“Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” 2

Well, the good news is that the sequel to “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” is coming along nicely, and looks like it will start with the New Year. Bad news is…it’s still untitled. Oops? Hey, at least it’s not big bad news, right? Also, I’m in a somewhat good mood, so I figured I’d share a (very) short excerpt. Enjoy.

 

   Right after we locked everything down, we all called our families. Jo got ahold of her husband. Told him to keep their daughter home, and lock the house down. Basically, sit tight for as long as they could. Ryan got ahold of his mom, but his father had already turned and attacked her. She was on her way to the hospital when he called. His sister was with her. She refused to leave their mother, but passed the warning on to her husband. Everyone else…I don’t know all the stories. I know, by the end of the second week, between family members and the people they brought with them, our number had more than doubled. Neither of my parents answered their phones, but I kept calling anyway.

In the first week, we had six people turn, three people killed themselves, and ten? Twelve? I think? A bunch of people. They left. By the end of the second week, though, things calmed down and everything started blurring together. Joe ended up in charge, which, frankly, never should’ve happened. He was a terrible manager, and an even worse leader. It was Jo, or me, or Lori coming up with ideas, like hooking up the hoses outside for showers. Using the shelves to give us all our own private spaces. You know, things that make living a bit easier to bear when the world is falling apart.

Then the power started flickering. I knew it was coming. I tried warning Joe, but he wouldn’t listen. I started making plans with Lori and Jo that day. We had never unpacked the cars in the garage, so whenever one of us was on monitor duty, the others would sneak more supplies out to the cars. We caught Ryan doing the same thing one night with the pickup truck, and brought him into our plan. He and his son, AJ were a huge help. He had worked in the sporting goods department, so he had snuck out a bunch of camping supplies. Camping stoves, cans of propane, tents, guns, the whole works.

NaNoWri-NO!

I swear. Every other year, I see/hear about people participating in NaNoWriMo, and I ask myself “why not?” and I decide to give it a try the next year. Halfway through, my word count is at half of what it’s supposed to be (and that’s if I’m lucky), the feeling of failure starts sinking in, and I suddenly remember “oh, this is why!”

know we’re not supposed to get discouraged. I know that every single word, even if we only write five for the whole month is still five more than we had before, but it doesn’t help. Especially when there are people calling out their word counts, and you can’t help but compare theirs to your own and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

I fell into the NaNo void this year. I am currently about 20k words behind, and Thanksgiving week, when the kids will be home from school starts on Monday. I also have two major assignments coming up that same week, and the week after, during the last week of NaNo. I’m not counting on catching up. I’m pretty much making this post to remind myself not to fall for this again. I’m still writing, don’t get me wrong, but I am refusing to let myself feel bad for not reaching the goal.

For those of you who are participating: Best of luck.

For those of you who are so far behind that you’re about to give up: grab a cup of coffee or tea (or whatever) and join me. We can sit together and enjoy the wooshing sound the NaNo deadline makes as it goes flying by.

The things we realize…

It’s interesting how a random thought can turn into a realization about your entire childhood. A couple weeks ago, someone on Facebook posted about how they liked horseradish, and it got me thinking about my grandfather.

In the entire time that I knew him, and I’ll grant you, it wasn’t very long, but in that time, he never asked me to bring him anything. He would ask my cousins, or my aunts and uncles, but never me, and I think I finally figured out why.

To borrow the good ol’ sports analogy, I was born with two strikes against me. Let me explain…

First, my mother.

My mother is easily the most kind hearted person I know. Sometime early in my parent’s relationship, my mom was helping make sandwiches for lunch. My grandfather asked for horseradish on his. Mom, never having horseradish before, proceeded to slather it on to the bread like it was mayonnaise, and gave it to him. Grandpa took one bite, and spat it back out, yelling, “You trying to kill me, woman?!”

That was strike one.

Then, my sister.

My brother and sister are both 9+ years older than I am, and grew up when my family was especially church orientated. When I say “church orientated”, I mean, my father was a deacon, and my mother was a Sunday School teacher. So it was church every Wednesday, twice on Sunday, and every single day during Revival. This might not seem relevant, but bear with me.

Now, my grandfather liked to drink beer. He also liked to sit in his comfy chair, which left him with a problem: how to get a nice cold beer from the fridge…without getting out of his comfy chair. His solution was to ask my sister to bring him a beer.

Remember the thing about the church? Here is where it comes into play, because, you see, the church taught two major things: respecting your elders…and alcohol is bad. So, grandpa’s solution…became my sister’s problem. Alcohol was bad, but so was refusing to do what he asked her to. Fortunately, my sister has always been smart and came up with a solution to grandpa’s “solution.” She brought him a beer from the fridge, alright. But first, she gave it a good shake.

He made it through the unexpected beer shower the first time. And the second. And maybe even the third, I don’t remember how many times she did this to him before his cogs started turning, but eventually, he stopped asking her, and turned to my brother instead.

I love my sister, let me just get that out of the way now. She is the usually the sweetest little thing. However, she has her moments. And when grandpa asked our brother to bring him a beer? Well, she had a moment. She got our brother, three years younger than her, in on Operation Respect Our Elders/Beer is Bad. It eventually got to the point where grandpa would look around, realize that they were the only two there…and get up out of his chair to go get his beer, rather than risk another shower.

That was strike two.

By the time I came around, grandpa decided it was better to change sports than to worry about any curve balls I might’ve thrown him, and – just to be safe – he also wrote my name on all of the benches…with permanent marker. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, of course, I’m surprised he didn’t take a knife and carve my name into the wood.

At any rate, it’s a childhood mystery solved.