Monday, June 13, 2011

Curb Appeal

And if you don't believe me, just ask me.

You know, it's not easy being the person who's always two steps ahead of the herd. The person who spots innovation from miles away - before it's recognized by mainstream society - and embraces it.

The person who was into the Macarena before you could rent Macarena instructional videos at Blockbuster.

The person who was wearing those plastic sunglasses that look like mini-blinds back when everyone else was doing the Mary-Kate and Ashley bag lady look.

Nope, it's not easy being the one out on the frontier. The ice-cutter.

I know. Because I am that person.

Take last week, for instance.

It was time for Morticia's class to work the drop-off line at school - a dangerous, high-stress job that includes setting out orange cones in a straight line, opening a seemingly endless stream of children's car doors and making small talk with parents (most of them sketchy strangers whom I suspect are listed on some kind of national law enforcement registry) all while making sure not to step off the curb at the wrong time and end up splayed across the hood of someone's Prius blasting through the cones at a silent 5 m.p.h.

We made it through Monday, Morticia and I. From snippy parents to entitled children, it was quite the social odyssey.

Let's just say lessons were learned.

We returned Tuesday morning more seasoned, more
prepared. Wiser, if you will.

Things were going along just fine until Ms. Wingo, Assistant to the Vice Principal, approach
ed and pulled me aside.

"Hi." She adjusted her bright orange vest and captain's hat that I recognized from last year's middle-school production of "South Pacific." "We're getting complaints."

"Really? What kinds of complaints?" I shifted fro
m foot to foot, anxious to get back in the line before I lost my door-opening rhythm.

"Is that your sign down there?"


"Down at the entrance to the drop-off line." She pointed to the end of the line of cars. "The poster board clipped onto the preschool art ease

"Hmmm..." I squinted into the distance.

Ms. Wingo huffed with impatience. "The sign that says 'Drop-Off $3 per car - Tips Appreciated'?"

"Oh, right. Yup, that's mine."

"Yeah, you can't do that." She crossed her arms.

"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I'm keeping the money. Well, I'm not. Okay, except for the tips. After Morticia's take, the other 90% is mine, fair and square."

"What?" Ms. Wingo looked startled.

"The money is for the school! Fundraising!"

"You're kidding, right?"

"Listen, we've got a bird's nest on the ground here. Have you seen these parents? They're desperate. They'll pay anything to get these kids out of their cars."

"All right, that's enough. You're going to have to take that sign down right now."

"Come on, everywhere I turn, I hear people
fretting about school fundraising. Auction this, raffle ticket that. Are you going to overlook the gold mine that's right at your curb?"

"Wait a minute." A look of recognition swept across Ms. Wingo's face. "You're the one who put a note in the suggestion box saying we should install pay toilets in the student bathrooms, aren't you?"

"Um, you're welcome. Someone had to step up and explain the concept of supply and demand."

"That's it."
She turned and walked toward the front of the drop-off line. "I'm taking down that sign."

"Ignore the forces of the free marketplace at your peril, Ms. Wingo!," I shouted after her. "And, by the way, I'll just be keeping my ideas for turning the nurse's office into a money-making machine to

This post is dedicated to our local elementary school, which we will be leaving next week when Gomez culminates and moves on to middle school. Thank you for a wonderful grade-school experience and have a bitchin' summer!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Book Deal + My Giant Floating Head

Livin' Large

Do you ever get the feeling that somewhere on the other side of the country people are pushing a giant yellow likeness of your head down the street?

know. Me, too!

At first, I thought I was just paranoid, but then my dear friend author Beth Kephart shot the photograph you see on your right and posted it on her most excellent blog.

Yup, I thought when I saw it, that's the one. (It's like nothing at all has changed since my third-grade school portrait.)

But, Anna, you might ask, why did Ms. Kephart post a photo of your parade-float noggin on her blog?

News That's Even Bigger Than My Chicken-Wire Head

I'm thrilled to share with you that I recently got a book deal and I am currently putting the finishing touches on a humor book that will be in stores nationwide this October.

The book's title is:


It's a humorous dictionary that contains hundreds of the words and phrases women use, along with their "definitions." I'm having the best time writing it!

I will keep you posted along the way, of course, and as the publication date nears, I'll also be sharing sneak peeks of some of my favorite definitions.

The totally normal-sized-headed Ms. Kephart (whose highly anticipated 13th book YOU ARE MY ONLY will be released this October as well) very generously posted about CHICKTIONARY on her blog and said some really nice and completely unsubstantiated things about me that I greatly appreciate. For all the details and links, please click through to her post. (BTW, if she asks about the flatbed trailer I borrowed back in February, please play dumb. Thanks.)

In the meantime, huge (and I mean huge) thanks to Betsy Amster of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises and to Diane Garcia at Adams Media (a division of F+W Media). I am beyond grateful to them both for many, many reasons.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank you (yes, you). Thank you for reading, thank you for subscribing and thank you for bringing your particular brand of awesome to my rumpus room. Without you, it wouldn't be any fun at all.