Plumbing, Hockey, and Politics

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I had a very productive weekend, if I do say so myself. It was the type of weekend where I didn’t have much planned, but wound up doing a lot. I don’t have many of those, but could use some more for sure. If anyone has any to spare, please send them my way 🙂

Friday night I went up to my attic in search of a replacement hockey stick, because I was vaguely aware I might have one up there that I abandoned a few years ago for reasons I can’t recall (I think I didn’t like the blade curve). What I found was a perfectly good, and in fact brand new, stick. My daughter was quite excited with my find as well and she “helped” me tape if for my game Saturday morning.

I was also able to do some editing on my novel, including the suggestions you all gave for the opening paragraph, so I think I’m pretty close to being “done” with Chapters 1 and 2. That’s a GREAT feeling.

So yeah, I had a game Saturday morning at 7:45 AM. I’m glad I woke for that one because I gathered the new stick, played, and scored another goal! That gives me six on the season, which makes me so happy. I had zero in eighteen or so games in the first half of the year, which made me feel like a bum. I have six goals in the fifteen or so games in the second half of the year, so at least I don’t feel like a total loser. Six goals isn’t great, but at least I feel like I’m contributing. A little bit of confidence, and new/old skates go a long way.

The downside of playing hockey that early in the morning was that I was exhausted all day, and I had to watch my daughter while my wife went to work. Almost-two year olds have an endless supply of energy, so my daughter made sure I didn’t lay around too much 🙂 The coolest part of the day was when my daughter and I were hanging out on our love seat and a sunbeam was peaking through the window. I moved one our blankets and it must’ve kicked up some dust, because my daughter smiled brightly and said “fuzzies” and sure enough you could see the fuzzies in the sun. I would never have noticed this without her.

Sunday was an interesting day. Barack Obama has been campaigning in Pennsylvania and in fact was scheduled to give a speech on campus on the front steps on the very building I work at. In fact, I was offered tickets to the event but turned them down because I knew that wasn’t something my daughter would be into, and besides I don’t like huge crowds. Still, it pained me not to go. It turns out that there were 22,000 people there, the largest crowd ever on the lawn! People stood in line for hours! I was content to read about it in the newspaper.

Sunday night I told myself I would fix the dripping faucet in my shower. Well, I told myself I would either fix it, or determine it was beyond my extremely limited handyman skills, at which point I would break out the purse and pay a plumber.

I took apart the shower handle and took the twenty minute drive to the nearest Lowes, in search of parts. I was expecting to pay around $15 for replacement parts. While there, I noticed the tiny rubber washer was worn, so I instead paid $2 for two replacements, hoping that was the problem.  I put the whole thing back together, turned the water back on, and the stupid thing kept dripping.  I kept tinkering, walking up and down the stairs, turning the water on and off, with no luck.  At 10:00 at night, I told my wife I was going to try one more thing and if that didn’t work I was going to give up.  Well, against all odds it miraculously worked!  I feel so handy, at least for a day.

So, quite a busy weekend.  I hope I didn’t bore you too much.  How was your weekend?

A New Beginning

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I have been working hard the past week on the edits for Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of my NaNoWriMo story, and I’m really pleased with how things are turning out. It is going to be a long process, for sure, but I think in the end I’m going to at least have an entertaining story. Anyhow, one of my main edits was to come up with a more interesting beginning for the story. Here it is:

A large green troll leaped out of the shadows from the side of the road, scooped the wood-paneled station wagon up in his hairy, wart-covered hand, and smashed the car to bits. At least that is what Arthur King wished would happen as he stared out the window counting the trees as they whizzed by, an activity which came a close second to watching his drunken uncle stumble on the dance floor while performing The Macarena as the most fun he had on the trip.

What do you think? Do you like it? Any grammar suggestions? Would you read paragraph 2?

On a “life” front, my wife worked yesterday and so I was in charge of the daughter.  She didn’t have a nap all day, so I gave her and early bath at 7:15 PM.  When the bath was over we did our usual walk downstairs to read some books. I asked her which one she wanted to read and she said “Elmo”.  I grabbed the Elmo book and a few others and set her down on the couch ready to read.  Amazingly, she curled up and fell asleep.  That is surely the first time that has ever happened, and is what allowed me to do some writing.  Before you think everything was too easy, though, around 12:30 AM she got sick, or as she says, “I hiccuped”.  Seems like a one time thing, though, because she is in good spirits this morning.

I Build Stuff

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My father-in-law gave my daughter the most excellent train table for Christmas this year.  That’s it in the picture above (picture from the manufacturers web site). Since it was pretty big, even unassembled, we weren’t able to bring it home until this weekend. Two nights ago I had the pleasure of putting the thing together, aided at the end by my wife.

The table itself was pretty simple to construct. Just some hex bolts, one of those little hex wrenches, and some mdf. I had it assembled in an hour, and that was all while I was watching the hockey game on TV. The hard part came in assembling the train track.

The directions had a tiny picture with the track all laid out nicely, and with the parts all labeled with letters and numbers. Of course the real life tracks did not have these codes, so we had to guess which piece of track went where. Now I don’t want to say I became frustrated, but if you ever visit me and see teeth marks on the wooden tracks, and a mark on the wall where the track may or may not have been flung, please don’t think less of me 🙂 . Luckily my wife was there to calmly step in and finish the job.

Anyhow, it was a great gift and my daughter was so surprised to find “her table” when she woke in the morning. Now if we could just keep her from climbing it when we leave the room…

Apologies

Sorry for my absence today. I meant to post and then got called home by my wife because she needed help taking care of our daughter. I hadn’t mentioned this yet, but last week my wife and daughter were involved in a car accident only 3 blocks from our house. They were hit by a guy pulling out from a parking space, doing $6,000 damages to our car (which will be paid in full by his insurance).

They are luckily both OK, but my wife has been having back pain, which came to a peak today. Finally, they gave her some pain meds, and she is doing some physical therapy, so hopefully her pain will diminish. I’ve taken some pictures of the car, and may post one when they are downloaded. We’ll see. Obviously we are very lucky no one was badly hurt.

Anyhow, expect a regular post from me tomorrow. I promise 🙂 Thanks for sticking with me.

Quick Update

Just a quick update here.  Yes, I’m alive.  I was just away for the Easter weekend.  Things went well.  We ate some yummy food, visited with family, and drove a bunch of miles.  I missed you all, though 🙂

Last night I had my monthly writer’s group meeting.  They seemed to enjoy my Chapter 2 and had a bunch of suggestions that I believe will help me a lot.  Now I just need to go back and implement some of them and start on the Chapter 3 revisions.  I am so lucky to have found this writing group.  They see things in my writing I just can’t seem to see.

Anyhow, I will post something more substantial later.

Northpoint Writing Contest

I found this writing contest via Duotrope. The contest is from Northpoint, an e-zine, and involves prizes and an interesting theme.

Here is the info via their blog:

New Beginnings: Post-Apocalyptic Stories & Artwork

Did you ever wish the end of the world would come just for the adventure that would follow? You don’t care what made our current society crumble; you want to know what happened afterwards. Here is your chance to explore your idea.

We don’t want to only see descriptions of zombie attacks (although zombie stories are fine) or asteroids falling. We want to know how the survivors figured things out after crawling back from their hiding places, if they did.

Make us feel like we’re walking in a new, unexplored world where bottlecaps are the new currency and people talk about TV’s as a myth. The world ended. What happens now?

DEADLINE: May 1, 2008 (responses will be sent approximately two or three weeks after the contest ends)

PRIZES:

For stories:

1st place: 10$

2nd place: 5$

3rd place 5$

Let me know if you decide to enter. I’m going to see if I can come up with an idea.

The Colour of Magic on TV

As you all know I’m a huge Terry Pratchett fan. I came across some more Terry Pratchett goodness yesterday and thought I’d share.

It turns out that Terry Pratchett’s novel, The Colour of Money, has been made into a movie and is airing Easter Sunday on Sky One. I don’t really know what Sky One is, other than it is a television channel I don’t get. Therefore, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the DVD release of the movie in the United States.

This is a straight to television movie, but after some digging, I have found it’s a pretty well done t.v. movie. First of all they have a pretty good cast with Tim Curry (one of my favorite movies is Clue) and Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy). Second of all, they seem to have had a decent sized budget.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Click here for the trailer (embedding is disabled but you can still click and view it).

Here is the shorter “teaser trailer” that they are letting us embed:

Also check out this pretty cool interview with Sean Astin on set. There is more video goodness here. Those of you that get Sky One, I hope you get a chance to watch The Colour of Magic. Let me know what you think.

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In unrelated news, Julie K. Rose has posted her second Writers & Soundtracks podcast. This one is with erotic fiction writer Megan Hart. Also, Julie had a short story published at the magical realist e-zine, Serendipity. Check it out!

Liveblogging My Sunday With My Daughter

My wife has started a part-time job, working on some nights and weekends. It isn’t in her field (graphic design), but I think it will help her feel better that she’s contributing to the family financially (though she does so much for us already taking care of our daughter – she should be paid for that!). So, this Sunday, her first day at work, I got to hang out with my daughter. In a sure sign I’m addicted to blogging, I kept some notes of our time together, for the purpose of “liveblogging” it here. Be wanted. Some details may be slightly exaggerated for comedic effect. 🙂

10:30 AM – My wife leaves for work. My daughter (22 months old) handles it well, but after a few minutes says “Daddie holdie.” I do.

10:45 AM – Daughter wants to draw, but not with her crayons. Rather, she wants to use pencils. I find no harm in this as long as I keep a close eye on things. Nothing other than paper gets drawn on, as far as I know.

10:50 AM – Snack time. Also the first time I’m able to sit down since my wife left. Things are fun so far and I’m getting a workout.

11:00 AM – I turn my head for one nanosecond, only to find my daughter has carried a chair to the kitchen, on top of the hard, slate floor, climbed up on it, and says, “I wash my hands”. I calmly tell her we don’t climb on chairs. The girl has no fear. This starts the clock watching. One hour down, four to go. **sigh**

11:15 AM – My daughter entertains herself playing with her Playtown people. It’s so cool to see her entertain herself. She even fluctuates her voice for the different people. She give the “daddy” a low voice and the “momma” a high voice. At this point she could ask me for a Ferrari, and I’d probably buy her one.

11:25 AM – MAJOR DIAPER INCIDENT! Enough said.

11:30 AM – I let her watch Charlie and Lola, a really cute British cartoon on the Disney Channel. Whew!

12:00 PM – Lunch time. I heat up pork chops and green beans from the night before. I get everything ready and she tells me “Eat at little table!”. That’s fine with me. She ate pretty well actually, and when she wasn’t eating she was singing songs. It feels nice to sit.

12:30 PM – She’s done eating. I clean up and note the time. The hockey game is on T.V. I hope to turn it on with the sound off, figuring she won’t really notice it. My daughter asks me for “Emma Ms” (M&Ms).

12:35 PM – I turn on the hockey game and my daughter and I pretend to play hockey, and no I don’t wear my ice skates in the living room. I’ve learned my lesson on that one.

12:45 PM – My daughter notices a lady bug in the house and I attempt to “humanely” remove it from the house. It flies away, though, and my daughter says, “lady bug all gone”. Bugs 1, Struggling Writer – 0.

1:00 PM – We lay on the couch together and I read books in a desperate attempt to get her to take a nap. Just when I think it’s working, she springs up with another energy burst. I break out Mountain Dew number 2.

1:30 PM – I ask her if she wants to use the potty and she says she wants to use “momma’s potty”, so we go up to the bathroom and I hold her while she uses our toilet. It works! We call her grandparents to tell them the good news.

1:45 PM – My daughter is playing with her big green ball. At one point she was lying on the ground and the ball rolled away, prompting her to say, “Don’t run away from me ball, I read to you.” Commence melting of my heart.

2:15 PM – I need a nap and my daughter turns off the hockey game, confident the Penguins are going to win, I guess.

2:15 – 3:00 PM – I don’t know what happened. It’s all a blur. Maybe I blacked out for a bit. Anyhow, at 3:00 we got our coats on and met my wife at the mall to share Auntie Ann’s pretzels. I survived my time alone with my daughter and got a new appreciation for what my wife does every day.

Well, that was my day. It was fun and exhausting.