Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One and Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Bertram is also the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, Daughter Am I, More Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.
I don’t notice any difference between a named storm and a storm with no name. Either way, if you give it a name like “Winter Storm Iggy,” or just call it “snow,” it looks the same from my front door. And it shovels the same.
I truly didn’t think it would snow, and for a silly reason: I planted my wildflower seeds yesterday morning. I figured there was a good chance this storm was just a rumor as they so often are in this forgotten corner of the state, and that the seeds would blow away, but surprisingly, they are now buried under six inches of snow. The seeds might be overkill, since I did put some out there after the first snow had melted (it only took a month!) and before the next snow sprinkling came, but I don’t think it will matter. They are desert seeds, so they might not like the volatile weather we get here. And even if they can get acclimated to the weather, some of the seeds take a year or two to germinate.
I hadn’t expected to, but I am enjoying this snow. I have nothing I need to do, nowhere I need to go, so I figure, let it snow. Not that the snow cares what I think — it’s coming down anyway, as it has been since about 6:30 last night, and will continue as long as it wants whether I give it permission or not.
It will be interesting to see what affect these snows that come and stay will have on my yard this spring. It sure would be nice to see a plethora of blooms! And it would be nice to see if my defunct grass will green up without my having to replant it.
Today’s blog prompt, courtesy of WordPress: Where can you reduce clutter in your life?
There are a couple of places where I have things to clear out. My garage, of course, where I’ve stored boxes of belongings that I am either not ready to dispose of or that I don’t quite know what to do with or that perhaps I might use someday, such as my camping gear. My kitchen cabinets, especially the high ones where I’ve stored appliances I never use but that I keep just in case. For example, the blender. It’s not something I use, but it’s one of those items that really has no substitute, so I’ve been keeping it. I have a Magic Bullet now, which is a small blender, so I could get rid of the stored one, but since it’s not in the way, there’s no rush.
Despite the dubious disposition of these items, they are not really clutter. Clutter signifies untidiness and things lying around, impeding movement, reducing effectiveness, or wasting space, and everything I use on a regular basis — as well as things I don’t — are all neatly stowed away.
The place that is cluttered and where I definitely need to reduce that clutter is in my mind. I tend to mentally “rehearse.” For example, when the temperature gets below zero, my water meter goes haywire. Last year the water company charged me for 19,000 gallons of water I never used. I tried to get them to remove the charge, but they insisted the electronic meter was not at fault, that I had an intermittent leak or that I unknowingly left the water running or that someone stole water, none of which were true. I got tired of trying to get them to listen to me, so I paid the bill. Meantime, they raised the rates, so this year I have no inclination to let it go. The bill covering the period where the temperature got way below zero is due at the end of the month, and I find myself mentally rehearsing all the things I can think of to try to get them to realize the truth — that despite what they (and the company who sold them the meters) say, the meter is at fault.
I also have a tendency to obsess over things I cannot control, and so the same thoughts clutter my mind until a new one comes along to push the old obsession out of the way. Getting the recent bill for my homeowner’s insurance made the overage on the water meter seem like pennies. I budgeted for a hefty increase in the insurance, but this bill is exorbitant — an increase of 50%. Yikes. I’m trying to find a cheaper insurance, but I did that last year, and found nothing better than what I have, so now I clutter my mind with thoughts of how to pay the bill. Even more mind-cluttering are thoughts of future bills with additional increases.
I am doing a lot better about just letting things go, letting the clutter drain away, so I’m sure I’ll soon be able to declutter my mind of these things, too. At least I hope so. It’s much better — and more peaceful — to have an uncluttered mind.
As for the rest of it — my unused things are neatly packed away, so I’m not in any hurry to figure out what to do with them, though as I get older, I will have to make more of an effort to get rid of those stored items.
What about you? Where can you reduce clutter in your life?
This was a morning of small chores — replacing the furnace filter, cleaning long-unworn clothes out of a drawer to make room for more clothes that will probably end up as unworn, starting my car and letting it run for a few minutes, trying to shovel the driveway. Yikes — that last one was hard. When the snow was fresh, I shoveled the sidewalk, but since I don’t use that short driveway from the sidewalk to the street, I didn’t bother to shovel it, mostly because by the time I finished the sidewalk, I was exhausted. I’d forgotten that since it’s a slope made of concrete, the melting snow runs down the driveway to accumulate in the gutter. Because the drainage in this town is ludicrous at best, the melted snow just stays there until the temperature falls and then it becomes a bed of ice, making it impossible for me to get from my place to the street.
Unfortunately, since the snow has been around a couple of weeks, it was mostly frozen solid, so I wasn’t able to remove much of the snow. Not that it matters, I suppose — even if I had managed to shovel the snow, it will eventually snow again (Thursday, perhaps, or maybe Monday if the forecast can be believed) so the gutters along this street and especially in front of my house will not be navigable for quite some time.
It’s too bad I didn’t get my wildflower seeds sown before it snowed — with the snow hanging around so long, it would have given the seeds a perfect beginning, but there was no way for me to know snow was coming since the forecasters didn’t even know. Still, winter (the actual calendar season of winter, not the season of winter weather) has just begun, so perhaps after this snow thaws (assuming it ever does), there should be time to plant this winter.
I must admit, I like the snow hanging around. I can’t see my grass so I don’t worry about it. (Out of sight, out of mind, as the adage says.) I’m hoping by spring, when/if the lawn greens up, I can adopt a new attitude and adapt to whatever comes because I certainly don’t want to worry about my yard. There’s plenty of more important things to worry about, though to be honest, I don’t want to worry about anything. Unfortunately, not worrying is easier to say than to do, but I’m trying.
I’m especially trying to be kind to myself and not beat myself up if I do or don’t do something I should or shouldn’t do. Luckily, after I finished my chores this morning, I took a walk to the library, so even if I did want to feel bad about not walking, I don’t have to because I did. Make sense? Well, it did to me.
It snowed last night — a lot! (6 inches with drifts up to 12 inches.) And I was not at all prepared. Though how could I be? The forecasters offered only a 40% chance of snow, and if it did snow, was supposed to be just a dusting, like all the other snows we we’ve had this year.
It’s too bad I didn’t know that it would snow so much — yesterday would have been a good opportunity to sow my wildflower seeds, but with high winds also in the forecast, I figured the seeds would scatter all through the neighborhood if it . Still, it’s early in the season. I’m sure there will be plenty of time to plant the seeds.
The other thing I would have done if I had known it would snow so much is to take my heavy-duty ergonomic snow shovel out of the garage and bring it into the house. (What makes is ergonomic is the bent handle, though why that makes a difference, I don’t know. It certainly makes the shovel unwieldy!) Luckily, I keep a plastic scoop shovel in the house. It’s not really a snow shovel — looks more like a coal shovel — but it does the job in an emergency.
It seems funny to be writing this — ever since I’ve stopped blogging every day, whenever I have an insight about something, I just let the thought (deep or not so deep) go unrecorded. It’s a shame, in a way. Every once in a while, someone will leave a comment on an older post, and since I don’t know what they are referencing, I have to go back and read the item. Often, I am surprised by my perspicacity. Now, though, since I am out of the habit of blogging, I lose those insights. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Maybe just having the thought is enough, even if I don’t remember or record it.
Sometimes I think I should get back to the discipline of daily blogging, but, like the rest of my thoughts lately, I let it go.
Still, you never know. Obviously, this snow goaded me into writing, and I’m sure other things will come along to goad me, too.
It’s surprising to me that after owning this house for more than three years, there are still many things I don’t know. With any luck, any things I don’t know will be only small issues and that I’m not overlooking anything major. Still, there are new things to learn rather frequently. Although it has nothing to do with the house itself, I’m continuing to learn how to take care of a yard, and that could be a lifelong endeavor.
But even in the house itself, there are still things to learn, most recently, the doorbell. The original doorbell that is wired into the house doesn’t work, and a previous owner set up a wireless doorbell right above the defunct one. Delivery people generally press the old bell instead of the new one when leaving a package, so I’m used to listening for noises on my porch rather than waiting for a ring. The other day, a couple of friends came to visit. I didn’t hear the doorbell, but I did heard scuffling outside the door, so I went to let them in. I mentioned about not using the defunct doorbell, but they said they rang the new one.
I pushed the button, and sure enough, the doorbell didn’t work. (It’s not that I disbelieved them, it’s that I wanted to see the problem for myself.) Thinking that maybe the outlet the chime was plugged into wasn’t working, I plugged it into a different outlet. Still didn’t work.
I shrugged it off, thinking maybe it was time to get a new doorbell, but my friends thought perhaps there was a battery that needed to be replaced. There wasn’t a battery in the chime part, and there was no easy way to check the doorbell itself, so we ripped it off the doorframe. My friend managed to open it, and sure enough, there was a battery. Luckily I had the right battery (one of those nickel-sized batteries) as well as some thick two-sided tape to replace the now-working doorbell.
It just goes to show how few people come to visit because I have no idea how long the doorbell hasn’t been working. Obviously, it wasn’t a major issue, but still, it did surprise me that there was one more battery to replace that I didn’t know about. I knew about smoke alarms, of course, and I quickly learned about the thermostat battery and the carbon monoxide battery. The low-battery chirping from the carbon monoxide detector came on it the middle of the night once, and since it sounded exactly like the smoke alarms, I got up and changed the batteries on all the smoke alarms, and still that annoying sound kept me awake. I don’t remember how it finally dawned on me to check the carbon monoxide detector, but I do remember unplugging it from the outlet. Blessed release! I went back to sleep, and I am ashamed to admit that I never replaced the battery and put that detector back. I know how important it is, but I get tired of always changing batteries. Maybe someday . . . Or even better, right now. (Okay, I did it; the carbon monoxide detector is plugged in again.)
It makes me wonder if there will be more surprises. I know there will be problems like appliances that need repair, pipes that will freeze (though I do leave a faucet dripping when the temperatures dip too low in the winter) and any number of other things. (I’ve already had someone come deal with a toilet ring seal that needed to be replaced, a washer that wouldn’t spin, pipe malfunctions, and various other breakdowns.) But surely, after all this time, there aren’t any more hidden batteries or other house details for me to be aware of.
If there are, I suppose I’ll learn about them the same way I’ve learned about everything else — when they stop working.
In the light of day, the goings on of last night seem rather silly and insignificant, but in the dark, after being jerked out of a deep sleep, it was drama enough — and trauma enough — for me. What makes it so much worse, is that it’s my own fault.
I’ve been trying to keep to a schedule to change the batteries in my smoke alarms every year, but this year, I let the date pass, though I thought about doing the job every day, and even wrote a note reminding myself to change the batteries in the smoke alarms, but still I procrastinated. It’s a difficult task for me — getting out the ladder, climbing a few rungs, and then trying to get to the old batteries to change them. It’s also ridiculous because there are so many smoke alarms in this very small house. One in each bedroom, one outside the kitchen, one in the hallway, as per code, but that makes four smoke alarms within just a few feet of each other. A fifth smoke alarm is on the ceiling of the enclosed porch. That’s a lot of ladder climbing for an older woman with bum knees!
So last night, I wasn’t surprised — just adrenaline-rush startled — to be awakened by an insanely loud metallic chirp. I lay there for a minute hoping somehow I’d dreamed the noise, but nope. There it was again. A brief screech from the smoke alarm in my bedroom.
Not wanting to go out to the detached garage to get the six-foot ladder, I got my stepstool and climbed on to the top rung, thinking all the while how idiotic that was. I mean, there I was, half asleep, heart pounding, and rather past my prime for such shenanigans. Still, I managed to change the batteries. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the intermittent screech. I closed the bedroom door, put in earplugs, and went to sleep on my daybed, but I was too adrenalized to be able to fall asleep. Besides, muted as it was, I was still aware of the chirp.
Knowing I wouldn’t sleep (and knowing I desperately needed to sleep off a cold that was inching its way into my system), I got out of bed and went online to see what the problem could be. Apparently, after taking out the batteries and before putting in the new ones, I was supposed to push the “test” button for fifteen seconds to clear the charge.
Sighing to myself, I went outside, unlocked the garage, got the ladder (I wasn’t about to try balancing again on the top rung of the stepstool), got a second set of new batteries (just in case I’d put the old ones back in the alarm), and then followed directions. And the thing still chirped.
But just once. Whew!
As I said, the midnight drama (actually it was closer to 1:30 if I want to be accurate) doesn’t seem that bad now, but it sure was a problem last night. Obviously, it was less of a problem than it would have been if the alarm had sounded because of a fire (for which I am grateful), but it certainly wasn’t fun, that’s for sure.
Now I’m off to change the other batteries, though I really don’t want to.
Hmmm. Perhaps I could put it off for another day or two . . .
I spend so much time focused on the individual aspects of my garden, both the delightful things like the flowers that bloom, the butterfly that flitted through the yard one day, the hummingbird that sipped nectar from my hanging plant, then stared at me through the window as if to thank me, as well as the undelightful things like stinkhorn mushrooms, encroaching weed grasses, and swaths of brown lawn, that sometimes I forget to look at the big picture. Well, today, I was skirting the house after my morning stint of watering, and the “big picture” suddenly took my breath away. I went inside for my camera, stood at the back door and shot this photo. Wow! This is my back yard? Really?
Even the left side of the red pathway (as you are viewing the photo) looks good although the green comes from freshly mowed weeds. The gorgeous greensward just to the left of the sidewalk is the area that I dug up last fall for a wildflower garden, and since there was sod left over, we decided to sod that area, too. I felt silly for having done all that work for no reason, but as it turns out, it was essential. That’s the best patch of grass on the whole property. The worst patches are where they simply laid the sod over the existing weeds and weedy grasses. The grass in those areas started out bright green, but now have now surrendered their precarious place to the original occupants. With any luck, this fall when the weeds die off, I can reverse the trend, but who knows? I sure don’t. Despite my pretty flower photos, I’m still pretty much of a neophyte gardener. (A neophyte photographer, too, but it looks as if I am more accomplished than I really am because I only post the photos that turn out. The rest end up in the trash.)
The green on the right side of the sidewalk is what’s left of the wildflower garden. It looks green but there is a lot of white from the copious alyssum. It’s called a carpet of snow, and from a certain angle you can see all the white, but obviously not from the angle the back yard photo was taken.
I friend had once suggested that I take a photo from the same place every day so I could see the changes, but I never did. For most of my tenure here, things were in such a state of disarray that there was no day I thought would a perfect time to start such a project. I realize, of course, that was the point, but I also had no concept of how the yard would turn out or even if it would turn out. For all I knew, there would forever be a heap of junk in the middle of a field of weeds. (This particular junk pile is just to the left of what is now the sidewalk. It isn’t really junk, just all the stuff that had to be moved to make room for the new garage.)
The only photo I have of the original yard is one from the opposite angle, looking toward the house instead of away from it. The old garage is where the raised garden now is, and the new garage is in front of where the carport was, which gives me a rather large yard!
I do have a few photos of the back yard that I took as work was being done, which gives me (and you) an idea of how much has changed over the years. Oddly, going by these older photos, it looks as if this yard was just a patch of dead dirt, but that was seasonal. Come spring and a little rain, and yikes . . . so many very tall weeds!
The above photo was taken in January, shortly after the old garage was torn down and the fence put up. The gazebo was erected over the existing concrete pad that once was in front of the garage. Eventually, the garage was built in front of the double gate, and the gate was removed. The brown bushes next to the pedestrian gate had to be dug up, and they were replanted in the angle formed by the sidewalk and the concrete pad. Looking at this photo, I am amazed at all that has been done in two-and-a-half years, not just what the builders did, but what nature and I did. No wonder I feel as if I work hard on the yard. I do!
It just goes to show that in gardening, as in life, it’s good to focus on the details, because that’s where the work is done — one detail at a time — but it’s even better to stop occasionally and look around to see all that you have accomplished.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.
With all the trouble I’ve been having with my lawn, I still don’t regret having the sod laid and all the work I’ve been doing to keep it alive and healthy and weed-free. I’m winning part and losing part, but I’m not sure if there would have been a better choice considering what I started with.
My contractor suggested that I rock the whole weed-infested yard if I didn’t want to have to take care of a lawn, with perhaps a tree in the center of the front yard. I opted out of doing the whole yard, though perhaps half the yard has been covered with rock, such as the ornamental gravel protecting the foundation of my house and garage and filling in the right of way between the sidewalk and the street, as well as all the paths and sidewalks around my property.
The funny thing about gravel is that it isn’t as care-free as one would expect. Since a plastic weed barrier is illegal in parts of Colorado (something to do with interrupting the natural seepage of rain water), what’s left are various grades of a fabric weed barrier. Even with the heaviest option, the Bermuda grass is so aggressive, it pokes right through the fabric. And when it doesn’t poke through, it winds its way from way under the fabric to the outer edges, where — because of that exceptionally long root — it’s impossible to pull or dig out. Then there are the leaves and twigs and other things that fall on the rock. They all have to be blown off, otherwise, they disintegrate and sink down below the rock where they decay, turn acidic, and eventually destroy the fabric. There are lots of other weeds and things that grow in the dirt between the rocks, which they are easy to enough to pull up because of the shallow roots, but when it rains, there could be dozens if not hundreds of those seedlings to gather.
As I mentioned yesterday, I considered turning my yard into a wildflower field — like a mini prairie — but that option brings its own problems, such as weeds and grass that choke out the wildflowers. Eventually you end up with what you started with — Bermuda grass and weeds.
Considering how well Bermuda grass does here, I could have done what a couple of my neighbors do and just water and mow the Bermuda grass. It makes a nice enough lawn for the summer and lies fallow most of the year. Unfortunately, my yard was more weeds than grass, so it would have taken years of hard work to turn the yard into a lawn. Of course, I could have just let it go like one of my neighbors does, and occasionally mow the weeds before they get knee-high, as I did the first years I was here, but even that option isn’t as carefree as it sounds. A good rain, and suddenly, the weeds are shoulder-high, with stalks as thick and tough as saplings.
The only truly care-free yard I ever knew was the place where I’d rented a room before I moved here. The back yard was all concrete, an immense partially covered patio. The front yard was a lush lawn with flowers by the house that the owner never lifted a finger to care for. Perhaps saying it was care-free is a misnomer because, although the owner didn’t do any work, he had an automatic sprinkler system and a hired gardener who came every week and worked for at least a couple of hours, sometimes a lot more.
Come to think of it, I might as well be out there caring for a lawn and my various gardens. It’s as good a way to spend my time as any other.
I stopped by my friend’s house today to check on the progress of his roof, and I was shocked at what the naked roof looked like, though I don’t know why I should have been since the only roofs I’ve had any dealings with have been my garage roof and that of my gazebo. In both those cases, the construction workers built the roof from scratch, nailing OSB board (Oriented Strand Board) to the trusses.
Every step of the construction of those edifices seemed clean and sturdy, which of course, it would be since the materials were all new. This old roof, on the other hand, is . . . old. More than 100 years old, to be inexact.
At one time, my contractor — the same guy who’s doing this job — and I talked about a new roof on my house. My roof is less than fifteen years old and is in great shape, though some of the granules have come off the shingles, so our talk was more hypothetical than a serious discussion. (The granules were mostly apparent in the detritus after the gutters had been cleaned, so it could have been an accumulation over several years which is normal.)
Anyway, after seeing my friend’s roof with all the various layers of shingles pried off, the contractor told me that my roof could look the same since that’s how they used to build roofs.
He said that because of the additional cost of replacing the sheathing as well as the shingles, I shouldn’t even consider replacing the roof until it leaked, got damaged by hail, or shingles started blowing off. That’s pretty much what I had already decided because I see no point in replacing something that’s working, but it was nice to have the corroboration from someone who knows what he’s talking about.
I suppose it’s possible that when my roof was last reshingled, they replaced the sheathing too because that’s something insurance companies demand, but I don’t think they did it. There is a hump in the roof where the house and the back porch meet, and if the roof had been installed correctly, there would have been no hump. But who knows. They might have replaced the house sheathing but not the porch, or the porch could have been done at another time, or . . . any number of things. With any luck, I won’t ever find out how my roof is made because the roof could hold up for the rest of my tenure here. If luck deserts me, at least I have a vague idea of how much it would cost to replace. (“Vague” because construction materials are inflating at a much higher rate than other products.)
I always figured if the roof had to be replaced because of hail damage or something like that, the insurance would pay for it, but apparently they only pay a prorated portion, and because of the moderate age of the roof combined with the exorbitant hail-damage deductible prevailing in Colorado, I wouldn’t get any money from them. Makes me wonder why I’m paying such a high premium if they’re not going to pay out for damages, but for now, it’s better if I don’t think of that and simply hope for the best. (Normally, “hope for the best” is not a good financial plan, but at the moment, it’s all I have.)
It is interesting, though, watching my friend’s roof being redone. It’s like a dress rehearsal for if I ever have to replace mine, giving me some idea of how the process works. I just hope this second-hand lesson is all I ever have to learn about roofs.
I miss having work done around my place. There is something compelling about watching men work.
There is still plenty to do around here, but other jobs take precedence right now, such as “my” work crew reroofing the house I’m looking after for a friend. I’d stopped by to check on the work earlier today, and had planned to be back in plenty of time to post a blog before I go to work myself, but I stayed to watch. As I said, it’s compelling to watch men at work.
It’s just as fascinating to watch things being destroyed as being built. For now, all they are doing on the roof is pulling off the multiple layers of asphalt shingles as well as the bottom layer of shake shingles.
It makes me wonder what’s lurking under the outer layer of my shingles. Probably nothing good — there is a bump on the roof where the house meets the back porch, so whoever did my roof did something weird. Luckily, I don’t have to deal with that right now. And except to make sure the guys do the work and to check on them occasionally, I don’t really have to deal with my friend’s roof, either. They seem to have it well in hand.
An extra benefit of having gone to check out the worksite was that I met up with the person who sodded my lawn. I told him my sad sob story (sad sod story?), and he will help me figure out how to fix it. That’s such a relief! I felt bad about the swath of grass dying and another swath being overtaken with Bermuda grass, so it’s good to have someone else helping to shoulder the burden and ease my mind.
And if he doesn’t get time to stop by, if other things take precedence (as so often happens with this overworked crew), then I’ll continue my original plans of tracking down the right seed, reseeding the worst places, and then waiting to see what happens during the fall.
Meantime, it’s good to know that my friend’s roof will be fixed so I don’t have to continue to check for inside leaks. Normally, of course, that wouldn’t be a problem since we’re in a severe drought, but we’ve been getting quite a bit of rain lately, and I sure would have hated for my friend to return after having spent so many months taking care of an ill wife to find that I managed to destroy his house.
So that’s two loads off my mind! Whew.
What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?
“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do.”
Grief Books By Pat Bertram
Available online wherever books and ebooks are sold.
Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One debunks many established beliefs about what grief is, explains how it affects those left behind, and shows how to adjust to a world that no longer contains the loved one. “It is exactly what folk need to read who are grieving.”(Leesa Heely Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator ).
Grief: The Great Yearning is not a how-to but a how-done, a compilation of letters, blog posts, and journal entries Pat Bertram wrote while struggling to survive her first year of grief. This is an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.
Other books by Pat Bertram
Available online wherever books and ebooks are sold.
While sorting through her deceased husband’s effects, Amanda is shocked to discover a gun and the photo of an unknown girl who resembles their daughter. After dedicating her life to David and his vocation as a pastor, the evidence that her devout husband kept secrets devastates Amanda. But Amanda has secrets of her own. . .
When Pat’s adult dance classmates discover she is a published author, the women suggest she write a mystery featuring the studio and its aging students. One sweet older lady laughingly volunteers to be the victim, and the others offer suggestions to jazz up the story. Pat starts writing, and then . . . the murders begin.
Thirty-seven years after being abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Colorado, Becka Johnson returns to try to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? And why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen?
When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents -- grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born -- she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead.
In quarantined Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying from an unstoppable, bio-engineered disease, investigative reporter Greg Pullman risks everything to discover the truth: Who unleashed the deadly organism? And why?
Bob Stark returns to Denver after 18 years in SE Asia to discover that the mother he buried before he left is dead again. At her new funeral, he sees . . . himself. Is his other self a hoaxer, or is something more sinister going on?