The second coffee.

 

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

Mother, daughter and sons on the way to Thai café.

The second coffee usually treads a familiar path. Normally it comes after the first. But, normality took a break this morning. You have no idea how complicated the publishing of a book can be. I wonder if the homeless under the bridges or highway overpasses are the results of those desperadoes seeking self-publishing? I am so sick of reading my stumbling words with  ‘a kind of this’ and a ‘kind of that’ getting repeated so often. I’ll delete them, but the rate I am deleting, soon I’ll have a brilliant book with no words.

With each change the family gets  consulted. Their patience will be rewarded in lofty credits in the book if it ever manages to escape the US taxation laws or the pernicious PDF Word Files. One major decision was to change referring to Mum and Dad to father and mother. Back through the whole thing again re-edit and change to the latter. Was it a good move? At 3am I get up and micro-wave a mug of milk (60 seconds) add a spoonful of wattle honey, climb back in bed afterwards and hope for kindness of mind and some sleep.

I made a fatal mistake on reading (Googling) up on back-page blurbs. The general idea is to give the background to the book with the minimum of words. ‘Less is better,’ is the sage advice. In any case, the expert blurb writers warn never more than 250 words. I spent days on that alone till my daughter took over and wrote a very good one. She reckoned my own blurb concentrated too much on colonoscopies and wacko erectile dysfunctional benefits. ‘Just give a hint, don’t rub their face in it,’ she advised.

The torture of the night gets relieved when the first of daylight manages to climb through the bedroom window. It is first- coffee time and this alone heralds a new day. I  leap out of the bed and put on the kettle.  The leaping is not as vigorous as it used to be. The kettle has a whistle and the water heats up by gas. I try and prevent too much of the whistle in case it wakes H who normally gets an extra half hour in. Often breakfast doesn’t happen till well in the morning, usually after 11 or so. This is where to-day’s the second-coffee comes in. Most times we put in a solid couple of hours upstairs on our computers, abusing the Australian Government on the ABC’s on-line forum.

This morning second-coffee was unusual. The same amount of boiling water is put on about three table spoons of ground coffee. I rattle the cups and spoons so Helvi upstairs knows the coffee is in the making. This morning I was perhaps a bit more absent than normal and instead of taking Helvi’s keenly awaited cup of second coffee, I carried a complete two litres of milk upstairs instead. I did not even realise what I had done till I handed it over.

‘You are going ga ga and slipping,’ she said, and laughed her head off.

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47 Responses to “The second coffee.”

  1. lifecameos Says:

    This self publishing business sounds very hard indeed ! Good luck !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    I wish I could still drink coffee, but I can’t. Every night when I set the coffee maker for my husband I sniff the coffee and it smells so good. But…it makes me hurt -for whatever reason- so I had to give it up. I tried decaf but decided that’s just not worth the money. Do you know what’s really odd, giving up smoking was not as bad as giving up coffee. Sounds weird doesn’t it? It’s the truth, maybe I am just weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, coffee is addictive, I know. No, decaf and instant is a no-no in this family. In the fifties ‘real’ coffee came in real instant Nescafe with 43 beans in ever cup, the ad said. Boy, did it give me attacks of intestinal hurry.
      The Maxwell House instant coffee was as good a laxative as you could get. Better even than after a bout of crook prawns.

      Liked by 4 people

      • algernon1 Says:

        Instant is a no no here too Gerard, makes me sick. But real coffee free of the preservatives thats a different story. You say that Maxwell House is as good as a laxative, perhaps you should consider International Roast, seemed to come in industrial sized tins from memory. It was a coffee for opening up the the sluices…. at both ends. It left this mud at the bottom of the cup when finished (and not like say a greek or turkish coffee)

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Intstant coffee is an abomination, yet I see people buying it. I suppose it is ‘easy’ to make.

        Like

      • Big M Says:

        It’s amazing that, even the cheapest beans, are still a quantum leap over instant. I remember when someone, Maxwell House or Nescafe released instant tea. My old uncles thought it mind boggling, that something, which normally takes all of three minutes with fresh tea leaves, could be ‘instantised’.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Soon we will have instant Coke. Just add water.

        Like

  3. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    You make telling it like it is so delightful! I will keep the milk and honey drink on tap at 3 in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, warm milk and some honey really makes one go back to lseep.
      It takes some willpower to get up and make it, but it is well worth the effort.
      Your kind words are even better, Kayti.

      Like

  4. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I would have been right there with your wife, laughing my head off, Gerard. Not that I don’t do equally silly things and earn a similar response from Peggy. As for coffee, I set mine up the night before. All I have to do is push a button when I get up at 5:30. It can’t come too soon. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Geez, I reckon you must be keen on the first coffee in Alaska watching the ice-artists at work. Are you sleeping in a tent? I hope you are warm. I loved those photos of the ice sculptures.
      It gives hope and a change from looking at the puckered up face of Trump.

      Like

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Actually, I am back home now, Gerard, getting ready for my next big trip. We stayed in motels, a lodge, and military housing (Tony is Coast Guard). So I was warm at night, but it did get plenty cold on a few days, and yes, a hot cup of coffee helped.🙂 –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

  5. berlioz1935 Says:

    Gerard, you might be cutting words from your script, but you are not cutting out your humour If you could make money out of your blog you would have a healthier bank account, I’m sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Peter. Gee, that heat last few days really knocked us about a bit. We pulled some plants out and are now re-doing the garden at the front of our place.
      The re-editing gets done slowly. The best reward is being read at all. I could never have imagined.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

    Gerard, I feel your pain. I am so sick of editing my book that sometimes I would like to pitch it out the window. Like you, I have been dumping unneeded words.
    On the mum and dad thing, I see nothing wrong with using what is natural in your own country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, ‘mum and dad’ is folksy and ‘father and mother’ more formal. I don’t know. Our daughter and grandkids use the more informal ‘mum and dad,’ and opa and oma thing.
      In my time parents were more formal. My father even insisted we eat a banana with fork and knife. All of us seated at the table and no TV watching ever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

        I would go with what you would naturally use, Gerard. Since it is YOUR story, not your parents’, not your children’s, I think I would go with what my gut tells me feels right.
        Except here in the Southern part of the US, people use mom and dad–and a lot of the new Southern generation do also. But in my day, we used mama and daddy, so in a good deal of my writing, I use it. It just feels right in the context of the story.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Yvonne Says:

    I laughed at your daughter’s succinct comment about the back cover blurb. And Helvi was well within her rights to laugh at your second cup of coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dave Says:

    Editing is tough, and can take some time. Going with the gut and what feels right is important, because it will most likely fit within your other words more comfortably. Consistency is also key. Still not sure re the tax issue. But you are a funny and reader-pleasing writer, and deserve a much wider audience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It is tough job this editing, Dave, and I am amazed at your editing skills. Who would have thought that red lines would appear in almost every sentence. I felt I might have joined the communist party receiving your first edited version of the beginning of my book. I could not have asked for a more determined and eagle- eyed editor.
      Not a single punctuation miss-placed or even absent, escaped the electronic manuscript.
      Thank you so much for doing such a great job.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave Says:

        Thank you, Gerard. I do like to be thorough. I offer the focus I would like others to offer me. It makes me happy to be appreciated.🙂

        Like

  9. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Did you download and read Elmore Leonard’s tips for writers ?

    Cut out everything people will just skip over anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I’ll try and leave in a few words, Mike. I noticed you have gone for some very up to date educational tools. What did you think of Canley Vale High school outperforming most other schools with a 95% ratio of students coming from non-English speaking backgrounds?

      Like

  10. rod Says:

    Firstly, I have to confess that I like editing. It’s less of a burden than an opportunity to pick up things you may have missed and improve on them.

    I couldn’t help wondering if you spent a long time replacing mum and dad. The word-processors I use have a FIND and REPLACE funtion in the EDIT menu. The software will do it for you, finding each case of MUM and allowing you to change it to MOTHER. But maybe that’s how you did it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks Rod,
    I looked but could not find that feature. I am using Word 2013 to re-edit. However, when it comes to finding out the features of editing menu I am somewhat blind to actually taking it in. I’ll find out from a good friend who helps me out.

    Like

  12. Master of Something Yet Says:

    It could have been worse. You could have poured the milk into the coffee pot instead of the boiling water. It’s been known to happen. Although in the case I heard, it was a teapot.

    Your self-publishing adventures sound ghastly but I am sure it will all be worth it in the end. Best to make it the best it can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dorothy brett Says:

    Natasha was perfectly right and gave good advice.

    Like

  14. shoreacres Says:

    I once had a friend who was prepared to have a salad and a baked potatio for her supper. She put the potato in the microwave, then set above making the salad before she cooked it. Once the salad was finished, she turned on the microwave, but when the buzzer rang and she opened it — no potato!

    She looked and looked for that potato: on the counter, in the bin, n the refrigerator, behind the bottles and jars. It was no where to be seen. Three days later, she opened the freezer door to get some ice and there it sat: frozen solid, still waiting to be cooked.

    You have a long way to go before you get to ga ga.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I feel your pain… I really do know just what it is like. I spend weary hours deleting ‘really’ and ‘just’ from my manuscripts. The other thing I do is change the name of my main characters (in fiction) at the last minute. This is hazardous in the modern world. If you hero is called Dave and you decide to call him Bruce, Word will go ahead and instantly change it all for you – just like that. HOWEVER, when your young couple are taking a stroll through Florence they might then gaze up at Michelangelo’s Bruce… so watch out.

    Like

  16. chris hunter Says:

    It’s a worry when one’s life-long partner laughs their head off over one going gaga. At least it was the milk, more relevant than taking up a loaf of bread.

    When this happens its time.

    Like

  17. lewbornmann Says:

    The first book is always the most difficult: agonizing over each word, re-organizing, over-concern about what readers might think…. With later books, you realize no one is actually that critical and just get on with it. There is only ONE first book; enjoy the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. William T Giffin Says:

    The word COFFEE always grabs my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

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