Friday, December 22, 2006

Rewriting the Story

I just want to say up front, I am not whining. But it is interesting the way things happen. Fortunately, I'm a writer and I just file away the stories for future use. I'm not alone in this behavior, either. One of the local novelists had his car window smashed and his briefcase stolen during NaNoWriMo (and a nasty cold snap). After all the sympathy and good wishes from others in our area forum, someone piped up, "You are going to put this in your novel, right?" His instant response ("Of course!") made me laugh out loud.

Anyway, here's what's been happening to us lately. It's got the makings of a good story. (By the way, some of the back story is here. More of it is here.)

In this story, the villain is the blizzard. Tuesday evening, we had no idea what was coming. The Man (TM) had gotten a two-night temp job for Wed. and Thur., and my folks would be arriving Friday. The kids had one more day of school, and they were pretty excited about it. Then our neighbor (wonderful woman) called and warned us that we were supposed to get "a foot or two" of snow the next day, not just the small flurries we'd heard about. But she would still try to watch the Punkin while TM and I went shopping. No problem, probably.

Usually, it's pretty dry around here, but every few years we get a huge storm and can't get out of the house for a day or two. After that, things start melting and everything goes back to normal, so even now, we didn't sweat it much. Wednesday morning, the snow started by 7 a.m., but it hadn't started really piling up, so TM took the kids to school as usual.

By noon, the snow was definitely piling up and the visibility was getting low. I checked the school's Web site, which said something like "We will be open as usual today, but we recommend that you come get your kids NOW." TM was out the door in no time. Two and a half hours later, he and the kids arrived home again, shaking. "We survived!" was all TM had to say. The roads were completely covered, in many cases gone without a trace.

The snow kept falling all day. We didn't get to the store, needless to say. Our neighbor's husband totalled their car in a town 30 miles away and didn't know when he'd be able to get home. She was panicking about being alone with their two little kids, snowed in, indefinitely. I don't think it helped her when we pointed out that not even burglars would be out in that weather. TM didn't have to go to work that night, either, which was fine with me.

I was still pretty optimistic about the chances of our Christmas plans working out. Thursday was sunny, and by noon, the snow was melting off our roof. We spent the day cleaning the house and didn't pay much attention to the situation. That afternoon, the roads were clear, and our neighbors were reunited. By that evening, every driveway in the neighborhood (except ours) was clear, and people were driving around. I checked online and discovered that the airport would be open at noon today. I thought that was good news.

My mom called last night at 11 and said their flight was cancelled because it had been scheduled to land just minutes before the airport opened. All other flights were booked, of course, until The Day itself. So instead of them arriving this afternoon and getting to spend holiday leadup time playing, reading, baking, singing, and generally enjoying the time with us and our boys, they will be arriving Monday afternoon, missing #1 Son by a couple days and present-opening time by who knows how many hours.

Did you ever see Rocketship X-M (the MST3K version, especially)? You know the part where they discover the ship is nearly out of fuel and they won't be able to land? (Oh, now I've blown it all for you; sorry.) With the phone up to my ear last night, hearing my mom tell me the news, I heard Crow T. Robot say cynically, "This ought to test Lloyd's sunny disposition..." And it did.

So now the challenge is to keep ourselves occupied until then. They'll only be able to stay a couple of days now; that's the price of being working grandparents of kids in 3 states. (Oh yeah, and having a life, too.) There aren't enough vacation days to go around. I think we'll be able to amuse the little guys for a few hours with just their "Santa" presents, I told my mom. We'll wait to open other stuff when you arrive.

That's what I said. But you know how things haven't been getting to the stores, post offices, etc., for a few days? Because of this blizzard, you know. Well, yeah. We took all the kids shopping tonight; thought they could buy each other presents and we could pick up some things, too. TM went out later to get the Santa gifts, or so we thought. Turns out there's not much in the stores. Especially the one by our house-- apparently a couple of their delivery trucks slid off the roads and were completely destroyed, so there will be no more toys for Christmas. We (i.e., TM) could try again tomorrow, except his job got rescheduled for all day tomorrow, and that's all the time we have left. We keep the Sabbath in part by not shopping (making other people work) on Sundays. The clock is ticking...

All righty then. Now, if this were a story, how would I work out these plot complications? How would you do it?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday 13: Windows of Heaven Edition

Thirteen Christmas Blessings at Scone's House
  1. Friends #1: Kory O sent chocolate and the book Pirateology.
  2. Friends #2: Maryanne took me running errands and out to lunch, then took me with her to a discount store and handed me a wad of cash to spend. Mwah! Thanks!
  3. Friends #3: Some Secret Santa left a big box of presents for each of us.
  4. Neighbors #1: Neighbor with a cookie business gave us a gift tin of yummy treats.
  5. Neighbors #2: Families from church have brought us food and goodies, and have called to check on us during the blizzard.
  6. Family #1: When my folks heard we were out of money at the holidays, they sent enough money to cover our bills for the month and buy presents for the kids.
  7. Family #2: When Youngest Sis and her husband heard same, they added a bunch of money to the pot. BIL is still in school, too.
  8. Family #3: Even before Little Sis and her husband heard, they sent us a pile of presents and a big gift card to a local store. After they heard, they decided they didn't need many presents themselves and sent us another huge amount of money. This BIL is in post-grad for med school. (I can't even think about this without tearing up.)
  9. Family-in-law: The Man's folks are sending (in addition to the usual pile of presents) several hundred bucks with the strict injunction that we spend it only on Christmas. We lay on the bed and giggled this afternoon as we planned how to spend it.
  10. Your guess is as good as mine: Some unidentified but kind-hearted soul sent us an additional several hundred bucks on a gift card. Whoever you are, THANK YOU!!!
  11. Acts of God #1: The blizzard. For us, it's been a good thing. We are all safe and warm and well stocked with food. It has given us the chance to spend time together and to get the house ready for my parents' visit this weekend.
  12. Acts of God #2: The melting of the snow. This afternoon, we heard and saw the drip, drip of snow melting off the roof. The highways and roads are open again, and I'm hopeful they'll be able to get planes through tomorrow. At least from Las Vegas.
  13. Acts of God #3-3,000,000: Everything, just everything. I am so blessed. Heavenly Father has really opened the windows of heaven for us, and I am so thankful.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Local Girl

2. Beth

3. The Gatekeeper

4. Amy

5. Norma

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Meme from Kailani: 6 Weird Things About Me

OK, I've been offline for a bit while Blogger thought about upgrading me to the beta, but I'm back now, and I'm finally getting around to the meme Kailani tagged me with last week. Here are

The Rules:

Each player of this game starts with the “6 weird things about you”. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you are tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

Well, gosh, I dunno. Weird, huh? The more I thought about this, the more I realized that I'm not all that different from other people in various ways. Maybe the collection of individual weirdnesses make me unique. Maybe I'm just really boring. But here goes.

  1. My eyes are usually light blue, but they turn green under certain stressful conditions.
  2. My skin likes to grow random stuff as often as possible: moles, skin tags, granulomas, etc. Yuck.
  3. I've often been called cold and unemotional-- as well as hysterical and over-emotional. Hmm. I am what I am.
  4. I lived near the Canadian border for a year, but never got around to crossing it. Ditto the English Channel, two years.
  5. I'm totally ruthless about turning my back on the past, much to the chagrin of ex-boyfriends/friends/husbands/etc around the world. When I've had enough, I'm outta there.
  6. I've been blogging for nearly 2 years now and haven't become mega-popular, but neither have I given up and taken months off or quit entirely. I just keep plodding along. Slow and steady, that's me.

[Edited 12/20: Sorry, I forgot to tag people. How about Jen, Renee, TM, Kory O, Purple Elephant, and anyone else who's still out there and might happen to drop by. There may be one of you. Still looking for my soapbox... And apologies to anyone who's already done this. Feel free to ignore me anytime.]

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holiday Fun

This one's for you, Kailani: a white Christmas! See, you can have one after all!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Well, Schiess

Heilige Rechtschreibung! Who out there knew that the German speaking peoples of the world had totally revamped their rules for spelling their language ten years ago? And you didn't tell me? Granted, it didn't take total effect until last year, but Heilige Ludwig in Neuschwanstein, it's throwing me for a loop. That's what I get for reading Wikipedia.

Sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled whatever.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wednesday Wishlist

The Man (TM) and I were surfing the Net one night for some cool things I might want for Christmas-- in ten years or so when we actually have some money. I was going to post it here, but somehow it disappeared. Well, it wasn't realistic anyway. So here I go again:

Making a List (The Wishes)
  1. Nice digital camera
  2. New wardrobe for entire family
  3. Subscription to Ethel M's year of chocolate
  4. Replacements for the bucket of jewelry the TSA guy in Vegas stole
  5. A second honeymoon
  6. Brand-new computer
  7. TM to graduate!
  8. Job with a good salary
  9. Health insurance
  10. Book contract
  11. New house

Checking It Twice (More Realistic)
  1. Get the year's worth of film developed (i.e., $$)
  2. Couple of outfits that are less than 10 years old for me, couple pairs of pants for TM
  3. A pound or two of decent chocolate
  4. Reset the stone back into TM's wedding ring (i.e., $$)
  5. A babysitter maybe once a month so TM and I can go out sometimes
  6. Replace bulb in my dad's laptop he's been loaning me (again, $$)
  7. TM to pass all his classes
  8. Just enough money to pay our medical bills
  9. Get this dang-blasted cavity filled; it's killing me! (Once again, $$$$)
  10. Just to finish the halfway decent novels I've started writing (there are two)
  11. Insulation or at least heavy curtains in the punkins' bedroom; repairing the electrical wiring in the master bedroom would be a treat, too.
I may let you know if I get anything off the second list this year. At least #10 I can do something about. And lest you think I'm wallowing in self-pity again, here is a list of some things I do have that I'm thankful for.
  1. Tons of memories (and photos) of my adventures from past years
  2. Warm clothes for the kids in this Arctic weather
  3. A neighbor who brings me Hershey's chocolate just because
  4. A husband who thinks I'm beautiful no matter what I wear
  5. Plans to marry my husband all over again
  6. Parents who'll lend me a laptop for over a year
  7. A college education, and children who value the concept
  8. The ability to still make a little money here and there
  9. A LOT less stress than when I was employed
  10. Local library with thousands of books I haven't read yet
  11. A roof over my head-- and my children's. The value of that alone is beyond measure.
So life is still good. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I just have a few more thoughts about yesterday's post and life in general. So here I go, in case anyone's still out there. (I'd link to the people I mean, but they tend to have deleted or otherwise abandoned their blogs lately. That's a whole other post that will require a soapbox and a bit more energy than I've got today, so this is what you get for now.)

I tend to be pretty proud of myself for keeping at this whole "write a novel in a month" thing, you know, just a couple thousand words a day and eventually you're there. My progress bars show constant, unspectacular progress from day 1 to day 30 when I finally crossed the finish line with 12 whole hours to go. (Woohoo!)

On the other hand, The Man (TM) also signed up for NaNo this year. He sat at about 1500 words for half the month. Then he got up to a few thousand. Then he seemed to give up (well, OK, and had the flu for Thanksgiving break). But this week, he threw it into gear and was up to 22,000 words by Wednesday. So, only 28,000 more to go in 48 hours. Well, I'll tell you what: He put on a burst of speed and made up all that ground and an extra 2,000 to boot. (I have to say I am really proud of him.)

But all this reminded me of the year I was 11, when a kind, well-meaning teacher wrote a poem for all the girls in my church class. In it, she tried to emphasize the strengths of each girl with the intent, I'm sure, of helping us feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, she had no tact. So, she described one girl as "the pretty one" and another as "the happy one" and so on. Guess what I was. That's right, "the steady one"; the one who always kept at a task until it was done but didn't (apparently) have much else to recommend her. I was an ugly, fat, bespectacled creature, it's true. And very shy, with untreated depression. But I did not feel flattered by this poetic description of my strong point, as you might guess.

But looking at myself now, I know that she was right. I would never be "the pretty one" or "the happy one" or even "the friendly one" but I've remained steady all these years. Yay me. It may be my saving grace during these lean times, though. Yay me.