Thursday, July 21, 2011

Russell Brand's Back Alley Connections

So Wednesday night found Kelly and I at Russell Brand and Katy Perry's summer getaway cottage overlooking beautiful Gatlinburg (I know, I was surprised too). We knocked on the door and Russell Brand himself swung the door open.

"Scott! Kelly!" He cheered. "Welcome to our humble summertime abode! Katy's not here right now, she'll join us after the tour. But I'm here! We can still have a bit of fun, yeah? You're here, life can still be a party!"

Kelly and I laughed and he showed us to our room. "Why don't you two relax, I'll go downstairs and get the cookin' on."

Russell disappeared and Kelly went to take a shower. I laid down for a quick nap . . . and when I woke back up, Kelly was sitting at the foot of the bed, holding a chubby little baby. Russell Brand was standing behind her. They were both grinning excitedly.

"What's this?" I asked.

"It's your baby!" Russell Brand answered.

"It can't be." I shook my head.

"Of course it can!" Russell Brand yelled back at me, almost sounding offended. "Don't you want it?"

"Of course I do," I said. "But . . . where did it come from?"

"Scott!" Russell rolled his eyes. "You ask too many questions!"

It was then I realized why Kelly had insisted we visited Russell and Katy. She knew Russell had some dark, back alley connections. She knew he could find us a baby. The baby was cooing now, playing with Kelly's hair. He was adorable, with his shock of orange hair and . . . vaguely . . . purple skin.

"Is his skin purple?" I asked.

"Again with the questions!" Russell threw his hands in the air. "Scott! You're a father now! You can't go spending your time pointing out how different and strange and weird your son is! You say 'purple' as if it's pejorative! You're a family now! You have a baby! What do you possibly have to complain about?!"

And then I woke up.

I was sad. Despite the baby being purple, I really thought I could have given it a good home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alfonso & Beatrice

I've been a writer almost my entire life. It's only been in the last ten years or so that I fully realized this and claimed the title "writer," but if my parents are to be trusted, then I've been creating stories since I was four years old.

We would go over to our friends, the Millers, after church and after lunch Alison and I would put on small plays to entertain our folks. Alison's little sister, Lauren, would try to get involved but Alison would always kick her off stage -- or so our parents say. Since the three of us can't remember this at all, they're either making it up or we've successfully forced ourselves to forget these so-called productions.

In grade school I started writing skits for my friends and I to perform for the class. This stage continued through
high school and into college, when I enrolled in film school with the hopes of being the next big writer/director. I've written several films since then, at least one full-length play, and numerous short films and web series.

So it really comes as no surprise to me that I've gone and written a children's book. Most of my work comes from a desire to see a particular story told and not being able to find that story anywhere. I end up being the one to tell the story -- which I don't mind at all, it just takes me out of the audience.

But as Kelly and I began looking for children's books that were about adoption or featured an adopted child as the hero or, really, did anything to help an adopted child feel more special or more loved, we found our choices very limited.

That's not to say that those books aren't out there. They are. We have found some wonderful books and added them to our library. But I want more. There needs to be more. So during our rotten, no-good, awful week a couple of weeks ago, I wrote one.

It is tentatively titled Alfonso & Beatrice (and The Mermaid Princess) and it's about a young king and queen who search far and wide for the one thing that is missing from their life. I won't spoil the journey for you just yet, but these two give up just about everything in order for them to find their little one. It's a little silly, a little romantic, a little adventurous, and completely from the heart.

With a first draft completed, I needed an illustrator. What good is a children's book without lavish pictures? I can barely draw stick figures, so I put a call out to Facebook and fellow Whovian Don Krouskop put me in touch with Beth Maurer, who is currently hard at work illustrating the story for me. She took my words and transformed them into pictures that, if I walked past them in a book store, I would not only give a second glance at them, I would have to pick them up and give them close inspection (but don't take my word for it, check out these character designs she's all ready sent me). Together, I'm not too ashamed to say, I think we're going to make something really special. And when we're done, we're going to try to get into as many hands as possible.

I don't know how, just yet. We may try to shop it around to various publishing companies and see if anyone's interested, or we may just sell it ourself (via our friend the Internet). But as our work progresses, I'll keep you all informed.

You have all been so supportive. Kelly and I started this blog with the hope of reaching out to others and maybe letting them know that they're not alone. Instead, it seems the inverse happened. Your kind words, messages, letters, phone calls and hugs have been more appreciated than you'll ever know and I wanted to share this exciting little endeavor with you, just as a way of saying "thanks" and "good things are on the horizon!"


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Plumbing is Not Working

It has been a tough week. This weekend every time we did laundry the water gurgled up into our shower. We decided not to panic or call someone immediately. It could wait until after the weekend; after all it was Fourth-of-July weekend. Then on July 4 we started seeing toilet paper come up into the shower. That crossed the line. On Tuesday we had someone come snake the pipes in the house. No problems there. Turns out, the problem was between the house and the street where the city sewer runs. We needed a new sewer line. Our vintage (circa 1949) clay pipe was crushed and filled with roots. Time for an upgrade. Our good friends got one of those last autumn; we knew what kind of cost to expect. High. Like $5000 high. That figure kind of kicks you in the stomach, doesn’t it?

This came right on the tail of some other tough news. Last month we decided to try the IUI route – more about that surreal process in a later post – and it did not work. This past month was one that included a lot more immediate hope than we had felt in a long time.

There was a time when we first started “trying” when we eagerly awaited the end of my cycle to see if we were pregnant. Then there was a time when we counted the days to ovulation and then endured the two week wait between ovulation and the disappointing start of menstruation. Then somewhere along the way we stopped counting. We settled in for a longer wait.

But IUI, that gave us some hope. Not that we didn’t have hope that someday we will have our family. More like “hey this may finally just work. It may take both of us AND a medical staff of 6, but hey, maybe this can actually happen.” The doctor’s office staff was very positive and optimistic. It was catching. I tried to not get my hopes up. To expect it not to work. But secretly I hoped it would. Of course, why would we even spend the time and money to do it if we didn’t think there was some chance it would work? I did acupuncture to support the process. I took it easy; no heavy lifting or yard work for me. I was going to be the perfect host for that egg turned embryo.

We got the news Tuesday afternoon that the pregnancy test was negative, again. Then that night we got the news that the plumbing was not working and needed to be replaced. (The house’s plumbing, that is. Not my plumbing. My plumbing supposedly works fine. And let’s just say the doctor was very proud of Scott’s contribution to the IUI process.) It was a hard night. I might not have cried like I did except the thought of our savings getting buried (literally) in the front yard just pushed me over the edge. That money is the money that we’ve been saving for the adoption. So it felt like twice in one day I had gotten the news that we would not be having, or getting, a baby.

Things looked better the next day. Most things do after a good night’s sleep. We met with the contractor and his estimate was a much lower than expected – which doesn’t dent our savings as badly as we had dreaded. And now that the indoor plumbing is working as it should, things are looking up. We have wonderful friends and family who have done and said just the right things this week: “That sucks.” “Heard you had a bad day.” “If you need anything let me know.” “Let’s go get ice cream." (which is totally awesome!)

I am reminded that God blesses even as this world tries to take our hope for the future. Not only did we have the money available to cover the unexpected cost of a new sewer line, but our dedicated family had connections with someone who could get the work done quickly. The IUI didn't work, but I am in a place where I kind of feel like it was something that needed to be tried and now we can move on to the next thing, whatever that may be. I want to praise God for taking care of us and surrounding us with the support we need as we walk this path as homeowners AND as potential parents. I am again reminded that God has a plan for our lives.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1.