When Life Has Other Plans-Doh!

I'm not much of a planner, but boy when I have set out a well laid out plan...you know what they say about the best laid plans. Tell that to Dr. Avalon "Ava" Harper.

When Ava loses a dear friend, who's her age, her world is turned upside down. As many women know, often times we have to tend the flock, leaving us, well, un-tended, which can lead to un-hinged!

Mastering the key concepts of aerospace propulsion systems does nothing to prepare the brilliant Dr. Harper for the power of vulnerability. The unexpected loss teaches the socially awkward, rocket scientist a hard truth, LIFE WAITS FOR NO ONE

​Having modeled her entire life for the single purpose of working for NASA, when she sees her dreams and well thought out plans slipping through her fingers she's willing to try anything--even accepting her best friend, Zack's challenge to lighten up and, "say yes to everything" for at least 30 days.

​With her new plan for life after Space and renewed hope, she heads to Spain to test Zack's theory.

​Join Ava as she navigates life and love with lots of quirk, heart and a few misfires along the way.

Here's an excerpt

Bees buzzed around the bunches of flowers surrounding Karen’s burial site.  The slightly elevated mound of fresh dirt hit me hard. I glanced over at Zack, who was now wearing mirror lens sunglasses.  His face was stone, but a single trail of tears lined the edge of his nose and ran down into his beard. I squeezed his hand and he let me.

“At least we know these flowers haven’t been treated with toxic chemicals.  It’s kind of refreshing to see bees.  Karen would like that.”

I sat down a few steps away from where my best friend’s perfect wife now lay.  I pulled the tall bottle of Grey Goose from the brown paper bag and then the tonic water. Zack remained standing.  I left him to his thoughts.  I pulled the three, overpriced highball glasses and the lime I’d bought at the Package store from my purse.

“Did you get the knife from BJ?”

Zack didn’t answer.  I tugged at his pant leg.

“Yeah,” he answered, and handed me the engraved pocketknife. He sat down beside me, but never took his eyes off the hill of dirt. “Do you think they’ll put sod over it?”

My face pinched, and I raised an eyebrow. “Probably.”  I looked around at the other, more established graves and they were all covered in the same shade of green grass. “They must.” 

I handed him two of the glasses and dropped a few ice cubes in them.

“Fill hers to the top. She likes extra ice.”

“I know that,” I snapped as I dropped more cubes into Karen’s glass. I filled our glasses with two parts vodka and one-part tonic, then squeezed lime juice over them. I cut wedges and dropped them into Karen’s. “Here you go, sis.”

Zack smiled. “Well, what now?”

I launched myself to my feet and took her glass from him. “Now, I sit her drink right here,” I said, placing her drink where I imagined her head would be, “and we toast to the indelible mark Karen Fordham-Reid left on our lives.” Zack raised his glass but stay seated. “To Karen. Gone too soon.”

“To the love of my life.”

The break in his voice drew me back to his side. I took a sip from the ice-cold cocktail and watched the bees buzz about. 

“What am I going to do now, Ava?”

I turned my folded legs towards him and sat my glass down. “You will take as long as you need to grieve, and nobody will force you to do anything you’re not ready to do.  I promise you that.”

He chuckled. “Our anniversary is coming up.” He took a long pause, then drank from his vodka tonic. After an exaggerated sigh he squared his shoulders. “Do you want the tickets to Spain?”

“Do I want the tickets? Hell no. What would I do in Spain? Alone?”

Zack shrugged. “Who knows, you might meet someone by then.”

“I might meet someone, not completely turn him off and like him enough to take him on a trip to Spain.”  The thought was more than laughable, not to mention illogical. “That’s preposterous. I will credit that absurdity to your grief.”

“Not to the flights of fancy, I’m susceptible to?”  

“Ha. Ha. You are susceptible to romantic flights of fancy,” I said, nudging his knee with mine. “It’s good to hear you finally own it.”

He belted out a hearty belly laugh, like the ones I was most familiar with from him but retreated as quickly. 

“I’m sure it’s OK to laugh, Zack. Karen loved your laugh. Do you remember how she’d laugh herself to tears listening to your lame stories from the bar? You’d say, ‘Are you laughing at me or the story?’ And she’d say…”

“‘A little of both’,” we said together.

I squeezed his knee again, and he smiled at me.

“You’re batting a thousand today.”

“I am. Aren’t I?” I said, flashing a big smile.


The ticking of the chain against the ceiling fan and Zack’s ridiculous offer plagued me throughout the night. How on Earth would I meet a man in a few weeks? Though I worked with several, there was zero probability of me finding a suitable travel mate at my job. An aero propulsion lab was not conducive for casual, get-to-know you chatter. We didn’t have offices or cubicles. We spent much of our days in supersonic wind tunnels and hot jet facilities wearing earplugs and safety goggles. 

There was Farrukh, who was possibly close to my age. But he had giant dandruff flakes hanging dangerously loose from his thick hair and floppy ears.  And if there was a chance to get him to a dermatologist, I could never excuse the time he pissed his pants at the company Christmas party. Then there was Louis. Louis was obtusely awkward, even aside me. He mumbled, shuffled his feet and wore the clothes of a twelve-year-old from the late eighties. The man wore Dungeons and Dragons ringer tees to work— at least twice a week. I mean. Come on.  Who the hell has D and D t-shirts in 2018? Where does he find them?

I do not understand what possessed me to dial Zack, but I did.  I was a little surprised when he picked up on the first ring and regretted the call right away.

“Hey. What’s up?”

I swallowed the lump of terror in my throat before I spoke.

“You all right, A?”

“I am. Yeah. Of course, I am.  I’m checking on you.”

“It’s late.”

“I know what time it is, Zack.  I can’t sleep.”

“You wanna come over?”

“No. Thanks. I have work in the morning.”

“OK,” he dragged out but said nothing more.