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Where oh where does the time go?

I only go a week between journal updates when life is busy (or when I'm on vacation, when I'm busy not being busy). This was one of the busy weeks, so this'll be a long one.

Last Sunday I made ratatouille for the family in my fancy new Le Creuset pot. River ate pureed ratatouille! It was very successful. I'm fairly carnivorous, and a meal of nothing but vegetables usually leaves me unsatisfied, but it was gooood. Using lots of fresh stuff obtained at the farmer's market the day before helped.

Monday we got together with my dear friend Karen, who made time during a seriously whirlwind visit to the Bay Area to come over, see the baby, and have Thai food with us (eaten on the dining room table she gave us years ago, actually). There's never enough time, but we had wine and chatted late into the evening before she had to leave, and it was the best visit we've had in ages.

Tuesday was my day off, and I did my usual freelance work in the morning while the baby napped. The rest of the day was pretty much spent on crazy baby fun. We went grocery shopping, much to his delight, and ran various errands. Otherwise we mostly just played and hung out around the house. Heather went out to see a dance show with her sister that night, so it was a boy's night in, too, though River went to bed by eight, leaving me with an exciting night of watching whatever the Tivo caught...

But Wednesday was more fun! My friend Amelia kindly offered to babysit for us on the first day of October, which, coincidentally, was my third wedding anniversary. Heather and I went out to have a very nice dinner at Kirala, our favorite sushi place in Berkeley, and we drank sake and ate raw fish and luxuriated in one another's company. We got back and had a little wine and conversation with Amelia before calling it a night.

Thursday is my officebaby day, so River came to work with me, and he was pretty cheerful, and we had a lot of fun playing on my lunch break -- we hung out in the basement, where River practiced opening and closing a door for about twenty minutes straight. Very cute. (In the past few weeks he's started walking -- still only a few steps at a time, but he's doing that regularly -- and waving and high-fiving. It's awesome.)

That night we took it easy, and put River to bed around 8... and I woke him at 11:30 p.m. to feed him a bottle of formula. He had examination under anesthesia and possible surgery scheduled for 8:45 the next morning, and wasn't allowed any food after midnight, so we wanted to make sure he had as full a belly as possible. He went back to sleep easily, fortunately, and I grabbed a few hours of sleep, though we were back up again by 5:30 a.m., so I could give him water and apple juice -- he wasn't allowed to have any clear fluids after 5:45. Heather and I drove into the city and got to the hospital an hour before start time, as required. The nurses all greeted River as old friends -- it was his fourth visit there since March. He was a total trooper. They took his vitals, then we went to the play room and he toddled around for about half an hour before we put him into his hospital gown. Then it was downstairs to wait for a while, consulting with our doctor and the anesthesiologist and signing release forms. Everything actually started on time -- the advantage of getting there so early -- and Heather put on a sterile bunnysuit and went into the OR with River, helping to keep him calm while they put him under anesthesia. I hung out in the waiting room and tried to be zen. Heather joined me soon after.

Some time passed, Heather got us some breakfast from the cafeteria, and eventually the doctor came out and gave us the bad, but not unexpected, news; the pressure in River's right eye had gone up since the last check, and was putting strain on the optic nerve, so he recommended surgery. (Fortunately his left eye, which had already had two surgeries compared to the right eye's single previous surgery, looked great.) We said, Of course. Then we waited again, nervous as hell.

The doctor came out and told us the surgery went perfectly.

Shortly after we heard River crying in the recovery room (the door to recovery is right off the waiting room). That was the worst, hearing him cry and not being able to go in yet. Finally they got him settled down and brought us in. His eye was patched and bandaged and he was so sad and confused. He fell asleep in Heather's arms. After a short time, compared to past visits, they sent us back upstairs. We gave him some water, and snuggled him, and sang to him, and talked to him. I pretended to chew on his little toes and he gave me a smile, his first smile since the procedure, and my heart just soared. Our beautiful brave boy. They released us, and we took him home. He was sleepy but in amazingly good spirits, and he played in the living room, barely seeming bothered by the patch over his eye, or by the pain from the surgery. He was just delighted to have both his parents hanging out with him. We all three took a nap in the late afternoon, exhausted as a family, and then played more and had dinner. The kid was great. He went to bed a little early and Heather and I caught up on our DVD watching.

Saturday morning we rose early again -- though not quite as early as the day before -- and headed into the city to the doctor's office. They took off River's eyepatch and checked out his eye and declared it good, gave us a prescription for eyedrops, and scheduled a follow-up for next week, with another examination under anesthesia to follow in six or eight weeks, to make sure the surgery did its job. We grabbed some breakfast with our squinty but cheerful baby, then headed back to the East Bay, visited our hospital pharmacy to get his eyedrops, and went to the farmer's market and then shopping at Trader Joe's. All before noon! We're rarely so productive! River was still sleepier than usual, and he got a good nap in, was up for a few hours, got a much-needed bath, and then went to bed. He hates the eyedrops and having to wear the eyepatch when he sleeps (to keep him from rubbing the still very tender eye), but both are temporary. After he fell asleep Heather and I had some wine and a quiet romantic evening to further celebrate our anniversary. Very much wonderful.

And today, Sunday, we didn't have anything scheduled. I was up early -- too early, 5 a.m.! -- with the baby, letting Heather sleep in. She got up, and I grabbed a nap, and River napped, too. By noon we were all up and out of bed and eager to have some fun. We loaded up the kid and went to Tumble 'n' Tea, the coffee-and-baby-playspace shop on Telegraph Ave. He toddled around and climbed things and hooted and had a great time, and Heather and I took turns watching him and reading and drinking fancy coffee drinks. (Not very good ones, admittedly -- the baby play space makes up for the mediocre drinks though.) Then we got lunch at one of our favorite restaurants on Piedmont Ave., feeding the baby tidbits of our sandwiches, and ran some errands, and came home, and had a lazy afternoon of reading, playing with the baby, and being bone idle. I made some chicken chili in the crockpot, and some sweet cornbread to go with it, so we had a lovely dinner. A blessedly mellow night.

What else? We watched season 2 of Dexter on DVD (I thought it was better than the first season, which I also liked a lot). I read Daniel Abraham's A Betrayal in Winter and liked it very much, easily as much as the first book in the series. I wrote a short-short SF story, "Rational Actors," and did it as a broadsheet with a terrible drawing of a robot, a long-delayed prize for a Strange Horizons Fund Drive winner. (He got a one-of-a-kind story, and it's in the mail to him now. Rather late, yes, but I did it!) I got my copyedits for Spell Games and went so far as to open the envelope and look inside! (I have about nine days to turn it around. Should be doable.) I sent back some contracts for short stories and talked to my agent about my YA proposal. I wrote damn little on the YA novel, for reasons which are probably obvious, though I'm looking forward to getting back into it this week. I got my inbox back to zero, where it belongs. I started laying out the next issue of Flytrap. And, you know, went to my day job and edited interviews and cleaned gutters and such.

I’m tired, but I'm happy. The week had bumpy stuff, but overall, definitely more good than bad. And I have the best wife and baby in the world.

There you have it. May next week be quieter.

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