Whack-a-doodle. That’s what my future mother-in-law calls someone who’s a bit crazy. She’s from New Jersey, speaks her mind, which is what I’m about to do here, laying out the events of the whack-a-doodle past few months. Here are the important parts:
1. As perceptive readers might have discerned, I’m getting married. To a brilliant, courageous woman, who looks gorgeous in a green dress, and goes hunting while pregnant.
2. As perceptive readers might also have discerned, we’re having a baby. According to the Drano/urine test (use crystals, not the liquid. Hazmat suits are recommended. We used paper towels. Stop, we’re gonna be great parents…) this baby will be a girl. The key test confirmed it – Rach picked it up by the narrow part, even though I handed it to her holding the base. Whatever. We’ll find out for sure in the next couple days.
3. We will be living in Sitka, a place we both love very much, with its whales and fishing boats, streaked sunrises, and November’s “Safe Kid of the Month,” who holds a shotgun (Awesome! and, I’m not making this up!).
Following a Halloween where I got to dress up with my buddy Kai as the Sundance Kid and thus fulfill a lifelong dream of sporting a Fu Manchu, I enjoyed a visit from my best buddy Justin and his wife Dana. They met Rachel, my fiancée, who so sweetly flew down from Alaska.
Shortly afterward I had the great honor of introducing Richard Ford at the Philadelphia Free Library Speaker Series. Ford’s hilarious, thoughtful book “Let Me Be Frank With You” just came out. Occasionally I question why I’m spending so much time writing, rewriting, instead of building stuff, you know, doing something useful, as the trope goes. To meet a person so much wiser, who has a few answers to these questions was, well, just really damn good. Thrilling even.
In December I came to Alaska to be with Rach and to work on the book, which is due (again, I know) January 15th. I’m bad bad bad for breaking from editing to write this blog but my head’s about to explode and I’m so sick of these characters so… To shock myself into cutting 20k words from the manuscript I took the polar bear plunge here in Sitka which was so invigorating and powerful – yeah right. It sucked. Total pain. That said, the pain was taken away by the warmth present at Sitka’s FIRST same-sex marriage, with the honorable Rachel DiNardo presiding. (So proud!) Here are pics of us hunting with my buddy here but the deers I think just laughed. Still, after the flatline of Oakland it was magnificent to be out on the water, senses alive, cold and miserable once again!
A couple weeks before Christmas we hiked into the Benchlands to cut down a Sitka Spruce, illegally albeit. Rach is convinced I’m going to get her disbarred, and there might be something to that, although it wouldn’t be in my interest as I’m sure I’ll get arrested in the not-too-distant future for something stupid like cutting down a tree in a national forest, and could use her representation. Anyways, probably not the best blog material. But we do have a sweet Christmas tree, that’s what’s important, decorated with red balls just like my aunt and uncle do at the Farm.
Even more important than Christmas here though is solstice – there are more solstice parties on the island than holiday ones. I mean, you’d be crazy too if the sun set at 3. We sang songs about the yellow star returning, all of us powder-white islanders soaking up our Vitamin D. Rach’s parents visited, we went to the shooting range where her mother got scope-bit, then used the blood from her forehead to circle the bullethole in the target. Is it possible to be in love with both mother and daughter? Holy moly. It was a grand visit, full of whale snarf (when you get near enough to a whale to get its fishy breath over your face. There are other, less elegant names for this) board games, and gun ranges.
And now I sit here in front of our illegal Christmas tree, all lit up, on the eve of a brave New Year, just about unconscious from being whacked so hard and so constantly with the happiness stick.
Whack-a-doodle. Actually, when I think about it, 2014 has been about the least whack-a-doodle year I’ve known. It all feels just right.