My first novel started with a mole. Yes, a MOLE - a freckle, a birthmark, whatever you want to call it.
I was at the pool with my daughter getting ignored by our swim instructor when a lifeguard with a particularly ripped abdomen walked by. He stopped to flirt with one of the female lifeguards and my eyes flew directly to an adorable mole on the top can of his six-pack.
"How cute!" I thought (among other things). "He looks like a character in a romance novel!"
So I went home and started writing fiction for the first time. That was over a year ago and I still haven't been able to stop. GRAVY is the story of a suburban housewife who wants another baby, but gets a man with a mole instead.
The property manager flaked on me AGAIN today. It's the third time. There goes his apartmentratings.com rating, slacker! The only good thing about the flakage is that our place is clean. It still needs to be packed, but at least it's clean.
We had a nice weekend. John and Lynne invited us over for dinner on Sunday. The kids had a great time and Carol brought a bunch of old family photos we all poured over and soaked up. The more photos I see, the more sure I am that Genoa Carol looks an awful lot like her Grandma Carol.
You can't tell from that photo, but you should really see the one of Carol in her bikini in 1963!
On Sunday I also managed to pack up about six boxes, fill five more
bags of crud for Goodwill and make a run to the grocery store even though I was completely sleep deprived (Genoa may be a year old, but she still sleeps like a newborn) and exhausted (how long should it take for my back to recover from throwing that party?).
On Monday we went to my parent's house for a visit with my oldest and best friend Jill. She's been dating this guy Peter for a few years now and she FINALLY got him to come with her for a visit, so that was a treat. The kids loved him and his great Donald Duck impression. Especially Genoa.
Today I ran a bunch of errands, which I'll now catalog for you because that's just how lame this blog is going to be until my brain decides to return from it's layaway in movingland: finish 26 thank you notes, Pick up Alex at preschool (Thursday is his last day!), bank, Goodwill, Target, post office, pick up toys, vacuum, clean kitchen, make tacos, drink tasty beverage, post this, relax.
Now up at the Mom Street Journal is the first in a series of posts about retirement planning. I have a lot of opinons about this topic, but I'm always looking for new questions to address. Feel free to suggest an idea.
The going away party was a resounding success, for me at least. I really enjoyed myself and felt good about having everyone we love in the same place one last time before we leave. There were no tears or heartfelt goodbyes (I was too busy dealing with a cranky baby!), but I think that's for the best. I'm not at all sad about leaving. Yet.
We had SO MUCH help from family for the party. Dave's brother John came early and helped us pack up the car and get set up. My mom made a TON of food for appetizers and brought her cooler and kept track of the kids for half the party, not to mention taking Genoa on a marathon walk so she would finally fall asleep in the stroller. Dave's mom took me to Costco twice and then bought the cakes and all the fruit. My brother, Tom, took all the photos.* I didn't even pick up my camera once, which means there are actually some photos of me for a change.
Basically everyone else in my family worked a lot harder than I did so I could have a good time visiting with the guests. It was awesome and I feel incredibly indebted to them all.
Alex had a blast. His cousins were there and they disappeared playing and we almost never heard a peep from any of them until it was time to hit the pinata, which was the highlight of the party for Alex. He kept walking up to people afterwards and asking, "Did you see how hard I hit that pinata with a bat?!?" Genoa was a bit of a crank. I thought she would eat the mac 'n cheese I made, but she spit it out and ended up eating nothing but chips all day, which would make anyone cranky. By the time we sang happy birthday to her, she was a mess.
When we got home, Dave complained that I didn't help enough with the food, which was completely valid since I was too busy socializing. He asked me what I talked with everyone about and for the life of me, I can't remember. I had 50 five-minute conversations, mostly about us moving. I'm hopeful I'll get to see everyone often enough when we come back for the holidays every year.
Later that night, after I'd had the chance to change into my jammies and relax a bit, I started pre-opening Genoa's gifts (I say pre-open because I promised Alex he could open all the presents, which he did on Sunday morning). I had completely forgotten that people would bring us gifts (I didn't even think enough to set up a table for the gifts) and I was overwhelmed by the generosity. There were almost as many going-away presents for me and Dave as there were gift cards and cute outfits for the baby.
My two closest friends, Jamie and Deneen, generated my first real going-away tears. They each went to the effort to hand-make a scrapbook of photos of our time together - of our kids growing up together - and I was blown away by the time and detail and love that went into them. I am truly blessed.
It was a very good day.
* My brother Tom has a Flickr account where he's posted all of the photos he took with his camera. I asked him to make them friends/family only because not everyone wants their picture on the Internet. If you ask him to friend you so you can see the pictures, he will, and I highly recommend it.
Genoa has started to get increasingly verbal these last couple of days. Even when she's not making any sense, she's making a lot more noises that aren't screams. And that warms my cockles.
New words this week: Mama, increase use of Dada and dog (every thing's a dog! even kittens!), but the best new word is Grandma. Carol walked in the door and picked her up and Genoa said, GRAAH-MAH! I thought she's been saying it for a little while, but today I was sure.
I've been sucking at updating my sidebars this week. Three new posts are up at the Mom Street Journal:
Last night after one of the FOUR times I got up to nurse the baby toddler, I checked on Alex who was zonked out on the air mattress next to me, climbed back into bed and found the sheets to be decidedly.... sandy. I was shocked that I hadn't noticed it any earlier and I cleaned the bed off and went back to sleep, but somewhere in the back of my mind, the whole thing seemed weird. How did sand get into my bed in the middle of the night? How could I not have noticed it?
Well, wonder no more. On our way to my mom's house today, Alex piped up from his car seat, "Hey Mommy! Guess what I did in the middle of the night?"
"I put sand on your bed! It was in my pockets!"
"Why did you do that?" (By this point I'm busting up laughing because what the hell!?)
"My robot brain went OUT OF CONTROL!"
The weirdest thing was that we hadn't been anywhere NEAR sand all day.
I was finally starting to think that the random contractions I'd been having for a few hours were actually labor. Then I did my best to blog through Genoa's labor and delivery. The whole experience was awesome.
I know this is the most repeated sentiment about parenthood, but I totally can't believe she's already a year old. I really want to devote some time (probably on Monday after the weekend blows over) to discussing all the ways we love her to pieces.