About Rita Russell

Married for a very long time. Mother of 2 teenagers and 2 yellow Labrador retrievers.

So if I’m a writer, what do I write?

Here’s a sneak peek at the first page of my middle grade novel – please note that it’s draft # 341 and is likely to change at any moment. Really!

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

THE TROUBLE WITH QUEENIE

Chapter One – My First Day as Popular

So what if things didn’t turn out quite as I’d imagined on my first-ever day of school at Western Canada Prep. I could still rule W.C.P.S..  I really could!

This morning I’d been so excited to get started. The fancy school, perched high above the highway that snakes across West Vancouver, was much newer and nicer than my crummy old one, and I was 110% positive it was going to be amazing and the kids were going to love me. Yep, this year I was going to be super popular for sure!

Proudly sporting my brand-new blue SpongeBob backpack, I dodged the big shiny cars dropping off kids, zigzagged up the steep street, raced through the chatting and laughing people, and smashed into Mrs. Hope, the Headmistress. Why did she have to stand right in my way, guarding the doors of W.C.P.S.?

“Queenie!” said Mrs. Hope in her posh British accent with her hands on her hips. Her  big bug eyes behind ginormous gold-rimmed glasses, grey helmet-hair and giraffe-long legs, would scare most kids, but not me.  Not today. Last week Mom and I had met her and my teacher, Miss Parfait, when we had our tour of the school.

Mrs. Hope spoke slowly and carefully like I was in kindergarten instead of Grade 5. “Number one: no child shall cross the road by him or herself. Number two: no child shall walk up the driveway by him or herself. Number three: no child shall leave their car until the car reaches the yellow line in front of the main set of doors.”

What the heck?

I bit my lip to keep from arguing with her, and shifted from one foot to the other. My feet were really uncomfortable in these brand-new, black-leather shoes, and my uniform was so so so itchy and scratchy. I peered way way up at her face, which was totally serious. And even kind of mad. I gulped, blinked and loudly promised never to break those very important rules ever again. A couple of little kids giggled, pointed at me and walked way far around us. This was not supposed to be happening to me today.

“Don’t forget, Queenie. These rules are for the benefit of you and every other girl and boy at Western Canada Prep School here in West Vancouver. Please try to remember this is a fresh beginning for you.” Mrs. Hope must’ve talked to Mrs. Franklin, the evil principal of the public school I’d gone to in Ontario for the past five years. I’m sure she made up lots of nasty stuff about me.

Really.

Probably.

Okay, maybe some of it was true.

“Sure thing, Mrs. H.!” I said as I turned and zipped down the hall. Over the yelling and screaming kids, I heard her call out, “It’s Mrs. Hope, Queenie, and no running in the halls!”

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 

Do you love it? Do you hate it? Let me know…really!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 

 

Repeat after me: I am a writer, I am a writer…

Lately I’ve been preoccupied with the business of writing, or rather the business of attempting to get published.

  • fine-tuning the manuscript for the umpteenth time
  • polishing and repolishing again the first three chapters
  • perfecting the cover letter

    courtesy iclipart.com

    courtesy iclipart.com

  • tweeking the synopsis
  • researching which agents and publishers in Canada, the US and the UK are looking for contemporary, humorous middle grade novels
  • reviewing submission guidelines
  • personalizing queries for said agents &/or publishers
  • following up with queried agents &/or publishers after 2 or 3 or 4 months
  • and drinking lots and lots and LOTS of lattes while performing all of the above

    courtesy iclipart.com

    courtesy iclipart.com

Lately I feel like research has taken over my life. It’s so so SO easy to lose  days hours Googling this that and the other thing, examining and liking new Facebook pages, searching sites about the publishing industry such as Quill & Quire, and reviewing various writing blogs.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

It’s essential to be aware of  what kind of middle grade books are selling, what kind are in demand, what kind are requested, so my analytical left brain takes over and asserts itself. After all, this is the side of the brain I have relied on for years in my finance and accounting career, as well as for my not-for-profit Board work. It’s also the side of the brain I’ve utilized for more than twenty years managing my creative and often hilarious, distracted and extremely unorganized family.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Somebody has to be in charge.

Somebody has to know what’s going on.

To date that somebody has always been me.

My kids say I’m nosy and bossy; they accuse my of creeping them and their friends on Facebook. Nonsense! I am simply curious and I seek knowledge about the world around me. Really! I’ve always been this way. When I was young, I used to ride my bike for hours all around my neighbourhood and beyond, examining the homes in our middle class suburb and imaging what kind of people lived there. I used to love canoeing around the lake where my parents’ cabin was, so I could check out the cottages and the shacks. (this was before the mansions arrived in Muskoka and beyond) Now in the summers I kayak up Indian Arm, close to shore, where the water is not so rough and of course, the cabins are easy to spy on observe.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

And I have a healthy imagination. When my kids accuse me of misrepresenting their actions, of distorting the truth in my blog, I point out the obvious – this is MY blog. If they want to tell their story, they need to write their own blog. Besides, far too often the truth really is stranger than fiction. I mean, what child of mine would express his/her loud preference for a basic youth hostel over a luxury hotel, and for public transit (buses, subways) rather than drive his/her own car?! While all the Sexy Moms of West Vancouverwell the ones who talk to me that isbrag babble about their nightly Skype sessions with their precious daughters, I smile and say nothing. After all, my daughter has been too busy to skype with her Terrible Awful Mother since the beginning of January, but somehow she has found the time to demand  repeatedly ask for money and help with essays. So I have to envision her and what she’s up to based on my knowledge of her personality – her nicknames The Demon Child and The Weird One say it all – and the photos she and her friends post on Facebook. 1900116_10153777830790290_647385992_nIf I exaggerate a teeny tiny bit when blogging, well that’s my prerogative. Besides who needs to stretch the truth when there is such wonderful material at my fingertips!

When I sit back and take stock of my abilities and proclivities, I think it’s obvious that I was totally meant to be a writer. After all, writers should be meddlesome curious in their daily lives – curiosity may have killed the cat, but certainly not the author. Writers must be stubbornly inflexible determined in their efforts to dream up create the perfect world for their story. The ability to spy on friends and family carefully observe and listen to everyone all the time is a vital aspect of the writer’s process, as is the act of daydreaming carrying out relevant research.

Please excuse me as I send this blog to each and every member of my family in order to educate them about the noble sacrifices I make on a daily basis to hone my craft, and how suited I am to my chosen pastime career. Now if only a publisher would agree with me. Really!

Dear Sexy Moms of West Van

Do I have your attention now?!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 

This morning I ran into my favourite local coffee shop and grabbed a grande cafe latte, my little reward after a gruelling fitness class.

Yoga

courtesy iclipart.com

A group of you, whom I’ve known for years and years, were sitting and chatting at a table near the counter. One of you glanced up, smiled and said hi. Your friends ignored me, but hey, one out of three is actually pretty good.

You see, yesterday I met two long-time friends, also moms of classmates of my kids, for coffee. Yes, we drink a lot of coffee and lattes in West Van,  at least I certainly do!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 You were sitting at small tables on either side of us, and our children – yours and mine –  also went to school together. But this time not one of you looked at me. Not one of you said hello. And I was hard to miss ’cause I was wearing a bright yellow top and even brighter yellow running shoes.

Now we all live in the same small community of West Vancouver, which has a population of roughly 42,000. Yeah, it;s a pretty tiny town. West-VancouverFor ten years our kids went to the same small private school, where there were at most 80 kids per grade. Over the years, you and I sat across from each other during tons of parent/teacher meetings and numerous class mom meetings, attended seasonal school plays and concerts together, and ran into each other at the local shopping mall, grocery store, and 7-eleven.  Our kids played soccer and tennis  and softball together, and learned to swim at the same pool. Our families still frequent the same sports facilities in West Van and ski at the same mountains.

So why can’t you just say hello?

Is something wrong with your eyesight?
Do you lack peripheral vision?
Is there a recent medical abnormality that prevents you from smiling?
Has your long-term memory been dramatically affected lately?

Look, you don’t need to worry about me – I don’t want to be your BFF. I don’t want to be invited to your parties. I don’t want to go on vacation with you to Whistler or Maui. I especially don’t want to steal your husband. Absolutely not! And  I don’t even want my children to date your children.

But I would kinda like to feel like I exist, like I am visible.

So would it kill you to meet my eye occasionally, and smile or say hi, especially when I’ve said hi to you so, so so many times in the past before?

Really?!

You did what??

Usually this is something I say to my kids and occasionally my husband, but not this time.

It was the third day of the cruise my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, and I took after New Years to recuperate from our traumatic holiday experience with our kids.  (see Happy Belated New Year.) The trip began in South Beach in the pouring rain – warm rain, but nevertheless, rain. The sky cleared somewhat for the first evening of the cruise, but then clouded over and the deluge commenced in earnest.  This time the rain was not warm, but frigid and the wind was blowing furiously. We had purposely chosen a minuscule smaller, less expensive room as we assumed the weather would be wonderfully sunny and warm, no hot, the entire ten days.

Bad call.

Our first port of call was La Romana, Dominican Republic and my husband and I were desperate to get some real exercise – not in the gym, but out walking in the real world, like we do at home in West Vancouver. So we stepped off the ship, into the 85 degree heat and humidity. By the way, anything above 75 degrees is considered a heatwave in Vancouver, and humidity in the summer is non-existent.

We walked  through the town

courtesy Latin America News dispatch

courtesy Latin America News dispatch

to the colourful market.IMG_2630Next we marched single file along the highway and railway tracks to the high-end, ultra-exclusive sporting resort of Casa de Campo.IMG_2623 I’d read about this place in several magazines and was rather intrigued – I knew there were a couple of golf courses, some very high-end villas, and that Oscar de la Renta had done the interior design.

We very politely yet confidently made our way to the Owner’s Entrance to enquire about a resort day pass, since we wanted our presence to be totally official and legitimate.

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Inside the very tastefully done, air-conditioned Owners Office we approached the extremely attractive, perfectly coiffed and beautifully made-up local receptionist. She glanced  up from her computer and saw a rather dusty, dirty, sweaty couple – water was actually flowing in rivers off the Original Obnoxious One’s big bald head, and I was way, way beyond the glowing stage. When we asked how much a day pass was, she glared at us and said $30 US each. We requested a map of the resort and asked her to recommend a route we could walk.

“Walk? Walk? You can’t walk here – Casa de Campo is 7,000 acres and contains over 1,700 private villas. Where’s your car?”

“We didn’t bring one.”

“Well, where’s your taxi?”

“We don’t have one.”

“How on earth did you get here?”

“We walked from the cruise ship, after going downtown.”

You did what??? But that just isn’t done?! You must drive around the resort as security will not allow you to walk. No one walks!”

So we hired a taxi for $35 to drive us around Casa de Campo and its three golf courses, 3 practice golf ranges, 3 polo fields, various horse trails and jumping rings, 13 tennis courts all with a spectacular view of the sea, shooting center on 245 acres with over 200 stations for trap, skeet and sporting clays, not to mention 3 beaches lw1930_46741576_790x490and water sports such as kayaking, fishing, sailing and snorkeling. Let’s also not forget the Marina which is modelled after Portofino and accommodates boats up to 250 feet,IMG_2634Altos de Chavon  the fake 16th century Meditteranean village, as well as more than a dozen bars & restaurants, and the 5 star hotel and spa.

After more than an hour driving through some of those 7,000 acres, we decided we’d had enough. Was Casa de Campo the preferred Caribbean jet set getaway as promised on the Leading Hotels of the World website? Maybe, even probably. Will we be staying there anytime soon? Never say never, but…we really like to walk, hike or run when on vacation. Just call us those crazy Canuks.

Really!

Happy Belated New Year!

Hope you had an awesome one, or at least better than mine. A week and a half later, I’m still recovering.

In the rain.

On a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

With a little wine and champagne.image

So back to the New Year’s. My daughter asked us a week or so before the big day whether she could have a couple of her friends over. At the time she was so sweet and so delightful that of course we said yes.

We should have known better.

Within a couple of days, the small gathering of a couple of kids had morphed into a party of 15, then 20, then 25 kids. When faced with the final update, my dear darling husband did what he usually does – he blew a gasket and declared there would be absolutely NO parties at our house on New Year’s! He actually had a point this time, given the fact that our house is for sale and the last time my daughter hosted a party (in our absence after swearing she wouldn’t) she invited seventy  yes, 7-0 of her nearest and dearest friends. My daughter, of course did as she does best – she screamed and yelled and declared our house a toxic nightmare.

By the way, I’m so glad that my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, and my daughter, the Demon Child, can work through disagreements in such a calm and loving manner.

In the meantime, my son, the Obnoxious One, but this time the Brilliant One, decided to clear out of Dodge and head for the mountains. He and his girlfriend fled to Whistler for two nights, but not before arguing most loudly and determinedly with the Original Obnoxious One over the price of a room.

So I had my work cut out for me. Big time!

I cajoled and sweet talked the grumpy old Original Obnoxious One into paying a reasonable rate for his son and helped my son wade through numerous options on-line to find a hotel and room rate acceptable to all parties. I’m not even going to mention the operation necessary to book dinner on New Year’s Eve at Whistler, other than to say, it’s over and no one died.

Next, I strong-armed our daughter into making a number of promises regarding the party, such as no smoking inside, no out-of-control teenagers ( an oxymoron I know), no kids upstairs in bedrooms, no unwanted guests, no overnight stragglers, and no damage to anything or anyone.

The Original Obnoxious One reluctantly and against all odds agreed.

When the night arrived, the three of us were tense and edgy, glaring at each other, and biting our tongues. But as the nicely dressed young men and women arrived, my husband and I took a few breaths and acknowledged Satan and his followers were not among the party-goers.

Yet we have learned never to take anything for granted when it comes to The Demon Child.

Like those crazy old-time jack-in-the-boxes, my husband and I took turns popping up and down all evening, all night, and into the wee hours of the morning. Yes, there were some issues- like the weird old boyfriend who showed up out of the blue. Yes, there were some problems – like the girl who had trouble keeping her dinner down. Everyone did survive though and everything was dealt with, one way or another.

But my husband and I were absolutely, positively, extremely exhausted.

And did I mention that he was sick the entire holiday season?! After much nagging he finally went to the doctor, only to have confirmed that he, in fact, had the H1N1 flu and that it had also developed into a chest infection.Boy was he proud! He was almost vindicated for attempting to turn into the oldest, grumpiest sloth of West Vancouver.

So once we set our two dear offspring onto their respective flights, we made a beeline for the sun and seas. I can hardly believe that it’s almost come to an end. I wonder if Turk and Caicos accept New Year’s refugees from crazy cold and rainy climates.

Really!image

Are we there yet?

Aren’t you finished yet?

Words that my children have said to me many, many times.

Words that have driven me crazy many, many times.

And now, words that my dear, darling husband Captain Dumb Dumb has said to me every single day for the past several weeks.

the Captain and I, courtesy iclipart.com

the Captain and I, courtesy iclipart.com

I guess three writers’ conferences in four weeks will do that. Plus the prep beforehand to perfect the pitch and polish the synopsis and rework  the first three chapters. Plus the mad scramble afterwards to incorporate all the words of wisdom and sage advice into the query letter and the synopsis and the first three pages and the whole bloody manuscript.

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

Then there’s the due diligence to ensure that even if so-and-so and such-and-such loved my pitch, are they really legitimate? I mean, are they really somebody I want to get in bed with? – metaphorically speaking of course. So hours and hours on-line being nosy (so tough for me to do) and hours and hours reading books championed, books trending and  books newly signed. And who should I get to proof-read my work in the meantime – my freelance editor? Captain Dumb Dumb? My mother? (actually all three, although I didn’t get much more than a couple of grunts out of Captain Dumb Dumb)

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I recently became involved with the most amazing not-for profit organization? It’s called the Compassionate Eye Foundation and these folks do some pretty incredible work all over the globe. It really is a creative community for change – be sure to check it out. Of course there’s been a significant learning curve for me – interesting and fascinating and of course, more time-consuming than originally anticipated.

So I emerged just in time to take a breath a couple of days ago and…decorate the tree and the house for Christmas,

courtesy iclipart

courtesy iclipart.com

BoxingDay

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buy Christmas presents for everyone (including myself – not quite, but I did have to provide a very, very detailed list complete with pictures, prices and store information), mail boxes of Christmas presents to family in Ontario before rates go up (failed there – spent big bucks but don’t tell Captain Dumb Dumb), continue to de-clutter and pack and organize all belongings of our family in case someone one day actually does buy our house (yes our house is for sale, and has been for a couple a few several months now, but it’s not driving me crazy at all). Forget about Christmas cards this year – everyone can read my blog and/or check out my Facebook page. Plus it’s better for the environment to do everything on-line. As for Christmas baking, I’m just doing my family a favour and keeping them healthy – who needs all that sugar anyway? (although I really hope my daughter makes our family’s secret recipe for chocolate fudge when she gets home – I have a humongous craving!)

So hopefully everyone in my family will be happy, more or less…except Captain Dumb Dumb of course. You see, lately I’ve been a little too busy to have dinner on the table the second he steps in the door, a little too swamped to ensure that each and every morning he has sufficient quantities of fresh fruit available for his every whim, and sadly, I haven’t spent hours on the phone with our incredible travel agent organizing our fall 2014 trip of a lifetime. Nope, he had to send her an email all by himself - no people to do it for him. Poor dear, he really is hard-done-by.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Good thing he has Franklinstein!IMG_0007

Really!

It’s Tough Being Beautiful…

especially if you’re my daughter, the Weird One.532988_10151643727150290_918872487_nLet me give you a recent example.

Just before dropping my daughter off at university in the UK, we spent a few nights in a tiny room at a chic boutique hotel, located in the exclusive Mayfair area of London. 554806_241007492704389_352912053_nOn our last morning, she woke up rather early – at 4:30 am –  but was kind enough to wait until 7 am to wake me, although 8 am would have been kinder! She was eager to get under way, but this Terrible Awful Mother was lethargic and exhausted. You see, the night before (and the night before, etc.), I’d had to resort to reading in the bathroom, because the bedside light was too bright for the Weird One. As was the reading light on the side of my bed. As was the penlight I brought with me. So, it was either the bathroom or the hall, and the hall was a rather dark and scary place for this Terrible Awful Mother to be sitting on the floor and reading in the middle of the night. But, as lovely as the bathroom was, it was a wee bit cold and cramped  -  for some reason, the toilet is just not a comfortable perch for late night reading.

Anyway, by 7 am the Weird One was in desperate need of croissant and tea, so she ventured off all by herself, for the very first time. When she returned, roughly thirty minutes later, she marched into the room, slammed the door and announced in an extremely grumpy tone of voice,

“Mom, the worst thing just happened to me and I’m so disgusted!”

“What, darling ???!”

“Mom, some old guy just asked me if I was single? I didn’t think Britain was full of weird old men!”

Senior3

courtesy iclipart.com

 

“Oh, really?” what to say?!

“Yes! First of all, it’s way too early in the morning for a stranger to talk to me on the street.”

“Well dear, he was probably just on his way to work.”

“Then Mom, it was so creepy ’cause he was so old – he must’ve been at least 30!”

At least 30 – trying very hard not to laugh, and to actually take her seriously, I asked the Weird One what he said, exactly.

“Well, he told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and then he asked me if I was single.”  And yes folks, she was mad. Livid, in fact! “But Mom, it was early in the morning, and I had no make-up on and he was really, really old!!!”

“I see. You know, most girls (like me) would take that as a complement.”

“Oh, gross, Mom!  It was way too early in the morning and 30 is just way too old for me!”

On the bright side, I guess I don’t have to worry about her having daddy issues or bringing home older men. For now, anyway.

Really!

A Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time there were two sisters who were nine years apart in age.  Even though they loved each other very much, they couldn’t be more different from one another.

Top-7.bmp

One had fine blond hair, while the other had curly dark brown hair.

One was average height, while the other was statuesque.

One excelled at school, particularly in English and Mathematics, while the other excelled at sports, especially in swimming and volleyball.

One was cautious and introverted and found solace in reading fiction, while the other was effervescent and gregarious and loved to hang out with friends.

One maintained virtually the same hair colour and style for over twenty years, while the other changed the colour and style of her hair on a monthly basis.

One pierced her ears as a teenager (just one hole in each lobe), while the other pierced each ear numerous times, and got a small tattoo or her ankle, followed fifteen years later by a larger one on her lower back.

One was determined to pursue a highly successful financial career, and the other set her sights on marrying the love of her life and being a stay-at-home mom.

One embraced a conservative outlook on life, while the other thrived on a seat-of the-pants approach.

One moved across the country to live on the wet West Coast, while the other moved to a subdivision within an hours drive of where they grew up.

Eventually each sister did get married and each sister did pursue a career, one in accounting and one in recreation therapy. Each sister had two children, a girl and a boy. As time went by, however, they traded aspirations, so that the conservative accountant became the stay-at-home mother and the outgoing athlete became the manager of many.

When the older sister’s daughter turned eighteen, and that daughter went to university far, far away, the older sister wondered: had the universe played a joke on the two sisters? After all, her crazy, charismatic, bohemian daughter had long brown hair (before she dyed it pink – yep, the latest!), numerous piercings (including a recent nose stud), a tattoo (still just one – fingers crossed), and desperately wanted to save the world from itself.1097285_10153091960670290_1898675884_o

The younger sister, meanwhile, had a daughter with blond hair, who was cautious and careful, who enjoyed the orderly nature of mathematics, the quiet pleasure of reading, and who lived for dance – jazz, ballet and hip-hop.527614_10151435117720084_1288564314_n

I think someone somewhere is laughing at us, big time. The good thing is …IMG_0933-001

we’re laughing right back. Really!

I’m a survivor but… I’ve had a couple close calls lately

You may have noticed that I’ve been absent the past few weeks, but I really am still in one piece. Yes, I did take my daughter, the Weird One/Demon Child to the UK for some last minute mother/daughter bonding before delivering her to this university.IMG_2196In a timezone eight hours ahead of my own. And yes, it actually was rather traumatic for me.

Beforehand we did have a few grand adventures – walking and hiking and 1272404_10153182640500290_1963781292_oshopping and hanging out.1268644_10153182634665290_1346345177_oAnd glaring and fighting and huffing and puffing.IMG_2148

Yep, we had them all. After a wonderfully busy, entirely rewarding and absolutely infuriating week with her, I headed home to do laundry, clean the house, put it back up forsale once again and then…pack up. Again. For another trip to Europe.

Okay, confession time – this is where I almost, well kind of, feel like one of those decadent and spoiled housewives of Vancouver.  But here’s the thing – 10 months ago my husband, the adorable Captain Dumb Dumb, and I decided that after all the excitement and drama of the past year, we needed a real vacation together, desperately. And I didn’t want to be home alone with Franklinstein,crying my eyes out 1186787_10151796775032492_987179013_nafter turning into an empty nester overnight.

So five days after seeing my daughter off to university, my husband and I headed to Italy for almost three weeks. There, I’ve said it. So that’s why I’ve been rather remiss of late.

But I will tell you this. I did find myself in dire straits several times with the Demon Child and I did fear for my life. And for hers. The worst episode occurred on our very first morning together. After travelling for roughly twenty-four hours, through more time zones than either one of us could count, we finally dragged ourselves into a lovely hotel in Cornwall overlooking the ocean. IMG-20130830-00155Although we were both exhausted, sleep took awhile to claim me, whereas the Demon Child started snoring the moment her head hit the pillow (just like her dad – I really HATE people like that!). So the next morning, when I could have and should have slept until noon, or later, there was one minor glitch: the Demon Child woke me up at 6 am, after a measly 5 hour snooze,  screaming in my ear:

“MOM, you drank my contact lenses! How could you? You PROMISED me last night that you wouldn’t! I HATE you!!!”

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Somewhere in the dim dark recesses of my foggy brain I recalled the fact that the Demon Child had forgotten to pack her contact lens case. She packed everything else - including the kitchen sink – but no contact lense case. SO she carefully placed each of her contacts in a glass of water, in the bathroom, on the sink. I must have gotten up at some point to use the toilet and drink some water.

Should I be blamed for her stupidity? 

But it was the very first morning of our trip together, and she was ultra-nervous about the whole univerity thing – the people, the profs, the school, her classes. So after some swearing and screeching, we made up; I apologized and she accepted  And our trip resumed. Oh,we had quite a few more tense moments – like when she accused me of expecting too much of hotels or of complaining too much or of snoring too much or of being too conservative or too lazy – but at the end of the day we had a great time together.

Sometimes keeping the peace is more important than being right – at least that’s what I tell myself! Really?! What do you think?

You can’t handle the truth!!!

You may remember that we entered a brand new era in my household. A hint that the universe was unfolding as it should. An indication that perhaps, just maybe,this Terrible Awful Mother had done an okay job raising her children. Yes, this summer both of my children friended me on Facebook. This took some trial and error on my part: learning that I should observe but not “like”, that I could read but not “comment”, that I could post photos but not tag. But just when I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it, disaster struck . In a most unlikely and unforeseen manner.

As my daughter , the WeirdOne, (recently the Demon Child) is spending her first year of university in the UK, various hoops needed to be jumped through, numerous forms needed to be filled out and several interviews needed to occur. However, paperwork and busy work and organization are not the Weird Ones forte; as a typical kid with ADHD, she thrives on creative and stimulating circumstances, bizarre friends from every walk of life, music, dancing and of course, chocolate and Nutella.

But give me a situation to analyze, criteria to review, paperwork to plough through….well those are things that this accountant can cope with. I may not thrive on them, but I can certainly handle them.
So it turns out that because the Weird One is spending more than six months in the UK, she needed a special visa. To obtain that, she had to fill out a number of forms and schedule a compulsory interview with the representative of the British consulate. I sent her a text confirming when this was happening.But a better time became available and I may have neglected forgotten to tell text inform her of the change. Maybe that’s one reason they call me the Terrible Awful Mother . The night before, I reminded my daughter and guess what happened: the Demon Child appeared in all her glory. And then some.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Apparently a very good friend of hers planned to get a tattoo at that particular time on that particular day and it was of the utmost importance that my daughter accompany her. The Weird One gave her word after all. My husband and I tried talking to her. We tried rationalizing the situation. We tried bribing her. And yes we yelled at her. Finally I threatened to contact her friend on Facebook and explain the situation. Turns out that was the last straw for the Demon Child.

“You are a Terrible Awful Mother! You can’t handle Facebook! You can’t handle the truth and you certainly can’t handle being my friend!”

And with a quick click that was it. Not only was I defriended but I was also blocked. Banned. Back to square one. Rats!

Half an hour later she informed me that she had spoken with her friend and that the timing of said tattoo had changed and that my daughter could now attend her interview. But I was still defriended and still blocked.

About a week later my status was reinstated and all was well once again.

So here’s the thing. Summer is now over and I am on route to the UK with the Weird One. Just the two of us. No husband, no son, no Franklinstein. We are spending 7 nights and 7 days together before I deliver her to the University. Will there be blood? Will there be casualties?
Only time will tell.

Stay tuned and wish me luck. Lots and lots and lots of luck.

Really!

P.S. I am posting on my iPad rather than my desktop computer, so feel like a total blogging newbie. Please bear with me. :)