Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Dark Comedy

It's Tuesday night and I'm starting to feel the pressure of not having a blog written for Thursday. Thursdays are my responsibility! The Northern Half of Evelyn David has Mondays.

I got back from the Love Is Murder conference on Monday afternoon – it's a long drive from Chicago to Oklahoma. I'm still a little punchy from staring at a highway for 13 hours. But the conference was wonderful and I enjoyed my time there. Picked up a few advance copies of Murder Takes the Cake. My co-author and I are using 90% of them to send out to reviewers. The official publication date is May, so even my mom is having to wait for a copy.

I had originally scheduled Tuesday off from my day job – you know, the job that pays the bills and allows me to write in the evenings and weekends? But since I'd been out of the office for a full week, lots of little annoying things were piling up. I'd received a half dozen calls from co-workers on Monday during my drive back. Nothing really critical, but all considered urgent by the callers. I decided that my week would be much smoother if I went to the office on Tuesday and got started weeding out my in-box.

I work for the Oklahoma Department of Mines running the Coal Mining division. We issue mining permits, enforce environmental regulations, and ensure that mined areas are reclaimed. With my biology degree in hand, I started as an inspector over twenty years ago. I think, as with most people, some days I love my job – others not so much. Today was one of those "not so much" days. A dear friend and co-worker is very ill. Except for a couple of scattered days, he's been in one hospital or another since January 1. No one seems to know what's wrong with him – all tests are negative but he's experiencing severe lower back and abdominal pain. I've been picking up some of his supervisory duties while he's been out, but we all miss him terribly.

The other major thing I'm dealing with concerns an upcoming office move. We have to vacate our current office by June 30 and, as of today, we haven't nailed down new office space. Just in case the general public is unaware, there is almost nothing in the world harder and more unnecessarily complicated than moving an Oklahoma state agency office from one location to another. The only thing harder is closing an office. I spent at least three hours today discussing with a contractor, my immediate supervisor, my office manager, and the agency director the technical space requirements for state office building bathrooms, whether or not the square footage in bathrooms count towards our allowed office space, and how many bathrooms we were entitled to have. It was suggested … not by me … that we have one unisex bathroom in the new building and use the extra square footage for another private office. I don't know how other people feel about unisex bathrooms in offices – but I'll vote no every time. In fact I might have shouted to my direct supervisor over the telephone (a male whose office is in a large office building some 150 miles away from my small field office, a building that has multiple sets of male and female bathrooms on all floors) something like, "I'd give up every private office in the space before I'd give up having separate male and female bathrooms." There was this stunned silence on the other end of the line after my outburst – I don't think it ever crossed his mind that a unisex bathroom would be a problem.

Oh well … maybe Murder Takes the Cake will be a hit and I can give up my glamorous day job. My co-author suggested that I should try for a humorous blog this week, but I just don't have it in me to be funny right now. Can you tell?

I'm in my living room writing this blog, surrounded by unpacked suitcases, tornado alerts blaring on the television (it's a little early in Oklahoma for tornado season – but hey, it's been one of those days), and I need to clean the leftovers out of my refrigerator. I also need to buy a fresh copy of Turbo Tax and do my taxes this weekend. Yea! Something to look forward to!

Funny – I need to think of something funny. I saw Rachel Getting Married on pay-per-view at the hotel in Chicago. It was billed as a dark comedy. That was half right. It was dark – very, very dark. I didn't laugh even once, so I don't count it as a comedy. Do you remember the movie Ordinary People? Rachel Getting Married was as much a comedy as that movie was!

So let's see – I've covered travel, illness, tornados, taxes, unisex bathrooms, government bureaucracy, and bad movies.

I definitely need to find my way out of this week and get back to something cheerful – writing murder mysteries!

Evelyn David


  1. Hi:
    I hope you didn't have to stop in any unisex bathrooms on the way home! What a day you had. I hope no tornadoes came and that it got better.

    I am one of the very lucky folks who got to purchase Murder Takes the Cake last weekend and though I have two reviewing deadlines I couldn't resist starting it - it is great!

    I enjoyed sitting with you at the Missing signing as well.

  2. Oh, my goodness! Your job is a big one! Hope the tornadoes haven't come your way.

    We had patches of snow on the ground today and were excited! Don't see it down this low very often, plenty on the mountains though.


  3. Thanks Amy and Marilyn! I spent the day in Oklahoma City - about 120 miles from my home in Eastern Oklahoma. There is good news on my new office space. A deal has been struck - now we just have to hope the remodeling work/build-out goes fast. And yes, I'm getting two bathrooms!! Sometimes pitching a fit does get results!

    Amy, thanks for purchasing Murder Takes the Cake! Hope you enjoy it!

    Oh, and the tornado did hit Lone Grove, Oklahoma - very bad but it was about 3 hours west of me.

    aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David