My Friend Has A Book Out In The World: FREE AGENT by JC Nelson Is Out Today!

When I decided, lo, the many years ago, that I was going to quit pretending to be writer and actually put some effort into, you know, writing, I had many, many expectations.  I expected I’d put a lot of silly words down. I expected I’d have to keep at it until I didn’t suck anymore.  I expected to someday have a novel I was proud to put my name one. I expected to make myself mostly crazy.

Check. Check. Check. Annnnnd…check!

I’m pretty sure I’ve driven the Puddinette mostly crazy in the process, too. But that’s more of an added bonus.

But of all the things expected, it’s the ones I never imagined that really have made all the blood, sweat, tears, and bunny sacrifices worthwhile. And of all the unexpected outcomes of becoming a writer, one stands out among the rest. A glaring, shiny example of why we should always set out to reach the top the mountain, while making sure to revel in the climb.

Because along the way you’re going to meet others, others like you, others who know the pain and glory of putting hand over hand, foot in front of foot, word after word on a white space filled only by an infuriating blinky cursor and the mad ramblings of your fevered gray matter.

I have a tribe now, one unlike any I’ve ever had before. One that gets it, that gets me, that truly understands why we do—must do—what we do. A tribe of pen-wielding brothers and sisters, scratching their own way up the mountain. No matter how long it takes to reach the top of that summit, my life has been made immensely better by them.

That said, then, it’s a pretty Big Deal when one member of the tribe finds that perfect path, hits all the right footholds, and scrambles on ahead, to the top of the peak.  That’s when you hoot and holler and cheer like a damned fool, as if you’re trying to wake the dead.

Which is what I’m going to do right now.

A writer friend of mine, JC Nelson, has a book hitting shelves and Kindles and Nooks and iBooks and pretty much anywhere else a book can land with an impressive, satisfying thud in this day and age. And I just can’t say enough good things about the book in question, Free Agent.

What’s it about, you ask?  Well, this:

FACoverWhen it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…
Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.
Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.
Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

Free Agent is a funny, action-packed thrill ride, as entertaining as it is creative. It’s a fresh, novel take on old fashioned fairy tales laid over the complications of modern life. Well, I mean, a modern life that’s a bit more Secret Agent than sits-at-a-computer-and-types-all-day like you and me, but still.

And before you ask, no, no one asked me to write about it. I volunteered. I’ve read the book, and although a lot of urban fantasy leaves me a little meh these days, Free Agent did exactly the opposite. I found myself always wanting to read just one more page, to squeeze in just one more chapter. In fact, my kids don’t realize the favor JC Nelson did them, because if nothing else, Free Agent earned them plenty of extra time to stay up before I could tear myself away from Marissa’s misadventures to put them to bed.

Look, I know I don’t tell you what to do often, but if you love books with an off-kilter twist, a unique sense of humor, and a fat wallop of action, you should totally checkout Free Agent. And, Look! Convenient links to purchase it are right here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

What’s that? My effusive praise somehow just isn’t quite enough to get you to take the bait? Fine, then. Play hard to get. Look, it’s cool with me. But how about this, then: why not read the first chapter? Yeah, sure, free of charge. Tell you what, this one’s on me. Just take a taste. Read Chapter One, it’s posted below. See if you like it—because yeah, I’m pretty sure you’ll like.

Then, when you’re done and you want to read what happens next, why not hit up one of those links above?

And even if I can’t persuade you to buy a copy of your very own, how about joining in the hooting and the hollering? Because you can never have too many voices raised in celebration of great accomplishments as if you’re trying to wake the dead!

Pud’n


More on JC Nelson

A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson lives with a family and a flock of chickens near rainy Seattle.

Find JC Nelson online at:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/authorjcnelson
Face book: www.facebook.com/authorjcnelson
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7798544.J_C_Nelson
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/authorjcnelson

One

The New Year’s Eve countdown told me I had five minutes until the ball drop. That gave me six minutes until somebody got killed. I spotted the shoplifter in line at the theater and worked my way across the street, through the teeming crowd. She had no idea what she was wearing, which made her both stupid and dangerous. Stupid was dangerous enough by itself.

“Marissa, I might remind you of the time,” said a man’s voice. It came right out of the store window beside me, the dry voice with its not-quite-English accent. He watched me with critical eyes.

“I got it, Grimm.” I walked along the theater line, head down.

His image followed me, reflecting from the windows and even the brass banister knobs that held the velvet rope. “I’ll believe that when you actually do.”

Call it women’s intuition, or maybe the slippers she wore tipped her off, but the shoplifter turned and looked right at me. Our eyes met, and she knew why I was there, if not who I was. As the crowd surged forward, she ducked into the theater, disappearing into the throng.

“God Damsel-it.” I spat out the faint taste of soap. “Doesn’t count, not a real curse.”

“Watch your language, young lady. Only proper women live happily ever after. Now, go get those slippers back.” Grimm appeared in the ticket window, beckoning me on.

If I had enough Glitter to buy a happily ever after, I wouldn’t have spent all day chasing a thief. There were easier ways to make a living, and definitely safer ways.

I breathed in the warm lobby air, laced with enough butter, fat, and salt to make me gain a couple of pounds just from walking through.

The ticket man watched me as I approached, jiggling my leg. “I’ve got to go. Could you save my spot in line?”

He rolled his eyes, the apex of teenage angst, and motioned me past. I’d been to my fair share of balls and knew where I’d go if I had a pair of shoes that were killing my feet. I headed straight to the bathroom. Nobody in the prep area, but I listened. There, soft sobbing, and the click of high heels on ceramic.

“The slippers won’t come off like that.” I hoped I wasn’t talking to a Grandma, but the sobbing cut off.

Grimm coalesced into the mirrored wall, his white hair framing the bald spot on his head. He looked at me over horn-rimmed glasses that masked eyebrows like a yeti’s. “Marissa, two minutes.”

If I’d had something handy, I’d have thrown it at the mirror. In the name of not having a magical disaster, I decided to commit the cardinal sin of the ladies room. I tried the stall door. As my hand touched it, the door burst open, hitting me in the face. Pain made the world flash white. I put my hand to my nose and felt the blood as she dashed out of the restroom. Grimm told me the shoes were enchanted, but the fact that she could run in three-inch heels meant serious magic. Now I knew I had the right girl. In the lobby, the fire alarms wailed as I came out of the bathroom, and I caught a glimpse of her running out. I charged after her, through the fire exit and into the alley.

I wasn’t afraid of your average dark alley. I had standard Agency-issue spells in my coat and a nine millimeter in my purse for dealing with the less dangerous pests, but even I knew you have to be careful with an upset woman.

She pulled at her feet and limped down the alley. “I’m not giving them back.”

No way was she going to outrun me. Tennis shoes might not be the height of fashion, but I wore them for their practicality. I slipped a bag out of my pocket. “This will let me take them off. You can’t remove them because you stole them.”

She stumbled, then slumped against the wall, her feet out in front of her. Passing taillights made the glass slippers glisten, moving and shifting, like something alive. That made sense, since Grimm said they were. The glass filled with red, like she’d cut her toe. The bloodstain spread up the sides of the glass and she began to gurgle and cry.

I pulled out my pocket compact. “Grimm, I might have a problem.”

“Tell me you have them.”

“Just about.”

“Get out of there, Marissa. She’s not going to turn into a pumpkin.” His voice was firm and commanding. I’d never been the type to listen to firm or commanding. See, there was this thing about magic slippers. Use them with permission, and at midnight the whole deal expired. Steal them from a custom boutique on Fifth, and at midnight turning into a vegetable was the least of your worries.

She curled into a ball, kicking, growling, and making noises I’d never heard outside of the labor and delivery room. Running through the theater was out; heading back in there would introduce a whole load of teens to a different kind of monster than the movie ones. The loading bays down at the end of the alley didn’t look too promising, and now Princess PMS rose to her feet. The bloodred stains covered her from head to toe. Shadows covered her face, but where the orange wash of the street lights hit her she looked maroon.

“You want to let me help you?” I asked. The growling noise she made ruled out diplomacy. “Okay, we do it my way.”

She leaped at me. I’d mastered seven different forms of self-defense and I wore all four of the major protection charms, but one thing was constant: Whether my assailant was a drug addict or a bridge troll, pepper spray would leave them blind. So I ducked out of the way and gave her a dash of the scent I was sampling that day. It hit her like a brick, leaving her clawing at her eyes. I realized as she stumbled past that her nails were now at least three inches long and razor sharp.

She started sniffing the air, then like a dog, she ran straight into me, knocking me back to the Dumpster. Dumpsters hurt. I caught her arm before she could give me surprise plastic surgery and slammed her into the ground, pinning her underneath me.

That should have ended it, but she rolled over, throwing me to the side, and I barely stepped out of the way of those nails. She kicked at me and I caught her foot.

“Gotcha,” I said, rubbing the shoes with the bag. Grimm said the bag was made of genuine werewolf fur, but whatever it was, the effect was immediate. She thrashed and choked and kicked and I held on tight until she went limp. The slippers came off in my hand without a fight.

They glimmered under the streetlight, and for a moment I saw an image form in them: Me, walking down the street in them. No Agency bracelet on my wrist, a bag from shopping in my hand. I could be free, if only I put them on.

“Marissa,” said Grimm, speaking from the reflection in the shoes, “put them in the bag.”

I did, and the fantasy blew away like dry leaves down the sidewalk. My back hurt where I’d hit the Dumpster. My arm throbbed where she’d grabbed me, and my cheek had that hot feeling that said somewhere in her thrashing, she’d managed to nail me with a foot.

“I’m going home,” I said to my compact mirror. “What do you want me to do with her?”

“Leave her for the police. They’ll be there shortly. Evangeline needs your assistance on the Upper East Side, and there’s the matter of a troll.”

“I’m going home.” I knew full well he’d heard me the first time.

“I’ve got work for you, Marissa, and if you are ever to get your own ever after—”

“The only after I’m interested in right now is after a bottle of wine and after a long night’s sleep. I’ll see you when I’m ready for work.”

“Marissa, you need to ask yourself what you want more: A night’s sleep, or another job.”

I wiped a trace of blood off my lip, took a look at my bruises in the compact. Everything about me ached and the cold seeped out of the shadows into my bones. I put my hand on the bracelet and made my decision. “Tell Evangeline I’m on my way.” Nights like this made me wish I’d never gotten started in this business.

A Little Oatmeal Cookie Is Good For The Soul

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The inspiration to create—to make something using just your own two hands, whatever scant voltage happens to be huffing and puffing its way through your gray matter, and possibly a few raw materials—can strike anywhere, anytime, from the simplest of comments.

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For instance, today, the Puddinette sent me a text that just happened to mention “good oatmeal raisin cookies.”  The moment my eyes glossed over that message, half-read, a match skritched across some hard, stony surface in my mind and a light blub flickered into life over my head. Suddenly, I had a project for the evening. I mean, sure, I already had plenty of other stuff planned for tonight: work, writing, lackadaisical sprawling across the basement couch with a MadTree PsycHOPathy IPA at some much-too-late-hour-of-the-morning because Syfy’s Defiance will be on*.

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But that’s all stuff I’ll do later, in the the-kids-are-in-bed-weee—hoooo!-let’s-do-something-wild-and-crazy-and-possibly-without-pants-like-um-yanno-work-and-then-probably-fall-asleep-on-the-couch-yeesh-I’m-old-and-sad period of this evening’s itinerary.  Before then, though, in those uncertain after-dinner and not yet to bedtime hours, Thursday night called for getting a little “help” from the kids and busting out some homemade cookies.

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Because, after all, let’s face it: when aren’t cookies an Awesome Idea®?

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We’re all in agreement here, right?  Super. The question then is how do you homemade cookie?  Here’s what you do: you get the simplest-ass, I-need-cookies-in-mah-face-right-now recipe you can find, and you try not to screw it up. But don’t think about trying not to screw it up, because then you’ll just get all anxious and whatnot.  Believe me, the last thing you want to do is be all fussy or fret over a tray of raw cookie dough balls.

Fretted-over cookies taste like a dog saying hello to another dog**. Just sayin’.

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In any case, after an eternity of internet research (which clocked in at roughly 7 seconds, give or take), I chose this recipe from Baker Bettie. I chose it because A) It can be made with as little as six (6!) ingredients. Trust me, that’s a Very Important Detail, because the fewer ingredients involved, the less likely I’II get beflusterminded—which is a thing that happens when I try to bake via recipe, wherein I putter around in an ingredient-induced daze as if kicked in the head by an angry mountain goat.  It easy leads to incidents like accidentally using a whopping dollop of turmeric instead of half a teaspoon of cinnamon, ruining the cookies, your children’s ever-shrinking trust in you, and probably Christmas, too. Also, B) Baker Better is a fun name.  And C) Bettie even wrote that it’s an “I need cookies in my mouth in less than 15 minutes” kind of recipe.  How’s that for matching motives?

Tonight, then, we made cookies.  And if you asked me, I’d say cookies are a pretty productive use of an early Thursday evening. And if you can’t agree with that, well, there’s a pretty good chance you’re more than just a zombied-up inside.

Pud’n

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PS: We made oatmeal with chocolate chip cookies, too. Yes, two different types of cookies. It’s okay to be a little jealous.


*Speaking of Defiance, it didn’t sell me last season, but its fast start to season two has quickly made it one of my new favorite shows.
**Keep thinking, you’ll get it soon…

Universal Truth Of Adulthood, Number 87: MegaUltraUber Glue

At some point in the course of your adult life, you will—possibly against your will—be required to use SuperAmazeballsHolyCrumbsInsanity Glue to put one thing back into (hopefully) semi-permanent  contact with a second, more stationary/stable thing. However, when the moment arrives to break out that tube of uber gel with the adhesive properties so mind-blowing it almost has to be an abomination in the eyes of the Creator, Bob Vila, and even Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, you can rest assured that whatever that one thing needing the glue is, it won’t be a something of reasonably manageable size.

For instance, it surely won’t be as big as a playing card that you just need to gum up to a wall. Nope. It’ll be a smaller thing, for certain.

It won’t be something this big:

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And not a something this size, either. Goodness, no, this would be easy to handle:

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Even this wouldn’t be impossible. Tricky, sure, but still big enough you could get it stuck to the proper thing without filling your kitchen with words requiring a lavish deposit in the Swear Jar:

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No sir, when it comes to needing SuperWackyPsychopath Glue, that sad fact is that you’ll only ever get the chance to use it on something so tiny, you’ll be wishing you had a magnifying glass.  You know, a miniature piece of plastic something, kinda like this:

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Oh, and it’s not like you get to put that clear adherent witch glue on the largest surface of that tiny little thing, either.  Nope, there will be just a wee little part to slather that stuff on, like a contact point or a edge so slim you’d need an electron microscope to see it clearly.

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Which, of course, leads to one inescapable conclusion.  The only thing getting glued in this scenario is going to be…

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your finger.

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If you’re lucky you’ll glue the damn piece to it like I did, instead of gluing your fingers together (yes, I’m a master at that, also).

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So keep that in mind, puddintopians. And good luck with all your adhesive projects, especially for ones calling FuzzyKittenKooky Glue. 

Hopefully you’ll have better luck with it than I do.

Pud’n

Everything You Need To Do Regarding Net Neutrality But Maybe Didn’t Realize

Unless your neighbors mostly consist of those rolly-poly bugs and you generally only see the light of day if a giant comes by and lifts your home up off the ground, odds are good you’ve at least heard the words “net neutrality” at some point recently. More importantly, though, you might not know what it’s about or why you should give it anymore thought than you would the hair clippings on the floor of the local UberCuts Style Emporium.

Thing is, isn’t just another talking head issue where your “government at work” is doing anything but. Rather, it’s an issue that not only matters, but you have the ability to affect the outcome. And should mean something to you, unless you’d want to end up dropping a fat sack of cash and probably head of cattle or two just for the right to watch season three of Orange Is The New Black.

Before I go any further, if you don’t know what in rambling on about, watch this video of John Oliver from his weekly HBO news show, This Week Tonight.

Okay, you with me so far?  In my opinion, when it comes to net neutrality, the real problem is that currently, the FCC categorizes internet service providers as an information service. Which, on it’s face, makes sense, right? After all, what do you get from the internet if not information, whether in the form of emails, family photos of last week’s picnic at Grandma’s where you got drunk and hurled all over the volleyball net, or YouTube videos where a guy tries to eat a live snake on a dare.

The problem, though, is that your internet service provider (ISP) isn’t an information service. Sure, ISPs used to be, back in the day when the only way online was with something a service like AOL or CompuServe, where what you got was part and parcel of who gave it to you. If you got an email, some freakish voice intoned “You’ve got mail”, if you wanted to learn about the reproductive habits of aquatic sea life, you typed “go seahorse sex” into some AOL keyword search box, and if you want to post statuses to make your former high school girlfriend think your life was awesome, well, you couldn’t. To do that, you had to run into her to at the mall, pretend not to see her, and then buy the extra large double chocolate caramel cookie at the Cookie Factory to make it seem like you were rolling in the fat cash instead of living in your parents’ basement.

Nowadays, though, things are much different. And not just because hopefully you’re not living in your parents basement anymore. These days it doesn’t matter if your internet service provider is Comcast, Time-Warner, or Big Bob’s Bargain Bytes. Whoever it is, they aren’t giving you information services. Your email comes through Gmail, you have Facebook to let you know when that one uncle is being embarrassingly racist and homophobic again, and your obsession with kitten pictures is fulfilled by, well, all the things.

The point is that your ISP isn’t providing you content, it’s just carrying data from other sources to you, much the same way your cell phone service carries phone calls to you. Yet, because T-Mobile is classified as a carrier service, it can’t just decide to charge you more for calls from your mother than ones from your friends hanging at the bar.

I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.

The point of all this is the FCC has internet service providers classified all wrong. They ought to be treated like your cell phone company and not like a content service, and they shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily decide to charge you more for twitter access than for netflix videos.  But if the current slate of proposed rules is adopted, that’s exactly what they’ll be able to do.

So what can you do? Well, it’s simple, but you have to act fast.  Go the the fcc.gov comments form and tell them these proposed rules need to be dropped like a jar of fuzzy salsa, and internet services providers should be reclassified as common carriers.  Hurry, because the FCC is accepting comments on this issue only until Friday.

Go, then! Do it now! Before your access to web sites like Puddintopia and (even worse) Emergency Kittens starts hitting you right in the pocketbook.

Pud’n

A Helpful Guide For Navigating The Weekend

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The picture above contains a popular brand of carbonated soft drink.  Well, it’s also of my desk earlier today, and the door to my office.  And a window showing sunlight and the outside world where I would have preferred to be at 3 PM today.  That’s not to suggest that I don’t thoroughly enjoy my job and instead feel that each passing moment in that chair is crushing my soul like a pus-covered sewer troll, because nothing would be further from the truth. I very much enjoy my work, and my soul is quite free of dead weight supplied by oozing supernatural critters, thankyouverymuch.  That said, at 3 PM on Friday, it’s pretty much a given that everyone who is not a six-eyed, 14-handed, work-devouring accomplishment beast with magma breath wants the weekend to get started.

Because, well, weekends.

As I waited this afternoon, as patiently as possible (i.e., like a toddler who’s expecting a long-promised a trip to the toy store for new bubbles) for those glorious, precious, not-going-to-be-responsible-for-two-whole-days hours to get underway, I realized I was somewhat parched.  And not only that, but, more specifically, craving a certain beverage. And, surprisingly, no, not the one made with malted barley and hops.  That one pictured in the green bottle above.

Now, make no mistake. I do not consume this particular beverage often. Back in my younger days, when I was a crazy twentysomething with a bit of a bad-boy streak and a devil-may-care attitude*, I would toss 20 oz bottles of the stuff back like it was yellow-tinted liquid gold.

Err…maybe bringing yellow liquids into this doesn’t paint the right mental image.

Anyway. As I’ve gotten older—and theoretically wiser—I’ve tried to curb habits that aren’t necessarily recognized by science as part of a reasonably healthful lifestyle.  I’ve stopped main-lining buffalo wings, I no longer look at an all-you-can-eat taco bar as a challenge, and, may the gods of the ancient Mushroom People help me, I’ve even started thinking about my fiber intake. Likewise, I try to limit my consumption of corporate carbonated soft drinks because, as far as I can tell, they’re basically a mixture of unpronounceable chemicals capable of turning your brain into a molded jello filled with orange slices**.

Every once in a great while, though, I get an urge. A Friday afternoon hankering for a taste of fond memories of my youth. Sure, it’s not exactly on the Mayo Clinic’s list of super foods, but, dammit, there’s more to life than hiding from the world in your bed with nothing but celery, kale, and dry oatmeal.

So this afternoon I went to the vending machine, offered up a sacrifice of quarters, and received a cold green bottle that brought a smile to my face, however briefly. It’s not something that’s really all that good for me, but for a little bit of time, it made me happy nonetheless.

And that, if nothing else, is a good piece of advice for what to do with your weekend from time to time. Get out and go a little crazy. Do some stuff that’s maybe a little scary, and possibly even not that healthy in the long run. Have a good time doing it anyway.

Because, if nothing else, I’m pretty sure the weekend was made for cannonballing, sky diving, or just eating ice cream straight from the carton. And not even feeling bad about it.

After all, this is your only shot at Life, puddintopians, no reason to live it like you’re just wanting for the Grim Reaper to come and get it over with.

Now go get a bottle of something for yourself and have a great weekend while you’re at it.

And, uh, try not to set the place on fire.

Pud’n


*The author would like to fully retract the suggestion he’s ever had either a “a bit of a bad-boy streak” or a “devil-may-care attitude”.
**The basis for the fruited jello mold assertion is scientifically inconclusive.

Nothing Remained But A Heap of Ashy, Sulfurous Paper Bits And The Aftertaste of Sausage

Welcome back to the real world. The Matrix has belched us all out again, and thus the Song of the EveryDay—a hymn of low, mournful tones—fills the air as those of us in the USA look past our weekend of summertime revelry. Time to set aside those incendiary devices for another year and we can now only ponder if it would, in fact, be possible to consume any more beer or chargrilled, tubed meat than what we gorged upon over the past three days.

Yes, another Independence Day has come and gone. And with eyes blinking against the blazing light of the sun dancing overhead, we must get back to work.  Literally, like, a lot of people have to put on shirts with actual collars and frown as they pick up their shiny work shoes instead of sliding the dogs into a pair of sandals that are as comfortable and well-worn as an old, reliable friendship.

Indeed, this morning most of America is coping with the dreaded Summer Holiday Hangover. We took a day off, and made some extra bonus weekend fun.  We played in the sun, we beered, we boated, we blew stuff up, and basically had a shiny good time.

But now it’s over, and I didn’t even have a chance to make some ice cream*. 

Even worse than that, my oldest son has begun to realize how little fun it must be to live as an adult, yoked to The Man for cash and prizes.  Indeed, he actually chuckled at me last night as he headed off to bed, knowing I’d be up before him, shuffling off to work in my business casuals. Because when you’re a grown up, summer isn’t one weekend-esque day after another punctuated by trips to amusements parks and possible a beach.

It was almost enough to make me sad, but then I remembered something he won’t understand for another 20 years. Sure, he got a chance to revel in my somber adult responsibility today, but little does he know that summer is effectively over. For an eleven year-old kid, it might not seem that way, but as a man with 41 complete trips around the sun under his belt, I am the wiser. You see, to me, it was just last week that I remarked about reaching the second week of summer break. And now, in was little more than the blink of a sun-blind eye, we’re wading into the sixth week of it. That is, already beyond the halfway point.

Those meddling kids have merely five more Fridays to enjoy before the dark specter of The First Day of School will beckon like a witch with a candy hut in the forest.

Laugh at me, will you, Oldest Son?  Your laughter will be short lived! Now that the fireworks have been lit and the potato salad days are in our past, we begin the slow/fast creep down the hill towards a new school year.

Mock now, I say, while you can. Because tomorrow, or very very soon, I’ll be buying your notebooks. 

And the more you laugh, the more likely I’ll be getting you the glittery pink ones**!

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day (if that’s a day with meaning for you).

Now get out there, have a gallon or two of coffee, and have a great week!

Pud’n


*I will be remedying that oversight soon enough!
**Okay, not really. He’ll be starting Middle School and even I’m not that kind of monster.

The Puddinette Got A Year Older Today And All I Gave Her Was A Crummy Lunch Sack

On this day, exactly mumblecough* years ago, the heavens opened wide, and in a breathtaking expanse of starlight and trumpets, my wife was born unto this Earth.

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how it happened. My research departments suggests there was actually a hospital involved.  And doctors. And some nurses or whatever. Nervous-excited expectant parents who are awesome people and eventually became my in-laws. That kind of thing, i.e., more hot water and towels than actual trumpets.

Exaggeration, aside, though, today is, in fact the Puddinette’s birthday. And yes, it’s kind of a Big Deal.

The thing is, the Puddinette isn’t just my wife or the mother of my remarkably cute and smart-alec-y kids. She’s the glue that holds us together as a family, and the thin, protective barrier that prevents the forces of dirt, chaos, and decay from overwhelming our already complicated life.

Seriously, if she up and decided to go on strike or something, they kids would be wandering around the neighborhood gutters with shoeless, dirty feet, even dirtier faces, and clothes that looked like they might have been new around the spark of the industrial revolution and then worn constantly for a century of work in a coal plant. That is, of course, I didn’t just dress the kids in Hefty bags. I mean, if I got the “Odor Lock” kind they probably wouldn’t have to shower or whatever but once a week!

Anyway, today, then, is for the Puddinette. She’s the jelly to my peanut butter**, the cream for my coffee, the ala mode that makes my apple pie-ness better than those frozen Mrs. Smiths frisbee puck things.  Or something.

Point is, we’ll do our best to pamper her, and the kids will try (it’s the thought that counts) not to bicker amongst themselves too egregiously so she can enjoy her day in relative peace.  Admittedly, the moments of calm will come and go like the eye of a proverbial storm, but such is the way of summer birthdays when you have a bunch of kids.  It’s probably for the best anyway, because too much quiet makes a mother twitchy about what’s going to get smashed, and too much time to think will inevitably give her a chance to remember all the projects I’ve promised to do around the house that haven’t miraculously completed themselves yet.

Oh, and in case you’re curious about what I picked out for her, I got my lovely wife this beautiful Coach bag for her birthday:

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Well, okay, so that’s not actually a Coach purse.  It’s a picture of a Coach purse stapled to a lunch sack.  But bear with me! There’s a good explanation!

Thing is, the Puddinette digs her purses. Like, as much as I dig sandwiches and beer.  And just the same way I hesitate to have her pick out a six pack for me (because she’s much more concerned with what’s on sale than what has Centennial hops),  I understand that I am woefully inadequate to the task of buying her a purse. At least without specific instructions, photographs for reference, a train schedule for when the the purse in question might arrive, and a card with words “Puddinette’s Purse” scrawled in marker on it like a limo driver at the airport. Were I to attempt to choose a new purse for the Puddinette without any of that, after several hours of flailing about like a rag doll, a fifth of bourbon, and some (misplaced yet understandable) concern for their own personal safety from store employees, I’d end up with a hangover and some green-orange monstrosity that I liked because it reminded me of the Hobgoblin, but wasn’t so much something she’d love to show off at Parent Teacher conferences. Instead, I’ll let her pick out her Birthday Purse of Joy while I go to the beer store for a new IPA.

At any rate, a very Happy Birthday! to my wonderful, beautiful, tolerant, and much-suffering wife, the incomparable Puddinette. I don’t know what I’d do without you, besides live a ditch. And nobody probably wants that.

Well, except you, possibly, when I’m snoring at 3 AM and keeping you awake. But no sane person would argue that’s not justified.

Pud’n

PS: iFeliz Cumpleanos, Querida! Te amo mas que…


*The Puddinette is not the kind to be over concerned with who knows how old she is. She doesn’t go for any of that silly “Look, it’s my 29th birthday again nonsense!”  But the internet never forgets things, and I don’t want there to be any evidence of her actual  age available when I’m trying to get the senior discount at the movies when we’re only 53.
**I’ll let you debate whether that’s Extra Crunchy or Smooth