Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Handy Workman Is Good To Find

Throughout the years, my oldest and dearest friend has recommended various fix-it men. Between plumbers, painters, electricians, and masons, she has helped me avoid many a crisis. There was one painter who has stood out in both of our minds, and it all began in the spring of 2007.

The painter showed up at my door three hours late, and began splashing paint samples on my kitchen wall, as my mom looked on in disbelief. She suggested that he bring out the teal color of my countertops, while he was adamant about earth tones. I originally envisioned a black accent wall, surrounded by white walls, and black trim along the vaulted ceiling. After they both calmed down, we compromised by substituting teal for the black accents. Though my mom was right, they became arch enemies, but for some strange reason he liked me.

Meanwhile, my friend was working closely with her upholstery man. She needed to have her couch recovered. There was no bickering, or meddling mother interruptus. Everything was running smoothly on her side of town.

The painter continued to come over every day for about a week. He always saw me at my best with no make-up, shrunken sweatpants, and a well-worn oversized T-shirt. He got to see me the way my husband saw me first thing in the morning, only my husband was lucky enough to have left town. He took our younger son to visit my mother-in-law over spring break, while our older son was away at college. I thought that this would be an ideal time to redecorate the kitchen, and family room.

The painter was as creative, as he was temperamental. He had a wonderful eye for color, and enjoyed being praised for his work. One night when he was working later than usual, I asked my neighbor to come over. He got the hint, and quickly left, so we could go out for dinner.

My friend had also recommended the upholstery man to fix some of my dining room chairs. He made them look brand new, and conducted himself in a very professional manner.

The night before the painter's job was complete, he invited himself over at 11pm. I thought it was a rather strange request, and jokingly told him that someone else was coming over during that time slot, but I'd be willing to squeeze him in at 2am. He laughed, and said that he loved my wonderful sense of humor. Later that night, I checked all of the locks on the doors three times more than I usually did.

When the upholsterer dropped off my friend's couch, he caught her unaware. He asked her for permission to kiss her. She politely told him that it wouldn't be appropriate, and sent him on his way.

As the painter was packing up his brushes, he presented me with a special gift. He created a beautiful design on our rattan chest to blend in with the freshly painted family room. Then he took my hand in his, and just held it with thoughts of what could have been. At the time, I was trying to remember if I had even bothered to brush my teeth that morning. We vowed to stay in touch, but I never saw him again.

That was also the last time my dear friend saw the mysterious upholstery man. I often think about what our lives would've been like if we ran off with those hopeless romantics. While my friend would've been draped in velvet, surely, I would've been shipped back in a fifty five gallon drum.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

UBUNTU Bloghop


To celebrate her third blogoversary, Michelle Wallace at Writer-in-Transit, is hosting the UBUNTU Bloghop. "In Africa, there is a concept known as UBUNTU – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others." – Nelson Mandela.

Be sure to visit Michelle, and all of the other talented writers who have joined in the celebration. In the meantime, here is my attempt:

Rings That Bind

Working toward a dream,
Battling nail and tooth.
They finally come together,
To seek their greatest truth.

The spirit of Ubuntu,
Pride in blood and sweat.
Where language isn't a barrier,
And victory is anyone's bet.

Whether synchronized or solo,
Speed or stylized tricks.
The risks are monumental,
Points tumble off like bricks.

A skier's gotta soar,
A skater's gotta twizzle.
A winterland's the stage,
The ratings set to sizzle.

United in the stands,
As the torch blazes bold.
The finest are brightly cast,
In bronze, silver and gold.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Want My Snoring Valentine Back

(GoLife For Men Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask)

Earlier this week, my husband gave me a romantic Valentine's Day couples gift, a  CPAP machine to eliminate his nightly snoring.  He had been tested for sleep apnea at the end of December, and though he was considered a "high-risk patient," the machine didn't arrive until almost six weeks later. I wasn't worried, because other than horrendous snoring, he didn't have any symptoms. Most patients suffering from sleep apnea, wake up throughout the night, and experience fatigue for days on end. My husband always wakes up ready and rearing to go. Though I was skeptical, he had two studies performed at different clinics within the last five years, and they both strongly recommended that he be fitted for a CPAP mask. We decided that it wasn't worth the risk of a possible stroke. Little did I know, that his "journey to healthy sleep," would cause me even more restless nights.

The portable CPAP machine had to be placed on a surface that was lower than the bed, so my husband put it on a broken folding chair. Since it was leaking, he placed a torn towel underneath it. Suddenly, our bedroom was transformed into a transient motel room, minus the flashing sign.

That night I watched him set up his device. He looked like Hannibal Lecter met Jacques Cousteau. The picture above doesn't show the chin strap that renders the wearer mute. We fist bumped each other goodnight, as a kiss was out of the question. Then I started worrying about all of the possible things that could go wrong.

Since my husband couldn't talk, he couldn't scream for help if he got strangled with the long chord. I also had no way of knowing if he was still breathing. Before I was used to checking his vitals in between lapses of snoring, but now I had nothing to compare it to.

Just when I was finally on the verge of falling asleep, the gentle wind from the humidifier started picking up. Suddenly, I was in the midst of an arctic chill that almost blew me right off of the bed. Every part of my being was frozen, and I couldn't seem to warm up. I had to tuck my pajama pants into my tube socks, and pull my sleeves over my hands like mittens.

 I was fighting off back drafts, and front drafts, while my husband slept like a baby. Sure I was used to the occasional gust of hurricane halitosis that was blown in my direction, but I never thought I would be begging to go back to good old fashioned snoring.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG : Intro For The Book I'll Never Write


An introduction sets the tone for the story. Since I've procrastinated for so long, I finally decided to dive right in with a mother/ daughter dialogue. I'd appreciate any advice from the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Keep in mind that this is only a rough draft, and I'll probably have to hire a live-in editor. Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the rest of the encouraging  IWSG. 

I couldn't wait a minute longer, so I called my mom.

Mom: Jeopardy's on.

Me: Oh, well do you want to call me back?

Mom: It's a commercial.

Me: Did you get a chance to read my first chapter?

Mom: Read it to me fast.

Me: It's several pages. Didn't Kerry drop it off for you?

Mom: What is an oxymoron?

Me: Huh?

Mom: I got it right! Jeopardy's back on.

Me: Could you just read the chapter when your program's over?

Mom: Well, then I'll have to get ready for dinner.

Me: But it's not even 3:00 yet.

Mom: I'm trying to avoid the rush hour traffic.

Me: You're just taking the elevator downstairs to the dining room.

Mom: You cannot believe the walker pile ups we have here at dinner time.

Me: So I don't suppose you want to talk about which actress will play you in the movie?

Mom: How about Ann-Margret?

Me: I was thinking Shirley MacLaine.

Mom: She would've been great twenty years ago, but she hasn't aged too well.

Me: She looks like she's in pretty good shape to me.

Mom: Nah, too many wrinkles, and she needs to do something with her hair.

Me: Even though she's not a redhead, Rita Moreno would be perfect. She has an EGOT: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

Mom: She sounds a little over qualified to be in one of your projects, but if I coached her, she could play me. Rita did look great at the SAG Awards. I'll bet she could still dance too. You better add a dance number.

Me: If I throw in a dance number, will you read it?

Mom: There's my other phone. You could hold on, but I might disconnect you. I still don't know how to work this newfangled call waiting. I'll call you back after dinner. Bye.

He turned the last page, and thought for a moment. Then he asked if English was my first language. He also mentioned that I failed to introduce any of the other characters in the story. For example, Kerry. Surely, Kerry was more than just a messenger. He must have had a profound influence on my life. The reader deserved to know from the onset about his nurturing relationship with me and my mother. He was adamant that Kerry was the glue that held this story together. Once he was established as a major character, the book would practically write itself.

I couldn't thank my brother enough for his guidance. Then I waved as his silver SUV with the license plates "Kerry K," pulled out of the driveway.

SPECIAL NOTE: From February 4 – 10, CassaFire will be 99 cents at Amazon. Be sure to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity. This is the second installment of Alex J. Cavanaugh's award-winning space opera trilogy.