Monday, July 15, 2013

36 Ways to Wreck Your Vacation

1. Take your kids.

2. (Okay, forget number one.)

3. Rent a vacation house from people who don't have kids and don't like kids. Rent a house from people who are fond of model ships in bottles, glass sculptures, and white, wall-to-wall carpeting.

4. Pull your kid out of camp a week early for your family vacation. Let him miss end-of-camp Carnival. Listen to him cry. Promise him that if he stops you'll get him a digital pet.

5. Listen to Tamagotchi Digital Pet's beeps and wails for hundreds of miles.

6. Forget to bring the car sick bag. Believe your kid has outgrown that problem anyway. Discover you're wrong.

7. Pull off the road and watch your son and husband have a peeing contest.

8. Watch your 8-year-old son win the peeing contest. Endure your husband's muttering about it for the next hundred miles.

9. Listen to your younger child whine, "Mom, he's breathing on me."

10. Listen to the older one ask, "Couldn't we find a nice family to adopt him?"

11. Take along your child's friend who thinks it's hilarious to jam his cheek full of grapes and make gagging noises while you're driving.

12. Arrive to find that when the realtor said "rustic," she meant no indoor plumbing.

13. Call the realtor and inquire about maid service. Listen to her cackle.

14. Week One: Unpack those ten novels you've been dying to read. Week Two: Repack them unread.

15. Forget your kid's favorite Bunny at home. Listen to him sob, "Binky, Binky!" for three nights running.

16. Realize you didn't pack a bathing suit. Have to go buy one. Have to go buy one in the resort boutique where no suit is larger than a size 2 and the dressing room is lit like an airport runway.

17. Let your spouse carry his iPhone to the beach. See how well it operates when you get sand in it. See what happens when your toddler drops it in the pool.

18. Discover it's black fly season. Apply the local bug spray called "Irving's Fly Dope." Discover the dope is Irving; the flies love it.

19. Endure 37 rounds of mini-golf with an 8-year-old who cheats.

20. Call home only to hear your mother ask, "And when are we going to see you?"

21. Buy your kid a book of knock-knock jokes to keep him quiet. Be subjected to each one while maintaining a glazed grin.

22. Restrain yourself from slugging your spouse after his hourly query, "Are you relaxed yet?"

23. Be forced to referee your kids' burping contests.

24. Drive by miles of antique shops and craftsmen's galleries without being able to stop and see a single one.

25. Spend 45 minutes sweating on-line in a quaint, un-air-conditioned candy store so you can mail chocolate fudge to all the folks back home.

26. Climb down a steep beach bluff with a toddler on your hip, only to have him immediately need the bathroom back up top.

27. Offer large cash rewards to the child who can keep quiet longest.

28. Realize that ice cream is the only source of protein your kids are getting.

29. Arrive at the famous seafood restaurant you've wanted to try. Discover they don't have hamburgers. Let your kids starve.

30. Forget letting your kids starve. Find a hamburger joint.

31. Ask your older child to watch his brother so you can go to the bathroom for two minutes. Return to find your older child's nose pressed to the TV, the front door open, and your 4-year-old playing in the road.

32. Yell at your older child for letting his brother play in the road. Hear him say, "Well, I only did it once." Hear him ask, "If something happens to him, then can we get a dog?"

33. Bring the babysitter on vacation with you. Have no privacy.

34. Don't bring the babysitter. Have no privacy.

35. Do laundry. Cook. Clean. Sweep sand. Bathe children. Spread suntan lotion. Pack beach toys. Make snacks. Tell yourself it must be a vacation because you've got an ocean view.

36. Finally get that the phrase "family vacation" is the ultimate oxymoron.

Friday, December 7, 2012

No, it’s not a chain letter, I swear. It’s called a Blog Hop. I’ve never done one before. I was tagged by my funny writer pal Norine Dworkin-McDaniel.

I’ve been asked to answer 10 quick questions about my big project, and pass the torch pen to the next writer I can arm-twist into participating. Kind of like a… oh, never mind.

1. What is the working title of your book or project?
Love Is Like This: A Family Grows Up with Autism.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book or project?
Readers who’ve read my guest blogs for the New York Times, the Huffington Post and elsewhere keep asking when I’m going to write a book.

3. What genre does it fall under, if any?

4. If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Tina Fey. We both wear glasses.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?
This is how my agent is pitching it: “With warmth, grace and enduring strength, Liane’s compelling story explores the uncharted terrain of raising an older child with autism into adulthood."

6. Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m represented by Inkwell Management.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
20 years. I write long hand.

8. What other book or stories would you compare this story to within the genre?
Wild, without the Pacific Crest Trail. Okay, not. Seriously? Books by my friends/fellow autism moms Susan Senator, Laura Shumaker and Glen Finland.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?
Chances are that today you know someone who has autism, but twenty years ago, I didn’t know anyone with a child like mine. I had no one to talk to.  It was before the Internet; there were no websites, listservs or blogs to turn to. I decided to write the book I wish I'd had when my son was first diagnosed.

10. What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?
What if a stranger had the power to decide if you were a good enough parent to your autistic child? That’s the actuality we faced when a court-appointed temporary guardian arrived at our house to ask questions. Our 17 year old son was about to become a legal adult. She was there to determine if we would be appropriate guardians for him. I was dumbfounded. The simple fact of having raised him didn’t ensure we’d be able to retain legal influence over his adult life.

My story of how we had to prove to the court that we were the best possible guardians for our own son is one of the many challenging realities of raising an autistic young adult. You can read more at Autism After 16,where I write a monthly column called “Roots and Wings.”   

In the next several days, I will post projects from other writers who are participating in this blog hop. Check out their sites and keep things hopping.

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel is writing a collection of humorous essays about stumbling through parenthood, called Don't Put Lizards in Your EarsAnd Other Totally Bizarre Things I Never Thought I’d Do, Say or Think, but Absolutely Did After I Became a Mom. 

Susan Bearman has just written the charming Animal Store Alphabet Book.

Kathy Mirkin is writing a funny children's book entitled Kikki Klein is Not Doomed to be a Duck.

Nancy Hinchliff, the writer who started this hop, is writing a memoir called Roxie, Alfred and Me