Death Of My Dad pt 2

My youngest brother, Scott, was waiting for me at the airport. I’d asked him not to come inside the airport. I didn’t want to burst into tears when I saw him.

I love small airports. By the time I’d used the facilities (cause God knew when I would use them again) my bag was waiting for me on the conveyor and the rest of the passengers had already left.

Scott waited for me in the truck. He even made me open the tailgate and haul my huge duffel into the box. I realized then that he was just as afraid to greet me too.

The ride to the hospital was a blur of updates, noticing changes along the way and silent pleas to get there fast. Non-existent midnight traffic helped.

I was in the intensive care unit less than half an hour after landing.

Donnie, my other brother and his fiancée were waiting for us. After a brief conversation where the boys warned me to expect Dad to look bad… to which I replied, “It can’t be any worse than I’ve imagined.”

Trust me, having a vivid imagination isn’t always a good thing.

Without going into the gruesome details, it was bad. In many ways worse than my imaginings because I saw the levels of his medication and the nurse answered many of my questions. Unfortunately I asked some intelligent questions.

An hour later my feet began to hurt. I could hardly believe I’d been there so long I challenged Daddy to get his ass out of that bed… I guess I should have been more specific as to the how he should do that. ( This is a joke, you’re allowed to laugh. You’ll understand more when you read my eulogy.)

I returned to my brothers who were waiting for me in case I needed support. I shooed Donnie and Louise home and Scott and I crashed on the couches. We’d all been up close to two days.

Fast forward – 18 hours later Dad was on 100% oxygen and meds to move his blood through his body. It was up to him the medical staff could do no more. Dad’s blood pressure dropped continuously all night.

Scott and I had the midnight vigil again. This time we stayed up all night talking while Donnie and Louise spent the night with Mom. by 9am they were back along with Dad’s two sisters who lived in Saint John. His oldest sister in Ontario couldn’t come so we had her on speaker phone to hear the doctor’s update. Dad’s brother’s health is frail, we chose not to tell him until it was over.

We had a choice. Continue the meds and let him linger for hours or stop the BP meds and let him go in minutes.

We walked into the ICU unit to make our decision when Dad’s nurse stopped Mom. “Dick has made the decision for you. His heart just stopped.”

Day 2 done. Day 3 off to the worst possible start.

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Death Of My Dad – pt 1

I’m not sure what caught my attention about her as she walked onto the skytrain. Maybe it was the exhausted way she dragged her oversized duffel-bag behind her, even though it was only six-thirty in the morning. She bent over awkwardly sideways trying to balance the knapsack she was carrying over one shoulder. It looked, like despite her effort, it was going to slip down over her arm anyway.

Luckily, the train was still half-empty so she was able to have one of the single seats which gave her room to drag her big, wheeled duffel close beside her out of the way of embarking passengers. She placed her knapsack on her lap, turned to the window and went still.

Not just still – unnaturally still.

If I hadn’t seen her come in I would have assumed she was a statue. Well, except for her thumb. Her thumbnail rubbed back and forth over the centre of her bottom lip. The movement was so small I almost missed it.

She fascinated me. I couldn’t take my eyes from her.

She had her cell phone gripped in her hand, pressed against her duffel-bag. I could hear it buzz against her luggage every few minutes. She’d check her messages and her lips would tilt up ever so slightly then her eyes would close and she’d take a deep breath. Her shoulders shook, just a bit until she seemed to get herself back in check. When her eyes opened again, there was an extra sheen to reflect the rising sun.

Suddenly, I understood.

I wanted to catch her eye and offer her comfort but the few times she looked around, her glance skipped over people and focused on silly things. Like to where the upright pole attached to the ceiling or the empty place where an ad should have been in the overhead marketing slots.

Her sadness was almost tangible, at least to anyone paying attention. The guy, sitting across from her, was oblivious.

She looked back out the window as we entered the tunnel. For a brief split-second, our eyes met in the reflection.

In that moment of clarity, I realized that she, was me.

*****

This was the start of my journey home.

My brother, Scott, called me Wednesday night to tell me Dad had an aortic aneurysm. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital. They took him immediately into surgery and he was given a 10% chance of surviving the surgery.

I was on the earliest flight I could get. Hence the 6:30 am skytrain ride.

The flight across the country was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even harder than giving the eulogy at his funeral.

Being out of touch for the 5 hours between the gate at Calgary to the gate in Halifax left me in a panic. Was Daddy going to die? Would I make it in time to say goodbye? and then chastising myself for letting doubt seep into my thoughts. Dad was strong, healthy and stubborn. He’d be fine.

I broke down in the middle of the airport in Halifax. I had a three hour layover and there wasn’t an earlier flight I could catch. I could probably drive just as fast, but by then I’d been up for so long I could hardly stand, let alone attempt to drive.

Mom didn’t need to have two of us in the hospital.

The plane from Halifax to Saint John was cute. A little, ancient looking 16 seater. It gave me the comic relief I desperately needed.

When I got to Saint John less than an hour later I was calmer. I was home, Dad was still alive and Mom was at our house trying to get some sleep. She’d been up for over 40 hours by then too.

Day 1 complete

Life is a Cafe

Call me weird but I’ve always wanted to work in a cafe. Not a coffee shop where people come in, order impossibly complicated drinks and leave, but a place sort of like Cheers, without the alcohol.

I can now cross that item off my list.

A friend of mine was in dire straights. One of the girls was going away on vacation and they still had 4 shifts to cover. Would I be interested?

Hells Yeah

The only downside is that I have to leave my house at 6:30am to get downtown for 8am. I work from home, I usually leave my bed at 8am to be to work for 8:05am.

This will require a slight adjustment.

It’s worth it though. I trained for two shifts this past week. This place is exactly like my vision. Regulars come in, chat while their drinks and custom deli sandwiches are made. The girls have pet names for their favourite customers and happily few non-favourites darken their doors. It’s great.

Extra Bonus:

I get new ideas for characters and situations and I’m standing for 5 hours that normally would be spent on my butt in from of my computer. It’s a win/win/win

BBQing in the rain

A good time was had by all.

I took a chance and mixed writers with non- writers. The experiment worked out well.

Folks started gathering at the allotted time and this time I was smart and moved the BBQ to the front of my house where the deck protected the grill-flip-artists from the wet much better than the eaves at the back of my house with the dripping gutters did last time.

My house full of people lingered til late in the evening, cozied against the wet outside and fortified with wine, coffee, lemon meringue and toblerone cheesecake (and yes it was as good as it sounds)

Now today, it’s back to the grind.

Sunday Brunch Writing Prompts at Toasted Cheese, hoisting my editor flag and reading a revised manuscript sent to PaperBox Books, #amediting myself and polishing my next novel to be published and somewhere in the middle Skyping my parents to say, “Hi” and recap this week’s events.

Rain and Adulthood

Some days you just want to lay down on the floor like a 3-year old and throw a good old fashioned temper tantrum.

I’m a red-head. Trust me, any temper tantrum I throw is going to be spectacular!

But alas, I am also an adult. So as a good friend of mine says, “Pull up your big girl panties and get on with it.”

Self wedgie administered, away I go.

I’m hosting a BBQ this afternoon. It’s been sunny and warm for the past couple of weeks and it looked like the weather would hold for a few more. Almost the instant I sent out the invitations there appeared a chance of rain on the 7th. No other day, just the 7th. As the date grew closer, the change of precipitation grew higher. Normally the weather shifts from one day to the next. Not this time. *sigh*

Luckily, my house is big enough to hold everyone.

To add insult to injury, one of my best friends from back-East was to drive down from Banff to spend the weekend and come to my BBQ. Alas, thunderstorms up in the mountains made her cancel her plans. The roads can be nail-biting on a sunny day, if you’ve never driven on mountain roads, a thunderstorm is not a good time for your maiden pass.

On the bright side.

The hourly forecast says that the rain will ease and stop around the time people start to arrive. I hope the weather decides to stay one it’s consistency path and keep to it’s schedule. After all there are wildfires further up the valley that need the rain more than we do.

Red Sun

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
Red in the morning, sailors take warning

That old saying has never steered me wrong to predict the following day’s weather… outside of wildfire season that is. This week, the sky is hazy and the sun is red from the moment it begins to sink in the sky.

Normally, the ash in the air doesn’t bother me, but this afternoon I couldn’t stop coughing. If this is what it feels like to those who have seasonal allergies… well I have a whole new respect for what you go through.

Me no likey!

Of course, I’ve planned a BBQ for Saturday. The weather has been spectacular and it looked like it was going to continue for another week or so… that is until I sent out the invitations. Then the forecast immediately changed to rain.

Now I’m feeling guilty for resenting the rain when we need it so badly.

So Mr. Weatherman, let’s make a deal. Pour you little heart out on Friday and Sunday and give me a sunny Saturday. Does that work for you?

back to work

The fun is over and it’s back to work.

It was a great weekend showing my new roommate around Vancouver. It took me back to ‘the old days’ when I had just arrived and was being shown around myself.

Sometimes I forget how amazing this city is.

But *sigh* now it’s time to get back into my schedule before my world explodes and several of those days I’ve been trying to take one at a time, attack all at once.

Tonight I’ve devoted to catching up on all those blogs and e-books I’ve downloaded with the best intentions of putting their knowledge into practice and grow my businesses to skyrocketing effects. I’m happy to say I made a huge dent thus far… although the skyrocketing doesn’t seem to be as easy or as quick as simply reading the information. (greases up the ol’ elbows for tomorrow).

Tomorrow will be mostly editing my new novel ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’. I seriously need to get it finished because it’s my turn to submit to our editing group next week and with that means I start editing ‘Kiere’. The Novel I’m hoping to have ready for publication before Christmas.

Lazy days of summer my a$$!

Roommate and Jeffery Deaver

Today was the day.

I got up on time and headed out to the airport to greet my old friend/new roommate.

I have to admit to getting a little emotional at seeing someone from back home in Vancouver.

I’m very thankful for the new Canada Line skytrain that links the YVR airport to the transit system. Having bussed out to the airport a few times with luggage, I can honestly say it’s a definite improvement.

I took along the Jeffery Deaver novel I bought myself at Christmas. I’d attempted to read it on my flight back to Vancouver after the holidays. I was only able to read a few pages when I had to put the book down. The writing was so horrid. Impossible, I tried to convince myself. This was a Lincoln Rhyme story, how could it be BAD?

Seriously, I love Jeffery Deaver. He’s one of my favourite authors… except for this book.

On the skytrain on my way out to meet the flight, I opened the first page and started again. I managed to get far enough into the story to be intrigued. I think I’ll be able to finish it this time but WOW, this one isn’t close to his usual standard. (I’ve even gone back to his other books and re-read parts, just to make sure it wasn’t my perception that had changed because off all the editing I’ve been doing lately.)

Nope, it’s just this one.. whew.

We got home without mishap and within 5 minutes of entering the house, my new roommate was on his computer, I was logged into mine and silence reigned supreme while we both caught up on emails, MSN and (in his case) texts.

Oh Yeah – this is going to be a beautiful roommate relationship 🙂

Explosion Averted

Last night while I was getting ready to watch more “Legend of the Seeker” the TV series bases on the Terry Goodkind, “Sword of Truth” books I decided I wanted some popcorn.

My microwave has been acting up lately so I didn’t stray too far from the kitchen. Good thing too. Within seconds of me pushing the start button, it began to make a funky noise. As I raced across the kitchen floor, I saw that the interior light was flickering on and off like a first rate horror movie. I just hoped I could turn it off before it exploded and attacked me with hot, oil-covered, corn-kernal pellets.

Luckily, I hit stop and unplugged it before ‘oh crap’ turn into ‘oh %#@&’

So my morning included buying a new microwave. This one is bigger so it doesn’t fit as nicely into the corner as my old one did but… it’s bigger.

Most importantly – it has a popcorn button that works.

The one on my old microwave never did do the job correctly. I used to have to enter the time myself. Tonight, I had a full bowl of puffy popcorn. FULL I say, none of this 1/3 left over unpopped kernals and scorched bits nonsense.

This makes me a happy camper.

Time to edit

No more procrastination.
If I want my next novel up for sale in August, I have to finish my edits.

my table full of proofreader notes

 

So what’s all this on my dining room table you ask.

Well the stuff spread out is my current novel Each chapter times 3, in some cases times 6 (depending on how many proofreaders have seen it). The stuff in the stack is from my first novel The Problem with Jake and it’s young adult rewrite The Trouble with Jake.

The week after next, I start a new pile, as my editing group and I go through my new novel – working title – “Kiere”.

Still confused about my dining room table?

Well, after I finish my first draft, I let my novel sit for a few months. Then I got through it chapter by chapter and write a point form list of what happens. I find this gives me the chance to pick out story flaws and repeated information. Since I’m a pantser, I often don’t find out much of the backstory until I’m well into the novel. One of my major tasks during editing is to bring that information forward so the reader understands where I’m taking them (because honestly, when I wrote the draft, I had no idea myself).

Once this is done I re-write my book based on my notes.

The I submit my chapters in 20 page chunks to my editing group. They tear apart my story, its logic, science, emotional connections, wording, descriptions, dialogue and everything else they can find to improve. The sessions are grueling and at the end I have three copies of my chapters with three different sets of notes. That explains the mess on my table.

Now I sort through all the comments, decide which ones work and which ones don’t and incorporate the ones I need to. I figure it will take me at least a few days working full time to complete this edit before I send my manuscript off to another set of readers for their input.

Seriously, writing the book is the easy part!