July 5, 1999
Cautious Fireworks
I am still insisting that you CLICK HERE to see the world's most adorable nephew ... and then HERE to check out my *virgin foray* into publication ... and then I'll quit ordering you around, OK?

Morning, Dear Readers ... and welcome to my day off.

In years past, I would be *celebrating* the day-after-the-Fourth with a galloping hangover and a front lawn littered with dead Whistling Tomahawks. (That was during the married years, anyway. I don't even remember what I did on the Fourth last year: probably sat in my sweltering little Tree House alone, emptying a box of cheap chablis and arguing with people online.)  So it is a pleasure, this particular morning-after, to be sitting in a sunlit apartment, drinking coffee, listening to Celtic flutes and feeling ... normal.

(Or as "normal" as *I'm* ever likely to be, anyway.)

Our Fourth of July was about as low-key as they come. David threw his back out a few days ago -- he'd spent the afternoon bicycling, and that night as we lay in bed he coughed suddenly, causing something in his lower back to spasm. (Andnotinagoodway.) He hasn't exactly been an invalid this weekend, but it has definitely slowed him down. (No dressing up like Betsy Ross and riding his unicyle in the Alameda 4th of July Parade THIS year.) We hung around The Castle for most of the day, working on art projects ... drove across the island for dinner, early in the evening ... then came back home and enjoyed a few cautious *fireworks* of our own.

And that was pretty much it for our Fourth of July.

This morning David is off doing family stuff once again. (Although I notice he took his guitar to the park today, rather than the bicycle. And the little bottle of Advil has disappeared from the kitchen counter.) I will probably join up with them later in the day, but this morning I have elected to remain behind and get a running head-start on the dizzying week ahead.

Franz comes back to the office tomorrow, first of all, and I'm gearing myself up for that. (Read this: trying not to slip into blind, blithering panic.)  I've spent the past two weeks whipping our combined offices into breathtakingly organized shape, but you just watch: he will still manage to find the one thing I *forgot* to do ... like re-scheduling that dentist appointment, or alphabetizing those architectural magazines, or pulling the icky yellow leaves off the bottom of his dwarf schefflera ... and that will be the single detail he focuses on. ("Let's review the procedure again, OK?")


The good news is that our paths will cross only once this week: tomorrow.  I have Wednesday off  --  that will be my Do Laundry & Pack The Sarcophagus Day  --  and then on Thursday morning David and I fly to TicTac for five glorious days.  So I figure that if I can just get through tomorrow  without giving in to the urge to scream or quit or run his *#$%! dwarf schefflera through the paper shredder, I'll be OK.

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My mother wrote me a cute e-mail this morning.

"I have also," she writes about her own busy weekend, "laid out the clean sheets to put on the bed on Thursday morning; put the good, thick bath towels out; cleaned the bathroom from bathtub drain to counter corners; cleaned the refrigerator (and now it's REALLY empty); washed the bird feeder (but the little squirrel who sits in the seed tray and shits in the empty shells was back this morning); and stood in the spare room door thinking about putting the boxes of WAEOP crap somewhere out of sight--but decided there was nowhere to put it that wasn't already full of boxes of stuff out of sight, so you'll just have to see what a slob I really am. All of this in preparation for your visit. Hurry up."

I had to laugh. I also had to write her back immediately. "We're flattered that you're going to all this trouble," I said. "But please remember that this is a man who used to store his income tax info in his OVEN. A little clutter is going to feel like *home* to him."

Mom is obviously excited about our visit (and about meeting David finally). So are two out of three Tots, as of last night: the Third Tot was chained to her job at the local Pizza Parlor/Adolescent Hormone Emporium from 5 p.m. till 1 a.m., so she wasn't home when I called to wish everybody a Merry Fourth of July. But I'm sure that if you ask her, she'd tell you that she absolutely cannot wait to see her money mother next week.

And of course I'm probably the most excited of the whole bunch of us. I haven't been "home" since Christmas. I love to fly. I'm looking forward to showing David off. I'm thrilled to pieces at the prospect of holding the world's most adorable nephew. And I absolutely cannot WAIT to 1.) Wrap my arms around all three of the Tots, and 2.) Wrap my lips around a Taco Time Soft Taco. More or less in that order.

What's not to be excited about?

As for David ... he's excited too. In his own quiet, terrified way. ("Stop worrying, honey," I said. "My family is going to love you!  Even if you can't square-dance.")




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