Adventures in Picture Book Writing (A musing from 2011)

7:00am Friday morning I hear the ear piercing alarm on the septic system pump. My plans of throwing in a much needed load of laundry have been thwarted.
I need to pack for Picture Book Boot Camp, but instead I am in crisis mode. I dive for the bathroom door as my boys attempt to tandem pee.
“Don’t flush!”
They are too well trained.
Whoosh!
“No flushing pee pee today!”
My little guy looks at me like I must be mistaken and…
Whoosh again!
“Seriously, no flushing today.”
Frantic I call my brother. He digs a moon size crater in the back yard and removes the cement manhole cover. Looking down into the dark cesspool he gives the pump a wiggle. Just that jiggle and the lazy pump, remembers it has a job to do.
Okay, now, I need to get the kids to school. We hurry into the car. Pull down the drive and if the day can’t get anymore gross…
A hawk is making a meal out of squirrel in the front yard, actively shredding fur, blood and guts hanging from its beak.
I try to give myself a pep talk, despite the poopy start to the day.
At home the septic system catastrophe is temporarily resolved. My brother reaches for the door and the knob falls off in his hand. At this point, I can only laugh. My money pit of home has comedic timing.
I can feel a grumpy black cloud hovering over me threatening my writing weekend. In a kind gesture, my mom offers me her car to make the 3hr trek down state. Not trusting my luck, or the service engine soon light, I take her car.
Radios blasting, the roads are clear, things are turning around. I spend the entire weekend with Lisa Wheeler in picture book bliss.
Until, Sunday after lunch. Mom’s car has been parked in the icy rain all weekend, and refuses to start. Not a cough, grumble, or hum. Nothing!
The hotel pool guy takes pity on me and comes out to take a look.
“Did you turn the key?” he asks.
“Yes”
He tries the car, and nothing.
33, married with kids, I take the next logical step. I call my dad.
“Did you turn the key?” Dad
“Seriously! I did not forget how to drive over 2 days.”
Luckily, my parents have road side, and I call a tow, but who knew so many mechanics where closed on a Sunday.
I am pleasantly surprised when the tow truck driver arrives. He reminds me of my dad.
“Did you turn the key?”
He really reminds me of my Dad. Err!
The mechanic finds some wet wires. They won’t be able to get the parts and fix it till tomorrow, Monday.
Amidst the chaos the writing gods are smiling on me, an extra night away just me and my laptop.
A motel is just across the street. All I need is someone to get the kids off to school in the morning.
Screech! That is the sound of my plans coming to a halt. Getting my kids out the door in the morning is tough, and my family decides they would rather trek back and forth for a totally 6hrs, TWICE, than battle with backpacks socks and shoes. No extra writing time for me.

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