Those who know me, know that my big complaint from when my kids went to camp last summer was that I didn’t have a project to work on and I didn’t get to have Oreos for dinner. My novel was on submission and I was too antsy to really be working on something new. And then, every night when Adam asked what I wanted for dinner, I’d say, “Oreos.” He’d respond, “Pasta?” I’d say, “No Oreos.” And he’d say, “Okay, sushi.”
My children are almost done with their four-weeks at sleepaway camp. I am missing them like crazy, and we pick them up tomorrow. Adam and I have over/unders going for how long it will take the girl to roll her eyes at us and how long before the boy asks for his phone.
This year I didn’t have my major summer complaint. We didn’t see many movies. We didn’t eat out very much. But that’s okay. Becuase this year, I most definitely had a big project. Just days before the kids left for camp, I received my line edits back on Modern Girls. The editorial letter was fabulous, the suggestions were spot on, and I had the perfect window of opportunity to work on the novel 24-7 without feeling guilty about ignoring the kids. I had already planned a trip to New York to research the next novel, and it dovetailed nicely because I was able to look up some facts to flesh out Modern Girls.
So that just leaves the Oreos.
Over the years, I’ve become known for my ability to chitchat with just about anyone. My father, years ago, gave me the designation of being “the friendliest Brown,” which says a lot because my father is not exactly a wallflower. While I have a small circle whom I consider my close friends, my extended circle stretches fairly wide and I’m friendly with a lot of folks.
My husband on the other hand has a small group he considers friends, and even then, he’s terrible about maintaining those friendships. It’s usually up to me to say, “Hey, we haven’t seen so and so in a while; we should all get together,” and he says, “Yeah, that sounds great!” Then after a few weeks of him not doing anything about it, I’ll e-mail the significant other of his friends and we’ll make a date.
What does this have to do with revisions and Oreos?
I made it 24 days into revisions without kids, gummy bears, or Oreos before I cracked. I walked down to Walgreens and purchased a bag of Double Stuf [sic] Oreos (but only because they didn’t carry Mega Stuf). I walked home (an entire mile each way! I was actually burning lots of calories! I was being super healthy!) and got to work. And to Oreos.
That night, after proudly saying that I’d only eaten half the bag, I might have mentioned that I wasn’t feeling so well. “Gee, I wonder why,” Adam said. It’s possible I may have griped, once or twice, “Why did you let me eat all those?” Perhaps I said, in the middle of the night, “My stomach is gurgly.” And there is a chance I may have woken up the next day and said, “Oh boy! I still have Oreos left!”
Early that morning, I got up and took my computer into the living room to revise. Adam made his breakfast, did some work, and headed to the office. I yelled good-bye from the couch. And a few hours (or minutes, so hard to tell) later, I made my way to the kitchen just to see if there was, oh, anything on which to snack. Nothing in particular. Just something good. That’s when I found this on the counter:
I think I’ve already made my case here on which one of us really knows what friendship is all about. As if Adam is some sort of expert on friendship. Those Oreos were with me when my characters were being recalcitrant. Those Oreos were there for me when I struggled to read my own handwriting (seriously, my handwriting sucks!). Those Oreos stood by my side as I paged through years worth of New York Times Time Machine newspapers looking for facts. Where was Adam? At work. Where were those Oreos? Keeping me company. In ma belly. So who’s my friend? The man trying to keep my beloveds away from me? Or my Oreos?
Alas, my Oreos are no longer with us. (A moment of silence, please, for the Oreos.) I have fewer than 24 kid-free hours and 75 pages to complete for this pass on my manuscript (this is the third pass, and I will do at least one, maybe two, more passes). When folks ask, “Hey, what fun things did you do while the kids were gone?” I will point to my pages and the empty bag of Oreos.
It was a good vacation. The only thing that could have made it better? Gummy bears.