Wagner Writer

Hi you!

Greetings from frigid Omaha, Nebraska! I’ve been here for a few weeks while my sister has some medical stuff done. So this will be my “writing from the hospital in Omaha” edition of the blog. Enjoy!


Current Book

OK so I have to take back everything negative I said about the editor in my previous blog posts. Over the past few weeks, she has worked with me on the first chapter of my book and I think it’s in a MUCH better place. Before, it felt just too long. But, working together, we’ve cut out about 6 pages that weren’t really needed in the first place. The first paragraph also flows a lot more smoothly and gets the reader right into the “action.” And, hopefully, you still get a feel for the main character and his situation.

Because I’m feeling more confident in the beginning, I submit it to five more agents today. That means my list is about half exhausted. When the list is done, it will be time to look at self-publishing. For some reason, “A Whole New World” is suddenly playing in my head.

New Book

I’m really excited about how this book is shaping up. Over the last few weeks, I’ve tweaked the opening chapter so that the back story info isn’t so abrupt.

I’ve also been working on weaving a crucial part of the story into more sections of the book. As I mentioned before, one HUGE plot point isn’t covered off on much until the very end. One reader said the ending was so sudden, he was completely lost. The thing is, based on clues throughout the book, the reader should be a little surprised, but not lost. Unfortunately, in writing the first drafts of the book, those clues weren’t really present, LOL. And so, I’ve been working on finding places where it made sense to integrate that information. In doing so, I’ve also found a few things that could be cut to make way for the new stuff. All in all, I think it’s a lot better!


Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. That’s STILL all I’ve gotta say about the video.


The singing at my twin sister’s wedding didn’t happen, LOL.

Here’s why:

So I landed in Wisconsin on Thursday evening. When we got to Cory’s house, there were, I’d say, eighty million bins and boxes full of stuff. It turns out, every bit of that stuff was decorations for their wedding.

Therefore, on Friday, we spend the entire day decorating the reception hall for their reception. And by all day, I mean we were there until like midnight decorating.

It was actually really fun. Wow that probably makes me sound uber gay, LOL.

They chose The Island of Misfit Toys theme (from the awesome old Rudolph Holiday movie), so we setup Christmas trees and strung lights around the walls. It was like a cool Christmas in January thing. Cory’s wife, Ashley, is a big collector of toys and she has tons and tons of memorabilia from that show so we also placed ice bergs all over tables, each decorated with a different character. She even made these cool light displays at each table, each complete with a Misfit Toy.

In addition to that stuff, we had to make snow flowers, wrap chairs in white bags (so they’d look wintery), setup music equipment, etc… Needless to say, we had a lot to do! And the reception was on Saturday at 2:00.

In order to have time to finish up, we met back at the reception hall at 9:00 Saturday morning and continued setting up. At about 1:00 the cake arrived and we had to help get it setup. The cake was really cool. To fit the Misfit Toys theme, it looked like Moonracer’s castle (he was the king who ruled over the Island of Misfit Toys):

(NOTE: Yes it looks like dildo mountain, but that’s what Moonracer’s castle looked like!)

To make it even cooler, they setup a water fountain right underneath it.

And then, at 1:30, the water fountain broke and began shooting water everywhere.

It was a mess, and Cory’s daughter and I spent forever blotting water off the icing so that everything wouldn’t appear ruined.

We didn’t have a lot of time because people started showing up right at 2:00.

With all that said, you can see why I didn’t end up singing. I didn’t have time to practice or prepare at all. I think that my helping setup for like 12 hours was a good enough present, though 🙂

Enjoying the Area

Oh boy, where do I start? As mentioned above, we are in Omaha for a few weeks while Windy has a series of surgeries.

First off, let me talk a little about the Midwest during the winter.

It sucks. It really just sucks. It sucks a whole lot. Right now, it’s 7 degrees out and snowing. Last week in Wisconsin, they had a day where the high was -5 degrees!!! And Cory and I were out running errands that day.

I’m telling you, I used to complain about the cold in Dallas. No more! No one in Dallas is ever allowed to complain about the cold again. For reals! That day in Wisconsin, I took my gloves off for about 15 seconds just to see what it would be like. By the time those 15 seconds was up, my fingers were burning they were so cold. It was awful.

And I admit I complained about it. A LOT. One of our stops was a liquor store and I literally had to run around it to get feeling in my toes as Cory talked to the manager. They looked at me like I was a weirdo, but I was losing like forty toes to frostbite!

Again, let me just say that it sucks.

Now that that’s out of the way (IT SUCKS!) I can talk a bit more about my stay here at the hospital. I don’t want to get so into the medical part, but my sister was set to be in the hospital for a total of about 4 days. Unfortunately, there have been some complications and we’ve been here about 18 days now. Seriously. And we don’t have a hotel so we are literally living here at the hospital in Windy’s room. I feel like I’m Tom Hanks in that movie where he lives at the airport.

It sounds awful, but I’ve learned a whole lot about a “hospital vacation” – that’s what I’m calling it -and wanted to share some of the more memorable moments and tidbits of info:

1. Sleeping in a hospital is a real challenge. I know people realize that hospitals never shut down. But it really sinks in when a nurse comes in every two hours, day or night. It was especially funny when one of them came in at 2:00AM, woke Windy up, and asked “What is your pain level from 1 to 10?” Chris later told us he wanted to scream, “Well it was a 0 until you woke her up!!”

Then at 6:30, the doctors start coming in. Honestly, I don’t see how people are supposed to rest and get better with all the late night interruptions.

In addition to that, Chris and I also had to deal with sleeping arrangements. While Windy was in her comfy hospital bed, Chris and I were given recliner chairs. Now let me stop you before you think they’re like La-Z Boys. Nope they are regular chairs that recline about half way (so you can’t actually lean all the way back). And if, while sleeping, you lean forward just a little, the whole thing snaps forward and collapses. Chris has been sleeping on one for days. Not me. He made fun of me, but after just one night, I went to Wal Mart and found the most amazing thing ever: A slim twin air mattress!

It’s only as wide as my body but it fits perfectly in our little hospital room: Chris refuses to sleep on it (he’s too proud) but it literally changed my world after the awfulness of that first night. Since then, I’ve actually relaxed on it because it’s so (relatively) comfy.

2. Eating good food in a hospital gets really repetitive. This hospital has two food sources (excluding the vending machines): a standard cafeteria and a Subway. The cafeteria (which I’ll talk about in a second) is only opened for a couple hours during the day and closes during dinner, which means I’ve eaten Subway 11 times since I’ve been here. Seriously! I think my blood has been replaced by tuna (with onions and Sriracha). I do have to admit that their cookies are awesome though. I’ve had about eight hundred raspberry cheesecake cookies since we’ve arrived.

OK now on to the cafeteria.

When you think about hospital cafeterias, you picture dingy rooms with long lines and gross looking platters and even grosser looking food. I have to say that the cafeteria here actually defies that stereotype. Sort of. They’ve gone out of their way to make it look cool and modern. They even have stations setup where you can get Asian food or American food or a salad bar.

My first day, I was SOOO excited to find the Asian station and promptly ordered the Thai stir fry. Then I tasted the food and all my hopes and dreams were dashed upon the rocks. 

In the days we’ve been here, I’ve tried like 20 things… And approximately 19 of them taste exactly the same. It’s an exercise in blandness. I will say, though, that the Mediterranean couscous (of all things) I had today was pretty awesome.

3. The nurses are really freaking awesome and cool! Being here so long, we’ve made friends with the nursing staff and we love all of them. I think we are their favorites, too. Two of the nurses are bringing fingernail polish and curling irons and stuff tomorrow to give Windy a makeover, LOL! I had to help her peel off her gel nails in preparation. One piece actually hit me in the face as I ripped it off.

4. Exercising in a hospital is very interesting. Windy has been encouraged to walk around to get her systems going. So we have found some interesting treks around the floor. For example, a bird apparently crashed into one of the windows. I know this because the poor thing left a perfect imprint of its body:

It was flying so fast that there’s also a bowel explosion, LOL OK that’s way too much information, but those are the kinds of things you notice.

We also found a hallway with pictures of babies. Some of them are cute but some freak you out to your very soul.

As far as working out goes, I’m insisting on doing some of my Insanity videos to keep in shape. Last night, I plugged in the DVD and did the workout right in Windy’s room. Naturally, a doctor came in fifteen minutes later and interrupted, so I did push-ups while he worked LOL. I’m pretty sure I’m known as the weirdo brother on the fifth floor.

Random Insights or Stories

Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to begin on this one. I guess I’ll share a quick story on perspectives. I’ll call it “Farts.”

So everyone thinks that farts are low-class. If you fart in public, you’re the trashy one. Or if you fart on an elevator, everything looks at you. The worst thing of all is farting at the dinner table.

However, in the past two weeks, I’ve seen that, in a hospital, the perception of farts is very different.

After you’ve had anesthesia and bowel surgery, your bowels are basically asleep. That’s what’s happened to Windy. For a day or two after surgery, they monitor your body really closely to make sure your bowels wake up. If they don’t wake, you can’t hold down any food. Believe me, we know. Windy’s bowels are having trouble waking up and food only digests so far before it all comes back up. It’s scary and awful.

Well one of the signs your bowels are waking up is when you start farting. So that’s like the miracle sound around here, LOL! And the doctors and nurses are all coming by asking Windy if she farted and wishing her luck. They even said they were going to have a celebration and photographers and balloons when she finally farts.

Farts are amazing around here!

Finally, last night, while Chris and I were at dinner, his phone began ringing. He answered it and all I heard from the other end was, “I TOOTED!!!” Immediately, Chris and I began cheering.

So, the moral of this lesson is: One man’s toots are another man’s treasure. Or something like that.

Short Stories

I finished my short story, Spirals, last week! I’m still doing some minor edits, but it’s about ready for review. I am tempted to post it here. However, it’s very risqué so I’m not sure. If y’all don’t mine more adult material then I’ll share it. Just don’t think any different of me!

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