Monday, October 23, 2006

Love Happens

My friend Jeff is the proverbial open book. Jeff is a simple man who gives his heart with every degree of intensity he has. His wife of several years died a couple years back of cancer, and he was left alone to raise his children. It took years for the cancer to take her, and so they lived in the dark terrible shadow of death, such that when it finally came, everyone had said their goodbyes, and the relief was palpable.

Love false-started for Jeff a few start months ago. The object of his affection didn't return his enthusiasm, much less his calls. He's in his forties now, like me, and the playing field is harsher than the NFL when it comes to viable shelf-life. I didn't have high hopes that he would meet someone nice.

Imagine if you will, a man with a soft kind voice, simple and honest. Think Opie Taylor all grown up. Jeff is like a puppy, in that you could kick him and he would keep coming back--all because he loves you. Surely, even in this jaded world, there is a woman who can appreciate what is not hard to get.

There is.

This is the message I found on my cell phone a couple weekends ago. Transcribed literally:
Hey Scott, this is Jeff.

Hey, I had an unbelievable weekend, it was epic. It was the best weekend... almost of my whole life. This gal is gorgeous--great personality, fun to be around.

Um... we hit it off big time, just sparks everywhere, had the best time in my life.

The water was pure calm out in the straights, it was just phenomenal. Anyway, um, you won't believe when I tell you this one, but this is the gal I'm gonna marry--absolutely.

Um, heck, she's... she's... you know, makes-really-good-money, and she's a great woman. So anyway, um, anyway that's where it's gonna be headin' here, because she's... she's just awesome.

I told her to go offline. I won't be here unless she's only with me only. And then she said, yeah, that's all I'm gonna do.

So anyway... I'll talk to you later.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Work work work

Why can't they invent some other way to make a living? The ancient Romans apparently had a system where the people, the ones living in the governing city, didn't have to do any work at all. I've seen DC, so there would be a tradeoff, but I could handle it.

My youngest son is going to be three this weekend. He just called me to let me know that he wants a Lightning McQueen racetrack. Roughly speaking, I believe he has told me this around fifty times. It's already in the back of my SUV--a Saturn with better gas mileage than some hybrids if anyone is planning to have me killed.

My eldest is excited about reading. Oh, that's right, I already said. But I'm excited about it, so it bears repeating.

I got sick of exclusively writing my novel outline, so yesterday I got to work on another chapter. I borrowed from a short story that I abandoned after writing around six thousand words. I figured it out. If every chapter is basically a short story, with a possible twist ending, it could actually turn out to be an interesting read. Start with hum-drum, life is normal, then like the old Batman serial--CRASH! Boom! Bam! Ka-pow!!!

Anyway, I'm just checking in. I've got another month of work to do in a week, and the best I can manage is a feeble effort. My heart is somewhere else.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thinking Like a Winner

Life is sifting itself into the right places.

A while ago, probably three months or more, my youngest son lost the nail on his ring finger. It came clean off. Almost to the person I got assurance that they grow back. But one man, an ex-navyman, said something that resonated with me most. He lost something like three nails and they never grew back. Thanks! So I adjusted my thinking. But as you may have guessed by now, because I am not the master of indirection, that it did indeed grow back. I didn't believe it at first, and wouldn't believe it until it grew past the skin and needed to be clipped.

Next up: the pool. For all you spoiled brats that live in tropical climates, know that in New England, winter means death to swimming pools that haven't been closed properly. Last year I spent probably a thousand dollars in chemicals, repairs, opening and closing that damn pool. This year I put my foot down, went to New Hampshire where purchases are tax-free, and bought all my chemicals and implements. I opened it myself, maintained it, and closed it this last weekend. Total cost: $150. The pool has to be covered with a tarp and weighted down with 2 by 8 water balloons. Last season, the closers found holes in all but two of my balloons, and sold me new ones for fifteen bucks a apiece. I needed ten. Cha-ching! This season, since I did it all myself, they all miraculously survived the winter--and I bought a stock-pile of them for 2.50 apiece. I blew the water out of my pipes with a Sears shop-vac.

I swear, it was easy. It goes to show how helpless the average person is when it comes to taking care of himself. What would we do if suddenly we had to go it alone?

You may also remember a certain toilet installation that went wrong for me. I replaced the last toilet in our house over this last weekend (busy weekend, yes). I had similar difficulties, but at least this time I knew to turn the water off first. I got out the soldering equipment and made quick work of it. Live and learn. I don't need no stinkin' plumber or a pool guy.

Or a tutor if things progress like they are. My oldest son is learning to read. I've read him three stories a night almost every night since he was old enough to control the muscles in his neck. Last night I picked out a stack of easy readers at the library and had him read to me. He did stunningly well. And what's more, he totally enjoyed it. Far from being frustrated and giving up, he worked through the harder words and celebrated his successes. He read to me and my younger son, then turned the light on over his bed and read another one to himself. Later, his mother was laying next to him in bed while he read to her.

If you are a parent, you just know what I mean. A picture in time, the two of them together; him with that grim look of determination, her with an adoring, encouraging smile, and me in the doorway peeking in, thinking that I must have done something right in this life to deserve this.

Last, and second only to the latter, I am working on an outline for my novel concept. It is growing and really working itself out. I know that getting published is a hard thing to do, but have you read some of the popular fiction out there today? I picked up a copy of Stephen Frey's The Power Broker, and am amazed at how badly written it is. And his book was displayed like the holy grail at Barnes and Noble. He says things like (I'm paraphrasing), "Things were bad, but they were just about to get a whole lot worse." I almost threw up on that one. Mine is a library copy, but I'm thinking of buying it so I can mark it up and bring it to my writing class. It's not all bad, but lines like that one, that tack 12 on the cheese-richter scale, should be encouraging to aspiring (forgive the term, but I think its appropriate Bernita!) writers. If this shite makes it through...

My story has heft. All I need to do is write it (thanks Dixie!) and rub out any passages like the aforementioned, refine and add some spice.

Mark my words. I will sell this one. A friend of mine used to say, if you want to be a winner, you have to think like a winner.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Come Back Friday

I have a big presentation of my system designs, stuff I've been working on for months. Tomorrow. Also, I'd like to wrap up the next chapter of my latest story, which I plan to read in class tomorrow. So big day coming up. There is a very nice girl at my office that is reading my work in progress, the one I started online a couple weeks ago, and has been quite complimentary in a way that convinces me that, so far, this is really working. She offered some great ideas about story structure that would maximize the suspense and final impact. I'm getting excited. Perhaps, just perhaps, I have started my first novel.

This was supposed to be a short story for a contest Dixie Belle turned me on to. But my goal is novel. Novel. Novel. NOVEL. Novel!

Catch my drift? I just have to go for it. Even though I have no idea where the meaty middle part is going--no, that's not true. I do know. Not everything, but I have an idea. The thing is, I have so many movies running through my head, and so many themes of unfulfilled promises in my life, that I am starting to believe I can do it.

I have to. Most of you who come by know exactly what I mean.

So come back on Friday. Better yet, I'll come get you. This week I need dedicate myself to getting my homework done.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Writing and a Little Football

I'm working on my next story installment so that I have something to read for my class this Thursday. Please forgive my absence, but know that I'm still around and enthusiastic as ever. Don't unlink me just yet!

I watched Philly beat the bejezuz out of Green Bay last night, and every other word out of the announcer's mouths was TO. Dallas stomped the Titans 45-14, the Philly score 31-9. Both played struggling teams. The winner will be first in the NFC East. But more than that, I cannot stomach a defeat at the hands of Philly, who cheered when Michael Irvin incurred a career ending injury. Believe me, Philly will be out for blood. Bring me the head of the man called TO!

But from what I saw last night, Philly is vulnerable. Keep McNabb contained and they got nothing, nada, zip. Question is, can we put some pressure on him. For all that talk of what pressure does to Drew Bledsoe, they should take a close look at McNabb when he hears those footsteps. Overthrows and skips.

By my accounting, we should absolutely crush Philly. But everyone brings their A game when Dallas comes to town. The team that floundered for two quarters against the Packers won't be the team that shows up next week. I guarantee it. But neither will they have a rookie corner to pick on. These are the Dallas Cowboys, sporting the best defense they've seen all year, the fifth best in the NFL, just below Chicago's. The Packers are ranked second to last, and for half a game they roughed Philly up real bad.

Still, I'm nervous. Philly was without Bryant Westbrook, who totally rocks. He'll be back. Look what a difference Clinton Portis' return made to Washington's game.

This one is going to be big.