Wednesday, December 15, 2010

13 Things I Want To Tell My 13 Year Old Son

- I don't know why, but I feel compelled to start by saying that I'm not perfect. I don't know everything about everything, I won't pretend that I do. This post isn't meant to be preachy.
I sense you know this already, or at least are beginning to suspect it, like the other day when you were having a problem with your math homework, and I told you "don't ask me" and you made a grunting sound and said "Don't worry, I wouldn't even bother." 

When I was a teenager (back in the nineteen hundreds), I had the idea that my parents thought they knew everything, but they actually knew nothing.
But let me tell you, I do not know everything, nor do I think that I do. There is a lot, I will admit, that I don't know. I pick up a cell phone and have to ask you to turn it on. The damn things are so complicated. Back in my day there were no cameras in the phones. A phone was a phone. Period.
Anyways, these are uncharted waters for me, too, and believe me you, I'm more than a little nervous about what lies ahead. I may not do everything right. I may not say everything right. And honestly- I don't even think there is a 'right'. All I want to do is try to guide you through the next few years, to the best of my ability.
I don't know everything. But I do know some stuff.  I hope you will, at least, give me that much credit.

-Out of anything and everything I could possibly tell you, there is one thing that I want you to know, and not just know on an intellectual level, but on a level deeper than that. To the very core of your being. Do not give in to peer pressure, especially when it comes to drugs. You are allowed to make mistakes as a teenager. I even hope that you do, though, probably- I don't want to hear about them. Experience is a wonderful teacher. But in this instance, experience is a very bad teacher. The kind that takes advantage of their students and has to do jail time.

Drugs are harmful and dangerous, in ways that I can't even really describe. I could go on Wikipedia and print out a list of side effects, but it just doesn't describe what I have seen, what I have felt when I have seen the pain in the people I work with, the burden that they carry that is addiction. I have looked addiction in the eye and it is an ugly, ugly, beast. I have seen young girls with track marks on their arms, their bodies mere skeletons, their eyes hollow and dark in their sockets. They looked ruined. And they are, I think.
And it only started with "just trying it", "just once."
Please do not go down that path.
And know in your heart that any friend who tries to make you do something you don't want to do isn't a friend at all.

-This one pains me to say it, but life won't always be fair.
As your parent, I have tried to protect you from the often harsh realities of the world. I have tried to create an environment for you that is safe, and loving and warm. But as you begin to have your own experiences in the broader world, I won't be able to protect you from the fact that, sometimes, life just plain out sucks. As Dr. Suess says "Bang ups an hang ups can happen to you."
And they will. But just know that this is all part of the process.
And it, too, will pass.
That heartbreak you think you'll  never get over?
Well, you will.
Of course you will.

-It's okay to be sensitive. I see such a sensitive side to you, the child that asks me how my day was when I get home from work, rather than just "What's for supper?" The child that cried at the end of Marley and Me. That snuck into Paytons room after I sent her to bed, and read her that extra story that she begged me for. That makes me my peppermint tea when I am tired at the end of the day, and asks me if I want cream and sugar in it.

-It's okay to cry.

-Even though it will feel like it at the time, getting a zit is not the end of the world.
 And no, the entire HIGH SCHOOL won't notice it.
And no, you won't be the laughing stock of the WHOLE WORLD.
It's all part of the process.
It, too, will pass.
And there will be always be Clearasil.

-I hope you know that you can always talk to us. There is no problem too big or too small. I can't guarantee that I will have the answers. In fact, I probably won't. For most things, there are no easy answers. But talking helps. And you can talk to us. About anything.

-Your socks? Are supposed to be changed on a daily basis, not biweekly, as you seem to have assumed.
Just FYI.

-I hope that you respect women. I don't really want to go into this whole area with you right now, cuz it's kind of awkward, but it doesn't pay to be a playa. OK.  What goes around comes around. Plus you could get all kinds of nasty diseases. And I know that scare tactics don't work, but what the hell? This is a picture of a venereal wart.See, it's nasty. So think about that. Anyways, this is way premature anyways.
You're a long way from that, years, decades- maybe, even. OK, years. I think. I hope.

But even aside from that, treat women well in general.  Think about  the fact that every girl is someone else's daughter, possibly someones little sister. Treat them the way you would want someone else to treat your own little sister. With respect and dignity. Always be a gentleman.

-I hope that you, someday, appreciate your siblings. I know that sometimes they can be annoying- OK, most of the time. I know that they did lose your XBox games and your MP3 player.
But some day you will need those siblings.
And they need you. They need a big brother to look up to.
And I know that being the oldest is hard, and we expect a lot out of you. But it also a great privilege.
You get to be their hero growing up.
So be it.

-I know that I don't always show it- it's much more fun to tease you about your shaggy hair, but I'm proud of you. I'm proud of the young adult you're becoming more and more every day. I see you sometimes helping your brother or you sister. You make me laugh every day with your sense of humor that is quirky and silly- not unlike my own. You're smart at school, without ever trying too hard or taking yourself too seriously. You are confident without being arrogant. You have a soft and kind heart. You're not afraid to call your grandma your friend, to post on your facebook status that you love your mother (even though- yes I know, it was just copied and pasted.) Don't be afraid to be yourself. Real friends accept you for exactly the person you are.

Lastly, enjoy the ride.
My parents once told me "Youth is wasted on the young."
I wasn't sure what that meant. Frankly, I'm still not sure I do. But I think it means that teenagers are often times too young to appreciate the boundless energy and passion that they possess. They take it for granted.
Don't waste your youth. There are few times in your life when you get to do basically whatever you want. So I hope you live large, dream big, laugh lots, break your curfew a time or two.
Okay, maybe not the last one.
Live large within the confines or your curfew.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice??

This is what little girls are made of: sugar and spice and everything nice.
So says a nursery rhyme that I recall from my childhood, when there were less taboos about political correctness and something like that could be published without fear of backlash from feminist protesters.

But let me ask you this?
Would sugar and spice throw a plastic hamster (who knew it could be used as a weapon?) at your head and order you to "Get out and stay out" when you try to wake her up in the morning??
She's not a morning person, I figure.
Honestly, I'm kind of scared of her.
And the really scary thing is-

she's only six.

So I finally roused my sleeping princess at quarter after 8, after about an hour of trying.
"Hurry up," I told her. "We have to go in ten minutes." (Which was actually twenty, but I say ten in the hope that she might be motivated to budge from her perch on the top bunk, with her pillow held firmly over her head.)
I gave her her clothes, nervous to see what she would say about them.
But she didn't say anything. She just took them wordlessly.
Relieved, I left the room to give her some privacy to change.
I returned five minutes later to check on her progress.

She had one sock half on.
"Payton! You have to HURRY" I told her, now on the verge of hysteria.

And then she flung herself to the ground, collapsing into a puddle.
"You YELLED AT ME!" she said, crying. Her words quickly became unintelligible.
"Oh for God's sake," I said, leaving the room.
I passed my husband in the hallway.
"She is going to bed EARLY tonight!"
My husband nodded. But we've had this conversation before. Every day.
That early bed time?
 Never comes.

Anyways, by the time I get to work at nine o'clock, honestly, I'm already spent.
And then I have to work eight hours.
I'm very tired, my stress is high and my energy is low.
At work the first thing I saw was a poster that said "Tips for dealing with stress:"
So I read it earnestly.
(I love the word "earnestly" and it's really very sad, because so few opportunities come up to use it. So when I do get to use it, I get really excited about that.)
Anyways the tips were crap.
"Talk about it" "Laugh about it" "Exercise" "Plan ahead" "Relax"
I do not know who designed that stupid poster.
Because I didn't see on there anywhere- binge drinking, drug overdose, or stabbing, which was really too bad.
So I tried to talk about it- but everyone at work was like 'Ohya. That's girls for ya. Just wait a few years."
And then an evil laugh.
I mean, where's the love? I'm still feeling like stabbing something.
And speaking of stabbing-

You would think that when you go to a hotel and you approach the front desk and you ask them for a knife and a stack of heavy duty paper towels that they might ask a bit more questions than "what kind of a knife?"
"Oh, I don't know," I said. "Something sharp."
"Okay," she said with a nod. "Sure thing."
So they went and got me this seriously scary looking knife and a big stack of napkins.
"Enjoy your stay," she said with a smile, and then I had to carry this knife all through the halls, and I felt more than a little conspicuous let me say, but people merely smiled and nodded, as though seeing a knife wielding woman in the hallway was pretty common.
Maybe it was.
What the hell kind of a hotel was I in, exactly??
And then I thought- I hope no one gets stabbed here in this hotel, and then they canvass all the rooms, and the people are like "come to think of it I did see someone walking around with a carving knife."
Anyways- all I needed it for was to cut my sons birthday cake, because we had forgotten to bring a knife with us. I mean, who thinks of bringing knives to a birthday party??
I felt the need to tell that to every person I passed, but then, as it turns out- no one is really that interested in entering into a dialogue with a person carrying a knife that looks like a prop from Night of the Living Dead.
Go figure.
writing makes me feel better.
Now I can breathe.
So thank you, dear reader.

And please tune in tomorrow where I will publish my post "Thirteen Things I Want to Tell My Thirteen Year Old Son."
Have a good day!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Holidays

I've always been hesitant about posting pictures of my kids on this blog, on account of all the creepy Internet stalky people out there. I mean, I know it's not most of you- but just today someone found my blog by googling "How to insert a Nyquil soaked tampon." It is entirely unclear to my why this blog came up. I do not recall ever writing about Nyquil soaked tampons. Further more I cannot imagine why a person would even want to-

Anyways, I've decided to post a picture of my kids for three reasons:
1) Because I want to show that I actually do have kids.
2) I want to show that they are not actually traumatized.
and 3) Because they are cute!

That's Gage on the left, who is turning 13 soon.
Our baby, Alex is in the middle- who, at the moment is not dealing well with wearing clothes. He does have clothes- so please do not alert child and family services.
And Payton on the right, our only girl- our drama queen and self appointed princess. Seriously. For a long time she actually made us refer to her as "Princess Payton." She is very sparkly, and probably, if we let her, would wear that garland 24/7 until Christmas was over- maybe even a little bit into the new year.

Anyways, from my family to yours, happy holidays.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not Connecting With It

Even though the term "not connecting with it" is the bane of my existence right now, I"m going to go ahead and use it as a title anyways, because sometimes- even though it sounds trite- you just don't connect with it. What can you do?

I can, and I will (and I have), read just about anything- except for the usual caveats (no time travel, no meth labs, it has to be set in present day, the MC has to be human- or at least, mostly human, no pirates, no dragons, no wizards, no conspiracy theories and no drug lords, vampires- well, maybe. It would depend. I did read the Twilight saga.)

Last weekend I bought a new book "Not My Daughter", because the plot seemed interesting. It was about a seventeen year old who becomes pregnant as some sort of pregnancy pact at her high school. So I threw it in my cart and was on my way.

A week later, I'm about fifty pages into the book.

I'm finding it difficult, and I'm asking myself: at what point should I just set it aside permanently? It I haven't connected with the material yet, then maybe I never will. Usually I read a book until the end, no matter what, just because I feel like I have to.

Some books have slow starts and that's okay. But I think that this is more than a slow start. I just don't find it plausible. The story is told from the POV of the mother of a pregnant teen, which I thought might be an interesting point of view. But. She's facing possibly being fired from her job because her daughter is pregnant, which I find kind of a stretch- even with her being the principal of the school.

Even where I come from- a small city set in the middle of province that still has a largely rural population- most of our high schools have a built in child care facility- not for the teachers- for the students.
Even ten years ago (okay, more than ten, but we won't go there right now.) when I was in high school, the bus ride home was often crowded with babies and their vacant stares, working the soothers in their mouths, some furiously, some lazily. Their mothers stood, laden with a back pack slung over one shoulder, a diaper bag over the other, and a baby on hip. They did make it look sort of attractive, though. The Playtex bottles in shades of aqua and pink, neatly labelled with cool names "Allyx" "Bryanna"-- are teen moms more inclined to use a "Y" in place of a vowel?  I don't know, but it always sorta seemed that way.

Anyways, coming from this background, the authors handling of the subject matter just didn't ring true to me. The mother was in total denial, insisting that her daughter only had the stomach flu. She was fearing backlash from the community, facing possible suspension from the school board. It seems like this was a book written in a different time. Like fifty years ago.
So I'm considering whether or not I should see it through.
Honestly, at this point, even if I try real hard, I doubt if I'll be able to finish it.

What I have been reading a lot of lately is the Junie B: First Grader series by Barbara Park. I got the series to read with Payton, who has now, herself, risen to the ranks of first grade. We are both enjoying the books. They are hilarious. Last night when we went to bed, Geoff was reading his Stephen King book and I was reading Junie B.
They're really quite clever.
Anyways, that is all for today. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Open Letter to Superstore

I am writing with a heavy heart to tell you that it is totally, completely, over between us.

We had a good thing going, we did. But lately we've been growing apart. I've strayed before, we both know, but I've always found my way back to you. But this time will be different.  No matter if you have one kilo bricks of Cracker Barrel cheese on sale again for nine dollars or not.
But damn, that's a good deal.
But at this point, I'm feeling foot loose and fancy free with my cheese wheeling, and if I have to pay a few dollars more at Safeway, I'll do it, if that's what it takes to make a clean break.
And I even fell for your Joe line. I bought that argyle sweater that looked so cute. But later on, after that brief rush was over, I went home and put it on. That thing itched the fuck out of me.

But still, I went back for more, all in the name of cheap cheese and laundry soap. That deal you had on Gain, that was hard to resist. And so I stayed firmly by your side, though I knew in my heart that the line ups were getting longer. The aisles got all mixed up. The taco kits were in the cookie aisle, the corn by the ice cream. The whole thing was seriously messed up, and I spent so many days and nights wandering around, trying to find what I was looking for, sighing in despair, and at times- going home empty handed. I'm still not sure where the soy sauce is. Would it be so hard to keep it by the rice? Would it??
I believed for a while, that it was just happenstance that I always ended up with the one cart that didn't steer properly. I now believe that every cart is broken, with shoddy wheels.

And for a while, when the self serve check outs became available, I had new hope for our relationship. I thought, maybe, we could still make it work.

But today was the worst it's ever been.
The line ups were so long and so big and so deep that I waited  for over thirty minutes. Pathetic, I know. I stood there, shifting my weight from one foot to the next, looking forlornly at all of the people you were serving before me while I read an old issue of Hello! Canada! But I just couldn't concentrate, despite the fact that they had a rather enticing recipe for a Christmas Flan. I was tempted to leave, right then and there. Leave with nothing but the clothes on my back and a dream in my heart. But no, I stayed. Stayed because I wanted that tub of sea salt cashews too much.

And after all of that?
You could give me a smile. A gesture, for returning to you. For waiting for you.
"It's pretty crazy here today," I commented, feeling the need to reestablish my connection with you, however fleeting, though I knew there were others. So, so many others, including the lady in front of me, who bought only bird seed by the ten kilogram bag.
And you looked at me, and I saw something there. Annoyance. Something vaguely condescending, and you said and I quote: "Ya, well. That's what you get when you go shopping on the last day of the month."
"Oh, really?" I asked, nicely. "That's a busy time?"
You gave a haughty laugh. "Payday. What do you think."

You want to know what I think?
Here's what I think:
I think that not every one in the whole bloody world gets paid on the same bloody day, and yes I know that I used the word 'bloody' twice there, but at this point, I don't even care about that.  And I think that if you KNEW, which you say (so condescendingly) that you did, that the last day of the month is a busy time, you MIGHT have found it in your heart to open more that FOUR check outs. And do you think that you could hire at least ONE of them that didn't make it look as though the zombie Apocalypse was, like, a real thing??

I didn't get paid today. But that doesn't mean that I didn't need to go out and get my milk and my bread and cashews and mini cheese quiches and a fine cracker assortment and three pairs of socks with Christmas hams on them and an animated bell shaped Christmas light display.

Anyways, you had moved on. Pressing that little black button until all my items were all crammed together at the end of the counter. "Stripe out" was all you said when I handed you my debit card. I hadn't even paid yet when you were pushing the next person through.
Our conversation was over.
I packed my groceries- if you can call them that- and walked away, feeling a sad, sinking sensation.
I knew I would never return.
The price of Gain be damned.

As an aside- if there's anyone out there jonesing to buy me a Christmas gift but is asking themselves the question: what to get for the girl that has it all (OK, I am sure that no one is asking that question), but I'll tell you anyways (mother) that I saw this saying and I would really like it on a mug:
"A metaphor is like a simile"
I love it so much and I really MUST have it. It's exactly the kind of geeky joke that I would fall for, head over heels.
Just sayin.
Christmas IS coming.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Miss Communication

Apparently, so I've been told, it's not in good form to abbreviate Babysitting Job to BJ.
So said my twelve year old son when I asked him how his first BJ went.
He just looked at me, made a kind of huffing sound, then looked away, saying "Mo-om" in a kind of pleading tone.
"Well, how did it go. Were you very nervous?"
"What are you TALKING about?"
"Your babysitting job- or as I like to call it- and I think it stands to reason, quite logically, BJ."
"You can't call it that!" he said.
"Why ever not?" I asked him.
But he just rolled his eyes and slunk away, with an annoyed kind of sigh.

And when I further insisted that he should set up a Facebook page advertising his BJ skills, he acted, if anything- disgusted.
"Write: 12 year old boy will perform BJ's. Very experienced. References available. Have certificate and training in CPR. Five dollars an hour. Available on evenings and weekends. Cash only. And then we can post a picture of your cute, little, angelic face."
He refused to even respond.
"I think you'll get a lot of response with that," I told him.
"Oh, no doubt I probably would," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "A forty seven year old man named Kirk who wears pastel cardigan sweaters."

I told my mom, indignant. "Gage doesn't want to do BJs to make extra money."
"What?" she asked, incredulous. "That's what you did, starting when you were eleven or twelve. You did almost the whole neighborhood. Every one had your number. On Saturday night, your phone was practically ringing off the hook, people were demanding your BJ services they were. People had to book you weeks in advance. We had to set up your own separate line, if I recall. The best BJ's in town, they said. You had a knack for it. Your father and I were so proud. Oh- and the money you rolled in!"
"Yes. The kids these days. They think we just came in off the turnip truck. Like we don't know nothing about what the kids are doing with the BJs and the marijuana cigarettes, or doobies, as the young kids call it."
"Oh I know," my mom said. "They don't know that we've all done BJ's. Even grandpa and I, back when we were young and starting out, did the occasional BJ."

Oh, the poor kid. We're traumatizing him.
I wonder why he doesn't want to hang around with us??

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reconstructing Rejection

Another day, another rejection.
I'm pretty much done querying, but every now and again I get the urge to send one out. Just for fun. Because I'm the kind of person who considers getting her hopes slammed into the wall repeatedly 'fun'- which is to say- sadistic. But I just can't seem to stop. It's kind of like slamming your hand in a car door. The first few times it hurts like a bitch. But once you've had all your bones pulverized, it doesn't do much anymore. Just kind of leaves you with you a not entirely unpleasant tingling sensation.

Here's the latest in rejection, I think it's lovely so I wanted to share it:

Dear Randine,

Thank you for your interest in (redacted). Though your novel
sounds like it has potential for the women's fiction market, I regret that
(redacted) must decline a reading of HAVING GRACE. Her fiction list is
keeping her working at capacity, and she would unfortunately not be able
to give your manuscript the attention that it deserves.

I wish you all the best with finding an excellent agent to represent your

It's sad to say because I'm at the point where I actually get pretty pumped about rejection sometimes.
If the rejection letter contains: a) my name
                                              b)the name of my book
                                              c) any kind of statement which seems specific to my project
                                           or d) the trifecta: ALL OF THE ABOVE!!
I get really excited.
Which is rather pitiful, but with so many agents these days moving towards the no response means no,  getting a response at all seems like- I don't know- a privilege. And any kind of personalized response is all the better. And honestly, I can't say that I blame them for going toward not responding. The sheer amount of queries they receive must be totally overwhelming.

So then I try to reconstruct what happened in the office:

October 25: Query received by assistant, Chloe - which ,by the way, love that name. Love it. I even thought about naming Payton Chloe, so I feel like I'm connected her on some level. Mind you, I feel connected with just about anyone who emails me. Even the spammers. Because I don't totally hate the idea of discount Vicodin.
At some point after: Query read by Chloe and flagged as a 'maybe'
(This I deduce because, statistically, most rejections from this agent come faster than mine did. Of course, this could just mean that it was caught in a spam filter, or the assistant was on holidays, or who knows what else. But I dream of a mystical maybe pile that I've heard of in query folklore, which is a step above the slush pile.)
Some point later on: Query passed on to agent as a maybe. Maybe she forwards all of the 'maybe's' as an attachment. Maybe she prints them off and puts them on her desk. Maybe she brings them at some kind of a team meeting. I don't know. Either way, it gets passed along.
Some point later on:  Agent reads query, considers it (briefly) but then decides to pass, telling Chloe to reject it, but nicely.

I think I could have made it as a profiler.

Maybe I was a maybe, I tell myself, after reading it. It sounds pathetic, but hey, at this point, I have to take whatever props I can, meager though they are.

Anyways, at this point, whatevs.
It matters not to me, and I can say this honestly. The fact is, I realized only recently, I trust this crazy process. Trust it like I trust my own mother, which may be understating things since my own mother once almost let me drown to my death in my grandparents swimming pool, but that's beside the point.
The point is, I believe that when I am ready to be published, I will be. And if  I'm not ready, I won't be. Simple as that.
Maybe I'm just not quite there yet.
And that's OK.
Stephen King says the first million words are just practice. Even with all that I've written, this blog included, I'm not quite at a million yet. But I'm getting closer every day.
And when I query again for my next project, I will be much more informed, much more prepared.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Not to Deal With A Cold

I have very little tolerance for people who complain about colds.
Which is weird, because that you would think that, being a nurse, I would be more compassionate about things like that. But I'm really not. In fact, it's just about all I can do to keep myself from rolling my eyes and telling them to shut it.

But I think it's precisely because I am a nurse that I find it hard to be compassionate. I've seen some crappy things, which I was going to elaborate on- but I won't. Suffice it to say there are worse things out there than a cold.

And so it is that when someone complains about cold symptoms, I find it hard to feel anything other than annoyed. Maybe because they sense this annoyance on my part, or maybe they just mistakenly think I care, they feel compelled to emphatically insist that their cold is THE WORST EVER and carry on in that vein, with lengthy descriptions of the type and amount of mucous that they are bringing up.
"Get some rest, drink lots of fluid," is my party line when it comes to other people's cold stories.
In other words: Suck it up, buttercup.

As such, I have always tolerated my colds well. I take Advil Cold and Sinus, and basically carry on as usual, with nary a complaint. "You sound stuffed up," they say sympathetically at work. I wave them off. "It's just a cold," I tell them pointedly. As if to say: You see? No big deal.

But for some reason, this weekend past, I became one of them-- the people who carry on like a cold is the Black Plague.
In other words, I may be turning into a man- namely, my husband.
I spent three days on the couch, in my pyjamas, with a box of Kleenex at my side.
Every time I coughed or sneezed I made a big production of it.
I went out and spent forty dollars on OTC cold products: DayQuil, NyQuil, Neocitran, Advil Cold and Sinus, Cold Effects, you name it I had it. By my bedside I had Saline nose drops, a Neti pot, a tube of nasal lubricant, and a humidifier.
My husband just looked at me when I was applying nasal lubricant.
I never did use the Neti pot. Pouring water up my nose just feels wrong. I couldn't go through with it.

Anyways, I'm feeling much better now, though it was touch and go for a while.
But it wasn't all bad.
Pretty fucking awesome. Better than Chardonnay. Just one tablespoon and you're OUT for the night. And if you mix the NyQuil with the Chardonnay, even better. To top it off, I break open three Advil Liquid Gels, pour the insides into the drink, stir it with a stir stick, top it with an umbrella: and voila: you have a pretty blue, minty drink, a pleasant buzz, a solid sleep, and no hangover in the morning.
Is it a bad thing to drink NyQuil when you don't, technically speaking, have cold symptoms anymore?

Anyways, other than that, things are going OK.
Except for my son. I should post a follow up to my last blog called "Conversations I never thought I'd have with my 13 year old son's principal" AKA- conversations that include the words "in school suspension."
Yes, I am getting a taste of being a parent of a teenager and I do not like it.
Being a parent to a two year old seems easier in some ways- even though it does involve trying to get a waxy blue film off all of my dishes after a crayon related dishwasher incident.
My writing is floundering in the midst of all this. At the end of the day I'm too exhausted to even get a few words in. So now I'm going to try writing in the morning. Waking up at six firm and writing for a solid hour before I get the kids up.
We'll see how that goes.
Anyways, have a good day!

** Disclaimer, I do not actually recommend the consumption of this beverage, or at least- not in large quantities.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Conversations I Never Thought I Would Have With My 13 Year Old Son

First of all, I can't even believe that I'm using the term '13 year old son' in reference to myself.
He's not, officially, 13. His birthday is fast approaching, though. And I'm sorting out some of my feelings about being the parent of a teenager. To commemorate this,  I'm working on a blog post called "13 things I want my 13 year old  to know" that I plan on posting on his birthday, which should be good.
And by 'working on' I mean- I have the title tentatively worked out, and a basic draft- 13 short paragraphs in which I tell him something I want him to know.
So it's coming along quite well.
Anyways, even I am interested to see how it will work out. Already I'm like- 13 things kind of seems like a lot. I should have done this when he was 1, because there's basically one thing I want him to know: Lift the seat when you piss.

But he's growing up, which has lent itself to some interesting conversations.
Last night he was telling me that a police dog was at his school as some sort of drug awareness program.
"Oooh,"  I said. "Did you get to sample the drugs?"
He just looked at me, all annoyed like.
"Well, how can you be aware of them if they don't let you try them, even just the one time?"
Another pointed look.
"Did the dog sniff your crotch?"
"Why would he even do that? Why would you even say that?"
"I don't know. That's what dogs do. Don't you just hate that when a dog comes up to and starts smelling your crotch?"
"That's, like, never happened to me."
"Really? Never? I thought that happened to everyone."
"That's just disturbing," he told me.
I guess, in retrospect, I might have just asked a normal question like what the dogs name was or something like that. I always think of the right thing to say after the fact.

And then Alex went into my purse and pulled a tampon.
"Alex," Gage said, taking it away from him. "Don't play with that. It's a tampon."
I surge of pride coursed threw me.
My son. I had taught him well. Even his own father didn't know the difference between tampons and pads. They were all lumped into a fuzzy category called "lady products" that he didn't care to discuss.
Once, during a pad commercial, Gage referred to them as tampons. I corrected him.
"What's the difference?" he asked.
"It's a pretty big difference," I pointed out. "The pad stays down and out. The tampon goes up and in." I said, using hand gestures.
"Gross," was all he said.

Now he was dismantling the tampon.
"So how does it work," he asked. "It just goes in there like this?" "Oh," I see, he said, as he pushed in the applicator and saw the absorbent material.
"This just looks painful," he said. Which, kind of it did because it happened to be a Super Absorbent Plus.
"Alex's head came out of there. OK," I told him. "And yours, too."
"Ew," he said. "So what's the string for?"
Honestly, I never thought I would have to tell him about this stuff.
Don't they have a module at school? that he could take?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Strange Entrance Paths

I'm slightly nervous about some of the traffic that my blog gets.
All traffic is good traffic.
At least, that's what I thought.

That was before I found out that someone googled "How to get rid of blood spatter on jeans" and ended up spending seven minutes on my blog.
A possible- nay, probable, murderer has been on this blog.
Maybe more than once. I feel sort of vaguely threatened by this.

The phrase "Carrying my boss's baby" has also brought traffic.
I bet they were disappointed to read that that has basically nothing to do with this blog. In fact, I'm not sure where, if at all, it even says that anywhere on here, except for the fact that it's the vague plot promise for Having Grace, maybe it's mentioned somewhere, I don't know.
I feel kind of bad for this person, pregnant with her boss's baby and looking for advice, and coming up with this- where the landing page was "Fun with Condoms."
That probably only made her feel worse.
And I thought about reaching out and trying to give some advice to someone in such a situation- but honestly- I don't really know what to say. Carrying your boss's motherfucking baby? Really? Really?
Dude. You're screwed.
Literally. Figuratively. Everything.

And four people have apparently found this blog by googling "Flirting, Pizza Delivery"
I have a feeling that they were probably disappointed when my page loaded.

Anyways. Google really does hate me. This is what it sends me for traffic: fornicators and possible (probable) murderers- because I don't care what you say- if you have blood spatter on your clothes and you're googling how to get rid of it, you're a murderer.
I've watched CSI, I know this much is true.
What I'll have to do is make the title of my blog posts less sinister sounding. Although, in retrospect "Whips, Chains and Blood Spatter" wasn't a really good name for a blog post, and I could see how it could misrepresent the blog and attract an unsavory element.
Ditto for "Fun with Condoms"
Come to think of it, I'm even starting to question "Strange Entrance Paths"

But it's not all bad news with Analytics.
Two visits from NYC, which makes me, of course, wildly speculative that it's an agent.
Of course, according to the same statistics, I've also had 17 visits from Latvia.
So it could be a coincidence.
Most likely it is.
But a girl can dream.
It will give me something warm and fuzzy to think about as the temperatures her plummet. I woke up this morning to a city blanketed in snow, pretty- yes, but a bitch to drive in. Although, I like the term I heard on the radio this morning- "It's not a blizzard," the overly cheerful announcer said as I spun my wheels trying to get through an intersection. "It's called- getting slizzered."
Well, I don't know what slizzered means, but I like it. It felt kind of right, somehow.
I wonder what kind of traffic that will bring.

Well, whoever you are, wherever you are, reading this: thanks for visiting. Even if you did just click on it because you thought maybe it was porn.
I mean, hey, we've all been there.
Okay, not really, but still....
We don't judge.
Well, we try not to.
And to the murderers out there: I do know how to get blood spatter off of jeans. Saline solution. If you contact lens solution that will work. You pour it on the spatter liberally, blog, rinse, repeat, then launder as usual and it should be good as new.
I only hope that my advice is timely enough.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hip to Be Square.

We took the kids water sliding this weekend, which seemed like a good idea at the time.
I find myself saying that a lot- it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Things rarely go so well as I envision them.
I envisioned:
- A family of five frolicking in the pool, splashing gently, heads thrown back in laughter. The kids looking very cute in their trendy bathing suits. Later, we would order pizza and the kids would high five us for being such cool parents. After getting the kids settled- which would be a quick and easy process- "Time for bed, Kids!" we would say and they would leap up, "Swell! We're awfully tired!" We would tuck them into their beds, peer at their sleepy faces and pull the covers up around them. Geoff would kiss me on the nose and we would agree that we have the most wonderful kids in the world.

Then Geoff and I would go down to the lounge for a glass of wine, whereabouts we would gaze intently into each others eyes. "I'm so lucky to have you," Geoff would say, and I would, of course, agree with him on that.

What I ended up with:
-A pool crammed to overflowing with kids, who all seemed to be overweight-- this obesity epidemic is for real  and not just something they make up on Dateline for ratings- you know how they have those  "teenage epidemic" segments which sound really scary and sinister and it always ends up to be some obscure thing.
Anyways, these overweight kids all had a strong propensity towards cannon balls. I clung fearfully onto the kids as I stood on the sidelines, wiping heavily chlorinated water from my eyes. Alex continually tried to take his shorts off, insisting that they were WET. Payton wanted to play this game where she lunged at me.
And my husband?
There was a football game on. So he was in the room.
"Well, I don't like going in the water," he said.
"And I do? I'm scared of the water slide and I can't fricking swim."

At ten pm, I was tired and ready for bed. Geoff looked me.
"You're tired? Really? Already? How could you be?" he asked, accusatory.
"Well, it's no picnic in the park getting the three of them ready, packed, changed into bathing suits, going in the water with them." -although in all honesty- Gage is old enough to do everything on his own, so really there are two, but that's not the point.

And then the kids go and tell Geoff that he's cool and I'm not!!
What a slap in the face that was.
I was like- "But he didn't know even what a disco stick was!"
The first time he heard "Love Game" by Lady Gaga he was like "What the hell is a disco stick?!"
Gage and I just looked at each other. "Well, it's a metaphor," I said.
"What do you think it means when they say "I want to take a ride on your disco stick?" Gage asked.
"They can say that on the radio? What the hell?"
Gage and I just looked at each other. "They can say that and a lot worse," we told him.

But I think I am getting uncool.
OK. I've always been uncool, at least a little bit. But I think I'm getting uncooler.
I noticed that I've started saying bogus, hokey things that flaky moms say.
Payton comes up to me. "Mom, Alex did hands on."
"Alex," I stay, sternly. "Did you do a hands on? You know we do hands off. Hands are for helping, not for hurting."

And then there was this morning.
Both of the pop 40 radio stations were playing songs that I couldn't stand to listen to. One of which was a remix of "I've had the time of my life," which started off quite promising. I turned the radio up, a rush of nostalgia coursing through me. And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this techno like beat starts up and the whole thing goes to shit. The other ones most predominant, and possibly only lyrics, were "I'm awesome."
You're not awesome, I told the radio, feeling irritated.
So I turned it to the easy listening station, "just to see" I told myself.
When I heard Hewey Louis and the News playing my heart quickened. I started tapping my fingers on the steering wheel. "It's the p-p-power of love," I sang along.
And then I realized. Hewey Louis and the News!!
I turned down the music,  looked around, feeling self conscious.
Ah, screw it, I thought, turning it back up again.
What image, exactly, am I holding onto, or trying to? I thought, driving my fifteen year old minivan with a "Baby on Board" sticker on it and CJWW bumper sticker- from a previous owner, in my defense.
But it is, after all, hip to be square.
That's what Hewey himself says.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Sorry it's been so long.
It's been a busy week. And by busy I mean lousy.
My husband decides he needs to go on a vacation, on account of how "overworked" he is, which honestly, I don't understand. I mean, he works at a country club. Like, literally. It can't be that bad. Anyways, he wanted to go golfing, and go to hockey games and the like. At first I was like "Whatever. I can handle the kids by myself. I always do, anyways,"which was meant to be a jab at him, but of course he doesn't get that. He's like "Cool. Thanks, you're awesome. See you Wednesday."

I've said it before and I'll say it again- being passive aggressive does not pay.
 My advice: just be aggressive. F the passive. It'll get you nowhere. Except for stuck at home with three kids.

A mere few hours after he left I was already starting to feel overwhelmed. My morning consisted of various complaints, lots of whining, lots of hitting, subsequent time outs, potty training mishaps, a dog that ran away, and several renditions of Alex's creative spin on "Oh Canada," which contains the line "I can't fix your trampoline" which is also sometimes "zamboni."
By nine fifteen I was feeling like a caged animal.
Caged with other animals. Annoying ones, like hamsters who look cute at first but then then they just keep on digging and digging and getting wood chips everywhere, and running on their wheel which keeps on squeaking, and then suddenly you look at their big hamster teeth and their cheeks all puffy cheeks and you suddenly have the urge to take that little hamster and gouge his eyes out.
Like that.
So I decided to take them out. "I just need to get out of the house," I thought.
That was a mistake. It's kind of like those people,, who have bad marriages and they think that having a baby will fix everything. But then you just end up with an even worse marriage, a lack of sleep, a perpetual puke stain on your shoulder and bladder control problems.

Rule Number 2: If your kids are driving you crazy at home, they're only going to drive you crazy in public. Which is worse. Cuz then you're in public. With crazy kids. And you can't even yell at them or threaten them that if they're not good you'll go get Shadow- which is a dog that they're scared of.

Brunch did not go well.
The person sitting behind us may or may not have suffered a mild to moderate concussion after Alex threw a fork at him. He tried to climb on the table, spilling his orange juice in the process. Which might not have been that bad, except for the fact that Alex had shredded all of the napkins, which I sat back and let him do, maybe even slightly encouraged it, because after all-- he can't give anyone a concussion with a napkin.
"Alex," I told him, tyring to be firm. "You are going to go in time out right away."
Payton looked at me. "Where are you going to put him for time out, mom?"
"Touche," I said.

Anyways, when my husband came home it wasn't one of those emotional reunions you see on TV where the woman runs and lunges at her husband, wraps her legs around him and shrieks with excitement.
It was more like: I thrust Alex at him, who'd recently had another potty mishap. "Welcome home. He shit."

And then the next day he didn't even want to get out of bed.
He was like "Ohhh, I'm so exhausted. I need a vacation to recover from my vacation."
And I was like "You're not getting any sympathy from me, asshole."
Like seriously? Maybe if he hadn't drank his weight in beer he would be feeling better.
And his weight in beer, BTW, = a whole lot of beer. Like, A LOT.
Okay, that's kind of mean.
Anyways, that's why I haven't been around.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun with Condoms

Cola flavored condoms were a hot topic here at work this morning.
We got a shipment in last week. We were all kinds of curious, but we acted very professionally about it, nonetheless.
"Cola flavored," we said, matter of factly. "This is new."
We had seen just about everything else already: Blue berry, black berry, strawberry, banana, you name it.
But these cola ones had us intrigued.
"I wonder what they taste like?" we wondered out loud.
"Maybe we should open it?" someone suggested.
Someone sniffed at it. Pulled a face.
Eventually, someone agreed to be the taste tester.
We were briefed on it this morning.
"Doesn't taste like Cola at all," we were informed.
"Is it like Diet Pepsi?"
"No name Pepsi?"
Someone offered, "maybe you could mix it with Rye."
We all laughed. When someone added "That would be one stiff drink," we all erupted into laughter again.
"But you have to drink it 'on the rocks'!" someone else chimed in.

It's Friday, which is probably a good thing.
We've deteriorated into a bunch of sixteen year olds, apparently.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shit I've Said

"You want to know how to Train A Dragon?" (To the kids when they asked if we could purchase the DVD)
"You kill him," I say, without waiting for an answer. "Best way is to chop his head right clean off. When he's dead, he'll be nice and tame. Headless, but tame. Very tame. They should make a movie about that."
I look at them. They look slightly terrified.
"All right," I say, tossing the DVD into our cart. "We'll get the movie."

"You can kid a kidder but you can't shit a shitter." (to Gage, 12)
Gage: "So- what are you in this equation- a kidder or a shitter?"
Me- "Uhm, a shitter, I guess?"
Gage-"And that's supposed to be a good thing?"
Me- "Whatever. We don't need to pick it apart. Just don't lie and stuff like that."

Geoff: "I spent twenty five dollars today on my hair cut."
Me- looking at said hair cut. "What are they, charging a dollar per hair? How can they get away with that?"
Geoff- evil glare.
(Note- Geoff's hair=very sparse)

Anyways. On a somewhat unrelated topic.
 I've been thinking about something, want to run it by you.
Parenting with Pop Tarts- I mentioned it in this post, sort of as a joke, but I kind of like the sound of it.
I've been thinking of 'rebranding' this blog- since I named it "Here we Go Again" back in the day when it was a pregnancy blog.
What do you think??
Which name do you like better?? Does it even matter??
(And yes- I do like to double up on my question marks. I feel like I'm posing the question more seriously that way, more intently like. Think grade school teacher, pulling her glasses down, eyes boring into you.)
Do you think that there's an Coalition for the Eradication of Pop Tarts who are currently lobbying the government to have them banned? Who possibly are also working on a new bill, perhaps with the name "Sara's Law" or something like that because of some girl who later went on to develop Juvenile Diabetes from eating too many pop tarts, that any parent who feeds their kids PopTarts for any one meal of the day could be found legally negligent, let alone all of them??
Will I get hate mail?
I think that's only a matter of time, anyways.

Honestly, some people take parenting so seriously.
Like, for example. Since Alex is getting older, he no longer likes to cuddle with me. He writhes away from me and tries to bitch slap me and stuff. Ya, it's awesome.
But I have a secret weapon that makes him putty in my lap.
I tell him there's thunder coming.
"Thunder!" I tell him.
He jumps, runs to me, wraps his arms around me, buries his head in my chest. "I cared," he says- which means he's scared.
I think it's kind of endearing.
But some people, when I tell them that, they just look at me, like maybe I just admitted to locking him in the cold storage room from time to time so that I can shoot up my other kid's Ritalin, which I now have abbreviated to "R"- which, seriously, I don't. I don't even have a cold storage room, first of all. Secondly, my older kids aren't even on Ritalin. Unfortunately.
And then they say "Are you serious?"
And I'm like, "well, it's harmless, anyways."
And they're like "do you think that might be why you're older two kids have a phobia of thunderstorms?"
And I'm like "I wouldn't say that they're 'phobic' just because they need to be medicated for it. I mean, then you could say that any one's phobic. That guy right there. He's on blood thinners. Is he phobic? Probably not."
Again, some people take it all too seriously.
Don't they??

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Not to Relax

I wanted to relax tonight, after having a busy Monday.
So I thought it would be good to have a foot spa.
Problem was, I didn't have one.
So I took the kids to Wal Mart to buy one.
I also bought some really nice peppermint foot soak, scrub and lotion.
I know, I know. "No unnecessary purchases."
But me feet are, like, really sore right now, so this constitutes necessary.

An hour later and I'm home again.
I read the kids "Love you Forever" by Robert Munch, and "The Playhouse" as well.
I turned on their night light, kissed them good night, and left the room to be alone with my new foot spa.
I dismissed the instructions at first. But then I thought I should give them at least a cursory glance. I skipped through to the Frequently Asked Questions.
"How long should I soak my feet for?"
Ah. Good question.
The answer "Ten to fifteen minutes, under advisement of your physician."
I haven't even gone back to the doctor for a pap test for three years or so.
I'm not going to go there to ask about a foot spa. I could only imagine my doctors notation in my chart.
"Paranoia getting worse. Has total lack of common sense. Possible mental impairment."
Scew that. Ten minutes should be fine.
But then I started to worry about that pap test.
Has it really been three years??
How long does it take for cancer to form?

I discarded the instructions. Bloody useless.
I filled my foot spa up with warm tap water. Stuck my feet in.
Screaming erupted from the bedroom.
"What? Why?" I yelled.
"I hit my eye ball on the corner of my bed."
"Can you go check her eye?" I asked Gage.
"What, exactly, am I looking for?"
"Just make sure it's still in it's socket," I said, and tried to soak my feet.

Then I looked at the table.
The candle!
Yes, this would be so much more relaxing with a candle.
I dried my feet, tip toed into the kitchen to find a lighter.
I rummaged through several drawers. Reminded myself that I really must get my licence renewed when I came across the notice from SGI, unopened.
Had to go out to the garage.
Finally came back in, to find the kids out of bed again.
Usher them back to bed.
Light the candle. Put my feet back in the soak.
Now the waters cold.

I took my feet out, tiptoed across the floor, emptied it and refilled it with as hot as I can stand it water.
I stick my feet in.
Way too fucking hot.
Dried my feet off. Tip toed to the kitchen again, poured a glass of ice water, added it to the soak.
Now the water is just above the fill line. I wonder what could happen if it's over filled.
Probably nothing, I tell myself.
But, then again.
What if it explodes?
What if it short circuits the wiring?
Could I get electrocuted?
I should dump out some water, just to be safe.
I take the cup, ladle out a cup.
Sit back down.
That's better.
But still- it's missing something, I think.

And then I remember, my Peppermint foot soak.
Yes! This would be so much more relaxing with the soothing aroma of peppermint!
Out again, getting the peppermint foot soak. I read the instructions.
"Pour one capful into running water."
I take the tub, empty it and refill it again, adding the solution.
Sit down again.
The smell of peppermint is nice.
Reminds me of peppermint tea.
That would really be nice, I start to think.
In fact, I don't think I can properly relax without some.
So I go to get some, without taking the time to dry my feet thoroughly this time.
I notice that there's a little puddle of water beside the spa.
Great. Not I have to clean the floors.

This whole business of relaxing is very exhausting.
I think I'll stick to Chardonnay.
Have a good night.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lessons Learned from a Recovering Alcoholic

When I was sixteen, my uncle moved in with us.
He was "in recovery," apparently, as people politely and quietly termed it, which does sound nicer than 'trying to quit getting blotto every day'.
He started having weird, bearded people over, holding "table meetings" talking in hushed voices over the "big book" and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
He started saying weird stuff. "Let go and let God." "Easy does it." "One day at a time."
The whole thing, from my vantage point, was very odd.
But kudos to him, he's still sober to this very day.

It seemed strange to me that that very phrase "Let go and let God" popped into my head earlier today.
Get out! I told it. I'm not in recovery! I don't want to be! My motto is that binging is okay, in moderation.
But yesterday when I was on query tracker, I saw that someone posted a new comment on Trish's profile.
I clicked on it, feeling excited.
I think now that  I must have been expecting, or maybe even hoping, that someone was writing to say that she had rejected them.
Perhaps something like this:
"Query: October 1st 2010. Form reject: October 20th. Oh, well. Onwards and upwards."
To which I would feel quite smug and satisfied and superior, and try to resist the impulse to reply "Sucks to be you, she's reading mine right now, maybe as we speak, or type, or whatever."

So when I saw "She requested my full, fingers crossed!" I felt, inexplicably, a frisson of- something. Irritation?
She was requesting a full from someone else!
How could she!
I hate to admit that I felt that way, even for a second, or a fraction thereof.
I talked myself out of that really quickly, though.
Try to think of it this way, I thought: her and I are in the same boat right now. She's not my competition, she's my ally. Trish might sign both of us. Her and Trish and I could all become best friends!
Or Trish could reject both of us, and we could console each other.
Obviously, there's a third alternative, though I prefer not to think of it.

Anyways, I sent a quick reply saying congratulations and keep me posted.
And later, at home, I had a glass of wine.
And then, suddenly, I felt a lot better about it.
It may well be true that I've learned a lot from a recovering alcoholic, but not exactly everything.
I mean, you can't believe everything they say in AA.
But then I started to wonder, when should I send a follow up to Trish?
Some people say six months.
Some people say one month.
Some people say never.
And then if I do write a follow up, what do I write?
I don't want to come across as a pest.
But at the same time, I do wonder if she even received my submission, especially in light of the fact that she said that my original email was found in her spam filter.
So I fretted over it.
And that's when I heard it: a little voice in my head that said 'let go and let God.' I know, hearing voices is bad, right?
But it seemed like good advice, even if a sign of probable psychosis.
So for the moment, I've decided to just leave it alone.
Focus on my next project.
And I've set a goal to complete Deal Breaker on or before I leave for Mexico, which is on January 14th 2011, which is 84 days away.
It's very doable, since it's currently at the half way point.
However, I will have to make certain sacrifices.
Yes, that means you.
I will probably post less frequently- once or twice a week, to keep you updated.
Because I'm a friend of a friend of Bill W., and I know what he would say:
Easy does it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The End of an Era

Maybe, without really knowing it at the time, I've already changed Alex's last diaper.

I hadn't really thought about potty training Alex.
Maybe it's because he's the third kid, I don't know.
With Gage, my first, I had given potty training a great deal of thought and consideration. I read about it, talked about it, bought sticker charts and pull ups and gotchies and training pants and potty chairs.
With Alex, I was a bit more laid back about it.
When he's ready, he'll basically train himself, I thought.

But honestly, I wasn't expecting him to be ready just yet.
I still look at him and see a baby.
A baby that can tell you shut up and throw a soother at your head, but a baby nonetheless.

But, yes, there were signs.
The day he climbed into bed with me in the morning, shimmying his little but up against me.
"Where's your diaper?" I asked him, sleepily.
"I took it off," he said.
"Why?" I asked, kissing his head.
"Because I pooped."
My eyes snapped open.
Oh, I know- eyes don't really snap.
I'm just saying- that'll wake you up in a hurry.

But over the weekend, he insisted on wearing gotchies.
All right, I thought, rolling my eyes, envisioning a day of heavy mopping.
But he actually didn't have any accidents.
I wasn't sure what would happen at daycare yesterday.
But when I picked him up, he was still sporting his Backyardigan gotchies.
"No accidents," Tassia reported.
"It can't be this easy," I said, feeling- almost disappointed.
I had just bought a case lot of diapers.
He could at least be more considerate and use them up first.
And there was something else nagging at me.

"Now all we have to do is get rid of his soother," Geoff said.
"I wouldn't do that just yet. It'll be too hard on him to give it up and potty train at the same time."
Geoff looked at me.
"I'm thinking of him," I said, feeling defensive.
"You're thinking of yourself," he said.
"Why would I...even want..."
My voice trailed off.
I guess, there is a part of me that doesn't want to let go of these last vestiges of baby hood I have.
It seems like so much of my identity has been consumed with either trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, or having a baby on my hip.
Who am I if not a caregiver? A nurturer?

Sometimes, Geoff and I think of this while watching our children grow.
I project myself into the future, see myself watching the children, in turn, children graduate from high school. Help them fill out college applications (hopefully not applications for bail or probation), go wedding dress shopping with Payton, all that stuff.
So ya, there are more milestones to come.
But I will still miss the baby days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What I Read This Weekend

I spent yesterday reading "Too Close to Home" by Linwood Barclay from cover to cover.
There are few times in my life when I will devour a book in one sitting, mainly because I have other responsibilities that I'm supposed to, technically speaking, be looking after- and not just putting "How to Train Your Dragon" on a continuous loop and feeding them pop tarts at random intervals.
Parenting with Pop Tarts, I should patent that as a potential book series- perhaps with the sub title: How to Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too.

My husband came home from work at 4:00.
"You're still in your pyjamas?' he asked.
I looked. "Apparently," I said, barely looking up from book.
"And the kids, too?"
I looked at them.
I couldn't tell if he was annoyed or not.
Didn't really care.
Honestly, I don't see why he would be.
It's called 'conserving laundry', and it shouldn't kill him to act happy about it.

I finished the book just before midnight.
I realized just how immersed I was in it when I made myself a glass of lemonade.
I don't usually drink lemonade, but I had suddenly a strong urge to gulp back a glass of it.
And then I realized why.
The MC in the book, Jim Cutter, drinks it or mentions it in quite a few places.
And the description of it- the beads of sweat that rolled down the glass, coupled with the scorching temperatures described in the book, made me suddenly thirsty for lemonade as well.

Anyways, here's a list of 5 things I love about the book:

1. The characters name, Jim Cutter. I didn't realize it until about half way through book how fitting the name was for someone who, as a living, mows lawns. When I caught that, I felt as the author was letting me in some private joke.

2.The opening line: "The night they killed our neighbors, the Langley's, we never heard a thing."
I was hooked immediately. For some reason, the idea of neighbors being slain in the night appeals to me.
I don't know what that says about the kind of person I am.
Probably doesn't make you want to be my neighbor, though.

3. A scene in the book where a character brings his literary agent to a funeral and flaunts her about.
He doesn't outright say in the book that the character is an egotistical ass, but that does it right there.
We get the sense that he's maybe just ever so slightly self absorbed.

4. The pace of the book.
I kept on thinking, I'll just finish this chapter, and then I'll... whatever whatever...brush my teeth, feed my kids, respond to the fire alarm.
But then the end of the chapter would bring a new twist and I'd be like "Oh screw it, I can always brush my teeth tomorrow. And I'm sure that most fires can put themselves out."
Honestly that plot was more twisted than Ozzy freaking Osbourne.
And I mean that in a good way.

5. The fact that there's a book within a book.
"A Missing Part" is a book that sounds, on the one hand, totally absurd- about a man who wakes up with no penis.
And then yet again, it sounds like it just might be the kind of phallus glorifying piece of work that critics would love. I was going to say "eat up" but I wasn't sure about how appropriate that would be used in conjunction with 'phallus'.

6. I know what you're thinking- I said 5, but I can't help but add:  The author is Canadian.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not Feeling the Flow

I don't call it 'writers block.'
I call it: not feeling the flow.
It sounds nicer that way.
And I have this superstition like if I say I have writers block, then I have it. If I don't say it, then I don't have it. It's like- say, OCD. If I say I don't have it, and say it three times fast after tapping my nose three times in a row with my left pinky finger, then I don't have it.
It's called magical thinking, and I love it, don't care if it's a sign of mental illness or not.
Google it. It's a thing. For real.

Besides, I don't really consider myself to be blocked.
I mean, I could write, if I really wanted to. I'm writing right now.
But I simply don't want to- in either of my WIPs.
Writing isn't always easy, and I think that this is where I sometimes feel misunderstood.
People have said to me "I wish I could do that! Just sit down and write a book!"
Well, ya. You and me both, baby.
I can't just sit down and write a book. It takes weeks and months of dedication, of commitment and sacrifice. Of blood, sweat and tears.
OK. Maybe not blood.

But it can be long, and it can be lonely-- shutting yourself away from the TV shows people you love.
And this is a difficult thing.
I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to write. Even if I didn't feel like it. I would make myself. "Just one page..."

But lately I have let a lot of that go, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
On the one hand, I tell myself that I should focus on the things that are real in my life.
By real I mean- the things that can give back to me.
Like my kids.
Like my husband.
Like my job.
If I become successful at writing, I'll look back all those months and years I spent writing and call it 'perserverence.'
If I don't become successful, I'll call it what?
A waste of my time?
Time that could of been better spent with my kids? Or my family? Or my friends?
Or, perhaps, more importantly- finally getting acquainted with Jersey Shore??
Honestly, I feel like such a loser sometimes at the water cooler. I don't even know who Snooky is!!
"Oh, sure you do!" my coworkers insist. "She's the orange one!"
"Oh," I say with a slow nod, although this does nothing and I mean NOTHING to clarify things for me. The orange one- what the fuck??  How am I missing this??
They take in my expression and then exchange quick, wary glances. I can practically hear their thoughts: "she hasn't got a clue...Just drop it."
And then they change the subject, ask me, sort of sadly "How's the- erm, book, coming?" (like they're scared to say the word 'book', like maybe they don't believe that there even is one) and then exchange other, nervous glances, that seem to say to me "just indulge her on this."

I don't know.
First of all- who says what "being successful at writing" means, exactly.
Does it mean- simply the act of completing a manuscript?
Finding representation for it?
Getting it published?
And if it gets published, and it tanks, are you successful still?

I don't know.
It just seems that there's always another hurdle.

How do you define being successful?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Oil Change

I've never taken my vehicle for an oil change.

It's just that, oil is so icky.
And it just doesn't sound like fun.
But, apparently, it has to be done.
This I have learned the hard way.

When my engine seized up a couple of years ago with a final shudder and spasm, I brought it into the shop, thinking it was a simple fix, maybe the clutch or something, which was probably a long shot, seeing as my vehicle is an automatic.
The following day, I got the news that it was the engine.
The engine!
I couldn't believe it.
"Well, it's old, I guess," I told the guy with a shrug.
"Well, still. It only has 60,000 kilometers on it. Usually these types of vehicles can last, easily, over 200K," he scratched his chin. "When was the last time it had an oil change?"
"Now there's a good question!" I said.
He just looked at me, his mouth agape.
"Well, it's hard to say for sure. I know once the guy at the service station dumped a bunch oil in there, said it was getting dangerously low, or something like that. Can't really remember. I think that was a long time ago, though," I said, trying to recall.

So anyways.
We won't dwell on that.
Fact is, vehicles are, apparently, supposed to have oil changes like every few months or something.
So today I dutifully brought my vehicle to the oil change shop, for the first time in ten or so years of car ownership.
Easy peasy, I thought as I rolled my car up to the bay.
I wondered for a moment what, exactly, the sign meant when it said "Open Pit. Please stay in your vehicle."
"That's very odd," I pondered out loud to the kids.
And then with a whoosh the door opened, and I could see what was behind Door Number One- which was- oddly- an actual pit.
Like, literally, a massive whole in the floor.
And there was the guy, waving me forward, as if I was supposed to drive on in.

I clammed up.
I would have even turned around and retreated, but for the line up of cars behind me.
Immediately, I envisioned myself getting snared up in the pit, having to get the jaws of life to pry me out, being caught in the meantime in some giant pit of oil and tar and engine grease shit.
Tentatively, I pulled forward.
Both of my side mirrors are smashed, you should know, from pulling in and out of the garage.
The garage is simply too narrow, in my mind.
But even still, I felt very aware of that fact.

Anyways, I made it through and did not get snared up in the pit.
My anxiety was briefly assuaged.
But, then the guy pulled out the dipstick with a frown.  I knew it was a bad sign when he ambled over and showed it to the other guy in the bay, this guy with huge, tattood forearms.
I wasn't sure, but I think they might have been prison tats.
He walked over, looked.
"How long since your last oil change?" he asked me.
Why does everyone ask me that?
"I think it was... about... a year ago? Or so?"
They shook their heads. "We're ginnahafta flush the engine out, ma'am," they said, chewing on something, gum, maybe, snuff. Dunno. Either way, I was kind of scared of them.

"Oh, yeah, well, sure, if that's, like, what it needs."
They dumped a bunch of stuff in it and then told me to start the car up and leave it running for seven minutes.
I looked around.
Here I was in a self sealing garage. The doors had closed automatically after I pulled in.
It's not that I don't want my engine flushed, whatever the fuck that is, I just kind of don't really want to die.
Although, from what I know of it, carbon monoxide poisoning isn't a bad way to go.

But I survived!
I feel like such a responsible person now.
Everyone will know me as "the girl who maintains her vehicle really awesomely."
Except for the Dora snacks that are sort of liquified and then like bonded to the dash, and all that stuff.
I mean, at least, engine wise.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rejection #41 (or thereabouts. I'm losing track. They're all starting to blur together in a big jumble of misery. Sort of like high school.)


Thank you for your query. Although your story sounds interesting, I'm not looking for debut fiction at this time.

I appreciate you thinking of (redacted) and me and I wish you luck with your literary pursuits.

The fact that she states she's not looking for debut fiction softens the blow.
This may just be her form, I don't really know.
Anyways, I so love the words "debut fiction" in reference to myself.
It makes it sound sort of awesome.
Anyways, that's all for today.
Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Defining Necessity

ne·ces·si·ty [ nə séssətee ] (plural ne·ces·si·ties)


1. something essential: something that is essential, especially a basic requirement

food, shelter, and the other necessities

The definition of necessity should be obvious.
But lately Geoff and I have been disagreeing about it quite a bit.
We agreed when we booked our trip to Mexico that we would not make ANY unnecessary purchases.
The problem is, his definition of necessary purchases if fairly narrow, encompassing only a small handful of items: milk, meat, potatoes, cereal, toilet paper, dish soap, Pert Plus shampoo, Dial soap and that's about it.

My definition of necessary purchases:

-Swiss cheese- individually wrapped in wax and pink cellophane.
-Cheddar cheese
-Romano Cheese
-Cheeze Whiz
-Cheese Slices
-Cream cheese
-Parmesan Cheese
-Cucumber body wash
-Bedhead Shampoo and Conditioner (Smells like oranges.)
-Kadoo soap for Payton
-Princess shampoo for Payton
-Axe shampoo, body wash and body spray for Gage
-Johnsons baby shampoo for Alex
-Dove body wash for Alex
-Pomegranate exfoliated scrub
-Paper Towel- kitty cat pattern
-Kleenex- pink box (to support breast cancer awareness)
-Pink Bubble Gum toothpaste for Payton
-Toy story tooth paste for Alex
-1 pink ceramic dog boned shaped dish for the dog
-3 kinds of cereal
-pop tarts
-Granola bars- 3 kinds
-Cubed pineapples- fresh from deli
-Strawberry Mango Juice
-Chocolate Milk
-2 kinds of moisturizers (it's really quite dry here this time of year)
-Glade Candle- 2 kinds
-Fabreeze air freshener x 2- one for bathroom, one for living room.
-3 Kinds of crackers
-Buzz Lightyear fruit snacks
-Case lot of pizza pops
-Case lot of tuna (for the cats)
-Pink Lemonade Lipsmackers x3

You  get the idea.
I have to eat my cheese portions secretly in the kitchen, otherwise he just gives me a really evil glare.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Visiting Grandpa

My dad is in the hospital, admitted under a diagnosis of unstable angina.
Currently, he is awaiting an angiogram, and doing reasonably well.
I went up to visit him last night.
I decided to bring Payton with me, for some reason.
Her noisy chatter kept my company on the way there.
She's getting to an age where I almost want her with me for companionship, which is weird, in a way. Our children depend on us, but sometimes it goes the other way as well.
We got there and I bought her a chocolate milk and she seemed very satisfied with this.
I approached the information kiosk and asked for my dads room number, which- when you think of it- is very strange. I mean, I can't even practically get logged into his computer without knowing a dozen different passwords, but I can waltz right into his hospital room where he lays, vulnerable, attached to oxygen and machines.
I was surprised to learn that he was still in the Emergency Department, some twelve hours after he had arrived there. I looked at Payton, not sure whether a noisy six year old would exactly be welcomed into an already overflowing emergency department.
But off we went anyways.

And I'm always touched by the generous nature of others.
Well, except for the people that aren't, like the guy that nearly plowed us over in the parking lot.
At them I just get pissed off.
But I find that nine times out of ten, people are kind. Kinder than I would expect of them.
They would have reason to say "She can't be in here" of my rubber boot wearing, trudging kid.
But no one said this.
The nurse, probably tired and overworked, took the time to find coloring books and crayons for Payton.
She also brought her an ice cream cup.
We visited, and later my brother showed up.
It struck me as we stood there among the noisy beep beep of the monitors, how once upon a time- my dad took us to see our own grandparent in the hospital.
Trent and I were the kids.
My dad was the dad.
My grandpa was laying in the bed, to whom my dad, now approaching his (then) age, bears more than a passing resemblance to.
And my brother looks like my back then dad.
It seemed strange to see us moving up a generation. Kind of sad, but not entirely so. Bittersweet, I guess.
Time marches forward.
Cycles repeat.

Later, Payton and I stepped outside to the cool fall air.
A single star shone in the sky.
"Let's make a wish!" Payton said.
So we stood, held hands, closed our eyes, made a wish.
When we got home I gave Payton her bath.
"Did Grandpa look freaky to you, with those wires  on him and oxygen?" I asked her.
"Nah. Grandpa could never look freaky to me. He's my grandpa, and I love him."
I was so proud of her, even though in the end she couldn't quite bear to part with the picture she had made for him and ended up bringing it home and posting it above her own bed.

Anyways,I have to go now.
And no worries: re: my dad.
I know he can kick angina's ass.
That sounded dirty.
Well, anyways. Have a good day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It Could Always Be Worse

On Friday I was in a state.
Payton had forgotten her lunch at home.
This we realized as I dropped her off at school. The bell had just rung, and there was no time to turn around and get her lunch- I was due to be at work in ten minutes.
"Go home with Gage," I told her, and instructed Gage (13) firmly to pick his sister up at her locker and take her home for lunch.
This didn't exactly sit right with me, but I had virtually no other choice.
I felt uneasy pulling away, although I always do, for some reason, as I watch Payton struggle with her back pack to the doors.

I phoned home at lunch time to be sure that they had made it okay.
Gage answered on the first ring.
"Oh, you're home!" I said with relief. "Can I talk to Payton?"
"Payton --didn't come home with me?" he said, like he was asking a question.
"Well, she wasn't by her lockers when I went there, and she wasn't in the lunch room."
I slammed down the phone, feeling a little ill, and phoned the school, in a panic.

"Oh, yeah," the secretary said. "Payton's here. The teacher took her for lunch since she didn't have anything to eat."
OK. That's good news, I suppose.
I mean, certainly it's better than what I had been thinking- that she had been lured away by that dodgy guy with the combover that lives across from me that wears heavy industrial coveralls when he mows his lawn- even in the summer. Now I don't know if wearing coveralls in the summer makes you a pedophile for sure, but it definitely makes you suspect in my books.
Anyways, I was relieved for a second.
But then I started to panic again.  It's just that, and I hope don't sound too insecure when I say this, but it kind of makes me feel like a bad parent when the teachers  take my kids home with them on their lunch break, like their the "special project" and they all discuss her at the meetings and decide that "with a little bit of TLC this kid might have some potential" Perhaps someone even says  "to try to mitigate the harmful home environment" or something like that and they all exchange knowing  glances and say "Has anyone actually seen that mother? She's, like, never here. I'm beginning to think there's no mother at all in this equation, which might explain the way that kid dresses sometimes."
Which- I know isn't always appropriate, but is it MY fault that she has such strong ideas about wearing miniskirts and flouncy dresses in the middle of winter with tons of accessories and eye shadow and lip gloss.
She looks adorable, what am I gonna do??
I swear she'll be a fashion designer someday and then I'll tell THEM miss haughty school people, that her upbringing was JUST FINE, thank you very much.
I mean, unless she's one of those fashion designers that's bulimic or on crack or whatever.
Then I'll just keep my mouth shut, let bygones be bygones. You know, to be the bigger person.

Anyways was at work, and I was in a state.
My coworker was able to calm me down.
"Randine," she said. "It could always be worse."
And immediately I calmed down.
What was I freaking out about?
That my daughter is part of a community that cares about her?
I mean, it could be worse.
A lot worse.
I just have to watch the news to find that out for sure.
Or look at across the street at my sketchy coverall wearing neighbor.

That's all for now.
Have a good day.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Creative Sleuthing

Whether or not Geoff is having an affair remains to be seen.
He's acting guilty.
He offered to take the kids out tonight- to clean his car and to get movies and snacks, so that I could have a moment to myself, to 'catch my breath' after being so busy all week with work, and the kids- because Geoff's so called "work schedule" has had him out of the house every night this past week.

He came home about an hour later, the kids rushing in the door, excitedly displaying movies and Slurpies and a jumbo bag of Ketchup chips.
Geoff followed behind them, with a lot less enthusiasm. He threw his keys on the counter with a loud thud.
"How was the movie store?" I asked, though I could tell by his defeated, slightly slumped posture that the answer was 'not well.'
"Don't EVER take Alex to the movie store," came his answer.
I stifled a laugh.
"No. I'm being serious. They didn't ban us this time, but they might the next. All he does is run around and knock every movie off the shelf. I had to go around behind him and pick them all up. They were all in a big jumble and I put them back at random. I think the people working there were getting annoyed.
He handed me a movie "Looking For Eric."
"I didn't have time to read the back. It was one that Alex grabbed when he was heading for the door, so I paid for it and left. I think it's about a postmaster in Manchester."
"Oh," I said. "A postmaster. That's kind of- a nice change of pace, I guess."
Usually he picks movies that have crime tape on the front and/or a pissed off looking cop reaching for his holster.
Usually it's Denzel Washington.

Anyways, at first I thought "Wow, that's great that he took the kids out!"
But then I thought: A guilty conscience, perhaps??

Naturally, I plan on investigating the matter further.
The most logical next step, of course-and this should go without saying but I'll say it anyways-  is to go to his work and follow him around, crouching and hiding behind tables or pressing myself real thin against the wall like I see them do on Law and Order whenever they're about to do a drug bust.
Lucky for my mother, who pointed out the flaw in my plan.
I need to go incognito.
A disguise!
I'm thinking of something with a tall, maybe flowery hat and a pair of really big sunglasses.
He'll never recognize me. (Actually, knowing my husband- he truly might not.)
I might even pose as a customer, and chat up some of the waitresses, try to needle them for information.
"So what do you think of the manager around here? Are there any-ahem- rumors circulating about him??"

And if it's at all possible, I wouldn't mind to try to get a urine sample from Sasha to do a pregnancy test.
It should be relatively simple to follow her to the bathroom, from there it might be a little tricky.
Perhaps I could even suggest that I was a building inspector, and I need to take a sample from the staff to see if they have mold in their system, although I wonder if mold would really be excreted in the pee, but hopefully no one else will question that. If they do, I could always direct them to a bogus website that I could create tonight. I can see it now. "www.httpy://MOLDFACTS.CA/ ( not a link, do not click- this is not an actual website. Yet.)
Fact#1: Mold is harmful and can easily grow in damp places like commercial kitchens, etc.
Fact#2:Mold can be excreted in pee.

I think I'll have to think up a few more facts, but otherwise I think it should work pretty good.
Plus, if I talk in a British accent, I'll sound really official.
Except that my British Accent is more Scottish meets Drunken Sailor meets Apu from the Simpsons.

Oh well, I'm sure that it will all work out.
The good news is that Sophie Kinsella has a new book out!
I almost hyperventilated today when I went to Superstore and just so happened to walk through the book aisle, and there I saw it "Mini Shopoholic"
And it was 40% off.
Breathe, I told myself. In through the nose and out through the mouth.
I never buy books in hardcover, because they're so expensive, and I find them awkward to read. But for Sophie, I make the exception.
And like my friend Bex would say, it's 40% off, so I'm actually saving a load of money in the long run, and it'll pay for itself eventually, and if you look at twenty whatever dollars divided by 400 whatever pages, that's only cents a page! (I think, I'm not very good at math). At that price, I'd be stupid not to buy it.
And like my other friend Suze Orman says, can I afford not to buy it??
The melancholy that will ensue? The persistent vegetative state- knowing that that book is out there??
At this point, I feel sort of like some bloke who just spent his last dollar on some two bit whore.
I'm anxious, bursting, really to tear right into it.
And then I have this other, simultaneous, urge to slow it down, make it last.
Sophie Kinsella doesn't put out books every day.
Anyways, having said that, I  really must go. To read. And create decoy websites and order flower hats from Ebay...
Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Suspicious (Sub)Texts

Ever since this whole scandal with Tiger Woods, I make it a habit to randomly seize my husbands Black Berry and look at all the text messages he's written and received.
My husband isn't exactly Tiger Woods, I know. But he does work in the golf industry, and he does own a pair of golf clubs, and those hideous shoes. He uses obscure lingo like "eagling" and "birdying" balls.
"Is eagling good or bad?" I ask him, every time the word crops up. "I keep on getting it mixed up- cuz it sounds like it could go either way."

At first, I'll admit, I had some problems maneuvering the Black Berry.
"AH, I think I just took a picture of my foot! Oh, yeah. Ya, I did. How do I get it off of here?"
"What are you trying to do?"
"Read your texts."
"Well, how did you?... how is it?"
He takes the phone from me, looks annoyed, presses some buttons and then gives it back to me, the texts pulled up.
I click on one.
"Oh, shit. I think it's calling her now. It is. It says dialing. What do I do?"
"Well who are you calling?"
"Uhm... Katelyn?"
"No! Don't call her. She doesn't even work for me anymore!"
"Well, how do I hang up. Oh, no. I think someone just picked up."
He snatches the phone, has a brief convo with Katelyn, during which he apologizes to her and tells her that his two year old  (evil glare) got hold of the phone.
"What did you do?"
"I just clicked on it."
"Well, you don't click! You use the roller ball!"
"OK. I didn't know that. I don't have any fancy Blue Berry Contraptions."
And then he sighs.
Always the sigh.

Anyways, I am starting to get the hang of going through the texts.
Last night I hit pay dirt.
He accuses me of being paranoid, but the proof is in the pudding, even though I really don't understand that saying at all. Why would there be proof in pudding??

Anyways. Text number 1, from a girl named Leah: (And my husbands job, BTW, is a food and beverage manager.)

"Geoff. Sorry for the short notice but I really need to get off on Thanksgiving. Is there any way you could make this happen."

"What the hell!" I ask. "So you and Leah, huh?'
"No. She wants to get Thanksgiving off because her grandmother's coming in to town."
"Yeah, right. I wasn't born yesterday."

Text Number 2, from a girl named Bree:

"Geoff, sorry I couldn't come on the weekend."

"WTF?" I ask. "Are you going to deny this? That you couldn't close the deal for Bree on the weekend?"
"I asked her to come in for an extra shift on Saturday, but she couldn't make it in."
"Yeah, right. You have an answer for everything."
"Because there IS an answer for everything!"

Text Number 3, from a girl named Sasha, really was the last nail in the coffin.

"Geoff, sorry I'm late, not  feeling good this morning. Be there in10."

"She's pregnant!"
"She's not pregnant! She was late. For a shift."
"Yeah, because she has morning sickness, apparently."
"She doesn't have morning sickness. She has a cold! She took a Claritin and came in."
"I don't think she should be taking Claritin if she's pregnant. Is the baby yours? Or what?"
"Randine. Seriously! She's sixteen years old."
"Sixteen years old! For Gods sake, you could go to jail for that!"

Anyways, you can see that I have a lot on my mind right now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You Never Forget Your First

Forgive me for misleading you, but I'm talking about manuscripts.
I just thought it would be a catchy title.
It might bring me a lot of traffic, although it may not be exactly the kind of traffic I want.
Once, someone stumbled across my blog by googling "here we go again nipple shot"
Really? I thought. Do I write about nipples on here?
Apparently I do, in My Life As A Shadowy Figure.
Which might explain why that post boasts the most page views, and continues to get new page views every day.
Unfortunately, I don't think it was exactly what they were looking for.
I feel kind of bad about that. Whoever googled that and came up with this blog must have been totally disappointed. Probably felt like throwing something at the computer.
Oh, well. You can't please everyone, can you?
Anyways, manuscripts.

It might surprise you to learn, Internet, that Having Grace was not my first.

My first manuscript was completed in 2006 or thereabouts, and the genre was romantic suspense.
It was called Blood Relative. I wrote in an attempt to prove to myself that I could, having had, to that point, several projects abandoned at various points in the story, mostly near the beginning.
I didn't query very widely for it. I think I queried maybe four people. (And my query letter sucked HARD, BTW. I don't have a copy of it anymore, which is good because I wouldn't even want to look at it. I think it started with "To Whom It May Concern." I shouldn't even be telling you about that. You'll probably hate me now, probably judging me like that lazy eyed cashier at 7-11 on the weekend. But we're cool like that, aren't we, Internet?  Anyways. It was bad, and  I think I want to shoot my four years ago self. If they ever invent time travel I think I'm going to do that. Except I wouldn't be here right now. Time travel is so complicated.)
The problem was, I wasn't in love with the manuscript myself, so how could I expect anyone else to be?
I might have been able to revise it, but I wasn't even sure where or how to start.
After sitting on it for a  while I finally had a revelation. I needed to just start over. Blank slate.
And so I opened my laptop and began anew, on Page 1. The idea for Having Grace was burning in my mind, and so I wrote it.

But, I still had feelings for my first, at least the idea of it. Eventually, I reworked it into what is now my work in progress, Deal Breaker.

In Blood Relative-- basic plot summary: a young girl gets involved, for various reasons- most of which are boring and have to do with her back story, with an older man and gets married after only a brief courtship. Problems ensue when his estranged teenaged son shows up on their door step one night. The teenaged boy has problems, which quickly become evident. Things begin to go wrong- dismembered animals, missing local girls. She begins to suspect her stepson, but her husband doesn't support her, makes her feel like she's losing her mind, and eventually she begins to suspect her husband as well.

Anyways, the concept of the prodigal child returning speaks to me still, and I decided to rewrite it as a rom-com. Put a shady, sulky male as the step child and you have a ready made romantic suspense.
But substitute it for a sulky teenage girl and you have a ready made romantic comedy.
So I began writing Deal Breaker, which has- essentially, the same set up- a young girl who gets married- for reasons that have to do with her back story- to an older man after only a brief courtship (Although, ICK, I hate to use the word 'courtship'. It makes me think of Mormon Fundamentalists or something for some reason. Oh, God, I hope no one finds this blog by googling "Mormon Fundamentalists". I'll get hate mail for sure.)
The setting, I guess, sets the two apart.
In Blood Relations, the setting was in a remote, rural location characterized by heavy snow storms and frequent road closures.
Deal Breaker is in an urban setting.

It didn't seem like a big switch to go from romantic suspense to romantic comedy.
I think it's because when you have conflict, you have comedy. Or, at least, the potential for it.
Well, depending on the conflict.
If the conflict is being chased by an axe murderer, comedy might be a hard sell.
But I'm exactly that person that who sees the humour in even gruesome scenarios. "We'll laugh about this some day," I often find myself saying.
Throw something bad at me and I laugh at it.
Seriously, I've laughed at funerals.
I've laughed when Alex was locked in a car.
I've laughed when my kids tried out their first swear words.
My husband gets mad at me about that, and I laugh at that, too. "Go take your blood pressure pills," I tell him when he gives me that look. "I'm not going to do CPR on you if that throbbing vein in your forehead explodes. I'm too tired for it. Makes my arms sore."
Because damn it if it isn't fucking hilarious to hear a two year old say "Shit!" when he spills his juice, or whatever.

Anyways, sorry about the length of this post.
I hope it wasn't too boring for you.