Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Hero

As of right now (10:47 am on Sunday morning), my amazing husband has been running for nearly 27 hours. He has just about an hour and a half left of his 100 mile race in California. All I can do right now is pray that he finishes, since he's long past his 24-hour goal. After training so hard for so many months, it would be absolutely devastating if he didn't finish.
It's funny how the things that drive me crazy are also the things I love most about John. Take this race for instance. I hate that he has spent so many hours training for a race when he could have been spending that time with Jack and me. Sometimes I've felt like he gives more thought to his running than he does to our relationship. When we could have been snuggling on the couch at night after Jack goes to bed, he's been hooked up to his ridiculous altitude simulator.
But I also know that John's drive, his competitiveness, and his ability to overcome anything he sets his mind too are some of the qualities I admire most in John.
Then there are his eccentric (and expensive) tastes and hobbies. There has been another woman in John's life for the past year or so: Sylvia, his espresso machine. God forbid my husband read the Washington Post like most other 31 year olds. No no, John has to get the Financial Times, a pink British newspaper usually read by investment bankers in their 50s. And John's penchant for expensive watches, fine wines, and his need for ANOTHER bespoke suit all seem ridiculous given our middle-class lifestyle.
But all this also reminds me that John not only enjoys the best things in life (and why shouldn't he?), he also will work exceedingly hard to maintain a lifestyle in which we CAN enjoy those things. If I don't want to work, I know that I can quit my job with absolutely no guilt from John, and he will continue to work has hard as he can to make sure we are financially secure.
My husband may not be your typical man, but why on earth would I want to marry someone typical? I married an exceptional human being, and I couldn't be more proud of him.
Keep running baby! You're almost there!
And by the way, happy 6th anniversary. Can't wait for the next 60.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Club Peeps and the Big Race

Last night we had book club, which we'd sort of been slacking on lately. We read a novel and several of the girls were kind enough to humor me and read my book as well. I didn't get any specific feedback, but the general consensus seemed fairly positive, and they were impressed with my awesome rejection letter. No news since then and I'm starting to get very antsy. I must try to be patient and not send out more queries just because I'm desperate to hear something.
John and I survived another week with company. John's aunt was actually quite helpful and even babysat for us one night, but it's still hard having a guest for 6 days no matter how well behaved they are. On Friday John was extremely generous and got me a mani/pedi down the street, which was quite lovely, even if my nails are already destroyed. Tonight will be our first night alone together in a while and I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet.
Meanwhile, I'm having another breastfeeding dilemma, as Jack has been taking bottles at every meal except for his first of the day, and as it is right now I'm pumping four times a day on top of that feeding. I can't maintain that for our trip to California, so it seems my options for the moment are to try to decrease the number of pumpings a day without losing my supply, or just wean Jack entirely and switch to formula. Option #2 would certainly be easier, but I'm having horrible guilt over the whole thing. I'm going to try to drop to 3 pumpings a day and see what happens. Que sera sera! (I love how I'm acting all light-hearted about the whole thing. The truth is it's causing me serious anxiety!)
John and I took Jack to the daycare center today to scope it out, and I have to say I'm not too keen on the idea of leaving Jack there, even if it is just a couple of days a month. I know for sure now that I wouldn't have been able to put him in daycare full time, and I'm really happy with that decision. The place was perfectly decent but I just hated to see the little babies sitting all by themselves. It seemed okay for the older kids, but I don't think I'll do anything like that (except maybe on the rare occasion that I have to go somewhere, or maybe once a month at deadline) until he's ready for preschool at 2 or 3. Maybe John will get into the foreign service and it won't be an issue. Who knows. I just wish beyond anything that my book would get published and I could quit my job. Then it wouldn't be an issue. I'm just praying I hear something this week.
Almost forgot - John's race is on Saturday! I can't believe the big 100 miler is here already. I wish I could go with him because I'm worried his support crew isn't going to be there for him, and I think he really needs that moral support, even if he does think he can do it all on his own. Unfortunately, there's no one to watch Jack, so it's impossible for me to go. I really hope he does well - he certainly deserves to after all his hard work, not to mention the ridiculous lengths he's gone to (wasp extract and altitude simulator anyone??). Good luck baby! I'm so proud of you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Good Rejection Is Better Than Nothing At All

So it's been a while since I've written, since as of late there hasn't been too much to say. John and I have been very stressed out with out of town guests and his race coming up, and unfortunately it hasn't left much opportunity for the two of us to spend quality time together. I'm hoping that after next week (his aunt is here till Monday, and John leaves next Thursday for his race, then comes home the following Monday) we'll sort of get back to normal. For a week, that is, until we go to the mountains with friends and then to California for a wedding. Note to self - don't plan anything for a loooong time.
Anyhoo, a few writing updates: Last week I queried another agent. She referred me to another agent at the agency who requested the first 50 pages. Yesterday I got what I consider to be a very good rejection. It still stings (this was the agent who requested the manuscript almost immediately after I queried her. I'd had high hopes for them, but alas, it appears it was not meant to be) but at least I got some very constructive advice from the agent (well, her assistant I believe. But both she and the agent read my manuscript, so that's good). She said things like: "Michelle and I both think the manuscript has a great deal of promise. You are a great writer, and I felt moved and excited throughout many scenes." and "The writing in this text is solid; I believe that working out the kinks in these few scenes could improve your novel even more. If you would like to do any revisions and resubmit, we would be happy to read again. And, for the record, Michelle and I both fell in love with Shakespeare and his sweaters."
So, the long and short of it is that I was rejected - but, at least there is some hope for a resubmission (although I'm wary after what happened with Jill). I'm just hoping that one of the three remaining agents who has the first 50 pages at least requests a full (would it be too much to hope that someone wants to represent me???). I still have three agents who haven't responded, including my top choice, so we'll see...
To sum up, out of 9 queries:
2 rejections based on query letter
3 no responses
4 requests for materials, with 1 rejection so far
Not bad, right?
Fingers crossed for more good news soon...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ummm... Toto?

Our two years in the D.C. area have been pretty great. We've seen so much and met great friends, had a baby here, and while our second house hasn't been as awesome as our first, it's still not a bad place to call home. But there has been one exception to all that: the weather. The first year was fine - yes, the summer was hot, and yes, there were a few snowy days during the winter. But this year has been RIDIC. We had several massive snow storms over the winter, followed by one of the hottest summers on record. And if the heat and humidity weren't miserable enough, we've had our power go out several times. Up until last week, it had never lasted for more than a few hours (just long enough for our house to heat up like an oven). But on Thursday, and absolutely insane storm (think Wizard of Oz) blew into Del Ray and knocked over trees like they were toothpicks. I watched as our trash cans went whizzing down the street (no way was I going out to get them) and the tree in front of our house splintered apart. I wasn't surprised when the power went out, particularly after seeing the power lines in front of our house flop around like noodles, but I did NOT expect for it to last for 48 hours.
The long and short of it is that we ended up staying with John's awesome coworker and her equally awesome fiance for two nights, and it was actually fun getting to know them. Unfortunately, I was unable to get any work done, the maid couldn't come, and all of the food in the fridge and freezer had to be dumped. So by the time the power came on Saturday evening, the house was a disaster, which meant Sunday was taken up by cleaning. Sunday evening John's family friend came for dinner, and last night his cousin and her husband and two kids were here. So John and I have not had a normal night at home in nearly a week.
Tonight we'll finally be back on our own program, the maid is coming tomorrow, and I am just grateful to have air conditioning once again. Then in a few days time the madness picks up again (guests this weekend and next, John's race the week after that, the Shenandoah's in September, and the wedding in San Diego the following week). I honestly can't wait for this summer to be over.
Fall clothes, here I come! It will make training a hell of a lot less disgusting too. Speaking of which, Sarah and I are supposed to run 14 miles on Saturday... Hmmm...
No more word from agents. Just playing the waiting game and hoping. And praying. A lot.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Waiting Game

The week started out with a bang, with another agent asking for the first three chapters of my book on Monday afternoon. I also queried an agent who was recommended to me by my agent friend in SD, and she immediately asked for the first three chapters as well. So, out of 8 queries I've gotten three responses so far, which I think is pretty good! But since then, nothing, and now I'm waiting... and I think it may drive me insane!
Obviously I wasn't expecting to hear anything that quickly, so I should just be grateful I've heard anything at all. I'm trying to enjoy the possibilities right now, because it's highly likely I'll just get rejections, and I'd rather at least have hope. I'm trying to walk the fine line between positive thinking and getting my hopes up too high. I just don't know what I'll do if nothing comes of these queries. Fortunately there are a million agents out there, but it would just mean more waiting. Le sigh.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to be good about getting work-work done but so far I've been pretty lazy this week. Jack just went down for his afternoon nap so hopefully I'll get some work done. Yesterday I was really bad and napped for an hour, something I haven't done in ages. It was rather glorious. Sarah and I have an easy running week this week, but next week it ramps up to the big time - 4, 7, 4, and 14. I honestly don't mind our long runs - but that mid-week 7 miler by myself might kill me. I can't wait till September when it (hopefully) starts to cool off a little. I'll be so happy when this marathon is over!
Better eat some lunch so I can get to work. Fingers crossed that I hear something by the end of the week!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Don't Want (Him) To Grow Up

Today's post has nothing to do with writing. Right now, I'm focused on Jack, who for the past week and a half has been on what they call a "nursing strike," meaning he doesn't want to breastfeed. I think it started with the rapid increase in solid food that occurred on our trip to CA - it decreased his demand for milk, which got my supply screwed up, which led to him getting impatient and biting me, which made me switch to bottles until he got over it. I'd been able to nurse in the mornings and at night, but last night he wouldn't nurse, and I lost it.
The weird thing is, I've always said I hated breastfeeding. Sure, I enjoyed the closeness of nursing Jack (pretty much the only time I can hold him without him squirming all over the place) and I felt like I was doing the best thing for my child, but it's been a pretty big inconvenience for the past 7.5 months. I thought I couldn't wait to get my body back, to be able to leave Jack for more than four hours, to be able to sleep in, etc.
What I didn't realize was how much I liked knowing that my little guy was dependent on ME. Nursing is the one and only thing I can do that no other person can do for Jack. He's not one of those clingy babies that hates to be away from his mommy - he's a pretty independent little guy and he likes everyone. But to have Jack all of a sudden stop nursing - even biting me whenever I tried to coax him back into it - felt like such a huge rejection. I know I always said that I'd be happy with 6 months, but I was not mentally prepared for this to happen yet.
Today Jack has nursed all three meals so far, even falling asleep on me before his nap (he's sleeping as I type). Holding him close to me, feeling his soft little hands, hearing his breathing - I am going to miss those things more than I could have imagined. He's 7 months old and I already feel like he's growing up too fast! Sheesh!
So, for now, I'm going to take things one day at a time (I still hold to my previous statement that once those top teeth come in, I'm done). Pumping has its advantages, and so does nursing, and I'm not ready to commit to anything at this point. I still want to finish breastfeeding before the marathon, but I have a few more months before then. In the meantime, there is work to be done...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

One Small Step for Mara-kind

It's a brighty and sunny Sunday morning, and I'm feeling rather chipper because a) I got to sleep in a little this morning b) Jack is taking a nap c) I ran 12 miles yesterday d) I got my first request for materials from an agent I queried blindly!
Not long after I sent out my queries on Friday (about two hours, in fact) I got an email from agent X requesting my manuscript (the query included ten pages of my book, so at least I know she had some clue what my writing was like). I couldn't believe I got a response so quickly, from the agent herself. And it's a real agent too, someone who represents a couple of bestselling authors and has a large client list. Woohoo! Even if nothing comes of it, it made me feel a lot better about my query letter and my first chapter. We'll see if I hear back from any of the other 6 agents (I am expecting to wait around for weeks for that to happen) or if this agent actually decides she's interested, but it's a step in the right direction.
This week I'm hoping to get caught up on work-work, send out a few more queries, and start the new book. Fingers crossed that the agent likes the book!