March 30, 2011

When Bad Things Happen, Good Always Follows

Chewie and Tigger 15 yrs old next week

Some good news. I'm pregnant. Due Thanksgiving. Thank God it took only two months because I was mighty tired of checking ovulation strips and yelling out, "It's time." Not fun when you're tired and just want to go to sleep. There is a small window of opportunity when you can get pregnant so telling your husband we have to suck it up and try six times in the next 24 hours to increase our chances (especially, when he has to work the next day) doesn't usually go down well.

I questioned whether to tell people because even though the doctors said Sebastian's problem was a fluke, essentially it could happen again. We have no idea why it happened. But for some reason, I don't feel it will and if it does, I will deal with it just like I dealt with it last time. Maybe, even stronger. One thing I learned from last year is that hardship is all around. People don't share it with you until you open up to them and I learned there are a lot of lost babies and even grown children in the world to morn. I am no different than anyone else.

So we are pretty thankful. We found out on March 18th, the night before Olivia's 5th birthday. We told her that God gave her a birthday present early. She has wanted a baby sister or brother for awhile and although she handled Sebastian's death pretty well for a child, I don't want her to have to go down that road again. She asked what the baby will be named. In a joking manner, I said Snicklefritz. (This is a German pet name people call children sometime. Like if you called a child, Sweetie Pie or something.) Olivia said with that name she could name the baby Snickers or Fritz. And then told me if I let her name the baby she'll call him or her Cinderella. The demons that kid would have with the name, Cinderella. Two weeks ago we went to see our neighbors, Bob and Donna. They are older people, in their 70's who live nearby. Olivia watched part of a Western with Bob. Later that day, at nap time, she said, "Why does Bob watch Westerns. I don't like them." I said, "Grandpa watches Westerns, too." She said, "Do they watch those shows because they want to be cowboys when they grow up?" -It's funny, the stuff children say.

Being pregnant is a feat in itself. I get really tired, have bad dreams, I'm starving and then don't want to eat. My husband has already been on two weird food runs where he has to get one thing from this restaurant and something else from another. Last night, my nightmares consisted of my cat getting stuck in a car and having a heat stroke, trying to dial a number for emergency help and the phone not working and aliens dropping down monsters on the planet to chase after me. The last one was sort of cool, like a sci-fi movie but still not totally a refreshing dream.

My novel, Finding Hope takes place in San Francisco and today, after watching Andrew Zimmerman's Bizarre Food in San Francisco, I think it's the perfect location. I think he said something like, everyone is accepted in San Francisco and in a way, this is what the book is about: crazy/quirky people just trying to get by in life.

This is where I got the premise. Several years ago, while I was at a staff meeting, a coworker talked about a documentary or a news segment on the Golden Gate Bridge and how it's the most common suicide destination. It's almost ethereal that a bridge so beautiful is connected with such tragic loss. And somehow I felt there was a story there. Not a journalistic story, but my kind of story.

I remember in some show or article, a man said he was going to the Golden Gate bridge to jump and if someone said hi to him or asked how he was doing, he wouldn't jump. No one said anything. All he was looking for was one person to care. I think a lot of these people who go there have lost their hope in humanity, maybe in themselves. So the story begins when a woman stops a man from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Although the inherent message behind the story is, there is hope (which later I found out these words are on an actual sign on the bridge to stop jumpers) the story is told in a light-hearted way.

Here is an excerpt. Again, it's not polished and I have to add in some transitions and revise and... you get the picture. You might wonder how this excerpt fits in with the Golden Gate Bridge theme but it does. It's just hard to show you when you don't have the whole story in front of you. And posting bits and pieces out of sequence really isn't a good idea, but like I've always said, this is an informal site and I don't even know who reads this so said in a polite manner, what the hey?

Background: Hope is an acquisitions manager and two people on her sales team are Gina (her best friend) and Corbin (nobody likes.) They have to go to Mexico for a business seminar. Gina calls a reservations 1-800 number to book a hotel and gets a man in India who says his name is Elvis. (Now, if you have booked airline flights, have had customer service problems or most anything else, you know the US has outsourced most of their call centers to places like India where the representatives say their name is Bob or Judy or Mike in order to be more approachable to the US customer) so she gets a rep named Elvis and Gina (who is the comedy sidekick per say) books a hotel in Mexico which translates to The Pretty Little Hacienda. And it's anything but.

It's a farmer's house (an hour outside of the city) where the farmer is renting a room. By the time they get to the place, they have no time to change hotels. The Marriott where the conference is being held is booked. Through the course of the week, Corbin is attracted to the farmer's daughter and goes on a date with her. They find out this was the farmer's plan to begin with, lure visitors to stay there so he could find someone to marry off his daughter. This scene takes place when they are sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner at the farmer's house.

“You stay here, you marry my daughter, you run the farm.”

“Um, no, don’t think so,” Corbin said picking through the stew, trying to separate the carrots from what he thought were residuals of the sheep head meat.

“You stay here, you marry daughter, you run farm,” Mr. Sanchez said louder, pounding his fist against the table. Corbin looked straight up at him, mouth open and scared.

Gina decided she would save the day. “Listen Mr. Sanchez," Gina said, "Corbin can’t marry your daughter, he ah, he,” she thought for a moment, “he has a wife back in San Francisco. Yeah, that's it.”

Mr. Sanchez’s face turned a bright shade of red as he threw Corbin’s bowl of stew across the kitchen, “You went on date with daughter and you married!”

“What are you doing?” Hope whispered as she kicked Gina under the table.

“I will kill you!” Mr. Sanchez screamed, getting a butcher knife from the sink.

Suddenly Corbin turned pale. “You’re not going to cut my head off like you did that poor sheep are you? Really, I’m sure I wouldn’t taste the least bit good in a soup pot.”

“No, no, Mr. Sanchez,” Hope stood up, “what Gina was trying to tell you and couldn’t is that Corbin can’t marry your daughter, nor would you want him too. He can’t because,” she thought about her Discovery programs and what disease, situation, or ailment Corbin could have to change Mr. Sanchez’s mind, “well, you see Mr. Sanchez, Corbin is really a transvestite.”

“A what!” Corbin yelled.

Hope whispered over to Corbin, “Do you really want to live here ‘cause I will leave you here if it gets ugly.”

“Um, yeah, that’s it, I’m a trans, a transsexual,” Corbin bellowed.

“That’s not the same thing,” Hope said angrily. “A transsexual has a sex change and he already saw you peeing standing up, you idiot.”

“How am I supposed to know? And how would you know anyway?” Corbin said looking her over.

“Because I saw a program on the Discovery channel called Switching Sexes: The Aftermath.”

“Well excuse me!” Corbin snapped back.

“Is there something you’re not telling us Hope?” Gina smiled.

“No Gina, now both of you be quiet and let me handle this. “Yes, unfortunately, Mr. Sanchez,” Hope spoke louder, “Corbin’s a transvestite and therefore you see he couldn’t possibly marry

your daughter. You wouldn’t know which one of them to put the wedding gown on. Now in San Francisco anything goes, but I don’t think in Mexico it would be welcomed with open arms to have two brides.”

“What is this transvestite?” Mr. Sanchez said slowly.

“Well I guess the best way to describe it is that a transvestite needs to cross-dress to achieve full sexual and emotional release. In other words, Corbin would be caught wearing your daughter’s underwear at some point.”

“What!” Corbin yelled again. “I will not be known as a guy who wears womens underwear. I have a reputation to uphold.”

“Who cares if they all think you wear womens underwear in Mexico. Just don’t come back.” Hope turned back to Mr. Sanchez. “It’s just not going to be good Mr. Sanchez, until Corbin accepts his sick perversion and figures out what sex he wants to be.”

“Thanks a lot,” said Corbin.

“You Americans crazy,” he said.

They hatch a plan which involves Corbin wearing one of Gina's thongs (he has to buy it, she doesn't want it returned) to prove the point and a whole mess ensues.

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