Archives for December 2013

Take a Leap of Faith into 2014 – Even if it Scares the Pants Off of You

Today, while doing research for an article I was writing about the exciting world of medical malpractice, I read this quote:

“In actual life, every great enterprise begins with and takes its first step forward in faith.”
– August Wilhelm von Schlegel

Thoreau quoteFor weeks – OK, maybe months – my father and my boyfriend have been encouraging me to “take the leap” as a writer, to write for myself instead of for others. What I hear when they encourage me to do that is so much confidence in my writing; so much belief in what I can accomplish. I also hear a translation of “write for free instead of for money!” and that scares the pants off of me.

“But, you barely get paid anything anyway,” my boyfriend accurately points out. In my mind though, “barely getting paid” is still more than not getting paid to write.

“You have to put the time in first – write the book; write the blog; write for magazines – in order to get the big payoff,” advises my father, who has written several songs, a book or two, and has been published for money more than once in his life.

Les Brown Leap QuoteI agree completely, but who pays the bills while I am “putting the time in” writing a book that hopefully someone will want to read and then pays me money? It is a scary and uncertain thing, so I have looked toward God and the Universe for guidance.

In the last six months, I have applied for every single writing job under the sun, truly believing that if I get hired, it is confirmation that I should continue writing for other people, get paid a handsome salary, have my own health insurance, and put my lifelong dream of becoming a best-selling author on hold for another decade or so.

This plan of mine makes so much sense at this point in my life. I have a young daughter. I am a single mom. I need to pay bills. I need to save for my daughter’s college tuition that is rapidly approaching in a mere 10 years. I need cowboy boots. I need to pay for ballet lessons and gymnastics classes. I need to travel more. I need to pay for belly dancing classes. I need to buy decent bottles of wine on a regular basis. How is all of this going to happen while I write for myself for free?

Leap and Net will appear quoteGod and the Universe clearly have a very different plan in mind. In six months of applying to full-time, part-time and as-we-need-you writing jobs, I have gotten one – count ‘em – ONE new client and writing gig. I wrote one fantastic article that the client absolutely loved, paid me very well for my services, and hasn’t sent me a new project since. I don’t have health insurance. I am not traveling more. I am wearing my 20-year-old purple cowboy boots, and I am taking a hiatus from belly dancing. It was either that or skimping on the wine and, I’m sorry, but I will not subject myself to Two Buck Chuck no matter how broke I am.

Additionally, the Universe has been sending me a zillion signs that I should take the leap of faith and write for myself. FAITH. It all boils down to that – faith in myself and in my ability to do what more than 200,000 people in the United States did this year – write a book and get it published.

Leap QuoteSo, as you leave 2013 behind and start a new year with fresh aspirations and lofty goals, I offer these quotes of inspiration for you to do whatever it is you feel in your soul that you need to do in this short lifetime. And, if you want to send donations to my daughter’s college fund or for my new pair of cowboy boots as I embark on my own journey of faith and writing, I will be happy to give you access to my deposit-only PayPal account.

Wishing you a happy, fulfilling, faith-filled 2014.

Poop, an Old Dog, and My Dad’s Car

My day started and ended with poop.

Not figuratively – literally. I mean, I have lots of days where I think, “This is too much shit to handle in one day,” or “The shit just keeps on coming!” But, the other day, actual poop messed up my day more than once. And, I mean, messed it up.

On the way home from dinner the other night, it was rainy and wet and cold. I put my seven-year-old in the car and hugged my boyfriend goodnight. His driveway was full of leaves and a little slippery from all the rain. I got into the car I was borrowing from my father because mine was in the shop being repaired after a minor accident in which the guy in front of me stopped when he wasn’t supposed to, as in “Oh, shit. I just hit that guy.”

My dad’s car is stick shift, and I noticed as I was driving home, my left foot kept slipping off the clutch. That’s odd, I thought. I must have one of those slippery, wet leaves from Albie’s driveway stuck to the bottom of my boot. My daughter, Antonia, and I were talking and singing to the radio, and then we stopped at a light. “I smell poop,” I told her. She looked at me from the back seat.

“So do I,” she agreed.

“Did you step in it?”

“No!”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “Look at the bottom of your boots.”

She carefully examined the bottom of her cowboy boots in the glow from the streetlights.

“No!” she emphatically told me again. “It’s not me.”

The light turned green, and once again as I tried to shift, my foot slipped off the clutch. The gears in my head started putting it all together. “Oh, great,” I said out loud.

“I still smell poop,” Antonia said. “It must be on your foot, Mama.”

I couldn’t figure out how I might possibly have poop on the bottom of my boot when all I did was walk from Albie’s house to the car in the driveway. Then, it hit me. Earlier in the night, when we were making dinner, Antonia and Albie’s daughter, Emma were in the TV room next to the kitchen, when suddenly, Emma called, “DAD! Someone pooped!”

The guilty party.

The guilty party.

By “someone” she meant one of their two dogs, and by one of the two dogs, she meant the dachshund that is 112 in dog years, because the three-year-old lab never messes in the house. Albie and I hurried to the other room. There it was on the floor right by the couch – Java poop. (That’s the geriatric dog’s name. Not at all intended to mean the poop smelled like coffee. It didn’t.)

After cleaning it up and lots of “Ewww! Gross!” from the girls, the old dog was sent outside. I felt bad for her having to go out into the cold, rainy night. She’s 112. She probably doesn’t even realize that she pooped in the house. Maybe she doesn’t even know that she pooped at all. If you were 112 years old, would you know if, or when or where you pooped? My point exactly.

What happened with Java’s bowels once she was outside, I can only guess. But, it seems that she only made it as far as the driveway instead of the lawn. Like I said, she is 112. She can’t see and she is mostly deaf. I’m sure the location of her poop is the least of her worries.

We arrived home and I carefully got out of the car and examined the clutch in my dad’s car. Covered in poop. Embedded in the treads. “Yup. There it is,” I said as I crouched down by the car to get a closer look.

“I want to see the poop!” said Antonia.

“Really? Come on,” I told her. “You have to get to bed. You don’t need to see the poop.”

I shuffled my feet through my wet yard in hopes that the grass and leaves would wipe my boot clean. Then, I took them off in the garage and ushered Antonia up to bed. I went back downstairs and cleaned my boots, but somehow forgot about the clutch in my dad’s car.

The next morning, Antonia woke up late for school, and I was urging her to dress quickly so she wouldn’t be late. Ten minutes later, when she still hadn’t come downstairs for breakfast, I walked down the hall and found her sitting on the toilet reading a book. She looked up at me. “I’m pooping,” she said.

When we finally got out the door, 20 minutes later than usual, I opened the car door and lo and behold, there was the poop-covered clutch. “Shit! I didn’t clean this last night,” I said aloud as I found the Clorox wipes in the garage. “Get in the car, Antonia. And, don’t repeat what I just said.” Antonia obeyed.

Once we were on our way to school, I apologized to my daughter for saying a bad word in front of her. “It’s OK, Mom,” she told me. “It’s just poop.”

Yes, Antonia. And some days, you deal with a bunch of it.

***Author’s Note: I returned my dad’s car to him several days ago. If I didn’t publish this story, he would never know about the mishap. Sorry, Dad!