A new floor, a new book cover, and death

June and July were busy months for me–but not all for the usual reasons. True, I did finish most of the edits on my next book (Dying on Second, the fourth book in my Marie Jenner Mystery series) and I got to see the art for the cover. (Can’t show it to you yet, but soon. I promise!) So, things are moving along nicely in that part of my life.

However, in and around all that, Hubby and I decided to get the hardwood floors on the main floor of our house redone. How did that come to be? The discussion came up on the long ride back from southern Saskatchewan.

My mother in law passed away, and was buried in Manor, Saskatchewa. We were there for her memorial. While we were there we saved a dog, ate home made sandwiches, pickles, and desserts (one of the best parts of a small town funeral, if there is one) and reconnected with family.

How did we save a dog? Funny story, actually. We were waiting for our daughter and her boyfriend at a small town just down the road from Manor, where the memorial was being held. That town had a restaurant, and a washroom–which was why we were there. The kids had just driven up and Hubby was talking to them when I saw a little dog–not quite Corgi sized, but close–wander up a side street, dragging his leash. I waited for the owner to show up, but no one followed the dog. Then the dog saw my husband, and headed out into the street to investigate.

We were on the main street, and there was traffic, so I bellowed “The dog!” at my husband. He looked up, saw the dog, and jumped through traffic to grab him before he got hit.

So now, we had a dog on a leash. Long story short, there was no one at the RCMP station, and we couldn’t find the local vet, but someone wandering by recognized the dog, so we walked him home. He (the dog) was relieved. I think we bored him to tears with our insistence that he stay with us and not run out into traffic etc, And his owner was relieved. She hadn’t even realized he’d gone walkabout. And even more luckily for us, we made it to the memorial on time.

After the memorial we hit the road, determined to get home that night. (We had our own dogs to think about, and we didn’t want to push the good will of our neighbours, who were dog sitting.) As we drove, we talked. First about a writing issue I was having–hashed it all out and fixed it, so yay for that–and then, we talked about renovating. Specifically, the floor. How it had been nearly twenty years since we (and by we I mean my husband) had finished it, and how it was looking a little worn. (“A little worn” is a definite understatement. Trust me.)

“Maybe it’s time to refinish it,” I said.

“Could be,” he replied. And that, as we say, is that.

We checked with the company who sold us the flooring. “Who would you recommend?” we asked. The guy behind the counter handed us a card. “Anybody else?” we asked. We wanted to do the comparison shopping thing like you’re supposed to do, but the guy behind the desk shook his head.

“Just this guy,” he said.

We took him at his word and gave the refinisher a call. Now, we figured we’d be waiting months, because that’s how this stuff usually works for us, but he came over the next day, pretended to take measurements (round house, remember?) just to make us feel better, and then gave us a quote. He said he’d get back to us about a date, and did that the next day(!) Suddenly, we were set for June 28. “It’ll take me three days,” he said.

It all sounded fantastic until we actually looked a the date. He was aiming for the July 1st long weekend. One of the busier weekends for most Canadian cities, including ours. And we have two dogs. There really was no time to prepare.

What the hell were we going to do?

Another long story, mercifully cut short. We ended up camping in our back yard during the day, and actually found a hotel close to us that would take us and our dogs for ta couple of nights. We paid dearly for the privilege, but still. We had a suite (!) and air conditioning, and mostly the dogs took it quite well. All right, so Millie did snap at someone who tried to kiss her on the face three times (I didn’t blame her) and we had to skulk around so that we weren’t in the same area as a German Shepherd who decided he didn’t like Buddy, but still. Worked out quite wonderfully. And when we got home (one day later than we’d hoped, because high humidity does not make the floors dry any faster, no matter how much you and the refinisher hope it will) we had beautiful floors.

On  the weekend that we were camping in our back yard while our floor was being refinished, Dave Semenko, one of my favourite Oilers, died. It hit me hard.

This whole adventure had been bracketed by death. Which I guess is life, isn’t it?


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