Monday, July 10, 2006

And life gets back to normal...

I've essentially taken 10 days off of work to spend time with my niece and nephew, and anyone who knows me can probably imagine that I am buried under a massive To-Do list right now. It's perfectly fine, because I wouldn't trade in a minute with these kids, or with Joe -- who got some quality time this week as well.

Let me start off with tonight. As I clawed my way through a pile of delayed e-mail responses and an article re-write, chapters to edit, a manuscript to edit, interviews with experts and my responses for another author's book on cool jobs, Joe called and asked me to the town pool. It's a little oasis, with that sweet coconut smell of sunscreen, the sound of the waterslides that when I close my eyes sound like a waterfall, the familiar sound of the announcements, adult swim, and the water sparkling all gold and copper and pink as the sun sets. Joe and I just relaxed and held hands, enjoyed the breeze, and it was like being transported to an island. Yes, it's just a community pool, but this is a pretty darn good one.

Highlights from the week with the kids: Aunt Shashie (that's me) gave them $100 each to get whatever they wanted, so it was all about the video games and a clothes shopping excursion for my niece. The first thing she did when she came to my place is try on my 'cool shoes' and her feet are bigger than mine. She's 11, and granted I have absurdly small feet. But to see her little feet hanging out of my shoes...that can only mean one thing. Gotta take her shoe shopping. So I taught her about those little stocking footies to put on before shoe tryons, and she found her very first pair of heels, 1-inchers in brown leather with a buckle. The sales clerk behind the counter overheard us talking about how they were her first pair of heels, and he gave them to her for half off.

We also took the kids to the hibachi place, which they loved, and to a comic book store with Joe, which they also loved. My nephew, throughout the week, kept asking "Are we going to Joe's house now?" Adorable.

Like any good auntie, the rules went out the window and the kids had late sleeptimes. So as they watched the cartoon network (there's something along the lines of Bobobobobo), I wrote two chapters for the new book. My niece looked over an e-mail of questions from a reporter and suggested some answers. My little future writer.

In a nutshell, it was a terrific week where the kids were the mini-adults and some of the adults were the kids, as expected. I was happy to see my parents have such a blast, which they needed after this tough 2 1/2 years. The house was brighter with the kids in it.

And Joe was just great with the kids, so thoughtful, bringing the hamster over for a visit, getting them comic books and ice cream, and showing me not just how great he is with kids but his deeper values. My life is frothy rich with blessings and beautiful people. And fun work phone calls -- just landed one of my dream assignments for Ritz Carlton magazine, and for NJ Bride (where I started off as an intern back in college. This is my first feature for them, and it only took 30 books to get in the door ;)

I'm quite exhausted and with work done for the evening, it's time to tend to the droopy houseplants and everything else I've neglected during the 10 day free-for-all.