Coffee Time

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If we were having coffee, I’d start by apologizing for the mess in my kitchen. I’d pull out the mismatched cups from the cupboard and haul out the giant canister of sugar for you, since I’m just not the type to keep sugar in a dainty little sugar bowl. That’s all right, though, because I’d have to offer you the entire gallon jug of milk since I’m not big on using the dainty little cream pitcher, either.

I take my coffee black for a reason.

Let me tell you about my week, because it’s been an emotional one. My oldest child graduated from high school at the end of last week, and this week has been all about adjusting to the idea that she’ll be leaving home in a few months.  She’s done a lot of sleeping in and I’ve done a lot of nagging, and I thought I might possibly be well on my way to a stroke the day I came home from work and found her sunbathing in the front yard – with the TV blaring inside a house full of dirty laundry and dirtier dishes.

I also had my last day of work in the school lunchroom this week. Oh, sure, I’m planning on going back in the fall, but this was unexpectedly emotional. I didn’t expect the kids to hug me good-bye, and I certainly didn’t expect to miss any of them so soon.  Even more than that, I didn’t expect the ending of the school year to feel like the ending of a chapter in my life. This was my first real job since my accident, and it’s been all about finding the balance between pushing myself and knowing when to step back.

In a way, this job was a huge step toward understand who I am now and learning to thrive in my new “normal.” It was a step that was every bit as terrifying – and hard—as those first steps on the walker nearly four years ago. And I did it. I made it. I survived all the way to the end of the school year.

This was the week I interviewed for a second job to help me make my bills. It’s a front-desk position at a local hotel, and it would be a godsend. I did my best at the interview, but it’s hard to tell. I am supposed to hear something on Monday. Either way, it’s good to know my resume is good enough to get me an interview, and the interview itself was good experience for the next interview.

This was the week I finally conquered a really stupid fear and wrote my first real novel synopsis. That, in a nutshell, has been my biggest reason for self-publishing:  I was afraid of writing a synopsis to send to a traditional publisher. As much as I love self-publishing, I still want to explore my options with a traditional publisher, just to see what’s out there. So now I’ve done it and sent it out and I can check it off my “bucket list.”

Who knows – I may soon get my first real rejection letter and end up checking something else off the ol’ bucket list.

This week, I signed the lease on my house for another year. I had really expected to be able to buy it by this point, so it was a little disappointing. I love my house; I want to stay here forever. I just thought I’d be farther ahead by now. Money is trickling in too slowly and flowing out too quickly, and it hasn’t gotten any better this first year on my own.

The week ended with a two-day college orientation trip with my daughter and ex-husband. I hadn’t realized she was so grown-up until I saw her mingling with all of the other young adults on WMU’s campus, and I hadn’t realized just how ready she is to go. I’ve heard all the clichés about “spreading her wings” and all that nonsense, but I never really understood it until this moment. It’s almost time to let her go.

This week, I realized that I am not ready.

If we were having coffee, this is the point where I would break out the peanut butter cookies that I’m supposed to give to the neighbor who mowed my lawn. I’d top off our coffee cups and tell you to drink up before my kids wake up and invade the kitchen, because this is one of the few chances I’ll have to spend one-on-one time with another adult and I want to enjoy every minute of it.  And I think we need a little distraction, because I’m not quite ready to say anything more about my daughter moving out or the fact that I really enjoyed spending those two days with my ex.

Besides, I’ve been talking about myself this whole time, and now it’s your turn to tell me about your week. What have you been up to? What challenges have you faced and how did you deal with them?

Be sure to visit Diana over at Part-Time Monster to link up and see what some other bloggers have had to say with their weekly coffee share.  Thanks to Diana for hosting the #coffeeshare posts!

My Plan For World Domination

The first thing you must do to take over the world is have a plan.

I’m not talking about the kind of plan the villains always seem to come up with in movies.  You know the kind of plans I’m talking about: steal the world’s supply of gold or change the moon’s orbit or some other such ridiculous pseudo-scientific plot hatched by a crazed super-genius.  Because, of course, the crazed super-genius in that kind of movie always ends up being the stupidest person on the face of the planet by the end of the movie.

No, if I were going to take over the world, I would come up with a plan to deprive the general population of three things: coffee, alcohol, and pornography.  Think about that for a moment.

Without coffee, most of the adults I know would spend our time sitting around complaining about the fact that we have no coffee.  Oh, sure, we can get our caffeine jolt through tea or Mountain Dew or even an ice-cold Diet Coke.  But it’s not the same.  No Starbucks.  Not even the cheaper knock-off lattes and cappuccinos or “Premium” coffee from the neighborhood Speedway.

I’d have to turn my espresso machine into a flowerpot or something ghastly like that.

Without hot coffee, people wouldn’t make it to work in the morning.  We’d all just sit in traffic and scream at each other because we’re tired and headachy and all of those other drivers are just pissing us off . . . .

Then take away our alcohol and see what happens.  No more cold beer on a hot day.  No more wine with dinner. No more drinks with funny and suggestive names like Buttery Nipples . . . Blow Jobs . . . Orgasms.

That reminds me of an adventure back in the eighties when my friend and I discovered that there really was a drink called an orgasm.  We drank a couple of them at the bar, giggling and telling everyone within earshot what we were drinking, basically making giant asses of ourselves.  Later that night, my friend lost her quarter playing a second round of PacMan (hey, I said it was the eighties) and bellowed at the top of her very drunken lungs: “Damn it, I’ve been screwed once, eaten three times, and I’ve only had TWO orgasms!”

I never went back to that bar again.  Also kind of lost my passion for Pac Man, but I digress.

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Without alcohol, how would we all calm down after our day without coffee? No more cheap bottles of $2.99 Boone’s Farm Snow Creek Berry for me!  And all of those pretentious wine snobs who talk about a wine’s “bouquet” or “legs” while sniffing and swishing the stuff around in their mouths?  What would they do with all of that sniffing and swishing expertise they’ve worked so hard to master?

So now we’re looking at a world full of grumpy, grouchy,sober people.  What are they going to do with themselves now? Because, to be delicate about it, they’re going to have to do it with themselves since nobody else will want them in their current condition.

But there’s no porn, because I took that away as part of my plan to rule the world, remember?

So now the entire adult population of the world is cranky, sober, and frustrated. Wars will break out.  People will suffer greatly.  And then I, their benevolent ruler, will give them back their coffee, alcohol and porn in carefully monitored, closely rationed doses, as long as they agree to worship me.

And there you have it:  my plan for world domination.

Or maybe I just need a second cup of coffee this morning.

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This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, in which writers and bloggers finish a sentence and “link up” their posts. This week’s sentence was “The first thing you must do to take over the world is…”  

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Grouch To Groucho

It’s been one of those mornings.

I had crazy dreams all night.  The last one, the one that woke me up in a cold sweat, involved my riding around Mackinac Island on a tour bus filled with Brownie Scouts and their Troop leaders, all of whom were glaring at me because my child and I were not in uniform.  It was especially odd because the child wasn’t my daughter, and there are no motor vehicles on Mackinac Island.

I woke from that strangeness around 4:30 with a headache so bad that my eyeballs were throbbing.  Lots of hot coffee and two hot showers later, it’s not much better; I do, however, have a vague marketing idea for hot coffee showers.

Would that not be the greatest invention of all time?

When I finally sat down at the computer, I discovered that I have forgotten how to spell.  Anything.  Anything at all, even my own name.  That’s all right, though, because I have apparently also forgotten how to type, along with a few other things that are pretty important to me as a writer.  Working on a chapter in my newest book today, I have called my main character Eric, Kenny, Brian, and George.  All perfectly nice names, but his name is Jayson.

I went back for more coffee and stood at the kitchen window, staring out at my snow-covered yard.  Only to realize, after several moments of absolutely nothing going inside my head, that the bright fluorescent curtains are missing from my son’s playhouse in my back yard, and that the yard is crisscrossed with footprints in the snow all over the place.  Someone has had a wonderful time playing out there in the past few days.

Which is odd, since my kids are with their father this week.

Honestly, I was starting to feel like Arthur Dent in the opening scene of Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, when he looks out the window at the bulldozers circling his house and all he can think of to say is, “Yellow.”

Then, just as I was really settling in to a satisfying round of whining about my headache and bad day all over Facebook, a very dear friend sent me a picture that made my day.

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All righty, then.  I am choosing to be happy.

I am happy because my kids and I are healthy, and we have a cozy little house, with neighbor kids who obviously enjoy playing in my back yard.

I am happy because my new book is coming together really well and I’m having fun writing it.  As long as I can remember Jayson’s name, that is.

I am happy because the new features for my blog are coming along nicely, and I’m excited about the very talented people who have agreed to be interviewed by me.

I am happy because my blog has really been taking off lately.  It’s getting more hits every day, as well as more followers.  The “referral” part of my stats page doesn’t always tell me where they are coming from, but I’m still thrilled to see that so many people want to stop by and read what I have to say.

I am happy because my books are selling at a steady pace.  I’m nowhere near bestseller status, but I’m very content at this point to be selling one or two a day.  I’m in the process of making Have a Goode One available through more channels, and things are definitely looking up.

I am especially happy because I just found a Toblerone in my refrigerator.  I don’t remember putting it there, but I’m going to eat it and chalk it up as a gift from the Chocolate Fairy.

What’s that?  You say you don’t believe in the Chocolate Fairy?  Heresy!  She exists, all right.  With her cousins, the Cleaning Fairy, the Money Fairy, and my personal favorite, the Wine Fairy.

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