Waiting for the Repairman and Other First World Problems.

“The water dispenser on the refrigerator isn’t working again,”  my daughter, Chelsea informed me when I walked into the kitchen Tuesday evening. Feeling exhausted after a long meeting, this wasn’t a welcome greeting.

“Great,” I answered. This made the third time in six months the water/ice dispenser on our fourteen-year-old fridge went on the fritz. The local appliance repair dude and I are on a first-name, recognize each other on sight basis.

This scenario has become a family joke. Particularly, when my daughter, Monica in Florida calls me. “A guy is here putting in our radon mitigation system,” I told her a few weeks ago when she phoned. She laughed, reminding me there was always someone working in our house. Truth.

I’m not complaining. Really. My husband and I agreed long ago that our repair skills are non-existent and had the understanding to call in professionals whenever water or electricity was involved. Over the years, it’s expanded to include all skilled labor.

Appliance repair friend arrived Saturday morning to look at the fridge. Within seconds he diagnosed the problem with my husband, “Frozen water line.” Looking at me, he said, “Sorry. Different problem this time.”

He ran through several options, including the unpopular, “Maybe consider replacing it?”

My husband didn’t budge. “No, let’s fix it.”

So, repair dude ordered parts–a heater for the refrigerator door– and had parting advice until they arrived. “Set a timer for fifteen minutes and keep the freezer door open. That should thaw the line and get the water flowing. Might take up to forty-five minutes.”

Sounded crazy, and counterintuitive to those of us always told to close the refrigerator/freezer door. But, it worked.



Dangerous Liaisons: Writer for Hire?

Earlier this week, I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize. Most often, I ignore these calls, but intuition told me to answer this one.

“Is this Sandra Bush?” The male voice asked.


“This is Phil X. Do you remember me?”

“Uh,” long pause here. “No, I’m sorry.”

“We met in a barbershop,” Phil X said.

And then I knew. It was the creepy private investigator I met in the hair salon in August! The one I chronicled in my blog post, “The Private Detective.”

“I’m ready to start working on my book soon. The one I told you about? You said you were a writer?”

“Yeah, right. I remember.”

“Well, I’ll be traveling to Washington, DC soon to interview some very high profile, famous people. Key witnesses. I wondered if you might like to come along. You know, to observe an actual interrogation.”

“I don’t think my husband would go for that,” I said.

“Okay. So, I researched you pretty thoroughly and I think you might be the right person to write my story, but I need to read something of yours first. Do you think you could let me borrow one of your books? To see if I like it.”

Red flags are dropping from the sky. This total stranger wants me to go to Washington with him, possibly write his book and he won’t even buy one of my books?

“I’ve never had anyone ask to borrow one of my books,” I said.

“Well, you know, I don’t want to buy it. I might not like it.”

“It’s $13.00,” I said. “That’s the way it works when you buy a book. There’s always the risk you might not enjoy it.”

We went back and forth a bit about why he should or shouldn’t buy my book.

“I have other published material you could find online,” I offered. But I was convinced I wanted nothing to do with this loser.

“Well, think about it,” Phil X said. “It’s going to be a best seller. I’m sure Hollywood will want to make a movie about this. It’s got everything: sex trafficking, murders–like at least four murders–Washington politicians.”

He paused and I said nothing. “Oh, and I should warn you, you won’t be able to publish under your own name. It’s too dangerous. In fact, you could be killed when they figure out who helped me write it.”

“Yeah, I’ll think about it,” I said. Although there was nothing to think about. This guy knows nothing about the publishing industry, and wants me to write his story for free? A story that might get me killed? No thanks.


Romance Writer Rendezvous

Several weeks ago, I received an invitation to participate as a panel judge in a one-page critique “challenge” for the CPRW (Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers).  Delighted, I accepted and prepared myself.

So this past Saturday morning, when I showed up for my assignment, I got quite the mental workout. When I’ve critiqued other writers’ works in the past, I had the benefit of reading it myself. But this exercise involved intense, active listening.

As a moderator read the first page of an anonymous author’s work, the panel gave feedback. All without the benefit of a title, or clue about who submitted the work.

I admit, I was nervous going into this adventure, and it proved even harder than I anticipated. But I learned so much listening and concentrating on these novel beginnings. It reminded me that at heart, all writers are storytellers first, whatever the genre. I also learned romance writing has many faces; some stories scared me, some made me laugh, and a couple of them left me scratching my head in confusion.

Thank you to CPRW for the experience! I enjoyed the seven story beginnings I had the honor to judge. Perhaps, more importantly, all of them made me want to read more for myself. And as writers (and readers), we can’t ask for much more.