A Brief Interlude

The Five Stages of a Night by Myself:
1. Bewilderment
2. Flood of Nostalgia
3. Depressed Need to Overhaul Entire Life
4. Exhaustion
5. Renewed Energy and World Domination

Spouse and I have been sitting on a gift certificate for a one-night stay at a fancy local hotel; waiting until the youngest sleeps through the night so we can have someone care for both boys while we enjoy a night away. We’ve waited for two years.

And now that he’s Two, he’s only waking twice a night. So we’re getting closer. But twice is night is too much for us to feel right foisting him on leaving him with someone else.

So I took the precious promise of a night away for myself, and walked the two miles away from our house to luxurious solitude.

Oooooh was it nice.

The walk lead me through my alma mater and my old neighborhood. I walked past the hotel to finish the old route home, oscillating between the familiarity and distance of a life I haven’t felt in eighteen years. I saw new and old, jarring and comforting. And I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and a sense of loss. I’m never going to be an incredibly-hard-working undergrad with my whole life ahead of me ever again. That’s gone forever.

So for a short while I was depressed. Then I decided to make some changes to find more joy and forward motion in the life I have now. That cheered me up a bit. Lost opportunities became a Need to Conquer the World. I hurried to my room to write out a plan.

I checked in just in time for the wine hour.

The wine made writing plans for world domination an unreasonable task, so I watched terrible movies on cable. We don’t have paid t.v. at home. I like it very muchly, the badness of bad television.

A few hours after the time I *swore* I’d sleep, I turned off the bad movies and the light.

The guilt of a silent room grabbed me by the ankles and threw me around. A lot.

“How could you leave them?” guilt smashed me against a wall.
“What could possibly make you think you wanted this?” guilt threw me back on the bed.
“What a terrible mother,” guilt shoved me onto the floor.
“What a terrible wife,” guilt folded me into a small package and shoved me in the nightstand drawer.
“What a horrible person,” guilt pulled me back out and threw me out the window.

About an hour of this nonsense and I finally fell asleep.

And woke six hours later, at the same time the boys are normally leaping from stillness to unabashed firecracker-ism.

I fought the urge to go for a run and forced myself to stay in bed. There’s a whole lifetime of “run before they wake up” starting again tomorrow. This morning was my one morning without “before they wake up.” So I dozed for a while and fought the urge to get up and dozed and woke and forced myself back down again. I got up at the unbearably late hour of 8:00 a.m.

I hiked, I ran, I gazed out over the bay.

view from the knee-unfriendly stretch of Stonewall-Claremont

I showered. I snacked. And I completed two lists of simple ways to improve my life, a list of goals for this year, and a list of manageable tasks to complete before school starts in September.

By checkout time, I wanted another day alone. But I was lucky enough to get to go home to three adorable humans, take them organic-strawberry picking with lovely friends, and come home overtired, filthy, and full of vitamins C and D.

An awfully good weekend prelude to a solemn day of remembrance and honor, I think.

Hope you and yours are safe and sound, that our soldiers are soon home safe and sound, and that we appreciate deeply the sacrifice of those who did not come home safe or sound.

Happy Memorial Day.

Tough call

For future reference, if you’re out of town and get a request to send a partial submission to the agent you really, really, really hoped would read your debut novel, it will cost you $30 to print it at Office Depot and $176 to print it at FedExKinkosFedOfficeFedWhatever.

Tough call. But  I think since David Foster Wallace’s agent actually wants to peruse my novel, I’ll go with the $176. Because there *must* be a reason paper and ink cost six times at FedEx, right?  Like, they’ll use their special lasers to make my writing even better, right? Or print in in black and white gold, right?

By the way, did I just seem all casual about the fact that the agency that found DFW in the slush pile is at least potentially interested in my novel? Sorry. Didn’t mean to make it seem off-handed. There isn’t an emoticon for “wetting my pants right now in fear, as I sob in relief,” is there?