8:30 a.m. My husband has been laid up for several weeks. His back is killing him. The pain traveled from his groin to his calf. After much begging and complaining and numerous phone calls to the doctor, he got approved for an MRI on Thursday. He should get the results today.
I have a temp job that I’ve been at for awhile now. I am not happy there. The place is extremely disorganized, the principal players, otherwise known as the Juice Guys, are prone to hissy fits and temper tantrums. They are control freaks and incapable of delegating but then hold others responsible. A “mistakes will be made, others will be blamed” kind of place.
I woke at six, started a blog, but didn’t have time to finish. I sent some emails to writers and other bloggers offering free books. I tweet. I Facebook. I look at the clock. Shit, it’s 8:30, I have to be at work at nine. My car’s in the back lot.
On the drive to work, I listen to the Counting Crows:
Well there’s a piece of Maria in every song that I sing/And the price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings
9:15 a.m. I do some inventory tasks, pay some bills. I start an Excel spreadsheet to balance a vendor’s account that is a mess because the invoice numbers were never entered in the checkbook and the vendor’s bill statements are very confusing.
1:45 p.m. I have another temp job down the street, three miles away. I call my husband while sitting at a red light. He is not getting the results of the MRI until tomorrow. For an hour and a half, I make collection calls. “Hi, I’m calling about your past due invoice.”
4:30 p.m. On the drive home I’m still listening to the Counting Crows.
When I think of heaven/Deliver me in a black-winged bird/I think of flying/Down into a sea of pens and feathers…Don’t try to bleed me/I’ve been here before and I deserve a little more
Pens? Did Adam Duritz ever work at a desk crunching numbers? I take Palmetto Park to the Intracoastal and stop to take a walk.
In a park across the bridge is a denuded palm tree. I think that is what you would call it??? It’s lost its palms.
6 p.m. I make dinner. I take notes for a blog. Mondays are difficult. It’s hard to get back into the swing of the work week. My goal was to only work three days a week and write the other days. I feel denuded, like I’ve lost my palms.
10 p.m. I lie in bed reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Random thoughts for book three drift through my mind. I take notes, drifting off to sleep as Adam Duritz sings a lullaby.
Hey, I only want the same as anyone…Oh, it seems night endlessly begins and ends/After all the dreaming I come home again…I belong anywhere but in-between….I’ve been here before/And I deserve a little more
I wanted to write full time when I moved to Florida. I’m not there yet. We have fewer bills to pay but I need to work. I need to sell more books. I am in-between. I have been here before. I will persevere.
8:00 a.m. I like Tuesdays. I work for an extremely nice man who has a construction business. He is funny and kind and easy to get along with, and he’s a Republican. When his cell phone rings, it is the voice of George Bush bellowing. “Hello, this is the president calling. The weapons of mass destruction have been found. They are in your cell phone.” You can’t make this stuff up.
I do his payroll, pay his bills, help him with reports and estimates. We banter back and forth, the liberal and the conservative having a civil discussion. We compare local restaurants. Movies. TV series we like. New Hampshire, Iowa, snow. I listen to 92.5 The River, the radio station I listened to back in New Hampshire. It is cold up there today. Here in Florida it’s a balmy 72 degrees.
Like Josie in Take Me Home, I am the office wife but my boss is much nicer than David E. Lee. The day flies by. My husband calls. He has two herniated discs. They have scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. We are hoping this won’t require surgery.
5 p.m. Adam Duritz is still singing to me on my way to Trivia Night:
I want to be Bob Dylan/Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky/When everbody loves you, son, that’s just about as funky as you can be/We all want to be big stars, but we don’t know why and we don’t know how….
6 p.m. My friend Rosemary invited a friend from her condo development. She was a lawyer and is now considering teaching ESL in Thailand. We are hoping to do better at trivia this evening. We drink wine and eat pizza, six dollars a pie on Trivia night. Last week we met a lovely couple who lived in Saudi Arabia for ten years. Tonight they have their son, his girlfriend, and another friend with them. They don’t need all this help. They almost always win. Tonight they come in second place. We come in last. We suck.
I had a nice day. But I haven’t done anything to further my writing career, and I didn’t take a walk.
7 a.m. I try to to start a blog. There are three days worth of clothes on the bedroom floor. I pick some of them up. I separate whites and darks but know I won’t get to the laundry until Friday. My bed is unmade. It looks like the beds I pin on my Pinterest board titled Dreams. I get on Pinterest and pin a few photos to a picture board of the story of my book, Take Me Home. I have 211 repins since yesterday. Every one of those pins has a link to my Amazon page. I imagine I have sold 211 books in a day but I know it may be more like ten, if that.
9 a.m. I’m back at the office with the Juice Guys who are prone to hissy fits. I had to be on time today. We have a BIG meeting at ten. There is a chill in the air when I walk in the door. One of the partner’s is writing a flow chart, a corporate kind of thing, on a large board set on an easel. He makes veiled threats, asking why inventory is taking so long, are the year end numbers ready, etc. He says he is going to reprimand everyone. “I am holding everyone accountable,” he threatens. The other guy says, in his loud bellicose voice, “No, you’re not going to reprimand them, you’re going to kick their butts.”
A character I am developing for my next book says, “Give me that line.”
“I don’t know if I see you that way,” I tell him.
“Well, that’s because you haven’t spent any time with me. Wait until you get to know me.” I tell him, yes, I would rather be home writing but I am busy right now.
Everyone is tense. Head honcho partner is on the phone with someone in Europe. Time crawls by. I clean my desk, make sure my cell phone is in my purse, my Quickbooks bible next to my purse. I am getting ready for a quick exit in case things get out of hand at the meeting. I think of Josie in Take Me Home:
A woman on the move, headed west, her entire belongings were whittled down to three suitcases and two boxes. No longer accumulating possessions, she was acquiring experiences. Nothing was permanent. She was ready to move at a moment’s notice.
I’m a temp with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, experience in ten accounting software programs and thirty-two years of bookkeeping, including running my own business for twenty years. And here I am temping, waiting to get my ass kicked. America, the land of opportunity. But I’ve published two books. I own something now, something I created. I need to be at home, marketing my book.
I enter some invoices. There isn’t much to do today. I came here specifically for the meeting which is now being billed as an ass whipping. I decide I am leaving at noon.
12:15 p.m. Head honcho emerges from the kitchen. He writes something else on his corporate mumbo-jumbo board. “I have to leave. I should have left fifteen minutes ago,” I tell him.
My husband sends a text message. “No surgery. Starting physical therapy on Friday. He says he can get me feeling better in a week or two. Meet me at Mellow Mushroom.” I leave the office, my co-worker right behind me. The full-time office manager watches us leave. She is a deer in the headlights.
My husband has scored a kitchen remodel job. I am concerned he will further injure himself before he heals. He says it’s fine. We order beers and pizza. I am weighing the pros and cons of calling the temp agency and quitting the Monday/Wednesday job right now, or sticking it out a couple of weeks until my husband gets back on his feet. I drive back to the apartment along the ocean road, windows rolled down, listening to Amos Lee:
Is it what you dreamed it’d be? Are you locked up in this fantasy?….Windows are rolled down/Sun is rising high/Windows are rolled down/Feel that wind rushing by, hey
5 p.m. I got a lot accomplished this afternoon, successfully reaching out to 2 of the 3 writers I contacted. I still need to write a blog. I take a walk to the beach.
4 a.m. The wind is blowing , the palm trees rustling. It is cold in the bedroom. I grab a throw and fling it across the top of the bed. I close my eyes and see stars, tiny pinpoints of light scrolling in front of me like an article I am searching through for that perfect line I know I read. The thought that touched a nerve.
8 a.m. Today I am starting a new job in Deerfield Beach. This one is every other Thursday. For some reason I am under the impression it is a dentist’s office. It is not. It is an electrical engineering company run by a husband and wife who are delightful. It is a chilly morning. 45 degrees. I go back for my fleece.
I spend seven hours getting Quickbooks up to date. The day goes by quickly.
4 p.m. A local Delray author/playwright contacted me. We are meeting over a cup of coffee on Atlantic Avenue on Monday. I need something to wear. I stop in Boca on my way home and find nothing I can afford, it’s Boca. Walking along the sidewalk, I pass a cooking class at Sur La Table. I add this to my list of things to do but then think, when will I have time to do that?
The next book is no longer just swirling around in my brain, it is knocking on the door and demanding to be written. I avoid the blank page because I know once I start there will be no stopping. The characters will move in with me. I will think about them constantly. In my spare time, when I’m not temping, I need to be promoting Take Me Home. And walking. And blogging about walking. The third novel is lurking around the corner, asking “But what about me?”
“I know. I know you’re there. I will get to you soon. I promise.”
Make big plans, aim high in hope and work…Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.” ~ Burnham
I believe in myself. I can do this.