Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apparently I Must Have Vision

Because about 3 days after I wrote my post called If The Voice Existed for Writers what would we call it? I discovered that a brand new contest akin to The Voice (or American Idol as the case may be) is on, and geared toward Writers of fiction.

How much more can fate intervene before I finally take it seriously? A real reality contest for Writers? I mean, I have a story within the word requirements (2500-5000) that’s fiction. I’m ready to rock and roll! Holy crap, sign me up!

Well…hold on just a second Miss Quick-on-the-Draw; maybe read the rules first?

So I did. And here’s something I’m not very sure about:

“…You also grant us the right to edit the formatting and display of your Entry, and to create literary or any other types of effects in respect to your Entry without compensation or approval…”
Formatting and display edits I can certainly understand. The entries should all have similar structure and style in order to remain vanilla enough for the voting public to not adopt any sort of bias toward one story or another. But that bit about creating literary effects without approval? Yeah, what does that even mean?

Now perhaps I’m just being paranoid here but to me this reads like the content could be altered without my prior approval. That’s not okay. Anyone in law care to weigh in on this?

I kept reading and couldn’t seem to find the words ‘Author will retain all rights to their work’ anywhere in the first three-quarters of the lengthy rules. Another thing that’s a bit unsettling to say the least. But I kept reading anyway. And then I came across this:

13. GOVERNING LAW/DISPUTES. This Contest is governed by the laws of Curaçao. As a condition of participating in this Contest, you agree, to the extent permitted by law, that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with this Contest, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Curaçao.”
Wait, what? Curaçao? Where the hell is that?

So I did a little digging and it turns out it is an island located off the coast of Venezuela and is a Netherland/Dutch nation. And Hofstra Law School has an entire course dedicated to the study of International Law in this nation.

Impressive. But equally unsettling.

I’m not entirely sure how comfortable I am entering a contest where the governing law over the subsequent use of my intellectual property is located in International waters. I would have a leg to stand on if the contest originated out of the United States because that’s where I’m from and where my copyright is held. But I know nothing about anything related to the laws in Curaçao and frankly I don’t want to have to earn a degree from Hofstra just to find out if I’d be protected should someone steal my work and make millions of dollars or defame my name, etc.

It does make me a little sad because I felt as if I almost dreamed this contest into life after pretty much asking for it to be hand delivered to my door. But you know how they say to be careful what you wish for? I never understood just why you should protect yourself from those wishes or why it's important to clarify the specifics of the wish in question until this very moment.

Hopefully this shows I’m smarter than I look and not that I blew a golden opportunity at fame and fortune ($5000 grand prize). But like I always say, I live with no regrets so unless my lawyer type friends weigh in and tell me I shouldn’t be afraid, I think this is one contest I’m letting pass by after all.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Broken Thought Thursday

Been a while since I’ve put one of these little Broken Thought Process gems together. Hold onto something and prepare for the barrage of random topics about to hit you like a heat wave in Phoenix in August. Wait…never mind.


Even the very mention of this tiny six letter word makes me sad right now because a ten letter word has stomped on it and kicked it to the side with blatant disregard for the little guy who suffers due to the inactivity. That ten letter word is management. Sort of.

Failing to agree that the players are right…cough, I mean, um…move at all on the talks over player's split means that all games up to the end of September are now cancelled. That’s pretty much all of preseason.

And with players like Seguin and Crosby hauling-ass over to Europe somewhere, it’s not all that encouraging that we’ll see the guys back on US soil, er, ice, anytime soon.

At least Dish got their heads out of their butts and didn’t charge us for the Center Ice package (like they said they were going to do regardless) so that’s great but Dish Network isn’t the one who suffers. The people who suffer are the ones no one thinks about.

A dude sells you a pretzel. That person has a job that helps pay their bills and they’re probably making minimum wage. Now maybe they work every event the arena sponsors so they have full time work. Knockout 3 games a week and Peter Pretzel Guy just went to part time. And he probably lost his benefits in the process.

It isn’t just Peter – Jack the Janitor, Zelda the Zamboni driver, the Ice Girls, mascot, security guards, ticket takers – EVERYone suffers from a loss of revenue. And for what? A measly 10-ish percent of the revenue split? Please.

For teams like the Coyotes a lockout could be the difference between sticking around or leaving the desert. They just started to build fan momentum, don’t kill that now. Not to mention I don't have the benefit of other levels of hockey anywhere nearby other than the ASU Sundevils (season opener is tonight at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, game starts at 8:30 and is against Texas A&M).

And while college hockey is nice (because it is hockey after all) I didn't go to ASU so I can't really get behind supporting them. Not to mention my sister would probably kick my ass for not rooting for the UofA Wildcats (who open their season tomorrow night against NAU up in Flagstaff).

There's no minor league team in Phoenix, the Sundogs moved to Prescott. So what's a fan to do but hope these NHL big-wigs can get it together sooner rather than later?


Despite the fact that I want to be lazy I’m doing pretty good about sticking to a 3-4 day a week workout routine. I do what I feel like doing with no pressure. Some weeks I might do nothing but yoga, others straight up cardio and sometimes it’s a mix of the two. But I’m feeling better and even though it’s only been about a month I’ve lost around 4 pounds. Baby steps but I’ll take it.


I think most of you know that I abandoned my second manuscript about the divorced 40 something who experienced more dating disasters than any one person should ever have to go through. When I shelved it I did so because I had an itch to write something with more punch, something adventurous.

So I did. I just finished the first draft of my very first Romantic Adventure. Think Romancing the Stone as an example of what I mean. But my story is nothing like that one; they’re just in the same basic genre.

The first draft was completed at the beginning of September, edits just wrapped last week. And now I’m supposed to be doing re-writes but I can’t seem to get myself to sit and work on it. But it has nothing to do with a lack of motivation or disinterest in the story. My issue is that I think I need to stop working from home.

I spend countless hours by myself clicking away on a keyboard or scribbling furiously with my red pen but this time around I think I need to inject the pace of the world into the book.

My main character is a Writer, a novelist, and a pretty successful one at that. She’s not the type to sit all day long inside writing without any other human contact. I need to find a place I like and start going there a few times a week to work on completing this novella. Because in the late fall I’m going to have to start working on the next MS – the first full-length book in the series about this character.

Oh and I’ve changed the title of the novella. Work In Progress sounded too youthful and not adventurous enough a title. Now I do admit it’s still “me” in that there won’t be too much blood or guts and you know it’s going to have a mostly upbeat ending too. But the title wasn’t working for me at all.

I hope to reveal the actual title within the next few weeks along with the cover art.

My goal was to get this out in October as an eBook with print copies available for purchase online but it looks like it might be sometime in November. Oh well, I don’t have an Agent yet so it is what it is. That’s the beauty of being a self-pub, you get to renig on deadlines that weren’t there in the first place. I guess you could say it’s the plus/minus of my work.

Now why did I have to go and say plus/minus?

I miss you already hockey…

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“As Soon as I Settle I Bet I’ll Be Able to Move On”

It probably will come as no shock to anyone who knows me to hear that I’m feeling restless right now. I just bought a house and started my career so of course I’m ready to get a move on and go try my hand at something new. But in the spirit of truth, that’s not even the issue this time. That’s not the real thing I’m struggling with in my head.

The real issue is that I know, this time, I’m not going to change a damn thing. I know that I’ve found a place I can be happy for a long while, as well as a career that I actually enjoy, for the first time in my life. Under former circumstances I’d be ready to bail right about this point because I’d have started to get bored. Disinterested with the predictable nature of everyday life.

When I get to the moment where I’ve taken it all in, absorbed as much as I can from the job/place/lesson at hand, I start feeling antsy. Anxious. Skittish. Ready to flee at a moment’s notice.

But not this time.

The feeling is a leftover; its cold and moldy like that last piece of meatloaf you forgot about, shoved to the back of the fridge. It used to be trapped somewhere in the back of my head convincing me I should stay the scared little girl who never accomplishes anything because she isn’t really worth enough to try. Broke, only moderately attractive, no big show-and-tell story to share with the drama-obsessed world. Kind of a middle of the road nobody if I’m being honest.

I was the one who didn’t finish college and never had a “real” job. The self-proclaimed slacker, lazy, procrastinator type who never seems to get what she wants because she’s too fucking scared to tell anyone what that is.

Always living in fear that I might get exactly what I want out of life if I just pursue it with reckless abandon because then where would I be? I’ve been “chasing the dream” for so long maybe I felt I couldn’t function without a dream. Maybe I felt if I got it then I wouldn’t have a need to continue on. There wouldn’t be any more dreams.

But of course we all know that’s complete bullshit.

So then why am I antsy if I’m comfortable with the discomfort of setting down some roots in these areas of my life?

Because it’s a new feeling. The feeling of knowing I could go back on my heels and haul-ass out of this whole writing life but wanting to stick it out is uncomfortable because of the newness. I’ve never done it before.

After close to forty years of programming myself to believe that I have to keep moving forward – where “forward” used to describe moving on – I’m not entirely sure how to handle moving forward while remaining satisfied with what I’m doing.

Scary? You bet. Necessary? More than I could explain.

The best advice would be to just keep doing it, of course. So I am. Every single day.

Instead of going out and starting in another dead-end job situation, or moving again, I’m doing other things to keep that freshness. Entering writing contests, getting up and speaking at my writer’s group, connecting with new people, giving interviews, asking people to review my book after they’ve read it. Essentially, going after what I want. Boom.

But most of all – asking for what I want, knowing that I deserve to have it, and then going out and getting it. Because life’s too short to stop talking altogether because I sit around worrying if I offended someone with something I said once. It’s too short to sit back and constantly observe what others are doing while never doing anything of any substance myself.

Life’s too short not to make it exactly what I want it to be.

I mean, hell, everyone else is doing it and they don’t give a damn if I approve so I think it’s high time to start living for me. Fuck em if they can’t appreciate that.

I owe it to Indie Authors everywhere to kick ass and take names (of Agents preferably, though with all these adverbs…). I owe it to Matt to do my best to get this thing off the ground after so much support these past couple years.

Most of all I owe it to myself because this twenty-five year dream got clouded with the needs and desires of everyone else coming before my own somewhere along the way. But this is my life and it’s time to clear that fog. Time to open my eyes and see my own life path. Time to take it.

Title of this post is a quote from a Fiona Apple lyric in “The Way things Are”

Friday, September 14, 2012

If The Voice Existed for Writers what would we call it?

My husband and I are big television fans. I don’t really care what they say about it being an awful medium. That it’s dumb and watching too much of it is the sign of a lazy person, or whatever because I try not to listen to “they” most of the time if you know what I mean.

I think you do.

With our love for television we’re bound to have at least one or two reality shows on the list. “Don’t judge me monkey”, I’m not going to apologize for enjoying them. And I do enjoy them with limited commercial interruptions due to the beauty of DVR.

Guilty pleasures abound from Project Runway (Are you serious, you idiots got rid of Gunner? Ugh. I hope all the judges are wearing flowers next week in honor of the boring as hell one trick pony they held onto instead of the guy who actually seemed to want to be there. Whatevs.) to America’s Got Talent (However, yeah, Sharon, it’s our last show too because really “America”? You gave the $1,000,000 to flipping dogs over Tom Cotter – the most hilarious comic I’ve seen to grace a stage since Carlin. You just robbed that guy of what he was rightfully due. Consider yourself Idoled AGT - two fewer viewers next season.) Bath Crashers, Biggest Loser and the list goes on and on.

But the thing about those shows that draws me in isn’t the drama or backstabbing, what I love about them are the final products we get to see. Rooms that delight all the senses, models in the making, everyday dudes who develop into superstars, people who transform their entire lives starting with losing weight, the coolest couture, and comics that I now plan to internet stalk until he’s in my area and I can see the guy live. Yeah I’m lookin’ at you Cotter. Freaking robbed I tell ya.

But I digress…

My real question and/or point in all of this is that just about anything and everything has a reality show these days – clothes, voices, odd-balls, roller derby – but there’s nothing for Writers. WTF? How is that fair? Even actors get shows just for existing as an Actor. I’m lookin’ at you Matt LeBlanc. So where’s reality for Writers?

It could have a kick ass tag line like “Will she love him or kill him?” and feature newbies, Indies, seasoned pros or whoever else wants to guest star to whip up controversy. We’d get a quick and easy theme song like the one The Voice has – “This is The Voice!” – but with a twist tailored specifically to us – “This is the Prose!”


Yeah, yeah I know.

Truth is that the concept is pretty silly. I mean who wants to sit around watching a bunch of Writers click away on their keyboard in silence? Doesn’t exactly make for compelling television I guess.

At least on a show like Project Runway the designers can stand around chatting with each other while they sew or fit their garments. The drama builds through scenes when designers are chatting. But have you ever tried to have a conversation and write at the same time? Not easy.

So I guess Writers will need to continue to apply the tried and true method for instant fame after all – work your ass off for years and possibly still never become a household name or twitter hash tag.

Because, really? Instant fame? Pfft. Writers know what everyone on reality television knows. There is no such thing as overnight success regardless if you make it to television or not. Winning it all comes from decades of hard work and dedication to perfecting what you do.

Just ask Tom Cotter.

Because as far as I’m concerned, he won.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bostonese for the Tourist

Sure I may live in the middle of nowhere now (yes that’s a joke) but at one time, for many years of my life, I grew in the city of Boston. We don’t get the distinction of being called “The City” as any New Yorker knows, but as any Townie knows, we’re “The” Town.

We’re so much “The” Town that we still call it Town if we grew up with Grandparents who were first generation.

No, Ma (Nomar!) I’m goin’ inta’ Town. Get Bobby ta help ya.
They’re a dying breed as more and more people flood The Town as newbies every year. And who could blame them? I mean, talk about per capita number of insanely great schools. But only the wicked hardy folk can make it through a wintah in Winter Hill if ya know what I mean. Yeah, I mean the literal season of winter. That shit is rough.

We’re the ones with the accent. I mean, too many famous people live in New York so there’s really no accent anymore. Right? I really have no clue if that’s true at all because I don’t live there now, nor have I ever lived there. Not to mention, nor do I ever plan to. Ugh, shudder, no. Way too much ‘overwhelming-ness of everything’ in Manhattan for me to handle. Even Boston was too much at times.

So last summer I guess you could say I put that “whole town in my reAH view” when Matt and I moved to Phoenix.

Yeah, I like metro Phoenix. You get all of the New York food, attitude, nightlife, fashion, sports (though the Coyotes are much more Boston in the loyalty style of the fan base and YES there is a fan base for hockey in the desert). But you don’t have to deal with any of the drama of the subways, smell of trash wafting to the sky, honking/ambulance sirens at all times, number of people crammed together in such a small space.

But not too many people came here from Boston. At least not that I’ve found just yet. I guess all us Irish think the sun will melt us or something. Well I haven’t fallen into a puddle of goo yet. Plus, I know it might be a big secret we transplant types aren’t supposed to reveal but my skin has never looked better and I’ve never felt healthier since I’ve lived here. Especially mentally. We get sky here. And sunshine. And just like the northeast we have 3 months of really extreme weather.

Only difference is we need cooling as opposed to heat. And the good news there is that cooling is way cheaper to pay for than heat. Plus there are pools to cool off in. Plus, there are lakes to cool off in too. And mountains. And the coast is only three hours away if you go to Mexico.

So anyway, because I’m one of very few Boston newbies in Phoenix of course I’m going to tell everyone how wicked pissa The Town is right? Because I want them to go and check it out if they haven’t already. See the sights, meet the Townies, eat the food, get a hug from Gramma on the way out the door. Oh & honey, grab her a beer on the way past the fridge before you go, would ya’?

You’re a doll.

Monday, September 10, 2012

This is So Us

Ten years ago Matt and I said something resembling ‘sure I’ll stick it out for a year, evaluate if I’m still in this, and then most likely renew the commitment for another year’ when we got hitched in a traditional Celtic ceremony in front of our family and friends. Ten freaking years! I’m not going to go into all the hoo-ha surrounding that day, I’ve written about it before. Suffice to say we obviously decided to re-up this year.

But let me back up for a second. Back in year two of our marriage I was already looking forward to year ten and announced that it would be the year we went all out at Walt Disney World. I’ve been to Disney (World) quite a few times but Matt has never been. In my experiences I’ve stayed at places both in and off the park grounds and I have to say there is no experience like staying right inside the gates.

I don’t mean Magic Kingdom though, I’m talking Epcot. I’ve been fortunate enough to have opportunities to stay in fancy-pants places in both parks. Epcot is more on the adult side and since we don’t have kids I’m all about going back there. Specifically to the Boardwalk Hotel. Great service, ten minute walk into Epcot, comfortable rooms, night life, restaurants and shuttles to the other parks. Oh and shuttles to and from the airport too. Nothing beats it in my book.

Many things have taken place in our lives since I started imagining us going and staying at Disney over our Tin Anniversary. (Tin? Seriously? Can’t we change this to something cooler, Hallmark?) But all of those things led us to coastal California across the street from the rolling waves of the Pacific instead of a swanky hotel in the biggest amusement park in the world.

And I wouldn’t trade last weekend for anything. The whole thing was so very…us.

We’d both packed Wednesday night, I pulled the rest of our stuff together and shut down electronics in the house, then Matt got out a little early on Thursday. He recently bought a new (used) car – a VW Jetta Wagon – and we were looking forward to making the journey in the comfort of leatherette seats with a way-back for the luggage. Riding in style; riding like adults.

We planned to leave at 3:00 and by 3:19 we were hitting the freeway on our way to some much needed beach time. Neither of us has seen the ocean since last November when we made our trip back to Boston for Thanksgiving. I, for one, missed it to the point of a need. It’s my re-charger; my energy re-vitalizes in its very presence.

On the ride out we chatted until we turned off The 10 and got on 85 heading toward Gila Bend, where we’d pick up The 8 which would take us into San Diego (my favorite city in the world). In Gila Bend both of our jaws dropped and remained on the floor mats until we crossed into California. We spent a couple hundred miles driving through this:

We live in Phoenix. When we first met our friends here we caught onto the joke that when storms approach the city they part as if Moses himself was standing at the edge of town in order to divert them directly around us. So we rarely get to see the kick ass monsoonal storms that are rampant in most all other parts of Arizona. Let’s just say we got our fill of rain, wind, lightning, dust and debris on the way out of town. It was so cool to watch.

With clear skies predicted all weekend we crossed into Cali and made our way up the coast to Carlsbad. I’ve only been to coastal Cali a few times in my life but it’s safe to admit I consider it home. Even though Boston will always have my heart, SoCal is my soul. The smell and heavy blanket of salty air seemed to hug me as we coasted up The 5.

We found our exit with no problem. We headed west toward the edge of the cliff that plunges down into the Pacific. We were one block away from the beach just west of Carldbad Blvd. and there was our hotel – the Ocean Palms Resort. More like a two story motel (but fancy underneath all that sand) I saw their neon sign calling us home. And then I saw the neon lights in the side view mirror.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“No Officer.”
“You’ve got a tail light out, did you know that?”

I was sitting in the passenger seat literally looking at the back side of our motel. But of course we got pulled over ten feet from the parking lot. That’s so us. Because with the tinted windows obviously we’re shady.

Getting back to the Cop’s question, there were a laundry list of responses we both wanted to use from ‘ya motha’s got a tail light out’, to ‘does it look like I’m back there to keep an eye on the thing?’ After seven hours in the car, our bed just steps away, and the sound of the rolling waves calling our names, what Matt did say was:

“Oh, no!”

Of course the cop responds:

“Is this a new car?”

Again, what Matt wanted to say was ‘Gee, what gave it away, that paper plate back there?’ As opposed to what he did say “Yes, it is.”

The cop went off to do his laugh-at-the-scared-tourists dance back in his cruiser with Matt’s license in hand. We just looked at each other and laughed.

“Okay everything checks out here, I’m gonna let you go with a warning. Get that tail light fixed.”
“Is there an AutoZone in town?”

Not ‘no I’m sorry there isn’t’, just a gruff little two letter answer as if he was mad that Matt didn’t have an outstanding warrant or 500 parking tickets so this guy would finally have something to keep him busy for a night. ‘No.’ and we were off to the parking space ten feet away.

Check-in was a breeze, the room was like a hotel room should be – bed, light, clock, tv, bathroom – and it even had a full kitchenette. Cool.

The rifling through of drawers revealed a bottle opener. After our first experience with people in California being the aforementioned cop, we both needed a drink. We’d seen a liquor store on the way in and decided to walk. We certainly weren’t taking the chance of running into Robo-Cop on the road again. The store was closed but down Carlsbad Blvd there was a 7-11 so we figured it was worth a shot.

In Arizona you can buy liquor of some variety just about everywhere. Only place I haven’t seen it yet is my hairdresser but I’m sure they’re working on getting their license as I type. Gas stations, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drive through ends of the strip malls…the wine flows like water here. But we had no clue what to expect in California.

Turns out there is wine sold at 7-11 in Carlsbad. And guess where our new favorite police officer in town hangs out? You guessed it, the only place open after they roll up the streets at ten o’clock, 7-11. But unfortunately it turns out there’s at least one person who didn’t major in math in town and that person was running the register.

Okay, try this on and see if you get the right answer:

Bottles of wine are marked $7.99. Sign reads 2 for $12. Bottles ring up at $7.99. What would you do to get the total to reach $12 for two bottles?

I’m assuming you thought to yourself ‘Use your register training to take a discount of $1.99 per bottle’ right? Well our cashier, after phoning her manager to tell her about the sign and ask for advice on how to proceed, said things like ‘yes but my manager said to take off $2 and we have taxes here.’

Yup. We have taxes in my country too. We also have simple math. $7.99 minus $1.99 equals $6.00. 6x2=12. The tax comes after the discount. And we’re fully willing and able to pay it.

She took off $2 and repeated the tax line. I even tried to explain that she should only take $1.98 off for the second bottle when one of her homies in line behind us chimed in ‘Cashier’s name knows what she’s doing.’

I’m sorry 13 year old, are you the manager of this joint? No? Well then shut your pie hole because Cashier’s name has no clue what she’s doing and we’re trying to help her with subtraction. After we leave just take down the 2 for $12 sign and this won’t be an issue again but for now we’re only paying what we should pay.

Matt reiterates that it should be $3.98 off in total, not just $2. She says she doesn’t want to argue and takes off two more full dollars. I’ll put $0.02 into the take-a-penny tray next time I’m in a 7-11 to pay karma back for the windfall.

With a road-weary toast for a great weekend and the Weather Channel on in the background, day one came to a close.

I Think I’ll Go for a Walk Outside Now the Summer Sun’s Calling My Name…

Beach. Our priority was putting on bathing suits and going to the beach. For the entire weekend pretty much. And it turned out the access to the water’s edge was about ten feet from the front of our motel. Score! And the salt and pepper sand was only 87 stairs below us. Yeah, we’ll talk about the 87 stairs back up another time.

Friday morning we got caffeinated, got our sunscreen applied and got out of the hotel room.
Our beach chairs were in the trunk so we figured why not go and get the taillight taken care of first. AutoZone was in O-side so Matt hit the brake and I checked for which side was out. Thing was, neither side was out. What? After a couple minutes I realized the bulbs were just pushed too far into the compartment inside the trunk. So yeah thanks for the Thursday night heart attack there mister police officer man. Matt pushed them into place and we saved ourselves an hour of extra beach time! Score!

We then went and watched this most of the morning:

After a nap, we had dinner at the Fish House Vera Cruz. If you ever find yourself in Carlsbad don’t listen to the Yelp reviews. We had great service & delicious, fresh food. The wine selection was nice too. Though prices were a little high on everything. But hell, it was our anniversary dinner and we were livin’ large! And eatin’ at senior citizen hour, woo hoo! The meal was lovely and the conversation about our crazy ten years of trips was even better.

Back in the room we changed and then went back to the beach to take in the other thing that draws people from all over the world to the California coast.

On Saturday we did a repeat of our beach excursion and then our seemingly quiet little hotel next to paradise all of a sudden exploded with the activity and bustle of what looked like attendees from a wedding somewhere in town. Of course when I got one look at the guy parked just below our section of balcony all I could think was that he must be a hired assassin.

Either that or just a guest at a wedding in town from somewhere that starts with the word New – New England, New Jersey, New York – the jury’s still out.

He stood beside a pearl colored Land Rover type SUV in a full navy suit, crisp blue shirt, and coordinating purple tie tucked smartly under his perfectly fitted collar. With salt above his ears and pepper everywhere else he somewhat resembled Paulie from The Sopranos. You know my writer’s wheels were turning.

He lit a cigarette and smoked it cupped inside his palm.  He was using the trick we all use to ensure the butt doesn’t extinguish in the crappy weather back in the northeast. Definitely east coast. Still not sure if he’s an assassin or not. Much too slicked back to be a spy. When he looked down at a piece of paper, the guy walked around to the passenger side.

California Paulie turned his back to where we were sitting, a floor above him and outside our room smoking, and started to hitch and adjust the front of his outfit. Gun in the waistline of his suit perhaps? Was he going to come for us? Did he think we knew?! (Knew what I have no idea).

He finished adjusting himself and made his way around the corner of the building out of my line of sight. I watched the top of the stairs for sign of his head. But the next thing I knew he was back at the SUV and right behind him came a woman in a black dress who got in the front seat and two teenage boys that made their way to the back. They pulled away. Obviously a family of people who had been to a wedding.

Or a mother father assassin team. I’m still not convinced otherwise.

Shortly after my self-created excitement was over, we had a repeat of nap-dinner-sunset-beach-walk and ended the day on Saturday even more relaxed than Friday if that’s possible.

We’ve Only Just Begun

Wait, what do you mean we’re checking out in four hours? You can’t possibly be right, it can’t be Sunday yet…

But it was. Sob.

You know how when kids don’t want to leave somewhere they hold onto something for dear life thinking you won’t be stronger than them to drag them away? That’s what I wanted to do. Sadly, sand isn’t very sturdy. Plus the drag of adult responsibilities back home sat looming.

So we checked out and hit the coast road down to San Diego. We had lunch then made our way to The 8. With a wave and a sigh I thanked California for another relaxing weekend and we were heading home.

Matt wanted to wait to buy gas until we got to Yuma because gas in California is about $0.60 more expensive. Recoculous. But as the needle moved lower and lower and I barely felt like a mile ticked by, my concern mounted.

“Maybe I should watch my speed. I’d say 74 is pretty comfortable and will get us there.” Says Matt as he sets the cruise control at 74 mph. The speed limit is 70 mph so I didn’t think anything of it.

The gas light comes on. We pass a mile marker stating only 10 until Yuma.

“Whoa that cop’s definitely after someone he took off like a bat! And…its…me? What the fuck?”
“This is so us.”

Coming and going huh California?

The cop then proceeds to scare the shit out of me by tapping on my window. I roll it down.

“Hello do you know why I pulled you over today?”

What I wanted to say ‘Did the Carlsbad PD call you? The taillight is fixed damn it!’ What Matt said “No sir.”

“It was for your speed, you were doing 86 miles an hour.”

Confusion passes through both of us at this point considering the setting of the cruise control not more than ten minutes prior.

I then turn to Matt and say “Guess you should get the cruise control looked at when we get back.”

Now I don’t want to say that’s what got us out of the ticket. Because it wasn’t. What got us out of the ticket is the fact that we weren’t driving 16 miles an hour over the speed limit. We were doing 4. Either the cop clocked the wrong car and wrongly chased us for it, or yet again a Yuppie mobile with paper license plates and tinted windows is a dead giveaway for drug running or immigrant running or whatever it is they seemed to think we were doing in their fine state.

Later Matt would refer to the officer as Ponch and I would laugh hysterically but at the moment it all went down I kept my mouth shut and put on some lip balm.

Fifteen seconds after going to the cruiser with our paperwork and current address written down he came back with our personal effects to tell us that everything checked out. The cop in Carlsbad at least made it look like he was doing his job and took a few minutes to sit in the car. Unless this guy had a partner running our plates there wasn’t remotely enough time.

“I’m gonna let you go with a warning this time but watch your speed.”

Note to self: When you do become rich and famous and move to California make sure you can get everywhere on foot so live in a town with lots of the stuff you need. Somewhere like Pacific Beach.

Other note to self: When you come across one of those ‘this is your speed’ monitoring devices and see that it is pin accurate to the speed which your husband’s speedometer currently reads you’re doing, laugh hysterically as your husband complains about Ponch riding in to take you down.

We got to Yuma, emptied one tank while filling another, and gratefully began counting the miles until we were at our front door.

The minute that we touched rubber to concrete in Arizona though, we encountered this:

Really? Coming and going huh Arizona? And the funny thing is that while we were away we caught wind of the monsoonal situation back home. Allegedly there was a sky opening experience for three straight days directly over our house. Almost a full inch of rain on Friday alone. Like I said, allegedly. Remember the Moses theory?

When we turned onto The 10 out near Buckeye we saw the whole city was blanketed in some kind of dusty desert fog. It was creepy and unexpected and brought lightning behind the front edge of the ground cloud. Everything we’d just driven through was moving northeast, right toward our house.

Of course it was.

Road trips in the rain? So us. That rain heading straight for yet missing our house altogether? So Phoenix.

And I’ll think fondly of the time we spent with you California…

But I’m glad to be back home.