The close calls.
Things go awry when raising kids.
Dorothy Monroe can laugh about it, now that her oldest is 50.
She shares the joys and jabs in a self-published collection of child-raising tales, "Cobwebs on the Chandelier."
"It's not the children's fault. It's just the way life goes," Monroe, 74, of Edmonds said. "The flippant off-the-top things that go wrong at the time."
She married her husband, Jay, on April Fool's Day in 1961 in Nebraska. They raised four children, who gave them just two grandchildren.
"I told them, 'You were supposed to go out and multiply, not go out and divide,' " she said.
And they weren't supposed to live so far away. She has to travel to Tokyo, Chicago and Louisiana to visit three of her children.
The youngest, a son who has disabilities, lives nearby in Lynnwood. He inspired their move to Washington from New Orleans in 1997.
"Getting around in a wheelchair was so difficult there at the time," she said. "We were totally frustrated with the mobility in New Orleans."
So, on a trip to Washington, D.C., Dorothy and Jay stopped by the U.S. Department of Transportation. "We asked where in the country would we find the best accessibility," she said.
The answer? Seattle.
They moved across the country to Edmonds when Jay retired from his job in economic development.
Dorothy commuted to Seattle to continue her career in the health care industry in patient financial services.
Yes, somewhere along the way, between juggling children and a dozen moves for Jay's work, she had a career. She went to work outside the home after the youngest child went to school.
"I taped up the instructions above the washer and dryer and said, 'Have at it,' " she said.
She was a medical office training instructor for seven years at Edmonds Community College before retiring in 2007.
"Cobwebs" is a memoir of 37 short essays she wrote over the years. She also writes fiction.
She hopes to get a publisher for her good guys-bad guys novel, "Saving Samaritan."
"It's about a community hospital purchased by a large corporation that put executives into camps and the boards into camps."
Sparks fly between the passionate female heroine and a powerful male lawyer. Hmmm, might it be a bit steamier than cleaning cobwebs from light fixtures.
"I'm 74, and very Midwest," she said. "There's no blatant sex."
She currently has an agent reading a youth book, set in the 1940s, that is geared to middle-school readers.
For "Cobwebs," she has Jay.
"My husband is my promoter," she said.
He got her a recent book-signing gig at Third Place Books.
After self-publishing a book, she found there is something that makes parenting, marriage and everything else under the chandelier seem almost easy. Cobwebs are easier to see than those pesky typos.
"Editing," she said, "is darned hard work."
For more information, go to www.cobwebsonthechandelier.com. To contact Dorothy Monroe, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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