Monday, June 24, 2013

A Brief Summary in the Interest of Posterity: In Three Acts

Act I: The Move

A family of eight, ranging in age from toddler to teen, remarkably young and good looking at least on the parenting end, prepare to leave their mini-McMansion (not redundant) in the suburbs of Central Florida for the last time. 

no time to hedge, which will cause wailing and gnashing
of teeth to their pocketbooks
A Bucket List of Goodbyes is planned for the final day, things they will miss about the little town:

brand new nail salon visited exactly once
included only because the image is fantastic

showering under the crepe myrtles one last time

But the actual moving of items goes remarkably smoothly because the children have grown accustomed to both being ignored and enslaved.


loads and loads of help

They land with their college-kid quality level of furnishings and knick-knacks at a small beach bungalow on a barrier island in southwest Florida.

Act ends on a Sunday afternoon with exhaustion and disillusionment as the final box is set in the middle of the already crowded and slightly filthy cottage, and the father packs his bag to be gone for a week of work travel. Seriously.

Act II: The Ugly

Husbandless, friendless and internetless in a new town with an entire household of unpacked boxes, disassembled beds and shelving, and six displaced, bored, unhelpful whiny babies, the mother turns to alcohol and peanut M&M's for comfort. Not true, but that would make a far better play than Mother moping about distractedly barking unheaded orders and unloading half way through box after box without making it to the bottom of one. 

In one lonesome scene intended to induce sympathy from the audience, featuring a single moaning violin, the mother stands with trademark unkempt hair gazing back and forth between a an ever-growing laundry pile and new apartment-size stackable washer-dryer, while out the enormous window-frontage, beach goers set up brightly colored umbrellas. 

Meanwhile the children are content to argue amongst themselves, whine about their loss of friends and purpose, and live amidst boxes and boxes, finding to make the hours go unproductively by:

reading, which is a very boring scene,
and may be cut from the final production

producing free-style art unaccompanied by
sibling or adult supervision,
but nevertheless ends in a mess
on top of the mess

and seeking refuge on the beach from the very
exhausted, but somehow still
highly demanding and agitated mother

All hope for a quick resolution to the lack of internet is dashed in a dramatic and orchestrally heavy scene when the cable installers burst the water pipes, flooding the yard and depriving the little home of not only technology, but water.

oops, this will be fixed in mere days

Act ends with the mother recognizing for the first time that a crazy and ill-thought out dream has landed her and her family in a not only expensive, small, far from desperately luxurious rental home that is also, horror of horrors, a fixer-upper.

Lights fade. No sounds on stage other than the dogs' clickety-clack across the sandy floor.

Act III: The Light

The Father makes a triumphant return: Maker of Shelves, Putter-Togetherer of Beds, Bringer of Happiness to Mother. His work week away had brought him enormous success relating to his career, and that spirit of hopeful renewal spreads throughout the distraught household. And they could sleep in beds. 


Bordering on the symbolic, the little yellow house's path to the beach had been completely grown over, unusable because of the prickers. The father wastes no time in mowing it down, the first step in the process to completely clearing the path to home.

some such image would be included in the musical number
accompanying the father's return
The music slows, displaced by heavy silence. The children, the dog and the snake exit both stage left and right, leaving the mother and father alone, but surrounded by half-finished projects, scattered boxes, and perilously ugly ceiling fans and window treatments. A simple dialog about school choices and couch placement ensues, and somehow the scene pans to the front porch (I don't know how, the director can figure that out) where the middle child welcomes the new day thusly:

...and curtain

Stay Tuned


  1. I would so pay to see that play. At least your sense of humor didn't get lost in the move :)

  2. I love your writing. Can't wait until the production comes out!

    That week with your husband gone sounds awful. Hope the rest of the move goes smoothly and your house doesn't need too much more fixing-upping.

  3. Sobbing!!!! So beautifully touching!

  4. Beautiful! Loved this, I could totally visualize it! Your old home was lovely but the new home brings with it a lifestyle of forced togetherness and wonderful access to a panoramic playground of sun, sea, and sand. Yay! Many, many, happy days lie ahead for your beautiful family. I can feel it! Can't wait to hear the end of the story. Or would it be the beginning of another story? Hmmm...

  5. If I pulled the plug on Theme Thursdays, do you think it would force you to write more posts like this? Because I'll do it. I'll do it in a heartbeat.

  6. I would go see this play in a second! I loved hearing the updates and please know you are in my prayers as the unfamiliar becomes familiar - I really admire you and your husband for chasing a dream, your kids will have enriched childhoods for it. The grime, dirt, noise, and grouchiness are all a part of the beauty too, it is memory making stuff of life going on!
    I look forward to the next post, my family is thinking of making a trek to Destin Florida sometime next Summer - a meet up would be so fun. Your adorable crowd and my bawdy one could make for monumental memories for sure!

  7. I need the sequel!

    I'm amazed at how concise you can be - I would be inclined to make this into a novel-length post with my complete incapacity for brevity...

  8. ah-man..water-pipes broken and water all over...who to that beach and stick your tootsies in the sand, bring some drinks of course, and call it good!!!

    love your new home, boxes and all!

  9. I have no idea why you say my move is harder than yours. My move involved a long flight and some luggage. Yours... Well, this is epic. I'm so sorry that you had to face all these challenges. But I am really glad you wrote about it. You have a gift, friend.

  10. And all shall be well...and all in every manner shall be well. Julian and I assure you of this!

    p.s. Peter reading anything good?

    1. Don't you love how they have boxes and boxes to unpack, yet the bookshelf is loaded!! 😃

    2. Only Swaffs would do this...and Nolans...anyone of the Moody gene pool, maybe!

  11. Is this script available through Samuel French?...

    1. Who needs validation from Samuel French when I have received my very first comment from D.E. Swafford??

  12. I would have lost it completely with the broken water pipe! I don't know how you held it together.

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  14. I'm enthralled...truly! Awaiting the next scene....




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