About Me

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Born in Santa Monica, California, I was raised in the small bedroom community of Sunkist Park that borders Culver City, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice. I attended Venice High School, West LA Community College and California Institute of the Arts. My studies included English, English Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, Choir, Classical Voice, Shakespeare, Musical Theater, Television and Film Acting and Art History. In 1980, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and in 1982 I married Kurt Wolf in Corvallis, Oregon. During the course of our long journey together, I have remained devoted to not only my husband, but to my friends and family, and the arts. What defines me most is my passion for expression through art. I’m an avid reader, writer and poet.I also enjoy painting and photography. Additionally, some folks consider me a pretty good cook.

Email Susie Rosso Wolf

If you have any questions about "New Prairie Woman", "Saving Susie", my "Phoetry", Montana, or writing in general, please email me directly at: GrumpySusie@msn.com — Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy "New Prairie Woman". ~ Susie

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chapter Thirteen, Snippet One

Our Mini Self Storage Locker Business That Was Included in The Purchase of Our Land.
Three Forks, Montana - 2006

New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf
Chapter Thirteen

             Hit and miss is the only description I can give when attempting to explain John’s work schedule. Actually, let me switch that up to patchy, at best. One day he would be working away, and then next day he would be missing in action. It didn't take us very long to figure out that John had far too many irons in the fire and that he was taking advantage of the building boom going on in Montana with thousands of people transplanting themselves from Southern California to get away from precisely what we were escaping from. Who could blame them? But the weather was indicating that we were heading into another cold snap with winds out of the north whipping across the prairie from the mountains and onto our little lot of dreams and hope for the future. So we called John’s cell phone two, three and four times a day for three days until I became so infuriated by him ignoring us that I phoned the manager of Montana Homes of Belgrade to complain. Having been referred to us by MHB, I wasn’t too happy with the manager who gave me the run around but assured us that he would give John the message to call us. It was another day before he returned our call, with promises about being there the very next morning and apologies about not showing or calling but that he had been tied up on another house that he just had to finish. Another house more important than ours, apparently.
            While waiting for John, Kurt and I walked the land and talked and talked about where to dig the post holes to hang our fences. We walked into the storage pasture to look at the thirty-two unit storage building and to figure out exactly where we would be cutting in a driveway that would lead to the lockers and where we would have a ton of gravel dropped off to lay onto the cut that our customers would drive on so they wouldn’t get stuck in the mud in winter and spring. Kurt opened every door on the storage building and we both noticed right away that the lockers were filthy dirty with lots of spiders hiding in them so I walked over to the locker that we had our yard tools and supplies locked in and grabbed a couple of brooms. Together we went along and broke down all of the webs and chased spiders out to the gravel around the building. We worked hard on cleaning down the walls and floors and then made our way back across Conifer to the trailer. Just as we were walking into the gate of the paddock a silver colored Toyota pick-up truck with a metal rack in the back of the bed for tools and ladders came round the corner, and then pulled over onto the weeds. Helicopter Dan opened his truck door and slowly eased out of the vehicle. Walking towards us, he said “Hey neighbors.” Kurt and I both smiled and waved at Dan and in unison we said hey back.
            “You look like you could use a beer,” Kurt said to Dan. Dan broke into a bright smile and absently pulled off his baseball cap with a helicopter logo on it from the helicopter flight training school that he was an instructor at. He wiped his brow with his elbow, ever so slowly, took a deep breath and then placed the cap back on his head.
            “You must be a mind reader,” Dan said, as the two men shook hands and then he said, “Hi Susie how’re you doing, girl?” 
            “Fine thanks, Dan. Would you like to sit down in the trailer with us or would you two gents like to have a beer outside in the fresh air?”
            “Oh girl, I’ll follow you guys in I’m beat and you folks would probably like to go sit down too. I’m just dropping by to see how things are going over there for you.”  We all walked to the trailer and Dan stopped near the door as he waited for me to enter first. I headed up the metal steps only to realize in an instant paranoia about the two men looking at my enormous butt going up first and could have kicked myself for allowing Dan’s good manners to get the best of me. I hurried up the steps and walked all the way back to the bedroom so they could walk in, sit down, and then I turned back around in order to walk to the tight quarters fridge area of the kitchen and grab a couple of Budweiser long necks. I made my steps as light as possible because I had become consciously aware of the fact that when I walked in the trailer my body weight could actually make the trailer move a little and make a creaking sound that I was embarrassed about so I tried not to tromp with my heavy feet, to avoid more humiliation. I lightened my step as I handed him the beer. “Thank you Susie,” Dan said to me in his most sincere politeness.
            “You’re welcome, and welcome to our little house.”
            “You know, my wife was just telling me that she has no idea how you two aren’t going to go nuts in this little thing, we thought ours was small.”
            “Yours? What do you mean?” I asked.
            “We’ve been building our house up there on the hill and living in a 5th wheel. Tam is climbing the walls, wants out of it now but of course we’re not finished with the house yet so we have a few weeks to go.”
            “How long have you two been out there in your 5th wheel? If you don’t mind me asking.”
            “Oh hell girl no, I don’t mind you asking, we’ve been out there for four months now.”
            “So, not counting the excavation, building your road up the hill and power installation and pouring the foundation, etc., how much time has it taken to build a stick house?” Kurt asked.
            “If everything goes well, which we’re hoping it does, I’d say the house has taken roughly ninety days or so but I’m not quite done yet. I need to hustle now and get my wife out of that trailer before the real cold temperatures come.” Dan lifted his hat and rubbed his forehead a bit, and then placed the cap back on his head, all done in slow action as if he were exhausted.
            “We’re already a month behind on our schedule,” I included into the conversation.
            “We’ll, I told your old man to get that hole dug so we can get started on the pour for your shop and we’d better start soon before the ground freezes. Once the ground gets hard you’re looking at Spring before we can pour again and Spring don’t come around here until April or May at the earliest. I’ve seen it come in July before and we don’t want you in this thing that long.”
Kurt had made an agreement with Dan to pour the concrete for the shop back when we first put an Ernst payment down on the land. They shook hands on it over Rob’s fence and agreed to a price, without paper work or contracts, they just shook hands and that was that but excavators were crazy busy in these parts because of the building boom. Finding an excavator to dig the enormous hole in the ground for the shop, while John dug the hole for the house, was the one thing we were totally focused in on now. But every call we made for an estimate came in so high we decided to keep looking for a more affordable deal because money was rapidly dwindling and Kurt was going to do anything he could to shave off some expenses. Dan suggested we ask one of our neighbors up the road who runs heavy equipment what he would charge us and if he would be available to get started right away on the dig. Dan was trying to be helpful and said that he and Tam were very concerned about us and knew we needed to get started on the concrete pour right away. “People die out here in this weather and we don’t want anything to happen to you good people.”
            “I will call this guy tomorrow, Dan, thanks for the heads up, man.” Kurt and Dan shook hands across the little table and I offered Dan another Budweiser.
            “Ah hell no girl, Tam’s got dinner ready and I’d better get up there before she skins my hide.” He stood up and then finished off his long neck. I grabbed the empty bottle right away as he headed for the door. Kurt got up and followed him out and down the steps. They both walked to the gate, talked for a short bit and then shook hands once again just before Dan got into his truck. I hollered good-bye from the door and he tipped his hat at me. When I went back to the kitchen to get started on something for our dinner, I couldn’t help but think that we had just spent time with one of the most interesting people on the planet. His mannerisms alone were fascinating to me; slow, direct, thoughtful speech with a sort of rhythmic cadence to it. When he spoke it was like very cold honey coming out of an overturned jar. You waited and waited in anticipation for that honey to come out and when it did you realized how worth the wait it was. Every word this man spoke had a purpose. There wasn’t any BS if you know what I mean. You just knew that there was nothing phony or put on about him. Helicopter Dan was a real true blue Montanan and I had a feeling, as I rounded some meatballs in my hands to go along with rice and gravy, that we had just spent the better part of an hour with a man who has deep set morals and values, who is as straight as an arrow and who could be, in time, a special friend and neighbor.
            Kurt came back to the trailer and handed me a phone number written on a little piece of scratch paper. “What’s this?” With one hand busy stirring rice in boiling water and now the other hand busy with this paper I gave him a look of disbelief as if to say Hello! Don’t you see that I’m cooking? Kurt just laughed and grabbed the paper back again.
            “It’s a phone number Dan just gave to me for a hired hand he uses. He said he’s a real good hand, has been working on Dan’s house a lot and that he might want to pick up some extra work. I think I’ll give him a call tomorrow because Robert hasn’t been helping at all and you can’t do what I need help with and Brenda is tied up with the baby and April so I guess we have no choice but to hire someone.
            “I didn’t know we would be getting so deep into our savings for this place, Kurt. I’m very concerned about all of this spending.”
            “Susie, I have to get help. I can’t do what I have to do all alone and you can’t help me.”
            “Well, why don’t we just wait for the house to be erected and then you can build the shop later after you get back to work on tour and making a living so we have some fluid cash flow coming in? Why don’t we do that?”
            “It doesn’t work that way, Babe, the shop is part of the construction loan, I can’t just put it off, we can’t get in the house until the shop is built.”
            “Seriously? I didn’t know that. I mean, I didn’t realize it. I guess I don’t really understand all of this banking stuff.”
            “No, you don’t understand it. I wish you wouldn’t try to suggest stuff when you don’t understand how it all works.” That was all it took for me to shoot off my mouth with more of the wrong things said and the next thing I knew the tension built up and busted out of the tiny four walls and spilled down onto the mud and dirt and gravel as I watched Kurt walk out of the paddock, onto Old Town Road and out of sight.


  1. Just finished your latest snippet Susie! I was so excited to read it that it was over before I knew it! I love how you described helicopter dan,I can almost picture him. You put just enough details in the book that helps the readers to actually picture everything. I find a lot of books go overboard on that but you know exactly how to write it and the way that you end your snippets keeps us wanting more and more! So....when is the next one comming out? Ha!ha!

  2. Thanks Renee!

    I find the same problems with certain authors. I agree with you on that. Too much information can be tedious and it isn't necessary. I prefer to paint a picture with broad strokes and many colors, as opposed to single strokes of one or two colors. I like an author who gives me, the reader,the benefit of the doubt to figure things out and understand where he/she is coming from. And that's what I attempt to do in my own writing.

    Thank you again, for coming back for more! Ch. 13, snippet two will be ready in a few days. Hope you enjoy. I will be introducing you to two more characters! That's all I'm saying!

    Susie Rosso Wolf


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~ Susie Rosso Wolf

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