It's not the rejections that get me nearly as much as the "rules" I can't seem to follow but feel like I should. So today I felt vindicated. The first page of The Poison Spindle Problem breaks all the rules of TWO top agents, and I tried and tried to fix it but couldn't. So I left it as is and was ashamed, but comforted myself on the fact that the first five pages are what most agents take with the query, and those are okay. Today I got a response from an agent I had queried--she wants to see a "partial" (part of the manuscript to see if she wants to read the whole thing). And this request came based on (drum roll) the query, synopsis, and first page. She said it sounds "charming." So the kids and I gathered all the spare change we could find and made a trip to the post office to mail the three query packets I had set aside, plus the partial. It cost almost ten dollars, most of which will result in letters saying, "No thanks." Turns out writing is a cheapish hobby (cost of paper and ink if you decide to print it), but trying to get published is not so cheap.
We stayed up literally all night last night helping Tim pack and keeping him awake so that he would be ready to leave at 6:30. I told him I couldn't drive him to Denver at 9:30 am--I'd have to get up at 8:30, get the kids out in the car, and survive 2 hours of driving, half of which I would feel incredibly sick and the other half I'd have to try desperately to stay awake driving on Denver's messy freeways towing the trailer, which I would then have to get the neighbor to come unhitch from the van because I'm not strong enough. Then I would spend the next three days trying to recover from being that sick. So Tim and the guys took the shuttle. But we did have to drop them off there, across town. We watched a beautiful sunrise--better than any sunset I've ever seen--on the way home, and then the kids burst into tears because they didn't get to sleep and it was already tomorrow. I told them it was still night in our house, and everyone went to bed and right to sleep. We slept until 5:00 pm. This was weird, because it then got dark again at 6:00. I hate "vampire" days.
Anyway, "today" we had a nice time depositing checks in the night deposits for moosebutter and for us, and having an adventure at the post office with all our spare change. It would have been more fun if the two big kids didn't suddenly "have to go potty right now!" They eventually peed in the parking lot--one on my hand and one on my foot. And on a stuffed animal. Don't ask how we managed all that. It was one of my least favorite trips to the post office.
So I was finishing the last few copy edits in my novel (just in case anyone actually wants to read the whole thing), and I heard one of those sounds that makes moms alternately turn white with fear and red with anger: someone coloring on the wall. It turned out to be of those "couldn't be worse" times. Daniel was scribbling all over the wall with a black permanent marker. The big kids, trying to be helpful, managed to cover the marker with toothpaste (this does often help). We let it sit for half an hour (it has to sit in order to work), and only then did I notice that they also managed to coat Tim's rocking chair with the stuff--and it dried while we were waiting for it to suck up the ink on the wall. This was not pleasing to me. Then, to add to the stress, they used a kind of toothpaste (at my instruction) that has a smell that makes me feel sick. That's why I didn't want to use it to brush my teeth. It also made me not want to scrub the wall with it. And then, when I did scrub, it didn't work. So while I wasn't looking, Anda covered the wall with toothpaste AGAIN! So now I have to start over.....
Maybe not. Maybe I'll just go to bed and pretend the toothpaste will disappear over night. And that the lost library video will appear magically. And that the living room will clean itself. And that Tim really didn't fly to Boston for five days.
A couple of days ago we went to WalMart to look at toys while Tim recorded some parts for his new Christmas album (You're gonna love "In the Corner all Alone"--musical AND literary). Daniel looked at all the toys and finally pulled out a box of crayons. He crawled over and put it in my hands. "Oh, Dan," I said, "we aren't going to buy this." He smiled, pointed at the box, and then started spitting like he was spitting out yucky stuff. Then he pointed at the crayons again. Guess what Dan usually does with crayons? He eats them, and then spits out the bits when I catch him. It was like he was saying, "Don't worry, Mom, I'll spit them out again!" Very cute. A non-verbal one year old trying to negotiate for what he wants.
I've had to learn a new langauge lately as the big kids make up lots of words with few or no consonants and assign meanings to them. They're speaking "baby". And they remember the words, sometimes. So I walked into the bathroom and found Anda playing on the potty (lid closed). "I need to go potty, Anda. Can I go in here, or should I go to my room?" "Beeday-it," she said. "What?" I said. "That means go to your bathroom in baby," she said. "Oh," I said. This is a fairly typical occurence around here lately. "What cereal do you want?" "Uuuooo." "What?" "That's the word for rice krispies in baby." "Oh." Or "Ohohboo." "Is that rice krispies?" "No. That's Uuuuooo. Ohohboo is fruit loops." "Oh."
The irony is not lost on me that Daniel is spending all his time trying to become like the big kids, and they are spending all their time trying to be like he was three or four months ago. Except they insist on standing on their chairs while we eat dinner because they're babies. I don't know where that one came from.
Dinner has been exciting in other ways, too. Caleb insists on making a menu for each meal, which can be annoying when we are about to say the blessing and he won't let anyone eat until he's drawn a menu (pictures, not words, which would be a lot faster). This was tolerable, though, as long as the menus were descriptive of what I was making anyway. At our last meal I looked at the menu as we sat down, and Caleb had added "Gogurts" to the menu, which everyone ordered with glee as soon as Caleb announced they were there. He also refused to put fruit cocktail on the menu because he hates it, and then he said that nobody could eat any because it wasn't on the menu. That was irritating. Daniel saved us, though, by spontaneously learning right at that moment how to say "Peaches!" Renamed, the food was suddenly acceptable, and everyone but Caleb was allowed to eat it.