Update on the progress of snails


Using a free photo for WordPress from Pexels

But can I put text around the image, as I’m doing here? Yes!

I hadn’t actually tried, and now I can see how to get text around a photo, too.

Why is this lovely Indian woman here?

Because she’s a character, and I like a picture before me to ‘think on.’

I learned one way to wear a sari, way back when I wasn’t even twenty yet, but there are many ways and many styles and many different methods to keep them from falling: it’s one long piece of cloth.

If you think that’s easy, and you haven’t been born to it, be my guest. The Muslim Girl Guide family I stayed with in what was then Bombay took pity on me, and gave me a long black half-slip with an elasticized waist to tuck the folds into (I don’t think women who know what they’re doing use slips, but what do I know?). They arranged for a tailor to make me a short blouse from the piece of cloth that is attached to the end of the sari for that purpose.

This is my visual guide for Shraddha, which means Faith, a lovely name in any language.

Dejunk in haste, repent at leisure

There are so many things that need sorting and repacking for the move – my office is a warren of piles.

But the hastily-packed boxes are slowly giving way to 1) discards, and 2) well-packed boxes which will be in two categories – need as soon as I get there or at least while living in the impermanent quarters, and need, period.

‘Need’ means ‘this is MY stuff.’ And no, I’m not tossing it just because it occupies a few boxes worth of space.

Some of it may still end up being weeded out, but I made the huge mistake of trying to do that to my writing notebooks – 20-30 of them – only to find that I could discard a few pages of the ones torn out, but had to put back together, in order, most of what I had so cavalierly ripped out.

Live and learn. No, I don’t use them a lot. But I can’t dejunk this fast.

Little progress to report

Even when the next thing on the list gets done (today we got an over EIGHTY page report – talk about padding! – from the buyers’ home inspector), there’s another one just behind it. I thought we would just use this report, and fix things, but husband says negotiation happens first.

And it didn’t include the radon test results.

And it didn’t include any information on their mortgage commitment, contingent on their appraiser’s report, which has ALSO not appeared.

In Mexico we have a name for this sort of piddling progress: we say the other person is giving us atole con el dedo. Atole is a drink which is not milk – but sort of looks like it. Calories in the form of a thickened carb like cornstarch or wheat. Gruel of a thin kind suitable for drinking with sweet bread from the bakery (and a horrible thing to do to your stomach if you are a growing child – very little protein). Atole can be fed to a baby instead of milk by dipping your finger (dedo) in it, and letting the baby suck it off. Takes the place of giving the poor kid milk, and is an incredibly slow process to boot.

It masks a lack of progress with the appearance of progress.

Sanity without writing is hard

Without help, this is slow because carrying the boxes is too much for me.

And I need to spend time getting my writing soul back to work, because that’s how I feel that day-to-day life has a purpose.

Yeah, I’m slow as a writer.

Now, I’m stopped, and I don’t like it.

At least we’ve reconsidered the original plan of driving cross-country with the more valuable items in the car. It’s 3,000 miles.

And after I imagined the trip – husband said a week – I realized that I’d be in poor shape after such a trip, hours sitting on this poor spine without being able to move much, and driving a lot because it isn’t fair to make him do it all.

So I suggested we take a nice plane ride, Newark to Sacramento, and sell or donate the cars. Someone said ‘ship the car(s).’ Will investigate. Husband thinks it’s hard to get a car in California quickly, but I know I can walk into Reedman in PA, and walk out with a vehicle here; California shouldn’t be a lot harder.

So that’s the new plan.

If the buyers will get their act together so we can get out of here.

So I can get back to my work!

Not very exciting, but there it is.

Oh, right: the picture

And you’ll have to read Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD to get to know Shraddha. But she might look like this.

Thanks to Pexels for the image.

They LIED: on my blog, the text is NOT around the photo. Is there text to the right of the photo on your screen?



14 thoughts on “Update on the progress of snails

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I have a new rule, now that I’ve published a book: any notes related to how I wrote it are like dream fragments, meant to vanish upon waking up. The book is now the sole representation of that reality, and I don’t need my older and more laughable dialogue to remind me I’ve learned.

      My intention is to keep the bits of personal information I left behind as I wrote, or to at least make myself a chronology of my life (why, I have no idea) because it goes by so fast and I don’t remember so much detail already.

      But the notes on PURGATORY are no longer relevant. If I become famous, my biographer will just have to lump it.


  1. J.M. Ney-Grimm

    I’m so glad you are looking into plans other than driving across the country. So glad! Take care of yourself, my friend!

    I use the HTML window on my WordPress site. I grew irked and impatient almost immediately with the supposed what-you-see-is-what-you-get visual editor window. It didn’t give me enough control. I didn’t know HTML either, but it was pretty simple to pick up. At first I’d type my post into the visual window, then switch it to the HTML window to see what was there. The patterns were obvious. After that I just used the HTML window. BUT, I’m a graphic designer and thus want the control that HTML gives me. Really, there’s no need to get that fancy. 😉


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m not lazy, but if I’m going to spend spoons, it will be after I regain control of my computer and emails and applications, not to make the text flow around a photo. Low on the list, I’m afraid.

      There is a non-stop flight Newark/Sacramento – not even expensive. We’ll do that. Now we have to sell the cars.


      1. J.M. Ney-Grimm

        …not to make the text flow around a photo. Low on the list…

        Exactly! I suspect most of your readers would infinitely prefer you carry on with Pride’s Children (regaining computer, etc. first, of course) and not spend precious spoons on wrapping text. 🙂

        The non-stop flight sounds excellent.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      The township inspector require three tiny electrical things, two new, and one (grounding the kitchen outlet) that must have escaped their inspection years ago when the kitchen was redone. This guy finds over eighty PAGES of things to complain about? CYA to the max. The agent says to wait to see what they ask for. But our lawyer had the brains to explicitly disallow ‘cosmetic’ changes. Let them battle it out – it’s what we pay them for. But it didn’t feel good – it implies we were terrible owners!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Stare duly stored away for use. Do you have a picture? Can’t blame buyers – this is the only time they get to complain about anything, and some sellers are scum. I’m objecting, as a WRITER, to the tone of the document in question. Our agent said she hasn’t worked with this inspector, but the ones she likes for HER buyers are ones who point everything out, but are balanced about what they SAY to the buyers when they do so. And we have no access to that part of the equation. Oh, well – time will tell.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. joey

    I used to use photos and text on WP like a journalism student, but then so often I encountered formatting changes between Preview and Publish, I almost exclusively do Text left and photo at center. The spacing is still off at times. I gave up perfection. Most of my readers on on mobile devices, so it sets it up that way anyway.

    There are people who will drive your car(s) and even your possessions. As with many unusual jobs, people will do it on the cheap because they enjoy the experience. There are also people who will drive those who cannot drive, and I don’t just mean health aides. Just FYI in case you wanted to know 🙂
    You certainly would not be troubled to find a car anywhere in America. We do that in every big city and at least half the suburbs, hm?

    Negotiations are absolutely first. Offer and counter using their list of “must haves” as collateral. We made our offer on this house contingent on new electrical boxes and having the drive sealed. The seller obliged. By then, financing had been selected and approved. So yeah, piddling took about a month for us, and both buyers and seller were EAGER like WHOA! lol If people aren’t living with their in-laws with most of their belongings in storage when school is about to start, they might be cheaper or more patient than we were! Haha!


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, as always. You do see to the heart of the matter. It’s just that I have nothing else to blog about right now, so you might as well have the one-of-a-kind trivia – I’m not moving again. Ever.

      Our agent said to wait for their actual requests, as the 80+ page from their inspector is just a padded exaggerated list so they can’t claim later they weren’t told. Just want it over sooner rather than later. I don’t do well with protracted stress.


  3. marianallen

    The text is under the photo on my screen. If you want text next to the photo, don’t put the text in the Caption box in the Add Media page. Align the photo to the left or right, and just type the text in where you want it.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks for the response, Marian.

      I’m using the WordPress template – it allows you to select having text from the post next to the picture. I did. It looks fine in the editor – and failed when I posted it.

      I have no patience for things which don’t work as advertiser, not right now. Maybe some day later when I have nothing else to do.


      Not my job!



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