Thanks so much to my dear friend (and evil twin) Aunty Cindy and all the Banditas for having me back to the lair again. And thank you all for the lovely gathering in Washington, D.C. during the RWA conference. It was great to meet most of you in person after reading your blog the last couple of years. What a fun, dynamic, and successful bunch of women! I’m delighted to be in your presence today.
This is the last stop on my blog tour for my second book, Love at First Flight, which was released on July 1. (Can you hear me huffing and puffing as I reach the finish line?) And yes, I saved the best stop for last!
I’ve had the idea for this blog running around in my head all month after a comment a friend made recently. Lisa, a CPA, said, “I can’t believe you write books. I can’t write a letter.” Ahh, but my dear friend, you would not want me doing your taxes. Trust me on that.
I get this comment quite often, and I’m sure many of you do, too. People simply can’t believe they know someone who has the ability to write books. I can’t speak for the rest of you Banditas, but the writing gig is all I’ve got. There’s nothing else. To prove this, I thought it would be fun to make a list of all the things I can’t do . . . You might want to settle in with a cup of coffee and a snack as the list is rather long. Here we go:
- Do any kind of math. I have never balanced my checkbook, which the accountants I work for can’t bear to hear. They get hives and twitches when this subject comes up. Despite this lack of accountability, I’ve only ever bounced one check—sadly, the first mortgage check I ever wrote but that was my husband’s fault. We discovered that he can’t make a simple deposit correctly. My boss and I have a deal—I write for him, he does the math for me. It’s just better that way as I’ve proven it is possible to actually add incorrectly when using an Excel spreadsheet. I’m sure there’s some sort of class for that, but I lack the attention span to attend.
- Run in flip flops in the rain. This is a recent discovery learned the hard way when I hit a shiny painted crosswalk and went flying into the intersection as my horrified and mortified teenaged daughter looked on. After a moment of debate, which I saw on her face, she came back to pull me to my feet. But she didn’t want to.
- Do any sport that involves defying gravity. The list includes skiing (disastrous—generating the kind of stories that are told for a lifetime), ice skating (see skiing), rollerblading (see skiing), bike riding (a category unto itself), surfing (LOL, as if I’ve even tried it), and windsurfing (twenty years later, the ex-boyfriend no doubt still talks about trying to teach me).
- Garden. I am the killer of green things that most usually can’t be killed. Want it dead? Bring it to me. My brother-in-law, the professional horticulturist, has begged me to stop. Just stop. Please.
- Cook. A girl has one or three oven fires in a year, and suddenly she has a reputation. . . Somehow, my family manages to stay fed but the scream of the smoke detector is a more common occurrence than it probably should be. When the kids hear it, they yell, “Dinner’s ready!”
- Sing. This is a subject of some major controversy in my house. We’ve been talking about forming a garage band with my son playing his two chords on the guitar, my daughter on trombone, my husband on the drums, and me on vocals. My voice, I say, is my instrument. They have the nerve to mock me! I envision myself in Stevie Nicks-like flowing gowns playing air tambourine, but they deny me my dream. I have, however, recently come to the conclusion that I don’t actually sing well enough to have qualified for American Idol were it not for that pesky age requirement. (Don’t tell my family I said that as I hope to one day prevail on the garage band argument.)
- Drive. I hit things. Often. So far I’ve only almost hit one person, but that was her fault not mine. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. The car I recently traded in lacked paint on all four corners. I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but since the car was mostly mine, I probably had something to do with it. But just try to prove it . . .
- Fix anything. As my husband likes to remind me, I’m a mechanic’s daughter but can’t turn a wrench. The way I see it why should I? That’s why I have him.
- Paint. After I ruined the dining room carpet in our old house, I’m no longer allowed to use a roller. I love when he gets bossy with me and forbids me from doing something I hate to do anyway. Ohhh, scare me! Did you see that episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond?” The one where Ray teaches Robert that if you screw something up often enough your wife won’t ask you to do it anymore? Well, the same strategy applies to husbands. I’m not saying I messed up the carpet on purpose. I’m just saying I don’t have to paint anymore. You do the math—it’s not my thing. I tried sponge painting once. My cousin asked who’d been shot. I don’t do that anymore, either.
- Diet. I once told the same cousin that my goal in life was to get so thin people would worry about me. He suggested I get a more attainable goal. Yes, I still speak to the fink but only because he’s my son’s godfather.
- Arts and crafts. Other women sew, they make scrapbooks, they cross-stitch, etc. My idea of a scrapbook is keeping huge, overflowing boxes of certificates and keepsakes for my kids. Someday I’ll do something with all of it. I swear. And besides, my husband sews so why do I need to? I went through a cross-stitching phase in which I started a baby blanket for my godchild. The kid is now 12. The blanket remains unfinished. It might make a nice high school graduation gift. Don’t you think? (Note to self: pay someone to finish blanket in next six years.)
- Clean. When you have two full-time jobs something has to give, right? I have my priorities. My husband and I like to say that it’s a good thing we have company once in a while otherwise the Board of Health might be interested in making a stop at our house.
So, as you can see from this list, it’s a good thing I can write somewhat passably. The rest of my life is a certifiable disaster!
Are any of you like me? What can’t you do? I bet my list will get longer when I hear some of your disaster stories. I’ll be saying, “Yup, me too!” I’ll give copies of Line of Scrimmage and Love at First Flight to two different people, so let me hear from you! While you comment, I’ll be seeking therapy as this list turned out to be quite a bit longer than even I expected it to be.
Finally, I suppose I should end my blog tour with a plug for Love at First Flight: When Michael and Juliana meet in the airport on their way to a weekend in Florida, he’s engaged to Paige, and Juliana has been living with Jeremy for four of the ten years they’ve been together. Michael and Juliana are in committed relationships that they expect will go the distance. Neither can imagine on that Friday night how dramatically their lives are about to change. Over the course of the weekend, both relationships hit major speed bumps. So when Michael and Juliana meet up again on the flight back to Baltimore on Sunday evening, both are reeling and trying to process what’s happened. Over the course of that return flight, they strike up an unlikely friendship that later leads to love!
Thanks again for having me! I look forward to chatting with you all today.
Aunty here, FESS UP everyone! What do you do really badly? Or not at all? Don't worry, what's said in the Lair, stays in the Lair!