My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Just Me 'an Old Timer

Red and I are spending a quiet day at home. Unable to find childcare while my husband attends an adjunct’s pre-semester English Department meeting, I have taken a sick day and I putter in almost darkness as the clouds gather and turn black in the sky. Rain is imminent. I had considered taking Red out for a stroll before the rain falls but she’s, for once, happily playing by herself with two large puzzle pieces and the hideous frilly collar I ripped off an otherwise acceptable velvet outfit that she may wear this fall for our annual Santa visit. I know better than to mess up this bit of good luck.

Red is both adorable and infuriating in turns these days. She jabbers non-stop at such a volume that it’s impossible to watch anything on television where the characters talk at normal levels – Sherlock Holmes, Ghost Hunters, things without a laugh track. She doesn’t go to sleep, despite all our valiant efforts, until 11:00pm so my plans to subscribe to Netflix are scrapped until that glorious time in the future when I have both kids in bed at 9:00pm. Sometime around the next century.

But, she’s got a winning smile and wicked sense of humor and a sharp mind. She’s only got two more days to spend at the sitter’s and then I start shelling out wads of cash I don’t have to put her in a more appropriate place three days a week.

Yesterday when I dropped her off, the sitter pulled out some horrendous teddy bear toy thing that tells stories when you press one of it’s paws. Sort of a fourth-rate Teddy Ruxpin. There are numbers on each of the pads on the bottom of its feet. She pressed #1 and here’s what it said: “Once upon a time, a duck gave birth to six baby ducks.”

Say what? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure ducks lay eggs. Which then hatch. Ducks are not mammals and so do not “give birth” to their young. Unless I’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up in Bizarro World.

So, not only is the sitter – who I now hate (but what’s new; I’ve got immense stores of hate for so many) – own another dreadful battery operated talking monstrosity of a toy, but it’s giving out false information. Great.


Over the weekend I decided, on a whim, to enter a local short story contest. I have not written a short story in probably five years. Basically because only novels sell and I’ve been writing and rewriting a novel since Dusty’s birth (who is a mammal). So, I dug through some old stories and found one that might have a chance, if I rewrote it and winnowed it down to 2,000 words. I think I’ve been successful but I’m usually wrong about most things. If you’d like to read it and tell me what you think, let me know. I’ll send it to you.


Red’s new “home name” is Old Timer. This comes from a book Dusty and I have just finished, “Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” by Betty MacDonald. If you’ve never read a Piggle-Wiggle book, I strongly suggest you find one. They are comedy gems. In the last story, about Harbin Quadrangle and his slowness, which Mrs. P cures, the family’s baby is known as Old Timer. This cracked us up and Dusty and I laughed and laughed. And rechristened Red with this moniker. I mean, how funny is that?


9:31 a.m. ::
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