The story of falling in a hole and missing my first geekfest

I'm cross-posting this from my author blog, because it feels like a good cross-posty story. Plus, one doesn't fall in a hole everyday (hopefully).


Sometimes I get a little panicky before author events. The idea of mingling and talking to people is overwhelming for an introverted author with the resting heartbeat of a gerbil. I will often sit in my hotel room and stare in the mirror and give myself the Jack Donaghy pep talk ("You're a lion! Take what's yours!"). Sometimes, the events are in my hometown so I have to bar myself in my bedroom and do the pep talk while my kids scream in the hallway ("Who are you talking to?! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING UHHSSSS?!).

On Friday, I was giving myself this pep talk in my backyard while I wrangled the hose (to fill the kiddie pool to keep the aforementioned children from spontaneously combusting). I had several events at our local ArmadilloCon coming up and I was excited to see what the con was all about, but also nervous about being around, well, other people. There were a bunch of famous-y authors in town doing panels and I was looking forward to/panicking about fangirling and stammering on some panels with them.


Instead of pulling a Jack Donaghy and finishing my pep talk while I expertly filled the kiddie pool with lukewarm water, I pulled a Liz Lemon (story of my life) and fell in a hole.


I fell in a hole.

Bam. My ankle made a terrific, disgusting pop pop pop pop sound as I landed ass over elbows in the grass.

Now you might be wondering, "Wait, what? Where did that hole come from? Is your backyard full of holes? Are they from ARMADILLOS?"

Well, I'll tell you: the hole was not from armadillos, nor was it from my neighbor who routinely shoots his shotgun into the ground, aiming at bewildered rattlesnakes. This particular hole comes from a time in recent history when it would rain here and there in Texas. On those rainy afternoons my oldest son would go into the yard and work on making a mud puddle. He would dig and dig and then stomp and stomp and it was all glorious fun until we realized there could be dog poop mixing with the mud and then the hole was abandoned.

As time progressed (here I want you to imagine a timelapse movie of my backyard, all sped up and filmstrip looking), the mud in the hole dried to cracked dirt, the grass in the backyard died and came back as ugly desert-like weeds, and the opening to the hole was obscured by a cthulhu of dead St. Augustine grass and these wispy things that make you itch.

So, here I am, minding my own business, working up the courage to talk about zombie haiku in front of Paulo Bacigalupi and Rosemary Clement-Moore, and into the hole I go.

I knew immediately that the hole had won. My ankle got all wobbly and squishy and registered on this pain scale at about a 7. The children put on their firefighter jackets and ran around the house bringing me ice and random baby dolls to make me feel better. After hobbling around for a few hours I relented and went up to the urgent care behind the Wendy's (the best urgent care around, and also the urgent care that is located on a road named Slaughter, which is pretty awesome) and had some x-rays taken.

Nothing broken. Hooray! But sprained, nonetheless. And required to be stuffed into an aircast (also called an air stirrup, which sounds sort of steampunk to me). This aircast requirment increased the pain immensely even though the nurse said "most people" experience immediate relief. Drugs were prescribed. I was sent on my way. And I knew my fretted over panels at ArmadilloCon would have to be forsaken. The idea of walking around a hotel to get to various conference rooms made me cry giant tears of anticipated agony.

So I had to email the organizers and cancel. And I was embarrassed and sad to do so. After all of that worrying and working up my nerve, to be taken down by a hole was unexpected and (while potentially hilarious if it had been caught on video) very irritating.

I'm sorry, ArmadilloCon, for missing your nerdy delights.

And I'm sorry, ankle, for ripping you in half by not paying attention to the cthulhu grass camouflaging the giant hole I should not have forgotten.

Alas and alack.

Lemon out.


flurry of activity
two pounds of wonder

Ike-a-saurus is three today! How about THAT, you guys?

It was 11:50 AM on August 25th, 2008. I'd spent 30-ish days in the hospital and it was all leading up to this one moment. The nurses were stripping off my tshirt and tossing a gown over me, they were fiddling with the IV, giving me a shot of something gnarly to drink, whisking the bed down the hall. My husband was all gowned up trotting alongside us, and suddenly I was having the most surreal birth I could ever imagine. It was everything the opposite of my other two births, and yet… the outcome was the same. A beautiful baby. And now that tiny, tiny beautiful baby is three!

Holy cow.

This morning, we took him to the fire station down the street so he could have a tour and see the trucks and be very serious as he answered all of the firefighters' questions. He had on his fireman hat, his boots, and he borrowed his sister's shirt that looks like a firefighter jacket. We were quite the vision of firefighter reverence as we walked up the sidewalk.

(And can I say how much nicer it is to visit the firefighters at their house instead of having them come to ours? Ha.)

It was a wonderful morning, and I give huge thanks to Fire Station 20 here in Austin. Firefighter Steve was our spontaneous tour guide and he was wonderful.

Now it's time to decorate the cake and maybe take a nap. I wish we could have all of you over for a party! I want the whole world to celebrate Ike-a-saurus turning three. All of you helped us get here and I will never, ever forget that.

For Ike's big present today we got him (of course) a toy fire station. But for his other big present, we're going to set up a regular monthly donation to the Mother's Milk Bank of Austin. They have a picture of him in the lobby, so how could we not? 🙂 If you're thinking about celebrating this milestone with us, I invite you to donate to the milk bank in honor of my sweet boy and everything they've done to help us grow him into a healthy beast.

Or you can go shake a fireman's hand.

Or both!

Happy Birthday, Isaac Sawyer. Your mama loves you so much.


The summer comes to a close with lava stairs and a fake hammerhead shark

days of flame and fire
burning desire for silence
sadness melts away

Summer is almost over. Not ACTUAL summer, but summer "vacation". You have to use the quotes when you're at the end of it, because no part of any of the last few weeks has felt like a vacation at all. It has felt like being baked alive inside an oven masquerading as a house, filled with little screaming explosive potatoes masquerading as children.

This morning, we gave a final wave to vacation as we hauled giant Target bags full of supplies up to school to meet the teachers and scope out the classrooms. The wee one met his teachers and was delighted to discover his seat is right next to the life-size fiberglass/not-actually-real-but-with-actual-real-teeth hammerhead shark. It will loom over his shoulder all year, watching him learn all things 4th grade. I bet it will make testing especially fun.

The wee-er one is extremely apprehensive about "this kindergarten thing". But once she noticed TWO friends from play school are in her class AND her teacher plays the guitar AND there's a reading loft AND there's a play kitchen with a plastic pizza in the freezer she was a little more excited about the prospect.

Ike-a-saurus keeps telling everyone that he's "nervous about mine new class" even though I keep reminding him he doesn't have a class yet. Maybe next year. I think he just likes to be nervous along with his big sister.



It's lucky I had the cooler springtime to be all verklempt about this, because I am too hot and tired of listening to fighting siblings to be torn up about school starting on Monday. To be conpletely, brtually honest, once the kids are dropped off at school next week, I want to go get a bloody mary and put my feet up on the table and sing a new song I just made up called, "It's about fucking time."

(Except I can't do or say that because Mr. Ike will be here with me, and I don't need him accosting people with the f-word just yet.)

Hopefully, by Monday I will have remembered myself and will be sniffling along with all of the other Kinder-kid parents. Or maybe not. This Monday may go down in history as Remember The Time The Crazy Lady Brought In Illegal Fireworks To Celebrate Her Kids Going Back To School Day.

So we're spending the weekend finishing out the summer in grand style. Namely, staying up as late as possible so that waking up on Monday will be even worse than imaginable, and playing dangerous games like "Lava Stairs" and "Wall Climbers Yeah Yeah Yeah" which will guarantee someone starts school with a cast and/or head wound.

Have I mentioned that it's still 145 degrees outside and that we're on the fourth showing of the same Caillou episode right now?


I don't really mean that.

Yes I do.

No, not really.

(Kind of, yes.)


It feels weird to call today Ike-a-saurus' one-year decanniversary, because he was in the PICU and sedated and was intubated and all of that, but still. On this day a year ago, the trach came out! THE TRACH CAME OUT!

Here's the post. (Which I found, but didn't read, because, yeah, maybe not ready for that yet.)

In stark contrast, today has been full of such mundane things that I nearly forgot it was the anniversary. The kids are on their way to the grandparents' house to play with a new puppy, and I am on my way to sign some books and speak on some panels at a book festival in Laredo.

It kind of blows my mind.

My little dude has been breathing through his face for a whole year. How about that?

Fuck yeah.