• It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
  • A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
  • You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
  • Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
  • Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
  • I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A New Suit

Three days to my daughter's Bat Mitzvah and things in my world are bordering on out of control. Two weeks ago I decided I could no longer put off buying my son, age 16 and growing taller each day, a new suit. All I had to do was find a corresponding two hours of free time where we both were available to get to the store. As luck would have it, on a Thursday afternoon, torrential rain caused the town to close the soccer fields. YES! No soccer practice. So after school and track practice and a visit to the Hebrew tutor, we headed up to the suit store.

My son is on the cusp of men's sizes. The salesman informed me that out of the hundreds of suits in inventory, they had 3, yes I said 3, suits in my son's size. I'd anticipated difficulties outfitting my daughter and myself so we started shopping back in January. But my son? No way! How hard is it to buy a suit? I felt panic rising. It took an act of nature for me to find the time in our busy schedules to get to the store. I had to allow for alterations. How long would it take for our schedules to align again? And where would we go? The store we were at had the largest selection around.

I prayed one of the available suits would work. Unfortunately, my son flat out refused the first choice based on color. So he tried on the second of his three possibilities. It looked nice, came with two pairs of pants. I innocently asked, "How much?"

The salesman replied, "$450.00."

I laughed. That was a joke right? $450.00 for a suit a 16-year-old would probably wear once? Not on my  budget. The salesman didn't seem to appreciate my amusement. I stopped short of yelling at my son to hurry up and take the suit off before something happened and we were forced to buy it.

The next suit, the last of our three options, looked good and was, thankfully, more reasonably priced. I breathed a sigh of relief. It was getting late. My children were hungry and eager to get to Chili's (my bribe for them to cooperate!) The hard part over, with the salesman's assistance, I rushed to find the smallest dress shirt available in the perfect shade of blue and a matching tie. My husband showed up and took the children to the restaurant while I paid.

The salesman rang up my order, I handed over my credit card, and ran through the rain to my car. It wasn't until I arrived home and looked at my receipt that I realized I'd purchased my son an $85.00 dress shirt!

What does this have to do with writing? Even when we're stressed and under a deadline, we must pay attention to the details. Have you ever sent a manuscript to an agent/editor/contest only to realize later on that you made a stupid spelling error? That the hero's green eyes mentioned on page 1 changed to brown on page 21? If yes, please share your stories. If no, how do you manage the details while under pressure?


  1. Please please please tell me you took the shirt back. No offence, but $85- for a shirt he'll outgrow in two weeks is know what it is.

    As for finding stupid mistakes. I find them all the time. That's why they're called line edits. I hate them, they're time consuming but they work. You have to be quiet to do them so you can concentrate.

  2. Mistakes in my writing...I'm guessing those are like easter eggs. You hunt them in April and are sure you got them all, but come May you're out in the yard and smell something funny. Yup, rotten egg...but dyed a lovely color. :)

  3. Hi Piedmont Writer!
    I am almost embarassed to say I did NOT return the shirt. At the store the salesman had removed the packaging and the pins so my son could try on the shirt. My son LOVED the color and the fit, and why was, after all, an $85.00 shirt. Due to time constraints and my son being a difficult shopper, I kept the shirt and learned a valuable lesson! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Regina!
    You crack me up!! I seem to say that often. We jewish people don't know much about Easter egg hunts. I remember the first time my daughter was invited to one. She was nervous because she didn't know what to do. I said, "People hide brightly colored eggs on their lawn and you find them."
    She asked, "Why?"
    I said, "I have no idea. Go have fun!"

  5. Best wishes and mazel tov.

    Have a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime day!

  6. Awe, I love this story. And yes, I've rushed things out the door to peeps to read and then gone, yikes! I missed a word or forgot to realign the paragraphs. And this is after double and triple and quadruple checking the stuff. Even after doing a read aloud, I managed to find a problem long after I sent the final version out to the Maggie (in my synopsis so I hope they will be kind).

    I hope the Bat Mitzvah is wonderful!! Enjoy the day and the celebration!!

  7. Your son is so special he's worth every penny of that $85.00 shirt(and if you ask him, he'll tell you)! With his blue eyes and mega-watt smile, he will do it justice even if only for one wearing.

  8. I love this post - it is so the symbol of motherhood and all the things that we need to do to complete a day and make everyone happy. Congrads on having a handsome teenage son and a wonderful family to enjoy the chaos with. As for writing - I have to admit I usually obsess over a manuscript for an amount of time and then I can't stand it anymore - I send it out because I can't live with it for another minute. This can sometimes result in a ridiculous error that one more view could have fixed. Thanks for the reminder to take a deep breath!

  9. Hi Terri, Christine, Dale, and Jen!
    Thanks for stopping by!
    The Bat Mitzvah prep continues. First service tonight. I'm off for a manicure and pedicure. Can you believe I've never had a pedicure before?

  10. Wendy,

    What a great story and great advice. I have two young boys (4 and 7) and they won't stop growing! The 7 almost 8 year old is up to my shoulders already. I know what I have to look forward to . .

    As far as writing, I've started little mini-bibles to keep track of details. I write on the fly, which means I write off the top of my brain/whatever comes out first, so the bible helps with editing. Now, that doesn't mean I still don't make mistakes. :-)

    I hope the Bat Mitzvah goes well.


  11. Wendi, Your story brings back memories of those days. Thank heavens my two shop for themselves these days. I hate shopping.

  12. They tried the same thing on me when I treated my son to a suit for interviewing but I let them put the colors together so when we went to JC Penny for a reasonably priced shirt we knew what looked good.

    On writing - the details I need to look for are using the words 'just' and 'that'.
    I also have to make sure I haven't repeated a though - at least too many times. I hates reading a book and the heroine re-hashes time and time again.

  13. Hi Abbi!
    Over the past two years my son has been growing like a weed. Up until then he was always the smallest in his class. Not anymore!!!

    Hi Janet!
    Sometimes I think about how much easier my life would be if my children could/would do everything on their own. But it makes me sad so I stop.

    Hi Liz!
    I thought about JC Penny after the fact. Bottom line, my son looked so handsome in his new suit, shirt and tie that whatever the cost, it was worth it.

  14. I've definitely made those easy-to-overlook mistakes in my manuscripts. I'm having trouble remembering specifics, but I know I've done silly things like have a character sitting, and then forget that she's sitting and make her sit down again. Stuff like that. :)

    Hope the Bat Mitzvah went well!