Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Awards, Contests, Annoying hockey updates and Toilet Explosions

Yeah, I figured I would catch your attention on that last topic.

First off: I have an award to give out.

This award is called, "Real People, Real Blogs," It's given to bloggers who keep their posts real.

Everybody already knows the basics when it comes to these. Link the person who gave you the award (Angie Ledbetter at Gumbo Writer - many thanks!) Post the award on your blog. (Done!) Nominate 7 people who you want to give this lovely award (I am choosing 4 for no reason at all except that I never follow the rules . . . I am a rebel gal - unpredictable!) Make sure to tell those people to stop by so they can get their award.

All of you have such lovely blogs that always make me laugh, and cry, and give me sneak peeks into your daily lives.

In no particular order:

Jennifer Ertmer at Down River Drivel

Hilary at Smitten Image

Protege at Life, Work, and Pleasure

Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction


Agent Nathan Bransford is holding his second “First Paragraph contest” on his blog. Always fun if you want to enter or just read the imaginations from other writers. Last time I was over there, 331 people had entered - including moi. I had to enter the contest again. The first time I visited Nathan’s blog, I had entered his first-first contest back in January 2008. My life has come around full-circle as I enter his second. You can post your first paragraphs or so (he is not doing a word count this time - a messy argument from his last contest with people complaining) of a work-in-progress. The deadline is Thursday, 4pm Pacific time. Leave your entry as a comment on his blog - in the original contest thread.

Prizes: a query critique, a partial manuscript critique, or a ten-minute conversation with the agent.


The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Buffalo Sabers tonight. (I know you are reading this on Tuesday, but I am typing this post out Monday night - so please bear with me.) After our loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, we need the 2 points to close in with the NY Islanders in the race for first place in the Eastern Division. Come on, Pens!

*WHOOO! Pens got the 1st point as I type this!*

All right. You have waited patiently for the story of the toilet explosion. I can’t hold your excitement back anymore.

Once upon a time . . .

I lived in a small city called Uniontown, PA. It was . . .

*NOOO! The Sabers have tied the game 1-1.*

Ahem, sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes. I lived there during the time when the city was going through an economic decline in the early 90's. I was attending a small business college. This was after dealing with that mess involving STK1 (Stalker number 1), but before I had to deal with STK2. I had moved into the apartment up on the ninth floor, which consisted of a combined bedroom/livingroom, a very nice kitchen, and a standard small bathroom (fit two people if one of them stood in the bathtub/shower.)

*Nice...2-1 Pens!*

Anyway, I was still going through the stress of STK1. The construction company had moved him to another State - I think they caught wind of him trying to strangle that girlfriend along with all his death threats against me. Unfortunately, his burly buddies still lived in the building. I . . . well . . . was frightened of them. On the very first day I saw them, they had made rude comments about “dealing with the only girl living on the sixth floor,” and I am sure STK1's brother was none too happy to see his family shipped off. So I had the heebie-jeebies when leaving for my classes, especially when riding down the elevator afraid one of them would get on or the cables would drop out from the metal box (ugh- I hate elevators.) On this day, I had skipped classes after a nasty run-in with the burly men. I sat on the bed, working on my sketches, when . . .


It was like a clap of thunder inside the apartment. After uncovering my head from under the covers, I looked over the side of the bed.

2 inches of water.

I got up and headed toward the bathroom where I saw half of the back water tank gone from the toilet. The ceramic pieces had shattered on the floor.

Why it did this? I don’t know? How did it happen? I can’t answer that either. Why didn’t I just turn off the water line to the tank? Come on, I was only 19 at the time. I didn’t know a thing about plumbing. All I knew was that this was nasty toilet water and I didn’t want to go in there.

I left the apartment and pushed the buzzer by the elevator doors to call for the maintenance guy. He came up in his special little rising metal box, as I heard its clanks until reaching the ninth floor. The elevator doors shuffled open. The man poked his head out.

“Yah? Wha’d ya’ll wan?”

I smelled beer. It was strong inside the elevator. I shrugged while pointing down the hall where the water was streaming out the door. It was obvious over what I wanted. Yet I had to explain it to him.

I said, “The Pens are up to 3-1 in the second period.”

Er, sorry about that. What I really said was, “The toilet tank exploded.”

He didn’t believe me. The man wanted to see for himself. He stared at all the water. “Wha’d ya do?”

My hands sat on hips. “I didn’t do anything. I was siting on the bed and then it went crack and then the water rushed out.”

He glared at me, running his eyes over my body. I think he wanted to blame my weight - that I had broke it while sitting down and doing my business. Yet I had a super high metabolism. 105 was my weight on those snacking days. Otherwise, I hovered around 3-2 with the Sabers scoring. Dang!

90. I hovered around 90 lbs. He couldn’t be ignorant enough to blame this on me. Seriously, who in their right mind deliberately breaks a toilet? This would mean I would have to use the community bathrooms - on the sixth floor - where the burly men lived.

Not going to happen.

So he mopped up the water, complaining about the task and feeling sorry for the people who lived in the apartment below mine although no one came up to complain about water raining from the ceiling. They ordered a new toilet, and they installed it the next day without billing me for the repairs.

To this day, I have never figured out why this happened. I can’t comprehend why the Pens are so prone to give up the lead during second period hockey play. The game is tied 3-3 now.

Oh, and the toilet explosion was a mystery to me too.


  1. Michelle, first of all: thank you for the award, which I humbly accept; I love awards and I feel very honoured you picked me.:))
    Second; this story is hilariously funny and scary at the same time! I can’t help but imagining what would have happened would you have been in the bathroom at the time of the explosion. How terrible.
    But with that said and knowing you are all right; I keep thinking you must be a hit at parties with a story like that.;)

  2. I'm deeply honored to accept this lovely award and I shall display it in a place of high view-ability on my blog now too.
    An exploding commode, huh? Never heard of anything like that happening before and darned glad nothing even remotely close has ever happened here in my house, to me. I'd be scared you-know-what-less if it ever did though so then would really need that facility for immediate use, would I? Or maybe it's the reverse, that I would be in dire need of said item. You tell me.

  3. I have to agree with Jeni. That incident would have put me in immediate need of the object in question. I'll bet you blamed the flood for your wet knickers!

    Frightening but funny tale.. and I like how you were pucking around by weaving the hockey score through the story. And now, with this award, I feel like I've won the Lady "Bling" trophy. ;) I shall give it a place of honour on my blog shelf. Thank you, Michelle. :)

  4. I said, “The Pens are up to 3-1 in the second period.”

    Brilliant! By the way, your post title sounds like one my convolutions. If you're trying to emulate me, I'm flattered, but, if you're trying to emulate me, you should seek professional help.

  5. *Sabers won by a score of 4-3*

    Protege: You are very welcome for the award! Actually, I never told this story before. This is the very first time. I had mentioned in a Tag about telling this story. Yet I just forgot about it until yesterday when I was cleaning the commode.

    Jeni: Your blog is so true to life. I'm not sure even I can tell my life as well as you do about yours. This is why I only do snippets now and then.

    I still don't understand how it happened. I always thought toilets were built to last forever. But the way the one large piece seemed to have sheared neatly in half. Weird.

    Hilary: You will never make me tell the truth on how my knickers got wet! lol! And I couldn't help it with the hockey score. I just sat there, listening to the radio, and saw the amusing opportunity. You are welcome for the award!

    Suldog: Wait a minute! I always thought you were emulating me with your blog titles. Uh-oh!

  6. Aw, thanks Michelle. And I must agree with you getting the award—you definitely keep it real:)

  7. Natalie: You are welcome! For a person who was able to go on a writing fast for a whole month and still was able to keep her sanity, you definitely deserve this award.

  8. Okay, the toilet thing is just strange. Do you think that the burly men did it? You had 2 stalkers? Just scary.

    By the way, do you write horror? If not, what genres do you write in? I checked out your other blog a few minutes ago. :-)

  9. Demon Hunter: I don't know if the burly men had anything to do with it. I hate to think the exploding toilet was a conspiracy theory. Besides, I believe the workers who came to install the new one would have said they found something strange. Actually, I've had 4 stalkers during my life.

    I've, on occasion, dabbled in a little horror - mainly short stories. I lean more toward suspense, although I sometimes (a lot) add a humorous flavor to it.

  10. Hilary sez: And now, with this award, I feel like I've won the Lady "Bling" trophy. ;)

    Way t'go, Hilary!! I got it and good on ya for staying with the hockey thing!

    Michelle: I was wondering if'n you were gonna post the final score... And that was a way-cool way to weave the hockey broadcast into the story. Something for everyone, LOL!

  11. Buck: I try to please all my readers at once.

    Whoops! You missed it in an earlier comment I made. The Sabers won 4-3. Arrgghh! This is so frustrating. The Pens are effing up their leads TOO MANY TIMES. Seriously, I think the free agent trade hurt the team. They had the rhythm down before but now... I believe the Pens will (barely) get into the play-offs. Yet, in all honesty, I don't think we will be taking another crack at playing for the Stanley Cup.

  12. Why, hello Leon! Welcome to my little slice of Blogtopia. I hope you will stay for awhile, read a bit from this writer, and find a little entertainment along the way.

  13. What the...?! I just got one of those annoying pop-up boxes ON MY OWN BLOG! How did this happen?

    1: I am sure I have the preferences set to not allow pop-ups when surfing the Internet from this computer.

    2: I am sure I don't have it set up to allow pop-ups to appear on MY BLOG!

    If any of my readers see this, please let me know. My email is michhickman@gmail.com.

  14. Oh, what a bad day! Glad that's in the way past. :)

  15. Angie: Yes, way in the past. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things can only get better from now on.

  16. Seriously, I think the free agent trade hurt the team.

    It's worked out quite well for The Wings, tho! (He ducks. He RUNS.) ;-)

  17. You better run, Buck, while I try to dig the sharpened hockey stick from my heart!

    grumble...grumble... help the Wings, tho! Of course it helped the Wings. They got ex-Pen players! grumble... they better do better tonight against the Devils.


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