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Excerpt: The Wind Could Blow a Bug – Chapter 19

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I am happy to offer you another excerpt from my debut novel, The Wind Could Blow a Bug. Chapter 19 takes place after Jane and Wade have broken up, and she is exiled off to college. Jane is depressed because she no longer has Wade, but she also has no other friends in her life either. Her existence is empty.

And, to make your bookshelf feel less empty…

I WILL BE GIVING AWAY TWO COPIES OF THE WIND COULD BLOW A BUG!

The Wind Could Blow a Bug, Jennifer Friess

The Wind Could Blow a Bug, Jennifer Friess

I will give away ONE COPY to someone who comments on this very blog post here at ImNotStalkingYou.com.  Click on “Leave a Comment” below. When it asks for your email, be sure to use one I can reach you at if you are the lucky winner. (Note: Your email will not be displayed to anyone but me.)

I will also give away ONE COPY to someone who comments on the post containing the link to this blog post on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/imnotstalkingyou2. (Note: Only comments on the Facebook post with the link to “Excerpt: The Wind Could Blow a Bug – Chapter 19” are eligible to win.)

One entry per person per site per day. Contest ends at midnight EDT on 3/18/15. Winners will be selected and notified on 3/19/15. The two winners will be asked to provide their mailing addresses to me so that I can ship them paperback copies of my book. Your address will be used for no other purpose.

If you WOULD like to stay in touch with me and my writing antics, please feel free to sign up for my author updates at THIS LINK (signing up at this link DOES NOT enter you into the contest).

Thank you so much for support!

If you missed the other excerpts, you can find them here:

Chapter 1: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/12/04/excerpt-the-wind-could-blow-a-bug-chapter-1/

Chapter 2: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/12/30/excerpt-the-wind-could-blow-a-bug-chapter-2/

Chapter 11: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2015/02/02/excerpt-the-wind-could-blow-a-bug-chapter-11/

19

Jane had thought (hoped, prayed) that when Wade heard about the Rileys’ divorce, as he surely would, that he would come and get back together with her. If nothing else, that he would at least call to check on her, see if she was alright. Because she was not.

But that was not his problem anymore.

That call never came.

Part of what made being with Wade so great, was the fact that Jane felt whole. It wasn’t just that she was happy for a change, but that he was the other part of her whole and he made her feel complete. A day just somehow doesn’t seem complete until you’ve been close enough to a guy to smell his masculine scent. Maybe that is why days and nights without him blended together as only big chunks of living; no more, no less.

Jane continued to work at the Diner, making eye contact with customers as little as possible. Wade no longer came in. She put in her two weeks notice before she left for school. Donna was very choked up when Jane’s last day came. Donna was the only one Jane would miss in Oakley. Well, and of course Wade. But Jane tried not to think about him. She tried not to think about much of anything.

Jane began to pack up all her things. Anything she wanted to keep would have to go with her to college to fit in her tiny dorm room. Stuffed animals, old school work, and treasured toys all had to be boxed. The house had to be completely empty and neither of her parents had offered to keep any boxes for her at their new residences.

Jane ran across the address she had found on the Internet for her birth mother. She ripped it into a million little pieces and threw it out her bedroom window, to watch the pieces flutter in the wind. One thing she was positive of: she could not bear to have one more person in this life abandon or reject her. Especially the one who had started the vicious cycle in the first place.

When the day came, Mr. Riley drove her the four hours and forty-five minutes up to Clark College in Burkeville. He helped her carry her boxes into her room. He gave her a kiss and a hug, and then he was gone. Jane sat in the center of the room, surrounded by the still-sealed cardboard boxes containing her entire life, starving, and cried. She didn’t know where the dining hall was or where to get her food card. She could hear other students in the hallway and knew the logical thing to do would be to ask one of them. But she just could not face anyone right now. Due to a paperwork fluke, she had a room all to herself. Although, it would probably only feed her desire for solitude.

Jane had never felt so alone in her life.

Jane felt lost at college.  Once Clark College had provided her class schedule to her and they had her money, it seemed like they had no more support for her.  Where was the cheery recruiter who had assured her there would be advisers, career counselors, dorm monitors, and all sorts of other imaginary-sounding positions to support her with her academic endeavors?  Jane had no idea what she wanted to major in.  God, she wasn’t going to join a sorority, that was for sure.  She supposed she could join the college newspaper, but even that seemed pointless to her now.

Jane was on her own, to get herself up and get to her classes on time, to get her homework done.  Despite her growing depression, these things were second nature to her.  Her responsible behavior made her seem like she had it together more than her fellow classmates.  They were not used to self-discipline or the freedom to party.  They often showed up in their pajamas, late for class, sometimes with incomplete homework.

If Jane’s suffering showed more outwardly, maybe someone would have reached out to offer her help.  But her suffering was mostly silent and invisible to anyone who didn’t already know what her regular personality should be.  She wasn’t walking past people in the halls missing an arm, leaving a river of blood behind her.  To anyone she passed, it would just look like she was having a bad day.  As such, if no one person took interest in her, then no one would realize that one day strung together into two days, which then became a week, a month.  Depression was invisible.  It made Jane invisible as well.

Jane just went a full hour without thinking about Wade. That must be a new record. Just yesterday, she made it a full 30 minutes without seeing his face in her mind. This morning, she got through 45 minutes (almost all of The Price is Right) without hearing his voice in her ears—oh, that sexy, fun voice.

No, I won’t do that to myself, Jane thought. Even though it seemed harmless enough, letting her mind wander back to the days with him, it really only made things worse. There may be a day, sometime in the uncharted future, when she could look back on those memories without it being a problem. But for now, it hurt much less if Jane shut out all the thoughts of him, good and bad. If she didn’t think about him, maybe she could forget that he exists altogether. That would make the pain hurt much less. If only Wade still loved her, then she wouldn’t hurt at all.

You would think it would be easier to not think about him, being away from the places where it all happened. But somehow, the fact that she couldn’t go back to those places made it all seem like it was a movie or someone else’s dream. It was the same way with his face. She was afraid she would forget what he looked like. She had no picture to remind her. This made her mind seem to hold on to those memories even more fiercely.

Jane glanced at the clock and realized it was time to go to her on-campus job in the dining hall. The arrangement helped pay part of her tuition. It wasn’t like working at the Diner. There she had been out in the dining room, if you could call it that, with the customers. Here, she was mostly in the kitchen. First, filling pans with food, then scraping and cleaning them. There were other students who worked in the kitchen as well. They were polite to Jane. But usually she was not part of their conversations.

“Hey, Jane, there is a party tonight,” Sally said.

“General admission, $2,” Jake added.

“Everyone welcome,” said Andre.

“Eh, I don’t think they mean me,” Jane replied back, making a face as if she smelled something bad.

“Are you going to the party tonight?” Dan asked, as he walked into the kitchen. He had either not heard the conversation or caught only the tail end of it.

“Ya, Sally and I are,” Jake answered him.

“Are you going to the party tonight, Jane?” Dan inquired.

“I’m not going. I think I’ll stay in my room and catch up on some things.” Jane knew while the posters around the campus said “Everyone Welcome” in thick, black copier ink, they did not mean her.

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

Wienermobile

This post will make you laugh, and it will make you cry.

My deep feelings about the Wienermobile are plenty. Let me share them with you now.

I never knew such a thing as the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile existed, until one night on the 11 o’clock news I saw it as the final 30 second special interest feature they always do before cutting away to the Tonight Show. As a devoted follower of all things weird and pop culture, I instantly fell in love.

I sent away to Oscar Mayer for an information pack about the Wienermobile. In those pre-Internet days, that is just how we did things. The packet was a folder full of stuff, containing an 8×10 glossy of the Wienermobile, along with historical facts, and of course a catalog of fine Oscar Mayer products for purchase.

First Wienermobile info packet from Oscar Mayer

First Wienermobile info packet from Oscar Mayer

Being a good little consumer, I totally ordered a Wienermobile shirt (it was one of my favorites for years), a Wienermobile Hot Wheel, and several wiener whistles, that I then continued to hand out to people who were important to me for years to come. (If you knew me in person, you would understand. Or at least you would smile to my face and laugh behind my back about it. That IS the polite thing to do, afterall*.)

Wiener Whistle

Wiener Whistle

I was instantly interested in how I could maybe one day get to drive the Wienermobile.  Unfortunately, it was a college internship thing.  At this time, I was only senior in high school.  So, I hung the picture on my bedroom wall and wore my shirt weekly.  (Can you guess that I was not popular in high school?  I was Sue Heck, from The Middle.  I was so oblivious, I didn’t even realize how unpopular I was.  Except I had glasses instead of braces.)  At this time, I may have also came up with my dream of Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.

Sue Heck from The Middle standing in front of a giant hot dog.  It is like this picture was MADE for this post!

Sue Heck from The Middle standing in front of a giant hot dog. It is like this picture was MADE for this post!

When I started college and majored in Communications, taking classes in Radio and TV Broadcasting, and minored in English-Writing, I thought that maybe those would be skills Oscar Mayer might find useful.  I thought that maybe if I had a Wienermobile internship for a summer, that then I could parlay that into an actual job at Oscar Mayer.  Wisconsin is not that different from Michigan.  Weather or culturally.  I could probably handle living there.  I like cows and cheese.

When I was a junior in college, I inquired again in writing to Oscar Mayer about how to become a hotdogger (what they call the people who drive the dog). They sent me another information packet (not quite as awesome as the one from 3 years before).  Incidentally, that was the 60th anniversary of the Wienermobile.  They informed me that the internship was only for graduating seniors.  So, I would still have to wait.

Second Wienermobile info packet from Oscar Mayer

Second Wienermobile info packet from Oscar Mayer (Yes, I DO save everything)

With either the first or second mailing, they had sent me a cassette tape with all the different versions of the Oscar Mayer weiner song on it.  Traditional, march, bossa nova, you name it, it was on there.  I even used the music (and some of my other memorabilia) to make a commercial for my TV Production class.

[My apologies to the college students who are displayed within. I am withholding their names to avoid any further embarrassment.]

The Wienermobile came to Toledo.  I was brave and drove down all by myself to go see it at the Lucas County Fairgrounds.  I took many pictures.  They wouldn’t let anyone go inside of it 😦

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium

As I got closer to graduation, I wandered into the Career Center at the college once or twice.  It was useless.  Usually no one offered any help in there.  Once the adviser guy did talk to me, and admitted that they did not get many job postings for positions in the Communications area.  (Gee, thanks.  Glad I spent 4 years worth of money here so that you could tell me that now!)

On one of these trips in, I saw it…

The sign to apply for the Wienermobile Hotdogger interships that year!  The year of my impending graduation!

The bulletin that Adrian College posted (Note the incorrect spelling of Mayer!)

The bulletin that Adrian College posted (Note the incorrect spelling of Mayer!)

But F**K!  The deadline was just a few days away!

I had to type up a resume and cover letter and get it in the mail, pronto.  I am sure whatever I had for a resume at the time was pathetic, so I am sure I had to spend some time in the computer lab to revise it.  The computer lab that was always busy, because many students did not yet have their own desktop computers.  (Laptop?  What is a laptop?  A cell phone?  Only guys on Wall Street have those.  A smart phone?  Does not compute.)  I went to the post office and mailed it off priority 2-day mail, which I had never used before, because I wanted it to make it there by the deadline.

Then I worried and fretted that I had not made the deadline.  I never heard back from them.  Not even a rejection letter.  By the time summer came and they would have been starting their Wieneriffic journey, I knew I was not worthy of the wiener 😦  I would have missed my then boyfriend, now husband if they had chosen me.  But I think he would have understood.  And followed me to Wisconsin.

For years, I was bitter about not getting the internship.  I still am.  In July of 2011, I was laid off from my job of 12 years.  A year and a half later, I was still looking for a new job.  I had gotten pretty desperate by then, so I was applying to somewhat crazy jobs anyway.  Then I stumbled across the Hotdogger job.  Again!  But this time, it was not tied to anything about college.  There were no restrictions, so I applied again!

I knew I wouldn’t get it.  And I knew it was crazy, since I had a husband and small child at home who I really couldn’t leave to travel.  But I had to apply.  Again.

So I could feel rejected.  Again.

I always knew someday I would write a blog post about the Wienermobile.

But what spurred me to do it now?

THIS!

It is for only 8 hours, and there are other restrictions (click here for more info).

I HAVE ANOTHER SHOT!  And because I am a powerful manifester, I will continue to get shots until IT IS MINE!

You think my confidence is cocky?  I have a $2000 6 foot tall plush giraffe that I got for free in my house to prove that I CAN make my dreams come true.  That only took me 20 years.  And it only took me 20 years to get a dog.  Hmmm…and to get a Red Wings hockey jersey…

I see a pattern here.

This bodes well for me and the wiener.  And for getting a book published sometime soon.

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!

RELISH THEM! (hehehehehe)

Once again I am coming down to the wire, though.  If you want to enter as well, just tweet #tweet2lease by 2/7/14.  But please don’t, because I want to win.

But if you do, and you do win, please swing by my house for a ride.  That is all I really want…to have a ride in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

…and the Goodyear Blimp.  Obviously not at the same time though.

* “afterall” is one word in the funnygurl2 dictionary.

The Werecart

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A golf cart Halloween decorating contest. Sounds crazy, right? What if it wasn’t even held in October.

…and that is how the Werecart was born.

The Werecart


My Mother-in-Law has camped for years at a nearby campground. My husband and I would go out occasionally throughout the summer to spend time with her and just relax. She has a camper that she leaves parked there year round. Almost everyone there has a golf cart to speed around the dusty campground on. Riding on the golf cart and watching a campfire are the big entertainment there. And that is what makes it relaxing.

The campground closes in mid-October every year. Fear not, the children still get to celebrate Halloween. They usually hold a Halloween celebration during the summer. (Note: You can’t necessarily just use your costume from last year. A Halloween costume for October in Michigan needs to be warm. In the summer, it does not.) One year the campground announced a golf cart costume contest. It sounded completely insane. And that is how I knew I had to enter.

I pitched my idea to my MIL. She was open to anything I wanted to do. My husband and I made a quick weekday trip to the campground, so that I could take measurements. The campground is very deserted during the week. To measure the angle of the front of the golf cart (very critical to my design), I just folded a piece of paper. I am sure my Geometry and Trigonometry teacher would be very disappointed in me. I only had a week to complete my crazy project. I had to go the next day to JoAnn Etc. and buy a lot of fur. Fur ain’t cheap. Then I laid on my dining room floor for a week, trying to measure my limited amount of fur correctly. The fur was flying. I believe there were a certain amount of frustrated tears. By Saturday, there was more black fur on my floor from my project than from my two actual dogs.

Notice the blood on the fangs!


My husband and I drove out to the campground. It was a rainy, dreary day. I worried whether the pieces would fit properly. I also worried whether the weather would damage the fur. You never want a werewolf to be mistaken for a drowned rat.

It turned out everything fit fine and it was as cute as Hell. It even proved very durable when we test drove it around the campground’s gravel road and over potholes. But due to the rain, the Halloween festivities were delayed till the following weekend. This was a potentially devastating development for us, as now our competition had seen what we were bringing to the table.

My asbestos friend's daughter isn't afraid

Neither is my nephew


The next weekend we saddled up the Werecart again. Strange circumstance number one was that the judging for the golf cart contest was taking place after dark. It is hard to see details, or anything, that way. I had brought a tape player so that the Werecart could even growl while being judged. The winner would get a cash prize. I planned to split it with my MIL, and use my half to recoup materials costs and to buy a weather radio (which I desperately wanted). Strange circumstance number two: I believe the cart that won was just a big box over the top of it, with some windows cut out that had flashing lights and smoke coming out of them. But I have to admit, I don’t really remember who won. I was too busy being mad that we did not. My MIL felt robbed as well. We believe that the judges gave preferential treatment to their friends. We got a $10 prize for honorable mention, I think. I let MIL keep it for bingo money the next day.

The next year there was another cart costume contest. The Werecart emerged from his den to stalk the day. But, when it came time for the contest, he was gone. He doesn’t put himself up for rejection twice. The Werecart knows it rocks. ‘Nuf said.

The End.


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I designed the Riga Township Flag

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You’ve probably never heard of Riga, Michigan (population 1,439). I wouldn’t have expected you too. But that is where my Dad lived when he married my mom. She moved in to the old family farmhouse with him. That’s where they lived when he died. That’s where she lived when I was born. And that is where I lived for the first eight years of my life.

Riga is…small. There is one blinker light where Riga Hwy hits the main road, US223. No other traffic lights. Oh sure, sometimes the train comes through and the railroad flashers get stuck on, so it gives that illusion. There used to be a church for every bar in town. Then one of the two bars burned down. The post office and the bank were on the same side of the road, with only a few houses between them. As a kid, I could never remember which was which.

Riga is all about agriculture. So in the 90’s when some idiot decided that former swampland would be a great place to build a low-level nuclear waste dump, everyone banded together to stop it. They sold burn barrels painted with the “No Nuke Dump” slogan. High schoolers came into middle school classrooms to give the students a list of all the local, state, and federal politicians and their addresses. Being the good little letter-writing middle schooler that I was, I wrote letters to them all to protect my hometown. My mother always told me not to write to the President, for fear the Secret Service would show up on our doorstep. I wrote to George Bush anyway. The nuke dump proposal was chased the Hell out of town:)

So, in 1993, in the Blissfield Advance Newspaper, I saw an ad for a contest. Riga was going to have a Sesquicentennial Celebration. They were having a “design a Riga Township flag contest”. Something instantly clicked in me, that this was something I had to do (I have had those moments now and then throughout my life). So, I got a piece of poster board at the local pharmacy within walking distance, cut it to the required size, and chose colored pencils as my medium of choice. I did a rough draft first (which I almost NEVER do). I only did one rough draft design and that is what I used for the final design. When I think of Riga, I think of farmers, barns, livestock, people waving hello. I worked all that into my design. I sort of ripped off the United States flag, replacing the field of stars with an actual field. The house on the flag slightly resembles my old house. It was required to say “1843”.

I finished my masterpiece and turned it in at one of the listed locations, the bank within walking distance. I didn’t entirely trust the bank employees to turn it in to the proper authorities. And they probably all unrolled it and laughed at it.

The original drawing was in color.


I would have gone to the judging, but that night I had an academic awards ceremony at school. (That year I cleaned up.) So imagine how nice it was to come home and hear on the answering machine that I had won the flag design contest and the first prize of a $75 savings bond. I learned that they were going to make a physical version of my flag, but that they would cost like $50 each to purchase. Kind of steep for a seventeen year old with no job. When they gave me my savings bond at the July 4th Sesquicentennial Celebration, they gave me one of my flags for free. I found out they had other contests, like “design a postmark”. The same woman won all of those contests, but her flag came in second to mine. Somehow that made it a sweeter victory.

Now my flag hangs in my guest bedroom. (And, I assume, at the Riga Municipal Building.) It might make me a giant dork, but I think it is sort of cool to have designed a township flag. Maybe generations from now the people of Riga will look at their flag and wonder about who designed it. Or maybe they will have a new contest to replace it.

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