So Much to Process

Yesterday Melody had her first dentist appointment (looked in her mouth a week or so ago and could see cavities).

Turns out she’s got a gobzillion cavities, and the dentist looks at me and asks, “Has she been brushing twice a day for two minutes each time?”  And I felt like saying something totally rude about how he shouldn’t assume everyone has heard those standards, and I’m not an idiot, are you taking a survey over how many people who follow the standards still get cavities?

Maybe I would have felt guilty-er if I hadn’t just had a conversation a week ago with a mom who does hyper-regulate her kids’ teeth hygiene and was crushed that her 8-year-old has cavities despite her efforts.

Anyway, they give me a quote for half her mouth (they schedule one side at a time because they don’t expect a kid to sit through the whole procedure at once) and blow off my questions/distaste for metal fillings.  “[Tooth-colored fillings] are more expensive” was all they’d say to me.

The friend who referred me had warned me about the negitive response the workers gave when asked about health issues, so I tried to make it about aesthetics (hey, this should be solid ground, I thought), and still felt invalidated.

I guess I should have taken that story as a reason not to go, but I wanted to get Melody checked and here was somebody known by somebody.  Anyway, after looking at the estimate (pushing $2000.  For one-half of her mouth. BLEW my mind) I told Jay, “I am totally calling around for prices.”

And I only had the energy to call 3 offices, but that was enough to establish that we visited an expensiver place (annoyed me) and that there are providers that are already rejecting the metal fillings themselves, so I don’t have to but heads with an establishment.

So I have to finish calling around tomorrow; one more place to meet Jay’s request of four new offices, and one call-back to compare oranges with oranges.

I’m totally getting the impression that this isn’t playing by the rules (going to place A then hijacking the x-rays and exam to have the work done elsewhere).  If office A hadn’t charged plenty for the initial exam I might feel more compunction about changing, but I’ve given the worker his due.

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Ask a simple question…

The children are “ice skating” to their self-created music in the nook normally used as the dining area.

Jay is filling out some huge survey, occasionally trying to engage me by asking questions.

I am trying to cruise through my reconceptualized novel despite the activity, and Jay reads from the survey:

“Do you have trouble concentrating or making decisions?”

Me: “YES!”

7 Quick Takes

Again, from Jen’s idea.

~ ~ 1 ~ ~

Jay’s talking about wanting a pellet-burning stove.  I’m asking where it will go.

I’m asking for a double bed with drawers.  It will take up less room (in our little room) than the queen-sized bed (we never use all that space anyway), and let us get rid of at least one dresser.

Both changes will make more room for book cases 😉  Eventually.

~ ~ 2 ~ ~

The cast list was sent out last week, and my name was by “doting mother,” which comes just before a list of “my” seven children (a boy, three girls and my own three kids).  This might have seemed really cool, except just a couple days before Jay had fielded a call while I was out, inviting me to play “the matron.”

Leaving aside the self-image rearrangement that I looked more like a “matron” than a lady (hmmm?) the description of the role he was given created some questions that have yet to be cleared up.

  • The role was described as comic relief
    • I’ve never actually done “comic relief” before.  My humor is more about situational stuff and wordplay.  It would be a new thing to learn.
  • Am I the “doting mother” or the “matron” who’s constantly dumping her seven kids on Cinderella (highlighting her helpless plight)?
    • The compatibility of the two alludes me
  • What is the behavior of these 7 children?
    • I have yet to see a comedy where the children behave properly
    • I e-mailed the director and said I would be willing to herd 7 children, but not 7 brats (I suppose that was horrid, but it’s true.)
    • I’ve often thought that more intimidating than unruliness (and less-frequently explored, perhaps because it’s more complex) is the “perfectly behaved” children who are positively devious and make their digs by cunning rather than brute-brattyness.
      • This possibility actually creeps me out more than spiders.  Or at least as much.

~ ~ 3 ~ ~

I have my latest project (with Christmas for the deadline): dollhouse dolls.

I was so excited to see Barbara Curtis’s post about the hugely discounted M&D dollhouse that I bought it the same day (it’s still going for under-retail now, but then it was $47.99, I think).  Local retailers ended up being out of the little dolls, so now I am in the process of making little flexible family members to live in said house.

It may even turn into an “entrepreneurial opportunity” as one owner of a sold-out shop emphatically affirmed her store would be very happy to offer locally made dolls.

(We’ll see how interested I am after I finish our own bundle)

~ ~ 4 ~ ~

I was at Barnes and Noble yesterday, considering all the delicious ways to spend a gift card, and the oddest thing happened as I cruised the section of the children’s department where I read the most.

I felt a claustrophobic tightening in my chest.  Just standing and looking at books was making me dizzy, and not in a good way.

This I’ve noticed only once before: when perusing the Lloyd Alexander section in my local library.  Dude’s got a gobzillion books out!

I can only suppose the feeling is a goulash of emotions: anticipation (someday I’ll be there), anxiety (when will that be?  When will I be done?), overwhelmed-ness (at the prolific-ness of other writers), and maybe even jealousy (at the freedom they seem to have in order to be prolific…)

I had to make myself be still and pray, waiting for God settle my mind and emotions before I could finish looking for the book I wanted that day.

Unreal, but making me again thankful I have a God who’s bigger than my emotions.

~ ~ 5 ~ ~

Once that was over I propped myself in one of the cushy chairs by their circular fireplace and worked some more on the timeline of my novel.  I had two distinct packages emerge in the process, and solved a squished-time dilemma (I’ve needed an extra day and just found where it belonged).

So, I have to give Jay’s fireplace idea some credence.  There’s a lot to be said for watching the flames.  It’s like a shower for your brain.  At least for me, having something visual and real, but inconcrete, was very useful.

~ ~ 6 ~ ~

I’ve decided I like to eat too much for weights or Pilates to be enough exercise.

Not that I eat a lot (I imagine I’ve got that under control) I just like, a lot, to eat.  And the stuff I want to eat, that I’ve been eating, has maintained me 13-lbs above my target weight (trust me when I say my target is not unrealistic, or even low, for my height).

The trick, as with all exercise, is finding something sustainable.

Free weights and Pilates are doable because I can take from books and do them in my living room.  The walking with my dog has been put on-hold because sub-zero walks are far from the motivating delight “normal” walks are.

I’ve considered a step, as I like the space requirements and exercising to music, but I’ve not taken the plunge yet.

We did see one in the same place Jay noticed a pull-up bar he wanted, so we may end up getting both together.  Maybe for a new-year’s project.

~ ~ 7 ~ ~

After looking yesterday at all three furniture stores in-town, Jay decided he wants to build the bed frame himself.

His goal is to get the main support and frame built this weekend (so we can buy a mattress and get our bed off the floor) and to design it so that a later-constructed set of drawers may be slid under it whenever they are completed.

This was the design we liked best out of what we saw, only most of these drawers were simple “friction” drawers, where you needed to drag a wooden box out of a wooden hole.

Jay knows he can do better than that, though he/we might not even have bothered, truly, if it weren’t for the exorbitant cost of new furniture.  If I’m paying over a thousand dollars for an item (we’re pushing a house-payment here!) I expect to get *exactly* what I need.

I suppose we could be considered unreasonable consumers.  But there you are: Jay will take on a project, same as me, when he knows he can do it as well, or better, then what is otherwise available.

So the bed will come before the fireplace– but I expect the next time we’ve saved some house money the fireplace will be next.

Controlled Vocabulary

I am working on a short fairy tale to submit for publication (sort of a breather from the novel, you might say).

Naturally the language is how I would tell it.

So I’ve begun to go through it with my “Children’s Writer’s Word Book” checking the words I guess to be more challenging than the others.

I was thinking I was doing alright, most of those words were acceptable at a 3rd- or 4th-grade level, until I got to enchanted.

As in, “enchanted castle.”

Enchant is designated a 6th-grade word.

I called Natasha over and asked her if she knew what the word meant.

“Um, magic?” Good enough for me.

I told her, “This book says you have to be 12 to know that word.”

She looked at the ceiling and laughed quietly.

“You can be four too,” she said.

I’ll check the rest of the manuscript, but if that’s the most challenging thing we’ve got in there, this thing’s ready to look for a publisher.

Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow!

Happy New Year!

And I just *had* to share my delight.

In October I attended a writer’s workshop where I recieved back my novel’s first-chapter that had be reviewed and commented on by one of the editors present.  For almost three months now I’ve thought my folder from there– holding both the marked-up manuscript and my skip-the-slush-pile cards– had been thrown away.

But I found it this morning.

I’ve been re-organizing my bookshelves (what do you do for a thrill?) and found it buried on a bottom shelf.

All I could say was, “Bless God!  Bless God! Bless God!”

I brought out the cards and plopped them in front of Jay.   Natasha asked what they were and I said Jay would tell her.  He read them, only half paying attention, and two beats later the light went on and he was excited too.  (“I’m so happy for you!”)

He had wondered if he were the one who had thrown it away during a house blitz.

Current Goals

So, here they are. I have a detailed version of this on my fridge as a reminder. (I also have this on my fridge.) I included the details under #1 to explain why my list from yesterday was so encouraging to me.

  1. Short-term: Create more structure to the children’s and my day.
  • More planned activities in the home (e.g. crafts w/ Mama)
  • More including of the children in housework.
  • Reading at non-sleep times.
  • Music practice as a matter of daily-life
  • Memory verse rehearsal
    • Medium-term: Get Novel presentable.
    • Long-term: Work in habits to make them automatic and make life easier.

I Made It.

(Posted simultaneously at Untangling Tales.)

Can’t say I’m done, ’cause I’m not, but I did make the 50,000-word “finish line.”

Two nights ago, actually. And yesterday I spent much of the day cleaning house because we were having company for dinner, so I didn’t write anything before “validating” my 50,267-Word document this morning. (You are such a nice little document!) It came in as 50,116 words.

Good enough for me. I did what I set out to do (make word count) and have had a “highly educational experience” that was not frightening or humiliating (I understand many highly educational experiences are one or both). I now have more words on a single story than I ever have before, and I spent more consecutive days on a single project (excluding marriage and children and eating) than I have before in my life.

Since it’s still not done I’ll have to spend some more hours on it before it’s complete, but I’ve got those penciled in for January or February.

The plan for December is to create order in my physical world (this was already manifesting itself toward the end of the month as my word-count slowed and my house got pretty) and enjoy Jay’s time off.

The whole month. *WooHoo!*

I’m hoping to have some time in there to create a semi-formal “pre-school” lesson plan for Natasha. She it just chomping at the bit right now. She has loved poetry since she was 2 1/2 and fell in love with that rabbit poem. We read them between chores this morning, and she was never ready to let me get back to my clothes-folding. Then she went off “playing school” and “reading” both by herself and with Melody.

I am such a *writer*

(Also posted at Untangling Tales)
Do you ever find (if you’re not a swear-er, especially) that certain words escape as if you were swearing?
My 87-year-old grandmother has been in the hospital via the emergency room since late Friday night. I spent most of Saturday at her bedside, keeping her company while folks tried to figure out how to “fix” her (she’d been ailing since Sunday, and it finally came to a head).The whole time I was juggling my Mama (10-week-old Elisha was with me) and Granddaughter hats, my mind, against all my attempts to ration my frazzled resources, continued to frame how best to put the experience into words.

More of the same, but different.

Currently Reading
You Can Write a Novel (You Can Write)
By James V. Smith
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I’m still waiting, still reading, and still writing, but it’s all different too.

I have my laptop now (though nothing else of my many orders has yet arrived), and it’s already proving to be a wonderful resource/tool. I’ve been able to use it while “hanging-out” with the girls, during those times when they want me around (or I want to be there, to maintain the peace) but aren’t looking for direct interaction/play. Continue reading