Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School

She looked so small, laden with a back pack that weighed at least as much as she did.
I brought her to her classroom, where she took a seat next to her friend, Taylor- the boy that she "broke up" with in the spring to "focus on her studies".
Were they back together? Or just mere friends? Whatever "dating" means in Grade 1 terms.
You see? There's so much I don't know about her already.
Some girls filed in and huddled around Payton, commenting on her clothes and hair and backpack.
I stood back.
She waved at me, giving me the signal to go.
Still, I stood there.
She looked so small.
Another mom stood by the door way, half in and half out, which was sort of how I was feeling.
"I feel kind of bad just leaving her here," I told her. She nodded her understanding.

Reluctantly, I left after another, more emphatic, good bye wave from Payton.
For some reason, I felt a sense of sadness come over me.
It was entirely unexpected. When I dropped her off at Kindergarten for the first time I was like "Hallelujah, she's someone Else's problem now. At least for three hours a day, most days."
Three hours a day is one thing.
A full day is another.
And it made me so sad that once, I dropped Gage off at Grade 1, in that very room. Payton was a newborn, swaddled and sleeping in her stroller. The other kids swarmed me every day, looking at the baby, little faces peering into the stroller, firing questions at me: how old was she (that one I could handle) , where did she come from (er, ask your own parents, kid) and what she ate (how to explain breast feeding to a six year old?)
And today, that baby started Grade one herself.
I wonder where the time went.

Oh well, at least I still have one (sort of) baby- as long as you don't call him a baby to his face. That might get you slapped.
But he calls waffles 'tacos', which is sort of endearing, once you get past the confusion of him demanding tacos at seven in the morning. And Kleenex is still contraband in our house, which is also sort of endearing, the way he plucks each and every one from the box with reckless abandon.
We use toilet tissue on our nose.
It works well enough.

Anyways, I did not post yesterday. I was sharpening pencils like a madman and smoothing nerves (mainly my own) and picking out clothes with Payton- which you know is an ordeal, and at the end of the day I had a headache.
And a heart ache.
Oh, well. At least we are saving on daycare fees??

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Replay: This and That

It's Friday, and I'm feeling tired, not feeling like posting anything at all.
But, there's lots of good content on this blog. So I'm going to repost something from March/2009.
If you've read it before- forgive me.

This and That

Just a word of warning- this contains what I will call politely "mature content". This is my post Shraz drinking post, so it may not be for everyone.

Once I had a conversation with my husband.
Okay, I've had many, but usually they're totally boring like this "we need milk. See you later. Bye." or "I just let the cat outside." But every now and then we have an interesting conversation, and this is one of them. 'Interesting' in a funny kind of way, rather than in a profound or prolific or deep or "dude that's way out there" kind of way. Anyways. Without further ado: This is actual dialogue from an actual conversation I had with my actual husband, a page right out of my own life, such as it is.

He asked me, and I'm honestly not sure what possessed him to ask me this, if I ever took money for sex. That was pretty much a big N-O, I mean who does?? but I decided that I wanted to kind of, let's say, make things more interesting, by which I mean outright lie, so I said "yeah, once. A long time ago and I'm not proud of it." All serious like. He was like "how much did you get paid" and I said "forty bucks," which seemed reasonable, because after all- how much does sex go for?? I don't have the faintest idea at all. He was like "well, what all did you do for forty bucks?" to which I didn't know what to say. I'm not really down with the sex trade lingo, so I said the first thing that came to my mind, which (rather unfortunately) was "Over Easy. And Sunny Side Up." He was like "those sound suspiciously like the way eggs are prepared." And I was like "Ya, well, where do you think those names come from? The oldest profession in the world. And besides. In the sex trade, we talk in code. You never know when you might be talking to a Narc." And really, when you think of it, Sunny Side Up does sound provocative. I'm thinking- missionary?? And over easy?? Well, that one is open to a lot of possible interpretations. And then he asks me, as he pondered all of this, "did the guy ask for his money back?"

To which I might have taken offense, but I could only laugh in response. Because, after all, he has a point. These days, my idea of 'good sex' is if I can still watch the Tonight Show without interruption. I mean, honestly. If the thirties are supposed to be some kind of a peak, then I'm totally screwed.
Pardon the pun.

So, naturally, sometimes I do think about taking up an affair, but then I think you know, I'm just not sure I'm up for it, energy wise. So much to do- I'd have to shave my legs more often (more often?? OK, at all, ever), get new underwear. Specifically, underwear other than 'Hanes Her Way' (God damn them for being so comfortable), that kind of thing. Now you're probably thinking that's bad, and not just the Hanes Her Way part, but the whole affair thing in general. But I only mean it, really, in the abstract. Like when I watched PS I Love You, I absolutely, totally and completely fell in love with the character of Gerry. And then I start to think....

Well I won't tell you what I started to think. Although it may or may not involve the Sunny Side Up and/or Over Easy.

Anyways. I'm pretty sure that a) Gerry is not real and b) even if he was real he died of a brain tumor so c) it's harmless to daydream a little bit. But mark my words- if I ever get married again (which you know, is very unlikely) I will marry someone with an Irish accent, or brogue or whatever they call it, if I have to travel the world over to find it. The thicker the accent better. And he will have a Celtic tattoo as well. Maybe several. I don't know. We'll have to see.

Anyways. Onto purer subjects

Some good news. Well, actually bad news that turned into good news. I had a really bad, raging mouth infection. My whole jaw hurt so bad I couldn't hardly open my mouth at all except for like a little, teeny, tiny crack. At first I thought, OH NO, TETANUS!!-- because, remember, I'm really way long overdue for my booster. But, thankfully, it wasn't tetanus and I'm still alive- for now- although I wouldn't say the crisis is over. But anyways. The only thing I could eat was soup and Carnation Instant Breakfast. So I started taking antibiotics. And bonus!! The antibiotics caused a really severe bout of vomiting and diarrhea, which was kind of a bitch at the time but today I weighed myself and I lost like 5 pounds!! I was like "Wow. If only I got these mouth infections more often." One a month and I would be good. Twice tops.

And now the bad news. I'm back to hating the dentist. I went a few weeks ago for a cleaning and it was BRU-TAL. I think the technician had the term "cleaning" my teeth confused with "gouging" my teeth. But I had a good run there. I've now had enough dental work done (I think- keep your fingers crossed for me) that if I die horribly and my body is too much of a mess to identify, due to 'decomp' (as they say on CSI) or burning or what have you, I'll have enough dental records to ID me, which is a huge relief right there.
That's some good piece of mind, just to know that.

Anyways. That's that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Still Stabby

I regret to inform you that the Vitamin D did not do as promised and cure my stabbiness. At first, I thought maybe it was working. Suddenly I felt all footloose and fancy free. I had the sudden urge to dance to "Money Money", and to tell everyone around me that its the best song of the 80's, no OF ALL FUCKING TIME.
But then I just realized I was just drunk.
Once I sobered up a bit, the stabbiness came back with a vengeance.
I don't know if it has anything to do with the fact that I missed nearly all the doses and then took all seven at once?
There was literally no directions on the bottle. It said, and I quote "Take as directed."
So I just did what I did with the birth control pill, which was to take all of the missed doses as a mass, catch up dose. Which seemed to work pretty good.
Minus the three kids, of course.

Anyways. The stabbiness came back.
"How on earth do you stay so SLIM, Randine," a coworker asked me. The way she said it, it sounded almost like an accusation of some sort.
Immediately I felt vaguely defensive.
After all, I wouldn't ask someone "How on earth do you stay so CHUBBY?"
Oh but I suppose since I'm not (supposedly) chubby it's OK to ask about my stature in front of a roomful of people? This goes back to my days as an awkward preteen. A traumatic incident.  I was all dressed up to go to a wedding. My self esteem was shoddy, even then- especially then, but having said that I was feeling pretty proud of myself with my french twist and black dress. And then one of my old, eccentric aunties approached me, and in front of everyone said with a swirl of her drink:
"OH, LOOK AT YOU, but aren't you just a BEAN POLE!"

Anyways, flash forward twenty years and I am still taking flack for it.
Another coworker jumped in, perhaps sensing my discomfort.
"It's called three kids and a full time job," she said with a laugh.
End of conversation.
She (the other co worker, the offending party) dug her feet in the ground, shook her head. "No. I have a kid and a full time job," she said staunchly.
First of all- your kid is twenty three years old. That's a little different than chasing a two year old.
Or at least, it should be.
Secondly, your job?
Sitting on a chair for eight hours a day.
My job?
Being run off  my feet for eight hours a day.
"It's your metabolism," she pronounced. "Some people are just lucky."
I felt the stabiness prickling me everywhere.
"No," I said. "I'm actually pretty crazy busy most days. Half the time I don't get a chance to eat."
She still looked skeptical, perhaps because I had a doughnut on my lunch break, which she had seen me consume.
Well, sue me for having one doughnut in the last month.
Okay, maybe two. And actually, it was a long john.
But still.
The point is, I eat pretty fricking healthy nine times out of ten. Or at least seven or eight.

So as promised, the stabiness scale revisited:
How stabby do you feel on a scale of one to ten: nine
Pink or purple: pink
Favorite pizza topping: cheese
What are you wearing right now: khaki pants and a tank top (an improvement you say: not really. I'm only not in my pyjamas because I'm behind in the laundry. What am I going to wear to bed tonight you ask? Geoffs Corona tank top that he got free from a rep at work. I know. Awesome.)
First word that comes to mind when you hear the word knife: carve
Was Lassie good or evil: Evil.

I think its an improvement.
Basically, the only question that counts is the first one.
The rest are just for fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hell at 8 Sharp.

I still remember my first day back to work following my year long maternity leave.
Geoff and I both woke up at six, had coffee together, got stuff ready for the kids, checked the weather forecasts, selected outfits for ourselves and the kids, showered, woke the kids up, made breakfast, ate breakfast with the kids, walked them to daycare, since it was a nice morning, came home and then left for work in our separate vehicles after a hug and some softly spoken words.

Fourteen months have interceded.
And things have gone to hell in a hand basket.
No more chit chat over coffee before the kids wake up.
No more early morning walks to daycare.
This morning went like this:
The blare of the alarm clock, which I promptly shushed with the most wonderful invention in the world:: Snooze.  Finally get out bed, grumbling, at 7:30, throwing objects at Geoffs snoring head to get him out of bed (not sharp objects- just little things).
Go into the kids room, give them their first gentle shake that it's time to wake up.
Quick shower.
Second, not so gentle, shake for the kids to get up. Lights on in the bedroom.
The cats meow at me, circling my feet, waiting not so patiently by their food dish. "Shut it," I tell them.
(Oh, I feed them- eventually, so don't be getting all humane society on me.)
Do my hair haphazardly.
Pull the one or two shirts that is hanging limply in my closet out and get dressed.
Extract the kids from their beds by force.
Throw a pair of clothes at them, grabbed at random.
Payton throws her dress back at me. "I don't want to wear this dress. I want to wear this dress," she says, pulling out a dress that's two sizes too small. "It doesnt' fit," I tell her, bracing myself for it.
She throws herself on the floor, crying. No, not crying. Shrieking. Howling. Wailing.
Alex looks at her. "Sisters crying," he tells me, as though I can't hear her. As though everyone within a five mile radius can't hear her. I walk away from that scene, closing the door behind me. The thought crosses my mind: I wonder if they still perform exorcisms?

I start browning beef to throw in the crock pot to make chili for supper tonight.
Payton yells at me from her room, demanding something.
I rush to help her get dressed.  I comb the snarls out of her hair. I put a bow in it. I watch at the window with Alex on my hip as the Garbage Truck comes,  a weekly must see spectacle in our house.
I give the kids cold cereal for breakfast and a half a banana for Alex. Payton regards the banana with loathing. "I hate bananas" she says.
Yesterday, she liked them. I can't keep up.
Finish making the chili.
Look all over the house for a stray shoe. Find the stray shoe in the laundry hamper, of course, where else??
Help Payton pack for her field trip today.
"She has a field trip today?" Geoff asks me as Payton and I discuss it.
He is so out of the loop sometimes. I give him a look.
Rush out the door ten minutes before I'm expected at work.

And my husband?
His schedule?
Wake up. Go to garage for a cigarette.  Come inside for long shower. Shave-- lengthy process. Get dressed-- another lengthy process. Grab a cup of coffee and leave.
I think I need to start drinking something stronger than coffee in the morning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Life In B Flat

That was the last coherent thought I had last night, if you can call that coherent.
I don't know why those words came to me, I have no idea what B flat is. Even after looking it up on Wikipedia, I'm still not so sure. It has to do with music.
But I like it, despite the fact that is sounds like a reference to my chest size.
It just sounds so perfectly like the way my life has been going lately. Sort of humdrum.

It's called the hynagogic. That state where you're straddling sleep and wake at the same time, and you can think of lots of weird things in this state.  I learned all about at a work mandated Sleep Seminar, which was awesome, but in a sucky kind of way, because it make me sleepy. Basically a three day seminar with break out sessions and power point and all that (no actual sleeping), which basically boiled down to: sleep is good. You should get some.

I disregarded most of the things we learned.
-Listen to nature sounds at bedtime (I  hate nature. I want the Sopranos.)
-No TV in the bedroom (See: above)
-Invest in the most expensive mattress you can afford. (I'd rather eat, thanks)
-Whatever time you first wake up in the morning- be it five or six or seven, just wake up. Don't disrupt your body's natural sleep cycle by forcing yourself back to sleep. (F that. There is NO WAY I'm getting up at five, unless the house is on fire. And even then, I'd be like "let's just wait it out for a bit. Maybe this will be one of those deals that sticks to the kitchen.")

Crap advise, really, if you ask me.
If you have trouble sleeping, that's what they invented Ambien for.
The only thing that seemed doable for me was to sleep with the window open. Apparently, you should always have fresh air in your room. Doesn't matter if it's forty below, which, where I live, it is for six months of the year.
Sleeping with the window open has become a habit for me. But lately I realize that it hasn't been serving me that well, even aside from the fact that during the winter months I could sublet space in my bedroom to a butcher shop. They could hang animal carcasses in there. It would be creepy, but, temperature wise, it would be fine.

There's some kind of an animal in my yard. I don't know what it is but it sounds like a porpoise getting a root canal. Not that I know what that sounds like. But it makes this sound, a sound like nothing I've ever heard before, some kind of a keening sound, almost, maybe.
And the other night, someones car alarm went off for about ten solid minutes. Finally, mercifully, it stopped.
I was just starting to fall back asleep when it started going off again. Maybe it was someone else's. I didn't know, couldn't be sure. But I was like "just steal the mother fucking car already, what is the hold up?"
Then again, maybe it was the porpoise.
I don't know.
But I'm tired.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Favorite Rejections

I have, by now, accumulated quite a few rejection letters.
Rejection is rejection, no matter what the wording. But still, some have stung less than others. Some have even made me smile.
These are my two favorite ones:


This sounds promising but I'm not really looking for this kind of book right now so have decided to pass. Don't be discouraged -- I'm looking for dark crime and thrillers right now. Your query is quite appealing and I'm positive other agents will reply to it with interest, so keep trying elsewhere.

Best of luck.
Ann Collette

Dear Author,

Thank you for writing to me about your project. I'm so sorry for the impersonal response, I hate to do this. The Friedrich Agency used to respond directly to each query, but the letters have now reached a volume that is frankly unmanageable. Writing a good book or a good proposal is among the hardest things in the world to do; I promise, we're not unsympathetic! You have our word that we are reading every single query letter that comes our way, but from now on, we're only responding personally if we're sufficiently curious and would like to read further. Please don't take offense at this Draconian measure-- there is undoubtedly a wonderful agent out there for whom your book might just be the perfect match. Toward that end, I wish you all the best of luck!

Take care,
Lucy Carson

I really like the last one here, how it manages to side step an actual rejection.
And the first one- so sweetly worded.

That is all for now.
Sorry for the lack of blogging, but life is getting in the way.
Life's a bitch, sometimes. It can be that car that pulls up beside you and smiles politely. Or it can be that car that comes careening into your lane head on, leaving you swerving and breathless and swearing, which is sort of how I'm feeling right now.
Issues for another day, perhaps.
Good night.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feeling Stabby

Every morning when I wake up, I tell myself: "I am not going to feel stabby today. NO MATTER WHAT. Not even a little bit, Randine. And I'm serious this time. You're not going to pull that shit you did yesterday."

Don't look at me like that. Everyone talks to themselves sometimes, I think.

"Choose Your Attitude" I say, thinking of this work- what do they call it- morale, I think- thing that we had to watch at work where people threw fish at each other and laughed about it and a bunch of weird shit like that.
But the stabiness comes, anyways.


Geoff and I have this ongoing feud between jasmine rice and sticky rice.
I prefer jasmine rice, and being the buyer and preparer of the food- jasmine rice it is in our house.
Geoff always sulks about this.
Tonight we sat down to eat, he scooped the rice on his plate with a heavy sigh, as though burdened by this hardship.
"Look." I said, dropping my fork with a loud clank.  "If you don't like the rice, don't fricking eat it."
"I didn't even say anything about the rice. I was just breathing."
And suddenly I'm stabby again. I'm looking at my fork and thinking about making it into a shank. Or better yet- I could just use that steak knife right beside it.

And then I go on my Facebook page and I see someones status update:
"I would rather go to jail for spanking my kids than see them go to jail because I didn't."
Three people "liked" this status.
Which, whatever.
But. First of all: as if you're going to go to jail for spanking your kid. You're not getting any sympathy from me on this.
And secondly, don't take the moral high ground on me because I'm not a spanker. I doubt, highly doubt, that my children are going to end up jail because I didn't spank them.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that if you go to a prison right now- any prison- and asked any random inmate in there what caused them to become criminals, "Too much coddling from my parents" would not be the first thing out of their mouths.
In fact, I think that's just about the last thing they might way.
So SHUT IT with your self righteous status updates.
I don't freaking need it.

But now I know why I'm so stabby.
Vitamin D.
I read on a website- very legit I'm sure- that Vitamin D deficiency is basically the root of all evil.
Feeling tired?
Vitamin D
Feeling cranky?
Vitamin D
Vitamin D
Vitamin D
Vitamin D
Married to Mel Gibson?
Vitamin D

So I'm going to start on Vitamin D, and see if I feel less stabby in a week.
And to test my hypothesis, I'm going to self administer a stabby scale, which I created just now in my head, which has basically no psychological validity at all whatsoever, but I think it will be a good pre test post test measure.

How stabby do you feel on a scale of 1-10: 10
What are you wearing right now: Pyjamas
Pink or purple: Pink
Favorite Pizza Topping: Cheese
The first word that comes to mind when I say knife: stab
Yellow or orange: neither
Was Lassie good, or evil: Evil. That's why they shot him.

OK. So now we wait. I'll start taking the Vitamin D and let you know in a week if I'm less stabby.
In the meantime, do not stop by, unless you want to get stabbed. We can just chat online, it's better that way for both of us: less stabbing for you, and I can stay in my pyjamas, and I don't have to clean my kitchen. Not that I would anyways. I would just steer you clear of the kitchen.

My poor,dear aunty decided to pay me a visit this weekend past. I wasn't in a very good mood. The kids had been in and out for about a solid hour, always leaving the door wide open. The dog had run away about eleven times. Alex had woken up from his nap about three times.
"Stop coming in and out," I told them firmly, shutting the door behind them and locking it.
Three seconds later. Ding Dong.
"I told you to stay out!" I said as I flung the door open.
And there stood my dear old aunty with a sheepish look on her face and pink present in her hand.
"Sorry, I guess I should have called first."
I kind of felt like an asshole about that.
Anyways. Blame it on the Vitamin D.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chick Lit is Not Dead.

I was pretty excited to find out that I've won a copy of this book: What I Thought I Knew,  from this website: Chick Lit Is Not Dead

I went upstairs and told Geoff the good news.
You would think he would be excited about this.
But of course, this is Geoff here. The one who told me that my idea to get famous by building the worlds Most Giantest Taco was not only a really terrible idea,  but the sentence structure was piss poor as well. The words "Most" and "Giantest" shouldn't be used together, which I already knew, obviously, thank you very much, but I think it just sounds awesomer that way. And then he tells me that 'awesomer' isn't actually a word, which according to 'urban dictionary' it is, but he says that's not an actual dictionary.
Anyways, last night when we were watching the news I saw a story about some people who had made the Guiness Book of World Records for making the worlds largest chain of human dominoes. "When they run the story about the people who create the Worlds Most Giantest Taco- when not if, because it will happen, it's just a matter of time- you're going to be sorry." I told him.
He didn't seem too threatened. He just rolled his eyes. "The Giantest Taco again, Randine. I really think we should just drop that."

That's just how he is.
This is what he said of the free book:
"Chrissakes, Randine. Did you sign yourself up for another one of those buy a book for a penny deals and then they jack up the prices to forty dollars a book and they're sending you one every other day and then our credit rating  gets ruined and we've been blacklisted by every financial institution in town and all we have to show for it is a large collection of Jeffrey Deaver books?", which, incidentally I didn't see him complaining about the Jeffrey Deaver gravy train while we riding high on it.
"No, this isn't one of those scams!" I replied, indignant. "I don't know what kind of a person would even fall for that."
He just looked at me.
Because, of course, I fell for that. You already know that.
But, the thing of it was that I had to order the books to get entered into the final round of the sweepstake, which by this point, I may have had already won, so said they. They even sent me a check to the sum of 999,999.99 with the words "Not for tender or trade" on the bottom in big block letters, which, as it turns out, means you can't cash it. Which wasn't good. Nor did I win the sweepstakes, either, which was pretty weird because by the time I made it to the final round I had, apparently, a one in three chance of winning.

But this is legit. It's a free book-- and a really good book at that. Chick Lit. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Deaver.
My life just got pimped.
Now I just have to wait four to six weeks for delivery.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pimp My Life

It started raining when I was driving home from work last night, which was fine with me.
Geoff was working late (again)-- either he's having an affair or he's one busy guy at work.
Let's hope for the latter.
Either way, the result is the same- pick up the kids from two separate day cares, go home, cook supper, clean the house, bath the kids, get them to bed, feel exhausted at the end of the day, and ironically- lonely- given that I never get a mere moment to myself from the time I open my eyes in the morning until the time they close sixteen hours later.
It occurred to me when I was driving home that my life feels sometimes like it's just a series of tasks I have to tick off of a list.
Being a list inclined person, this suits me most of the time.
But yesterday it just felt... dreary or something.
Maybe it was just the rain.

"Do you want to go to Petland?" I asked the kids once they were picked up, thinking that I could use some puppy love.
The kids were ecstatic, and this pleased me.
We had to walk through the mall, which was an ordeal, to get to Petland.
Payton wanted to buy a purse she saw in a window.
Alex wanted to buy a motorcycle he saw a poster of.
They both wanted to get some candies from those blimey machines they have every three feet. Every three feet brought another temper tantrum.
Finally we got to Petland. And there it was: brace yourself. Another make shift sign on the door.
The store was closed.
Come Back Tomorrow! the sign said.

There was still the matter of supper of to contend with. Passing by Safeway, I decided to pick up a Rotisserie chicken.
I trudged through the store with the kids, who were still pissy about the whole Petland thing. They wanted to buy everything they saw along the way- didn't matter if it was a loaf of rye bread or a package of Chicken Oxo. They wanted it.

Finally we got to the deli. No make shift sign this time, but as I approached the spot where the chickens would be I could see that it was devoid of any chicken. A lonely box of meat loaf sat instead, a pale glob of gray meat smothered in a mysterious orangey sauce.
I knew this wouldn't go over well with the kids, but I felt entirely out of options, so I picked it up.

I got home, setting the bags down to hurry to the bathroom.
"NO JD!" I could hear Payton shouting from the living room a few seconds later. (JD=our dog, by the way.)
And then more insistently; "JD!STEP BACK!!GET!!"
And then she was banging on the door, screaming "Alex tried to open the meatloaf and he dropped it on the floor and now the dog's eating it."


So the dog ate the dinner and Alex was screaming in protest- who knew that he was so attached to meatloaf??

The only thing that lightened my mood was when I was driving home, I saw this sign on the pickup truck in front of me: "I spent most of my money on women and booze.  I wasted the rest."

Someone commented to me once "I really like these stories you come up with."
I was like these are not stories.
This is my actual life.
Pimp it, someone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

That Explains It

I think I may have stumbled across the reason I have not yet been able to get an agent when I stumbled across this website: You Say Weird Like It's a Bad Thing.
According to this list of rules for writers, I have done nearly everything wrong.
Which means, I think, that I've actually done something right.
It's a good time.
Just so you know: it will give you a content warning before you enter the site, which made a little nervous. I wondered for a second if I was going to be bombarded with images of weird sex stuff, stuff that might actually get me fired from my job for merely having it on my browser history.
But it's not bad. So don't worry.
It's interesting, I thought, that the way they tell you to query an agent runs completely contrary to everything I've read on agency websites. But I guess that's because the agents aren't going to spell out the secret to success. They want you to dig for it yourself.
If only I had read this before I started querying...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Things You Might Want To Run By Me First

Things you might want to run by me #5- right after #4 "I've signed us up for a RIF."

I have no idea what a RIF is, but immediately I do not like the sounds of it. If it's one of those things where the bank takes our money and locks it up until we're 70 years old then I want no part of it. Live in the now, I think. I mean, what good is money going to do us when we're old anyways? I've seen old people shopping in the grocery store and I'll tell you what they buy:
-a can of tuna
-a half loaf of bread (I didn't even know you could buy them like that.)
-a can of peaches
-a 250 ml container of heavy cream (for the peaches, I hope, not the tuna)
-a quart of prune juice.

Being old does not look expensive. Having three ever hungry kids is.

But anyways. Without further ado: #5: the acquisition of a new family pet.

I was quite surprised this morning to learn that there is a frog looming in our not too distant future.
Yes, a frigging frog.
Payton came running into the house after sitting outside with Geoff. "Guess what? Dad says that if I keep my room really clean I can get an aquarium and we can get a frog!"
Screw me over much, Geoff?
Because what can I say to her? She looks so excited. She's picked out a name for her frog: Rose. (Why Rose, you ask? Because Rose is her middle name, which was in honor of Geoff's deceased mother, her would-be grandma) I guess Payton had decided to bestow the name sake on her hypothetical pet. I'm sure Rose would be touched by the gesture.)

But honestly- another mouth to feed is something I need about as badly as I need a RIF.
And you know I'll be the one feeding the blimey thing.
Which I might not even mind, if it were of the cute and cuddly species of animal. But the slimey and warty species I care not for.
I appreciate what Geoff was trying to do. He's trying to keep her motivated to keep her room clean, because the way it is now- it looks like the room barfed all over itself. It's pretty bad, and God help the fire department if they ever have to get in there for a fire or whatever.
But surely there are other, non frog ways, of negotiating a cleaner room?
My father never bartered with frogs for me to keep my room clean, or for anything.
It was just clean it the F up or I'll kick your F'n ass.
Is there something so wrong with that??

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kitchen Nightmares

The three words I hate most in the English language are, quite possibly, "what's for supper?"
A close second: Parent Participation Day!! at my daughters dance studio.
And also: "Look at Stephenie Meyer!" from well meaning family members. Okay, that's four words, but close enough.  I don't begrudge her success or her book (I devoured Twilight and the whole series just like everyone else), but the point is not everyone will get famous from their book. Some of us will have our day jobs forever, or at least until we qualify for pension.
Which isn't a bad thing.
I get to jab people with needles all day at my job, and what could be better than that??

Anyways, as I was saying.
As soon as I get home from work I get swarmed by my family. "What's for supper?" they want to know.
I never know. Mentally I run through the contents of the fridge and cupboards, churning up unrelated items such as pickles and hamburger and flour and watermelon.
Is there a meal in there?
I didn't think so.
I ask Geoff for his input. He shrugs. "Whatever."
"Fine." I say, picking the easiest thing I can think of. "Pancakes."
"What? Pancakes, for supper?" Geoff asks.
OK, it is unorthodox, but come on. I've just worked for eight hours and I'm tired.
"Well, what do you want?"
He shrugs again. "I don't know. Anything. Whatever."
"Fine. Tacos."
Second easiest thing I can pick.
"Tacos? Again?" my husband asks, disappointed.

It's frustrating.
When did I become the maker of the menu plans? I don't ever recall having an explicit conversation about this. But I guess it's probably just as well that I am, otherwise I fear we would be eating a lot of chili and stew- from a can.

And so, you tell me: what's for supper in your house?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mission Accomplished.

I am happy to say that I have now successfully impregnated my MC.
Okay. First of all: new rule.
'MC' no longer stands for Miley Cyrus on here.
It now stands for main character.

I am referring to my main character, Cynthia Jacobson. I've struggled with her from the get-go because she is not at all like me. She's all sharp angles, hard edges, cat eye glasses,Versace suits,Virginia Slims and obnoxious eye rolling.
So to write a sex scene involving her seemed daunting to me.
But I was surprised to find out that was friskier than I thought.
I do not write with an outline, which means that I am learning as I go about my characters and their motivations. Just like I do on here, I just write about whatever flits into my head.
Somehow, eventually, it's always something, even when I sit down and think "I've got nothing. Nada."

Cynthia, as it turns out, is not nearly as unlikeable as I portrayed her in Having Grace.
In fact, I think there might be a part of me in her, after all.
I can probably come off as all sharp angles and hard edges sometimes, too.
I think it's mainly because I suck at small talk. I do not know why our society demands so much of it of us.
For example, my doomed relationship with Jane.
I think I might have alienated her with the first sentence that came out of my mouth.
"I'm so! glad! Payton lives on the same block as us!" she said when we first discovered that we were (ick) neighbours. "Some of the kids that live around are here sort of... rough," she whispered.
"I know," I said, trying to be nice. "I saw a little boy across the street playing with a cap gun. Like, where are his parents, hey?"
"That's my son, Zach," she replied, defensively.
"Oh. Well. I didn't mean anything by it. I just. I didn't think they sold cap guns anymore."
But I think the damage was done.
And then, of course, there was the ill fated elevator conversation with the hot guy.
Technically, I guess I can't really call it a conversation. Since, technically, I didn't actually say anything.
One of the reasons that I suck at small talk, I think, is because I'm a nurse. In nursing, there is no small talk.

"Hello, Mrs. Chester. How are you today?"
"Ugh. I'm shitting blood again. My husband thought I delivered a baby in the toilet this morning."
"The hemorrhoids are back, you mean? I thought the banding surgery went so well?"

I'm not saying that I would rather talk about what or what not may be hanging our of your ass than say, the weather or how fast the summer's going (which- OK, it is going fast, I'll give you that) or what have you.
I'm just saying.
Let's be real.

Friday, August 6, 2010

On Writing, Part Two (AKA- But Stephen King has a Penis, Yo.)

I was originally going to write this as a reply to Joanns' comment (Joann's blog, BTW, is super hilarious. She had me at the title: Laundry Hurts My Feelings. Oh, how it hurts my feelings, too. Actually, it doesn't just hurt my feelings. It made me its bitch in prison.) about men not knowing dick about writing like a woman, but then I thought it would be too long winded. On top of that, I feel it rightly deserves its own post.

I had the exact same thoughts about Steve's advice on writing. In fact, I toyed with the idea of calling the post "But Stephen King has a Penis, Yo." but then thought better of it because a) I'm not sure if Blogger will let me use the word 'penis' in a title, b) even if they do, I feel a little self conscious about doing so and c) ultimately I decided that I didn't want to come across as one of those people that feels enslaved by their gender, or like I was making excuses for myself and d) I wondered if Steven King might sue me. So I called it "On Writing" and left it at that.

As far as a) goes: I guess we're about to find out if Blogger will let me use "penis" in a title. As for d) if Stephen King does decide to sue me: jokes on you, Steve. The only thing I have of any value is a frying pan that looks like a robot and can boil water in sixty seconds.

But anyways.
It's a great book. Don't get me wrong. In fact, I told my husband just this evening that I think I would marry Stephen King if I had the chance. Even though I know he's already married to Tabitha. But still.
He's awesome. But he does possess a definitively male viewpoint on writing.  When he describes his daily schedule (writing 2000 words each morning, "naps and letters" in the afternoon, and relaxing and revisions in the evening) I noted with some irritation the glaring absence of several items that consume most of my days.
Pesky but time consuming things like:

-meal preparation three times a day
-grocery shopping
-planning your six year old's up coming birthday (My Little Pony themed, apparently)
-taking your kid to their third dental appointment this week
-unloading the dishwasher. Again.
-washing the floors
-cleaning up the pool of urine your proudly gotchy clad toddler is standing in (which, incidentally, I had to do three times today.)
-bath time
-that endless stretch of time called 'bed time'
-taking your cat for her annual shots
-looking for a half an hour for your daughters favorite Barbie
-trying, in vain, to tackle the ever present mountain of laundry
-taking your kids school supply shopping
-taking your kids to the spray park just because it's kind of nice to see your children splashing in the sun-- the way the sunlight plays on the beads of water that rolls down their face, the way they smell damp but sweet like sunscreen afterwards, the way their laughter is so uninhibited.
-Giving your reluctant dog a bath after she rolled in crap
-Scouring out the bathtub after giving said dog a bath
-Bathing your two year old after he stepped in the crap that the dog rolled in. (Yes, this is my real life. It's awesome.)
-and then of course, as if that weren't enough: work forty hours a week outside of the house to contribute to the household income.

Two thousand words a day sounds not merely difficult, but also, possibly, indulgent for those of us that possess, as my Aunt Becky would delicately put it, hamburgers instead of hot dogs.
Anyways, thanks Joann, for validating my feelings on that subject.
And as always, thanks for reading.
And PS- Lorrie, I liked your comment, too. THANK YOU for your constant comments. You never let me down.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

On Writing

My husband played in a golf tournament yesterday. The grand prize was $28,000.
He came home with a frying pan.
Oh, I suppose I should be more excited about the frying pan. Apparently, as my husband says, it can boil water in less than sixty seconds.
Which is great for those need water boiled STAT situations, like if someone gives birth on my kitchen floor.
Although I'm not sure, what precisely, the boiled water is for.
I guess I'll just cross that bridge when I get there.

Anyways, today I took the kids school supply shopping.

Alex is now officially a night mare to shop with. I realized this a mere five minutes into the event when he started pulling every back pack off the shelf and loading it into the cart. Trying to remove the back packs from the cart produced high pitched squealing. Other people were giving me that look, the one that says "Can't you DO something with your children."
"Just leave them in there," I told the kids. "We'll take them out later when he's not looking."
Meanwhile I'm shopping with a cart FULL of Buzz Lightyear back packs, like I'm one of those people with a TLC reality show about having fifteen kids. Then I started getting that other look, the one that says "heard of birth control much??"

The next stop was the mall for school clothes. I had a plan. Get a stroller from the mall -they have little steering wheels and Alex likes to drive them. Then go to Kernels and buy a bag of popcorn and then I can shop virtually uninterrupted.  (And if you're saying to me now- give popcorn to a two year old?? Neglect your children much?? I say to you: yes. If it keeps them quiet, I'm willing to try it, even if there is a moderate choking risk attached to it. I do know the Heimlich, after all.)
Easy peasy.

I wasn't pleased, suffice it to say, that after hefting him half way across the mall to the stroller depot, to see a makeshift "Out of Order" sign taped to the machine.
Somehow, I think that the sign is wrong. As though, maybe, there was some kind of a typo. It was meant to say "In order."
It had to be wrong!
I tried in vain to extract a stroller. I asked the security guard to fix it. He replied enthusiastically that the part might be in next Monday, as though this could possibly help me.
From then on out I alternated between carrying Alex and extricating items from him while trying to herd him into stores that he seemed averse to going into.

Our last stop was the bookstore.
For some reason, I felt vaguely flaky asking the salesperson for Stephen King's "On Writing."
(I've already read enough of the book to know that Steve would not like that sentence. "Adverbs are not your friends," he would say. But there it is, modifying the word "flaky." But, Steve, I can't help it. I want to use that adverb so bad. I need it. Because I didn't feel totally flaky, I only felt flaky in some murky way that's hard to define.)
I don't know why I should feel flaky asking an acne prone teenager for a book at a bookstore. But I didn't want to come across as one of these people that has the notion to write a book, picks up a paper back copy of "On Writing" for ten dollars and thinks that publication will ensue.
I simply wanted to read the book.
So far it's going pretty good.
He says this of writing: that you need a room to write in- any room, even. But it must have one thing- a door which you are willing to shut. "The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business."
This makes a lot of sense. The first commitment I made to my writing was the buying of my laptop, "Lappy."
I thought that I needed it to write, because with the kids being all up in my bidness all the time, I wanted something that could be portable. I could take it to the park, or to the lake, or write outside when the kids were playing out there, or write at the kitchen table if I could settle the kids for a few minutes with a craft or something.

And by craft I mean: popcorn.

But this has not been very effective. The kids know now exactly which button to press to turn the thing off. I literally have to hit "save" after every word, having lost many chapters to their impromptu fits of not so random button pressing. And even short of turning the computer off they are absolute terrible distractions. They climb on me and shriek in my ear and ask endlessly for things that they NEVER want when I'm not writing, for example "mom, can you cut me up some carrot sticks and celery."
What's wrong with popcorn, kids?? What??
Anyways. I think that my next commitment might be a dedicated writing space.
Although where I'm going to put it is another issue. A three bedroom house and five people=no space for a writing room. But I guess I can always put a small computer desk in our bedroom. The key is the door.

Bloody brilliant.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Table for Five

Well, I finally did it.

I took the high chair out to the garage (just skip to the last paragraph of that post to get to the bit about the high chair. The rest of it is long winded and whiny.)
It was tough but maybe not as much as I thought it would be.
After all, it was slightly unsightly sitting in the kitchen being used as a catch all for folded laundry and various paper products that haven't made their way into my filing system. The good news: I found Gage's permission slip to his field trip to Pike Lake. The bad news: the field trip was three months ago.

So I've taken out the leaf in the table and added an extra chair, turning it from a table for four into a table for five. Just like that.
I feel, for some reason, immensely proud of my table for five. Despite the fact that it looks rather shabby-- the once pristine white fabric cushioned chairs are now heavily soiled with spaghetti sauce and alphaghetti.

Maybe it's not despite the stains, maybe it's precisely because of the stains.

I've spent a lot of time reading other blogs. My new favorite: Mommy Wants Vodka. I have just come across it recently, which really pisses me off. I don't know how many times I've typed those exact words into my search engine (that means you, Google, I know you hate me) and gotten nothing but advertisements for discount vodka. Which was actually helpful all the same. But the website is even better. No actual vodka there, though. Just so you know.

Anyways, the one thing that I come away with from reading other peoples blogs is that we shouldn't take our children for granted. And that Lindsay Lohan is out of jail. Which worries me.
Lock your doors.
But Lindsay Lohan aside, people are gracious and courageous enough to post their trials and tribulations and sometimes triumphs over infertility, IVF, the illness of a child.
It brings me back to my reality that my table could just easily have been be a table for four.

But after:
-twenty four months of "trying"
-four positive pregnancy tests
-two first trimester miscarriages
-The delivery of Reid-one hundred plus negative pregnancy tests (I know what your thinking. One hundred pregancy tests in twenty four months?? What gives?? I had a problem, OK.)
-twelve vials of blood for genetic screening
-twenty some serial blood tests for HCG monitoring
-twenty one weeks of exogenous progesterone
-ten early obstetrical ultrasounds
-one post partum check up during which I should have been seven months pregnant instead of six weeks post partum, where my health care provider kindly suggested I "see someone" when I burst into tears at the mere sight of a baby in the waiting room. (Notice how people cloak certain words with other words around me?? She carefully sidestepped the term "therapist", although I'm pretty sure that's what she was getting at.)

Alex Reid Makepeace finally became a member of our family.
And even though, yes, he does have the propensity to spill red sauces on my white chairs, and get bubble gum tooth paste caked in my sink, and he has, yes, thrown the odd sippy cup at my head, I could not for a single moment imagine my life without him.
And when people used to ask me why I kept on trying for that third child when it all seemed in vain, I know now that THIS is exactly what I kept trying for:
To set my table for five.
Although I am not sure how much setting is required for the meal I am prepared to serve tonight: tacos (kids choice).
But anyways. The point is I am immensely grateful for these beautiful children.
Well, at least, usually.
Because it's not that awesome getting hit in the head with a Sippee Cup.
Or when they feed your Mac lipglass to the dog, who then has diarrhea for the next ten days.
And when I say "Mac lip gloss" you know I mean "Blistex" because I ain't spending no sixty dollars to have shiny lips.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don't use the "O" word.

Jane is out there and she's been reading this blog.
This I know because the "I am Jane" response has been checked off in my poll, presumably by Jane herself.

How she has found the time to read this blog, though, is completely beyond me. Clearly she is swamped and can't indulge in frivolous and indulgent hobbies like reading, like some people do: AKA me.
So I guess it's fair to say that I can definitely count myself out of those Christmas chocolate molds.
Although, quite honestly Jane, I think you and I both know that the ship has already long sailed on that one.

Anyways, I was quite glad to see that no one clicked the 'no you're over reacting' button.
At least, not yet.
Which must mean that my husband hasn't yet stumbled across this blog. Because that's exactly what he would say. And I have to say that this entirely the wrong approach. Regardless of the circumstances or the situation.
I. Never. Over react. Period. And even when I do, I don't.
I don't know if that makes any sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Because when I'm mad and upset and frothing at the mouth, the last thing you want to tell me is that I'm over reacting.
Because then you will see me over react to being told that I'm over reacting.

Geoff, now wise to my moods, carefully avoids the word "over reacting" and cloaks in language that makes me think, for a second, that he's actually siding with me.

Example: "I think maybe, if we put things in perspective, it might not be that, that bad."
or "I think this might be getting blown out of proportion a little bit"

And at first it's like "Well, I guess maybe."
But then it's like "Wait a minute: Are you saying that I'm over reacting? Is that what you're getting at here? Because I'm not. And further more: I'm not too stupid to read between the lines. You think that you can throw a big word like 'proportion' in there or 'perspective' and it will completely lost of me that you're implying that I'm over reacting. Well it won't. Because now, apparently, you think I'm over reacting and stupid on top of that.

I just don't see what would be so hard about saying "Yes. You are absolutely right. Putting that saucer in the dishwasher without rinsing it was a really stupid and insensitive thing to do, possibly one of the worst things I could have ever done. How shall I begin to make things up to you?"

Even Adsense (Adsense! I thought we were friends) has been on my case about this. I got this for an ad one day: "Prone to angry outbursts? Get a free Alzheimer test today at whatever-whatever-whatever.com-slash-url"

Like really. No, I am not prone to angry outbursts and no I do not want a free Alzheimer assessment. Why they would even suggest this is beyond me. But it pisses me off.
And no, I am not over reacting.