In November 2006, over the course of three weeks, I met my goal of finishing my first book, worked my first Miami Bookfair International, had an editor at Harper Collins looking at the book (yikes; I hadn’t yet learned to keep all first drafts to myself), and went up north for Thanksgiving where the three cousins I grew up with – Shane, Shawn, and Shannon – were there all at once for the first time in years.
November 2004, I took three weeks off work to go up north. I’d missed Thanksgiving the year before with work, and I was determined to gain twenty pounds. From Dinosaur Barbeque to homecooked meals, from the Thanksgiving bacchanal to Steak and Sundae, I came home twenty-three pounds heavier than when I left.
November centers around family and friends, so they’re usually good to me. But my two favorite chunks of life had nothing to do with November, and both also lasted three weeks.
In August of 96 (I’m honestly not sure of the year; keeping track of life before I started recording it all is difficult), I took a three-week road trip with Andi, driving up and down the east coast in a battered k-car. I don’t remember what we saw on the drive down and what we saw on the drive up, but we re-visited our favorite restaurant on Strawberry Street in Richmond, Virginia. We saw a friend perform on stage in The Sound of Music in New Jersey, where the ocean was dark, cold, and violent, in contrast the warm, calm waters of South Beach. Along with famous monuments, we saw some of the best artwork in the world in Washington, DC. We danced at a lesbian club in New York City despite their strict policy of not admitting men. Along the way, we ate in some amazing restaurants, lay in the sun, reminisced with friends, and partied with Mickey Mouse. It was the best vacation I’ve ever had.
Of course, any chucklehead can have a great vacation; making a glorious time out of day-to-day life is more difficult.
It’s odd considering all that went wrong while her parents were in Europe (apart from expensive, painful problems with her cat, it’s personal Quiroga family business I’ve no right to air), but these last few weeks with Becky and her son have been a little slice of heaven.
Waking without hitting snooze, getting as much writing time as possible before Dylan wakes (Becky says I can use his real name; he’s not Apple or Lourdes, after all), making breakfast, making lunches, getting to work, leaving to pick Dylan up from summer camp, getting dinner on the table for all of us, bathing Dylan and reading him to sleep, ending the day with Becky – the two of us falling asleep in front of the TV, or reading, or making love…
It’s all so mundane, and so beautiful, and so perfect. It’s a family like the one I grew up in, only smaller. My mother had breakfast on the table for all of us in succession each morning, a constant rotation of French toast, omelets, bacon and eggs, pancakes, Eggos, and cereal on Fridays. The entire family sat down for dinner every night. Recreating that on my own is more satisfying than I could have imagined. Add yoga, biking, and a book contract and I’m the person I’ve always wanted to be.
These last three weeks have been the greatest of my life because they showed me what I want out of my life.