Friday, October 24, 2008

The Book Tour

A lot of people have asked what it is like being out on the road promoting a book. This might give you an idea:

Phone alarm rings at 5:00 a.m.
Spend three minutes trying to answer my shoe.
Throw shoe across room. Find phone. Turn alarm off.
Can’t remember where I am.
Have been in Birmingham, Houston, Dallas and Ft. Worth in the past three days.
Look at d├ęcor of room. Got it. Graham, Texas. Small town. Gave horse clinic yesterday.
Have 9:40 a.m. flight to Nashville. Airport more than two hours away.
Dress in business suit for author reception at book festival in Nashville later.
Can’t find shoe. At last locate it in wastebasket.
Stumble to very dark parking lot. Can’t remember where I parked truck.
Wander around in the dark. Trip over suitcase I left in middle of parking lot.
Land on tail bone and remember I am driving a rental.
Realize I am lying next to it, a black PT Cruiser.
Load luggage. Can’t figure out how to turn on headlights.
Oops, that’s the horn. Okay, got it.
Drive behind terminally slow trucks for first hour on two lane road on way to Love Field in Dallas.
Can’t remember how to get back to rental car lot.
Look for address on rental agreement.
Can’t find rental agreement.
Think booking agent might have it back in Graham.
Call agent at hotel and leave message.
See signs for airport.
Call agent again. Leave another message.
Call 411 for local rental info and get connected to national office.
National office can’t give directions or local number without rental agreement number.
Stop at convenience store to ask directions.
Witness robbery at convenience store. Probably not the best neighborhood.
Look at watch.
Flight leaves in less than an hour.
Go in and ask directions anyway.
Apparently no one speaks English here.
Drive around progressively worse neighborhood. Roll up windows.
Find kid on bike.
Give him a dollar to lead me to rental car office.
Office doesn’t want to take car back without lease agreement.
Finally get to airport. Sail through security. Amazing.
Get to gate 87 seconds before departure. Plenty of time.
Agent calls. Has lease agreement number.
Fall asleep on plane.
Wake up to realize I am snoring. Loudly.
Go back to sleep.
Wake up again. Find I have drooled down the front of my business suit.
Land in Nashville.
Stop by security on off chance someone turned in the watch I left in the security tray on my way out of Nashville three days prior.
Told to wait by post.
Fall asleep leaning against post.
Awake to hear whispers from people who apparently saw Channel 4 segment on my new book that aired while I was out of town.
“That is too her.”
I open one eye to look at them and they scurry off.
Miraculously, security agent arrives with watch.
Get on shuttle to long term parking.
Can’t remember where truck is parked. Do realize I am looking for truck, not rental car.
Nice shuttle driver drives me all over lot.
Forty minutes later we find truck.
I thank driver with a hug.
Load luggage in truck. Truck will not start.
Use emergency call box at shuttle stop.
Look at watch.
One hour to author reception.
Try to repair hair, drool and makeup while waiting for help.
Nice man arrives with jumper cables.
Truck starts.
Head to author reception.
Late. Can’t find parking spot.
Wedge truck between a pillar and a Hummer.
Can’t get doors open.
Squeeze out back window.
Think positive thoughts as I walk four blocks to reception.
Take lots of deep breaths. Someone asks if I am hyperventilating.
Find reception.
Food is great! Meet several wonderful people.
Head home to start all over again the next day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Best Laid Plans

I had plans for last week, work I was going to get done and friends I was going to see. Then my son had a car accident and everything changed. While he was not at fault and he generally was okay, his car was totaled. There was the towing company to deal with. And the insurance, both ours and the man who was at fault. Then there was the car rental company, medical appointments, and more insurance.

Something had to give and it was my original plans for the week. But you know what? It didn't matter. Sometimes you know what you have to do and it isn't at all what you thought you had to do. Especially when horses or kids are involved, life can change on the drop of a dime. We find ourselves operating on their time frame, not ours, and that isn't always a bad thing.

That's why when, four days after my son's accident, a car I was riding in was rear ended, it was okay. Yes, I had pressing job and career things to do, but you realize quickly that nothing in more important than your health. So if I am a little slower in meeting deadlines, it is because I am taking care of my stiff neck and back. That way I will be back to full strength sooner and can again work to full capacity.

When you have one of those instinctive moments, when you suddenly know your plans have to change, right now, I hope you will go with the flow and take care of the truly important things in life.