friday stew—a random collection of unrelated miscellany

2014-04-17 16.39.58

Apple, I am too old for your trickery.
I love my iPhone. She is my good buddy. She knows my needs—very nearly anticipates them—and fulfills them effortlessly. She emits these nifty little amusing sounds whenever I type clickety-click and also makes a nice crisp snap sound when I put her in lock-mode. Such satisfying little noises. Like clicking a pen. Even though everyone knows only the person who is clicking the pen is enjoying the sounds. Nevertheless, enjoyable. And of course she has a lovely array of melodious chimes from which to choose for your text alerts, your phone ring, your incoming and outgoing emails. Etc. Out of nowhere yesterday, she went silent. Oh, she could still stream a quality episode of 19 Kids and Counting, or an entertaining NPR podcast, or even a nice album from my iTunes collection. But a text alert? No. A tippy-tappy click when composing an email? No. A sweet ring of the phone? Nary a once. I was alarmed. What could be amiss? Was the new operating system I just downloaded glitchy? Was she broken? I called my 12 year-old niece. If she couldn’t figure it out, no one could. She told me to check my settings—but all was well. She told me to check the Do Not Disturb feature. Nope, not on. She told me to change my alert sounds then shut down and restart. Nothing. I hung up in dismay. What was I going to do??? Then my 10 year-old nephew called back (the phone was on vibrate which was the only way I knew someone was even calling) and told me about a super-secret do not disturb switch on the side of the phone. Hardware! I checked and it was indeed activated! How that happened I cannot fathom since I was not formerly aware of its existence. Dear Apple, please do not put a super-secret do not disturb switch on the side of the phone without informing me ever again! I guess my niece is getting too old to solve the problems with modern technology. Next time I will consult one of my 6 year-olds.

2014-04-18 10.08.55

Let It Go.
If you have a kid, I don’t even need to expand on these three words. If you don’t have a kid, this is the title of one of the big songs from Frozen and I urge you not to seek this song out if you are lucky enough not to possess familiarity. Not because it is a bad song but because it will work its way into the tender folds of your brain and like an alien life-form burrow into your gray matter to release its full force without your will or consent. Usually at 3:00AM. Also 100 others times during the day. And it is loud there up in your brain as if you are hearing it in your minivan at full volume, which you will be any time you are in your minivan with your kids. If you have them. And a minivan. You won’t get away from this song no matter what you do. There is no running. There is no escape. It has special powers. Even though it’s called “Let It Go,” you can’t. But, overall, it’s a pretty good tune.

Breezeway reorganization.
The other day I reorganized my breezeway and here’s how it came to pass. Okay this is a long circuitous one. Worse than usual—if you read on, it’s your own fault. The other day I helped a friend clean her house which was being placed on the market. She told me she wanted to sell her bedroom set and I really like it so I said I wanted to buy it. So, the other day when we rented a UHaul to go get the new swing set we also went and got the bedroom furniture. Well, one of the pieces was too large to make the ridiculous angle of the stairway that leads upstairs. Poor, wonderful Steve (not his real name) had to dismantle one of the smaller dressers just to get it upstairs and I know he could not care less what our bedroom furniture looks like so he did this for me. He earned many good husband points that day. So, we decided to utilize that really large piece downstairs (as if we had a choice). Looking around, I could not figure out where it was going to go and what I would stash in it. Then my friend came up with the brilliant idea to use it in place of the old TV stand we were using. It is kind of the only place it will fit, so it seemed like the best (only) idea. But a very good one, nonetheless. So, we swapped out the TV stand for the nice piece of bedroom furniture. Here is a pic:

2014-04-18 10.09.24

Now (no, this isn’t over yet), one of the things I decided to store in this big new piece of furniture is all the winter hats, scarves, mittens, etc. and in doing so, I could remove the small dresser that was already out in the breezeway containing the winter hats, scarves, mittens, etc. By the way, it isn’t even a breezeway. We just call it that because the kids understand the phrase “put your shoes and coat in the breezeway” and “get your shoes and coat off the kitchen floor and put them in the breezeway” and “why can’t you just put your shoes and coat in the breezeway without being asked to put your shoes and coat in the breezeway.” I am not going to change “breezeway” to “entryway” for the sake of semantic accuracy because it will take them years to learn the right word and then for the next 15 years before they grow up and move out I will be saying “put your shoes and coat in the entryway” and “get your shoes and coat off the kitchen floor and put them in the entryway” and “why can’t you just put your shoes and coat in the entryway without being asked to put your shoes and coat in the entryway” to which they will respond, “where?” and I will end up saying, “the breezeway.” I am no fool, people. Anyhow, that small dresser took up too much space in the breezeway and wasn’t working as well as I had originally hoped. But now with the winter hats, scarves, mittens, etc. in the living room, I could reorganize the breezeway! How I love an opportunity to reorganize. I put up a bunch of hooks and made more shoe space and places to hang all the bags and now I can’t stop going out there to admire it. And this is how the breezeway came to be reorganized!

breezeway_reorg

NEW WEBSITE!
Next week the new website launches! Next Tuesday to be exact! Mark your calendars! Set your alarm! Make sure the super-secret do not disturb switch on your phone is not set! And have a wonderful weekend!

PS—I am running out the door to go on a hike with the kids and a big group of homeschoolers and did not have a chance to proofread this as well as usual, so if there are any errors, I will fix them later! Happy Friday!

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My novel, The Mosquito Hours, will be released in early May! Wanna stay up-to-date on news about it as well as have my latest blog posts conveniently delivered to your inbox? Then subscribe to my newsletter! Click on it right up top there on the right. See how easy I made that for you? (You’re welcome.)

help—part 1

Here’s the thing: when you need help, just ask.

I know! Crazy simple.

Lately I have been doing that and let me tell you, I endorse it 100%. Why did it take me this long? Who knows, but don’t make my mistake. When someone says, “What can I do to help?” think of something.

Lately, my most consuming worry, the one that pushes its crummy little self to the front of the line, is HOW AM I GOING TO MARKET MY BOOK? I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO MARKET A BOOK! This one really loves 3:00AM. A lot. Also yelling.

When I know how to do something, I possess endless energy and almost too much exuberance and enthusiasm. (I do know other words that don’t begin with E but these just really seem to work well together.) Conversely, when I do not know how to do something, I freeze. Then worry. Then freeze. Worry. Freeze. Worry. A nice tidy loop of crazy.

But sometimes, my subconscious (who is really very thoughtful most of the time) steps in and solves the problem. I woke up the other morning with the thought, “Just ask for help.” So I did! I sent a simple email to some of my writer friends asking for their most effective marketing practices and they were happy to share. I now have some great ideas and—dare I say it?!—a marketing plan! “Plan” might be an optimistic word, but I have something close to it. I slept well last night. As did my subconscious (I’m assuming).

The great thing about asking for help is that is makes you more inclined to offer help, which seems counterintuitive if you are busy enough to need to ask for help in the first place, but somehow it all balances out. And you get the warm-and-fuzzies, which are very lovely. Also, it’s good karma. Who can’t use a little good karma?

This weekend Steve (not his real name) asked for help in getting the large parts to our new swing set from a truck into the backyard. Parts far too large for my feeble upper-body strength. My brother-in-law and a good friend helped. Also my sister. She’s a lot stronger than I am. But I watched as I ate my breakfast and told them where it should go.

swing_set

Here is the swing set. It’s not done yet. Or it’s the worst swing set ever. But, really, it’s not done yet.

Oh, speaking of karma, I have a nice story for you. When we decided to get a swing set, we checked out some of the swing set offerings on Criagslist to see if there was anything good before we just went out and bought new. You know, frugality and reusing, reducing, recycling. Anyhow, I found this great one in a town—that shall remain unnamed—an hour away from us. I spoke to the owner who was moving and needed it removed ASAP. I told her we would be by on Saturday and she said to call her then for the address where to mail the check. Deal! We drove there and she was gone (which we expected) and so was the swing set (which we did not). I texted her to inquire (with utmost hopefulness and faith in humanity) had the swing set been moved to a place where I could retrieve it? No. She sold it to someone else and forgot to call me. That is bad karma. I wanted to send her a nasty text but that would have been bad karma. I wanted to wish bad karma upon her. But that also would have been bad karma. Bad karma begets bad karma. Just like helping begets helping.

(See how I bring these things full circle?)

In the end, as you have most likely deduced, we did find another swing set and the guy managed not to sell it to someone else before we got there. He was even extremely nice AND helped Steve (not his real name) to dismantle and load the parts. I like to think we met this great fortune because we sow good karma. And see? More helping!

Are you wondering why is this “part 1”? Because you never know when you’re going to need to ask for help … again.

FRIENDLY REMINDER! The Mosquito Hours will be released for your reading pleasure in 2 weeks! Mark your calendars now! (You’re welcome.)

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My novel, The Mosquito Hours, will be released in early May! Wanna stay up-to-date on news about it as well as have my latest blog posts conveniently delivered to your inbox? Then subscribe to my newsletter! Click on it right up top there on the right. See how easy I made that for you? (You’re welcome.)