Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So... The News

Pin It This is karmic payback for all of the times my teenage self scoffed at my mom over my youngest brother and sister’s “accidental” entry into the world.
“How can you have an accidental baby, Mom? Sheesh. Just use birth control. It’s not that hard."

I'm very accidentally pregnant - just past the first trimester.

We are still adjusting to the reality of it all. We're a little shell-shocked, because we were done. DONE. We gave away every last baby thing a long time ago.

And of course, there's stuff making me nervous.

For one thing, I’m old. Thirty-SEVEN. (How is that possible?!)

For another, my uterus is shot. Two different OBs warned me numerous times not to get pregnant and strongly encouraged me to do something to ensure that I didn’t.

(You know, I kept meaning to take care of that…)

The current plan is to take the baby about six weeks early to avoid uterine rupture. (Yeah, if you thought I was a hypochondriac BEFORE...) Apparently this isn't all that uncommon and they know how to handle it, so (insert melodramatic tone here) WE WILL SURVIVE.

We’re trying to work our way into being excited about it, but right now, even though we’ve known for a while, it still seems like something we made up, like a little joke we are telling each other. SURE we’re having another baby. Right. Good one.

I'm a little worried about the kids. I have three good kids and I usually feel somewhat equal to the task of being their mother. But four? I don’t know. I don't know if I can do it and still be the kind of mom I want to be.

Some women have the patience for a large family - the natural knack, the talent for handling crowds. My next door neighbor has seven, and she's a fantastic mother. But if I had seven I'd end up on the news. "Local mother barricades herself inside shed with shotgun, refuses to come out until the children are all asleep."

I know four kids isn't necessarily a large family. (I have eight brothers and sisters. THAT's a large family.) But four kids feels like a lot for me. I'm nervous.  Wish me luck people of the internet.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Which the Universe Sends a Little Karmic Justice My Way


No, it isn’t my birthday.

OK, actually it is. It's my birthday. (Am I allowed to say that? Is that like some kind of big faux pas? Here's my whole thing about birthdays. You SHOULD get extra recognition on your birthday. You kind of need it to get through the day, because it's not like its a naturally fantastic moment in time. Sure, you might snag a few presents, but really it just means you're one year closer to death.)

(I would never end up having a Sixteen Candles forgotten birthday deal, because after about five minutes I’d be all, HELLO LOSERS, WHERE ARE MY PRESENTS?!)

(My husband likes to claim I forgot his birthday last year, but this is a wretched lie. He was getting ready to leave for work and I stumbled out to the kitchen. I was barely conscious, and he gave me a whole thirty seconds of head clearing time before he said, “I can’t believe you forgot my birthday.” I was like, “I didn’t forget your birthday - I’m not even AWAKE yet.” It’s not like I was going to forget it all day long. Probably.)

We celebrated my birthday on Monday, because Tuesday is one of our horrifically busy days, and today we were all home. Sarah used her actual piggy bank money to buy me a present. My husband tried to pay for it, but she insisted, and actually CRIED when he didn't use her dollar bills to pay the cashier. If that isn't so sweet it makes your teeth hurt, then you are DEAD INSIDE.

I answered some of the questions from the last post in the comments to the last post. Tonguu Mama was right - I’m kind of sick of talking about myself. (I KNOW! Who'd have thought?!) There are a few I didn't answer that I'll probably post about later. I know you can hardly stand waiting for my thrilling answers. Try to contain your excitement.

Aprel, Mandajuice and Melanie all wanted to know how things were going on the book front and I've been meaning to talk about that, because the whole thing is ridiculous. (Me + ridiculous = SURPRISING.)

So how things are going, how things are going, how things are going....

Wait. Before I tell you, first I'd better make sure we're all on the same page, that we're speaking the same LANGUAGE, that you know all about the whole publishing BAG.

Here is how traditional publishing works:
  1. In order to get published, you need an agent. They’re the gatekeepers for the publishing world.
  2. In order to get an agent, you have to write a query letter. Most agents get hundreds, if not thousands of query letters every month – so your letter has to be at least goodish.
  3. If the agent likes your query letter, she might ask you to send a partial manuscript – usually the first 30 to 50 pages or so.
  4. If the agent likes your partial, she might ask you to send her the full manuscript.
  5. If she likes your full manuscript enough, she might just go crazy and decide to represent you.
  6. If she represents you, she’ll shop your book around to publishers and you MIGHT get a book deal. And CHANCES ARE, if you get a book deal, she's gonna ask you for another cookie.
(Wait. Not that last sentence. Scratch that last sentence.)

So if you've read for a while, you know that one night a few months back, I completely lost my mind and sent out query emails to a few agents in the middle of the night. Even though, uh, I hadn’t exactly written a manuscript. And by that I mean I’d written four pages.) But they were GOOD pages.)

I did not expect to get an answer, especially from a national agent who pretty much specialized in the kind of stuff I imagined I wrote. (I mean, I had no actual proof, but I was guessing - if I wrote something, it would be RIGHT UP HER ALLEY.)

But a few days later I did get a response, and she wanted to see a partial. So I got all blithery dithery and pounded out a partial, sent it to my critique partners (who told me exactly what I needed to fix), then sent it off to her after making my changes.

Now this agent said it would take her a couple of months to read the partial, and not to expect to hear from her before that time. So I planned to use the two months to finish the manuscript.

And I started. I did. I started to finish it. But when I didn’t hear from her for a few weeks, I started to have doubts. Because really, would it HONESTLY take her two months? Just because she'd said it would? Of course not. That was probably just her way of letting the bad writers down easily.

Obviously, the only reason she hadn't responded within the first two weeks was that she'd read it and decided it was the most horrible dreck that ever drecked. I re-read the partial approximately eighty times, and by the eighty-first read I was ready to stomp on it, burn it, curse it for the horror it was. There was no way she would like it, why bother finishing it, why bother even LIVING, blah blah dramatic blah.

So I stopped working on it.

And of course, a week or so ago she sent me an email. She really liked my partial and wants to read the full.


So now I'm working on the full, hoping that she'll still want to read it when I'm done. I figure – hey – what’s a little two month lapse, right? Right? RIGHT?

And so I sit here late at night after the kids are in bed and I’m done with my work, trying to write something funny and fluffy and my mind is a total blank. All I can think about is popsicles.

I’ve always wanted to be a real live published writer, and now that I have something close to an opportunity I’m completely frozen. It’s like those dreams you have where you’re back in high school and there’s this really important test you need to study for, and then suddenly you’re in the classroom and the test is right in front of you but you didn’t study, and also you’re naked.

My writer friends are all hating me right now, thinking "CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER," and "THIS IS KARMA" and such. And yes. Yes. THIS, THIS is why you don’t try to cheat the system, my friends.


See, this is what being impulsive gets you. (Besides married. And owning a boat.) LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU.

PS: No – that isn’t my news. The news – I’m still percolating on that, but it’s nothing very exciting. I'll probably tell you about it later. I was just feeling a tad dramatic that day. (I like to be melodramatic, have you ever noticed? You probably haven't noticed. I'm subtle.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Highway Freaking Robbery

Pin It (Post Disclaimer: I've been in a funky mood for the last couple of weeks, a mood caused by news that's completely thrown me. Like picked-me-up-and-slammed-me-against-the-far-wall kind of thrown me. I'm not ready to talk about it, but just know that I'm a little off. A little discombobulated. A little brittle. But I should be back to my regular self any day now. Probably.)

I hate Valentines Day. (CHEERFUL!)

Not because the romance is gone, but because it's this one day where it feels like you have to "PROVE IT! PROVE IT NOW! MEASURE YOUR LOVE! IN CHOCOLATE!" And then after Valentines Day, everyone posts about the darling things they did for their kids, or the darling table they set, or the darling gift their significant other got them, and then I end up chasing my eyeballs around the kitchen floor after I roll them so hard they freaking spin right out of their sockets.

Today we performed our annual St. Valentines Day Why-Don't-We-Just-Go-Ahead-And-Set-the-Money-On-Fire-a-thon, buying Valentines for all three children to give to their classmates, along with candy and Valentine plates and cups and drinks and napkins for the class parties. Of course, attempting to find anything red or pink ("Dear Sarah's Mom: The plates and cups must be red. Or pink. Sincerely: Sarah's Sadistic Teacher") at this late date was an exercise in complete futility which required visiting three separate stores, and after all of that I STILL forgot the parmesan cheese.

(For dinner, not for the class party.)

(Tell me about how fun class Valentines Day parties are and I will come over there and rip out your gizzard.)

Class party fury aside, I do try to make Valentines Day fun for the kids. Last year, in a fit of guilt over our impending move, I did all kinds of Type A Valentines Day Motherish things - even attempting pink heart-shaped pancakes (FAIL). This year I will probably... I don't know.... Do... something. (That is my big plan as of 11:00 tonight.)

My husband and I usually go to dinner, and that's what we're doing again this year, but on Friday instead of Saturday because 1) who cares? (romantic) and 2) finding a babysitter in our neighborhood on Valentines Day is impossible.

There are at least fifty-seven families with young children within a three block radius of our house. Babysitters are booked up for seven months in advance and when you do manage to win the babysitting lottery and secure one you have to pay them in Cool Ranch Doritos and freaking GOLD. Bidding wars break out for the good ones until only the babysitting dregs are left and you end up making incredibly desperate choices. "Well yes, I know Margene almost electrocuted Carter last time, but really, what are the odds it would happen twice? Pretty small, right?"

Here's the thing that annoys me about babysitters. My kids are good kids. I'm not just saying that. We won the good kid lottery. They're easy, they get along, they play well together, they do what they're told - and they're even easier with babysitters than with their mom. We usually have them in bed by 7:00, and the sitter typically comes at 7:30. So basically we pay some teenager $7 an hour to sit on our couch and watch TV and eat our food and make sure the house doesn't burn down. It really chaps my hide. A LOT. MAN. SEVEN BUCKS.

When I was a babysitter I did the dishes and cleaned the counters and mopped the floor and organized their 8-track collection, all for $1 an hour. BUT THESE KIDS TODAY. THESE LAZY KIDS TODAY.

MAN. !!!

(Actually, I'm not sure if I'm legitimately upset by this or if this is just a continuation of my MYSTERIOUS ITEM induced bad mood. Maybe I'm doomed to be irrationally irritated for a little while.)

(I apologize in advance if I end up posting tomorrow about how it really ticks me off when the sun is out, and also it ticks me off when the sun is behind the clouds, and also how inconvenient is it that it gets so freaking DARK at night?!)

(Any of these things might set me off. AT ANY MOMENT.)

Happy freaking Valentines Day.