Friday, April 02, 2010

O Frabjous Day!

by Jennie Bentley

Twenty three years ago yesterday, my husband called his sister and said, "I'm getting married tomorrow."

It was April Fools Day, so of course she refused to believe him, even though he swore up and down he was telling the truth. As a result, I got married - at the Queens County Courthouse in New York - with no family in attendance. Mine was in Norway, and wouldn't have been able to come anyway. His was in Pennsylvania and thought he was joking.

We got married on a Thursday, because that was the only day my husband had off work. I took the subway to the courthouse. After the ceremony, I crawled into the back off a painters van and drove out to New Jersey, where my husband had a recording session. I ended up leaving my wedding bouquet - sterling silver roses - in the back of that van, and never got them back. We were dropped off in midtown Manhattan sometime after dark, and took the subway back to Queens, where we had an apartment, stopping to pick up a mushroom pizza and a bottle of Diet Coke on the way. Wedding dinner. I refused to let him carry me across the threshold because I was afraid he'd throw his back out.

Swear to God.

Eleven years ago today, I worked a full day at the last job I held - for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau - before I went home and got changed preparatory to go out and celebrate my last wedding anniversary as a childless person. I was hugely pregnant, three days past my due date, and ready to have some fun. Then my water broke. Instead of going to dinner, we went to the hospital. By 2 pm on Saturday, April 3rd 1999, I was a mom.

In other words, this is a big weekend for us, with an anniversary, a kid birthday and accompanying sleepover, and Easter, not to mention that everyone's favorite cross dresser, Freddy, is in town. I'm desperately trying to figure out a way to get together with him, but with school out for Good Friday, don't know that I can. Not much writing is getting done either, which is why I'm cobbling this post together out of bits and pieces of personal information you probably wish I'd just keep to myself.

The weather has finally turned warm in Tennessee. We had so many snow days this year that I thought the kids would have to stay in school until Midsummer. Not so. They're adding to the school day instead: thirty minutes a day for a month and a half. And instead of making it easy for me, they're starting one school thirty minutes early, and letting the other out thirty minutes late. Instead of gaining thirty minutes of writing time, my day just lost an hour.

I'm fretting. DIY-4 is in the can and in New York with my editor. The release date is January 2011, for those of you keeping track. I have to write DIY-5 by September, and at the moment it's heavy going. I'm just not feeling it. I'm sure I will, once I get into it, but I'm already at the end of chapter 3 and ought to be feeling something by now. I like the idea, and the way I've got things set up; I just can't seem to get a handle on the writing of it. Most likely it'll all come together in the end, but at the moment, it feels like book 5 will be one of those disasters that never come out right.

I could use some title ideas, by the way. The prevailing thought these days seems to be that my titles should be based on the example of This & That, as in Spackled and Spooked, Plaster and Poison, and Mortar and Murder. (I wanted to call book 4 Island Getaway. It sums the story up perfectly. My editor disagreed. Not renovatey enough.)

Anyway, book 5 is when my protags, Derek and Avery, film a TV show called Flipping Out, the basis of which is flipping a house - i.e. doing a quick renovation and putting the house back on the market - in a week. It's enough to drive anyone to murder, believe me. I need a title that suggests renovation, murder, mayhem, and television. Just in case anyone has any ideas.

I guess that's it from here. Have a wonderful April, everyone. See you next month!


Laurissa said...


Loved your stories! What a wonderful weekend for you.

Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday, and Happy Easter!

Joyce said...

Look on the bright side, Jennie. You might get some writing done during the sleepover. You certainly won't get any sleep. I hated those things!

I'm trying to brainstorm some titles but I haven't had enough coffee yet. I'll get back to you.

I think the story of your wedding is fabulously romantic!

Jennie Bentley said...

Thanks, Laurissa! Joyce, sometime I'll have to tell you the story about the dress I got married in!

Karen in Ohio said...

Happy Anniversary, Bente! Your wedding story sounds almost like mine: married in Las Vegas (where my husband was on business) with one family member in attendance, wearing a sheath dress and navy blazer, and then going out to dinner that night with our host without telling anyone we'd just gotten hitched. Then we continued on hubby's tour and I flew home alone and carried myself over the threshold. He arrived back a couple weeks later. Good times.

But no drama on anniversaries compared to yours!

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary, Jennie!

Flipped and Fatal?

Please tell the story about your wedding dress!


Joyce said...

I think Paula just nailed the title for you. Flipped and Fatal is perfect!

Jennie Bentley said...

Flipped and Fatal isn't bad...

The wedding dress story. Let's see... My intended told me he thought I'd look good in a Chinese dress, so I spent a day in Chinatown looking for one. It was tough going, and not only because I don't look anything like most Chinese women. Built totally differently, if you know what I mean. But I wandered the streets of Chinatown looking for a white Chinese dress. I had every right to wear white to my wedding, and I fully intended to. However, there were no white dresses on display. So I asked someone, and was told that Chinese women don't get married in white. They get married in red. White is for funerals, and it's bad luck to sew a funeral dress before someone's dead, so there were no white dresses available. I thought about red for about a second, and decided against it.

What I should have done, is tell my husband-to-be to forget it, I wanted to wear white, but I wanted to give him what he wanted - me in a Chinese dress - so I got married in pink. The dress was lovely, even though it had to be altered - I mentioned I'm not built Chinese - but to this day I don't let him forget that I had every right to get married in white and didn't, because of that stupid idea.

Jemi Fraser said...

I didn't realize school boards added days for snow days. We don't have snow days very often here - the buses may be off the road but we're always open & teachers have to show up. In over 20 years of teaching, I've had 2 snow days :)

Patg said...

Happy, happy, happy everything.
Liked your stories very much.
My daughter got married in Japan before she and hubby/boyfriend came home to let mom and dad give her the traditional thing. Her Japanese 'mama' bought her a blue and red costume that cost more than what we paid for the home wedding with 96 guests for dinner.
Yeah, no white, our reasons and meanings for it mean nothing in Asia.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Nice to kind of been in your story.

It was nice meeting Bente/Jennie. Next time lunch is on me.

Knowing the night you have in store, I'm rather glad I left Nashville and came back to St. Louis to rest.

Jennie Bentley said...

Ah, Freddy - it was lovely to meet you too. If I make it up to St. Louis for B'con next year, you can take me to dinner then.

Things are quiet right now. They're playing. Quietly. Conserving their energy for the midnight hour and beyond.

MaryQ said...

I can sympathize with your anniversary/kid's birthday dilemma. Our 1st was born 2 1/2 hrs before our 8th anniversary. Even tho my water broke early in the am, he resisted making his arrival into the world. I just kept praying he made his appearance before midnight.

Jennie Bentley said...

MaryQ - sounds like you and I had the same horrible labor experience. My water broke around 7PM (on my anniversary), but the spawn wasn't born until almost 2 the next afternoon. After five hours of pushing and foreceps. I know, TMI. I had a C-section with the next one.