Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lesson Number One: Do Not Make Travel Plans Under Duress

Current Project: DECEIVED, book 2 - Eternal Guardians
Status: Halfway done

This is where I'm headed on Saturday. Look like fun? Oh, let me tell you, grasshopper...

If you learn one thing from me, let it be this: Do not ever, ever, EVER make travel plans during times of high stress, after a near death experience or when you are on heavy (and I mean heavy) pain killers. If you do, you'll most likely live to regret it, and your spouse should be shot.

My husband has been in San Francisco all week for business. He came home tonight to three screaming kids and a wine-drinking wife. I'd been so busy prepping for our trip that I hadn't written a word all day. It was my night to drive carpool to volleyball practice, I'd spent all afternoon tearing my hair out over the eldest two Gremlins' homework assignments while the youngest Gremlin dragged out every Halloween costume we own and proceeded to strip, dress, strip again and hurl dress-up clothes all over my semi-clean house. The hubby took one look at me (and the board games Gremlin #3 somehow also managed to scatter all over the room during one of my distractable moments) and said, "Let's get dinner out." (Wise man.) So we did. We dropped the eldest at VB with her friends then went to pizza. Where the younger two ran like demon children, we yelled occasionally to make it look like we were being responsible parents then proceeded to drink beer to drown our sorrows.

At one point my husband looked at me across the table and said, "Remind me again...WHY are we taking them with us to Hawaii?"

To which I replied (oh, so sweetly), "Because you're an idiot."

He had the audacity to look shocked (imagine!), and said, "Excuse me?"

And what was I to do but tell the truth? "I nearly died and was on drugs. You were the sober one at the time. You LET me book this trip. Therefore the blame falls squarely on your shoulders."

Just picture it. A distraught husband, only days past the point where he thought his wife was going to die, agreeing to give her anything she wants so long as it makes her happy. Including a family vacation to Hawaii he thinks will motivate her to get well, even though a little voice in the back of his head is whispering, "This might not be the brightest idea you ever had..."

Do you see the problem here?

Don't get me wrong, I love my Gremlins dearly and I'm tickled the hubby would subject himself to this kind of torture just to see me smile. And normally I would be over the moon for this vacation, but right now I'm not. I have a book due Dec. 1 that I didn't work on all summer due to my illness. I didn't add any new pages last week because I was reworking the opening of book one per my editor's request. Add to that I am just exhausted when the DH travels (which he's been doing nonstop for the past two weeks) and the fact my brain feels like mush AND the fact I'm trying not to freak out over this new claustrophobia thing I somehow developed from my hospital stay and you can see why this vacation isn't sounding quite as relaxing as I once thought it would be.

Of course, I know we'll have a wonderful time. My mom is going along to help out with the kids. We're staying at a beautiful resort right on the beach and I know once I get there and the pre-travel stress is over I'll enjoy myself. But deadlines don't wait for vacations--even if you almost die--and I do now have to take the laptop with me and write every day to make up for the pages I lost last week. And while some of you are shaking your head, saying, "poor baby", let me remind you how hard it is to write in your own house with the distractions of every day life and family. Now add in sun and surf and FUN and see how much writing you get done.

I know. Woe is me. I'm not complaining, really. I'm just...stresssssing. (Like that's anything new.)

Okay, I'm done rambling. Make me feel better...PLEASE! Tell me about a trip you took that turned into a "working vacation". How did you stay focused?

And just for fun, I'm posting this picture because, well...isn't it CUTE???


Paty Jager said...

Great pic of Alice! It is cute!

Eli, Slow down, take a breath... Okay, now take another one.
In the mornings, after you've had your coffee, send the kids with dh and mom to play in the sand or go jungle hunting or whatever floats their boat. Tell them they can't come back for four hours. Then in the afternoon be a wife and mother. Devote the full four hours to writing and don't think of anything else. If you set this schedule now, before you leave it will be ingrained in your family's minds.

As for me- I write when we are driving which it seems like when we go somewhere it always is a long drive. The recent AK trip I didn't write, partly because of seasickness and partly because it was a anniversary cruise and I didn't want to leave my dh all alone wondering why he married me 30 years ago! LOL

You'll work it out, just tell the family you need writing time.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oh, I wish I could, Paty. But I gave up coffee this summer. When I got out of the hospital it just didn't taste good and I never picked up the habit again. WHAT was I thinking?!

Four hours may be a little much. But I might push for one or two every day so I can get something done. ;)

Way to go on being a good wife and not writing on your 30 yr anniversary trip. LOL. Yeah, I can see how that might not have gone over well.

Alice Sharpe said...

That is a hideous photo of a complete stranger. I am younger, thinner, and have way better hair.

Meanwhile, I feel your pain. But your dh was just trying to make you happy and you were just trying to find a way to tell your family you love them and share time with them so this is what I say: do that. Go and share time with them and love em' up good. You can write for an hour or so every day when the time is good for you -- not the a.m., I've seen you in the a.m. and that would not be good. And no coffee??? What WERE you thinking??? -- and if you have to err on athe side of angsting about writing or angsting about time with them, make it time. That's what this trip was all about.

I don't know how, but the writing always seems to get done. Maybe a vacation is exactly what you need before finishing your book.


Anonymous said...

LOL, you crack me up!

BTW... Love that adorable picture of Alice. Sorry Alice, but you're just too cute!! I want to pinch your cheeks!

Eli-- Repeat this over and over for the next two days... I will have fun. I will de-stress. My kids are darling angels. I will come home refreshed and ready to finish my book because I'm focusing on my family and will be blessed for it, tenfold. My heart and mind are happy and relaxed.

Do this woman!!

I promise it will help. It's all in your mind, baby; it's all in your mind. Now go forth and practice!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the by, I think it's fabulous that you've given up coffee. I'm so proud of you!! Your body and mind will thank you and reward you with real energy instead of the fake stuff. *grin*

Genene Valleau said...

Me too LOL! Aren't we humans funny? We face death (our own and that of loved ones) with quiet courage, yet stress over our blessings.

Now, what Piper said--and enjoy your vacation!

P.S. to Alice: I see a beautiful, slender, young woman with great hair. What picture are you looking at? :)

Kendra said...


Bethany Gabbert said...

First, apologies for not posting on Wednesday. I have been ill most of the week and scrambling the rest, and totally spaced. Many apologies.

Second, best of luck traveling Eli. I sometimes get more done while traveling b/c I don't have the distractions of home--I don't have to cook, clean, and the internet isn't as tempting. When I was in law school I had to travel for job interviews, and I actually got way more done during those trips than at home.

Is your youngest still napping at all? What if you tried to work during his "quiet" time and sent the older two off with daddy at that time of day and put your mom in charge of making sure the "quiet" part happens.

I'm sure you will have a great time! I look forward to hearing how productive you managed to be!