I woke up this morning and immediately set to work on my Chinese Whisperings commitments. These included some author biography work as well as a behind-the-scenes look and, most importantly, more work on the re-writing of “Thirteen Feathers”.  It was my goal to get these items emailed out to my patient and loving editor by the end of the day.  Well, to be honest, I hoped to just get the bio and behind-the-scenes bits out to her; the story probably needs another thirteen hours of revising beyond what I can do today.

So, I made my morning coffee and settled in to write.  Words, so often my friends, have been failing me lately, but even so I’ve been able to get some to flow onto the page.  Apparently, though, my life-long struggles to write about myself continue and I struggled greatly with my bio.  Who’d have thought that writing approximately 100 words could take so long?  I mean, I can usually bang out a thousand words or more in thirty minutes – even faster on a good day!  But tell me to write about myself and, well, it’s like I’ve never written or spoken a single word in my life.  This is why I never changed jobs despite being miserable for a long time at my old company – I didn’t know how write the cover letter!  And the resume – limit me to a few bullet points and I am dead in the water!

But I digress.

Ultimately, I got my bio written.  To do this, I used one of my secret writing tricks.  Now, clearly, I can’t tell you my secret technique for extracting intimate details from such a stoic person as Rob Diaz; if I did, I’d probably have to make you read my bio and that, my friends, is torture – even illegal in some parts of the world.  But I suppose I can safely tell you that it involves me creating a fictional Rob Diaz and setting him in a blindingly bright room with a bowl of pureed bacon, a box of shrimp-flavored donuts and a crazed Phillies fan who thinks he’s Jack Bauer.  The Jack wannabe will torment this fictional Rob Diaz while playing Justin Bieber’s greatest hits on repeat play (and at maximum volume).  And if fictional Rob still refuses to talk, his interrogator partner-in-biography will cut off his –

You know… I should stop.  I mean, it’s not cool to see a grown man cry, right?  Especially over his – coffee—being cut off in a fictional biographical world. Right?  Tell me you wouldn’t want to see this happen.  Tell me!


Well, let’s just end with me reassuring you that the bio got extracted written and we moved on with the day.

Next up was some tennis.  Nick has been playing tennis for the past couple of summers and he is actually quite good at it. He has been looking forward to playing against me for a while because he wanted to soundly defeat me at it.  The trouble is – he didn’t realize or remember that I was a half-way decent athlete in my day. And, I work out every day at the gym, so what I have lost to the aging process has been somewhat minimized.

The score of our match is… unimportant. Nick learned a valuable lesson today about good sportsmanship – at least I hope he did.  I tried to teach him how to step up when his game was failing him, too… little tricks to fight through the game when things aren’t going smoothly.  I’m not sure if he learned that or not as he focused more on how tilted the court was in my favor.

Now, before anyone paints me as an awful, evil parent, let me explain that Nick is very, very competitive. He makes everything a competition – seriously, he’s a competitive tooth brushing champion!  What this means s he always wants to win, no matter what. But what it also means is that he does not want anyone to go easy on him. And trust me: he can sniff out anyone who isn’t giving their all.  So, as upset as Nick got at losing our match, he was even more upset when I backed off a little for a few games. He was actually yelling at me for missing shots if he detected anything that made it look like I wasn’t giving my all.

So, I played well in order to show him respect.  Really!

After tennis, we went back to the timeshare and collected the laundry. I figured I’d do the laundry in the coin-op by the activity center and work on my Chinese Whisperings stuff, check my email for work, etc. Ginny and the kids went to the pool to relax and play.

Let me tell you – these have to be the slowest washers and dryers on the planet.  They took forever to run. It didn’t help that one was broken and another set was full of someone else’s laundry.

Let me digress (again) for a moment. As a public service announcement, let me remind you that you shouldn’t leave your laundry unattended in a public laundry room.  You never know when someone might slip, trip or fall, accidentally spilling a bottle of bleach on your fine, silk underwear.  And if you leave them in the dryer, they might end up in a pile on the floor, over in that corner where the cleaning staff appears to be afraid to go.

Not that I’d ever do that to someone on vacation. We’re all friends here, right? I’m just making a friendly suggestion about proper laundry etiquette, that’s all.  Besides, I don’t use bleach.  And it is none of your business if I might have tried on the silk undies.  I will neither confirm nor deny the internet rumors about this.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh, right – in the laundry room with my trusty laptop.  My plan was to email my Chinese Whisperings bio to my editor. Of course, the internet was not working properly, connecting and disconnecting faster than germs flew out of the nose and mouth of the kid who sneezed on me while I was sitting in the laundry room getting nothing done because the internet wasn’t working. It’s times like these when I wonder how anyone ever got anything done in the days before widespread internet capabilities. Sadly, I’m old enough to remember working before widespread use of computers at all – but still I don’t seem able to pull off getting anything done now that I’m addicted to used to having the internet all the time.

Eventually, the laundry finished, with “finished” being a relative term because I didn’t feel like paying another $2.00 to start the dryer again. After putting all the clean, only slightly damp clothes in the car, I joined the family by the pool.

After splashing around for a bit, we went for the daily cutthroat game of miniature golf. Our results today were:







Front Nine






Back Nine












Aside from Rosa’s rough outing, you’ll note that our scores from today are very similar to yesterday’s scores. So, we’re consistently bad.  And I always say there’s something to be said about consistency.

Worn out, we decided to borrow some movies from the activity desk because the 4,327,922,125 movies we brought with us (give or take 4,327,922,100 or so) were not sufficient to provide entertainment for us n our fourth day away from home.  So we borrowed “Underdog” and “Muppets Take Manhattan” and headed back to the villa.

Both movies were actually pretty good. “Underdog” surprised me just because it looked like it would be kind of dumb.  And the Muppets… well, you can’t go wrong with the Muppets!

But watching “Muppets Take Manhattan” got me to thinking – I think the next show Cross Creek Players puts on should be “Manhattan Melodies”, the musical within the movie.  I’m thinking I’d be a shoo-in for the role of Miss Piggy and, I’m sure it would be a smash hit!  So, note to the Cross Creek Players’ decision makers:  Manhattan Melodies as a follow-up to The Music Man.  Trust me – it will be huge!