Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living the High Life in St. Louis

We went to San Lucas for Spring Break. I mean San Louis. I mean St. Louis! They sure sound alike! We didn't go to a beach, but we did go to the coolest place ever: the City Museum.

I've been trying to describe this to people and it comes out sounding like a McDonald's Playland. It's not like that at all! It's five stories of wire tubing, which you crawl through and then all the sudden you're in a burned out airplane, eye to eye with a real bird. Later, you slide down a slide that is so steep it's practically inverted.

Naturally, I was wearing flats. You know how, when you're up high, you think about how you could easily lose a shoe. That would be scary because you'd think, "Am I falling or is it just my shoe? Is my foot in that shoe?" The whole line of thought leaves your stomach in your throat. There were times where I had to convince myself getting to the end of the tube was a matter of life and death.

At one point, I turned to Justin and said, "This is the stuff nightmares are made of."

But it was a really cool nightmare, you know?

Johnny said, "I feel like we're some kids that found an abandoned place and turned it into this." It's the kind of place where you imagine stuff like that.

While in St. Louis, I also, ahem, met up with my agent. Did you know I have an agent? For my children's books. I feel funny mentioning it here because ever since I became a writer, I've gotten used to bad news. The good thing about bad news is it can be entertaining for others. Nobody likes to read about how you had breakfast with your, ahem, agent. When I got an agent, Richie asked, "Is she a secret agent?" So I guess that's why I've been keeping it a least as far as the blog is concerned.

In truth, she has sold three of my picture books (two written, one to-be written!) I don't believe it, either. It feels like something that's happening to someone else. In fact, if this is something that's happening to you and I'm passing it off as something that's happening to me, please let me know before I get carried away.

Hmm, why have I never done that before? You all seem to have interesting jobs. Successful. Purposeful. Why have I never pretended to have one of your jobs? And now it's too late because I have a job of my own. Guess I missed that boat.

Agent or no agent, children's book writing is a tough way to make a living. The good news is: Everybody's so nice! It's like you're in a business where your colleagues all happen to be your former kindergarten teacher. That's how nice they are. Which is great because I'm not exactly a tough cookie. I mean, occassionally I am. But as a rule, I'm more of an ice cream sandwich.

I've always wished I'd walk by somebody and they'd say, "There goes one tough broad." But that's never happened. So this business suits me just fine, and the meeting went great.

The picture books will come out next takes a while!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Everybody Makes Mistakes...

So much to write about, so little time...

First, my nephew, Luke Trosper Brewster, was born--named after my older brother Luke (but my brother Josh's son.) He is very cute and has tested to be a genius. Did I spell genius right? I certainly hope so.

The boys and I were holding Luke in the hospital room--I think J.J. was holding him, when the nurse came in and told my sister-in-law Sarah she'd be right back to draw blood and start an I.V. Sarah is very laid back and said that sounded fine.

Then my brother walked in from getting dinner and asked what was going on (because the nurse was rushing around.)

The nurse said, "I'm going to draw blood and start the I.V."

Josh asked, "For what reason?"

The nurse said, "Because she's in labor."

Josh said, "We already had the baby." He pointed to the baby.

The nurse walked over and said, "Oh my gosh. He's adorable."

End of conversation.

But my sister-in-law and I thought it was really funny that the nurse thought I'd bring my sons for a front row seat to labor and delivery...and that we also brought an infant with us.

Congrats to Josh and Sarah and Francie!

I know I always have an excuse not to write in the blog, but I really have been very busy with work...but not so much that I'm able to turn down some work and focus on one type of writing. I'm still like Dick VanDyke in Mary Poppins. Now I'm a street performer. Now I'm a chimney sweep. Now I'm an old man who's a banker...

But I've been wanting to write about an awkward situation that happened to the boys and me.

We went to a community center about 15 minutes from our house because in the paper, it said they were having "Rock and Jock--" music and open gym--for free. When we got there, the worker told us that the vendor didn't want to go through the city's vendor code regulations (I was thinking, "I don't want to get involved in the negotiations. We're just here to shoot baskets.")

He said we could stay and shoot around. We walked to the gym and he yelled to some teenagers, "Play half court. Let these guys shoot down here." That was kind of embarrassing, but the teenagers didn't seem to mind.

I had to take some notes from a book, so I sat down and let the boys play. After about half an hour, J.J. mosied over to the lights and flipped a switch. Our side of the court dimmed. No big deal. I walked over and tried to flip it back on, which didn't work. J.J. tried to turn it on with a different switch, which made our end of the court darker. Then Johnny and Richie came over and tried to turn on the lights and the whole gym went pitch black.

One of the teenagers went to tell a worker, and he came in.

By this time, all the teenagers were standing on "our side" of the court. The worker flipped the switch and said, "It will take half an hour for the lights to come back on."

My stomach dropped.

The teenagers said, "Man, it's going to be time to go home by then!"

I apologized to everybody. Total silence.

Johnny and Richie and I were blushing and hurrying to get our coats on so we could bust out of there. J.J. meanwhile wasn't embarrassed at all even though it was his fault.

Then one of the teenagers (the one with the most tattoos) said, "That lady just sat there and watched her son turn all the lights off." He said that about five times in a row.

Finally I yelled over to him, "No, what happened is my youngest son turned one light off. Then my other sons came over and tried to fix it and that's when all lights went off."

He said, "But you just sat there and watched them."

I said, "No, I was standing right there with them."

Which made me sound even dumber, something I was sure he would point out.

Instead, he said, "I'm sorry. I don't want you to think I'm mean."

I said, "I don't think you're mean. And I'm sorry, too."

Then we walked out. Other teenagers were walking in, and I said, "Hi, how are you?" But I wanted to hurry to the car before they realized what we'd done.

Anyway, we got to the car and I saw that the teenagers had propped open the door to let the rectangle of daylight in. I think the nice boy with all the tattoos yelled, "Hey, lady, don't worry, we have light now!" but I didn't stop to ask. I was too busy peeling out of the parking lot.

In the car, Johnny said, "I feel really embarrassed. Was that boy mad at you?"

"He was," I said. "But we made up."

Richie said, "Let's never go back there again."

"Oh, they won't remember us," I said. Then I thought about all those accusing eyes. "But we'll give it a few months to make sure."

Moral of the stories...everybody makes mistakes...It's nice when people shed some light on the situation.