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Official Website for Contemporary Romance Author Alicia Renee Kline

Vacant

Yes, I know I haven’t posted here in over three months.  Yes, I know that I just now went into my settings and changed the book links for Silenced to state that it was live and not on preorder, took down the giveaway that ended in February, and removed the progress bar for the book that’s been released for nearly two months.  Seriously, I bet people figured out that it was done already.

No, Chasing Echo hasn’t sat completely untouched, even though that progress bar is clocking in at a big fat goose egg.  I just can’t be bothered to change it right now.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve sort of had an “I don’t give a fuck” approach to writing lately.  And it seems to work for me.  Because not giving a fuck, and barely making a peep about my new release has rewarded me with quite a few sales.  In fact, having a silent (pun intended) launch has yielded the most results ever.  I’m not even trying, and people are buying.  I attribute this to the fact that I’ve finally used the loss leader approach for the first book, and the few people that have actually downloaded and read it keep coming back for more.

But this post isn’t about sales, or really writing for that matter.  Because it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t my focus right now.

I’ve touched on what’s going on in my personal life briefly if you stalk me on Facebook or Twitter.  Don’t worry, it’s all good.  For nearly the past year, my husband has been interviewing for various manager positions within his company.  All of which would require an out of state move, because that is what the end goal was.  We didn’t care where, we just wanted out of Indiana.

Before people get all riled up, there’s nothing wrong with Indiana.  It’s just that I have lived here all my life, and even though my man has lived overseas, it was before he was old enough to really remember it.  So for all intents and purposes, he’s been here his whole life too.  And we wanted to experience somewhere different; not just on vacation.

That place turned out to be North Carolina.  Sure, there were a few close calls – times when we thought we’d be packing up and heading to Wisconsin or Oklahoma.  We actually figured we didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at NC.  But that wonderful phone call came, and everything became real.  Right now.

Within weeks, we were flying out to choose a place to live (we decided to build), and shortly after that, my husband had to be out there for good.  Which leaves me back in Indiana to wrap up things like selling the house and getting the kids through the end of the school year.  It’s like being a single parent, only I have a husband available via Skype.

This past weekend, I took the girls out for their first visit to their new home.  Technically, their new hometown, since the house itself has just started to be framed.  So we visited our slab, okay?  That’s how memories are made.  Really, the majority of the time in NC was spent just being a complete family unit again.

So I survived twenty hours in the car in the span of three days, and a trek through the mountains all while being the sole driver.  And the girls and I didn’t kill ourselves, or each other.  No one yelled or screamed, but there were a few tears.  Trust me, it was hard to leave that home and come back to the old one.

This trip was planned at the very beginning of my girls’ spring break, so I wouldn’t have to pull them out of school for the drive down.  So I was gone Friday and Saturday, returning on Sunday.  After unloading the car and taking our stuff inside, I went down to the mailbox and emptied out the two days’ worth of junk mail that had accumulated, thinking very little of it.

Monday after work, I did my usual run down to the mailbox, noting nothing inside.  That’s not all that peculiar.  Every once in a while, we go without getting anything.

Tuesday?  Nothing in the mailbox again.

Wednesday, I walked down to the mailbox in the pouring rain, only to open it up to pull out an ugly green slip of flimsy cardboard.  Emblazoned on this paper was the word “VACANT”.  Upon further inspection, I learned that my idiotic mail carrier had deemed my house as vacant.

Because, as you may expect, I have a “for sale” sign hammered down into my lawn.  Because I was gone for TWO WHOLE DAYS without asking his permission.

Never mind that the lawn care guy had clearly just been by.  Never mind that my trash and recycling bins had been rolled down to the curb, just like at all of my neighbors’ houses.

I apparently didn’t live there anymore, so the post office was refusing to deliver my mail to my home.

So I followed the instructions on the form, declaring that I did in fact still live there, scrawling even my minor children’s names down on the off chance they may receive some mail at some point.  I added a couple choice comments, too.  Then I marched back out to the mailbox, raising the flag as told, and slammed the damn thing shut.

The more I thought about it, the more pissed off I became.  As there was no contact phone number on the form, I searched Google for who I could call to bitch out.  The 800 number for the USPS is useless, unless you want to track a package or buy stamps, especially at 7 at night.  And the phone number I found for the Indianapolis office that services address in my zip code?  Just rang and rang, with not even a voice mail picking up.

I was seeing red, imagining the envelopes that my mailman was keeping from me piling up.  What gave him the right to determine that my home was vacant?  That’s right.  He had none.  Maybe if my mailbox hadn’t been emptied for weeks, and it was overflowing, okay.  BUT TWO FUCKING DAYS?

Nobody holds their mail for a two day vacation.  The post office would probably laugh their asses off at me if I tried that.  I’ve been gone that long before with absolutely no mail delivery problems.  But stick a damn “for sale” sign in your yard, and suddenly you’ve abandoned your property, gone without a fucking trace.

So I put pen to paper and gave Mr. Neighborhood Watch a piece of my mind.  I restrained myself, not dropping any F-bombs, but the snark came out full force.  I pointed out that I had lived in my home for 13 years, and that I continued to live there despite the fact my house was on the market.  Because normal people do that, you know.  I told him I wasn’t aware I needed to inform him when I decided to take off for the weekend.  I let him know that I had moved before, and realized that when my address changed I needed to tell him.  And that I would gladly do so when that time came, because I wasn’t stupid.  I played the “I came home from a 10 hour workday to deal with this shit” card and advised him that since he had created this mess, he needed to handle it YESTERDAY.

Then back out into the rain to pop that bad boy in the mailbox too.

I slept a little easier last night, even though my author’s brain conjured up images of the cops being called to find me squatting in my own house.  You know, the place where all my stuff is because I STILL LIVE HERE.

In the morning, I woke up just as pissed off about it.

Part of me expected me to chicken out and grab that letter from my mailbox before I went to work this morning, before anyone else saw it.  But no dice.  It remained in the mailbox, the red flag proudly declaring that my mailman had mail.

Tonight, when I came home from work, the mailbox was empty.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

I’ll probably end up with a flaming bag of poo on my doorstep, and will never see mail in my mailbox again for the 7-8 weeks I have left here in Indiana.

I’ll probably have to physically go to the post office and complain at them to get what’s rightfully mine, to take it back to the vacant house in which I still live.

But my kids will always remember the time that their mother roasted the mailman.

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