Thursday, February 8, 2024

Number 1 and Driving High

What a day. What a freaking day. A mixture of the best and the worst rolled into one. It began last night when friend Scott (a.k.a. Diefenbaker) came up from Asheboro to spend the night so we could head northward today to do some serious geocaching. My daughter, Allison, also paid us a visit, and we had an excellent sushi dinner at Yamato. Afterward, we sat up fairly late with various drinks to keep us occupied until bedtime.

Up and at 'em early this morning. Allison and I made breakfast—she made her special scrambled eggs and I cooked up my Damned Rodan's Crematorium-Style Bacon. Then Scott and I hit the road for Rocky Mount and Boones Mill, thirty-some miles up the road toward Roanoke. We found several enjoyable caches, a couple of which took us out on the highest, narrowest, windiest, scariest fooken mountain road I have ever driven. You know those videos of single-lane roads along cliffs, with sheer drop-offs on one side and a high vertical wall on the other? This was kind of like that. Thanks be to Yog Sothoth no vehicles came from the other direction because I fear that might have been all she wrote for us.

At the end of the scary mountain road, we had the pleasure of meeting fellow geocacher, Varunner7, since she and her husband had placed a cache on their property. A very pleasant caching conversation followed, and after a while, off we went again, back toward Rocky Mount. We found lunch at a lovely BBQ joint called the Rocky Mount Smokehouse, where Scott and I both ordered brisket. We found it delightful.
Fun sign in the bathroom at the smokehouse

Several years ago, Brugger and I had gone after a cache on a huge, steep ridge on the outskirts of Rocky Mount. That cache has been long since archived, and a newer one took its place relatively recently. Since it was very close to the restaurant, Scott and I trekked up that remarkably steep incline and finally hit the summit. It's rocky as hell and covered with cactus, which isn't something you typically see around these parts. I indulged in all kinds of acrobatics in precarious settings as I set about hunting the cache—something I haven't been able to do much recently—but after a serious amount of time, we came up empty. Based on some intel we received from Ms. Varunner7, we concluded that the damned thing has already gone missing. Drat and alas.

Also in the "good shit" column, I received hopeful news about one of my recent short stories from a publisher (which I'll remark upon later, when the word is given), and, thanks to the big Bookbub promotion, which I detailed yesterday, Deathrealm: Spirits reached number 1 in sales on in three categories: horror anthologies (Kindle), horror anthologies (books), and fiction anthologies. It held onto that position for a full 24 hours, which is a fair achievement. It slipped a few notches for a couple of hours this evening, but then it climbed back into the lead positions.

It's the little things that make one smile, wouldn't you say?

In the "bad shit" column, which does not make me smile, Ms. B. got laid off from her job of 21 years, ignominiously and with a piss-poor severance deal. Out of respect for Kim—certainly not for the company, which gets absolutely none from me—I'll elaborate only a little. I hope this will prove a blessing in disguise, as leaving one position behind for another sometimes does. I feel horrible for her, though, because she loved that job and gave everything to it that she had to give. That she was shown no more appreciation and consideration than she was is disgraceful (note that this applies only to the parent company, not the wonderful local bunch that we both worked with for many, many years). Needless to say, this puts us in a bigger financial and logistical bind than we'd been prepared to deal with. Still, we're in a better place than many in similar circumstances, so I suppose there's that.

Anyway, tomorrow will bring what it's gonna bring, and we'll give it what for.
Looking down at Rocky Mount from "Rocky Top"
You might have to look carefully, but many of the rocks are covered in little cactus plants
One of the crevices I explored along the cliff face
Old Dude at "Rocky Top" on Christmas Day, 2011, photo by Ms. B.

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