Welcome to Sandy’s Snarky Snippets!

Welcome! In my blog posts I hope to engage and entertain with observations and anecdotes about my writing and my life. I am a writer, wife, mother, and animal lover who enjoys cooking, reading, gardening and doling out unsolicited advice to my adult children.

In January 2018, I published my first novel, Money Man, a dark comedic look into one man’s journey to find a new career path. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think.


By: Sandy Bush, Vice President, Pennwriters

Last month my husband and I traveled through New England, spending a long weekend in Boston, and then driving up to Kennebunkport, ME. We had a fabulous time in Boston, and racked up lots of steps on my IWatch. We enjoyed seeing some old touristy spots we’d visited before, as well as a few new sights. By the end of our stay, we’d exhausted our travel goals for Boston, and headed north to Kennebunkport. I looked forward to an ocean view after the bustle and crowds of the city.

Our drive was pleasant and uneventful, and in a couple of hours we arrived at our destination, the beautiful Nonantum Resort. The resort, on the outskirts of tiny Kennebunkport, looked idyllic. With its water views and bright white buildings with crisp, navy blue awnings, this looked even better than I had hoped.

The staff, warm and friendly, advised us of popular restaurants, local sights of interest (ahem…the Bush Compound on the coast), and assured us everything was “only a short walk” from the resort. Ha! The walk into the town proper was a pleasant 20 minutes, but trekking back and forth several times kept the steps on my watch well beyond ten thousand. But, keeping with my goals of (1) eating lobster, (2) enjoying the ocean views, and (3) eating more lobster, made me happy we were active.

With only a vague sense of how far away the Bush Compound actually was, we set off walking one morning. I should mention, southern Maine temperatures rose far above normal during our stay–reaching well into the high seventies and mid-eighties. Unusual temperatures for this time of year. At home in Pennsylvania, temperatures also soared above normal, but who could complain? Sunny and warm temperatures in spring. Bring them on!

My main dilemma with the toasty temps was my lack of appropriate clothing. Assuming New England spring would be far chillier than south central PA, I packed mostly long sleeves, only long pants, and multiple sweaters, jackets, and coats. And two umbrellas. None of these were needed.

Walking along the gorgeous oceanside path, I soaked up the sunshine. However, the pathway had hills, and given the topography of the Maine coast, we walked up and down quite a few. After walking about an hour, I wondered out loud how far away said compound could be. Plus, how would we know when we spotted it? The place is littered with outlandishly over-the-top mansions. Everywhere you looked, wealth smacked you in the face.

Having seen the compound on the news countless times, we felt certain we’d know when we found it. So, we trudged on, getting sweatier and more sunburned as we shed as much clothing as possible. We stopped to take a few scenic pictures and take a water break, but finally, we glimpsed something that looked promising.

“There it is,” Todd said, pointing to an on-the-water group of houses and buildings on the water’s edge.

The largest building, a magnificent house, was the last in a line of lesser, more ordinary looking homes. Although impressive, we were far enough away that I wasn’t convinced it was the right place. “I don’t know,” I said, somewhat disappointed, “it doesn’t look that great. Plus, I thought I remembered it being white.”

My husband shot me a look of annoyance, and we ventured further, running into a nice couple who verified it was indeed the Bush Compound. “I really thought it was white,” I said to the woman. “I thought it would be more impressive looking.”

“Right,” said my new friend, “I thought it was white too.”

Again, my husband looked annoyed, but made friendly chit-chat with the woman’s husband. After telling them where we were staying, they looked horrified when we told them we walked. “Oh my, that’s awfully far,” said the woman, “would you like to catch a ride back with us? Closer to your hotel?”

Declining their offer and wishing them a safe trip home to Florida, Todd and I continued on our way, and got as close as possible without risking arrest. We took a few photos, and admired the tributes to G.H.W.B. beside the walking path. At this point, hot, sweaty, and cranky from thirst and sore feet, we journeyed back to the hotel.

Our lovely room had a balcony and a water view, so when we returned I wanted nothing more than to sit on the deck and relax. What I craved was something to read, but during my hasty departure for our trip, I had forgotten the books I’d meant to bring. Sadly, they remained stacked on the kitchen table in York.

Having spotted a mini library in the lobby, I decided to look for something to read. I chose Open House by Elizabeth Berg, a book I dove into and hated to put down. I relaxed on our deck, rolled up my sleeves and broasted in the afternoon sun. Sheer heaven.

With only one day left at Nonantum, I realized I’d never finish the book. “I guess I’ll have to buy it when we get home,” I told Todd.

“Why don’t you ask them if you can take it?” He suggested. “It doesn’t hurt to ask.”

Although embarrassed, I approached the front desk, and explained my dilemma. Before I could even get my story out, the sweet lady at the desk, blurted out, “Just take it with you. Next time you come back, bring a book to leave here.”

“My wife is an author,” Todd said. “She understands how attached people get to books.”

“Yes,” I said, “in fact, when I get home, I’ll mail you a copy of my first novel.”

“Oh,” said the woman, “that would be wonderful! I can tell everyone the author stayed here.”

I thanked her for her kindness, and returned to our room, resolving to mail a book as soon as we got home. After a long, traffic-jammed return trip, we arrived safely back in York. A few days later, I typed up a letter to Nonamtum, thanking them for their generosity, our wonderful stay, and enclosed a signed copy of Money Man with a handful of bookmarkers.

At our local post office, I mailed the book priority mail, which includes tracking. Since I am generally distrusting of government agencies, I immediately tracked the book’s progress. Imagine my surprise, when a couple of days later, the tracking showed the book was deemed undeliverable/incomplete address. According to the tracking info, the Kennebunkport Post Office, would try to deliver it again the next day.

Every day I continued to track the book. Every day the status remained the same. After a week of this, I resolved to contact the post office and ask why the book remained in postal limbo. Before googling the post office for a phone number, I checked the tracking one more time. This time: Returned to Sender. Sigh.

A day or so later, the battered package was in my mailbox. I was furious. I knew I had the correct mailing address. Why wouldn’t they deliver it? After ranting and raving about this to my husband, he offered to call the resort and inquire.

The friendly staff member on the other end of the phone was equally perplexed. After some back and forth via speaker, I asked if I should try sending it again using UPS or Fed\Ex. But “Ashley” our new front desk friend, suggested we add the p .o. box (although mail was delivered daily without it), and her name to the package as a guarantee it would make it to the hotel.

“Did you guys really piss off the post office or what?” Todd asked. “Why wouldn’t they deliver it?”

“I don’t know,” said Ashley. We all laughed.

Thursday I mailed the package again, venturing to a different post office. I brought the returned envelope with me to show the post office dude behind the counter. Unsympathetic, he only asked if wanted additional insurance or a signature for the envelope.

“Do you recommend a signature?” I said.

“Not really,” post office dude said. “It would probably just complicate things even more.” Sigh.

So I paid to mail it again, fingers crossed, with the newly obtained p .o. box number, and Attention: Ashley written in bold, black sharpie marker. I haven’t had courage to check the new tracking info yet. Maybe I never will.

Diving In Again

By: Sandy Bush, Vice President, Pennwriters

It’s been far too long since I’ve shared a new “snippet” for my website blog, “Sandy’s Snarky Snippets”. Covid did its thing, stole creativity, time, and drive from me, but now it’s time for me to move on. No more excuses. But, what to talk about? How about the Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in May 2023? Or maybe, how Pennwriters helped me become a published author.

I’ve been a member of Pennwriters for a long time, but many years passed without my ever attending a conference. I’d wait eagerly for our bi-monthly newsletter to arrive, and look longingly at the news about upcoming conferences. The newsletter was my only real connection to Pennwriters at that point in my life; that and mailing a check to the Treasurer once a year to pay my dues.

As the stay at home mother of two young daughters, it wasn’t possible for me to traipse off to a writing conference. I kept up with my writing, publishing in a local newsletter through the YWCA called The Mother’s Center. It was through this experience I learned I loved interviewing people, and developed a theory I still hold true: Everybody has a story to tell.

As my daughters grew, I had more time to myself. I had a number of part-time retail jobs, and stayed busy with volunteering at school, but I wanted more. It was around this time I made the decision to go back to college. Penn State (York) accepted me, and I dipped a toe in the pool, starting with one class. I was able to transfer my credits from Millersville, and steered myself toward a major in CAS (Communications, Arts, and Sciences).

After a year, my husband persuaded me to go full time and finish the degree I’d been chiseling away at for so long. During my final semester in my senior year at Penn State, I started an independent study with one of my English professors. I wrote an outline for an idea I had for a novel, and a chapter by chapter synopsis. It was the story of a financial advisor, so tormented by his crazy, wealthy clients, that he fears for his sanity and ponders finding a different career. Professor M. loved the idea and offered to edit for me. I started writing. My graduation was slated for December 2009.

Summoned to the Office of the Director of Academic Affairs several weeks into the semester, I learned my professor and my independent study were both terminated. Dr. Ph.D. interrogated me about my relationship with Professor M. and my own integrity (“Exactly what is this independent study you’re working on?”). I left his office fighting back tears of frustration and anger. Professor M.’s apparent “inappropriate behavior” none of which involved me, would cost me graduating in December. I would be shy three credits.

The only explanation I ever received from Professor M. was a voicemail message saying, “Sandy, please don’t hate me.” I never spoke to him again. I never learned why he got fired. As a student, I wasn’t privy to these details from Dr. Ph.D., or any other administrator.

In Spring 2010, I took two classes: A Government Class, which secured me an internship with the PA House of Representatives, and badminton. By May 2010 I earned the degree I’d worked so hard to get, and carried the banner for CAS at commencement, as well earning a minor in English. Hands down, one of the happiest, and proudest moments of my life.

After graduation, I continued to work on my novel, Money Man while working full time for Rep. Seth Grove. I loved my job, but with the many public service events I needed to attend–often evenings and weekends, I grew frustrated with the lack of time I craved to finish my book. With my husband’s blessing and encouragement, I resigned from my job with the PA House, and dove into finishing my novel.

Deciding I needed to become more involved in the writing community, I ran for Area 5 Representative for Pennwriters, and was elected. In May 2015, I attended my first Pennwriters Annual Conference in Lancaster. Terrified and exhilarated, I made many new friends, pitched my novel to an agent, and had one of the best weekends ever.

It took me almost eight years from the time I submitted my outline to Professor M. to published my novel in 2018. I could never have done it without the connections I made at my first Pennwriters Conference in 2015. With the editorial guidance of Demi Stevens, I published my book through her Year of the Book Press in Glen Rock.

Since then, I’ve published the sequel to Money Man, Money Man Marooned, and served as Area 5 Rep., Secretary, and Vice President of this amazing organization. I am so proud of the hard work accomplished by this volunteer organization, whose only goal is to help writers of all levels improve their writing.

As Vice President of the Pennwriters Board of Directors, I want to thank the Conference Coordinators Wende Dikec and Kathleen Shoop for a fabulous job. Every conference is different and special, but this one was phenomenal!

So, rejuvenated, pumped up, and scheduled for some fantastic Pennwriters online Zoom classes, I applaud my fellow Pennwriters, who never fail to inspire, teach, and support me and my writing. Thank you, my friends.

Looking for Something. Somewhere.

Yesterday I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for my favorite pen. It’s special for several reasons, the first and foremost, because it was a gift from my eldest daughter, Chelsea. The pen is inscribed with the nom de plume I planned to use before I became a published author.

I don’t remember how many years I’ve had the pen, but it’s been a while. It has a lovely metallic finish that is showing signs of wear and tear–much like its owner. The pen fits magically in my hand, and I feel empowered when I hold it. It is my talisman against writer’s block, insecurity and anxiety, the second reason it holds such importance.

The third reason the missing pen disturbed me, was largely an ego problem: I seldom lose things. “Put things back where you found them” is a mantra in my over-organized, OCD mindset. Over the years, this theme found its way into numerous lectures to my children and my husband. When things go missing, I am most often the person who leads the search like a private detective on the case, taking smug satisfaction when the lost article is discovered.

Todd, my husband, has been working from home now since last March. On more than one occasion, my pen has mysteriously made its way to his home office desk. I was not pleased. He has his own “special” pens, several of which I have gifted him over the years. And now we have our youngest daughter, Monica living at home with us again, with her dog, Stella. This creates other possibilities for my pen to disappear–although I doubt Stella prefers pens over her chew toys.

As a creature of habit, I have noticed how unsettled I can be when my space is invaded. I have had the house to myself during the day for years, and often write at my kitchen table. COVID-19 has completely changed my artistic dynamic. Now other people work at home too.

I love my family, and I adore spending time with them, knowing they are safe in our home. Truth be told, this change in my environment has little to do with my productivity, or lack thereof. As I’ve mentioned in my writing previously, the pandemic has affected me deeply. Not in a good way. I miss my friends. I miss our extended family. I long for a time when I won’t scrutinize every human I encounter as a potential contagion. And, my God, I miss traveling.

To me, the pen represents much more than a writing utensil, and its engraving is particularly poignant. When I decided to start writing my first novel, I anticipated using a pseudonym. My family cheered me on, and the gift of the pen represented my future as an author. My identity as an author. As I’ve stated before, the subject matter for Money Man hit close to home. I didn’t want to risk anyone suspecting my husband was the hero of my novel. In fact, my protagonist is the polar opposite of my husband.

The whole point of the book, was to pay homage to a man (my husband) who remained unflappable even when his clients treated him badly. His stamina made me think about all of the brave souls serving the public and swallowing the spew humanity hurled at them. Because, hey, the customer is always right. Right? Wrong. Wouldn’t it be great to have a story where the good guy prevails by giving himself a chance at a better, albeit less toxic occupation?

But I digress. Again. Back to the pen. When I finished my book and told my editor I planned to use a pen name, she balked. She pointed out I would want my friends and relatives to know I wrote a book and support my efforts. How could I market a book without my name? Maintaining multiple social media accounts is tedious enough, without adding a second set of accounts. Although I remained unconvinced, I took her advice and published under my legal name.

My children were horrified. “What if someone thinks it’s about Daddy?” Indeed, we all had concerns, but my editor remained unflappable, “don’t be silly,” she said. “It’s fiction. That’s what ‘disclaimers’ are for.” Sure. But it didn’t stop people from asking me if any of the stories in the book were real, no matter how outlandish they were. “Hahaha! It’s fiction!” became my retort.

I have friends who use pseudonyms and manage it without any trouble. And I often wonder if having a punchy nom de plume would increase my sales. So I’ve promised myself, someday, I’ll foray into another genre (maybe) and take a shot at publishing under the name I adore, but never revealed. Yet.

After a couple of hours of searching, I found my pen. I remembered “hiding” it there during a particularly annoying search for something else of mine I’d had to hunt down. The good news was, not only was my pen recovered, but in the process, I cleaned out three desk drawers.

All this reminded me that cleaning and organizing helps me reboot my creativity. Organizing calms something in me. Maybe it’s a need for order –to keep everything in place for when I need it. Sometimes we need to lose something, even temporarily, before we remember how important it is. My lost pen reminded me to keep writing, even when I don’t want to, and to keep looking for something positive. Even during this damn pandemic.

The Good, the Bad, and the Dormant.

Over the past six-plus weeks of this self-isolation, I keep getting a returning image in my head of the cartoon character with an angel over one shoulder and a devil over the other. Not a struggle of good and evil per se, but more an examination of my conscience. A call to be a good citizen, yet a strong desire to get back to my regular life, with all of the normal, good stuff that goes along with it.

I’ve heard people bitching about their rights being taken away; of feeling like prisoners in their own homes. And I get that. In many ways, I concur completely. Then there are those folks reminding everyone to selflessly sacrifice some of our everyday comforts for the greater good, and to protect the fragile, most susceptible members of our society. I get that too.

When this whole nightmare started, I jumped in with both of my gloved hands and supported the cause to contain this virus. I cleaned, disinfected, organized, and cooked up a storm. Initially, it was fun having my husband home every day to eat lunch with me, and I enjoyed posting pictures of our evening meals on social media as a means to entertain myself. Then I saw the masses of hungry, unemployed people, lined up for miles to get food from the food banks across the country. It stopped being fun showing off my culinary skills. Instead my husband and I looked for ways to contribute to the food bank and support local restaurants and businesses we patronize. This helped me feel better. A little.

The first few weeks, I talked or texted with all of my close friends. Everyone wanted to check in with one another to make certain we were all doing okay. Most resigned to a few weeks of knuckling under and riding the wave until things could improve. Now, I notice people have less to say. Although my friends and I continue to touch base, nobody appears to be too chatty. After all, what is there to talk about? No one is doing anything much. And dear God, it keeps raining.

Finally, after a plethora of rainy days, the weather cleared enough to mow the grass. Hallelujah! An outdoor activity to pass the time. Growing up in my family, mowing the grass was a multi-generational, unisex chore. Dad was particular about how the lawn was mowed. He had no qualms chasing after the mower, shouting instructions and correcting ones’ form. Maybe that’s why I like to mow the grass. Whenever I do, it reminds me of my father, and the many times he tried to improve my mowing skills. Today would be his 96th birthday. If I could, I’d mow the grass in his memory. But it’s raining. Again.

As the days continue to morph one into the next, most of my friends find themselves in a dormant phase. Going through the motions of life without feeling as though we’re participating. As time ticks on, I see tempers flaring, patience waning, and the evil twin over my shoulder nudging me to kick the nice one off permanently. But I can’t let that happen. Yet. At least not without a mask.

Hear my plea, Lord. I think we’re all ready to come out of this hibernation phase of life. And please, Dear God, let it feel like spring. Amen.

A Food Critic in Times of Crisis

By Sandy Bush

As I’ve talked about in the past, food is an important part of my life. I’ve cooked since I was a child, and I learned the basics at the elbow of my favorite cook ever: My mother. She taught me a lot about learning how to cook with what you had on hand; how to improvise a recipe if you lacked a specific ingredient, and how to make tasty, nutritious food without breaking the bank. And, the beauty of leftovers for a tasty, hot lunch the next day.

My love of all things food has caused some problems over the course of my life. For example, the ups and downs of the bathroom scale and a lifetime membership in Weight Watchers, now known as WW. Portion control is the bane of my existence, yet I embrace it like a pilgrimage. But, I digress.

On my mind this morning, is the disaster known as Covid-19, like everyone else. In an attempt to encourage others to cook, and use cooking as a creative experience, I posted my dinner menu on social media and shared what I prepare a few days a week. This has led to some surprising backlash. One person asked me, “Do you have a garden growing shrimp?” Uh, no. I removed them from my freezer. For anyone who’s curious, WW touts shrimp as a “zero point” food choice. Sautee them with some veggies, or a starch and you’ve got a relatively low calorie (and delicious) meal.

Others posted passive-aggressive comments regarding my posts and how it compares to meal prep they shared, insinuating a competition of sorts. Uh, no again. If what you post looks good, I’m happy to compliment you, or like your posted dish. If not, I’ll politely ignore it. The only person I compete with, ever, is me. I cook for my husband, and our family, because I love them, and I want to nurture them. Food brings people together, and bonds them. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish. During these unforeseen and unimaginable days of isolation and despair, performing small acts of kindness for people is all we have left.

Some friends have (jokingly?) stated I should stop posting my pictures because it’s making everyone who doesn’t cook look bad. Again, not my intention to make anyone feel inadequate. I don’t feel bad when you post pictures of your trips, or your dogs, or your sewing projects. I cheer for you and am happy for your success.

On the upside, I’ve had people reach out and ask for recipes, which I love to share. Others friends have posted entertaining suggestions for ingredients I should omit or add. Perfect! Even better, are the friends who share what they’re having for dinner. Believe me, I love a good grilled cheese and tomato soup as much as anyone. Show me your roast chicken, your juicy-rare steak, or your chili and it will get me thinking about when I’ll make it too.

Although I’ve fantasized forever about being the Next Phantom Diner (WITF’s (PBS) magazine food critic), chances are it won’t happen. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is what I saw on national television today: Heartbreaking, long lines of cars waiting for donations from the food banks. The reality of this hit me like a ton of bricks, and I felt ashamed of myself for sharing the bounty of my table. Hunger in our country is real. It’s all around us.

I will not be sharing my recipes for a while. At least until this crisis is behind us. Instead I’ll put my energy and resources behind donating food to my local food bank, and doing what I can to keep this situation at bay in my hometown. Food for the soul.

Marching through the Corona Virus Quarantine

By Sandy Bush

I’ll admit it. I’ve never liked the month of March. In my mind, it conjures images of windblown hair dos, chilly rain blowing my umbrella inside out, and more than once, the last unwanted snowstorm of the season.

Sure, sometimes, there are nice days in March. Early spring flowers popping up out of nowhere, green grass tentatively appearing, and occasionally, an Easter Sunday when you could wear a new spring outfit. In my memory, these are few and far between.

But, I’m a gal who lives for the summer. I like the heat, and the sunshine and spending time outdoors tending my garden. The dreary winter days sap energy from my soul and leave me longing for sunshine on my face.

So, here it is, the last day of March. I should be happy, but this has been a March like no other. And I’m not the only one wondering what April will bring to our planet.

Until recently, a lot of us thought about a tasty Mexican beer when we heard the word: Corona. Not anymore. Now instead of bringing folks together to tip back a few cold ones, the word Corona symbolizes the complete opposite, social distancing. Another term few of us gave any thought to until recently. Now, we’re under house arrest. Husbands and wives and kids are learning to share the space we all took for granted–our home.

We limit our trips to the grocery store for necessities, dodging fellow shoppers and bathing ourselves, and our shopping carts, in hypothetical antibacterial protection. The Government wants us to stay home, but who can resist seeing if there will be any toilet paper or eggs in the store? They’ve become heavily coveted items. Even Amazon is failing us. The “Prime” membership I’m paying for isn’t getting me the stuff I order; certainly not books. But, I can still watch Mrs. Maisel.

Also in vogue these days, the expression “The New Normal,” which isn’t a new term at all. According to my husband, this terminology became popular in financial circles after the 2008 stock market plunge. And here we find ourselves again, watching the bear and bull markets duke it out. Many folks are not opening their bank statements, and I’m one of them.

I take solace in the basics these days: Cooking, reading, writing, and long phone conversations with friends I used to be more likely to text. Social media helps. But more than anything, I hope all this social distancing sacrifice will do what the experts tell me it will. I pray life will get back to normal soon, and we will be able to hug our loved ones without fear.

Stay healthy and strong friends.

Stop talking with your mouth full. Please.

I admit it. I love food. The preparation, the presentation and the consumption of everything delicious makes my heart soar. To prepare food for someone is the ultimate expression of love, and nothing brings me more joy than cooking for my family and friends.

Long before it was chic to Instagram your date-night dinners or share a video of yourself crafting a complex concoction for a Facebook video, people cooked to nourish, celebrate and entertain. Now it’s acceptable to interrupt any four-star meal at a Michelin-rated restaurant to photograph yourself, your meal, or your chef for the sake of sharing on social media. And I’m okay with that.

No stranger to the Food Network, or Iron Chefs, I appreciate watching both the professionals and novice culinary wizards filet, fricassee and flambe like anyone else. But why, please tell me, must I suffer watching the network morning anchor people stuffing their faces on television in the early hours every day?

I’ve witnessed this phenomenon on all the early morning, major network talk shows, and I’m not sure when the trend started. In a state of early morning fog, and anxious for coffee, I’m desperate to find actual news and not the morning celebrities chowing their way through another “let’s cook through the magic of television” scenario. NBC, in particular offends me, because it happens daily–or so it seems.

One of the NBC anchors has, on more than one occasion, admitted his own mother is horrified to see him trying to talk on national television with his mouth full. Well, yeah, that makes at least two of us. I’m guessing a lot more.

I get it, I do. The occasional cooking segment has appeal, but must we see this charade every single day? These “news people,” who may or may not have actual cooking skills, embarrassing the guest chef who’s attempting to teach Cooking 101 via Bunsen  Burner on live TV?  Ridiculous.

Oh, and by the way, make sure not to wait until the commercial break to sample whatever is in front of you. There’s no need to be patient in front of your viewing audience. But, please. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t speak. Remember, mom’s watching.


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.