My Grandma wasn’t a frivolous person.  She was frugal.  However, she was quite able to enjoy a modern convenience or ten!  As a young wife and mother she lived in a one room sod house with no power, no phone, and no heat source other than a wood stove in which they burned cow manure.  So, later in life when she had the ability and means she did enjoy the basic modern conveniences we enjoy today.  If her TV broke down she was quick to call a repairman.  If he couldn’t fix it she had him arrange for a moderately priced new one to be delivered.  She had a telephone, a radio, a microwave, a dishwasher, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, electricity, a hot water heater… all things she didn’t have the ability to enjoy when she was young.  Once she could afford them and understood how these things could make her life better she was a fan.

I like my modern conveniences too.  However, I am a little suspicious of a lot of the new fangled contraptions.  OK, I admit it… I just don’t really like learning new stuff.  I get comfortable with my techo-ability level and I just don’t like it when it is stretched.  In addition, I am leery of things that seem to be the “rage”, especially when most of what you hear about them in the news is how they are used for nefarious purposes.  I am never the first to try something, I usually wait until someone I know has tried it, or the new-fangled thing has become mainstream. 

So…several months ago when my husband suggested a webcam for our new computer I was resistant.  Well… actually I think my words were “I don’t think we need that.”  He proceeded to share some of the positive things about having one.  He suggested that I could talk with family and friends who live far, far away.  For instance, my sister Vonda in Thailand.  I still was resistant.  I just couldn’t see my family jumping on the webcam bandwagon.  He also suggested that he could use it in preparing for the college chemistry classes he teaches.  That made sense, so I agreed. 

Last week I spent a morning baking.  My husband was on one of his “kicks.”  He decided to download skype to both of our computers and see if he could get us up and running.  He explained again that he was pretty sure my sister Vonda (in Thailand) had a webcam in her laptop.  If, he explained, we went on skype we could talk and see each other at the same time.  In addition, if someone back home in SD had a webcam, my parents could also talk to me and to Vonda.  So, as geeky as it sounds, we spent an hour or so practicing with skype, me in the kitchen/living room and my husband in his office.  Visualizing the possibilities I made the leap from skeptical to interested.  Events quickly led us to purchase a webcam for my parents for Christmas and have them pick it up locally.  On Christmas Eve my sister-in-law and niece were able to help my parents get the webcam set up and Vonda and I were both able to visit with our parents.  Christmas morning I spent an hour talking to Vonda, then visited again with my parents.  I talked to them both again today!

I have discovered that the best presents don’t always cost much.  Other than the slight additional fee when we bought the computers, and our parents webcam this present was free.  It wasn’t even meant as a Christmas gift.  It was simply one of those things my husband thinks of to make my life easier or more joyful. He’s really good at that.  Besides, he’s reaping the benefits too… I had to admit that I really shouldn’t question his ideas since they’re almost always right…

Today I read book two for the first time since finishing the rough draft.  I found, as I usually do big and little changes I wanted to make.  For instance, when I started this book in 2004 I hadn’t decided how to spell Molly’s name.  Part of the time I spelled it Molly and the rest of the time it was Mollie.  At some point I decided that it was too similar to Dorie with the “ie” and since she was Carly’s sister she would most likely have the end of her name spelled like Carly’s.  It seemed logical to me anyway and I’m the author so I can name them what I want.  So there. 🙂  Anyway, today I kept finding “Mollie” all over the book and I decided I better just change all of them.  So, I learned something new.  I had heard that you could do a search and change function (I am sadly illiterate about computer workings) and I decided to try it.  So I did.  Without too much difficulty I found how to change them and pretty quickly 27 references to Mollie were changed to Molly.  Wonderful.

A few minutes later I decided to change  the RV the kids are traveling with in this book to a trailer since I had decided it would be better for the story to have a trailer.  With this in mind  I went to my trusty newest friend on the computer and ordered every “RV” to be changed to “trailer.”  Voila!  Magically, my computer informed me, 23 RV’s had been changed to trailers. I was really amazed there were that many references to a motor home but thrilled with the instantaneous change.  Except…

It seems that when the word you are changing is not a real word but rather two letters every incident of those two letters is changed…. even if it is in the middle of another word.  As I read through the rest of the document I occasionally dissolved into laughter at the new words I was encountering.  For instance, Chad is not just hungry, he is statrailered!  In addition Carly becomes a bundle of netraileres and one of the children doesn’t just notice something but obsetrailered it!  A bend in the path turns into a cutrailere and the opposite of liberal becomes consetrailerative!

Oh the joys of revisions!  I guess when I spell check this before posting it I’ll have a few glitches to ignore.  🙂  The problem is that I have this petrailererse desire to fix every problem…

   As you all know a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Today I am announcing that in respect to the story of The Finishing of Book Two, I have finished the beginning!  “WHAT???” 

  In other words… I JUST FINISHED THE ROUGH DRAFT!!!!!!!  I am so excited.  I started this 6 years ago and then put it on hold for a long time, even writing two other rough drafts in the middle there.  But now, NOW it is done.  This is really a sequel to the first book… the rest of the story as to what happened to Zach.  (That’s all I’m going to say about that.  I don’t want to ruin the first book for anyone.)

Of course, that is just the beginning.  Now I must do the middle, that unfavorite part of mine… revising.  Actually I am looking forward to it a little more with this one.  The editor I worked with on my first book was AWESOME and I learned so much from her.  I am looking forward to adding the WOW words, the excitement, the colorful words.

Once I get the revisions done, then I’ll have to work on the end… getting it published.  So I didn’t quite reach my goal of finishing by the end of November (three days late isn’t too bad is it) but I’m sure glad it’s done.  Now my new goal is to have the revisions done by the time I  go to a conference the first week of March.  That’s the conference where I start working diligently on “the end.”

Thanks for all of you encouragement.  I have two potential titles… The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Torn Map… or, The Double Cousins and the Mystery in the Old Clock.  Which do you prefer?