Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Prodigal Writer Returns

Hi, everyone! I know I haven't been around much lately, for a variety of reasons. Some would call them excuses, but I'll stick with the former.

I've been busy the last few months helping my children leave the nest, just like the Cooper's hawks that went their merry way in late summer. My son moved out in September, and we rented a truck to get most of his furniture to him. He was kind enough to give me his old room, which I scraped and cleaned and converted into my own personal writing haven. Here's how it turned out:

I even found a place for my Underwood.

My son will do well. He was ready to fly. After he finishes his co-op, he'll have one more semester and will have his B.A. in Computer Security.

Last week, I got on a plane with my daughter and two suitcases, and flew to Vancouver to help settle her into her new job at DHX Media, working on the children's cartoon Pound Puppies. She will be living with a fellow graduate and together they'll explore the world of Animation.

I bought the tickets online and also made the hotel reservation at the same place the room mate’s parents had arranged. It was the Best Western Uptown, and reasonably priced at $88. We only planned to stay the one night since we were going to buy air mattresses and stay in the apartment for the rest of the week.

The two girls seem like two peas in a pod. They like the same things and have a similar sense of humour. I really got along with the kid and she got all my jokes. Yay!

Most of the week was spent careening from one big box store to another in crazy traffic. We spent most of the time in the area close to the Burnaby border – Walmart, Ikea, The Brick and a few discount stores. When we found out The Brick was going to charge $100 to deliver my daughter's $400 sofa five minutes away, we went next door to another furniture store and bought the exact same couch for the same price, and they only asked for $50 for delivery. I had a brainstorm and asked if they had cash & carry, and conferred with the room mate's dad to see if there would be enough room in the rented minivan if we lowered all the seats. It fit! We picked up the couch the next day and it was easy to lift. However, it got stuck in the elevator for about 10 minutes. Oops. We finally worked it free and re-inserted it properly, and got it into the apartment.

Thursday and Friday were spent mostly assembling furniture.

The rain fell all week. Except for a few glimpses between buildings and telephone poles from the back seat of the minivan, I didn’t see the mountains at all. We finally had a free day to explore on Saturday and we took the Skytrain downtown to see how long it would take for the girls to commute. It turns out the trip was only 15-20 minutes, and DHX studio is directly at the other end of Gastown, about a 10 minute walk from the station. Or they could take a 5 minute bus ride if the timing is right.

We split up and looked around. My daughter and I had lunch at the 131 Water Kitchen & Bar in Gastown, then poked around a few galleries and antique shops. All the patrons were friendly and talkative, which suited me just fine!

It wasn’t long before it started pouring again, so there was no point going to the the waterfront to try to see the mountains. So we hopped back on the train and went to a mall we’d discovered in Burnaby (only 5 minutes from the apartment).

Sunday was the only sunny day, but we were already scheduled to get a final load of supplies. That was the day we finally sat in a Starbucks to check in with the rest of the world. 

I hugged my kid goodbye on Monday morning. I didn’t think I’d be upset but I have to admit my throat tightened a bit. She’ll be fine. She’ll be fine.

Two hours later, I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to get moving. I took the train, with one transfer, to the airport. Easy Peasy. I felt so proud that I could check myself in, get my window seat assigned, eat my snacks in the lounge and get in line early enough to get my carry-on into the overhead over my assigned seat. Sparkly high five!

Then, when it came time to order a snack, I knew enough to say I’d like to run a tab since I was going to order a drink later. When it came, I actually managed to take one sip before jiggling my tray and dumping the drink all over myself and some on the lady next to me.

Needless to say, I kept a low profile for the next four hours. My pants were ALMOST dry by the time we landed.

Speaking of landing, I watched the sun escape behind us and the storm clouds roll in over the Great Lakes.  We had a lot of turbulence – fortunately, I didn’t have another drink with me – and I took lots of pictures of the tops of puffy clouds and parts of Montana and North Dakota. When we descended over Toronto, the wind was pretty rough, and the passengers applauded loudly when we hit the tarmac. Sandy had landed. 

I understand my namesake was much rougher for our friends on the Eastern Seaboard, and I encourage everyone to contribute what they can to The Red Cross (Canadian and American) to help in the recovery.

In other news, I'll take this moment to share that THE TOAST BITCHES are back! My friends at Musa Publishing accepted the novel for re-release in mid-2013. The girls didn't do so well at their former publisher, due to bad timing and perhaps an aim at the wrong market. It is my hope that The Bitches will benefit from their new home. Stay tuned for a cover when it's available.

I am doing my best to re-ignite my muse and continue working on my latest novel. It's been a tough journey, with my confidence lagging due to my failure to place my last novel. The title of my latest WIP is MALLET, and it's a murder mystery set in the world of polo. Next week, I'll post an excerpt.

'Til then, see you on the Twitter Machine and Facebook!


jjdebenedictis said...

Oh, hey, I totally recognize the buildings in that third picture. :D

Glad the timing worked out such that Sandy didn't wind up landing during Sandy; that would have been turbulence indeed.

Amber Green said...

Good luck with the new publisher. Toast Bitches needs the right launchpad to get where it deserves to go.

Sandra Cormier said...

Sandy has settled, JJ, so nobody can blame the Nor'Easter on me! Seems the kid is enjoying herself so far. Her tweets are riddled with exclamation points.

Amber, them Bitches do deserve a better launch pad. Crossing my fingers, and hoping everything's going well with you, too!