Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Week in the Life - Day 2

Mark's Version

Wednesday - 7:00 AM

I wake up to let out the dog and then get to work on recapping Tuesday. My fingers are flying so furiously that I lose track of time and write longer than I expected to.

7:45 AM

I jump in the shower, quietly so as to not wake up Stacy. Again, quick showers are no problem for me, which is good since I'm running late. I pack my bag, complete with my office schedule book, my iPod, and reading material. Today it is Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. It's from the monumental Discworld series. If you are a fan of fantasy stories as well as Monty Python, check them out. Such good reads.

8:00 AM

I lock the front door and head to the car. Unseasonably warm weather has moved in, which spares me from scraping the windshield, further delaying me.

8:10 AM

Today I avoid all school buses and heavy farm machinery and make only one very short stop to take a picture of a road sign Stacy wanted to immortalize. Even with that diversion I get to the hospital rather quickly and get to work.

The schedule looks fairly light today, and there are no kids that need to get to school today, so I can do all of the work on the adult unit before moving on. There are a few telephone orders to sign, a bunch of charts to attend to, and a handful of physicals to do. Nobody has a very complicated medical history today so the work moves very quickly. 


I head to the extended unit while my assistant goes to prepare the child and adolescent unit. Nobody stops me on the way in to chat so I get to the station without any incidents. I get there as the psych assistant (PA) is announcing the morning schedule over the unit speakers. Morning goals followed by  fresh air break (walk) for those who can leave the unit for limited periods of time. Today the chatty PA is there so I have to block out the ambient conversations. I try to concentrate on the blood work I need to analyze, but I do catch something about an ex-boyfriend, Rottweiler, and neck tattoos. It's already more than I care to know so I don't turn around to ask any probing questions.  Also, someone brought chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. No, thank you.

9:00 AM

I hustle over to the child and adolescent unit where a pile of charts awaits my attention. There are a few orders to write, but otherwise I have to see everyone today. One kid decides he doesn't want to see us so he refuses to come for his physical. Fine. I just saved 5 minutes. Most of the teens are nice with no major medical issues. Honestly, most the kids I see there don't really need me. It's more of a formality. One 13-year-old boy is especially surly this morning.

 "You made my lip bleed."

I didn't even touch the kid at this point so puzzled I ask why.

"When you told me to open my mouth and say, 'Ah,' the side of my lips cracked."

Oh, right. All my fault. I'm so sorry for doing MY JOB! I'm not at all surprised that in the chart it reveals his issues with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The rest of his physical continues with a series of complaints and dirty looks with attitude. When he complains that he doesn't want to be in the psych hospital I let him know that punching his mother and then trying to stab his sister with a butter knife were to blame. He's not much for personal responsibility either.

9:25 AM

I'm all finished for the day. Yes, just over an hour later. They'll still call me all day, but not a bad way to put in a day's work. I start up the car, local programming on NPR comes on, and I'm off. Today they're discussing mayoral elections in Lancaster and Harrisburg. I sort of listen but I'm distracted by the kid trying to escape from the hospital. Yep. One of the ones I saw yesterday. 

"Hey, kid. You can run, but they will always find you. And, you'll get to stay longer."

I wanted to yell that, but mostly I just wanted to get home.

9:35 AM

I pull into the gym and sign in. Classic rock is spewing from the stereo speakers and I am assaulted with the unmistakable odor of sweat mixed with cheap cologne. It's still early so the bleach smell from the bathrooms helps neutralize the smell. I quickly change and jump on the treadmill. Without my glasses I can't really see what's on the TV screens ahead of me, but I know on the left it's Fox News (ironic, right?), spewing whatever half-truths are important right now. Probably issues with Obamacare and the exchange website. On the right it will be ESPN, and I'm pretty sure they're talking about Game 6 of the World Series tonight, but I am quite blind without my glasses so I can't be absolutely certain.

10:40 AM

After a quick shower, I make a run to Big Lots to exchange Scout's Halloween costume. Yes, we are trying to dress up the dog for the holiday. Max is really excited about this so even though Scout normally hates wearing anything resembling clothing we're giving it a go. The costume we bought was too big so I'm making the switch. I return it for the original price of $10. Today it's half off, so we save $5 in the process. I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but 5 bucks is 5 bucks.

10:45 AM

I pull up to the house and carefully open the door so the dog won't come running out. I receive no greeting. The house is silent, which is very strange. Normally everyone is at the table eating, or they're reading on the couch, or they're writing in the school room. This morning it was silent. I went upstairs and found Stacy, Max, and Scout all cuddling in bed. Stacy had a rough night and didn't fall asleep until after 4 AM. Plus, who would turn down cuddling with a great kid and sweet dog? 

11:15 AM

Kate finally wanders into the room. We weren't up terribly late last night, but she needed some sleep. She has definitely entered the teen stage. We all talk and Stacy tells us about a crazy news story she read before bed. After hearing about a sociopathic crazy man who lies about being  a doctor and lawyer, and eventually ends up as a suspect in his wife's apparent murder. Yeah, that will help you fall asleep.

11:40 AM

It's not quite noon yet so it must still be breakfast time. We're planning on going to a Brazilian steakhouse tonight so that means we'll eat way too much food. In preparation, we've decided to eat a small breakfast and small afternoon snack so our stomachs will be prepped and primed to handle a lot of protein. I eat an English muffin and tea. We spend most of "breakfast" talking about Brazilian steakhouses. We also discuss how humorous today's day in the life post is going to be.


Stacy heads to the shower and I help the kids with some workbooks. I plan on helping Stacy dry her hair since this takes a while and is one of her least favorite things to do in the morning. After helping the kids with the math portion of their workbooks, I head upstairs to work on my Tuesday day in the life post while Stacy finishes showering. By the time I get there she is out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, working on writing today's post.  As it gets closer to 1:00 it's clear she won't be ready for my help yet so I go downstairs to the clinic.

1:00 PM

Since I essentially took Tuesday afternoon off to go to the movie I have to make it up somewhere. Today is one of those days. I have a pretty full slate of patients this afternoon. I come out frequently to see if I can help Stacy. Sometimes I can't leave the room while my patients have needles in because I have a lot of paperwork or phone calls to make. Today I was in and out a lot.

1:35 PM

Stacy is ready for my help so we chat while I help dry her hair. It may sound like a silly thing, but I really like when we have a chance to talk like this. I know how much she dislikes getting ready for the day so I'm always happy that I can help even a little.

1:55 PM

I head back down to the office. Have I mentioned how much I love my commute?

4:35 PM

After a full afternoon, which included not only seeing patients, but also writing my portion of the Tuesday post and inserting pictures, I make a few phone calls and get ready to leave. 

4:50 PM 

We leave to meet the Johnsons before heading to the restaurant. We mentally prepare for the insane and somewhat obscene amount of animal flesh we are about to consume.

5:00 PM

Since the Johnsons' van can hold all 8 of us, we all ride together in their car. Along the way we play Rubberneckers, a very fun card came you can play in the car. It's great to pass the time on a road trip. Since the restaurant is over an hour away it gave us enough time to play a round or two before arriving at the restaurant.

6:10 PM 

Getting out of the van I'm immediately overwhelmed by the aroma of various meats being cooked over an open flame. Um, I'll take some of THAT please. We spend the next couple of hours eating a lot. Picture eating way too much meat at one meal. Now double that. That amount of food will probably not even approach how much we ate. 

It was awesome.

Meat served on sword skewers just keeps coming to the table. And you just keep eating as much as you want. And since it's little servings at a time, you don't realize how much food you're actually eating until it's too late.

Eating out with the Johnsons is great because we all really appreciate good food. We also laugh a lot while we're together so we make a lot of jokes about how much we're actually eating. Eventually we all eat about 2 bites too many and feel really sick. Delirium sets in. Thought processes slow down. And conversations get derailed. And in the end, we are all just so happy to share this experience together.

8:45 PM

We all walk, shuffle, and roll out to the car to go home. There is a lot of grunting and groaning as we all try to climb into the car. The boys spend the whole ride home playing some sort of role-playing tame they've made up. They actually started playing at the restaurant and continued playing in the car. They can go for hours with this stuff. Max is really creative and a very good storyteller. We hang out at the Johnson house for a little bit, but not too long since we have a crazy Thursday ahead of us. Also, none of our brains seem to be working right because together we ate the equivalent of a small herd of cattle.

10:30 PM

We arrive home and greet our crazy dog. She is thrilled to see us, but her nose immediately discovers the wad of meat in my pocket. Instead of wasting the food we couldn't eat, we wrapped it in paper towels and brought it home for her. She ate it in about 30 seconds and I'm quite sure she'll vomit it by morning, but Scout sure is happy right now.

The whole family expresses gratitude for such a fun day, and we all hope to have a wonderful day tomorrow. Morning comes early and Thursdays are always busy so we encourage the kids to get right to sleep. Stacy and I catch up on the end of Game 6 of the World Series. As the final out approaches we get the kids to come down and watch.

11:23 PM

The Red Sox clinch the World Series at home for the first time since 1918.

11:25 PM

I keep fighting off the food coma so I can finish this blog post. Stacy is on the sofa with the dog, typing furiously. I'm sitting on the love seat next to a big pile of clean laundry. I should fold it, but I'm feeling too tired. Maybe it can be one of those things that's going to happen on Thursday.


We decide to watch something funny on TV to try and quiet our minds. We choose "The Goldbergs," mostly because it's the only new thing to watch on our TiVo. Baseball forced repeats of "New Girl" and "Modern Family."

1:30 AM We go upstairs and get ready for bed. As is our custom, we talk for longer than we should and we stay up later. We can seriously talk and talk.

2:00 AM Bed time. I'm exhausted and have no problems falling asleep. Scout looks like she's going to explode from all the meat we gave her to eat. I hope she has a good night.

Stacy's Version

7:50 AM

Mark kisses me and leaves for work. I am exhausted and try desperately to stay asleep as I’ve only been asleep for over 3 hours. That’s right. I couldn’t fall asleep yesterday. My bad. We usually watch something funny (like an episode of a sitcom) before bed and that helps me wind down nicely and sleep well. Because it was so late when we got home and because I was kind of grumpy, we skipped it and I paid for it by being unable to sleep. I wrote and read news articles (have you heard about the sociopathic “doctor” from Pleasant Grove, Utah?!?), neither of which are good before-bed activities for me, and all of that kept me up into the wee hours. I turned off the lights around 3:30 but couldn’t sleep until after 4:15. Insanity! This is not typical at all. I generally fall asleep by 1ish the latest. Apparently NaNoWriMo has me revved up, too.

10:15 AM

I’m in bed, stirring, painfully aware that I’ve begun a new habit of clenching my teeth. I hate it. It hurts. I’ve never done this before! It sucks. All morning, I’ve made myself go back to sleep every time I’ve woken up. I am making sure that I get at least 6 hours minimum. It’s crazy how I can’t sleep more than that these days. I’ve noticed season changes mess with my eating and my sleep. Maybe that’s it. It very well could be. This happens. Either way, this is late for me to be getting up. But I do try to get good sleep – I’m convinced that good sleep is linked to good health.

Max comes in my room. He, too, has slept in and I’m glad. We are often up late. I am sure this sounds all-kinds-of-lazy to most people, but if you think about it, our schedules are simply shifted. Yes, we sleep in, but we also go to bed late. It’s the same waking hours, just shifted. And we work well in these hours. Mark is on a slightly earlier schedule (really, I usually get up after he leaves for work), but in general we are on similar-ish schedules and this works well for us. Admittedly, this is a very late morning for us, but I think it’s all the craziness of the past several days catching up with us.

I am snuggling with Scout – such a great way to sleep in. She wags her tail when she sees Max and he climbs in bed with us. We all cuddle for a while longer. I love this! We are mostly quiet and mellow, but we eventually talk more about Scout and about NaNoWriMo and books we’re reading. I love cuddles.

10:45 AM

I am almost embarrassed to write this, except that I am telling you this is a-typical! While we generally have laid-back mornings and wake up later than most people – this is absurd today. I hear someone on the stairs and assume it’s Kate.

Nope. It’s Mark. He is back from the hospital, all dressed up professionally. He has already gotten up early (remember, he fell asleep long before I did), done some writing, worked, run an errand, and worked out at the gym. I’m feeling pretty lazy at this point. He sees us, smiles, and says, “You’ve been sleeping all this time?!?” and I tell him how I couldn’t fall asleep until almost 4:30. He is always happy for me when I sleep in. How sweet is that? Scout is ecstatic to see him. She loves us all, but Mark is her favorite. He comes over and joins us and we all keep talking about books and funny stories. It’s so nice.

11:15 AM

The door opens. Kate is up. She was up past 1:30 (I’m telling you – we’re all wired; we love NaNoWriMo). She comes in and joins us. Now, all 5 of us are in and around the bed. Scout greets her and licks her like crazy – it’s a morning tradition. We’re all snuggling and laughing and talking and I think to myself, “This is what life is all about.” I share with them my crazy late night of night being able to sleep and tell them about some of the crazy news articles I read. We talk about doing these week-in-the-life posts. They share stories from the write-in yesterday. We talk about our friends, our day. Lazy, lazy, wonderful morning. We are all smiling and laughing and relaxed and happy and mellow.

11:40 AM

We drag our sorry butts out of bed and go downstairs for, what, breakfast? This is ridiculous. It’s almost lunch time. We’re not eating much today, because we’re saving space in our stomachs for our Brazilian feast tonight.

We and the Johnsons have both bought Groupons for a great deal at a Brazilian all-you-can-eat place (Rodizio Steakhouse) about an hour from here. We are having dinner together tonight. Dinner is always an event for us – we sit and talk and eat for hours. Tonight will be extra special with the Brazilian experience. It is their first time – they are excited. Our kids have done it once so far and they are extremely pumped to do it again.

We let Scout out to go potty and we eat breakfast – I have green lemon tea and half a buttered English Muffin. We talk about skipping lunch and eating a small snack so that we have plenty of room for dinner. We talk about tonight and all the yummy foods there. Our family is always talking. We talk a lot. It’s fun to have Mark with us – he usually eats before work, so breakfast is the one meal a day that he’s not usually home for when he works at the hospital. We talk more about our blog posts. Everyone is excited to do them. The kids grab notebooks and start taking notes. I start to feel a little scared at what they might say.

11:50 AM

The kids work on some workbooks that cover a variety of topics. I come upstairs to get ready. I yell down the stairs first, telling the kids I’ll pay $2 to whoever can find my missing book. I am obsessive about finding lost items. Have I mentioned that?

I take a shower. Whenever I shower, I think and think and think. A LOT. I often wish there were some kind of device that could write those thoughts down as I think them. I often get out of the shower and write things down right away. They’ve done studies that show that taking a hot shower makes us open up in a way that causes us to have many and creative thoughts.

I think about our kids, our posts, things to do, stuff to write, and how much I hate getting ready. It is one of my least favorite things to do.

I get out of the shower, wrap myself in a towel, and write more. Since we’re not really eating lunch, Mark grabs his laptop and writes next to me before his afternoon patients. I write, check news online, email, etc. I love John Green – I’m convinced the guy is a genius. I write more. Writing sucks me in the way reading books can. You lose track of time and just enjoy. I better get ready.

At some point the dog flips out. She has radar ears for the mailman (who she hates) and we see that it’s too early for him and wonder if Mark’s patients have arrived early (the clinic is downstairs from our room). The UPS guy (she’s not too fond of him either) has dropped off a package in the waiting room. Mark brings it upstairs to surprise me. It’s Rainbow Rowell’s new book, Fangirl. Another NaNoWriMo distraction! Kate is going to FLIP when she sees it. We are both eager to read this one. We love, love, love Eleanor & Park. Mark has gotten surprises for us all. Max got a book, too. Kate’s BFF’s birthday present has also arrived – part of it anyway. Packages are fun and Mark is super thoughtful.

1:00 PM

Mark goes in the clinic for the afternoon. He and I have been writing non-stop for the past hour. No discipline - I was supposed to be getting ready. I really need to do that now. Scout is with the kids. Kate is writing. Max is playing Mario Kart. We’ve been playing Mario Kart now and then as a family these past few days – it’s fun. Max has cleaned his room and gotten ready for the day. Kate has not yet. Opposite of yesterday. It’s all good. Everyone is happy and flexible and self-driven.

1:05 PM

Okay, I really need to stop writing and get ready now. Going now.

1:06 PM

I don’t want to. I so so so dislike getting ready. I like being showered and dressed, but I dislike getting ready, especially on days that I wash my hair. I love my hair –it’s thick and long. It does take a long time to dry, but since I don’t have oily hair, I can wash it twice a week and be fine. I love that.

I read more news online. I look at the date. The Red Sox are playing tonight!

1:12 PM

Seriously. I need to finish getting ready.

1:16 PM

I am reading and writing and thinking about how I should be getting ready and about how I really probably do have ADD. Everyone is writing and loving these week-in-the-life posts. Natural writing. Natural learning. Mark’s phone rings. Oops, he forgot to take it with him into the clinic and he’s on call. When he works at the hospital in the mornings, he is on call for 24 hours afterward. I instant message him to tell him.

He comes upstairs (I love having the business in our home!) and gets his phone. He sees that I’m still wrapped it a towel and haven’t gotten ready yet and that I’m writing. He laughs. He tells me he gets it, because he’s on a roll in his writing, too. This is a great way to get us paying attention to detail in our writing with NaNoWriMo starting in less than 2 days.

Okay, I really need to get ready now.

1:20 PM

I actually get up to get ready and come back to say, “This is an abnormally lazy, distracted day, but I think I needed this after the past many, many days of go-go-go. Since this is a spotlight on a few days at a time, you don’t see what leads up to it. It’s been a lot. Okay, back to getting ready.”

1:22 PM

I get up again and really get ready this time. Wait, Mark is instant messaging me. I tell him I’m really getting ready now. He teases me. I think he likes distracting me. He makes me laugh.

1:24 PM

Seriously this time.

I get ready. I love our old farmhouse, but sometimes I get sick of living in an older home and think about modernizing. The bathroom is small and crowded and has no counter space. I could use more sunlight for sure. There is no exhaust fan so it gets muggy, which isn’t good for me allergy-wise. There are no closets so half of my clothes are under the bed in boxes or strewn about our bed and chair while the rest are in a hallway closet that we all share along with the towels and linens. It’s a real trick when we have guests – I have to think ahead and pull out the clothes so I don’t go walking out there half-naked to find more clothes.

I try to decide what to wear and think about Steve Jobs again. Maybe I’ll wear jeans and a black shirt. I think about how they might splatter me with food tonight like they did before, so I don’t want to wear white or anything nice, yet I would like to look nice. More decisions. More first world problems.

I come down the back stairs we use when Mark is in the clinic and look again for that missing book (grrrr). The kids have looked but haven’t found it yet either. I get a drink of water. The carved pumpkins are starting to rot and it smells like brown bananas. There are dishes on the counter, laundry on the sofa, stuff sort of everywhere. We were really due this lazy day. This is the first day in weeks that we haven’t had something on the calendar (well, until we added going to the Brazilian place after some scheduling mishaps with the Johnsons).

The kids are both dressed and playing Mario Kart together. I join them for a circuit. Scout cuddles with us while we play. I was going to sit and write, but she took my seat (she does that) and when Max asked if I wanted to play, I said yes.

2:40 PM

I play with the kids and write more, blog some (comments, etc.), talk to Mark, return some texts, and take care of some emails.

3:30 PM

We make sure to have a small snack. We don’t want our stomachs to shrink too much before our big meal tonight. There is a science to this sort of thing! I last-minute invite the Johnson boys over to watch a safety DVD with us, but they can’t come.

I ask the kids to get Scout a sweet potato treat (she loves them). I do not feel guilty asking them to do stuff for her. She’s OUR dog and we all pitch in.

Mark and I post our first blog posts about our day and we read each other’s accounts. This is so fun! Time consuming, but fun. This is why we don’t blog more often – we love to do it, but it really is a huge labor of time (and love). See? You should all be grateful when we post. Heheheh.

4:10 PM

Mark and I instant message and totally crack each other up. I laugh out loud several times in our living room and I feel kind of bad for making him laugh when I full well know he’s at his desk quietly while a patient is relaxing on the table while listening to mellow music for their acupuncture treatment.

I look at the clock and know I have less than half an hour before we leave. Dishes, laundry, or reading to the kids? I choose reading. We are reading Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and making sure we finish it by the time we attend a local literature festival where the author will be presenting and signing books. It’s a really good book so far. We’ve laughed out loud several times.

4:40 PM

Mark is done in the clinic, so we finish our chapter and get ready to go. We all get our shoes, the coupon, camera, etc. and head over to the Johnsons to go to dinner. We’ve hardly eaten all day and we’re excited. 

5:00 PM

We arrive at the Johnsons and they, too, have eaten little today. We all ride together in their van, since theirs seats 8. We play Rubber Neckers (an AWESOME road trip game) on the way there. It is an hour and 15 minutes away.

We stuff ourselves senseless with about 17-20 different kinds of meats. And creamy limeades. We got a great deal through Groupon. Mark and I totally sneak some of our uneaten meat into some paper towels in order to take them home to Scout. Christie tells me that I am not at all subtle. I believe her.

And then we got desserts! What on earth were we thinking? Even though I’m not a big dessert person, it’s hard for me to turn down flan. I love that Max likes it so much, too. We all share our food.

8:45 PM

We leave the restaurant wondering how we’re going to sit all the way back because all we want to do is lie down in the cool air for about an hour until the food moves down a bit more or something. Yowza. It’s funny – I’m not a big meat eater in general, so this is very much a once-in-a-great-while thing. I don’t know how people eat like this regularly.

Mark and I keep tabs on the Red Sox game and we’re all mostly very, very full. We talk, tell stories, the usual with us. It’s comfortable and easy to be together. We get back to the Johnsons, but we don’t stay long. Thursdays are early mornings around here (early for us anyway) and given how late we’ve been getting to bed, we don’t stay out super late.

We get home, do our “gratitudes and hopes” and “hugs and kisses.” The kids go right up to bed. Mark and I stay up and watch the game. The Red Sox win the World Series in Boston for the first time in 95 years. I find myself cheering. I am not a big sports person at all, but I love championship games when I care about the teams.

11:45 PM

I’m typing up details from today and really wanting to get to bed early. Didn’t sleep much or well yesterday and big day tomorrow. Very full day with lots going on. Mark and I are bummed that there’s no new “New Girl” this week, so we watch an episode of The Goldbergs. We’ve given up on most all the other new shows, but we like this one for the nostalgia factor big time – the songs at the end, the clothes, the attention to detail? Fabulous! I instant message with Mike King for a while. I like chatting with him. I think Mark has great friends.

We go up to bed, talk a lot, Mark goes to sleep, I read for a while and again am not tired. I have difficulty falling asleep again. It’s well after 3 before I can settle down my mind. I haven’t been like this in ages, so I’m not sure what’s up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Week in the Life - Day 1

Stacy’s Version

Mark and I are doing this together, because our day-to-day lives are very intertwined. We’re going to do a 10-day stretch since none of our weeks are really that “typical” - we do so many different things and every day is different to some extent. We are writing independently, though, so as not to color each other's presentations.

Tuesday - 7:40 AM

Mark kisses me as he is off to work. I hear him taking out the trash first. He’s awesome. I turn over and try to go back to sleep and am only somewhat successful – I sleep lightly for a while longer. No matter how hard I try these days, I can’t seem to sleep more than 6 hours, even though 7.5 is ideal for me. My mind jumps into overdrive and it’s hard to get back to sleep once I wake up. I think it’s partly due to NaNoWriMo coming up and ideas spinning around my head.

Around 9AM

I am rousing/awake and grab my phone to do a quick check of my usual stuff – texts, email, CNN, Feedly, etc. Every night, I turn off my phone and put it way across the nightstand and far from my head, as I’m paranoid about those radiation reports you see about cell phones. I have a text from Mark, some emails about our homeschool group, the news is pretty much the same and I smile to think of the Red Sox being 3-2 in the World Series.

We’ve resisted getting Internet phones for so long, but after skipping multiple phone upgrades in our resistance, we upgraded a couple of months ago and now we have fancy phones. I was resistant because I don’t want to be one of those people who is always in her phone. I’m not too worried about that anymore – Mark and I are both just not like that in our personalities. We’re pretty present with one another in our families and with our friends as well, so I am feeling better about having the phones. And I have to say, I like waking up slowly while reading and catching up like this – it actually keeps me from getting too sucked into my computer once I am up. It’s nice.

So, I check my Feedly (blog reader) and get really excited when I see that my friend Rachelle is posting a “Week in the Life” post in a blog series her husband started a few days ago. He wrote posts like this (but his are more succinct – I’m more like Rachelle: brevity is not my strong point) and I absolutely loved hearing the day-to-day “mundane” because it’s interesting to me to hear how people live. Everyone’s lives are so so different. It’s fascinating to me.

I wanted to do it right away when I read his, but I talked myself out of it because of NaNoWriMo coming up (why do I always want to blog more when I’m supposed to be writing the next great American novel?!?). And now, seeing hers made me want to do it even more and I found myself taking note of things all day long. True confession: I’m always blogging in my head. If they had an app for that, you’d all have constant blog posts.

I looked at the clock and told myself that I shouldn’t start reading hers, because I needed to get up and ready, but I read it anyway, so of course I was scrambling to get ready quickly.

9:40 AM

I reach over and pet the dog, who is cuddling with me. I love snuggling with her. I get in the shower thinking how I should’ve just gotten in before reading Feedly and wondering if I would be able to shower quickly (ha!) and pull of getting ready before taking Kate to her volunteering shift at the library (no).

9:50 AM

I get out of the shower, look at the time, and know I have to hustle. I start thinking about Steve Jobs (welcome to the inner workings of my mind) and how he always wore jeans and a black shirt Every. Single. Day. so as to not waste any precious brain power on mundane decisions so that he could focus on other, bigger things. I start to wonder if I should do that and if maybe I’d be some kind of revolutionary genius if I’d just wear the same outfit every day.

9:55 AM

Throw on yoga pants, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, socks, and pretty much nothing that matches. Pull back my wet bangs (a little trick I use to not have to wash my hair daily – in between shampoos, just wash the bangs) and run downstairs to take Kate to volunteer. I’ll just finish getting ready when I get back. She, of course, has gotten herself up and dressed, has had breakfast, looks gorgeous, is ready to go, and has even gotten up early so that she can write before she’s off for the morning. Because that’s what she does. She is amazing.

9:56 AM

I send Mark a text that says, “OMG. Wait until you see Kate. She looks very grown up. I seriously mouthed “OMG” as she walked by (without her seeing).” He just loves how she’s growing up and getting even taller and more beautiful every day – he’s handling it very, very well. /sarcasm

She puts the dog in the crate since Max hasn’t come downstairs yet (the only day he’s almost always “asleep” at this time of the morning – amazingly, he is always awake and downstairs by the time I get back, approximately 6 minutes later – I think he likes his quiet, alone time and doesn’t want to get dragged along for the ride and have to possibly listen to Kate’s Taylor Swift playlist) and we are off. The air smells of fall and manure. It’s October in PA. Mark has left me a sweet surprise note in the van, because like I said, he’s awesome. Later in the day, I see the "Service Tree" we have up on the wall and it reminds me that he can move one of his leaves down. I know that's not why he wrote the note, but it's a nice bonus.

The tree in question


I drop Kate off at the library and return home. Scout is out of her crate, ecstatic to see me, and I am wondering if we didn’t close it well or if Max is in the bathroom. He has hidden in order to jump out and startle me. He is successful.

We talk for a bit and then I send him upstairs to finish getting ready and I finish getting ready as well. This is our me-and-him time and we play games together, so we’re both antsy to get to that. I have my usual for breakfast – green tea with milk, my vitamins (B-100, D, and Ginko – I always forget if it’s Ginko or Ginseng, which is funny since it’s supposed to help my memory issues), and something to eat (always difficult to decide since most foods rarely sound good in the morning) – today I choose half a piece of toast with brie as well as a bit of one of those really good, thick 100% natural fruit/vitamin drinks. Max has some cheese and is busy drawing in a notebook as part of his NaNoWriMo prep – he’s drawing pictures of all of his characters.

10:40-something AM

Max sets up our game (Smallworld) while I put on my iPod. I have the song “In My Life” by the Beatles in my head and I want a new one in its place. That one makes me sad now that we’ve used it in a video montage of pictures of my mom and dad and her life that we made for her 70th birthday party.

Mark and I text back and forth about the kids, some NaNoWriMo stuff, errands, picking up our pork meat, and how Max needs to brush his teeth better. He tells me he’ll pick up Kate. Max and I enjoy playing games together and we enjoy me-and-him time. He loves one-on-one time and could play with someone 24 hours a day.

11:50 AM

Mark gets home and unloads half a hog’s meat into the freezer. Our friends raise pigs and we do this about twice a year. He has a tight turnaround between that and working in the clinic this afternoon, so I offer to get Kate. Max comes with me. I love living in a town where everything is so close. In all the switching of plans with who would go where, I got there later than I intended. We get back and Mark has lunch ready for us – it smells delicious. It is chicken and dumplings that the Johnsons made for us. Yum!

We eat lunch together, laughing and talking about breaking stereotypes (because the teen who works at our local frozen yogurt place as well as our local laser tag place just seems perpetually bored and disinterested, like he just can’t be bothered to do anything related to his job). Mark runs into the clinic for a 12:30 appointment. It’s a bit earlier than he usually starts, but he did that on purpose in order for us to have a date this afternoon.

12:35 PM

We finish lunch, and Max and I finish our game after lunch. I beat him by not that many points. I’m liking this game more and more (and that is unrelated to my beating him).

1:05 PM

Mark comes out of the clinic and he and I get ready for our date. We love that we can do this now that our kids are older. I’d say we do this a handful of times per year. As we’re walking from our car to the theater, he hugs me close and says, “I’m so glad I’m married to you.” I squeeze him back and say the same thing. I know we both mean it.

We go to a matinee at our local independent theater (the jewel of our town, in my opinion) and see “Enough Said.” We both enjoy it very, very much. It is so our kind of movie. Whenever we have these afternoon matinee dates together, we are often the youngest people there by far. I love our flexibility that allows this. We love owning our own business – wouldn’t trade it. We spoke with the owner of the theater for a while afterward. He is always appreciative and gracious and we love to talk to him about movies, the area, etc. He often compliments us on how nice our home/business look. I love our small town!

We are in the lobby of the theater. Mark returns some calls to the hospital. He is on call and this is typical throughout the days he works there. I don’t mind it. Taking calls is work he can do from anywhere and aids our flexibility. It’s a good gig.

3:30 PM

We’re home and talking with the kids, opening the clinic again for more afternoon appointments, and having the kids get ready for yoga class. I do another scan of my email, as I’m really trying to not let it pile up as it so often does. I’m trying to take time daily to stem the tide, I guess.

We all work together to fold two baskets of laundry. It’s something chore-related, yet the house is in a perpetual state of messiness and things to do. First world problems. Right before leaving for the kids’ yoga class, it is a flurry of activity, cleaning, checking emails, checking texts, opening the clinic, talking, and all the little things that can make 10 minutes feel like 1 (and nearly make you late for things).

4:23 PM

Quick snack and then out the door for yoga class. Mark and I are literally talking/trying to coordinate something as the kids and I are walking out the door. The weather today is beautiful. I take my laptop. The campus where their class is held is just gorgeous – all the leaves are changing and it’s in the low 60s today, so I’m going to sit in the car with the windows rolled down and write.

Mark and I text/talk for the first 15 minutes of my hour there, a continuation of our conversation as I left the house. We only get to some of what we’re trying to discuss when he has to go because it’s time to see another patient. I spend the rest of the time writing. The time flies by.

5:35 PM

The kids come to the car from their yoga class. They’re both happy and mellow. Max turns the volume off on the radio as I start the car – he likes to enjoy and extend the peace that comes with yoga class. He loves it. They both do, but he especially seems to really take it all in and recognize its benefit for him. He bemoans that it’s the last class of the 5-week session. They want to do it again in January. We’ve already spoken with the teacher about offering a family class. We’d love to take it all together. This past week, she came out to the car to tell me how much she enjoys our children and she even started to cry when she said it’s so great to see such great kids who “just get it.” That was so nice to hear!

5:45 PM

We are home from yoga class and Mark has dinner (leftover homemade chicken pot pie) in the oven. The house smells great. We do a dinner co-op with the Johnsons. They cook and deliver dinner on Mondays. We cook and deliver on Thursdays. We’ve been doing it for several weeks and it’s working great – we all love it. Since dinner isn’t quite ready yet even once we’ve set the table together, we all go to the living room and work together to assemble 25 NaNoWriMo packets for the kick-off party tonight. I love working on things assembly-line style. There’s something fun, cooperative, productive, fulfilling, and monotonous about it that feels really good. We finish up and go to the kitchen for dinner. I sneak a couple of minutes to write more on my computer, to finish a thought of mine from earlier.

6:00 PM (ish)

We sit down to dinner and talk about doing these week-in-the-life posts. I admit that I’m crazy for wanting to do them right when we’re doing NaNoWriMo, but such is life with me. I think I have ADD. Seriously.

6:20 PM

We do another stellar job of not cleaning the kitchen, because now we’re bustling about the house grabbing the packets, changing into our NaNoWriMo t-shirts, packing up laptops, using the bathroom, grabbing jackets, talking, etc. Mark is in the clinic making us homemade NaNoWriMo charts (on which we can chart our progress) like he does every year.

I am having issues remembering to change my socks so that they match what I’m wearing. The kids are battling in the dining room with Nerf weapons. I hear Mark say, “Are you battling with weapons IN the house?” and I hear them answer, “No,” and laugh as they continue their battle. They are both HYPED about NaNoWriMo. I call down the stairs asking why our house sounds like the set of a Disney sitcom. As if on cue, the kids each pop their heads around the corner of the doorway downstairs making “ding” halo sounds and looking mischievous and proudly not innocent at all. They think they’re hilarious (and they really kind of are).

6:49 PM

We’re putting Scout in her crate, loading up the car, and off to pick up Dave and the boys (Christie is working tonight) to take them with us to the NaNoWriMo kick-off party at our local coffee shop (attached to and part of that awesome indie theater).

6:50 PM

I look at the clock and say, “6:50?!?” And Mark says, “Yes.” And I say, “That’s impossible. It was 6:25 just 5 minutes ago.”

6:54 PM

We pick up the Johnsons. I love that they live 5 minutes up the road. We all pile in the van and go to the coffee shop. Max trips on his shoelaces as he gets out of the van. He had just complained about them being too long earlier this afternoon. I feel awful and make sure he is okay.

It is half-price sandwich night, chess night, and there’s a movie showing as well, so it’s busy and crowded, but as tables begin to clear, we grab them one by one. One guy who is there to play chess snags a table from me by sneaking in ahead of me. I’m unamused, but roll with it. Eventually, there are 14 of us (6 adults and 8 kids) at 3 different tables.

It’s fun to have our NaNoWriMo gang together – every November is so fun to reconnect through this activity. Even though many of us know one another from other things and see each other often, there’s something about doing NaNoWriMo together.

7:25 PM

Holly is there tonight. We know her through NaNoWriMo – this is our 4th year writing together. We see her at the Renaissance Faire, too. She is part of the cast. She’s a lot of fun and has great stories to share. She regales us with stories about the Faire for a good portion of the evening and we all eat up the details of the behind-the-scenes sneak peeks she offers us!

Holly's on the left. Then it's Cristin, Mark, Dave, and Amanda
I visit the girls’ table where they are busy brainstorming, looking up information for their story (I spot a web page about phobias), and writing notes while laughing. It is Kate, her best friend Kirsten, their friend Sophia, and Kirsten’s sister Avery. These girls are getting so grown up. I have a few sips of Kate’s chocolate milkshake and take some pictures. I’m always taking pictures. You wouldn’t know it from the blog where I wrote more than post pictures, but remember how I said I’m always blogging in my head? Yeah, I take pictures to go along with those many, many blog posts I always intend to write.

It smells like paint near their table. The shop next door has a new owner and they are preparing it for its grand opening – a local vintner is opening a wine bar, “appropriate dress required.” It’s an upscale place, a welcome addition to the fine coffeeshop/theater already next door to it.

I take some pictures of the boys’ table – Max, Rich, and Brennan are playing Minecraft. Alex is drawing. I return to the table of 6 grown ups. We’ve handed out folders and goodies to everyone, so now we’re mostly shooting the breeze and talking nerdy stuff. It’s great. The kick-off party was scheduled to be from 7:30-9, but most everyone has shown up early.

We all talk for a long time. Cristin has brought candy to share. At one point, I read an article about Nicole Holofcener. I love, love, love her movies. They stay with you, they make you think. She has great characters and addresses human frailties and faults. I love her films.

10 PM

The coffeeshop is closing (they’ve recently shortened their closing by an hour, but they’ve also begun to open for breakfast, too) and we’ve all stayed an hour longer than originally intended. This is typical of our group and NaNoWriMo in general. It’s fun. We pack up and take the Johnsons home. The kids ask if they can say hi to Blitzy (the Johnsons’ dog). We say yes and pledge to make it quick. Dave invites us to stay and we do. For about an hour, the kids run around playing some crazy tag game upstairs while Mark, Dave, and I shoot the breeze downstairs.

11 PM

We leave, knowing we probably should’ve left earlier. Mark’s tired and he has work the next morning. We get home and get our usual awesome greeting from Scout (we adore her!). I’m feeling grumpy. It’s been a good day, but now I’m tired, hungry (low blood sugar), and a bit frustrated that I didn’t get more writing done today. I have a writing goal I’m trying to accomplish before NaNoWriMo. I think I can do it, but not getting much done tonight didn’t help.

As a family, we do our “gratitudes and hopes” as we do every night. Max is grateful for a good day. Kate is grateful for a fun kick-off party. Mark and I are grateful we could go to a movie together. Hugs and kisses and time for bed.

I get a snack (low blood sugar) – corn flakes and rice milk. Over the past several months, I’ve noticed that I get pretty phlegm-y when I have milk/cheese/ice cream and so before bed, I sometimes use rice milk instead of regular milk. It doesn’t taste as good, but it saves me from feeling like I’m gagging.

11:40 PM

We head up to bed and check on the kids. Max looks sleepy and a little sad. I ask if he’s okay and he says that he’s rereading his Owly books and that they’re sad and the only books that make him cry. He’s such a sweet, sensitive kid. I rub his back and kiss him again. We stop in Kate’s room and she is . . . wait for it . . . writing in a notebook. As is typical on a nightly basis, the audio CDs of Harry Potter are playing in her room. She listens even when she is reading another book. I don’t know how she does that. Anyway, the kids love them.

Mark and I are getting ready for bed and obsessively looking for a book we can’t find that we know is in this house somewhere! This is day 6 of looking for it, some days harder than others. It’s bugging us that we can’t find it. I get really obsessive when it comes to hunting down lost items. It’s one of my many fun quirks.

We talk for a while about our day and my grumpiness. So much going on, so many loose ends not tied up, some frustrations with other people, usual day-to-day stress adding up as it does now and then. Really, though, it’s been a good day overall, especially the movie part. Fun treat.

1:10 AM

We really are trying to get to bed earlier. This is not a successful night in that department. We have been talking (and also looking for that book – where is it?!?) for over an hour. We recognize and own our craziness and call it a night. I write and read for a while longer and then also go to sleep.

Mark's Version

As soon as I started writing about a typical day in our life around here I realized that we rarely have a "typical" day. Expect the unexpected is more like it. With that said, I present Tuesday.

Tuesday - 6:00 AM

I don't normally wake up this early. In fact, I'd rather not wake up so early. I usually squeeze in every last minute of sleep possible since our days are so packed. But on this Tuesday I woke up for no apparent reason. I tried to keep sleeping, and I was fairly successful, but only if you consider a few winks here and there while my mind tried to force me awake a success.

7:15 AM

I finally decided that the fight was over and I got up. Tuesday is trash day and since no matter how many times I remind myself to prepare the night before, I don't. Monday nights are that crazy. So, I took the trash to the curb while the dog ran around the backyard, nervous to do her business while I was out there. Mostly I think she was curious about the trash barrels even though she's seen me put them out like a billion times. This morning was so cold that I had tea for breakfast. I don't normally do breakfast, but today I couldn't resist.

7:40 AM

I jump in the shower, take my customary 5 minutes to clean up (which is entirely adequate, by the way), and get ready.

7:55 AM

I start to drive away after scraping the frost off of my car windows. I should probably start getting ready a little earlier since it's that time of year, but as with the trash, I'll probably just keep forgetting .

8:05 AM

I arrive at the hospital for my first job. Doing the medical coverage at a psychiatric hospital is always interesting and always a surprise. I never know exactly what I'm in for. I should probably just write a book all about my experiences there--I have no shortage of fodder for a great story. Anyway, I arrive in the exam room where I am greeted by my assistant, Pat. I ask her if we can be done in an hour and she laughs. We both know that will never happen, at least not on a Tuesday.

I sign a bunch of telephone orders from the night before. There are no surprises here since I'm the one they were calling all of Monday to get the orders. Then there are the charts of patients who don't need to be seen but need some sort of attention. These are your Tylenol-for-headaches or cough syrup-for-colds kind of people. And every day there is at least one chart for a patient that has decided that seeing the medical doctor on a daily basis is going to improve his chances of recovery from his uncontrolled bipolar disorder. I kid you not. This person wants to see me. Every. Single. Day. If he were at home his doctor would never see him this often, but when patients are confined in a psych ward they act a bit differently sometimes.

While I'm in the middle of signing orders and reviewing the labs that came in this morning, the phone starts ringing from the other units. "We're here," the nurse from the residential unit says. That means it's time to stop working on the adult unit and go see the kids that need to get to school off-site. These are the kids that aren't thriving at home so they need to be somewhere else for a few months or sometimes a year or more. Today I did an admission history and physical for a kid who just got there on Monday. I also had to decide if another kid really does have athlete's foot. Yep. He does.

Once I'm done with those two kids I head over to the extended acute unit (EAU). These are the adults that are well enough to not need the intense psychiatric care of the regular unit, but are not well enough to go home yet. Many of these patients end up being placed in group homes and some end up going to the state hospital for years on end. It's a smaller unit, but the patients are there for long enough that I end up getting to know them pretty well. I'm greeted with a lot of "hi, doctor" as I make my way to the nurse's station. For the Tuesday morning stretch they are using exercise bands and listening to reggae music. I narrowly escape being punched in the nose as one of the patients suddenly extends her hands forward while Bob Marley tells me not to worry about a thing.

More orders to sign, labs to review, consultant's notes to read, and a patient to examine. I can always tell how bored the patients are by counting the number of requests I get to change their medications. Today I am told that one patient is not happy with getting his cough syrup every 4 hours as needed. Can he get it every 3 1/2 hours instead? Oh, and the Tylenol order I wrote yesterday for his headache that he so desperately begged me for? Even though it worked, he thinks we'd better stop using it today since the voices in his head told him this particular supply is tainted. I try to reassure him, but he's known the voices longer so they win out.

I'm done in the EAU so I go back to take care of all of the children and adolescent patients. For the most part these kids are in and out in a day or so. The most common reason they are there? They get angry and freak people out. It's really sad, but I think poor parenting should be the most common diagnosis. Or maybe not poor, but disinterested, or unprepared, or ridiculously unfit. I usually get along with the kids pretty well, even if no one else at home or in the hospital does. Besides the admission physicals, I get to see one of my "regulars" who has been at the hospital since the summer. This is not typical, but does happen sometimes. In this case she has a very broken home and nowhere to go, and the case managers are having a hard time finding a suitable placement for her. It's really sad. Today I get to tell her that I will not send her to the ER for swallowing the tip of a pencil. I've had to also tell her that buttons, chalk, pen caps, beads, pennies, and erasers will all come out the other end. I'm sure I'm forgetting other objects that will travel the GI system without being digested, but that gives you the idea.

Now I head back to the adult unit to finish up my day. Today it's all routine stuff. I'm sure by doing a day in the life post on a different day you'll get to hear about something a little more interesting, but today I see a handful of new admissions, one of which I've seen come into the hospital at least 5 times in the last 2 months. Something isn't working. I also have a bunch of people with rashes and headaches. Nothing too exotic, but enough to keep me busy.

Before I leave I mention needing to go pick up supplies for some packets Stacy is putting together for our NaNoWriMo kickoff party later tonight. One of the women who works with me says she hangs on to supplies that the hospital no longer needs, just in case. She hands me a packet of stickers and a whole stack of folders that I can use. Excellent.

I also receive a phone call from the local meat processor. The half pig that our friends raised for us is now fully processed and they need me to go pick it up before noon since they need the space for all the deer, elk, and whatever else people bag this time of year. It's about 20 minutes away from the hospital so I should have just enough time to get there and get home before I'm late for anything else.

10:30 AM

I leave the hospital (I may look like I'm done at this point, but they will now call me from now until tomorrow morning with anything and everything related to the medical care of psychiatric patients in an inpatient facility) and go drop off a coat that was left at Kate's Halloween party on Friday. I was supposed to take it to group violin class last night since the girl in question would be there, but we all forgot. Ten minutes before leaving for class we all discussed it, and I forgot. I swear I'm losing it some days.

11:00 AM

I arrive at the meat processors. I fill four large cloth shopping bags with pork chops, sausage, bacon, and other assorted pork products. I'm looking forward to the many excellent meals we will make with this local, naturally-raised pork. Anyone who's had a chance to taste the meat from our pig knows how great it is.

11:40 AM

On the way home I stop at the post office to mail a package for Kate. One of her friends won a blog giveaway and I need to send the books. Yes, this friend lives nearby. And yes, we see her often. Kate just thinks her friend needs the experience of going to the mail and getting the package. That's pretty sweet and thoughtful. I'm only about a week behind schedule, but the package is in the mail.

11:50 AM

I get home and hurriedly pack all of the meat into our outdoor freezer. It is officially non-Kosher now. Well, it probably was before but it is decidedly and undeniably so at this point.


I offer to get Kate from her volunteering job at the library, but Stacy and Max go instead. They know I don't have much time before I start in the office so they mercifully give me 5 minutes to breathe. I start getting leftovers out of the refrigerator for lunch. Today it will be homemade chicken and dumplings courtesy of the Johnsons. I balance it out with some apples and pears from our produce coop. All summer we've gotten organic produce from a local farm. It is so fantastic. This fruit was part of the last delivery.

12:15 PM

The gang all gets home. Stacy warned me earlier that Kate looked very grown up today. Here's the text:
OMG. Wait until you see Kate. She looks very grown up. I seriously mouthed "OMG" as she walked by (without her seeing)
Kate opens the door and I about pass out. What happened to my little girl? All of a sudden 13 looks like 18 today. I'm going to need a bigger stick to chase the boys away. Thankfully boys and dating are nowhere near her radar right now. I can wait this out a little longer if she can.

12:30 PM

I go to the office (in the next room) to see one of my smoking patients. Having a 12-step, 4-second commute cannot even be priced to show how valuable it is. I eat lunch, saunter to work, see a patient, and 30 minutes later, come out. I could stay in longer, but today I have a date with Stacy.

1:00 PM

It's time to gather our things so we can go catch a matinee at the independent theater down the road. It is, as Stacy likes to put it, "the jewel" of our town. Today they are showing a Nicole Holofcener movie, "Enough Said." Her movies are always good so even not knowing much going into the movie, I'm pretty sure this will be a great way to spend an afternoon. This is the second week in a row that Stacy and I have been able to enjoy a Tuesday matinee. Working for ourselves and working from home definitely has its rewards.

1:20 PM

After taking care of pre-movie personal care (you so wanted to know that, didn't you) I go into the theater and find Stacy sitting in our usual, center-of-the-row seats. I count from each side to ensure that we are in fact sitting in the exact center. Stacy's gloves are already resting on the seat I determined would balance us out. We're so meant to be together! I'm glad she saved me a seat, though, because all those retirees at the matinee were getting ready to steal my seat! ;)

1:30 PM

Skip, the owner of the movie theater, comes on the overhead mic to welcome us and thank us for attending the movie. He also announces other great programs coming to the theater like lectures and a silent movie complete with live music. We seriously love our theater. After a few minutes the film rolls and the curtains open. Yes, there are curtains. How old-timey, right?

The movie is fantastic and I only get a couple of phone calls toward the end of the movie, so I let them go to voicemail and figure I have enough time to finish the movie and get back to them in an appropriate amount of time.

3:20 PM

The movie ends and on our way out we stop and chat with Skip for a bit. He is seriously so nice and easy to talk to. We discuss this movie, the last movie we saw, and others we'd like to see come to the theater. After that I return the phone call and we head home.

3:30 PM

We pull up in front of the house. I pull the mail out of the mailbox (all junk, by the way) and open the door to a very excited dog. She loves when we get home, and she's a bit crazy. The kids tell us all about what they did together while we were gone. It was really nice to hear how well they got along and what great friends they are. We talked a bit about the movie and actors from the movie. We always go all IMDB after we watch a movie ( or during the movie if we are at home and can pause it). Nerds.
We all fold laundry together before the kids have their yoga class. And then Stacy gets ready to take them.

4:25 PM

Stacy leaves with the kids. I stay home with the crazy dog, who is so sad whenever anyone leaves. I end up talking to Stacy once she's at the yoga class, which isn't necessarily a good thing because that was supposed to be her quiet writing time. Instead, I interrupt her with some stresses I'm experiencing and blow a bit of that time. So sorry. :(

4:50 PM

My afternoon patient shows up. Normally I'm a lot busier but I knew we were going to see a movie so I scheduled light today. It's a good session. While he's on the table I catch up on a few emails and try and get some things ready for our NaNoWriMo kick-off party tonight.

5:20 PM

I come out to an overly energetic dog, who has been left alone in the house for 30 minutes. She knows I was in the office, but still acts like I just got back from my 3rd tour to Afghanistan. She follows me around while I put leftover chicken pot pie in the oven for dinner (thank you again, Johnsons) and finish up the NaNoWriMo tracking sheets I'm making for everyone.

5:45 PM

Stacy and the kids get home. More psychotic and energetic dog greetings. Dinner still isn't quite warm so we put together the packets for NaNoWriMo. They have plot helpers, character profile sheets, fun stickers, a countdown calendar, pencils, and more. We get the whole assembly line going and do quite well as a family. Scout does not help, but she's cute.

6:00 PM

We all eat dinner together. Again, our life is great. We get to eat just about every meal together as a family. We excitedly eat as we look forward to the kick-off party tonight. How nerdy are we that our excitement for a month of novel writing is similar to the excitement we have about the winter holidays?

6:30 PM

It's a house filled with animated energy as we gather our things, change into our NaNoWriMo shirts. Mine is a tasteful bluish-gray offering with the NaNo logo. Stacy, as the municipal liaison, gets to wear the bright neon chartreuse shirt with the "Yes. I am in charge here" logo on the front. She's cute in whatever color she is wearing so it's all good. Kate changes out of her "check me out I'm totally grown up (in case you hadn't noticed)" shirt and into a NaNo t-shirt. She's still obviously grown up. Max puts on his video game-themed NaNo shirt and looks awesome as always.

6:45 PM

We're out the door and on our way to pick up the Johnson boys. It's great to have them so close so we can hang out so much. After we leave their house it's a raucous ride down to the local coffeehouse. The energy is palpable whenever we get together so it's no different now.

7:00 PM

We arrive at the coffeehouse and try to scout out enough seating to accommodate our group. It's Tuesday, so there are a lot of people there for half-priced food, chess club, and a pre-movie coffee.
Eventually we commandeer a few different sets of tables and put up our flag. Well, we don't have a flag, but we still claimed them all.

For the next four hours the conversation is fast and furious. We meet up with old NaNo friends, long-time homeschool friends, who also write, and new people to our NaNoWriMo group. There are college students, parents, kids of all ages. It's really a great group of people who are very supportive. We spend a lot of the time listening to behind-the-scenes stories about the Renaissance Faire since one of our fellow WriMos is an actor at the faire. It is so great to hear all the stories you never hear otherwise.

10:00 PM

The coffeehouse closes up so we drive the Johnson boys home. Kate wants to go in and say hi to their dog, Blitzy, so we all go in and hang out for a while. The kids play some sort of outdoor game upstairs in the house while Blitzy tries to figure out a way to get past the baby gate so she can play with the kids.

11:00 PM

I let everyone know that the night is over by trying to fall asleep mid-conversation. My sincerest apologies to Stacy and Dave. (I woke up feeling pretty badly about that, but I should save those details for Wednesday's edition.)

11:10 PM

Another excessively energetic greeting from Scout, and then it's time to get ready for bed. We do our usual pre-bed routine of everyone giving a gratitude and a hope and we discuss the following day. After the kids head up to bed, I straighten up a bit, put away some things in the kitchen, and get ready for bed.

12:00 AM

While getting ready for bed, I discover the black sock that has eluded Stacy for the better portion of the day. It was probably wrapped up in clothes or blankets I had on the bed, but I can't be sure. It's at this point that Stacy reminds me that there is a book that we cannot find. It's one she read and then handed to me with a less-than-enthusiastic review, so I'm sure I put it somewhere for future consideration. I spend the next hour searching through our library, which does contain an almost embarrassing amount of literature. It's made even more embarrassing when you consider how many piles of books exist throughout the house besides the ones in the library. I scour the shelves, recheck piles, tear apart piles of papers in the school room and in the office. Each time I come back to the bedroom to disappoint Stacy with empty hands. We go through a number of new and somewhat ridiculous possibilities, none of which produce the book.

1:00 AM

At this point I can get about 6 hours of sleep, which will be uninterrupted so long as no one at the hospital has a 3 am headache. I jot down some notes to reconstruct this day in a blog post, and then I fall asleep pretty quickly, dreaming of lost items.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Random Thoughts - NaNoWriMo Edition

Less than 4 days until NaNoWriMo starts!


This is our family's 5th year participating.
We've won the past 4 years.


I'm our area's municipal liaison again!
Headquarters sent me a VERY bright Neon Yellow-Green shirt 
to commemorate the occasion.
I shall don it proudly.


Nothing gets me jazzed for NaNo like a great author event.
This one was absolutely top notch!
(We attended the one discussed near the bottom of the post - 
the one with the awesome-looking cupcakes
to match the book cover).
Whoever was behind that deserves serious praise.


I'll show you the pictures I took of the cupcakes:

Aren't indie bookstores the best?!?


A.S. King is an extremely dynamic, engaging, captivating speaker.
I had read so much about her on her website 
that I knew we were in for a treat.
And even then, she exceeded my expectations.
Support this author! Buy her books!

Amy does a reading

And receives an award


 While there, we met one of the students that she mentors.
Joe McGee was so kind to talk to us while we waited in line
(a second time, mind you - 
she was so awesome, we waited in line TWICE:
we got several books signed the first time
and the second time we took pictures with her).


Also? Amy was gifted a first edition copy of
To Kill a Mockingbird.
My jaw met the floor.
What a great gift!


Sooooo, Joe.
He was ridiculously nice
 and super sweet and encouraging about writing 
and he shared so much great information with us.
He is a writing professor as well as an author himself.
I love to meet people who are passionate about what they do!
We've been in email and blog contact ever since.


Now I wish we'd gotten a picture with Joe, too.
We'll have to do that when he does signings for his book! :)

Joe's book comes out next fall - watch for it!
and it's a children's illustrated book about a zombie
who wants to eat a PBJ rather than brains.
How cute is that?!?


And get this.
Today, he posted a beautiful post on his blog
 that mentioned us all, particularly Kate.
I'm not going to lie - I got misty-eyed.


Great, great author event.
I am PUMPED for NaNoWriMo.


 We've got a ton of write-ins set up for the entire month
and we are all really, REALLY excited.


Mark and I are writing 2 books together this time.
We had so much fun writing one together in 2011
that we want to do it again.


The kids are, as usual, voraciously devouring their YWP manuals
in preparation for writing a TON of words.


My TBR (to be read) pile keeps growing - 
bad timing when I'm trying to concentrate on writing a novel.
It includes:

Everyone Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Reality Boy by A.S. King
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
One of my daughter's books (Fantasya)
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
and many, many more.


My Top 3 favorite books so far this year include:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I also love The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(The film adaptation did not disappoint)
and I just read The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier 
for our book club book this month.
All excellent reads.
Highly recommend!


Enough procrastinating.
Back to my list of "Things To Do Before NaNoWriMo" -
one of my goals includes not laughing when I look at the list.


Writing this post was not on the list.