Water line break in garage apartment
Midway through a catch-up phone call with a close friend, I mentioned I’d just returned from a four day stint in New York City, chased by a forty eight hour blur in Chicago. (yes a blur, I wanted to say sprint, but I had to wear heels.)
“Oh,” she sighed. “Um, um, um. You live such a glamourous life.”
My lips spread. Did she just say… I shook my head. Certainly, I miss heard.
“You’re kidding, right?” I howled. My stomach contracted and air blitzed my throat. My jaw bounced. I started to laugh. As visions of the latest debacle in a string of freak accidents left in the wake of my fascinating existence flashed before my eyes, I broke out in a full blown belly buster.
In between sucking air and gut thrusts, a curious thought crossed my mind. I contemplated my responsibility in her star-struck perception. In an infinite effort to be efficient and respectful of everyone’s lack of free time, I realized I summarize, only giving highlights, soundbites of the events that fill my days and nights. For the first time I considered how often I graze over the inconvenient and taxing details, the reality of living the way I do. Makes sense, I guess. Without all the nitty gritty, the heavy, smoky, muddy, wet, oily truths, I might even consider the course of my life rosy.
I’m going to try something new. On Mondays and Fridays I’ll do my best to post a little blurb about the real deal surrounding the illusion of my jet-set. Some of the events will be real time and others are just some of my favorite snafus from the past. I’ll still post my regular blog the first Friday of each month. By the way, thanks for all your comments and questions. If you have any more requests, don’t hesitate to leave a few lines or send me a note.
I hope you’ll benefit from me sharing my experiences. At the very least, you’ll get a good laugh.
Here’s my attempt to acknowledge the corn. (okay Conrad, you win)
Things are rarely what they seem.
July 7, 1500 EST (3:00 eastern standard time) Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt, ThrillerFest 2011
I stood in the middle of three large ballrooms in line to pitch to the second batch of suspense agents. Hundreds of hopeful authors hurried around from table to table, hoping to secure a contract for representation. As the clock ticked time from the hundred and fifty minute session, anxious sighs and heaving breathing overpowered the artificially cooled air. (If you want to know more about the pitching process, check out my last post “Well wishes”)
I glanced at my watch. T-minus ninety minutes left to meet the remaining agents. (sixty-five of them) Currently I had three speed dates under my belt–two requests for the first hundred pages of my book and one outright rejection. Batting sixty-seven percent, not bad. Three people deep in line for a highly coveted agent, (one of my top five) I did my best not to crowd the mourners. My mind practiced a loop of my sixty second pitch.
The contemporary thriller risk kicks off amidst the global crisis to find an alternative to the rapidly declining supply of oil. A small, but brilliant research company outside London claims to have an answer and Tana Lyre, an in your face corporate pilot, is determined to make sure nothing stands in their way.
A sturdy women with a body sized tote bag slammed into my shoulder, shoving me from the cue. Without any acknowledgment of her carelessness, she made sour face and stormed out of the room. The retired NYC firefighter in front of me turned and tugged on his collar. Is the A/C running?
I fanned him with my iPad and grinned. He reluctantly shuffled ahead.
Six minutes left. I rehearsed the rest of my spiel.
On the eve of announcing the most important discovery of the century, the cutting-edge research disappears. Tana quickly flies Jack Coltan, JCI’s visionary CEO to the scene of the crime. But Tana is not a typical pilot, if fact she’s one of the most coveted risk officers in the country. With everything on the line, Tana will fight to expose hidden agendas while cautiously maintaining her best kept secret.
Even though the man ahead of me was in charge of counter terrorist action planning post September 11th, he looked spooked. The agent set the portable timer to three minutes, made eye contact–the green light, and then words sprayed from the rescue workers mouth like an unobstructed fire hose.
Three minutes to go.
Feeling hyper-prepared, I considered one more mental dry-run overkill and decided to make sure the notes I’d emailed myself from my pad actually hit my blackberry. (an on the road back up if you will.)
First thing this morning, I set my phone to silent in order to give my undivided attention to the conference and the quest to find an agent. So far, I hadn’t check my phone once. (an all time record for endurance don’t you think? Seriously, try not looking at your phone for seven hours)
I pulled my neglected lifeline from my bag and scrolled over my inbox. (I didn’t even glance at the text message icon–no way, nothing was going to knock me off my game)
My inbox bulged with mail. I searched the last message that hit my phone. The note was marked urgent, from home.
My thumb hovered, lightly grazing the mouse pad. Open it, don’t open it. My thoughts volleyed. Don’t open it. And just when I thought I was over the hump, my finger clicked on open.
“Ahh,” I gasped. A disturbing picture filled my screen.(above)
Apparently the tidy bowl man had not been properly introduced to my car. Luckily all he brought to the meet and greet was his seat.
Every word of my pitch left my mind and I reeled about the disaster looming in my garage.
Unbelievable. My pulse beat. The picture, sent from my husband, came sans any explanation.
I fired a note back. Do I want to know?
Bomb? He replied.
Shitster. I electronically punched him.
The digital alarm blared. “Time.” The agent reset the electronic time tyrant.
My fellow author sprung up and jogged to the next table.
My tongue swelled.
The agent in demand eyed me. “Next.”
*Note to self: in the future, when you’re just about to do something of, oh let’s say a once in a life time shot, don’t check your blackberry, ever, for any reason. Period.
*nice to know tip-how to shut off water under a sink or at toilet:
-locate shut-off valve (usually under the fixture–on base or in cabinet)
-turn valve clockwise (to the right)
-if stuck–grab your vice grips and turn gently to the right.
-No vice grips? No problem, any hardware store, Home Depot will have them. Every girl should own at least one pair. (I’m going to go out on a limb here thinking the guys probably have one in every style and color)
If there isn’t a shut-off at the base of your fixtures you’ll need to turn off the water supply to the entire house.
*how to shut-off supply at water main (whole house)
-find water meter
-a supply line will be coming into the house from the outside at the water meter
-between the supply line valve and the water meter, there is a shut-off valve.
-on the other side of the water meter, there is the house line shut-off valve
-turn the valve(supply-the one coming into the house) clockwise (right)
picture courtesy of Home-Cost.com/Bob Formisano
e.l.chappel author of risk
remote contractor/water clean up (novice rated)
aka The glamorous wife