Monday, May 26, 2008

We've Fallen Down but...

Boy, have we fallen down on the case. Not a peep since Donna’s little tendon reconstruction. We could try to play it off on that—all the thumb therapy kept us busy. But that’s not even the case (she does have exercises, but they don’t take a whole lot of time. And the digit is on the mend). Truth is, we just got tired.

Everybody we know, regardless of age, is involved in doing 97 things at once. Working, raising kids, helping parents, cooking, cleaning, choir, cardio, charity, second careers, school, keeping in touch, keeping abreast, keeping up. . . That leaves about 2 ½ hours for sleep. Then we get up and do it all over again. And don’t even think about getting sick. Virginia has been battling spring allergies, but there was nothing to do but suck it up and drive on.

Now it’s not exactly that we’ve been lounging on the pool deck with a mojito while we’re not blogging. We’ve been plotting a new book and making notes on the screenplays for Tryin’ to sleep in the Bed You Made and Far From the Tree among other things. Oh, and trying to have a little bit of a life. We’re happy to say, we did not spend this long weekend together—it’s the first one we have spent not working in ages. And they say once you lose sleep you never get it back, but we’ve each been trying to play catch up on the shut-eye. We’ve had many conversations with friends about trying to find balance in life, but nobody has the key—we think somebody threw it away. Anybody got helpful hints on the balance tip?

So, the hiaitus is over. We’re getting ourselves ready for Book Expo America in Los Angeles later this week. We’re signing galleys of our next book, What Doesn’t Kill You (it’ll be out in Jan ’09) on Friday at 1PM in the South Hall of the LA Convention Center. And we look forward to seeing those of you who will be attending. And when we get back we’ll crack the whip, with our noses to the grindstone and some elbow grease. Heaven forbid a little moss gather on our rolling stones.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 2:47 PM 0 comments

Friday, May 09, 2008

Thumbs Up

We arrived at the hospital in the pre-dawn hours to find a waiting room jammed full of patients whose arrival time was clearly before our 6AM call—talk about cruel. The great thing about the early arrival time was that the drive from Jersey to Manhattan at 4:30 AM is pretty much traffic free. And really, the day’s proceedings went just as smoothly.

Notes from DG in the OR as told to VDB:

How many doctors does it take to fix a thumb?
It seems that Dr. Melone, my surgeon, travels with a posse of 3 hand surgery deputies. I reiterated my medical history to two of them pre-surgery, asked a few questions. I’d already donned my attractive gown and robe—why can’t they make those things match, although that might just make them double ugly. Then there was the anesthesiologist, two surgical nurses—I had a very well attended thumb.

When I walked into the OR, one of the young scalpels was engaged in a hot conversation with an OR nurse about the prior night’s episode of the Real World. The other nurse said she was not of the MTV generation and worked on getting me strapped onto the table—not one of my favorite positions—and settled under a warm blankie.

While they prepped my hand with the betadine manicure, the conversation turned to which franchises would be the best to own. Guess it’s a sign of the times—even doctors are trying to line up their side gig. One said Subway ‘cause they had the formerly fat guy who sandwiched himself to thinness. Someone else suggested Cinnabun—guess that’s for when Jared has a relapse. I said those buns smell better than they taste. That’s when they upped my anesthesia—I don’t remember much after that until the recovery room, when I first encountered my hand strapped to its new furniture. The good news is that it really didn’t hurt too bad and I was back in civvies and out by noon.

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes and I’m working on being back in top typing form soon.

Notes from VDB in the OR Waiting Room:

I had no posse of supplicant, surgical residents, no generation spanning nurses. There was no snappy conversation about investment strategy. I had no drugs either. What I had was a room full of about to be patients and their anxious or obnoxious designated persons—or the morning traffic report on TV which was focusing on a sign that looked like it was going tumble onto the highway during rush hour. It didn’t.

So I did what any self respecting writer would do in similar circumstances—I pretended to read while actually secretly observing the folks surrounding me. Believe me a hospital waiting room is a great equalizer—random diversity at it’s best and most basic. Voices (whiny, gravelly, loud), accents (some identifiable others not so), attitudes (snarly, obliging), wardrobes (mostly What Not to Wear Anywhere), tics (a nose picker and a hair chewer), hair styles (I’m not even going there), laughs (nervous, cackling), snores (from a morbidly obese woman who went out to smoke every 20 minutes or so, then told our room monitor that she was going to check her blood sugar —duh?!) and sneezes (itty bitty cartoon like). I was making mental notes about family groupings, couples, parents, friends, those who were alone (was someone really coming for them or were they lying about “their person” showing up later?) All of this data collection was in the name of research of course—for future characters in future books (and you ask where we get ideas!) I wasn’t being nosy—well maybe just a little bit.

And I did read. I finally finished Middlesex right before I was told by a haughty hospital bureaucrat wearing purple scrubs that I would be allowed to visit Ms Grant in recovery, but for 10 minutes only. “Don’t make me have to pull you away from the bedside!” he warned.
Was he kidding? But he didn’t know how much time we spend together. My 10 minutes would be quite enough thanks. All I needed to see was that DG was fine and that they had operated on the correct appendage on the correct hand so I could make the appropriate assuring phone calls to her loved ones...which I did.

Half hour later we (thumb furniture and all) were in my car heading back to Jersey.
I did have to buckle her seatbelt for her.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 3:36 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Big not that...O

Well—we’re headed for yet another exciting experience tomorrow! Donna’s having an "O"PERATION--outpatient hand surgery and Virginia’s the designated driver and responsible person—which could be the beginning of a joke, but isn’t---this time

Back in November, Donna fell-tripped going up the stairs at her dermatologist’s office and smacked her left hand on the marble steps to break her fall. OUCH!!! It plumped up like a Ballpark frank. They gave her an ice pack at the skin doc’s, examined her epidermis and sent her on her way. She dosed herself with Aleve, and returned to work. After all, we had a deadline! And for the next two months she typed with nine fingers or more accurately eight fingers, one thumb, and one swollen appendage that looked more like a big fat sausage than a thumb. It didn’t work too well either.

We went on book tour, had parties, signed a heap of copies of Gotta Keep on Tryin’ and finally, two weeks ago she saw a doctor, because it still wasn’t right.

Virginia said, “It’s probably broken and now it’s healed and they’ll have to re-break it so it sets right.”

Donna said, “It was probably a bad sprain and I’ll need to go to physical therapy.”

The Doctor said, “You have damaged the tendon, it will get worse, I have to operate.”

Tomorrow (Thursday) is operation day. We’re heading for the hospital at 5AM—but right now she’s got another couple of hours before the “nothing by mouth” rule kicks in—so we think it’s time for a glass of wine.

We’ll keep you posted...

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 10:14 PM 0 comments

Monday, May 05, 2008

Together Again!

We survived last weekend! You probably already guessed that we would. It wasn’t easy, but we did it!! Donna’s events in Galveston with Sisters Sippin’ Tea went off without a hitch as did Virginia’s in Jacksonville.

It certainly felt odd—almost like the other one was still there, like the phantom limb feeling that amputees experience. So while talking we had to resist the urge to turn to the right (Donna) or left (Virginia) for either our “straight woman” or the punch line. But it seems we managed to be able to speak in complete sentences and be reasonably coherent—so we hear tell from those who attended our panels. We signed books in our usual spot, over our individual name on the title page—leaving room in case the reader might run into the other of us sometime in the future. It looked a little strange to us, but apparently not to anyone else!

Donna got to hang out not only with SST’s from all over the country who gathered for their annual reunion, but also with the wonderful Jewel Parker Rhodes (Yellow Moon—August 2008, Vodoo Dreams, Voodoo Season). And Virginia partied with R.L. Stine (Goosebumps series) and Jane O’Connor author of the Fancy Nancy children’s books—and yes, there were adult authors in Jacksonville too, but these two writers definitely impressed VDB..

We each kept up with our own hotel room keys (and remembered our room numbers) which are tasks that we normally share (and have built in backup for—“Turn left off the elevator—it’s room 414, not 441. That was the last hotel.”) when we’re on the road together. But we were really happy to see each other when we met up in the Atlanta airport on Sunday for our flight to Washington. Our flights landed at Hartsfield within 15 minutes of each other and in our separate arrival terminals we each whipped out our cells to text the gate location of our next flight and a convenient rendezvous spot—because we had two hours to kill. Excellent catch up time—which we did over burgers and vino. So that by the time we arrived in DC, we were back to normal—or as normal as ever are.

Our Sunday Dessert with the Authors was a tremendous success---and our signatures on Gotta Keep on Tryin’ didn’t look quite so lonely any more.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 3:45 PM 0 comments
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