Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nancy and I have the time of our lives!

Cigar box notes!

After we'd established the premise of our book that mothers are going missing all over the country, we brought in the heavy artillery: the ten children we shared between us! In chapter two of PLEASE STAND BY -- YOUR MOTHER'S MISSING, the phone service goes on the blink, forcing Nancy and I to attach a cigar box on top of the fence between our backyards in order to communicate. Soon our kids are adding their own touches to the box in the form of "loving lavender" paint from my son Steve, and doll house carpeting compliments of my daughter Lisa.

When my old-fashioned Aunt Gertie descends on us for her annual Mother's Day visit, complaining non-stop about any and all my activities that don't actually take place in the house, it opens up a can of worms. Nancy and I compare our respective backgrounds and upbringings, and realize that we've each been raised with diametrically opposed philosophies. While good old Aunt Gertie insists I'm spending too much time outside the home -- even when it's to drive the kids all over the countryside -- Nancy's friends and colleagues badger her to leave her three preschoolers with a sitter and return to her college teaching career. My neighbor and I both begin to think that we women can't truly satisfy anyone anymore!

And PLEASE STAND BY -- YOUR MOTHER'S MISSING takes off from there. It wasn't long before Nanc and I were having the time of our lives! The chapters were flying off our typewriters (Yes, we actually worked on those old black machines that required erasers to correct errors and carbon paper to make copies. OMG!!!) But this drawback did nothing to dampen our fun. We drove my kids to swim meets, baseball and soccer games, then set up our typewriters and worked in my VW minivan in the parking lot. We met for picnics, at doctors' offices, in her house, my house, our respective garages and even, I swear this is true, from atop my washing machine and dryer when our 3-year-old sons threatened to take over the house while we worked. One day at Nancy's house, while she and I had our heads together working through a thorny section of the book, Chris and Tommy decided to try their hand at home decorating by painting her family room couch a vivid, oil-based canary yellow. Ouch!

(On Monday: Our families react to our new obsession with writing a novel!)


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