Author Jackie Taylor Zortman

When New Year’s Eve 2016 rolled around, I remember being so sure in my heart that 2017 was going to be the best year ever.  Boy, was I wrong.  Starting in January, things that have never happened before started and they are still going strong here in June.

For the first time ever, we had carbon monoxide alarms go off in the middle of the night in both January and February, which meant having the Fire Department in the house, some in full regalia, looking for the source.  They never discovered what caused it, but we had to pack up our cat and go to a motel both times.  We learned our cat isn’t a motel kind of guy. Finally we bought new alarms, paid a small fortune to have the water heater changed from gas to electric and are shopping for an electric drier to replace the gas one. The furnace is gas, but it checks out and nobody, including the FD, gas tech or furnace tech think it’s the culprit.

Then, after having no problems for months, one of the alarms began chirping. It didn’t alarm,  just chirped once, but about every four hours and only at night.  This really adds to one’s lack of sleep due to other reasons, such as my husband falling out of a high closet (don’t even ask) and tearing the rotator cuff away from the bone on April 13th. That causes some restlessness at night.  His surgery is in late June, so it’s been fun.

But back to the CO alarm, we suspect it is due to a Hoya plant’s (I have three in bloom right now) pungent perfume that only reveals itself at night. Did you know that perfume, after shave, aerosol sprays and other things can set off a CO alarm?  I moved the plants to another room and finally ripped that alarm out of the electric socket, took the batteries out and replaced it with a battery driven model last night.

Yesterday I opened the smoked glass door to my built in computer and discovered the field mice we’re battling this year (for the first time in 36 years) have been in there.  They totally stripped the rubber off the USB cable to my exterior hard drive.  They tore up manila envelopes of all sizes and the back off a ream of paper, as well.  Thankfully, they didn’t touch the wires of my computer stack. There’s D-con in there waiting for them now.

Yes, we have a cat.  We have a very expensive Siamese cat.  We’ve had him for 12 years now.  He doesn’t hunt mice.  He uses mice for entertainment only. He sleeps all day because he’s up all night cavorting with the mice. Here he is today.

We also discovered mice have been in two storage closets in our office and really wreaked havoc, apparently all winter.  Yesterday we spent the entire day cleaning that mess out.   This has kicked me over the edge, folks, so I’m raging war against them now.  Caught two in traps last night and two the night before.  How many must there be?

After Mother’s Day, the cut-off time for planting things outside here, we had a foot of snow over three days and nights. I mean it was grueling on that third day.  Looks like it has killed most of the scrub oak trees in the area, including ours.  Lots of tree cutting needs to be done, but a guy with a torn rotator cuff isn’t able to do such things, so we are just goin’ with the flow this summer.

Just to fill in between these things, there have been daily other disasters, too numerous to mention.  We refer to them as crisis du jour now and wonder what’s next every morning over coffee.

My 23-year-old granddaughter just commented, “Granny, the craziest things happen to you.”  She just graduated college (brag – something went right) and truly is a really smart girl.  And one of my dreams came true, her brother and his wife are making me a great-grandmother to a little girl in the fall.

Do I dare hope the next six months fulfill my original optimism on New Year’s Eve? Let me know what you think.



About jtzortman

Author of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW" - A Grandparent's Journey Through Grief, first place award winning novel "FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST" and award-winning novel "SNOW ANGEL". Contributing author to anthologies "Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides", "American Blue", "Recipes by the Book: Oak Tree Authors Cook" and "The Centennial Book of The National Society of Daughters of the Union 1861-1865". Numerous articles, poems and short stories published since 1990. Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Winner of ten writing awards. I live in a quaint Colorado mountain tourist town with my husband and Siamese cat. When deeps snows blanket the terrain and spectacular views from my windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.
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12 Responses to THE SECOND HALF

  1. Jackie,
    Haven’t you heard the old adage…”When it rains, it pours.” But on a positive note of encouragement for you, “After every storm is a rainbow.”


    • jtzortman says:

      Beautifully worded, Ron. Yes, I’ve heard them both and didn’t put them together. I wrote this with tongue in cheek, though, hoping it would be somewhat humorous.


  2. John M. Wills says:

    Perhaps things will change for the remainder of the year. I hope so.


    • jtzortman says:

      It’s gotten to the point where we laugh at this stuff most of the time. Some of it wasn’t/isn’t funny (like his injury), but it’s amazing so many things can go wrong so constantly. I was trying to write it with humor.


  3. Debbie Lee Cooper says:

    Hopefully the gremlins along with the mice enjoy their dinner on DCon……Wishing you and Richard an uneventful last six months of 2017….and his surgery goes wonderful…..((HUG))


    • jtzortman says:

      We actually just found another one in behind my computer. It was on a sticky glue trap. Richard has to take a wooden panel out from beneath my monitor and keyboard to get in there, so it’s kind of a chore. How many mice do they have in one litter, anyway? 🙂


  4. Jackie, it’s always entertaining to see what you and hubby are battling today. What a challenge! The scenery and wildlife must make up for it. Better luck the second half of 2017!


  5. jtzortman says:

    Yes, the good in our lives far outweighs the bad. This has just been an unusually. challenge filled year and not at all how I thought it would be. It was just something to write about albeit tongue in cheek.


  6. So glad to see the crisis du jour hasn’t chased away your sense of humor!


    • jtzortman says:

      It makes me happy to hear you recognized it as humor. I was starting to fear people were taking it as serious. Thanks for stopping by…as always. I appreciate your support.


  7. marilynm says:

    Living in the country is a constant challenge. One year, while our bathroom was being remodled, we discovered rats in a hall closet! Horrible! Grandson killed most of them, and a cat got one and brought it into the kitchen dead for me to step on in the dark. They are gone, but we just finished battling an infestation of the biggest and weirdest orange cockroaches I’ve ever seen. They seemed to come inside to die, belly up. Yes, living in the country has it’s plusses, but also icky minuses.


    • jtzortman says:

      Yes, it is a challenge to live in the country, but it’s also worth it. It makes me feel better to hear you’ve had similar experiences. We’ve killed 6 mice in the last two days – in traps. I hope we are starting to reach the end of this litter or whatever it is. Killed several others before we discovered their destruction. Should have kept count. Thanks for sharing with me.


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