All Quiet on the Publishing Front

Books

2019 is turning out to an abject lesson on how hard it is to get published.

The last few months of 2018 was dedicated to putting the “package” together for prospective publishers, which included a biography, a chapter summary, a book synopsis, a competition analysis and a market analysis. I silently cursed a blue streak when those requirements were laid on me, primarily because I had no clue how to go about preparing the last two items, and because it represented unexpected work during a time when we were just breaking ground on the new house.

Perhaps established or more experienced authors have a personal assistant they can pawn this shit off to, but us rookies don’t have that luxury. So I slaved away over a period of two weeks, trying my best to emulate some examples my agent sent me. I thought the final products were pretty good for a neophyte, and emailed them to my agent along with a long list of prospective publishers she asked me to vet, and in mid-January I received a list of publishers my agent sent inquiries to.

Although I am a glass-half-full kind of guy, I wasn’t naïve enough to assume the publishers would come flocking, begging to be the ones to let my brilliant debut see the light of day. But I was confident that there would be modest interest, and that I’d have a book deal by the end of the year.

Ever since, all I have heard is the sound of crickets.

I knew that my agent wasn’t sitting around eating bon bons because K was getting some interest in her manuscript, as we both have the same agent. Nothing came to fruition, but at least she’d get the occasional email telling her who received the latest referral and what the response was.

I got zilch! Complete and utter silence.

I’d send an email every couple of months to make sure my agent was still alive and hadn’t forgotten about me, not that I really thought that. Each time she indicated she was still fishing but wasn’t getting any nibbles. This was discouraging to say the least, because I honestly thought what I wrote was pretty good, and that somebody would want to take a peek. The last time I reached out she indicated summer is traditionally a very slow period, and she’d make another concerted push come fall if nothing turned up in the interim.

By now I had resigned myself to the reality that this wasn’t going to happen. For whatever reasons, what we had wasn’t enticing enough to generate anyone’s interest and ask for more. Part of me wasn’t displeased because I assumed once that happened, more work would be required of me, and that I’d have to start writing another manuscript if I became published. This would require time I did not have, with the ongoing house construction and subsequent move.

So I didn’t obsess over the lack of interest. Yes, it would have been a nice ego boost, and who couldn’t use a little extra income from book sales, given the cost overruns with the house. But honestly, I’m so fried from getting this house finished that I stopped caring about anything else. If it happened, great! If not, well, it was worth a try. I’ve got more important things to worry about, and I’d happily go back to regular blogging once the move was completed and we were finally settled in  the new place.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email late last week from my agent who informed me that one of the founders of a New York publishing house asked to see the manuscript, not just the first few pages, and my agent emailed the entire manuscript in addition to all that other stuff I had to prepare last year. I was assured this was a “BIG DEAL.” Shortly after that, an editor from another place in Toronto expressed interest and received the same package. Just this morning, she let me know a third publisher, a large New York firm whose stable of authors includes, or had included at one time, James Patterson and David Baldacci, Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham, is reading the manuscript.

I’m told they all good possibilities.

Am I doing cartwheels? No. I am cautiously optimistic though. I figure the more eyes that see it increase the odds that someone will want to take a chance on an unknown like me. It’s nice to know my work isn’t going to wither on the vine, and that some unbiased, professional people will read my work. Regardless of whether they want to take it on or not, I’ll get some valuable feedback. If I’m not for them, perhaps they might refer it to a colleague who they believe might be interested, and the action that I believed would happen early in the year might finally happen.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky. Wouldn’t that be a nice housewarming present?

Random Thoughts

THinking

A few thoughts that have filtered through the frontal lobe as the monotonous grind of house building slogs along:

Age had always been an irrelevant number to me, but the longer you are upright and breathing, the more it seems that events conspire to make you think about your age. For instance, ever since I hit sixty I have noticed more people my age, and even younger, in the obituaries. How can you not think of getting older after noticing how often members of your age group are taking the dirt nap? It’s a chicken or the egg thing. Has it always been that way, or am I noticing it more because I’ve started to pay attention to the obituaries?

Your body also has a nasty way of reminding you how old you are. My teeth never bothered me until recently. I have to pee more frequently than ever before, and it isn’t because of the MS (that’s a separate issue, one of which requires me to wear pads). Age spots are beginning to appear, my hair gets greyer/whiter by the month, and is thinning to such a degree that I need to wear a baseball cap every time I go outside otherwise various parts my head will burn.

Physically, my once taut bod is starting to sag. I suspect women lament the day when their boobs start to drift south, but that also happens with men. When our pecs lose their tone, man-boobs are the often the result. I’m not there yet, primarily because of all the work on the new house. But I can see them getting to that point. Yuck!

Be that as it may, I mistakenly thought men got off relatively easy on the sagging front. That changed when I noticed that the sack that keep the boys close to my body has begun to sag in a similar fashion. This may not seem like a big deal, but I like to lounge in sweat shorts or sweat pants in commando fashion when I am at home during the evening. With a sack that sags and swings, the act of sitting down, primarily because that process can be clumsy, compliments of the MS, and sometimes results in them getting pinched between my legs, or they hit the surface I’m am trying to sit on with some force before the buttocks can cushion the blow. It’s like shock therapy that sends currents of pain reverberating down one’s legs, and it is yet another thing I have to pay attention to. Hey Tom! See what you have to look forward to?

Speaking of aging, is it my imagination, or do fat cells tend to gather in men’s stomachs and in women’s hips and butt as they get older? I’ve observed men I haven’t seen in a while with guts protruding over and beyond their beltlines, and women whose bottoms look like they are significantly larger and wider.

How come a women’s purse is as big as a duffle bag, and men’s wallets are the size of an index card?

And while we are on that line of questioning, why do women bring their purse and as many as three other bags to work while men only need a wallet?

From the Men Are From Mars and Women are from Venus line of thought: Most men I know, yours truly included, can get a call from a good friend they haven’t spoken to in months and the conversation lasts fifteen to twenty minutes. Women get on the phone with a girlfriend they spoke to within the last several days, perhaps even yesterday, and talk for over an hour. Why is that?

I remember Connecticut weather being very predictable when I was a kid. Each season was what is was supposed to be: cold snowy winters, warm and sometimes hot summers. Spring started cool and gradually got warmer as summer approached, and the exact opposite happened as Autumn morphed into Winter. Now? This winter was temperate with little snow. Spring was wet and cold, and this summer has been ghastly hot and humid. We just had the hottest July on record. Who knows what the fall will bring. Two years ago we were in a drought situation where water rationing was being seriously considered, then we made up for it in less than six months. Call it what you will: global warming, climate change, whatever. Something is going on, and if the powers that be don’t do something to attempt to remedy the situation, the our planet will take care of itself in the form of another Ice Age or something similarly catastrophic. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but perhaps my inland Connecticut home will become ocean-front property in my son’s lifetime.

The only good thing about the Red Sox free-fall is that I won’t have any distractions when it comes time to move.

And speaking of the Sox and teams in general, if a team has such an extraordinary year like they did last year, then follow that with an unexpectedly bad season, which year was the fluke?

I’m dreading the 2020 election cycle. It’s going to be long, tedious, nasty, cringe-worthy and supremely depressing, especially if the outcome doesn’t change the current status quo. I wish I could sleep through it all and wake up on election day. Then I’d have the option of being optimistic or going back to sleep for another four years.

As I have gotten older, I have become more and more like my father. I react like him about many things. I worry about the same things he did (and didn’t), I hear his words leave my lips and I look more and more like him. It’s taught me that no matter how much we swear we will  never be like our parents, we turn into one of their clones.  In my case, assuming it’s true, I hope the health and longevity he enjoyed is part of the package. That might be too much to expect with a disease like MS, but one can always hope.

If any of you decide to build a house, be warned. You become consumed by the process at some point in time, and lose all sense of time and perspective during the process. Nothing ever goes according to plan, it costs a lot more than it was supposed to, and as you get towards the end of the process you wonder why the hell you decided on such a foolish venture. Then you move, are established in the new place, and wonder what all the fuss and angst was about.  I’m still in the why the hell portion of this journey. As much as I enjoy summer, I can’t wait for it to be over because we’ll be in the new place, will have sold (hopefully) the old place, and I will feel settled for the first time in almost a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Into A Furnace

HOT

Oh my God was it hot last weekend! I’m not talking about above average New England temperatures either. I’m referring to heat and humidity that felt biblical, made you wilt, and made you feel like your body was melting.

The talking heads warned us it was coming, and for once they got it right. Warnings of dangerous heat and humidity plastered the airwaves on Tuesday, and they amped up the volume during the subsequent days.  Friday came and, as predicted, the heat steadily grew throughout the day, but that was simply a dress rehearsal for what came next.

When I went outside early Saturday morning to check the pool chemicals my body felt like it was shrouded in a hot, moist shroud, and this was at 7:30! It seemed like every pore in my body started leaking, and I’m not the type of person who perspires at the drop of a hat.

Under normal circumstances, the weather would make any sane person stay indoors and do as little as possible until the heat broke, but with an imminent move on the horizon as progress on the new house rolls on, sanity took a back seat.

To give you an idea of how oppressively hot it was, the heat index was around 115 Saturday. I don’t think it was quite as humid on Sunday, but we’re splitting hairs, and as we returned home from the job site at 8pm Sunday evening, the outdoor temperature was 87 degrees. Are you kidding me?!

What is it about oppressive heat and home construction? When we built our first house in 1997, we lived in Southern Indiana (Evansville), which by far is the hottest place I have ever endured. Completely landlocked in the southern tier of the country, the heat had nowhere it go. Temperatures were routinely in the 80s and 90 with humidity to match, and it was hotter at 7pm than it was at 3pm.

How hot was Evansville? One day in July I took a day off to help clean up the construction site. Arriving there at 7:30 in the morning, I brought three gallons of Gatorade with me to consume so I wouldn’t cramp up or pass out. Between the time I arrived and 2:30 in the afternoon, when it simply became too hot to continue, I had consumed all of the Gatorade and peed only once during those seven hours. My clothes looked like I showered in them, and the dust from the site had caked onto my exposed skin.

That is what was last weekend was like. It felt like walking into and living inside a roaring furnace that got hotter as the day got longer.

Of course, I was 23 three years younger back then and didn’t have MS, and I still felt miserable that evening. I wasn’t foolish enough to push myself like that this past weekend, but I know I was still outside more than I should have been.

On Saturday, we helped my nephew remove and pack some furniture, file cabinets and tools that we no longer needed into a large van, then organized the garage a little to create more room to maneuver given the new open space. The pool was a godsend, and I jumped into that sucker a number of times during the day. Perhaps that is why the heat’s full effect didn’t arrive until later that evening,  when a wave of fatigue I hadn’t experienced in a long time consumed me.

Knowing I  over-exerted myself, Sunday was going to be a day spent inside. That lasted until early afternoon, as one can only stay cooped up for so long. Cabin fever compelled me to put on the swim trunks, open the deck umbrella, and take turns reading and jumping into the pool to cool off. Cooling is a relative term, because the water temperature was 90, having increased three degrees in less than twenty four hours. Still, it was blissful by comparison. Any relief the pool offered was short-lived, however, because within five minutes of leaving the pool, not having bothered to dry off, I’d erupt in more perspiration. Within ten minutes I’d once again feel like I was baking from the inside out, so back into the pool I’d go. This routine lasted for maybe an hour an a half, when the process became more annoying than refreshing.

Unfortunately, one task to do at the construction site remained. A Chickadee had decided several weeks prior to build a nest in what turned out to be an ingeniously difficult spot to get to in the corner of the garage.  For weeks, we’d hear the chirps of baby birds asking for their momma, and watch her dutifully fly in an out of their lair to feed and attend to them. As the sheetrock went up, nobody wanted to touch them, and we certainly didn’t want to entomb them. Assuming it would not be long until they flew the coop, we left that part of the garage open.

Well, it turned out last weekend was the time the coop was flown, either because they were full grown or it was too hot to stay put. I wanted leave the nest where it was and sheetrock over the remaining open space, but was vetoed by K. So we brought a ladder to the site after seven, and up I climbed to see if I could exhume the damn thing.

This nest was tucked between two 2x4s, and the entrance to it was a sliver of a triangle, at least eleven feet up in the rafters. I gingerly made it up each rung while K dutifully held the ladder. I had some long, heavy duty tweezers, and methodically pulled pieces of the nest out of its shelter.

It was hot and nasty up there. The air was still, heavy and dense. I’m not sure how long it took, but after removing what I felt was almost three-quarters of the thing, pulling out a variety of twigs, straw and plastic with each tweezer-grab, I had to stop because I was getting light-headed and started to feel a little queasy. Getting down the ladder was hard. K had to help by literally grabbing the ankle of my bad leg and guiding it to the next step down. Once I landed on terra firma my legs felt like jelly and my body felt like a limp dishrag. Remember, the air temp was 87 at the time, but it had to be at least another five to ten degrees hotter up in those rafters.

I shuffled over to the car, not able to lift either foot off the ground, shed my sodden clothes once we arrived home, slowly and carefully made my way upstairs to take a cool shower, then collapsed onto the bed, where I didn’t move for two hours. I felt a lot better after that, and was able to use my legs again.

I was a little surprised at how my body reacted because I actually did more physical work the previous day in higher heat and humidity, but suspect this reaction was more of an accumulation of the weekend’s events. I pushed myself to see how far I could go and what I could endure.

I wasn’t sure what Monday morning would bring, but it wasn’t any more difficult than a typical morning, so the heat’s impact didn’t linger into the next day. I could sit here and vow to never do that again, but that would be a lie. Stuff has got to get done if we want to move before Labor Day, so while I will try to be smart about my approach, I know the limits will once again be pushed if the situation calls for it.

Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of this past weekend’s oppressive heat. Storms rolled through the area on Monday and into Tuesday to wring all the moisture out of the air. Temps will revert to the upper 80s and low 90’s over the next ten days, which is hot by Connecticut standards, but sounds like Nirvana compared to what just occurred. It actually feels pleasant outside today by comparison.

It would be nice if last weekend turned out to be the worst this summer has to offer but I’m not banking on the idea that we aren’t going to experience another round of excessive heat.

That would be too convenient.

 

It’s Getting There

Last pic

Daze

A brief update as I climb back into the saddle

It was good to take a step back for a few weeks and recharge the writing batteries. The break provided me with time to look forward to getting behind the keyboard once again, not to mention provide time to let my mind wander and come up with a host of ideas and subject matters.

Having said that, the new house has become an all-consuming monolith that dominates my daily life. I took week off to start getting our current house in shape for the market in addition to helping out at the job site.

This process is taking a lot longer than we hoped or expected. The first house we build in 1997 took about seven months to complete. Our current home took less than six. We assumed this project would be no different, however we are currently into our ninth month of work. There are a number of reason for this, which I might elaborate upon in the future, but we truly expected to be moving in any day now when we initially broke ground. Instead, the sheetrock will be completely up and taped by week’s end.

The pace of our progress picked up when K took control of the project several weeks ago, and I suspect that will continue on the remaining items that need to be done: painting, the finish carpentry, the cabinet and fixture installation, the lighting, the flooring, the garage, the final excavation and grading of the site,  installing the driveway and seeding the lawn. There may be a few tiny things I’ve missed but those are the biggies.

The biggest fly in the ointment right now is the excavating. The individual we hired is now doing this part time, his hired help is gone, and the laundry list of items that need completion are long. We have sniffed around to see if there are other contractors that can pick up some of the slack, but so far have been unsuccessful in our search as they are all booked with other projects. If we do find someone, I am sure they won’t be cheap, and this project is already way, WAY over budget.

Then there is the stuff needed to get our current house ready for sale. That list is almost as long as the one needed to finish the new place, which was the motivation behind taking last week off.

The pressure to get this all done is immense because we want to be get the house on the market while the weather is still nice. We initially believed everything would be settled before the end of August, and that the financial piece of this odyssey (selling our house, settling our accounts and depositing some funds instead of constantly drawing from them) would soon be over and we would begin enjoying the new homestead, the move a painful memory. Instead, our goal has morphed into moving by late August/early September, which is not ideal because the goals was to get the house sold before all the kiddos go back to school. That is a pipe dream now. Our original timeline allowed us to fix up the old place once we were moved and it was emptied. Instead it is more likely that we have to do this and put it up for sale while we live there. That means we have to work on both places simultaneously. Maybe that is for the best because I have read is it always better to sell a house when your are still living in it rather than when it is empty., but it does complicate things exponentially.

Our heads are swimming with all the stuff that needs to be done, and how to deploy our dwindling resources. I don’t remember the process being as stressful as this one has turned out to be, perhaps because we are financing most of this, but it is what it is. I forgot, but now vaguely remember, everything coming to a head towards the end of the process, where you feel like the tail is wagging the dog.

Meanwhile, it is soooooooooooooooo freaking HOT! I picked the hottest week of the year so far when took last week off. Temps were in the 90’s with high humidity all week long, and I felt as if I were melting. As you know, MS and heat are not a good match, but I plowed through it for eight to nine hours each day, drank a ton of water, then jumped into the pool to cool down when we called it a day. My body was thoroughly shot by evening, and I shuffled around the house like Frankenstein. Crawling into bed felt like heaven, but by morning I was so stiff it took a while  to get loose enough to get back at it.

Nonetheless, I survived and in some ways thrived. It was good for the ego to learn that I’m still fairly useful, even though it takes a lot longer to do things compared to the pre-MS days. But at least I still can. My balance and leg strength seems to be a little worse than before. I can’t tell if this is real or imagined, but it feels like it is more difficult to get around under controlled conditions. Then again, that disappears when I get to the job site. Maybe it is the motivation or adrenaline to get things done. Maybe it is all in my head. I guess we’ll find out when the move is actually complete and we can finally exhale.

Mother nature isn’t going to relent, unfortunately.. The heat index is going to be in the 105-110 range this weekend. It is going to remain hot next week, and many are predicting this will be the hottest summer in recent memory. That’s par for the course. We’ll have to be smart about working in that environment.

So as I climb back in front of the keyboard, I don’t know if this will be an every week thing again or whenever I have the time. I am sure you will read more about our progress in the short term, as it is the easiest and quickest thing to write about. Completing the house and actually moving has become an obsession, time is limited, and this will be a good outlet to vent. However, I’ve had a few epiphanies during my hiatus that I want to share, and will eventually get to them.

One before and after pic opened this post. Here are a few more to give you a sense on how far we have come. At times both K and I feel like we are running on fumes, only to get to what by now must be our fourth or fifth wind. In the scheme of things we are in a final sprint on the home stretch, but it feels like it will take forever to finally reach the finish line.

Pic7

Pic1

Pic8

 

Pic9

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Another Recognition

DIsability

Kim from I Tripped Over A Stone is keeping me busy, bestowing me the honor of the Disability Award. They say that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, so I will mimic what Kim mentioned in her piece, and refer to this as the disAbility Award. I’d much rather focus on the positive than the negative, and  view being saddled with Multiple Sclerosis as a bump in the road instead of letting it define me.

Part of the deal is to respond to ten questions Kim asked, and pass the gauntlet to other bloggers who live with disabilities. Many of the bloggers I know who fit that description have already been nominated, so I will pass on that one. Onto the questions:

What were the first symptoms you experienced?   I was on my treadmill and my leg literally stopped working. I couldn’t bend my knee, lift it, or control it whatsoever. It dangled like an overcooked strand of spaghetti, and I practically had to fall off the treadmill onto a nearby couch before I really injured myself. It was a surreal experience and freaky as hell. The symptoms disappeared completely shortly thereafter, and my mind was racing. I knew something very wrong had occurred, but could not fathom what it was. After the symptoms vanished, I didn’t tell a soul. After all, how could I possibly explain what just transpired? No physician could assess it without actually seeing it in action, so I decided to bury the incident. I ignored it, hoping and half-believing that it would never happen again. We know how that turned out.

Name one good thing that has come from of your chronic illness. Perspective. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, and have a greater appreciation for everything that is good in my life.

What is the one thing that is believed to be accurate about your condition that isn’t? That is s tough one. MS is known as the snowflake disease because it affects everyone who suffers from it differently. Our combination of symptoms is as unique as our fingerprints, so I honestly can’t think of anything. If anyone who reads this can come up with something, please feel free to chime in.

What is the worse symptom you have to deal with? There are a number of them, but the worst has to be balance, or lack of it. I use a cane all the time, more for balance than anything else, although walking is not easy. But my balance is so bad that I can turn an ankle or fall down by just leaning in the wrong direction. I’m toast if I lose my center of gravity. Most folks would assume chronic pain would be number one on this list, but I fortunately have avoided that bugger for now. Hopefully it stays that way.

What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed? Get a good neurologist who specializes in MS. Read as much as you can about the disease so you know what you might be dealing with. Be proactive in your treatment, and don’t be afraid to try anything. If you have the primary progressive variety of MS like me, remember that nothing you try will improve your symptoms over a long period of time or make them go away. The name of the game is to keep things stable and minimize or delay the pace and spread of the progression. I have been successful (so far) in that endeavor.  The symptoms have certainly progressed within my leg, but they still remain confined to that single limb after eleven years.

What is the one thing you miss doing before you were diagnosed? Going on long walks with my wife.

What is the one thing that helps you the most with your symptoms? Medical marijuana. If you want to read more about that, look here, here, here, and here.

Do you find the word disability offensive? Not in the least, primarily because it is a fact. I have a disability. Besides, disability is a hell of a lot better than handicapped. I despise that word.

Since your illness, what is the most important lesson you have learned about yourself? Although I have always felt this way, dealing with this disease has proven that I am a resilient, stubborn, tough (in a good way) upbeat, and half-glass-full kind of guy.

Do you celebrate the 4th of July? Of course! Besides, that also happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday, and she lives with us.

Thanks again Kim. I am glad that we are part of each other’s respective tribes.

 

 

 

Virus

I had everything planned for this past weekend. Do some painting on the new house on Saturday, have a relaxing Father’s Day where I did very little as possible, take Monday off for my annual physical, do a few errands, then do some more work around the house site.

Well, the first part of that went according to plan, but when I woke up on Sunday, I had a raging sore throat and felt a little punky. I looked at my CPAP machine and discovered I had run out of water, which explained the sore throat, which went away after a cup of hot tea. But as K and I traveled to the cemetery to leave a Father’s Day plant on my Mom and Dad’s grave, a raspy cough settled in and my nose started burning. I figured it was a cold, and didn’t think too much of it because the last time I had a cold it was short lived, so I assumed this one would be too. Besides, it eliminated the temptation to do anything strenuous , and I was down for that because that doesn’t happen too often.

But when I woke up Monday morning I felt warm and sweaty, but attributed that to the cold. I ran two errands and delivered some stuff to the job site, but when I returned home, I felt really fatigued, but again figured it was a combination of the cold and the MS. Besides, I’d be seeing the doctor in a couple of hours and he’d assure me it was what I thought it was.

When they took my temp once I got into the exam room, the temp registered 100.8, and the doctor said my lungs, ears and sinuses were clear, that what I was dealing with was a virus, and that a lot of that was still going around. My instructions were to go home, drink a lot of fluids, take it easy, and let it run its course. So I went home, took a shower and hibernated in the spare bedroom, not wanting to share the joy. A few hours later I felt really hot, took my temp and looked at the digital display that read 102.3. Fuck!

So I took some aspirin, sweated like a pig for two hours, and felt infinitely better. The temp read 100.5 as I turned out the lights, and I figured that the worst was over. I’d stay home another day, lay low and be as good as new come dinner time. Unfortunately the thermometer was back up to 101 and change when I awoke in a sweat and has fluctuated been that and 102 all day. My nose burns but is clear, my cough is heavy, deep and dry, and my ribs are sore from the periodic coughing spasms.

All day long I haven’t ventured out of my room because I don’t want K to get this, since the house progress is more dependent on her than me, and am bored out of my fucking mind. Why else would I write something so mundane as describing this virus. It has been the most stimulating thing I have done all day.

The picture that started this post is what I have been staring at all day when I wasn’t watching Netflix. As you can see, it is cloudy, damp and dreary, which fits my mood perfectly. The frustrating thing is I don’t feel so sick where I can just sleep all day, but whenever I do anything I feel the heat rising.

Isn’t it interesting what you will watch on TV when you are so bored you want to scream? So far I have watched the documentary on Ted Bundy, who I knew nothing about (what a sick, evil fuck) some of the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam Nam, and a documentary about Metallica that chronicled the band almost breaking up. Real cheerful stuff, I know, but like the weather, it fits my mood.

My MO is never to go to work when I am sick, and to let 24 hours pass when it comes to a fever. Based on that I am looking at another day isolated from everyone. It probably serves me right because one of the things I have been crowing about ever since I was diagnosed with MS, and that was 11 years ago, is that I rarely get sick anymore. I can count the number of times I have been sick on one hand. If memory serves me correctly, three days on the shelf will be the longest I have been down since then, and I have forgotten how much I hate being sick. I wouldn’t be in such a grumpy mood if this was going to be limited to one day. But I am looking at day 2 tomorrow, and I have no idea if there will be a day 3. If that happens, maybe I will suck on my vape pen all day long and let the MMJ mellow my angst. That will either kill me or cure me.

I have no idea how I will spend the day tomorrow, other than get up to pee every hour because I am pushing fluids. Maybe I will find something else to vent about. Meanwhile, thank you for indulging me. And send whatever positive vibes you can my way over the blogosphere.

I am really getting tired of this shit.

Two For The Price of One

Kim of  I Tripped Over a Stone fame nominated me for two blogger awards. The Blogger Recognition Award and the Sunshine Blogger Award. I appreciate her thinking of me and gladly accept both awards from a individual whose perseverance and blog I admire. Please take the time to check out her blog

I will let the Blogger recognition questions stand as is, and I will answer 11 new questions for the Sunshine Blogger Award. The rules ask that I nominate 11 other bloggers to receive BOTH of these awards, but I am going to pass on that since many of the people I would nominate have already been nominated by Kim or other bloggers in my tribe.

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AWARD RULES:

  • Thank the nominator, and publish a post on your blog about receiving the Blogger Recognition Award. Make sure to provide a link to the nominator’s blog in your post.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started. 
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate 10-15 other bloggers for this award, and inform them of their nomination (going to pass on this one, see my previous comment).

I. How I got started

I wrote a novel a two years ago, and my agent gave me a laundry list of social media items she recommended I undertake to develop more of an on-line presence and to perhaps develop a following that would help entice publishers. The least onerous of these duties was starting a blog. I have Multiple Sclerosis, and so does the main character of my book, although it is not autobiographical, so most of the posts when I started involved some aspect of my MS experience. The subject matter expanded from there, once I started running out of new things to talk about, and the rest is history.

II. Two pieces of advice for new bloggers

Two pieces of advice…hmmmmmm.

  1. Be yourself and write what you feel. Writing from the heart is the easiest way to come up with ideas. This can be uncomfortable at times, but it can also be cathartic. It also helps develop a following. Be genuine, and don’t let the primary focus of your blog be for sales or self promotion. And no BS. Folks recognize that after a while, and it is a major turn-off.
  2. Read and Support Other Bloggers. People, most of them your fellow bloggers, will read and “like” your posts. Take the opportunity to read what they have to say, then follow those whose subject and writing you enjoy. “Like” their pieces so they know you are paying attention, and write comments as often as you can. You’ll become part of a network, or tribe, of other writers and develop friendships along the way. You will also be amazed at how many brilliant writers exist in the world.

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Award Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so that others can find them.
  • Add the award logo to your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.

 

Kim’s Questions:

  1. Are you an early bird or a night owl?

An early bird all the way, although I don’t go to bed super early. The fact is I don’t get enough sleep.

2. What is your personal favorite post on your own blog that you’ve published up until today? (Link it!)

That’s a tough one as I have written over 100 pieces, and it is hard to claim a favorite. So the one I am going to mention is one I wrote about diets several months ago because this is the post that has received the most likes of all the ones I have written. I guess is struck a chord.

3. What time of day do you dread?

I really don’t “dread” any particular time of day. My least favorite is waking up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 every weekday morning to get ready for work (I’m an early bird, remember?). But at least it beats the alternative of not waking up.

4. Have you been on the vacation of your dreams or still planning it?

I am definitely the happy traveler. Have bag, will travel. Unfortunately, my spouse is the exact opposite, but I knew that going in. So my dream vacation will remain that way: a dream. Besides, travelling with MS has made travelling with much more complicated than ever. See this for details. I will add that that I have been to many major cities and most states within the continental US, and a few Caribbean islands. But the MS, as you can see if you read the link, has certainly curtailed my desire to explore. My favorite trip was to Anchorage, Alaska. They don’t call that state The Last Frontier for nothing, and I would highly recommend visiting it during the summer when it is light out most if not all of the time.

5. Name your dream car!

I’m not really a car guy, so I will channel my wife and name her dream car: A red 58 Corvette convertible.

6. If you see a penny on the ground, do you pick it up?

Sometimes.

7. If you could pick a book title (actual or fabricated) to describe your life over the past 10 years, what would it be?

Shit Happens.

8 What is the song title that best describes your life over the last 10 years?

Better Man, by Keb Mo. Look it up.

9. Ever thought of going vegan?

Never. I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains as it is, and don’t eat a lot of red meat. Maybe some day, but going completely vegan takes a lot of time I don’t currently have.

10. I have to know, do you still have a landline???

Yep, and probably always will. Call me a dinosaur.

11. BOUNS QUESTION: Do you always respond to these types of nominations.

Most of the time, but not always.