Conspiracy, Virus, or Alien Invasion: When Good kids Go . . .Better?

My children have been Up To Something all weekend.


It started Friday, my day off, when I woke up from what was supposed to be a brief after-lunch snooze to discover that it was 5:30 pm.  I stumbled into the living room and found my  progeny playing quietly, together, with the TV off.

I stared at them for a minute, then shook off my confusion and asked why they hadn’t woken me with one of their usual methods*  when they arrived home from school.

“Daddy and Grandma said we could, but you looked tired this morning, Mom,” said Janie.

“Yes, Mommy” said Sunny, patting my hand.  “You need your rest.”

Um, okay.  “Do you have homework, Jane?”

“Five pages of my French workbook.  I’ve done two already.  May I do the rest over the weekend, please?”

May she?

“Um, okay.”  I stumbled off to make dinner,  disquieted, but not yet alarmed.


 When I came home from work the next day, I was greeting with excited hugs and the ten words guaranteed to strike despair in my housecleaning-hating heart:  “Mommy!  Come see what we did in the playroom!”

I had visions of a tent city made of every sheet in the house draped over all the chairs they could manage to lift or drag. . .   or maybe the entire contents of our craft closet melded into a free-form modern art structure dripping glitter-glue onto the rug.  Or maybe Janie and Sunny had painted masterpieces with their easels set up on the same rug.

But I went.

The room . . . was tidy.  Neat.  Organized.  “You did this?”

“Yep!” said Janie.

You did this.”

“Uh-huh. It took me a long time.  Daddy helped with the vacuum cleaner, but I pushed it a little.  Sunny’s job was throwing all her toys in her doll cradle—I sorted them out.  I’m going to do our bedroom tomorrow. i would have done it today, but I got tired.”

“Um, Wow.  I’m really impressed, honey.  Good job!  Did you get any of your French done?  Or are you saving it for tomorrow?”

“Two pages.  Only one  to go.  I’ll do it after church.”  She scampered off.

I turned to my husband.  “Uh . . . ”

“Wondering if these are the right kids?”

“Yeah.  How did you get them to do it?”

“It was all Janie’s idea.”

“Really?  What do you think she’s up to?”

He rubbed his chin.  “I have no idea.”


 The next day, both kids were angels during church.  Janie made me spoon puppets during Sunday School.  Neither groused when we we went straight home without stopping at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc.  Janie did her remaining homework with the merest hint of complaint.

And when I asked them if they wanted a snack, they asked for carrots.

“When is the other shoe going to drop?” I asked my husband later, as I left for work.**

He shook his head.

When I came home that evening,***  the floor of the kids’ bedroom was not only visible, but I was able to walk across it barefoot without risking serious injury.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s better,” said Janie when I applauded in bewilderment.  “Sometimes the clean me has to tell the messy me to move over.”

I hadn’t known there was a clean Janie.

Later, they only complained a little about bath time and went to bed with less than the usual amount of fuss.  They didn’t even ask for drinks of water or complain when I shoved the thermometer in their ears, just in case there was a Good Behavior Bug going around.

If it hadn’t been so cold, I would have grabbed my flashlight and hunted for Pods in the backyard.


And they were lovely this morning, too—Janie the UnMorning Person had her hair brushed and shoes on before she came to breakfast.  And Sunny ate all of her toast and asked for more—even the crusts.

They shared the comics.

So, tell me, do you think we’re about to be hit up for something major or is this just one of those Eye of the Storm things?

Is there a Good Behavior Virus^?  And if so, can it be isolated, generated, and put in a mister or something?

Because, despite my better judgement, I’m starting to like this . . .


*For example, climbing on the bed, getting nose to nose with me and hollering, “MAAAA-meeeeee.  Wake UUUUUuuuuup!”  Or using inoculation, which consists of prodding me in the arm with one sharp little digit until I give up or they poke through to the other side—and no, I’ve never tested their patience that far.

**I worked all weekend.  Doens’t happen often, but it did put the kibosh on AWP.  Next year . . .

***I little later than usual, as I’d gone to hear Grace play a solo at a music celebration. She rocked it as much as a hymn medley for two octaves of handbells can be rocked, which is actually quite a bit.


In which a writer and a librarian confuse each other . . .

funny pictures of cats with captions

The other day, I was hanging behind the reference desk waiting for a fax to go through when I overheard the following conversation between a patron and a one of my co-workers:

Patron:  “Excuse me, but don’t you have a copy of [Specific Book by Specific Author]*?”

Librarian (consulting catalog):  “Yes, we own one copy, but it’s checked out right now.  May I put a reserve on it for you?”

Patron:  “Checked out?  But it’s my book!”

Librarian:  “Um?”

Patron:  “I wrote it.  I gave it to the library.  It should be on the shelf.”

Librarian:  “Well . . . I can flag the record and when it comes back, we could make it part of the local author collection so it can’t be checked out.”

Patron:  “I want to check it out.  If I’d known it wouldn’t be here when I wanted it, I would have kept it for myself!”  (Stomps away)

It was surreal on several levels.

I mean, I know—boy, do I know—that that the majority of writers consider their stories to be their babies, their own precious offspring whom they’ve labored to bring forth,  raised and molded, sworn at and cried over, and occasionally kicked out of the house.

But  I’ve never before encountered a writer who demanded visiting rights.   Or who wasn’t thrilled when someone wanted to set up a play date.

Several theories were offered by witnesses.  A few of us starting looking around for the hidden cameras.  One of us may have muttered that medications should only be tweaked under a doctor’s care.  Another stated that while all writers were crazy, some were obviously crazier than others.** Most of us were wondering how the patron thought libraries worked and if it would be possible to explain it, supposing the patron was in the mood to listen.***

I can’t help thinking, though, that this particular writer might have hit on a pretty savvy marketing strategy—because at least three librarians and one eavesdropping patron now have that book on reserve.

Hmmm . . .


*This is all you get, as I’m not identifying the patron any further.  I don’t even know if s/he actually wrote the book in question, though it was self-published.

**”Right, Sarah?”

***One of us was shamefully glad the patron hadn’t asked how the local author collection worked.

Not so perfect pitch

Spent most of the day fiddling with a possible Pigeon pitch over at Betsy Lerner’s—I know I’m jumping the gun, but that’s been my favorite (read only) form of exercise lately—and so have nothing much to share, except that I clearly need to gather more information on pitches versus queries versus one-line blurbs versus summaries.

Or, quite possibly, finish the book first . . .

But everyone so far has been very helpful.  One person cooked up a terrific example of a pitch using the bare premise I’d offered, except it’s nothing like the story I’m writing. 

Damn it.