Put Your Hands Up and Step Away From the Keyboard

Yesterday was one of the those days my mama warned me about. The morning started with Bacon summoning me to the kitchen.

IMG_2461“This thing won’t turn.” He pointed to the lower shelf of the Lazy Susan in our corner cabinet. He tried to spin it. Grinding noises ensued.

I emptied the shelf, crawled on the floor, and lifted the discus-shaped platform. Nothing looked wrong, but it was hard to tell, laying on my back with my arms over my head staring into a corner. I lowered the shelf slowly. “Call Chris.”

The kitchen was renovated 18 months ago by a contractor so nice, that when we called to report the problem, he jumped into his truck and came right over. Chris opened the cabinet door, touched a finger to the shelf and turned it like Dumbledore. “Looks like you didn’t open the cabinet door wide enough.”

We said our thank yous and I’m sorries for wasting your time. He didn’t charge us for the service call, but he had a dumbest client story to tell for the ages.

Scorched by idiocy, I sat down to do something that filled me with confidence. I wrote an email to the summer swim team about the upcoming season. I clicked send. After Apple Mail’s whoosh delivered the message to 250 addresses, I saw the math error in the fees, the contact list with an address I shouldn’t have used, and the calendar screw up. In an effort to make things clear, I confused everyone.

IMG_2462My snafus moved on to higher stakes. I poked around on WordPress, trying to choose a theme for the swim team’s blog. When my finger lingered too long in one place on my laptop’s touch pad, wham! I accidentally changed the theme for Crisply Spoken. My widgets were buried. My Gravatar was gone. Pinterest. Twitter. Goodreads. Kaput. I spent the next four hours attempting to rediscover fire.

At midnight I crawled into bed with thoughts racing, cursing my stupidity. An hour later I was still awake. I hadn’t suffered enough, yet. I still hadn’t created the swim team blog. On my laptop, I clicked on “Add a New Blog” at the top of WordPress stats page. I entered the name and pushed submit. The rainbow-colored dot of fate rotated on my screen like my kitchen’s lazy susan. I waited.

A few minutes later, Crisply Spoken’s page reappeared. Blank. No new blog. No old blog. I stabbed at the keyboard. Nada. Frantic, I typed the problem into the questionnaire on the support page. I felt foolish. Sweaty. Sleepy. Scared. “Why the hell am I out of bed in the middle of the night sabotaging seven years of blog posts?” I opened the blog on my smart phone. Nothing. On the kids’ computer. No dice. Back on my laptop, a tiny box appeared mid screen. “Please restart your computer to load Norton Anti-Virus updates.”

After the restart, Crisply Spoken, all of Crisply Spoken, graced the screen. I shut her down and went back to bed.

I hope you like the blog’s new look. Sometimes a gift comes out of our darkest desperation, but I’d rather do my Spring cleaning without the angst. On the upside, I didn’t work on my novel at all yesterday. Thank God.

Three Way Text

I went to the bakery to write. I did write. On my phone. It started with a text. It evolved into a spasm of thumbs where I served as the go-between for two others, my daughter, Cherry and our friend, Danny.  The conversation involved a doctored Guardians of the Galaxy poster. Familiar animated faces were exchanged for even more familiar human faces. I’d love to copy and paste the visual, but doing so would violate at least a dozen copyright laws. Besides, without knowing the human familiars, the joke fails. The text messages, spliced below into a single thread, stand on their own.

textTo Cherry: (below the poster) “Check this out. Look at the faces.”

From Cherry: “Sweet” “Omg”

To Cherry: “Funny. Huh? D made it.”

From Cherry: “Why is Kristina the raccoon?” (Emoticon laughing with tears)

To Danny: “Loves the poster too, but wants to know why Kristina is the raccoon.”

waits 5 minutes

To Cherry: “He hasn’t txt’d back. Let you know when he does”

From Danny: “Because his partner is root the big tree guy and he bosses him to do all the heavy lifting like Kristina. Also she’s the smallest one and identifies with him :)”

To Danny: “Cute”

To Cherry: Here’s the answer (copy and past From D above)

From Cherry: “L0l”

To Cherry: (smiley emoticon)

To Danny: “Cherry says Lol.”

From Danny: “I’m glad y’all like it (smiley emoticon)

To Danny: “Gotta find a way to incorporate it into something.”

I did find a way to incorporate it. The something being this blog post. It would’ve been easier to start a group text, but serving as the middleman forced me to pay attention. I had to study one person’s reaction before I flipped the response to the other. Even without sound, I was listening.

I read Marshall McLuhan in college. He was a smart guy, who predicted the World Wide Web thirty years before it was invented. He was right when he said, “The medium is the message.” We txt-speak. We emoticon. We copy. We paste. We also still allude. We still rhapsodize. We still satirize. It’s more Marvel Comics than Charlotte Bronte, but the main ideas aren’t lost. We’re all still talking and listening.

Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday, Bacon. We love you!

We’re celebrating Bacon’s birthday with our family tradition, birthday cake for breakfast. His choice this year, German Chocolate. When your birthday begins with presents and cake, no matter what else happens, you’ve already had a great day.

My mother was the a middle child of ten. With a business to run and a platoon of children, Grandma didn’t have a spare second, but she never forgot a birthday. Every year, my mother looked under her breakfast plate for a special surprise. I can imagine all of my aunts and uncles as children sitting around my Grandma’s battleship-sized dining room table. They’d tell my mom, “Check under your plate.”

IMG_2454Grandma had over thirty grandchildren. On my birthday, I could count on a card from her arriving in the mail, usually with a five dollar bill inside. After Grandma died, my mother found a date book in her belongings. In my Grandma’s cursive next to the days of the year were the names of those she loved. The full pages speak well of her life.The book’s mine now. I love having something of hers that’s so personal.

Our tradition is adapted from my grandma’s card under the breakfast plate. Earlier, when we were out shopping for Bacon’s gifts, my daughters reminded me. “You’re baking tonight, aren’t you? We need birthday cake for breakfast.”

And yes, my teens complained about this cutie pie photo.

Coffee With a Canine

Jazzy and I are featured today by Marshal Zeringue at Coffee With a Canine. Click here to check out our interview. Many thanks to Marshal for having us over!CoffeewCanineJazzy5