Archive of ‘writing workshop’ category

Writer's Workshop: You Know You Live in a Small Town When…

It was a busy Friday afternoon at a popular downtown cafe. Brian and I were enjoying a leisurely, baby-free lunch, eavesdropping on the people around us (as we like to do), when the grad student-type person sitting next to us got up and walked away.

BRIAN: Amber, check this out.

ME: Oh, don’t worry. I already saw the sorority sluts. And no, I am not going to get a pair of stiletto whore boots like those.

BRIAN:  They are pretty hot, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Look at the table next to us.

ME: What? What am I supposed to be looking at?

BRIAN: Open your eyes, woman. Don’t you see the computer? And the iPhone?

ME: Yeah, so?

BRIAN: So that guy just got up and left that stuff there.

ME: Well, maybe he really had to pee or something. He has been drinking a lot of coffee.

BRIAN: Yeah, but that’s an iPhone. Anyone could steal it!

ME: Shhhh. He’s coming back.

We quickly looked away, trying to pretend we hadn’t been staring at his stuff.

ME (LOUDER): Yeah, so I thought maybe we could go see that movie this afternoon.

BRIAN: Movie??? But I thought you wanted to furniture shop…

ME: I dunno. We should keep our options open…wait, is he leaving again?

He was. And this time, he left more stuff out on the table.

BRIAN: Want to go rob his house? He left his keys for us this time.

ME: Who needs a key? He probably left the door open for us.

BRIAN: Right. Although if this is the way he treats his stuff, there’s probably not much left to steal, anyway.

ME: No kidding. I mean, I know this is a small town and all, but it’s not like we live in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood or something. People take shit.

BRIAN: Shhhhh.

Brian started picking at his dessert while I fumbled for something in my purse, sure our neighbor must know we had been talking about him.

BRIAN: This cupcake is nasty.

ME: So don’t eat it.

BRIAN: I paid five bucks for this thing. I’m damn well going to…

This time, we both openly stared as Mr. Dumbass got up, put on his beret and stepped outside, leaving his stuff where it was.

BRIAN: Okay, maybe this is like one of those Dateline things.

ME: What, like To Catch a Predator?

BRIAN: Yeah. Except instead of child molesters, they’re trying to get petty thieves.

ME: Could be. I’m guessing he’s just a little too trusting, though. Either that, or he’s a major pothead, and has fried all the brain cells that should be reminding him to pick up his stuff.

BRIAN: Well, are you ready to get out of here? I can’t stand to watch this anymore.

ME: I kind of feel like we should stay and guard his stuff…

BRIAN: Oh, come on. Don’t be such a girl scout. We’ve only got four hours till we have to pick up the kidoodle.

ME: Okay, fine. You’re right. I hope no one takes anything, though.

BRIAN: Well, he has only himself to blame if they do.

So we left. But I’m still wondering if we were being filmed for a Public Access TV version of Dateline… I’ll keep you posted. Now head over to Mama Kat’s to see what the other Workshoppers did this week.

The Do's and Don'ts of Valentine's Day (for the hopelessly unromantic).

My husband is a wonderful man. He’s kind, generous and wickedly funny. He’s unafraid to help around the house—but is no slouch when it comes to tasks that involve power tools. Even better, he’s just as quick to change a stinky diaper as he is to kill the menacing spider that sent me screaming from the room. In short, he’s a fantastic husband (and that concludes the sucking up portion of this post).

His one fault (at least, that we’re going to talk about today)? He doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. Not one. Seriously. As you can imagine, this has led to more than a few tears over the years—and the establishment of a few ground rules:

First, don’t believe your Valentine when she says she doesn’t want anything. This is a lie. It doesn’t have to be anything big (small velvet boxes are always welcome), but she does want to know you thought of her.

Do spend some quality time at Hallmark picking out a card you know she’ll enjoy. Just do it—even if you have to bring a vomit bag to sop up the results of all that force-fed saccharine.

Don’t underestimate the power of flowers. Specifically, flowers delivered to the office by a professional paid to do just that. Yes, they’re ridiculously overpriced. But that overpriced floral arrangement will make her the envy of every woman around her (and you the knight in shining armor).

Do take her on a date. I don’t care how many years you’ve been together or how many kids are underfoot. Take her somewhere special. Not necessarily anywhere expensive (I believe one year we went to Burger King)—any place you can focus on the two of you will do.

Don’t forget that sometimes it really is the thought that counts. When it comes to Valentine’s Day presents, the best gifts are often the ones that cost the least. On one of our first Valentine’s Days together, my husband made me a mix tape. That’s it. Just a mix tape of special songs, like the one he sang for me at our Senior All Night Party. But you know what? I still have it (and yes, I’m aware I just dated myself).

Do think beyond the lingerie department. Now I happen to have a thing for pretty underthings, so it’s okay in our house. But most women?  Would rather get a box of chocolate covered cockroaches than see that distinctive Vicky’s Secret box.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the traditional Valentine’s Day box.  Sometimes the best gifts are things that your Valentine really needs, but would never think to ask for (just ask the Existential Waitress).

Do surprise her every once in a while. Chocolates, flowers and fancy dinners are great. But if you really want to make her starry-eyed? Do something completely unexpected (check out this post by Mommy Melee for inspiration).

Don’t forget to tell her you love her.  And that you think she’s sexy. And that she’s most the beautiful woman in the world.  And not just on Valentine’s Day. She needs to know she’s special every single day of the year. Because, you know what? She thinks you’re pretty awesome too.

But before you hit the mall, head over to Mama Kat’s and see what the other workshoppers have to say.

Writer's Workshop: A Wise Woman Told Me…

“People are going to start pressuring you to have another baby, but don’t rush into anything. Two is way tougher than one.”

My sister-in-law shared those wise words of advice with me during one of the few quiet moments we had together at Christmas. She’s got two girls, born just two years apart, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Truth is, I don’t know if I’ll have another baby. After all, I’m not getting any younger. And as much as I love Tori, she’s a heck of a lot of work. Right now, she demands my attention almost constantly. In fact, if I walk out of the room she’s in, she almost always crawls right after me, crying ”mamamamama.”

I simply can’t imagine juggling the needs of two munchkins at once. How is it possible?

Plus, there’s the money issue. Sure, we have all the gear now, but there’s still daycare to think about. We’d need a bigger car, for sure. We’d also lose our guest room, so we’d have to buy a sleeper sofa. And then there’s college. With my luck, they’d both want to go to expensive liberal arts schools that I’d have to re-mortgage my house to afford (hi mom!).

But then, as I hold her sleepy body in my arms, my heart flips. She’s brought so much joy into our lives. How could we not have another one?

Reading things like this, and seeing pictures like these don’t help matters. To tell the truth, they kind of make my uterus hurt.

But, oh, the work. The not sleeping for months and months and months. The aching joints and constant indigestion and leaking boobs and eight-week C-section recovery and year-long post-pregnancy diet and, and, and…

Yeah. I’m not going to rush into anything.

Now head over to Mama Kat’s and see what the other workshoppers have to say!

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