Tuesday, March 31, 2015


This was a first: we almost missed #TwinTuesday.  Luckily, we saved it with pearls and paste.  Alliteration AND the Unexpected.  Phew.

Also unexpected today was my tech's assertion that I needed new tires.  Turns out he was right.  "We should also do an alignment test to see why you're wearing that front right tire excessively."

I smiled.  "It could be because I keep running stuff over with that tire."  I was thinking of the curbs and medians I tend to hit on the right.

"That could be it," he confirmed.  I agreed to the alignment test another time, as I was late for picking up the boys.  But, I'm pretty sure it's my poor driving that's to blame.  No surprise there.

Monday, March 30, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction-writing project.  I generally post it on Sunday mornings, but this Sunday, I was on an interstate road trip.  So, I'm posting it on Monday.  I wrote this part a long, long time ago.  I think in December. 
As Alice and Ethan had grown up, she’d thrown herself into motherhood - reviewing animal sounds, drilling letters and numbers when they were toddlers, peering over their shoulders at their homework in elementary school.  Their personalities fascinated her, and she secretly reveled in the distance being an adoptive parent allowed.  Every good trait, she reasoned, sprung from her remarkable parenting; every troubling one came from their birth families.  There were parts of them that were beyond her at a cellular level - there was nothing to be done.

As Alice had leapt through toddlerhood and into elementary school, she had more questions about her adoption.  Who were my birth parents? When did you find out you’d get me? What was it like when you took me home? she’d ask.  

Evelyn repeated a story she cherished of driving Alice to an empty house - they’d closed on it just two weeks before, the construction still in progress - Frank driving, wordlessly, as she sat in the back staring at Alice’s face, incredulous that after all this time, they’d arrived the foster home, stumbled up to the doorway, and driven away with her.  A tiny creature who belonged to them.

The only room Evelyn had finished, furnished and organized, was Alice’s.  Tiny baby clothes washed and folded in a stout dresser, oak rocking chair pushed into the corner, brown shag wall-to-wall, quiet and soft, crib with a drop side and yellow bumpers.

Carrying her inside, she’d been terrified, gingerly positioning Alice on her left shoulder, watching each footfall on the stairs to her own bedroom, lest she misstep.  She nudged her own door open with her shoulder and lay Alice gently on her bed, kneeling beside it and staring into her face.  

“Hi,” she whispered to Alice, who wriggled a little in her blanket on the bed, quiet.  “Welcome home,” she continued.  Alice’s head tilted suddenly and her eyes locked with Evelyn’s.  A smile spread on the baby’s face.  A gas bubble, perhaps, but nevertheless, a clear sign.

“And that’s when I’d knew we’d be okay,” Evelyn would tell later, again and again, when Alice asked.

That's it for this week!  In April, I'm doing something called Camp NaNoWriMo, during which I've pledged to write 500 (probably crappy) words per day.  But, as I'm always telling my students, just write something really bad.  Just put something down.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's Usually #NovelSnip

I'm afraid this wildly popular feature will have to be posted tomorrow.  We're just home from a 10 hour drive from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I just can't fiction right now.

Fortunately, I've been inundated with requests to tell about the fine city on the east of the Midwest that we just visited.  Here's the story: Ann Arbor is a fun college town with some beautiful buildings.  We toured the law school (gorgeous, and the library was a finalist to stand-in for the Great Hall in Harry Potter), the business school where Uncle Shea studies about making money (modern and very hip), and the School of Social Work, which is slightly nicer than Peik Hall at the University of Minnesota.  Peik is where I did My Stupid Master’s Degree™ and it's not nice at all.  The University of Michigan School of Social Work has a study area, at least.  And probably well-stocked vending machines.  Here's a pattern I've noticed: If the alumni of a certain School don't tend to make a lot of money, said School is not that impressive to tour.  Just saying.

There's some cool public art at Michigan like The Cube.  It's a sculpture you can push and spin.  And there's a very good deli that President Obama himself has frequented.  It's called Zingerman's.  It pays the employees a livable wage and everything.  We also visited the University's Archeology Museum which wasn't such a huge hit with the boys.  We did, however, see mummy sandals and Mac showed off Egyptology knowledge gleaned from The Magic Treehouse series.

Something we learned is that Ann Arbor has a high cost of living.  Also, Sister Mary and Partner Shea have tired of the cold weather.  Finally, the stadium (The Big House)  holds 110,000 people, which is more people than the population of Ann Arbor.

If you have an occasion to visit Ann Arbor, I recommend the Holiday Inn Express and Suites.  I give the city 3.5 stars.  Not as cool as other college towns like Bloomington, IN and Madison, WI, to which I assign more stars.

I hope this review was helpful to you.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rolling Interstate 94

We kept it going and are now in a place called Ann Arbor, Michigan.  We're here because this is where my darling sister and her pleasant partner go to graduate school.  Today we'll be touring the place.  I suggested purchasing souvenir t-shirts, but my three staunch Gopher fans strenuously rejected that idea.

In other news, it's Dan's birthday today.  Happy birthday, Pronto!  We plan to be nice to him for most of the day in his honor.

In a third piece of news, I'm reading a biography of Steve Jobs.  I hate to tell you this, but so far it seems pretty clear that Steve Jobs was a pretty big jerk.  He screamed at his employees, stole people's ideas without giving credit, ignored his first child and denied paternity, and had to be assigned to night shifts at Atari because he refused to shower.  I guess, however, that there's a new biography out now that makes him seem wise and team-oriented.  The Apple people like that book better than the first one by Walter Isaacson, which is a major source used by Karen Blumenthal, who wrote the YA version I'm reading.  However, there's also a documentary on the way that confirms Isaacson's findings using actual footage of Jobs being a jerk.  Anyway.  That's all I know.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Status Report

Road Trip: I had this brilliant idea to pack little amusement bags of treats and supplies for each leg of our road trip journey. Sadly, Mac doesn't like Pop Tarts, invisible ink mazes, or Car Bingo ("I'll never see a HORSE!"), so the first bag was kind of a bust. For the record, Dan and I saw a whole field of horses while Mac was busy watching Barnyard. So there.

Thrill Seeking: Exited head first from the toilet bowl water slide. Awkward.

Cultural Sensitivity: "Mom," Shef said on arrival at Kalahari Resort, looking around at faux African masks and animal print tile, "this place is not very culturally sensitive."  It's true, but the Victoria Falls family raft ride is pretty fun.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flip-Flops with Brains

We have an eleven year-old in the house.  And today, we're taking that eleven year-old (and his brother) and heading east on our first real road trip.  First stop, Wisconsin Dells.  Everyone's excited for the steep water slides, even me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


#TwinTuesday falls on Shef's 11th birthday!  That kid is ELEVEN years old!  I mean, it's spectacular.  Even more spectacular than this battery, pencil sharpener combination.  if you've been reading the blog for awhile, you might remember when he was just ONE, and looked like this:

Kid's been a dream the entire time.  Seriously sublime.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction writing project.  This week I wondered whether I should write an outline of the whole story.  I googled that idea and found out that a good approach could also be, "Don't plan; just write."  I decided to go that route for now because at this juncture, I worry that writing an outline would be a form of procrastination.  Another issue is point of view.  Do I switch off?  Let the narrator be omniscient? It seems like the books I've read recently limit the point of view to one character per scene.  So maybe I should do that?  But I didn't in this scene. So, here it is:

Alice and Ethan slouched on the sofa.  Evelyn and Frank each took an armchair across the coffee table from the children.

“As you know,” Evelyn began.  Alice snuck a sideways glance at Ethan, who was staring at his bare toes.  “Your dad has been looking for a new job.”  Evelyn leaned forward, resting her elbows on her thighs and looking intently first at Alice, and then Ethan.  “The good news is,” she breathed, “he finally found one.  A good one.  One he’s excited about.”  Evelyn paused deliberately between each phrase, and Alice, embarrassingly, fought the urge to giggle.  Frank shifted, crossing his legs.  “The interesting part of the news,” Evelyn continued, “is that the job is in Atlanta, Georgia.”

“Georgia?” Alice repeated.

“Yes,” Evelyn said.  She looked over at her husband who was smiling awkwardly at the ground in front him.  Evelyn inhaled slowly through her nose.  “Your dad will be moving to Atlanta next week.”

Alice felt a swell in her chest and sat up straighter. “Are you getting divorced?” she asked, slightly louder than she meant to.  

“It’s a separation,” Evelyn said definitely.  “We’re going to do some thinking.” Frank’s breathing, Evelyn suddenly noticed, had become audible, inhales and exhales rattling through his nostrils.  His gaze remained on the floor.  Alice and Evelyn looked at him.

“Do you want to add anything, Frank?” Evelyn prompted. Frank shook his head and flicked his eyes up toward Alice for a moment.  She looked away.  “Ethan?” Evelyn continued.  “Do you have any questions?”  Ethan, shook his head and curled his toes. “Okay,” Evelyn said with some finality.  “Let’s -”

“I’m taking the dog,” Frank blurted.
And that's #NovelSnip this week.  There's more.  I've been aiming for high production over lots of editing.  So, don't even worry about it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

It's Spring Break Day 1.  We're starting out with some shirtless oatmeal eating while watching Disney Channel.  Things might get more exciting from here, but if not, I'm totally okay with that.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Status Report

Math: A month or so ago, I got stymied by one of Shef's math problems.  News Flash: Shef is in fifth grade.  So, I got on Khan Academy and re-started fifth grade math.  I'm happy to report that I'm at 60% mastery of the fifth grade math curriculum according to Salman Khan. The website has a way of making me feel accomplished even though I'm doing fifth grade math at age almost-37.  This morning I divided fractions and whole numbers in word problems.

Spring Break: Starts in 10 hours.  Praise the little baby Jesus.

Blue: Mac has decided he likes to dye his hair this color.  I purchased some spray color for him, which we've now used up.  Next, I'm thinking we should try Kool Aid.  Can you paint that stuff on?

Consumerism: Gina posted on Instagram a few weeks ago about a custom planner she purchased from Plum Paper.  A missed meeting or two later, and I was all, I need one of those planners with my name on it.  It will solve all the problems.  It's customized with boxes each day for me, Shef, Mac, my workout, and #NovelSnip.  Organization and accountability in one. It's shipped, so my mega-results should start in April.

Honey: A student brought me a gift just after Valentine's Day. It was clearly a Christmas gift with a Christmas gift bag and a little tag that said, "Happy Holidays!"  I think the kid forgot about it in her locker.  But anyway, it was honey, which I think is probably fine in one's locker for a couple of months.  I ate some this morning on an English muffin.  It's honey with crushed up vanilla beans.  Delish.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

You're Gonna Get Stomped

It's two days until Spring Break, and we've made it through two weeks of Project Land.  We're at a tough part of the project now where the kids are proposing solutions to their global problems, and the teacher's job is to say, "Dig deeper.  Be more specific.  Are there any organizations trying that?  You need a global solution.  I'm not sure."  And then, the kids roll their eyes at you and sigh deeply.

Yesterday, I was trying to encourage a class to slow down and think a little more.  "You might not come up with it this week," I said.  "Just keep it in the back of your mind, and mull it over on Spring Break. Do you know what 'mull' means?"

"But you can't assign homework on Spring Break!" one kid said.

"I'm not assigning homework," I said.  "I'm saying, you'll have your project in the back of your mind..."

"But we're not supposed to do school work on Spring Break!" another one chimed in.

"I don't want you to do ANY work," I tried again.  "I'm talking about when you just put a problem away for awhile, and your brain is  working on it without you knowing it."

"So, if we're behind, we have to work on SPRING BREAK?!" Another outraged sixer blurted.

"NO!" I said.  "Haven't you ever had that thing where you can't figure something out, and then you take a break, and all of a sudden, you figure it out?"  They looked at me blankly.  I rolled my eyes and sighed deeply.  "There is no homework over Spring Break," I said, definitively.  They turned back to their computers, but I could tell they were suspicious.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I think this might be my favorite #TwinTuesday yet.  Lemon and plastic bug?!  Are you kidding me?! My duo is resting comfortably on top of a Trail Runner magazine.  I'm doing two trail runs this spring.  In typical tween fashion, Shef says, "Trail running is stupid."  Tweens can be hard to please.

Speaking of tweens, let me tell you something funny about how Shef got in trouble at school yesterday.  Ordinarily, I would never think getting in trouble at school is funny; HOWEVER in this case, Shef and his pals lined up at the urinals before lunch and broke into song.  They chose, "Let it go," as their bathroom soundtrack.  "Let it go, let it go!  I can't hold it back anymore!"

He had to write a reflection about how he understands this behavior is wrong.  It is wrong.  And, Dan, especially, is taking it very seriously. Not.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Building a Dream

You might not know that I dream of having a Little Free Library in my front yard.  In fact, I said I wanted one for my birthday, which is coming up in a few weeks.  Dan dutifully went to the LFL website and saw that the libraries are super expensive if you buy them assembled.  And then, they come without the mounting post.

I wondered if I couldn't get a better quality Library for less money if I hired the wood studio teacher at my school to build it.  So I went to visit him over lunch, when kids are just hanging out in his classroom, using power tools.

"Do you build stuff for people?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said.

And a partnership was born.  He asked if I wanted him to cut the pieces of the Library, and I could assemble it myself.  

"No," I said definitively.  "I want YOU to assemble it."

"Do you guys want to paint it?" he asked, kindly.

"Um," I said.  "Probably not."

Basically, I want to purchase the Library fully formed and made by Jon.

"Okay," he said.  "Send me some pictures of what you want because I've seen those things in all sizes and designs."

I'm pretty sure I want just a standard guy like the one above, maybe even without the fancy paint job.  A small size, so I can keep it stocked with good stuff.  But, if you see a picture that you think I'd like, please let me know.  Immediately.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction writing project. This week I had an idea of how I might proceed plot-wise, so I started writing scenes that humanize Frank a bit.  Frank isn't an all-bad guy, but rather, a mostly terrible parent and very poor communicator.  I also wrote a scene with Alice all grown up.  I'm writing a bit faster, so I feel like it might be less polished.  But oh well because #NovelSnip isn't about perfection; it's about process.

Frank sighed as he slammed the door of the BMW and drove out of the firm’s parking lot.  On Thursdays, he left early so Evelyn could teach her night class, and without fail, this proved a terrible inconvenience. 
Just before he had moved to stand up, David Keely, the managing partner had stopped into Frank’s office to strategize a new case.  Sweat had pricked Frank’s brow as David droned for several minutes. Frank furtively eyed the digital clock on his bookshelf, which stood next to the photo of Alice in a pink onesie. Finally, Frank had to admit that he was “just leaving” to relieve the nanny, and made a show of piling several thick manila files into his briefcase.

“We’ll do this tomorrow,” David said, gruffly, while Frank kept his head down.

“Yes,” he said, frowning, “I’ll be ready.”

Now, driving home to the classical music station, he felt irritated, his stomach slightly upset. Frank grabbed a cylinder of Rolaids from the ash tray, broke two off with his thumb nail, and popped them into his mouth.  He brushed the chalky bits from his lip and sped down the freeway.
You can stop here for #NovelSnip or click through for the whole scene.  It's one of those weeks!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Status Report

The Tween: "Might have plans tonight, Mom."

Mac's Ear: Close to normal.  Fits in the hockey helmet once again.

The Sixers: 6 school days until Spring Break.

Psoriasis: Chronic conditions aren't really my speed.  Red, itchy, and ugly.

Obsessions: Ear wax, still.  I'm not proud.

House of Cards: Is it just me, or is Season 3 sort of boring?

#NovelSnip: It's twenty pages now.  Single spaced, my friends.  AND, I've got a story idea.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Put Us on the Map

The Middle School office assistant came to find me Monday morning.  "You need to go take a look at Mac's ear," she said.

"Oh no," I said.  The warning bell had just rung, and KK and I were just about to launch the World Savvy Challenge.  But, as any parent would do, I zipped over to the Lower School. When I saw Mac's ear, I understood my role.  It was completely bruised and bleeding profusely.  Also, Mac was sobbing.  Somehow, he tripped on a marker, which had been left on the floor, and snagged his ear on the metal part of a table.

A doctor mom who had peeked at it was fairly certain he'd need a stitch.  So, I ran back to the Middle School, grabbed my purse, and drove him to Children's.

"I'm so scared!" Mac kept saying. "I wish this had never happened!"  

"Me too," I said, "but you're going to be just fine."

"Does it HURT to get a stitch?" he yelled, repeatedly.

Let's be honest - it hurts to get a stitch.  So I kept saying, "They're going to make it as easy as possible.  You're going to be just fine."

And then?  Miracle.  No stitch.  Just an incredible amount of bruising and swelling.  People keep saying, "What happened to your kid's ear?"  Mac says, "My ear is really heavy, and it flops when I walk."  In a few days, this should work itself out.  In the meantime, it's purple and it protrudes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Today on #TwinTuesday, we have an iconic photo of a travel mug and Chris Soules, The Bachelor.  I got a little bit sad last night because my #TwinTuesday artistic partner, LH of A Little Leeway, told me she might need to quit The Bachelor.  It's too time consuming, she said.  And that's absolutely true.  Who's ever heard of devoting an entire three-hour evening to watching people you basically don't even like?  But, the time isn't really the point.  Bachelor Nation is a lifestyle, an identity that separates the best from the rest.

On the travel mug side, isn't this mug sweet?  It was a Valentine's Day gift from a student.  I'm going on the record to say I support Valentine's Day gifts from students.  Thanks, kids!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dark Half of the Blue

We've got two weeks until Spring Break.  I think I can make it, but I'm not totally sure.  That's the place we're currently in.  The sixers are off in Project Land, which has it's plusses and minuses.  Last week, we did the final project of our human rights unit.  The kids produced PSAs on an issue we'd studied in class.  Now, we're starting a month-long project called the World Savvy Challenge.  Most of the time, Project Land is a great place to live, with students taking ownership for their work, making good choices, and wowing their teachers with their excellent critical thinking skills.  Sometimes, though, Project Land is a place where a kid decides to do absolutely nothing unless a teacher stands beside him with a hand on his shoulder.  That particular task can be exhausting, and I don't enjoy the shoulder holding.  We'll hope for the best.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


#NovelSnip is a tiny portion of my fiction writing project.  This week, I've gone back 15 years to Alice's babyhood.  I've been thinking more about Frank and Evelyn and who they were before Alice and Ethan arrived.  This part right here happens in the days before Evelyn and Frank meet Alice for the first time.

The phone rang on Wednesday evening, just as Frank and Evelyn poured their second glass of chardonnay and toasted Evelyn’s first class at the university.  “To the professor,” Frank had said, wryly, just as the ring sounded.

Evelyn lifted herself off the couch of their rental and headed leisurely to the handset, expecting it to be her older sister, calling for details about her lecture.

“Hello?” said Evelyn absently.

“Evelyn?” said a woman who was definitely not her sister.

“Yes?” Evelyn answered, setting her glass on an end table.

“Evelyn, it’s Judy from Sioux County Family Services.”

Evelyn raised her left hand to her collarbone and inhaled sharply through her nose. A blast of adrenaline rose in her throat.  It couldn’t be, she thought. After all, she and Frank hadn’t been waiting that long.  They should be prepared to wait for a year, Judy had said, giving Evelyn’s elbow a squeeze, after their last home visit just four months ago.

“Yes?” Evelyn replied, willing the air past her larynx. 

“I have news,” Judy said, warmly.  “There’s a baby girl in foster care.  She can come home this weekend.”

That's #NovelSnip.  Previous #NovelSnips are here.  Yay hooray.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Babysitting

I was just writing a scene in #NovelSnip where Frank comes home and relieves a nanny called Marie.  So, it's a new time in the story, with Alice as a baby.  And while I was thinking about those awkward moments when the parents come home and the babysitter tries to leave quickly, I remembered something funny about my own dad.  Here it is:

He hated to call babysitters to ask them to watch us.  I can relate to this feeling because I also hate to call babysitters, or really anyone I'm not pals with. Lucky for me, we now have this thing called "text."  I just text the babysitters.  Before that, there was email.  So, I have the communication advantage here.  Anyway, my dad hated it so much, that as soon as I was old enough, he had me call them myself.

"Try to get a babysitter for Friday night," I remember him saying.  And then, I'd go down the list of names on the sheet on the side of the refrigerator.  I think I must have been about seven.  I'd say, "Hi, So-and-So, it's KC.  Can you babysit for me and Kevin on Friday night?"  And there'd be a little negotiation.  Sometimes, the sitters would say, "Do your parents know you're asking?"  How funny would it have been if they didn't, and then I'd just be like, "Surprise, Mom and Dad!  You're going out!" Even better if I could just hand them a gift certificate their car keys when the sitter came to the door.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sticker Shock

I started giving kids stickers for really no reason on Monday. It started when one kid made a kind of lame comment, and I think I embarrassed him with my response.  So, gave him a sticker and said sorry.  He seemed to feel much better.  Then, I started just randomly sticking stickers on people's planners.

"Have a nice day," I said.  "Also, nice outfit."

"Awesome answer," I said.  "Here's a star."

"Smart idea!  And, cute haircut."

"I like you. Have a sticker."

My co-teachers kept laughing and telling me that this was Level 2 behavior.  It was a reference to the egomaniacal teacher who told us that he doesn't ever bribe his students - his students want to do their learning only for the good of the world.  But, here's the thing: I like to get and give stickers, and I don't care what that guy says.

The stickers continued into yesterday, when I was checking the gradebook for missing work.  "You have no missing work," I would report.  "Here's a star."  The kids were still delighted with the stars, and stuck them all over their faces and stuff.  When someone did have missing work, I'd say something like, "Please come and take your missing quiz.  And, here's a star."  No one was left out.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Today on #TwinTuesday, we have lovely dishcloths and decorative boxes.  What an odd combo!  But, what happened was, I was doing some dishes on Sunday and struck by how nice that dishcloth is.  So, I snapped a pic and sent it to Lee.

Sometimes, one sees nice dishcloths like this in gift shops.  I think from now on I'm going to buy them as gifts.  Someone must have given this one to me, and I've decided I love it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Horror

Poor Mac felt so wronged last night.  The kid, as you may know, plays the violin like a dream.  Some of the time he likes playing the violin. The rest of the time, I make him play it.  Making him practice is a hard job, and I have to do a puzzle, with it's calming properties, while I do the forcing.

Anyway, last night there were lots of tears and "I hate violins," during the practice negotiation.  Right away, I backed off on my 10-piece quota because I could tell it was going to be an epic battle.  "Five pieces," I said.

"Four," he said.

"No," I said.

And the sobbing.

Finally, he played the five, I read a story, put him to bed.  He knocked on my door thirty minutes later, weeping.  "It's not fair," he said.  "Why do I have to play an instrument and Shef doesn't?"

"That doesn't seem fair, does it," I said, walking him back to his room.  In fact, I've often felt this was my mistake.  I failed to make my oldest child's life suitably miserable.  If I had inflicted the pain of music,  I could more easily coerce the younger.  Since I don't have a reason why Mac has to do it while Shef doesn't, I just rubbed Mac's back and validated his feelings.  "I can hear that you really feel like it's not fair."

He sniffled and nodded.

"Can I tell you a secret, though?  Shef is not that good at playing music. You're much, much better."

Sunday, March 1, 2015


This was not a good week for working on my fiction-writing project.  I spent the week madly prepping for our session at NAIS in Boston, not writing about Frank and Alice and the other characters, whom I will introduce soon.  Luckily, I have other parts already written. This part of the story is back in the pool in Florida, later in this scene that I wrote before.  In this part, Frank tells Alice some things about Norah, Alice's birthmother. Things that Alice isn't quite ready to hear.

Okay. It's #NovelSnip:

Alice’s breath came heavily, her fingers tingling as she loosely gripped the side of the pool.  She kept her eyes focused on the gutter.  “What?” she breathed.

“She sent letters to us, telling us what she was doing and asking about you.”

“She did?”  Lights emanated from the clubhouse, just beyond the deep end where Alice and Frank dangled from the side of the pool.  Alice blinked to orient herself, integrating this new, debilitating information.

“I wrote her back,” Frank continued.

“What did you tell her?”

“Your hobbies, how you were doing in school.”  Alice could feel Frank’s eyes travel her face, but she kept her head down, her breath mingling with the water.  “But like I said,” Frank continued, “we haven’t gotten one now for a couple of years.  So, I think she’s moved on.”

“Okay...” said Alice.

“So you can stop worrying about that.”

“Okay,” Alice repeated.  She dredged breaths from her chest as Frank hoisted himself out of the water above her, planting his knee heavily on the concrete edge and straightening up.  He turned and offered her a hand.  “I got it,” she said, raising her feet to the wall and pushing off on her back.
That's #NovelSnip.  Phew.  I'm at the point now where I feel like I need to map out the whole story.  I might Google about how to do that.  Someone's got to know.