Last night, I had a deadline.
More accurately, last Monday I had a deadline.
Now, here's how I generally work on plays:
-IdeaIDEAidea, wouldn't this be fun? (Four months.)
-Plot Out The Things What Happen. Bonus- Add some dialogue which, while not truly belonging anywhere, is wicked funny. (One month.)
-Freak out about character development and scrap the whole thing. (One month.)
-Realize I am left with nothin'. Bring some people/dialogue back. Write more appropriate-to-nothing funny dialogue. (One month, minus two days.)
-Pull two all-nighters and agree that- yes- some semblance of a story can be handed in/comprehended.
(-Extra credit: Do not work on a play for a full calendar year.)
I didn't say that this was the best method, just the one that frequently happens.
But the show for which I'm currently poking out my eyes was due last Monday. (And twasn't presentable. But man, if there wasn't hilarious, out-of-place dialogue for miles!) And this is my fourth rewrite of a full draft since the end of this summer. And I want this play to be awesome, because the company is awesome and the [tolerant/no, don't worry, I won't get used to anything I'm currently seeing in this play] cast is awesome.
And after the latest series of readings, I realized that elements of my storyline weren't awesome. And some character development left me cold. So this month I scrapped a [frightening] amount of the play and determined to piece new plot and reworked old plot and meld it into some sort of refreshing RoboPlay.
I have two wicked little kids/an elusive muse/way too late of a bedtime/infrequent bursts of time in which to pen the gloriousness which is my opus. Whine, whine, whine.
So. This weekend. I knew the play was [over]due and that the play needed to be in the hands of the actors sitting in a room on Monday. Whether or not I had showered since the previous Wednesday was immaterial. So I began the process of ramrodding my eyeballs into my laptop, and my ever-exceptional husband P.J. took the majority of kid/house/explosiveness that constitutes a normal weekend.
And it worked. Until it stopped, right around Sunday night. And it wouldn't come back. The story, that is. Right around cup nine of coffee, the scenes stopped making sense. The characters wouldn't talk. And it got ugly. Specifically with my tears. Ugly Cry tears. And I got frustrated. Because I had barely touched my children the entire weekend and missed things like movies and snuggles and Good God, they're going to college in like five minutes and I have nothing to show for an an overcaffeinated face and legs that haven't moved in hours and may never work again- I hate this chair, who bought this stupid chair?
It got real. Because there were two scenes left to rework and it seemed like something that should be within my reach. And I felt my heart punch out of my chest and I sobbed to P.J. that they'd all have to mime the play, I was an abject failure, I just needed to see my children, and theatre sucks.
P.J. removed my coffee cup from the premises.
And, without giving away too much of his magic, he Keely-Whisperered me. Patiently. He walked me through plot points and even formatting some of my wonky typing "styles." He gently reminded me that- no, no that isn't something a normal person would say...could we perhaps have something happen here, instead of the abject nothingness that's been going down for two pages...let's add something funny to this comedy, yeah?
This went down for hours. Eventually he went to bed. 'Cause I couldn't handle the a.m. carnage that would be two parents with an hour of rest. And I stayed up a little longer because somehow he had freed the plot and the dialogue and things zipped. I wrote like I was being filmed in a montage. And passed out in a fluttery bundle of exhilarated nerves at 3am.
So long story not that much shorter, it worked. Kinda.
Let you know after tonight's reading.
After I give my husband a three hour-long massage.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Thursday, August 16, 2012
|Being awesome, circa 2006.|
Back when I was an obnoxious (in a completely different way than I currently am) young twentysomething, cleaning took forever. Forever.
Once every two weeks, P.J. and I would do laundry. And we're talking piles upon piles. We'd maybe do three loads in that one weekend. Sometimes we couldn't go out until 9 or 10pm because we'd still have dishes to do. And if we had to declutter our apartment prior to sweeping? Forget it. We were in for the night.
Now, remember, I'm not speaking for everyone here. Because there are single, childless, twentysomething rocket scientists and doctors and police officers and people who truly have more important things to be doing/less time in which to clean their homes.
But P.J. and I were not two of those people.
We'd get off work and watch Law & Order marathons while we cooked a leisurely dinner. Post-dinner drinks would accompany cutthroat bouts of Mario Kart. Sometimes we'd have to wrap it up early in order to view the meteor shower from the backyard. And we saw our friends multiple times each week. (I kinda feel like I'm reminiscing about hiking the surface of the moon, here.)
If we didn't get to bed before 1am, it wasn't because we were filing taxes or starching shirts. We were too busy being awesome.
Yesterday, I cleaned three bathrooms. The first problem is that we own three bathrooms. The second problem is that I now live with enough people who can successfully dirty three bathrooms. (Direct convo with Nora: "Mom, why are you wiping that?" "Because it's dirty." "Who dirt-ed it?") I clean these bathrooms every week (and more often as, you know, we continue to have a potty-training wombat pee from her upside-down wall perch).
I did three loads of laundry yesterday by noon. Granted, that's excessive, even for a household that possesses said wombat and her Very Hungry Caterpillar of a baby sister. Let's just say that there were extenuating circumstances which included bedding, lipstick, and more and more discovered spots throughout the day which had been "dirt-ed."
But seriously, I used to leave laundry for once every two weeks? We must've been grubs from Grubsville. Because if I left the laundry to pile up for two weeks now, we'd have no choice. We'd hafta move.
While I was pre-treating the second load of laundry (but well before I scrubbed scrambled eggs from the underside of the table) I had the momentary wish to reach back in time to berate and throttle Young Me.
"If I have to remember you saying how tired you are from hanging hoodies in the closet one more time...and besides that, I just remembered that you used to take a nap before doing the dishes! A nap! Before!"
These are the imagined conversations that I have with Past Me, based on recollections of things I said and did that (at the time) were perfectly valid feelings, but which now irritate the junk out of Older [Dirt-ed] Me.
Sure, there are upsides to my current life that a) Past Me really knew she wanted, and b) Current Me wouldn't trade for anything. For example, last night I got to witness Nora make up a dance to Adele's "Rumor Has It." (Neither of those factors would've been possible back in 2006.) And I would totally scrub thirty bathrooms a week to keep that memory at the forefront of my brain until I'm a hundred and seven.
I'm lucky. I know this. In fact, I'm aware of multiple parents who would totally trade their transit card for my scrub brush in a heartbeat. That's not my point.
My point is that, somewhere in the not-so-distant past, there's a girl who can't finish the second draft of her play because she's too busy searching eBay for Steve Madden boots. And that play's the reason why she can't Windex the bathroom mirror. And since she's going to leave that task until the weekend, it'll most likely move brunch up by a good hour and a half.
And when I remember how she/I will complain/had complained about this, I will feel no pity/will remember how I felt totally swamped by my own abode.
Listen, some people direct their anger outwards. Others- like me- channel their rage towards their past selves.
I think that's totally healthy. Just like all of the upstairs bedding.
Because it's been laundered three times.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
|But I already ATE all the sugar.|
Our household reached that point roughly two and a half days ago. That said, there is nothing particularly wrong with today.
I find myself possessing less than no desire to wipe or scrub or fold or sort or sanitize anything whatsoever.
In fact, it would be terrific if today could be declared A Day Where People Don't Hafta Touch Anything Unless They Wanna.
Let's go one step further. Let's add an addendum for this Day where, because we clearly don't give a fig for organic- or even hot- food on a Day like today, we get to eat cereal straight out of the box. Maybe we'll even make cookie dough that will never even see the inside of an oven because, on this Day, our apathy makes us stronger than salmonella.
On this Day, I want to remember how wonderful it feels to pull a heavy down comforter up to the side of my face as I snuggle in for a midday nap. I want to remember it AS I AM DOING IT. The kids can come, too. As long as they know that we are there to sleep. Not talk. Not play with figurines. Not chew on my shoulder.
Today, my word count is at 45,909. I would like- for this Day only- to have the word count remain at 45,909 and for everyone currently in the house to be totally cool with this. Guilt-free. Proud, even. This will be the thought in my mind as we all settle in for the blanket-on-the-face nap.
This is also the Day where I am not The Queen Of No. So when Nora, clutching an armload of winter gear and chasing Ender, informs me that "kittens need mittens and cats need hats," I'll nod appropriately and see how that storyline unfolds. And if- just as a suggestion- I tell her that the cat might snap at her from underneath his fleece earflaps, I will take her gleeful hope that it'll turn into a choreographed number from West Side Story as a truly valid one.
Today could be the day where I find out just why, exactly, those Birds are so Angry.
It will definitely be a Day where my kids could tell you- in great detail- How To Get To Sesame Street.
And as soon as I extract my toddler from beneath the couch and remove the glittery stickers from her eyelids, I'll tell her so.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
|Stop trying to put away the baby.|
Rewind for a sec- I have many issues.
Okay, fast forward back to where we were: I have one specific issue of which I shall expound upon today.
I get overwhelmed easily. And when my level of whelm is through the roof, I become less than pleasant to live with.
Take my house, for instance. (Please.) There are very few people who have not heard me whine about keeping this warehouse o' toys clean. And I realize that, for the most part, a goodly deal of the possessions within this house are here at my request. Or at the request of people that I have directly created. (Peej, for his part, owns a tattered knapsack full of Sega games and a glass baby mug.)
But I have never been able to work in a room that wasn't organized. When I was an Admissions intern at Hampshire College, I would rearrange office supplies. When home on break, I'd sort my Dad's CD collection- which I could see peripherally from the living room where I'd write papers. While working at my folks' restaurant, their kitchen would boast the neatest line of potato bins (unwashed, washed, chopped).
It's no different now, except that I work for two little girls who are a nice blend of whirling dervishes and gigantic Spin Arts. Holding ripped bags of cornflakes.
And while I've gotten quite good at writing in [unexpected] fifteen minute spurts on piles of laundry and willing myself to do projects with the girls without first mopping/dusting/organizing whatever room we're in, I kept thinking that there had to be a better way. And now I've found it. And it's embarrassingly [for me] simple and ridonkulously [for anyone, really] easy.
I plugged reminders into my phone.
Sure, things like dishes and laundry need to be done (and done and done and done) every day. Because miniature clothing expands to epic sizes in the washing machine. It just does. And every evening, without fail, Peej and I get to do the after-bedtime food, floor, toy, and surface bulldozer game. But now, once a day, I get a reminder for that day's weekly task. And sure, the bathrooms get dirty Every. Single. Day. But unless it's Wednesday (or unless something unmentionable happens), I don't have to stress about how dirty the bathrooms are, oh my GOD they're so dirty until the next time I get that reminder.
Okay, maybe this is coming off crazier in print. But the result is that, at the end of each day, the house is relatively in shape and won't make a visitor dirtier for being in any of the rooms. Which frees me up to actually enjoy being with my kids. And to not feel guilty about working on my book (which currently boasts a four page outline. Maybe I should organize that.)
I recently read an essay in Martha Stewart Living (and yeah, I set reminders to tear through old magazines as well- you laugh, but I'm finally reading 'em) about a woman and her quest for an organized life. I identified with many parts of it, but especially the section where she admitted that sometimes she swept toys away from her kids before they were fully done playing with them. (Guilty.)
I don't wanna be that way. But as much as I try to just Be In The Moment (and I do, I really, do), it's so flippin' nice when things are just roughly where they're supposed to go. I really crave order and folded shirts and markers that haven't lost caps and counters one thousand percent free of salmonella.
So far, this system has worked for about two weeks. Things look a tiny bit cleaner every evening- and morning. (I'm still so rotten at mornings. A dirty house in the morning can set me off for months.) And I'd like to say that, even more than a non-temper-tantrum-inducing home, this new method has yielded a gentler Keely.
Cue: P.J. waving a miniature pennant with Happy Wife emblazoned on it.
Now picture him waving it way harder.
Okay, P.J., that's enough.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
|Someone else who liked her|
toys a LOT...
So you make yourself a mug of hot cocoa...only you make it a questionably large mug, and when faced with the choice of mini marshmallows or whipped cream (I guess we didn't obliterate all of the junk, now did we?), you choose...both. Lots and lots of both.
And you feel no shame over this.
Except for maybe a twinge or two the next morning you begin to post a blog. For example.
I suppose it's my week for inconsequential whining.
After the rush of an absolutely perfectly organized (and clean!) dining room, I decided to tackle the playroom, formerly known as the family room, also formerly a space where one could sit even if one were not a miniature person.
I can admit my mistakes when I make them.
And I made one.
Irrationally enough, I thought it would be a great idea to have all of the kids' large toys and stuff in the room where they, you know, play. Because there was a ball pit in the kitchen (or, as Nora calls it- a pit ball. Which sounds too much like pit bull. Which I also do not want in the kitchen). And there was a multi-room tent in the living room. A trampoline in the unfinished downstairs room. And in the playroom? A kitchen, two bookshelves, a train table, an art table, stacks and stacks of "projects," a stroller, a Lego wagon, a wagon wagon, a ride-on Lion King safari car, and babies. Not even including the real one.
And since Suzy got, well, more mobile, she's brought an exersaucer and a swing into the room.
You know it's bad when your new kid brings two pieces into the mix (as opposed to your toddler's fifteen pieces) and you're all like- THIS BABY IS CHANGING EVERYTHING.
We're not spendy, nor are we actual hoarders. We just happen to know some incredible gifters, and we happen to have been on the receiving end of some insane hand-me-down action. And if you think I'm bad about loving my possessions too much...well, you should see Miss N.J. in action.
She loves everything.
She is playing with everything.
Yes, even that thing under that other thing.
But since I was hot off of my dining room victory, I thought I could tame the beast that is childhood play. And I was schooled.
It was like playing a game of Jenga with Escher.
Even after I had stacked and sorted and made piles (to donate- shh...) and hid some larger items in the closet and cleaned and dusted and mopped and lost Susannah under some toys and then found her but lost Doc Bullfrog...it was still too much. There wasn't enough wall space.
I debated getting rid of Zuzu's swing but, as she was still in it, I realized that perhaps she could keep that one item.
So I lofted. I channeled my first year room at Hampshire and perpendiculared that shiz. I cleared out more stuff and pulled the couch out into the center of the room and shifted furniture and put the wagon in P.J.'s office (sorry) and STILL there wasn't enough room.
It beat me. The playroom won.
The judges might hafta strip me of the Feng Shui Master title [that I've given myself].
In other First World Problem News, The Food I'm Eating Is Too Delicious and My Fifties Are Too Crisp.
I'm still really smarting over the brownie thing, though.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
|Yep, made it on the flight.|
Yesterday's travels capped off an otherwise stellar week with simply abysmal airport conditions. (I realize it's rather bougie to complain about expensive travel- and jaunts that get us home safely, at that- but permit me the post-holiday catharsis of a good ol' transit whine.)
I was already feeling rather mopey about leaving the homestead. Not only was it wonderful to see my family and spend Christmas with everyone, but it was so darned NICE to not be the one in charge. I didn't do a single load of laundry (yet I had neatly folded piles by my room each night), didn't cook one meal (yet ate full to bursting every hour on the hour), and maybe washed one cup (but used eleventy hundred). I napped. I showered. People held Suzy and entertained Nora. There were movies, Mario Kart tournaments, fires in the fireplace, anthologies read, and more than one platter of cookies demolished by me personally.
You understand my hesitation to leave.
But leave we did. To Albany International Airport, to be exact. Usually heading through their security is a skip through a [short] field of daisies. But not yesterday. After a positively Clampett-like dragging of all worldly possessions through the baggage check-in line (seriously, it was like we had one pair of shared hands between us, and they were newly acquired. Thank God Susannah was tied to me, or she might have been left in the car. We had no idea what our deal was, nor why we were completely unable to manage our disproportionate number of bags), we finally made it to the security check point.
Which wrapped eighteen times til Tuesday back over the drop-off overpass. For they were using one scanner- for the entire airport. One. Three lines, one scanner. (Even Chicago's Midway, at its absolute worst, uses at least four.) So we waited in that line until WELL past when our plane boarded. We even (inadvisably) got into two separate lines (me with Zuzu, Peej with NJ), to see if we could "race" and have at least half of our family board the darned plane.
Unfortunately, Nora became aware of this plan once the two parties were neatly separated by about a hundred exhausted and be-luggaged travelers. And she thought that this meant I wasn't coming home with her. And no amount of reasoning could convince her otherwise. And so she had a fit. (Causing the elderly grandmotherly type in front of P.J. to turn and shoot them dirty looks for the rest of this venture.)
Suzy, for her part, was sleeping nicely in her sling this whole time. This might be directly due to the fact that, while sliding out of the sling/hanging on for dear life, she may or may not have been losing oxygen. Either way, by that point I was fairly convinced that I was carrying at least two unrelated persons' baggage.
We were then cut off by a twentysomething girl who informed everyone that her plane was boarding. (Yeah, she was on our flight.) I informed her that half the line was on that flight (for we had all been talking). She smiled vapidly and continued to cut her way to the front. I almost threw Susannah's shoe at her. No one's that pretty.
We went through the scanner with little incident- except for the moment when I had to be reminded that I had a baby strapped to me. And she needed to be removed. Whoops. (I don't even know if I was wearing pants at this point, I was so brain dead. Just kept removing things. Except the child.)
Made it through security at roughly the same time as Peej and Nora. Double whoops. Absolutely booked it down to our gate. Forget numbered boarding- we had missed boarding altogether. And the gate was empty. We barely made it on the flight, but thankfully the gate attendant let us through.
"Wow," he said incredulously. "This is an all-baby flight! You're like the sixth one!"
Amazingly, there were three seats left together on the entire flight. And they were in the coveted last row before the bathroom. (I wouldn't have cared if we were on the wing by now, I was just desperate to sit down. And to see if Suzy had fallen out on the sprint.)
Aside from a ridiculously turbulent takeoff ("This is it," I announced to a crazed P.J., at least three times), the flight was pretty okay. If you don't count the fact that Susannah filled her diaper the moment we sat down and, due to the lack of changing table in the bathroom, didn't get so fresh and so clean clean for another two hours. Which I don't.
Last ones off the plane (which, I'm pretty sure, is good luck) and last ones to the baggage area- except for the gal with the orange lips and fedora who almost kicked Nora as she tripped over her and expressed her disdain for all things humanity. (Peej berated her and [edited] suggested that she go think about how to be a nicer person. He received passerby applause.)
Made it to the shuttle in time to awkwardly struggle with two bags, four carry-ons, and two overtired girls. The driver barely waited for me to clear the partition before he shut the doors. (Note to shuttle bus drivers: If you see a woman with a baby (sorta) tied to her, struggling to heft luggage onto a bus, fling a diaper bag into a seat, and prevent a toddler from falling back into the road- and all you do is avert your eyes, you know you're kind of a wad.)
But we made it to our car. Fed/cleaned/buckled at least two children inside. Got home just in time for bedtime (two hours late). While Peej made a grocery run, I mopped the floors and completely unpacked. (For I am clinically insane.) Begged the newly home P.J. to help me change all the sheets. (For I was desperate for a non-catified bed.)
And slept like the dead.
Until Susannah decided to wake up, two hours later.
And then again, every hour on the hour.
(It's good to be home.)
Thursday, September 8, 2011
|THIS is what "30s With Kids" looks like.|
Hoodies and kitchen floors.
Nary a sensible handbag.
Seriously. The ending of the seventh Harry Potter movie (Part 2, if you will, of The Deathly Hallows). And I swear that this is not a spoiler. Not unless you like wardrobe choice to be a tightly held secret. (Like a royal wedding!)
Yeah, yeah, Voldemort (we can say his name now, yes?) and Snape and Harry Potter and yesyesyes, all of that.
But that last scene on the train platform? Nineteen years have passed. The "kids" are sending their own kids off to Hogwarts. They are a mere five years older than I am at the very time of this posting.
So why are they so frumpy and old-looking?
It looks like they're playing dress-up. Ginny Weasley has a sensible bob and the mommiest purse I've ever seen in my life. Ron has a paunch and a wide forehead. Harry has prosthetic wrinkles (wrinkles!!) and a blazer. HERMIONE HAS HER HAIR IN A FRENCH TWIST.
Seriously. I understand that they needed some props to age these youngsters, but really? P.J. and I discussed what we'd be wearing if we drove to the train station to see our kids off to boarding school; jeans and hoodies. Same as we wear every day. And sure, the Harry Potter kids have been wearing that very outfit since movie One. So it wouldn't really have the aging effect the studio was looking for, I get that.
But there is an awfully big difference between looking 36 and looking 76. (There is, isn't there? Tell me there is. Would I look that old on a train platform? Tell me my butt wouldn't look that wide as I embraced by 11 year-old. TELL ME.)
I saw this movie exactly a week ago. And I am haunted- HAUNTED- by this scene. Basically what the film industry is telling me is that- barring turning yourself into some sort of "real" housewife or glamorously and vigorously anti-aging yourself into a Botoxed wonder- the rest of us jerks look like this in their mind's eye.
I am going Sexy Purse shopping.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
|Not only not recent, but not even ME.|
Perhaps it is the weather- this eternal just-on-the-cusp-of-March drizzle with twenty minute long bursts of quickly disappearing actual light- that makes me want to jump out a window. Except that my first floor is a half story up and the top level not high enough to really make a dramatic impact. (But maybe- just maybe- that's the kinda window jumping I prefer.)
(And then I remember that a goodly bit of the nation is having a WAY worse time of it, weather-wise. And I feel badly for wanting a consistent amount of sunlight at the end of May.)
Or perhaps it's the fact that I am still reeling from the smackdown I received from the LIBRARY two days ago regarding my wallet theft. No, they were not the first call I made (didn't even make the top ten), and no, I would not be filing a separate police report for the sole item of the library card, but yes, I will try and be more conscientious in the future. (I hate them.)
(But then I remember how lucky I am that the worst of my wallet-thievery is a bruised ego at the Sulzer branch of the CPL.)
Or it could be the recent development of this blog's traffic exploding to nearly eight times its usual weekly numbers...but because of an odd tracking glitch wherein no one can tell just where the numbers are coming from, I'm getting [monetary] credit for an less than an eighth of it.
(And yes, yes, yes, First World Problems. I'm extraordinarily lucky to be getting anything at all for babbling about...whatever it is I usually babble about. But the potential to earn more than a dime a day is rather tempting. Especially when the numbers are there. Unless it's a mistake. Or a bot. I LOVE robots. But only the nice, non-enslavey kind.) [Side note- Nora hates ALL robots, including, but certainly not limited to, our Roomba Wally.]
Maybe it's how I'm feeling ginormous and am one day away from being halfway through this pregnancy. That's right, this show's about to get bigger. We're not just taking it on the road, I'm BECOMING the road. And the nearby counties. And Peej is no help, as he says I look good. Great, even. But I am seriously beginning to doubt his ability to discern, as he has never once told me that my butt looked big. And I've worn some awfully big butt-ed pants.
(And this one stings the most, because we really, really wanted this pregnancy- and uh, still do- and the fact that I'm becoming an orca is a decent sign that we'll get a healthy baby and and and...)
And I hate whining. And whining about hating whining. It's a vicious cycle.
My point is, I'm tired. And batting incoming household/money/fatness issues away with Toddler Tantrum hands. (Can you picture it? Some of you have seen this.)
I promise to chin up.
While I still have a single chin.
Which is a rapidly closing window of time.