More Nuts in the Shell That Was November

The entire world’s been kind of crazy and I’ve spent the last month or so waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or maybe it’s waiting for the axe to fall. Either way, things were kind of swirly for a month, just like the leaves that Mr. Demonic raked up (28 bags full and counting), but were replaced by more the next day. Funny thing about leaves, they never go where you want them to, and they never stay in one place for a long time.

Hmm… Much like children.

Ms. MiniD managed to flunk out of chemistry last month. I warned against taking a chem class that was scheduled at 8 a.m. on Fridays, but she wouldn’t listen to me, would she? I guess she thought that her roommates might wake her up in time. Or that maybe now that she is 18, she would magically wake up and be ready so early, instead of lying in bed until I threw something at her.

My daughter sleeps like the proverbial log, and she’s been a late sleeper since her early teens. It was murder getting her out of bed when she was in junior high. When her brother was still here and a senior in high school, he did the lobbing of hard objects at her. He was her ride. Of course, he had to go to California for college, thus leaving me with trying to waken her.

I thought things might improve when she got her driver’s license, but instead it got even worse. She was marked tardy so many times, she had detention on a regular basis. Her remedy was to sleep on the couch instead of in her bedroom. That way, she could hear us as we were getting coffee and struggle to wake up.

But I can tell you, it didn’t help much. She’s had so many conversations with me when she was sleeping (and I thought she was awake) that I can’t even count them all. As soon as I left, she would go right back to sleep. We had this same problem with her work schedule. There were a couple of times where I ran back home to shake her tired behind awake.

So after this long protracted period of playing alarm clock, I held out no hope for her. However, it was time for her to figure it out on her own. So I sat there and allowed the counselor to sign her up for an 8 am class. Oh, and I purchased a $30 alarm clock guaranteed to shake the deepest of sleepers. But she still managed to sleep right through, even with all of the aids. She missed so much class, she was falling behind, and thus came the withdrawal.

Let’s just call this a $5,000 F, that’s what Mr. Demonic calls it.

(On the positive side, she re-enrolled into another English class, so she will still get one credit. So let’s just say the F was approximately $3,000.)

Some might remember the brief story about our manager. That, my friends, needs an entire post or two to describe what was going on. However, I will say one thing. Since he’s been gone, the rest of the staff has been far happier. He wants to come back to work, but Mr. D is praying he will get a disability. Although they had been good friends in the past, Mr. D can’t stand the sight of him now. Plus, we pay him too much. We can’t afford it anymore. This may be the year where he actually makes more money than does the Demonic family, and friends, when your husband works 12 hours a day five days a week, and six hours a day the other two, the rewards had better be the hell worth it. At this point, we’re coming dangerously close to it NOT being worth it.

Well, back to work. Tomorrow I think I will discuss this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s a preview: It wasn’t good.

November in a Nutshell Part Deux

A funny thing happened on the way from October to December.


(I always wanted to write something like that. 🙂 )

As many might remember the dim recollection of the US presidential campaign coming to a screeching halt around November 4, so do I. By November 1st, I was way past my tolerance for any more news coverage on Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, and purposefully tuned in to Turner Classic Movies to avoid the news. (Let’s face it, the race was all about them, not the other two guys. Who are they now?)

Election Day turned out a nice day, warm and sunny. In fact, later that week, I picked the last of my tomatoes, and the last one is finally red on my windowsill today. On Election Day, I had to drive my husband, the Dear Mr. Demonic, to the airport at 5:30 a.m. (He did the absentee ballot thing, a very smart move.) He was outbound on a plane to Las Vegas for his annual convention. By the time I returned to my little, soon-to-be frozen city, it was a quarter to seven, and the polls opened at 7. I thought to myself, who the hell would be up this early? And, I’m up and about anyway, might as well vote.

The polls for our precinct is located in a nearby community college. It’s the same college we threatened to send our daughter to, because she could walk to it and it’s a lot cheaper than the private, Catholic college in California that she is attending. The college is basically a courtyard building, where the hallways make a large square and in the middle is some greenery. The hallways are connected. When I entered the building, there looked to be about 25 people in line, which seemed promising. In and out, that’s what I wanted. Still, I knew a record turnout was expected, so I brought the book “How to Get a Literary Agent” by Michael Larsen. (Excellent reference, by the way. I strongly urge all writers to read it.)

My estimate as to the line was wrong. Way wrong. The people in front of me were the first 25, who had already been cleared and were waiting for ballots. Behind them was the rest of my precinct. No joke. I wandered down the first hallway of a hundred or so people, hoping to find the end of the line. When I made the turn to the second hallway, there were another hundred or so people lined up. At the end of that hall, I made another turn, and there was another line, then turned into the final hall, where I finally found the end. There had to be 500 people in line ahead of me.

I settled down to reading my book (standing up) and waited as we slowly proceeded. It took about an hour before I got to the short line, but that was okay, because I managed to almost finish the book. Then it took another fifteen minutes before I got to vote. My ballot was at first rejected by the counting machine, and I had to go back and clean it up. It wasn’t messy. In fact, I am a master at FOSDIC circles, and being a former art major, can color within in the lines with my eyes closed. (Well, at least with my glasses off.) I think that perhaps the machine did not like my choices, so it spit my ballot out. Nevertheless, I returned to my little stand and darkened the circles as prominently as I could. They were so black that they glistened like onyx jewels.

Then I went home and turned off the TV. I avoided newsstands, and refused to talk to anyone. It was obvious who was going to win, and I hadn’t voted for him. (If you must know, I voted my conscience.) If you know me, you know I hate news anyway. Journalism has taken the mucky path down sensationalism and is of the yellow kind these days. Luckily, with my husband off for a week in Vegas, I used the opportunity to make a huge dent in my NaNo efforts. In fact, that week is where I made the most progress.

Hmm… I wonder what that means???

November in a Nutshell Part I

I’ve had to chop this up, since November was such a huge month. So expect my life in nutshell installments over the next couple of days.

NaNoWriMo = a success. I told myself that I was going to use the month of November to get the lead out of my shorts and write a substantial amount of words for the novel that has been gathering dust in my brain. It took me a year and a half to write 70K words. It took me 29 days to write 50K. Yes, I am lazy. But that’s progress. If you’re a fledgling author, I would highly recommend the NaNo route for you next year. If you are highly motivated, as I was, you will automatically reserve a certain amount of time each day to write. I am hoping to continue with the regimen, but it’s hard to say. I have some personal issues that I must address shortly. (More on that later.) Plus, I’m lazy.

I used my real work time to play, so that I wouldn’t have to play once I started writing. This means I was on Facebook during the morning playing Scramble. For those who don’t know, Scramble is very addicting. If you like words, don’t go there; it will be hard to extricate yourself. Depending on the day, I would either leave the office at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. and go home and write. Silence works best for me. Weekends, I wrote in the morning. Most of the sessions were at least three hours long, but I did have a few days where I marathoned about six hours.

The thing about NaNo-ing is that you have a lot of cheerleaders in your corner. Not only did I have trusted friends online urging me on to victory (like the Little Fluffy Cat, Rochester, Dr. B, Corina and others), I also had some real people giving me some good advice. I reached out and did some research, which got the people I spoke to excited for me. They actually want to read the story now, even though my novel is quite chicky and these are old guys. (Well, a little older than I am.) I needed to know how much a guy like this would make if he had an office and agency of a certain size, and they were very helpful. These two guys were actually very funny. I told them that my protagonist had a son who went to school in San Francisco. I told them about the no-good husband, and warned that he wasn’t my real husband, the dear Mr. Demonic. Then they asked me where the family lived, and I said “in my house.” They thought that was hilarious. Research is a good thing, especially if you’re clueless like me. Well, I knew about the story lines, the emotions. Being a mom, being a daughter. But the technical jazz, yes, I needed help. The NaNo people also send you emails to cheer you on. This was beneficial.

I think I have about ten chapters to go before I can wrap this puppy up. Yeah! My character is making a cross-country trek to California. She’s in Colorado now. She must go deep inside herself to find herself, after trauma. It turns out her son has to do the same thing. All ends well in San Francisco, which is where all should end well.

While thinking about the mom-son relationship, I got to thinking about the mom-daughter relationship. So, guess what? As soon as this book is put to bed (and the crazy novella I’ve been working on that just needs an ending), I’m starting another book. It will have a grandma, mom and teenage daughter, set in my northern Tundra town.

Oh. I’m so excited about that.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

This will be my last real post for a month. That’s because starting tomorrow I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

I’m also suspending my work on other blogs and in other forums. I want to concentrate on my novel this time.

This time meaning this YEAR, as opposed to last year, when I made a half-hearted attempt at one of my works in progress. That one is now almost finished, but I need a boffo ending and I’m not sure how to put that particular character out of her misery. There are almost 40K words in that novella, but the heroine seems to get into mishaps that blossom into other mishaps. I had to put that book away, because my brain was getting rather worn out from trying to keep her adventures wild and wacky.

I find that if I tell myself I’m not visiting certain places, I can keep my concentration going for longer than five or ten minutes. Last year, I was engrossed in a certain social networking web site that was time sucking to the nth degree. I committed suicide on that site on January 1 and have found that I suddenly have more time to devote to my serious work.

However, I will be coming back here to read my favorite people. I’ll be doing this during my regular work day hours, although I am going to cut back on my regular work day hours to write. I’m also cutting back on other things, like sleep, food and exercise.

I really want to round the corner to the final few chapters by Thanksgiving.

So, I will be back December 1st. Wish me luck.