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Monday, December 3, 2012

Blind Date



Mary pulled into my shared driveway and lowered her sunglasses. “Wow. Can you say ripped?”

I glanced toward the next door neighbor’s side of the yard. From the passenger’s seat, I had an uninhibited view. The rubber ping of a basketball resounded as Brandon—shirtless and sweaty—bounced it against the cement.

Mary was still ogling.

 I rolled my eyes. “You can’t stand him.”

“Yes I can.”

“Can’t.”

“Candy, there’s a fine line between jealousy and hatred.”

“Oh.” I laughed as I opened the passenger door. “So all this time you’ve been jealous that Brandon and I were such good friends? Because I have a million emails and text messages that say otherwise.”

“That’s what I’m trying to clear up. If you wanted to hang out with me and Brandon at the same time … now I’d be okay with it.”

“Yeah, because now he’s hot.” I slammed the passenger door of her silver Malibu and opened the rear door to collect my bags. How Mary made me spend so much money on frivolity I had no idea, but she was right, I’d look super cute in that black and white checkered pencil skirt tomorrow.  “You and Brandon don’t like any of the same things.”

“Candy, don’t doom our relationship before it’s even started.”

I laughed. “And when is this relationship going to start?”

“Set it up for me?”

I leaned in the open window of the passenger side. “No.”

“Why not? It’s not like you want him.”

I glanced over my shoulder. Brandon took another shot, seemingly oblivious to the girls staring at him thirty feet away. “We haven’t exactly been hanging out lately.”

“That’s probably because he’s been throwing himself at you for like five years—he’s tired of the rejection.”

“Rejec—he has not been throwing himself at me. I would have noticed that.”

“So you do like him?”

“No!”

Mary narrowed her contact-created blue eyes, then pushed her sunglasses back on. “Methinks thou protesteth too much.”

“Half the words in that sentence aren’t even real anymore.”

“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow. Wear the pencil skirt and I guarantee Brandon will have forgotten he’s sworn you off. Just be sure to make good on any advances.” Mary batted her false eyelashes. “You might only have one shot left to snag his heart.”

I waved as my melodramatic friend backed down the driveway. Then I turned to my neighbor. My best friend. Yeah, I could shop with Mary, and talk girl talk, but Brandon and I used to be inseparable. I deposited my shopping evidence just inside the back door and wandered over. “Hey.”

He nodded in my direction. “Candy.”

“How’ve you been?”

His eyes focused on the bouncing ball in front of him. “Busy.”

“With your new friends?”

That comment earned me a quick glance. “I guess.”

“Well if you can schedule some time for your old friend tonight, I was hoping for a couple hour marathon of last season’s supernatural. You know something to take my mind off of the fact that summer officially ends in sixteen hours.”

Brandon smiled—was I supposed to miss a smile that much? “You making popcorn?”

“My dad will.”

“So we’ll actually be able to eat it then?”

I swiped the ball. “Oh, you wanna go there?”

“I already did.”

I shot. Net. I crouched, waiting for his move. “So, you coming?”

“Sure.”

Subwoofers blared vibrating the ground between my house and Brandon’s as a black 80’s Stang rushed up the driveway. The Binder brothers—all three of them. Brandon’s new friends. He’d never liked them before. The twins, Luke and Carter, were already in college. Max was our age—a senior this year. None of them really talked to anyone, but for some reason, six weeks ago, they swarmed around Brandon while I was in the bathroom at the movie theater. Now whenever they showed up, he raced out to meet them like some adopted puppy. He was starting to look like them too. Buff, dark circles under his eyes, and that cross ring on his thumb. 

“Hey, Brandon. Up for a little last-night-of-summer fun? I heard it’s ladies night at Kit’s end of summer party. We’re invited.”

“Sure. Let me change.”

I tossed the ball onto the grass. “Sounds fun, can I come?”

“Why not?” Carter shot me a smile.

 Brandon glared at me. “I thought you had plans tonight, Candy.”

I wasn’t about to let his saying my name through clenched teeth stop me. These wolves in boys clothing were not going to steal my best friend. Not if I could help it. “With you. Since you’re going out …” I shrugged.

Brandon’s eyes darted toward the brothers then back to me. “Okay. Go change.”

“She looks fine.” Carter opened the door, slid out and motioned to the back seat.

Brandon cocked an eyebrow. “Maybe you should let your dad know.”

I walked toward the car and pulled out my phone, fingers flying over my qwerty keyboard. After a quick chirp I flashed my phone at Brandon so he could read Dad’s response. Have fun. Be back before curfew.

He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. I walked past him and slid into the back seat next to Max who bobbed his head at me. “Hey, Candy.”

“Hey.” The interior smelled like spearmint.

Brandon rushed up to Carter, their chests almost touched. The Stang’s roof blocked my view of their faces, but Brandon’s hushed voice traveled. “If she gets hurt—”

“She won’t. Tonight is harmless.”

Whatever that meant. I ventured to look at Max still smiling next to me and Luke who turned around and nodded once. His eyebrow ring glinted in the setting sunlight.

I felt suddenly insecure. “You’re sure it’s okay that I show up uninvited?”

Luke chuckled. “You’re hot enough.”

“Are you sure I shouldn’t change first?”

“Second thoughts?”

Well, kinda.

Brandon finally climbed into the backseat smelling amazing. Since when did he wear cologne?

*

Strobe lights danced off the walls, and shirts, and couches. I’d heard about Kit Wheeler’s mansion, but it seriously exceeded expectation. A pool in the yard surrounded by statues? Check. I sat on the white leather couch with a perfect view of the backyard—alone. Where had Brandon gone to anyway? They left me with Max who was pretty content to suck face with the girl on his lap. I stood up.

“Leaving so soon?”

I spun on my heel. Whoa. I had never, in all my life, seen anyone as hot as this guy. Dark eyes, golden hair, he didn’t even have a summer tan, but he was rocking the pale face. I pointed toward the patio. “Actually, I was just—” Just what? My cheeks flushed.

“I thought I’d better come over and introduce myself before someone else got brave enough to approach an angel.”

He actually lifted my hand and kissed it. My knees melted.

“Hey, Candy. Wanna dance?”

Brandon? Where had he been? I turned toward him, but his eyes locked on tall, pale and gorgeous.

 “Back off, Leo, she’s with us.”

Carter? Where did he get off sounding so … protective? Tension built a wall around us and I wanted out. “You guys know each other?”

Leo stared at Carter and a smile stretched his lips. “We’ve met. In passing.” Leo looked into my eyes again. “I didn’t know you were taken.”

I stepped away from Brandon, casting him a glance over my shoulder. His eyes widened. Before he could speak, I held my hand out for Leo to take. “I’m not. I’m just here with some friends.”

*

“I told you the checkered skirt was awesome. You look amazing.”

I slammed my locker door and listened to Mary jabber as I walked toward my third hour. My head was pounding. I scanned the halls like some hunted mouse. Leo said he was a new student at Beech High this year, but I hadn’t seen him yet. I nearly tripped in my heels as Mary grabbed my sleeve and yanked me back a step.

“Who. Is. That?”

“Leo.” My voice came out in a whisper.

“You know him?”

“Yup.” I tugged Mary along.

She resisted. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

“Ummm, no.”

“Candy, why not?”

Someone placed a hand on my shoulder. “Because it’s best to stay away from guys like him.”
Brandon.

Mary stared at Brandon a second before she pointed to her eye and winced. “Nice shiner.”
I pulled her sleeve. This time she let me tow her along.

“What is going on here, Candy? And where were you last night? I must have texted ten times.”

“Twelve.”

We took our seats just before the bell rang. I turned to Mary when Ms. Kilne’s back was turned. “I think you’re right about Brandon. He got all jealous last night when I was dancing with Leo.”

Mary’s eyebrows raised. “You danced with hot Adonis man? You’re claiming both of them now, aren’t you? Isn’t one enough?”

I shook my head. “Leo is bad news. Brandon’s right, stay away from him.”

“Care to share some details?”

I sighed and my breath came out shaky. “If I could remember them I would.”

Mary sat up and leaned closer. Concern creased her forehead. “Spill.”

“I think he drugged me.”

“Leo?”

“Yeah. I went to Kit Wheeler’s party last night with Brandon and the Binder brothers. Leo was there. I danced with him. I remember something about feeling a little scared, then things got really blurry. The next I knew, I was in the backseat of Luke’s car with my head in Brandon’s lap and a bucket of vomit on the floor.”

“Whoa. Did Leo give you a drink?”

I put my head in my hands trying to remember. Mrs. Kilne’s droning voice seemed to pull something to the surface. “The only one who gave me a drink was Max.”

“Max drugged you? You better tell Brandon.”

I sighed. Brandon did not have a black eye when he’d dropped me off last night. That meant despite my warning, he’d gone back out with those brothers. “I don’t think he’ll listen.”

When I reached my fifth hour class my head was throbbing. I had no time for the anal Mr. Peck. He sent me to seat twelve B. I rolled my eyes and counted twelve rows.

“Nice skirt.”

Leo. My stomach twisted. “Hey.”

“Are you feeling any better?”

“Better?”

“Last night while we were dancing you got dizzy. You almost collapsed on the floor. Don’t you remember?”

“Oh. Yeah. The details are a little foggy.”

“I trust your friends got you home safe and sound?”

“Yeah.”

“Odd lot, huh?”

That comment rubbed me the wrong way. “Pardon?”

Leo held up hinds hands. “Calm down. I’m sorry. I just meant they’re the protective type. I mean, a girl can make her own decisions, right?”

My head felt heavy. “Right.”

“You wanted me to drive you home, but they practically pulled you out of my car. Not that I really blame them. But still.”

“Well, I wasn’t feeling myself. I’m sure they were just watching out for me.”

“Right. That’s what friends are for.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying you seemed a little uncomfortable with those guys and I was offering you a way out. Truly, if it weren’t for the way you latched on to that Brayden character—”

“His name is Brandon.”

Leo chuckled. “Okay Brandon. I would have thought they dragged you there without your consent.”

I suppose it could have looked that way to an outsider. The rest of class Leo made it clear that he was nothing but a gentleman. There was no way he was the offender of last night’s dizzying episode. That left a myriad of questions for Brandon.

*

When I pulled into the driveway he was home and trying to skirt into his house. “Brandon!” I stormed up to him. In the daylight his cheek was purple too. I lifted a hand to his face. He pulled away. Had the Binder brothers done this? “What happened?”

“I got in a fight.”

“Spill.”

“Please stay away from Leo.”

“He did this?”

“I accused him of trying to hurt you.”

“Your new friends couldn’t help you out?”

“Leo had friends waiting too.”

He did? “Why did you even go back?”

He just stared at me.

“Well, could we hang out tonight?”

“I’m busy.”

“Brandon—”

His cell cut me off. He didn’t even apologize, just answered it and walked away. “Yeah, I’ll be ready.”

So I’d lost him. Was it because I’d chosen Leo? Hadn’t Mary warned me not to mess up?

*

“Hello?”

I turned back to Mary and focused on my locker comm.

“Don’t you get enough of that eye candy from your bedroom window?”

“What?”

“Come on. I’m your only remaining best friend. You can’t expect me to fall for the I-wasn’t-staring-at-Brandon crap.”

“We haven’t hung out in almost two months.”

“Candy, you have to stop. That ship has sailed.”

“All the ships have sailed.”

“Leo? I thought you were okay with him moving on.”

“Yeah. Sort of. When I wanted something else.”

“You’ve got to stop putting off that vibe.”

“Vibe?”

“Mark says you’ve got this I’m-not-interested vibe. Just let it fall for a minute and I’m sure Leo will be glued to you.” Mary wiggled her eyebrows.

“Speaking of glue, here comes Mark.”

Mary let out a silent squee and turned to face him.

I rolled my eyes, but happily. It was good to see Mary so on cloud nine. I opened my locker door and an envelope fluttered to the floor. I picked it up, peeled it open, and pulled out the card. There was a cute little basset hound puppy in the front. Inside, big droopy ears arranged the letters to spell ‘sorry’. Beneath it, in handwriting I couldn’t identify, read: Candy, I’m sorry I’ve been distant lately. I want to make it up to you. Will you meet me at 1271 Cogdon street tonight at nine?

Hmmm. A Halloween date? Brandon had always wanted to take me out on Halloween.

I looked over my shoulder to see if he was still there. He was, talking to Max and the couple girls who had 
flocked their way. At least Brandon didn’t dress like the brothers. He’d kept his button down flannel shirts and brown boots. He glanced my way and sent me a soft, almost rueful, smile. My breath caught. Maybe it was from him. Maybe I had one chance left. I smiled back. Then I plugged the address into my phone and headed out.

*

Twelve seventy-one Cogdon was an abandoned house. The dark kind. Snow draped the rooftop contrasting the pitch black exterior. No tire tracks dented the snow outside. I made sure it was the place—again—then headed out of my car.

I slammed the door and walked toward the dilapidated iron fence. A thump thump sounded behind me. I froze. My heart sped. Reluctantly I turned back. A black cat sat on the trunk of my car licking her paw. Catching my breath and reminding myself that there’s no such thing as ghosts, I clicked the unlock on my fob. Hearing the noise, kitty hissed and dismounted. I opened the trunk and grabbed my Maglite. It might just be too dark in there.

The iron gate was unlocked. I pushed through it and it squealed. I was going to kill Brandon for this. He was forever begging me to go with him to a haunted house. He better have something truly romantic planned.
Snow crunched under my black heeled boots as I walked up the winding walkway. There were no tracks on the snow-covered steps. The porch light was conveniently out. No doorbell. Dark green paint chipped off the door revealing dry, sepia wood beneath. The handle was an ornate brass piece molded in the shape of a dragon. 

Right at my eye level sat a brass door knocker. Its dragon eyes stared at me. I curled my fingers around the ring between its jaws. It was cold even in my gloved hand. The first knock echoed. A click followed the second and the door creaked open. Clutching my Maglite, I stepped over the threshold.

My boot tapped against the wooden floor sending a loud clack into the empty space ahead. I pushed the door open wider to fit through. It groaned. My stomach squeezed. This was not a good idea. I headed backward through the door, pulling it with me. The door protested and the dragon handle slipped through my grip. Strong fingers closed around my left wrist and pulled me aside. A hand cupped over my mouth. Panic seized my chest.

I swung the flashlight behind my head and missed. I stomped with my heeled boot on my captor’s foot as I bit down on the tiny bit of skin I could catch of the rough palm over my mouth. He swore. Released, I fell forward with force. The Maglite thunked down and rolled away from me.

Light flicked on, blinding me. I shook.

“Candy?” The light turned off.

I knew that whisper. “Brandon?”

“Are you okay?” He helped me up.

I latched onto him. “Yeah, you?”

He was close enough for me to make out his features in the dark. The circles under his eyes looked darker, but a smile warmed his face. “I’ll live. Sorry about grabbing you.”

“Didn’t you expect me?”

“No.”

No?

“Did you follow me or something?” He peered out the front door. “It’s not safe for you to be here.” He took my arm in his hand and guided me toward the rear of the house. I resisted. I had no intention of going any deeper into this house without an explanation. “At least let me get you upstairs.”

I eyed the two staircases flanking the balcony just beyond the entryway. If the chandelier lit this room it was probably beautiful. Right now it looked dangerous and creaky.

I turned to face Brandon and grabbed both of his arms. “What’s going on here?” Something sticky, warm and wet seeped through my glove. I looked down. “You’re bleeding.”

“I know. Listen, Max has a car out back. Let me get you closer and you can make a run for it.”

“A run?”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

So he’d said. “I was invited here.”

“You? I should have known. How stupid—I thought he’d given up on you.”

“You’re not making any sense.” I looked down at the floor and caught sight of something glimmer. A razor blade. “Bran!” I grabbed his arm and shoved up his sleeve. A long, thin cut. “What the hell?”

“It’s not what you think.” He pushed me closer to the staircase and into the darkest corner.

I pushed back against him. “Not what I think?”

“Shhh.” His eyes, scared and wild, implored me to take him seriously. “There’s not time to get you out of here now. Take off your shoes and give me your coat.”

“What?”

“Please, Candy. You don’t know what you’re up against.”

I pulled my jeans up to my knee and unzipped my boot. When my foot hit the cold floor, I wished I’d worn socks instead of panty hose. “And what am I up against.”

“You wouldn’t believe me.”

I slid out of my coat and handed it to him. “Tell me.”

“Leo is a vampire.”

“You seriously brought me here to play a prank on me?”

Brandon stuck out his bleeding arm. “Does this look like a joke to you?” He squeezed his arm and blood oozed from the long cut and dripped to the floor. He moved behind the staircase and I stared at the liquid on the floor.

My knees trembled. He wasn’t kidding. He wasn’t … “Holy—”

“Water.”

“What?”

He handed me a super soaker. “Holy water kills them. Squirt anything that moves. If it screams, unload on it. Fast.”

I grabbed the toy. It had been painted black, but seemed otherwise unremarkable. “Where’s yours?”

“I wasn’t expecting company.”

“I’m not taking your weapon.”

“Relax. I’ve got this.” He held up something that resembled a railroad spike.

I reached out to touch it. “A woodchip.”

“Go hide behind the railing and wait. I’ll move your jacket so he thinks you’ve wandered farther into the house. Then I’ll lead him away with this.” He pointed to his bloodied arm.

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“He’s not my first vamp, Candy. I’ve been training with the Binders. It’s kind of a long story and—”

“If they’re so seasoned how come they’re not in here bleeding?”

Brandon put his palm on my arm. Was I supposed to love the warmth of his hand that much? He whispered, 
“Leo hates me.”

“Why?”

His smile was crooked. “He thinks I’m competition. He thinks you’re in love with me or something absurd like that.”

“Absurd?”

Brandon’s eyes rounded. “Your guy’s here.” He towed me back to the stairs. “Stay here. Please.”

I watched him leave. Then I sank onto the third step, super soaker ready to fire, in the absolute quiet. The door creaked. I had to tell myself it was just the wind. It seeped under the threshold and chilled my feet. Another groan upset the floorboards. Did old houses always have to be so creepy?

“His blood smells enticing, but not as sweet as you.”

Leo.

I shook. In the dark I swore I saw a form move in front of me. An ice cold hand touched my shoulder. I screamed. I aimed. He was too close! The nozzle of the gun wouldn’t fit between us. I struggled to back away, but tripped over the stairs. His thumb found the pressure point at the base of my neck and he squeezed while he extracted the gun from my grip.

“Good girl.”

He led me into the center of the room, right under the chandelier in front of the balcony. Brandon’s body was placed prostrate between the two staircases. Blood caked his temple. My knees gave out. Leo held me up. “I thought you might like the surprise. He almost had me.” Leo faced me and pointed to a gaping, bloodied hole in his shirt. “Unfortunately, the stake didn’t penetrate deep enough before I pulled it out. Don’t worry. He’s not dead yet. I’m a sucker for romance. Tragedy really. This looks like the perfect place for a little Romeo and Juliet. Don’t you think? I’ve always wanted to rewrite that one.”

Brandon moved.

My heart thudded against my ribs.

The vampire’s eyes narrowed. He turned around to catch Brandon reaching toward the super soaker. Leo grabbed me in his vice grip and pulled me to him. “Let’s see if you’re fast enough to reach the water gun before I drain your girlfriend’s blood.”

Brandon lunged for the weapon. Leo tossed me aside. I flew backward. A squeal pierced the quiet. The skin of my bare arms shrieked against the wood floor. Leo sat on top of Brandon, pinning his arms down. The vampire kicked the super soaker across the room.

“Any … time …” Brandon choked.

I scrambled to get up and my hand grazed something cold. The Maglite. I sent it spinning at Leo’s head. It clunked off of him. His eyes landed on me. I stood weaponless. He lunged at me. Water sprayed from over the balcony. Leo screamed, falling to the floor at my feet. Steam rose off of him.

“Take that, bastard!” Max unloaded the whole gun.

Leo’s screams resounded off the naked walls until nothing remained of him but a puddle of ash like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz.

I slumped to the floor, mouth open, and stared at the pile of wet ash.

Max slid down the banister and landed in front of me. He put up his hand for a high five. “You were awesome.”

Brandon pushed Max’s shoulder. “You were a little late. Did you see how close his teeth got to Candy’s neck?”

“Relax, I had to wait until he couldn’t see me. Your plan to move was brilliant.” Max turned toward me again. “And you were awesome! Maglite to the head. I mean bam!”

Brandon took my hands in his and helped me up. “You okay?” He chuckled.

“What are you laughing at?”

“Max is right, the Maglite thing was awesome.”

“You idiot.” I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him close.

Max picked up the flashlight. “You should have seen Leo’s face. Dude, she can come with us anytime.”

Brandon hugged me tight. “No. She can’t.”

I buried my head in his chest and peeked at the mound of black on the floor. “So, my boyfriend is a vampire slayer? How awesome is that?”

He stopped breathing for a moment. “Did you just call me your boyfriend?”

“Are you complaining?”

“Absolutely not.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Same Token, Different Side

So, I was sitting on the couch with my husband and my adorable son. He's two (my son, not my husband).

My husband says, "Are the twos really terrible?"

My response was nothing more than a smooth, slow, head turn and an incredulous glare, complete with a catfish mouth.

"No really," he continues. "I mean, he is so fun at this age."

At this point, my adorable son is sitting quietly, a rarity for him, drawing on his magnadoodle. But, I got it. It was true. Even though he'd had a meltdown earlier that day when I pulled out my dumbells, and cried because he wanted crackers and I gave him cucumbers, and literally screamed "no" when I told him it was time to change his diaper, two is a lot of fun. I imagine the answer to the "why" would be: because I love my son.

When I love what I do, it's fun.

I love writing, even though I sometimes have to kill my darlings because they aren't working out, or stay up late because a certain plot twist just came to me and I have to write it down before it's forgotten in the abyss of lost ideas for eternity, or even when I'm riding that roller-coaster of emotions--that all writers face--way down into the depths of self-doubt land.

Everything has its dark side. It's loving the bright side that eclipses the rest.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Call It What It Is

Sometimes I get spam in my inbox. Today was one of those days. Amid the junk emails I saw the title: Semi-Permanent Eyelash Extensions.

What's semi-permanent?

I literally laughed. I mean, I get the idea . . . no, really I don't. They're either permanent or they're not. Right?

But it got me thinking about writing. I know, everything gets me thinking about writing (or dogs--to be fair). I haven't committed to calling myself a writer. I feel like that's something I'm striving to be. But really, what will change that mental status? I'm sure I could think of a few things, but who's to say reaching those goals will actually change my frame of mind? New doubts could creep in. New fears could make me push that title at bay. 

Making a commitment is hard. But no one said good things come from taking the easy way.

And what's so scary about calling myself a writer anyway? Perhaps it's time to call it like it is. It's time to stop being afraid to commit to something.

I'm a writer. And loving it.

How about you? Have you committed to anything lately? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Overcoming Writer's Block Tip: Know Your Character's Favorite Color

Do you know your character's favorite color?

This question was brought on by that common (perhaps cliche) remark in novels and movies alike. The "but I don't even know your favorite color."

It's the moment we realize that our heroine (or hero) is finally admitting to herself that she is falling in love. It usually comes after she's been through a life-changing experience with the hero, and while the audience has been secretly willing for her to fall in love with him, she is only just coming to that conclusion on her own.

She wants to know him. 

I think it can be easy to do that with our characters too. Writing a story is like going through that life-changing experience with our characters. But we need to hit that point in the story where we say, "but I don't even know your favorite color." Because once you dig deeper into who your character is, and know things about them that your readers never even see, they will become so familiar to you that you'll be able to see why they resist you at every turn.

Think about the people you know best. You can answer questions they haven't even asked yet. You can predict things about them, or buy them that perfect gift. Why? Not because you know their favorite color, but because you love them enough to take the time to be familiar. Each of your characters deserves that, and your story will be richer because of it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the Love

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I write. I sit down, at my mobile desk (that's the great thing about laptops--you can take them anywhere your lap is going) and I write. I revise. I write more. I revise more than I write, and I repeat this process. Why?

I can just hear the band strike up the intro of "These are a Few of My Favorite Things".

I love telling stories. I love feeling them develop, plunging into the eyes of my characters, and escaping into the reality of a different world. And I love sharing that journey with others so they can experience it.  


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get Full

Do you ever feel like life is running you? Stupid rhetorical question right? I mean sure, we all do. It's normal right? (I'm on a roll with the questions today!)

I don't think it's supposed to be normal. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I am a writer, so I tend to fantasize. Still, I think life is supposed to be lived to the fullest. The fullest what? My answer to that would be: potential.

I don't want to wake up in the morning groaning about all that has to be done. I don't want to hit the snooze button just to keep the claws of responsibility at bay for a ... few ... more ... minutes. I want to be able to embrace the potential of my day. I want to look forward to the possibilities. I want to live my life, not be dragged around by it. There will be times that I am going to lose that battle, but at least it's a battle I'm willing to fight. It's about a mindset. It's about seeing the potential and making it kinetic.

Does your life have potential? (of course it does!) Are you making the most of it?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quote of the week

Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
~ Henry David Thoreau

What are your dreams this year?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mother May I?

Happy New Year!

I was thinking that since it's a new year, it's time to add a new topic to my blog: Mothering. Yup. I'm ready to share some of life's most embarrassing, and heartwarming moments with the world.

This specific moment happened about a year ago, but it was something I thought so memorable that I needed to write it down that very day. I hope you enjoy it much more than I did...originally.


Yes, this is a true story. 
 
And I am sure there will be sequels, more than I can imagine.
 
It all started with a headache.  No, scratch that, it started because I am a mother now, only mothers get to have this much fun in one action packed morning.  So this morning my almost 15 month old son wakes up about an hour and a half early, and he's screaming.  The only problem is that I have a splitting headache and had a horrible night's sleep.  So, I get up, I take care of my baby and then I climb back into bed with two of my dogs for 'just a few more minutes'--okay an hour--I fell asleep.  

So there I lay with my two dogs flanking me, and the giggles of my son in the next room as he uses his bed for a trampoline.  It is going to be a great day, I can just tell.  Taking my time getting up, I tell my dogs how great they are and scratch their ears and tummies, and I fawn over my 'middle' dog telling him he was in my dream and he listened to everything I said and he's such and angel.  My puppy interrupts the story as he stretches and stands up, but suddenly starts to pee!  On my bed!  In front of me!  

My disbelieving eyes stare at him for the first few seconds, then I'm yelling 'No!  No!' and pushing him off the bed as I rip up the covers to stop the spread of the vile liquid into my mattress.  Thankfully I am able to corral the dog into the crate--but not before he makes a mad dash to the back door telling me he's got to go out--ya think!?  Now I get the soapy water and blot the pee out of my mattress and clean the trickles off the floor, and as I go to strip the rest of the sheets from the bed I set my knee squarely in the two inch by two inch square of soapy liquid--what are the odds?

But my son, he's been playing in his crib now for an hour now and he's got be bored, and I am sure all of his toys are on the floor, so I figure I'll just go in there real quick and put him in his room to play while I take the dogs out.  Oh, his toys are on the floor all right.  And his pants.  And his poopy diaper sans some of the decorative excrement that he has smeared all over his pillow and bedsheets.  Seriously?  

So as I am cleaning up my kid, my puppy still waiting to pee, my bedsheets still balled up on my bed waiting to get cleaned, I call my husband to let him know what happened, and he informs me that the puppy did not pee when he took him out early this morning--really?  

So I get to the part about my son and how he will be wearing those shirts that button at the crotch for the next twenty years until he can learn to keep his pants on, and tell my husband that if he has had a crappier morning than me, I don't believe him.  I can hear that he's trying not to laugh--good man--and he admits that my morning has been crappier by far.  

Thinking I am now clear to take my dogs out, I leave the poop in my son's bed, the urinated on covers still sitting on mine and take the poor dog out, cause you know, he's got to go!
 
They go out, they pee, and I make a big deal about telling the pup how good he is cause, after all I DID yell at him for peeing earlier.  And I feel better, he is a good boy, he just had to pee, and--well let's not go back there.  

So we are going in and he smells something, and I call him and he comes, but he's got the something in his mouth--wanna guess?  It's a dead mouse.  Yes dead.  Yes, in his mouth!  Will he drop it--no.  I am dangling chicken in front of his face, but dead mouse is better.  So I have to actually pull gross mouse out of my dog's mouth!  

So now, I get everyone inside, gross hands, poopy child's room, pee all over my bed, and my day has just started.  After I get my hands washed, I try once again to put my priorities in order, but you would think that I would have learned by now that no matter what I try to do to get things running smoothly again, something is going to change that plan, just look at the laundry list I've already got trailing behind me! 

So I get my kid some cheerios, his face lights up at the sight of the big yellow box and he squeals in delight.  I shake my head as I take the disinfectant to my child's bedroom to wage war against some poop.  I've lost a dog.  My angelic one.  The middle dog, the one that does no wrong.  I stand at the top of the basement stairs calling him, now yelling for him, now screaming his name and no dog!  Mad, (yes, now I'm mad--at the angelic dog) I slam the door thinking, 'great, now when you get that soggy bedding in your hands and have to pry this door open, you're gonna be happy, huh?'  

But wait, there he is, the poor guy got locked behind a baby gate and is waiting for me to find him.  He is an angel after all!  But where was he?  I take down the gate and he comes racing out followed by his muddy paw prints on my cream colored, just steam cleaned carpet!  Oh they lead right back to the tub (because my angel got in the tub.  Why?  Because his paws were dirty!) well now they're dirty and WET!  

So I tell him to get back into the tub, I clean his paws, and now I'm using the disinfectant to clean the mud off my carpet and floor, and as I sit there, one knee soaked in muddy water now and one knee soaked from accidentally blotting soapy pee out of my mattress, and I'm cleaning the muddy bathtub while painted poop and a bundle of pee still wait for me in the bedrooms.

So after my bedsheets are finally in the wash and the line out the door of other soiled linens is behind them waiting for their turn, and my stomach is now rumbling because I missed breakfast (again).  I remember the excitement that my son elicited when he saw the yellow box of cheerios awaiting him and I count my blessings.  

God sure has blessed me.  No, that wasn't sarcastic.  I look at my little family, my beautiful and obviously creative son who is learning to undress himself, my angelic dog, my Tasmanian devil dog that is learning to be an angelic dog, and let's not forget my old dog that didn't even get in my way during all of this (she's mastered the angelic stuff) and a wonderful husband who didn't laugh.  

So, friends, count your blessings today, I hope this made you laugh. 
    
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