 Car drive and stole my brand-new ergomonic shovel from behind my house! Not cheap and so not cool! BTW I finished Dark in Death this morning! Excellent. I wish GoodReads has more than 5 stars 🙂

  8. Nora – I just love these glimpses of your life. And of course, I love your stories; I just finished Dark, have 40 pages left of a re-read of Tribute, am on chapter 17 of The Witness audio, and have picked out The Liar as my next re-read. Idea: have TTP start carrying “The Wreckers” sweatshirts! 🙂

  9. My husband is in the middle of a vacation, and I would give almost anything if he would go away so we can have our Me Time. Apparently I am the one who has to pack up and go. Couldn’t due to appts. Praying our marriage survives this 2 weeks of togetherness.

  10. You had a very tense time there for awhile! Glad things are back to normal. Just finished reading Dark and it was tense too. Loved it. As usual!

  11. Grateful the power came back on. Puerto Rico doesn’t get into single digits. Roads and Bridges are being rebuilt so that power can be restored.

  12. Wow! This California girl is amazed at your ability to overcome the weather and the mechanical misadventures. I can only imagine how awful BW feels. Ouch! I’m sure he will never live it down. Stay warm. Thanks for your hard work. Enjoying Dark In Death. Blessed Be!

  13. Me and My Sweet Tiffany curled up in bed where it is warm and read Dark in Death during the snow storm..

  14. YAY! And oh so jealous! Have spent a week sans power and heat with temps in the 20’s! Supposed to develop character…well patooey on that!

    BUT it does develop a heartfelt respect for people in Puerto Rico, Pioneers, and Alaskans who like to live off the grid!

    and omg yes to candles, fireplaces, and dogs!!!

  15. Have had similar “adventure” in Upstate NY before with portable gererator as auxillery power. Relate to the stress and the “Sucks Large!” aspect of the experience. Just finished Dark In Death this morning, loved it. Will be calling my Sis to discuss as we both have looked forward to the release. Really enjoy your Blog, and the facebook posts from Laura. Rereading the Donovan book thanks to Laura’s posts and enjoying them again. (Wish my hubby would take a vacation, we ladies like our “me time”.) Enjoy yours.

  16. Here in Ohio I have two wood burners as my total and only sources of heat in the winter. I live alone except for a Male Corgi and 5 cats. We had a horrible wind storm last year when i lost power for over a week. Deep snows and lots of down power lines.

    Still you learn to adapt although I did have to throw out everything in my refrigerator. Was able to drive to work every day too and yes, they had power. I should also say that I don’t have a cell phone because I can’t get a signal out with all the surrounding hills.

    But I too was very happy when I came home from work to every light in the house shining through the darkness of midnight.

  17. I can SO relate about power outages. We used to live WAY out in the country with no generators readily available in those days. One summer I rented a room at a local inn because it was freaking hot and we had no power to run the water pump to shower or flush for the second day, the freezer alarm had gone off…and the inn had power, water, and air conditioning!
    We are now near a state road & both have all or four wheel drives. Also can relate to the jobs each of us has in the homestead maintenance areas. I mostly call someone who knows how to fix stuff! LOL

  18. It’s nice to see the my job vs his job thing. That is how our house works too. We have ice but managed not to lose power.

    Loved Dark in Death. Loved Year One. Very different than I expected but in a good way. I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2.

    Thank you. I enjoy your books and find when I’m in between things, I will re-read some of your books.

  19. I love these looks into your life! Love all your works under NR and JD. They are my happy place, I can’t count how many times I’ve re-read your books. Driving into Boonsboro for the first time last June felt like coming home. Can’t wait to visit again in November. Thank you so very much!

  20. Wondering how soon there will be a book featuring a husband dead from (for?) neglected maintenance …

  21. I’m glad you survived relatively unscathed, Nora. Reading your post I felt even colder than I am right now. I just finished Dark in Death – had to wait for the paperback of Secrets to arrive so I could re-read that one first. Loved it, as usual.

    I also enjoyed Year One much more than I was expecting to. (I usually dislike dystopian storylines, but of course you made the characters so likeable and real as usual that I got caught up in their life-and-death struggle.)

    I hope you are able to enjoy the rest of your alone time without incident.

  22. Reality bites sometimes doesn’t it??LOL Glad BW was spared “the hammer” and you, the slammer! You sure put your inconvenience in perspective…good for you!

  23. This sounds like a wonderfully stressful adventure haha. I’m from Australia and we are currently going through intense heatwaves and raging bush fires. Our temperature hovers mid 40’s (Celsius) most of summer, could use some snow about now! 🙂

  24. I loved Dark in Death. I remembered outrageous, libelous reviews on Amazon and laughed and laughed. It’s been almost 2 weeks. I think I’ll read it again.

  25. I had to laugh when you said BW has his jobs and you have yours. I’ve been known to say my husband stays out of my kitchen and I don’t mess with his tools. Glad you got your power back.

  26. The urge to murder BW may have passed, but I bet he’ll step very, very carefully for quite a while. Having a spouse with such a fertile imagination should make one nervous. I’m willing to bet anything and everything in the house – and vehicles – that should have been routinely checked WILL be within weeks of his return- lol. Many congrats on the well-deserved #1 spot! Many thanks for the reminder about Puerto Rico, too. They’re Americans and have been left hanging. It is not right.

  27. What an adventure! I feel for you. Living in NYC, most of us don’t need generators. Except for when we have blackouts in mid August. But being hot is much easier than freezing. That is just plain scary. My type A personality friend got a generator, for just in case. But he has it turn on once a month, for 10 minutes or so, just to check that all is in working order.

    I have an idea for BW. Being that he didn’t do his end of the job, let him do yours. Let him cook, and make suppers for a month. And clean up afterwards. That’s just 1 idea that I can print- the others should not see the light of day!

  28. At least the first adventure was only a stupid cavity and not a stupid root canal or needing to have a stupid implant put in. I started my implant last June (I think) and have to do the last part with the oral surgeon at the end of the month. Then I will have to go to the dentist to have the crown put on.

  29. I’m glad everything worked out for you.
    I too believe in annual service contracts for essential household appliances. If you never have to use them, great, but it’s good to know you’ll get priority service if something goes wrong.
    Congratulations on Dark in Death making #1! I read it, all the way through, on the day it was officially released, then re-read for missing bits, twice. It was funny seeing the comments we sometimes too avid readers make on the blog and FB page in the book. Keep writing, I’ve pre-ordered the next one. Know you’re probably on 2nd behind that.
    Thanks for thinking of Puerto Rico. About 25% of island, still doesn’t have electricity back, as yet.

  30. AAHa!, Your normal!. I think most readers have you on this gilded golden throne and forget that mind of yours is quirky.
    Dark in Death, and now this blog. Yep, your normal. Yet your mind is on the throne. Well it is my opinion.

  31. There is no BW in my life because of any abundance of this type of issue. Where is it written I have to do my assigned gender jobs and you don’t have to do yours? But I think you like your and I discovered I didn’t like mine that well. Hope all if now good with you!

  32. Your generator problems sound like they were lifted from Whiskey Beach. Glad you made it through everything okay and that BW still lives.🙄

  33. Having lived in New England my entire life, I know well the SDF moment that the power goes out, when everything flickers just a bit and you think ‘hold on, you can do it, stay on’ and then it goes dark. Second to that is the sound of the plow truck sliding backwards, unable to make the steep curving slope of the hill I live on. That SDF moment is followed by ‘please don’t hit my car in the driveway!’

    Very envious of Nora’s full house generator, as we have to borrow one from husband’s work just to keep the freezer in the basement and the fridge in the kitchen going, with one or two house lights plugged in. Hoping to buy a generator this summer, which will mean we will never lose power again, but that’s OK!

  34. It’s 1115 in the morning here and no one had been up the hill in front of my house yet because of ice. Having to take my dog outside through the garage because steps in front too slippery. Scary watchung him slipping on the driveway to get to the grass. So I feel your pain. 6 weeks of winter left. We’ll make it.

  35. Sorry you are all having a bad winter. I’m in Tasmania and in the heat of summer, which has been a lot hotter than usual. Thoroughly enjoyed Dark in death. Fabulous writing, a can’t put it down book, the same as all of them in the series. I love the humour that runs through the pages and definitely missed Summerset and his dry humour. You make the characters come alive. Don’t know how you manage to keep intertwining each book with other situations in other books in the series. I think that really helps to make the characters more real.

  36. Even at your home “Men are from Mars” 😉
    I believe we all have stories like that to tell and live; they don’t do it on purpose… not even on purpose they would bother THAT much 😛
    So glad everything turned out ok… and so soon, I was already feeling a sympathy headache due to your beeps.
    Take Care and Thank you for sharing!

  37. Even at your home “Men are from Mars” 😉
    I believe we all have stories like that to tell and live; they don’t do it on purpose… not even on purpose they would bother THAT much 😛
    So glad everything turned out ok… and so soon as I was already feeling a sympathy headache due to your beeps.
    Take Care and Thank you for sharing!

  38. Yeesh! Part way thru, I thought, don’t do it, Nora! Eve would sympathize, but she’d still arrest you. Murder is murder, no matter how justifiable. I understand the SDF feel, as another reader said, when the lights flicker & you think, no, please, no, oh, blast! Fire up the fuel oil lamps & hope the Kindles are fully charged!

    My power went out for 5 days back in 2008, but happily it was in Sept.; a dry fall, so it didn’t matter much that the sumps weren’t working. (I now have a battery backup on one pump). We actually had a hurricane in Ohio! Ike came thru on it’s way up from Texas, and shared it’s wind with us. Happily, I didn’t lose trees; others lost quite a few!

    But on the good side; equipment truck for the Cincinnati Reds arrived in Arizona this weekend, Pitchers & Catchers report tomorrow & rest of the players on Sunday and Opening Day, which is major here, is Thursday, March 29th, just a bit over 6 weeks! That thought & the pot of blooming daffodils I bought at the grocery last week just may help me make it thru all the gray, gloom & freezing rain, which we seem to be getting a lot of this year! I may need another pot of blooming something, maybe crocus…

    Loved Dark in Death, Nora & yes, inhaled it. Congrats on #1 NYT! Altho’ hardly a surprise! I started rereading last night; always wait a bit for the 1st reread, so instead, I reread Blue Smoke & High Noon! No wonder my pile of unread books is the size of a mountain range!

  39. So happy your blackout only lasted a short time. How awful to have a generator that doesn’t work when you count on it! Looks like you could have cuddled under a quilt with those gorgeous dogs but it wouldn’t be my first choice!

  40. Thanks for the belly laugh. Your comment to Robert was spot on. Loved it. Glad all is well in your Fortress again. Big hugs to you and those lovely dogs.

    And, of course, “Dark in Death” is number one. Was there ever any doubt?

  41. Me again . . . sorry. A question: you mentioned your galleys. Are they difficult to review, since the subject matter is yours? What I mean is, when you review something you’ve written (and re-written), do you find yourself missing something because-you’ve-seen-it-all-before-and-your-eyes-glaze-over-from-already-knowing-the-material-so-you-miss-something-important? I write political copy and after reviewing it so dang many times – holy hell, I want to review something else.

    No biggie – just curious. Have a good day.

  42. Anniversary recently of some very horrific firestorms in state of Victoria in Australia about 10 yrs ago, forever after know as Black Saturday. Temps then were about 48.7 Celsius (119.66 F) and weather factors combined to produce a perfect storm so to speak.
    Trees were exploding into 40ft fireballs, after hearing that you kinda didn’t complain about your heat for awhile.
    But yes, very hot in Oz and delightful to read about snow and coldness. Would probably get old soon but wish we could weather share, just a little.
    BTW, hottest day ever in Oz? 49.6 C, (121.3 F) if Google is correct.

    1. WOW! Mother Nature sure can be both amazing and cruel at the same time. I’m in Minnesota, USA and would love to send you some of our cold. It felt like -19 F without windchill over the Super Bowl weekend.

  43. Been there and done that. You reminded me of our 1993? ice storm. No power for 8 days, and we have well and septic.
    We also had dogs we couldn’t leave, and this was before our gas fireplace (my favorite thing), so we camped out with oil lamps and a kerosene heater. We lost 33 Huge trees, that sounded like gunshot when they broke and fell, but nothing hit the house. My 7 yr old son and I “ice skated” in our boots on top of the 6″ of snow, read books, and played board games. Cooking and water heating was done on our gas grill.

    By day 8, we decided to go to sister in law’s house, 90 minutes away for real showers, and when we arrived at home, every light and the television were on. lol My son asked if we could turn it all off just one more time. He wanted to play “Little House on the Prairie” .

  44. Stretching out Dark in Death like a scrumptious box of rich chocolates. A third of the way through; and, of course, loving the time I get to spend with Eve and Roarke thanks to J.D. Robb. Every night as I snuggle under my warm covers, I lift a prayer for those not so fortunate. Thanks for the reminder, Nora. And as I get to work… happy writing!

  45. Hello, I was wondering if Nora Roberts is going to release any more of the novella’s as their own book like she did with “Three in Death” and “Time of Death”. They include “Possession in Death” from “The Other Side” 2010, “Chaos in Death” from “The Unquiet” 2011, “Taken in Death” from “Mirror, Mirror” 2013, and “Wonderment in Death” from “Down the Rabbit Hole” 2015. I did buy the paperbacks but would like to be able to get them in a group as an e-book. Thank you, for your time.

    1. I’ve let the publisher know that readers would like a single volume (paper and e), but so far they have not decided whether to go in that direction.

      Laura

      1. Thank you for checking it out. I know it would sell because of the many fans who like the other stories but bought the paperbacks for the In Death story.

        Thanks again

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