The great Groupon debate

August 9, 2011

I just had the strangest morning. I blame Groupon.

About 500 years ago, there was this daily offer in my inbox for house cleaning. It was a great deal. And my fantasy – to have someone else clean up after my crazy family for once. But could I really invite strangers in to see the kind of dust we kick up? I’d click on the Groupon. Then I’d close it. Then I’d click on it. This went on all day.

Finally, I got up my nerve and I bought that fricking thing at about 11:00 p.m., right before the offer expired. So then I had this Groupon, but it seemed so indulgent. And it was kind of outside my comfort zone. And shouldn’t I be doing my own cleaning anyway? So I buried it in my organizer to use, “when I really need it.”

God, I’m such a dork.

Anyway, when we were on vacation last week, I started thinking of that Erma Bombeck essay that she wrote late in life about how she wished she would have relaxed more, and not put off so much and how she wishes she would have burned the candles that were too good to light but instead got put away in the closet to gather dust. That was my coupon. Oh I’d put it away, but I hadn’t forgotten about it.

So I pulled out my little Groupon and scheduled the cleaners.

I wish I’d have been suave from that moment on, but baby steps, right? I cleaned the house last night, just to be ready for the maid service. We don’t want them to see a crummy stove, right? Or dust on the window sills? Or…?

Gah. They arrived, bright and cheery this morning and I tried to write and I tried to think of other things, but all I could think about was how wild it was to have them here. And that I wanted to see them scrub that front entry way, even though I didn’t want them to see me seeing them scrub the front entryway. Finally, I spared all of us and left to run errands.

In the end, the house looks great. Better than I could have made it. And I hope I’ve grown a little bit. Maybe. Stepped outside the old comfort zone? At least I finally used the Groupon.


Why does everything seem to come up at the same time? I know I didn’t plan it that way. But there it is on my calendar. In the next two weeks, I have: a car to get inspected and licensed, a dental appointment, yearly doctor visits for both the kids, an eye appointment and a trip out of town. Oh and I’m throwing my husband a huge, fun 40th birthday party (can’t wait) and there’s also something in there about a book launch. 

So attention tech savvy people: I suggest a new invention: calendar alarms. You write one too many things down on the calendar, it makes a loud clanging sound and closes the book. You do it again, it eats your pen. You’re crazy enough to try for a third time and you are forbidden to write anything new in the calendar for a week.

It could work, right? Or maybe I’ve been writing too many paranormals.

Oh and a very fun event on my calendar: I’m doing an interview today over at Amber Katze’s Book Blog. Check it out. She has a really neat site going.

The things you learn

June 6, 2008

One of the fun things about having a blog is seeing some of the odd search engine entries that have led folks here. Like the “Angie Fox naked” that pops up every other day or so. I’m assuming they’re searching for the actress, Angie Fox because as far as I know, the only naked pictures of me are from the bathtub at around age three and those are safely buried in my mom’s photo albums. I probably couldn’t find them if I tried. Kind of like the final scene of the first Indiana Jones movie where they hide the ark of the covenant in that endless warehouse. But I digress.

The most disturbing, yet oddly fascinating search thread appeared in my box today: “groundhogs eat my marijuana.”

Which led them to me.

Google must have somehow connected my innocent post about gardening – with groundhogs and weed. Now I thought the squirrels in my tomatoes were having a field day. That’s nothing compared to those sneaky groundhogs. No wonder I haven’t seen any of them in my garden this year. They’re too high to make it over the gray stone wall.
And how big of a problem is this? Evidently, there’s someone concerned enough to google it. And what exactly happens to a groundhog that treats himself to a pot brownie, minus the brownie? I could do an internet search, but to tell you the truth, I’m afraid it would just lead me back here.

And to change the subject completely, (because really there’s no graceful way to segue between deviant groundhogs and reader contests) the winner of today’s ARC is Amy Tippett. Congrats, Amy!

I’ve been in the garden a lot these past couple of days. And this year, I have hope. You see, I garden like some people diet. I start out with great intentions and then tend to find better things to do.

But I love spring, I love the idea of growing this lush garden full of organic fruits and vegetables. So much so that when we bought our house five years ago, one of the things that sold me was the generous plot of land on the side, bordered by a gray stone wall. It really would be the perfect garden, except for one factor: me.

Year 1: planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Came down with unexplained fatigue a month later (pregnant, anyone?) and decided to grow a baby instead. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 0

Year 2: planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Couldn’t bring myself to go out and weed and water in scorching July temps with a new baby. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 5 tomatoes, 1 slightly scary looking pepper that nobody but me would eat.

Year 3: Already pregnant with kid #2. Planted tomatoes and pumpkins, thinking surely with only two crops… Raked over in July. Total vegetables harvested: 1 surprisingly hearty pumpkin in November.

Year 4: Abandoned cute garden plot for two container pots of tomatoes on the deck. Installed a bird feeder right above them. The seed from the bird feeder sprouted weeds in my lowly containers. Weeded like a fiend, watered, the tomatoes survived! The squirrels noticed and stole every tomato, except for two tiny ones that I took off the vine green. A third tomato was stolen by a turtle. My husband called it my most successful year ever and sweetly didn’t mention that we’d spent approximately $60 in plants, pots and supplies for a yield of two cherry tomatoes. Total vegetables harvested: 2 1/2

But this is the year! Today is the day. I’m about to finish planting watermelon and pumpkins in the main garden. The tomatoes are in pots on the deck, looking quite weed free and happy at the moment. I’m not sure what to do about the squirrels yet, but I’m fully prepared to write my next novel while sitting on the deck, shooing away the little buggers. So if a demon conjures up vicious, tomato-stealing, fire-breathing squirrels in my next book, you’ll know why.

In the mean time, I have hope. Fifth time is a charm. Besides, what could possibly go wrong this year?

On a totally separate note, I the winner of yesterday’s ARC giveaway is Jayne Thomas. Yay Jayne!

Want to try to win your own ARC? Just sign up for my quarterly newsletter and you’re entered. Easy as growing tomatoes (or not). Also, I’m blogging today over at The Brandford Bunch.  Stop on by and hear the story of how this author made her first sale.

Now off to the garden…

If an earthquake rumbles two miles away, and I don’t hear it, what the heck is going on? I mean two miles?  I have to travel further than that if I want chicken wings.

This morning at around 6:30 a.m., a 2.7 magnitude quake hit so close to my house that I’m pretty sure I can see the epicenter from my back deck. (We live on a very large hill.) Did I wake up? No. Did anyone in our house wake up? No again.

At least I’m in good company. But still, when I get ready for bed tonight, it’ll be hard not to wonder just what I’m going to miss.

Pursuing perfect

April 25, 2008

I popped onto Yahoo tonight and there was the weekly “rules for great dates” headline. If it’s not that, it’s something about how to get a second date or how to get your date to like you. Tonight’s headline told readers to “follow these tips to avoid breaking the cardinal rules for first dates.”

Am I the only one who thinks this kind of advice is crazy?

First of all, if someone is jittery about a date, you don’t need to be giving them a list of rules to remember. Worried about what to say? Whether or not they’ll like you? Here. Worry about these things too. We’ve even numbered them.

Besides, the happiest couples I know are not perfect. They didn’t always have perfect dates. They don’t have perfect lives and I’m pretty sure everyone on earth says the wrong thing sometimes. I know I do. But the key isn’t about being perfect or finding someone who is. You just have to find the person whose flaws and quirks line up with yours, a.k.a. the perfect person for you.

Okay. I’m off my soapbox. For now. Thanks for indulging me.

Changes in latitudes

April 25, 2008

I told you yesterday that I was heading off for some Jimmy Buffett-style fun, but even I couldn’t have predicted the Margaritaville geek I would become. Decked out in our flowered leis, flip flops and other Parrot Head goodies, we rocked out with a group of random friends that kept growing as the night went on.

This concert sold out twelve minutes after tickets went on sale. No kidding. Yet, it was as if every person I’ve ever met somehow happened to be there, wandering past our group of blankets on the lawn.

And it was a good thing too. I didn’t bring my ID because in my pre-concert frenzy, I didn’t want to carry much and decided against bringing a purse. I thought about it on the way there, but didn’t worry too much. Hey, I’m over thirty. Well, I must have looked especially youthful and dewy last night because for awhile, I couldn’t get served to save my life. Evidently, telling beer vendors that, “I’m over 21. Really!” isn’t as convincing as one would like. So this concert really was like the Buffett concerts back in college, where I had to run around with cash, asking folks to buy me a beer.

Jimmy Buffett was brilliant, as always. He sang some great new songs and a lot of the classics – Cheeseburger in Paradise, Son of a Sailor, Fins (of course), Pencil Thin Mustache, although that one made my husband a bit sad, as he’d planned on growing one, but had to shave it for a big client meeting. But he looked wonderful in the grass skirt I found for him. My friend Vickie wore this huge, obnoxious parrot pin I gave her at least a dozen years ago.

And I can’t tell you how many people I talked with last night who have been traveling to Chicago every year to see Jimmy. We can only hope it won’t take him another eight years to make it back to St. Louis.

It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.