• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Hello, It’s Me, I’ve Thought About Us for a Long, Long While


I’ve been in NYC the last few days doing the agenting thing, by which I mean glamorous parties, auctions, meetings with Polish agents who still smoke and have alluring eyebrows. Or, to be more accurate,  sitting at my desk eating a do I dare peach Chobani yogurt, being put on hold for an hour and forty minutes with Verizon, paying the bills, and packing up my manuscript bag with over 500 pages of paper that all say the same thing: read me first. Not complaining, just saying.

What’s your work day? Like the not writing part?


12 Responses

  1. I spend a minimum of 40 hours a week pretending I give a rat’s ass about subrogation, since that’s how I make my living. Yeah, the shit rolled downhill and it was my life and this is where it’s ended up.

    But hey — I’m making more money than I ever have. Too bad I owe so much of it to Bank of America. They’re my de facto employer. As for my facto employer, he’s a great guy, and since he pays my salary, that’s all I will say about him. I don’t bite the hand that feeds.

    But Jesus Marie Christ — subrogation in Chicago in the winter time. No wonder I’ve turned into an FB junkie. Though it seems everyone I know there is just as pissed-off, stressed-out, and cash-strapped as I am.

  2. Awake at 5 am, coffee on for my wife, tea for me. Feed the woodstove, take the dog out, attempt 100 sit ups, settle for 60, eat breakfast. Get the child out of bed. Arrive at work at 7:30, put kid on the school bus, wave goodbye. Shovel and salt the walk and parking lot. Sort mail. Put notices in mailboxes for those receiving packages. Yay Amazon! Hope the guy who ordered the muffler and tailpipe comes in soon. Ditto for the chickens. Live birds. Cheep cheep cheep. Chat with customers, do paperwork, send out forwarded mail. Scan packages coming in and going out. Rewrite story I’m working on, make copy of notes for the day. More paperwork, make sure column A equals column B, disbursements and receipts. Go home. Eat lunch. Think about what needs to be rewritten. Go for ski. Think some more. Snowblow the driveway. Meet bus at 4. Best part of day.

  3. Given the post, I felt sure the title ought to be The Grand Illusion.

    Oh god. The non-writing part at this moment is about to suck me dry. Mom decided to sell her house and move closer. (within 1.5 miles) As you can imagine, pros/cons. So, when I’m not writing, I’m running interference on packing, coordinating sale of her house, purchase of the other home, deed work, discussions with brother, rants with brother, coping with Mom’s many phone calls/mood swings (these I understand), preparing our taxes, planning week long trip to MS (for book event), coordinating granddaughter’s two year birthday before we go on trip, coordinating closing dates on sales, answering multiple questions by lawyers, real estate agents and seller, and in the middle of all of that, turning in the writing stuff which is under a flaming hot deadline.

    Other than that, everything’s great.

  4. Between 0400 and 0530, feet are down and coffee made. A step outside to feel the weather and look at the sky gives me some clues about the day ahead. Then it’s time for Beauregardless to have breakfast and his meds, and for me to check email. I’ll be outside for the false dawn, when everything is different in look and feel. If the old dog is willing, we’ll be walking by the water then. The East is hinting at light, and the West is still full of stars, especially on the horizon. It is a familiar mystery, different from sunset, when night, not day, holds the secrets.

    Back at the house, it;s coffee and putzing about quietly, as the lady of the manor keeps her own schedule, unless she has someplace she needs to be. Lola has damned well earned the right to her time, and can sleep or read or whatever else as pleases her.

    Reading and some television will take up some of the morning. The Young Pope has my full attention right now. There is always some Googletime and notejotting for an outline or two in progress.

    Sometimes there is breakfast, sometimes not, and the same with lunch. There may be a morning nap or doze, or the daysleeping may wait until afternoon.

    Unless the weather is foul, much of the afternoon will be outside, at least until the heat and no-seeums force us inside. At this time of year the temperature and breezes are nice for reading or whatever else, as long as it’s outside.

    The three of us may walk a beach, or hang with our friend who recently had a stroke. The man has guts, and is better than before, and his wife, though fearful, is hanging tough.

    We may catch a sunset, and will likely be on the bayou before our night ends.

    Unless there is travel or a day job, we live free-form days. Soon we will prepare to travel and work, and it will be three weeks before we return. It will be busy, loud, sometimes frantic, and there will be conflicts. There will be friends and fun, too. I look forward to it, but am anxious to get back home.

  5. I will be vertical for the next eight hours when all I want to be is prone on my couch. (damn cold).
    Upright and walking, I will do four to five miles while trying to please the eye, the suits and the ones with plastic money. There is no worth, other than monetary, to what I do. I do not save people, make them well or provide that which they need for existence.
    I help to enhance their surroundings until their money runs out.

  6. My glamorous nonwriting life involves spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about, editing, reinforcing, and teaching reference styles.

  7. My work “day” wanders all over the clock and is not a Monday-Friday gig. Sometimes there is an early morning site meeting (contractors are notorious for scheduling walk-thrus at 7:30AM) or a mid-morning client meeting that lasts several hours. Some residential clients prefer the evenings to review their floor plans, invoices and finish selections; I’m often at those meetings until 9PM. Since most of my residential clients have dogs, I am usually covered in dog hair and slobber by the time I get home. Then, there are the commercial clients who make a decision at 10AM, change it at 2PM, but want the revised plans for the following morning. And in-between are the phone calls and emails with vendors, truant delivery services and whining contractors. A never-ending cast of characters and situations which keep me inspired for the time I assign for writing. All-in-all, an entertaining, albeit highly-scheduled, life.

  8. My non-writing life is merely a different writing life. I write on behalf of clients, making half-baked programs appear brilliant to their accreditors, making emergency decisions sound like the inevitable outcomes of Solomonic deliberation. I take policy manuals that have grown over decades of accretion, and re-order them into something searchable and ideally helpful.

    I help clients answer the seemingly simple question, “How will you know that you’ve done what you’ve promised to do? What evidence will you bring to the table?” And then I help them build the structures they need to collect and organize that evidence.

    When I was a higher ed administrator, one of my foremost strategies was managing upward, repeating things enough times that the president began to think they were his ideas. I didn’t need credit, I just needed things to get done. Now as a consultant, it’s much the same, helping other people suddenly have a blinding insight that I’ve spent two years fostering.

    The work is all done at home, along with the second job of being the clerk of the Select Board of our village, organizing minutes and tracking down state sample ordinances and posting updates to the Town website.

    Interspersed through all that, it’s cats and chocolate, woodstoves and billiards. Making iced coffee for my wife.

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