The SFF 2021 Cantina

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Gatteau

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Thanks for commiserating with me, guys. :giggle: The problem has indeed been dealt with, and has officially become Not Mine, so the husband and I are finally starting to unwind and get back to normal. Rough handful of days, but we got through it.

Focusing today on trying to get my mind in gear to start Camp NaNoWriMo tomorrow. (Can't believe it's already July...) I think my goal will be simple: write something every day. I have a notebook with the first sentence of a random story as a prompt at the top of each page, so I'm going to start small and just aim for filling up one of those pages each day. Hopefully that will give me the momentum and motivation to go bigger. I've gotten so lazy lately, often opting for doing literally nothing rather than engaging my brain to write anything. I'll be quite happy if I can break that habit and start some good ones.
 

Friendly Frog

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Trying to troubleshoot a satellite TV across a continent while the manual you have has a different remote depicted than the one with the actual TV is surprisingly frustrating. Who knew?

Just a friendly reminder that if you were still hesitating over joining the Sequel Sisyphus, you have just four more days to do so before sign-up closes. Join us! :) We have awesome prompts.
 
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Friendly Frog

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... I had the wrong manual... Not my smartest move.

Hah, all that trouble to let my mom watch the next football match and then those suckers lose...
 

E.F.B.

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So. I'm touching up my short story cover letter and the market I'm looking at says to "Include a short biographical statement." And I... don't know what I'm supposed to say. They had a sample issue of their mag to look at, but the stories don't include any biographical info for the authors, so I don't have any example of what they're looking for. When I've researched cover letters, everyone only says to include stuff that's relevant to your story. Like, if you've written a story about something sciency, and you have a degree in that subject, it's okay to mention that. But my story is totally fanciful, and I don't think that's what they're wanting, anyway. Help?

Nevermind, I got an answer. :)
 
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E.F.B.

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If anyone was waiting in suspense, I did get that short story submitted. The place is actually a magazine I read as a kid and is still going strong. I'd forgotten about them until I stumbled over them on The Submission Grinder and thought it seemed really familiar. I mentioned it to my my mom and she was like, we got that for you as a kid!" So it would be really cool if I could get in with them and have kids enjoy my story the way I enjoyed other people's stories years ago.

In other news, we've been needing some new living room furniture for a good while now. My parents got our couch in the 80s, and the recliner, which is maybe around 10 years old, is getting really ratty (because dogs) and falling apart, as is the couch. Dad resisted for a long time because change in general is hard for him, and his mom, who passed last year, used to sleep on that couch's pull out bed when she visited us, but it's broken down so bad now that even he finally agreed it needed to go. After we got him to understand that no, we're not putting the old one in the spare room or the basement (and how would we even get it in those places and what's the purpose if we're not using it???) we got him to go to a furniture store today and decide on a new one. And I got to pick out a new chair for me. I'm definitely happy with my choice. Hopefully he'll be happy with his. His weight is a big factor in finding new furniture, but the one he liked best seemed good and sturdy, and the salesperson, who thankfully was sensitive and waited till dad went to the bathroom to say anything to me and mom, did confirm that the one he chose is one of their sturdiest options and she agreed that it should give him the support he needs. He'll still probably gripe until he gets used to it, but that's how he processes things. Once he's used to it, he'll not be able to let that one go if we ever have to replace it. :p They're going to deliver the couch and chair in two days, so we have some cleaning up and moving of stuff to do. We also have to see if Got Junk (whom we've used before and were happy with) will come take the old furniture on the same day or soon after, because the delivery people won't. They have a policy of not putting old furniture on the truck with new furniture. Bed bugs being a thing, I guess it makes sense, but it's still inconvenient. If Got Junk can't come the same day, the delivery people say they are willing to move the old stuff somewhere on the same level, so we'd have them put it on the porch until Got Junk can come.
 
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MaeZe

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Trying to troubleshoot a satellite TV across a continent while the manual you have has a different remote depicted than the one with the actual TV is surprisingly frustrating. Who knew?

Just a friendly reminder that if you were still hesitating over joining the Sequel Sisyphus, you have just four more days to do so before sign-up closes. Join us! :) We have awesome prompts.
We need an emoji for been there; done that.

For me it's always a computer thing I need to do and the instructions say click on A but there is no A anywhere on the screen!!!!
 
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Silenia

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It's always lovely when the only available guide/instruction uses a different language (usually English) than the version of your program/OS/etc., too (Dutch, though I generally prefer to use the English versions of everything for exactly that reason--doesn't help when I'm troubleshooting a family member's pc or phone, as they don't).

Especially since some of the translations-to-Dutch that have become standard for computer stuff make no sense and aren't ones you'd randomly guess. (It also means most keyboard shortcuts are basically nonsensical if you don't happen to know the English terminology they're based on.)
 

E.F.B.

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Woohoo, GotJunk says they can come take the old couch and chair tomorrow several hours before the new stuff comes! That will save us a lot of trouble because if they couldn't take it beforehand, we were going to have to get the delivery guys to put the old stuff on the front porch until we could get it taken away. Dad will probably be grouchy that we won't have the usual things to sit on for several hours, but we're not going to create a bigger inconvenience of changing the appointment just so he's not mildly inconvenienced for a brief time. He can always sit at the computer or in the bedroom, or go take a nap.
 

Friendly Frog

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For me it's always a computer thing I need to do and the instructions say click on A but there is no A anywhere on the screen!!!!
Oh yes, so annoying! *been there done that smiley*

It's always lovely when the only available guide/instruction uses a different language (usually English) than the version of your program/OS/etc., too (Dutch, though I generally prefer to use the English versions of everything for exactly that reason--doesn't help when I'm troubleshooting a family member's pc or phone, as they don't).

Especially since some of the translations-to-Dutch that have become standard for computer stuff make no sense and aren't ones you'd randomly guess. (It also means most keyboard shortcuts are basically nonsensical if you don't happen to know the English terminology they're based on.)
Or they botch the translation.

When we got my dad a new phone and I selected Dutch, we couldn't understand why in the message menu it said 'verstuur' (send) or 'helder' (bright) until I translated the menu in my head and realised they had mistranslated 'clear', as in to erase everything that was typed.

It looks so silly.

Woohoo, GotJunk says they can come take the old couch and chair tomorrow several hours before the new stuff comes! That will save us a lot of trouble because if they couldn't take it beforehand, we were going to have to get the delivery guys to put the old stuff on the front porch until we could get it taken away. Dad will probably be grouchy that we won't have the usual things to sit on for several hours, but we're not going to create a bigger inconvenience of changing the appointment just so he's not mildly inconvenienced for a brief time. He can always sit at the computer or in the bedroom, or go take a nap.
Yeay for convenient couch swapping!
 
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Silenia

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Or they botch the translation.

When we got my dad a new phone and I selected Dutch, we couldn't understand why in the message menu it said 'verstuur' (send) or 'helder' (bright) until I translated the menu in my head and realised they had mistranslated 'clear', as in to erase everything that was typed.

It looks so silly.
Oof, yeah, that's a silly mistranslation all right. Not the worst I've ever seen, but for something you'd expect a professional translation job from--like basic phone menus--certainly up there.
 
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kinokonoronin

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I think folks might be surprised by some of the translations practices, even at big companies that produce quality software. It can be pretty damn strange sometimes.

I have been asked, as an SDE, to verify that translated content seems right (both audio and text) for languages I do not know. Granted, I was able to find a number of errors, but still.
 

Silenia

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Which, I suppose, is kind of understandable when it comes to languages with a small number of speakers, languages of which only a small portion of speakers have internet access (and thus the ability to check texts remotely) or very few folks who are bilingual in that language and English. Not ideal, but... yeah, can see how that'd happen.

But Dutch? There's a reason that when an English-language website has translation by volunteers, Dutch is often among the first five to ten translations to be done: we're basically everywhere in the online Anglosphere, subject obscurity and geographical ties be damned.

(To the point of ridiculousness: I may or may not have managed to run into multiple fellow Dutch & Flemish folks on a thread about the from-picture (re-)identification of a number of pinned insect specimens from Chile with damaged labels once...)
 
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tiddlywinks

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Belated whoohoo for Forum return!

How goes it, Cantina peeps? Found any shineyyy lately?

Just a brief synopsis from "since the world turned to crap right after tiddlywinks got home from visiting kitkitdizzi last year and happened to be out of toilet paper AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME":
  • Finally acquired toilet paper after begging from a few friends in desperate times (stupid COVID)
  • Haven't gotten fired yet at new job (yay!)
  • Met a wonderful English teacher nerd with two teenagers just before COVID and he/they are just lovely (three cheers for healthy adult relationships!)
  • Got a COVID puppy together with said adorable nerd and puppy is most adorable puppy ever (little fuzzball is snoring next to me as I type this)
  • Bought my first house which could serve as a real CLUE house, given the secret room among other things...this place is odd enough it probably could have shown up on zillowgonewild on instagram lol (yay for space; boo for previous owners hiding broken crap that Winks is now finding)
  • Played first of many new board games in over 20 years (turns out I'm competitive? who knew?)
  • Learned that "I'm Mr. Meseeks!' is my new most-hated earworm ever (and have reconciled myself to the fact it's probably going to get played at my future wedding)
  • Have suffered through the highs and lows of getting my rosebushes in shape...only to suffer a Japanese beetle attack of epic proportions (*growls and aims spray bottle*)
  • Found a tea mug with "NOPE" on it and promptly bought in honor of Cobra
Still haven't written a stitch since the pandemic started, but I'll get there. At the very least, it's good to see some familiar faces around these parts again, now that I'm crawling back online...

*boo hisses as she prepares to go offline so she can be a functioning adult at work*
 

jallenecs

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So let me run this idea past you, and you can tell me exactly how out of touch and crazy I might be, okay?

So we have five people, neighbors. They have one mutual magical task, containing/binding something suitably demonic/Lovecraftian. To that end, they take part in a regular binding ceremony. Each person has their own personal ritual to summon the necessary power for the ceremony, each one very personal to them. One person, for example, will clean their entire house and then must set a specific food to cooking on the stove; that food has to be actively cooking while the ceremony happens. This is because that food, and the preparation thereof, has some connection to their childhood, some meaningfulness to them. Another person might, oh, say, be required to put an AC/DC song on their stereo and jack it as high as it will go, strip down naked, and then air guitar through the entire song three times while lip syncing the lyrics; this is a re-enactment of some important event in their youth that, again, had some meaning/impact on them.

So where I think I'm going off: the youngest of the neighbors is just barely 19, a young Japanese American. 6 days a week, she's like every American girl you ever met, speaks English, dresses like a typical teenager, glued to her smart phone, eats McDonald's, etc. But her ritual is to put on a traditional Japanese outfit, and, from that point until the end of the ceremony, speaks nothing but Japanese.

I have no current intention of explaining why this ritual is meaningful to her, or to any of them. Discussion is off limits, to preserve the magic. Frankly, I have no idea why this is important to her, just that it is.

Next, and here's the goofy part. The ritual itself is laughter. They have to keep each other laughing for at least fifteen minutes. so what they do is gather in the designated space, and start telling each other the stinkiest dad jokes they can think of. Why dad jokes? God, who knows? They tried good jokes, no luck. They tried recordings of sitcoms. They tried professional stand up acts; that time they used a Robin Williams video nearly ended with Armageddon. It has to be them, it has to be just awful dad jokes, shaggy dog stories, horrendous puns, and the sort of incoherent dirty jokes you only hear from dedicated barflies at 10 o'clock on Monday mornings.

As for Japanese girl, she tells her jokes in Japanese. I will not be translating them into the text. Ideally, they will be written out in hiragana/kanji, so the reader can't understand them, either.

Here's the thing. The neighbors laugh at the jokes, no matter how bad they are. Genuine, "oh, my goodness, that's a funny one!" laughter, not just-to-be-polite laughter, complete with wheezing, sore ribs, and giggle-aftershocks. And while the neighbors do not understand one syllable of the Japanese jokes, they still "get" the jokes, and still genuinely laugh. In fact, as long as the ceremony is happening, everything the girl says will be in Japanese, nobody will understand a word, and yet every utterance will be comprehended and responded to appropriately. It's a side effect of the magic.

So what I'm worried about is...
1. Is this nuts? (the story cycle is comic fantasy, so slightly nuts is acceptable)
and
2. Am I culturally appropriating? I'm old, I live an extremely isolated lifestyle, so I don't entirely trust my radar on this question.
 

E.F.B.

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  • Bought my first house which could serve as a real CLUE house, given the secret room among other things...this place is odd enough it probably could have shown up on zillowgonewild on instagram lol (yay for space; boo for previous owners hiding broken crap that Winks is now finding)
YOU HAVE A SECRET ROOM? *is jealous* I have dreams sometimes that our house has a secret room we didn't know about and suddenly discover, LOL. Mom and Dad has this house built when I was 5, though, so no secrets from previous inhabitants and no unknown rooms. The only surprises we've had is discovering places where the builder cut corners, like how we didn't know until we had the front steps replaced that the guy had set the original ones on cardboard instead of concrete. :rolleyes: Amazing how much sturdier steps feel when they're set on concrete...

@Junely: Since it's comic fantasy, I don't think a laughter ceremony necessarily sounds too nuts. I don't know that I have an answer for possible cultural appropriation, though. My gut is saying to tread carefully because I can imagine something like that getting iffy fast. Do all the participants have a special ritual they do for the ceremony or is it just her? I'm inclined to say that if it's just her, that leave me feeling eeeeeeeh because why is she being singled out because she has a certain background? If they all have something they do, whether it reflects their cultural background or something else unique about themselves, or something that is special/important to them personally, well, I'd still say to tread carefully, but I'd feel less iffy about it if she wasn't the only one. And I do think you the author need to have some idea as to why they do their personal ritual even if you don't have them communicate it in the story so it doesn't come across as too random. Do wait for others to respond, though. I'm nowhere near an authority on this matter.


Morning, Cantina. The majority of yesterday afternoon was spent cleaning the livingroom and clearing everything for new furniture. But because there's no point in doing anything if we can't have drama, dad's been anxiety-ing about Elsa coming through and how he's afraid it's going to be pouring buckets of rain and our new furniture is going to soaked and therefore we need to reschedule for tomorrow. But of course he's watching the national weather feeds, not the local ones because lets hear about all the damage it's doing elsewhere even though the local things are saying we'll just get a little rain, not to mention that the delivery people are more than likely going to cover the stuff in plastic if there's weather because surely they'd get complaints for delivering soggy furniture. But thus far, we haven't rescheduled. Dad's still staring at the weather, though, and stayed up all night long probably still staring at the weather. Because anxiety. We do at least get to watch a little tracker so we know where our furniture is and exactly when it should get here, so that's cool.
 

jallenecs

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@Junely: Since it's comic fantasy, I don't think a laughter ceremony necessarily sounds too nuts. I don't know that I have an answer for possible cultural appropriation, though. My gut is saying to tread carefully because I can imagine something like that getting iffy fast. Do all the participants have a special ritual they do for the ceremony or is it just her? I'm inclined to say that if it's just her, that leave me feeling eeeeeeeh because why is she being singled out because she has a certain background? If they all have something they do, whether it reflects their cultural background or something else unique about themselves, or something that is special/important to them personally, well, I'd still say to tread carefully, but I'd feel less iffy about it if she wasn't the only one. And I do think you the author need to have some idea as to why they do their personal ritual even if you don't have them communicate it in the story so it doesn't come across as too random. Do wait for others to respond, though. I'm nowhere near an authority on this matter.
Each person has their own ritual, yes. In my mind, she does this for her late grandmother. Her granny was an immigrant, the only person who spoke Japanese with her, and wore the traditional casual-kimono-like-thingie-I-can't-remember-the-name-for-this-early-in-the-morning. She loved her granny above all others, so it's a connection to that relationship.
 

E.F.B.

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Each person has their own ritual, yes. In my mind, she does this for her late grandmother. Her granny was an immigrant, the only person who spoke Japanese with her, and wore the traditional casual-kimono-like-thingie-I-can't-remember-the-name-for-this-early-in-the-morning. She loved her granny above all others, so it's a connection to that relationship.
That sounds like a good reason to me.
 

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I was SO SURE my childhood house had a secret space. In front of the bathroom, to the left of the door, was a screwed-in metal screen wall panel. But the mesh holes were too small to see what was behind. My mom worked, I was one of those latchkey kids (though I hate the term) so I was unsupervised for a few hours before 5 pm, so one day, a friend and I decided to unscrew the panel to see what lay beyond. Lo and behold... it was nothing but the rear of the bathtub, the opening being there to facilitate its installation.

In the house I own now, there's a secret well. Never found out what it was for. Probably an opening to the sewer line back in the rural days of this neighborhood.
 
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tiddlywinks

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[Throws some glitter Wink's way, the grim reaper clearly needs some.]
SHINEYYYY :yessmiley🐧🐒🦄✨
YOU HAVE A SECRET ROOM? *is jealous* I have dreams sometimes that our house has a secret room we didn't know about and suddenly discover, LOL. Mom and Dad has this house built when I was 5, though, so no secrets from previous inhabitants and no unknown rooms.
Ha ha, yes, I have a secret walkin closet behind a built in bookshelf no less. Didn't know about it until after I visited the house - never spotted it on the tour and only discovered it on the floor plans afterward. LOL I now hide all my shoes in there so my minimalist boyfriend doesn't hyperventilate when he comes over and sees, uh, a few more shoes than he owns. *tee hee*

I also have a conservatory and a spiral staircase, as well as a water fall feature in the giant spa bathroom that I didn't realize that was what that was until I turned it on during the inspection? And I have a pool out back, which is where I'm discovering previous owner's sons screwed some stuff up (never buy a house with a pool in winter is the lesson I have since learned). It's pretty awesome for the most part. Looks normal on the outside; the previous owner was an agoraphobe who lived by herself and customized the place to her heart's content. Which is why I have a full on movie room complete with risers and a descending screen downstairs, among other "interesting" things.

The place now has lots of wild colors on the inside since I'm reacting to 20+ years of never getting to paint apartment walls...so I have a bit of color picking to making up for...which means I have vibrant fuchsia bedroom walls 🥰
 
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kinokonoronin

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I'm in the process of becoming a first-time homeowner. It's been stressful and time-consuming. I haven't had much time for my personal projects (writing, game devving). Though I'm fortunate to be able to buy a house, I can't wait for this all to be over and settled in.

I lament that the place I chose does not appear to have a secret room.
 
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tiddlywinks

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OMG that house sounds amazing!
Why thank you! It is for the most part. My partner just shakes his head though, as he sent me the link to it as a joke...hee hee.
I'm in the process of becoming a first-time homeowner. It's been stressful and time-consuming. I haven't had much time for my personal projects (writing, game devving). Though I'm fortunate to be able to buy a house, I can't wait for this all to be over and settled in.

I lament that the place I chose does not appear to have a secret room.
Yeah, home buying was a wee bit stressful. Especially during COVID. I got used to being outbid by $40-50k USD because NO WAY was I going that high, nice houses or no. I found my current one only having to bid a bit over. Inspection didn't turn up anything major so that helped...then again I have since learned there were some issues with the pool shed, but c'est la vie. I will enjoy the one and only time I am a pool owner while it lasts. Not a long pool season where I'm at so I have to try and enjoy it!

I'm pretty happy that I have quite lovely neighbors for the most part, too.
 

kinokonoronin

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I'm also getting a pool (if the deal goes through); entirely on accident, as it were. We like the property for different reasons. I love how they decided to take up half the backyard with pool construction in a town where, no matter what area you live in, you're like a five minute drive from a decent beach. 🤣

Overall: feeling very fortunate just to be able to afford it. Growing up in the projects, it never occurred to me that I'd own a house someday at all. Let alone a nice one!
 

Friendly Frog

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But Dutch? There's a reason that when an English-language website has translation by volunteers, Dutch is often among the first five to ten translations to be done: we're basically everywhere in the online Anglosphere, subject obscurity and geographical ties be damned.

(To the point of ridiculousness: I may or may not have managed to run into multiple fellow Dutch & Flemish folks on a thread about the from-picture (re-)identification of a number of pinned insect specimens from Chile with damaged labels once...)
Heehee, that's VERY specific, those specimen labels. :roll:But yeah, sounds familiar.

[...]As for Japanese girl, she tells her jokes in Japanese. I will not be translating them into the text. Ideally, they will be written out in hiragana/kanji, so the reader can't understand them, either.

Here's the thing. The neighbors laugh at the jokes, no matter how bad they are. Genuine, "oh, my goodness, that's a funny one!" laughter, not just-to-be-polite laughter, complete with wheezing, sore ribs, and giggle-aftershocks. And while the neighbors do not understand one syllable of the Japanese jokes, they still "get" the jokes, and still genuinely laugh. In fact, as long as the ceremony is happening, everything the girl says will be in Japanese, nobody will understand a word, and yet every utterance will be comprehended and responded to appropriately. It's a side effect of the magic.

In the Ocean's 11 remake, there's a chinese character whose speech is never translated and litterally EVERYBODY just replies like the conversation was in english. I thought it was one of the highlights of the movie. I haven't seen anyone ever questioning those conversations as unlikely. Magic of course gives you more room.

SHINEYYYY :yessmiley🐧🐒🦄✨

Ha ha, yes, I have a secret walkin closet behind a built in bookshelf no less. Didn't know about it until after I visited the house - never spotted it on the tour and only discovered it on the floor plans afterward. LOL I now hide all my shoes in there so my minimalist boyfriend doesn't hyperventilate when he comes over and sees, uh, a few more shoes than he owns. *tee hee*

I also have a conservatory and a spiral staircase, as well as a water fall feature in the giant spa bathroom that I didn't realize that was what that was until I turned it on during the inspection? And I have a pool out back, which is where I'm discovering previous owner's sons screwed some stuff up (never buy a house with a pool in winter is the lesson I have since learned). It's pretty awesome for the most part. Looks normal on the outside; the previous owner was an agoraphobe who lived by herself and customized the place to her heart's content. Which is why I have a full on movie room complete with risers and a descending screen downstairs, among other "interesting" things.

The place now has lots of wild colors on the inside since I'm reacting to 20+ years of never getting to paint apartment walls...so I have a bit of color picking to making up for...which means I have vibrant fuchsia bedroom walls 🥰
Conservatory! Spiral staircase! Whoo, tiddly, that sounds awesome.

(I trust you keep extra bubblewrap in the secret closet too, hmm?)
 
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