First, I blogged on Saturdays. Then Sundays. Then Mondays. This week I skipped right over Tuesday and am blogging a half-week behind schedule.
This is what happens when one is rarely home, and too caught up in Other Things.
So, last week was generally uneventful, which is not a bad thing. Not Your Average Blogger made it home from Tucson without incident and we had 3 nice days of going to work and getting things done before leaving Friday night for Charlottesville, where he had a gig talking at the Virginia Festival of the Book. We got down there in plenty of time, watched a little TV and bedded down at the Omni.
The Omni has very nice soap. And the room service food, while typically overpriced, is atypically excellent.
We all got up Saturday for his 10 a.m. lecture, despite the Young Prince being tired and NYAB having a stabbing headache. We drugged him up, noshed on granola bars and headed for the UVA bookstore, winding through a quaint downtown and a pretty college campus.
NYAB was sharing the spotlight with Paul Escott, who was promoting his new book, Lincoln's Dilemma. (I haven't read it. NYAB has; he says it's good.) Escott is a history professor at Wake Forest University, and a very kind man. While they got themselves set up, the YP and I prowled the bookstore and found several things we didn't buy, including Doctor Who mugs, fake mustaches, Kate Spade traveling mugs, and hand sanitizer with slightly off-color labels. Then we headed back upstairs for the talk.
It was interesting to watch the different speaking styles. NYAB went first. He got up, spoke up, made a few jokes, and got a few nods. Very direct, very bullet-pointy, very informative, very dynamic. Then he sat down and Escott talked.
NYAB told me later he envied the ebb and flow and polish of Escott's style—and there was something to envy in that; it was a very smooth and professional presentation. But I found him to be one of that class of speakers who seem to approach larger audiences as one might a strange dog, with slow, deliberate movements and soft-spoken reassurances. Perhaps it is a thing among college professors, to be careful because they never know what's going to set off a lecture hall of loonies? Sitting in the audience, I experienced a few twinges of delayed guilt remembering how, as an obnoxious co-ed, I declared certain professors "boring," although that wasn't quite what I meant and I knew it even at the time. The phrase I really wanted something closer to "soporific," although even that is too unkind. I knew my professors were very smart, and that we were studying fascinating things, but there was so little animation in the lectures that I'd often have to fight drowsiness. This wasn't quite to that degree, partly because I'm old now and more patient. Escott's talk was interesting, but a little hard to hear, and was so mildly delivered that it was a little harder to discern what stirred him to write a whole book (one among several) about what he was discussing.
And the funnier thing is, if he conforms to the type in my experience,he is probably quite animated and engaging in one-on-one conversation. But I had the YP in tow, so I can't verify that.
Poor NYAB was not any better after his lecture, or after lunch, so we went back to the hotel, where he spent the rest of the day nursing his headache while the YP and I went swimming, sniped at each other, watched videos and played games. NYAB and I did take a stroll through the hotel lobby to see what other authors were there, but only saw one thing remotely worth buying, and we didn't even get that. It was also a little lonely to be surrounded by piles and piles of books and scads of authors and be confronted with the fact that if we were on a giant balance scale measuring political leanings, the whole hotel would slam down resoundingly on the left-wing side. I wonder why that is the case.
Next day NYAB was better, so we took a tour of Monticello before heading home. The YP, who has come to dread walking tours, history stuff, and being with his parents, was actually quite engaged for this one and had a good time.
We got home from this lovely weekend to discover that the dog had somehow sprained her tail and the whole lower floor was muddied up, including rooms we had said were off-limits for the animals while we were gone. Our usual dog sitter, who used to be NeighborGirl but isn't our neighbor anymore, was unavailable so we had a new dog sitter, part of a service. I'd met the owner, written down all kinds of instructions, left some cleaning stuff in case one of the monsters peed, etc. And I'd gotten two very cheerful emails studded with exclamation points about how well things were going, so this was a bit of a shock, as were the two notes saying that the dog had escaped and roamed the neighborhood—twice.
So, one $200 visit to the vet later, I sent a note to the service that basically said, "Hey, I know stuff happens, but, um, WTF?" It turns out that when the dog came home from one of her sprints around the block, she came to the front door, where the dog sitter let her in, and then ran amok before she could be corralled in the back part of the house. So I'm not entirely sure when the dog's tail got bent—it might have been while chasing deer through people's back yards, or it might have been that she charged through one of the sets of double doors that are usually latched and caught her tail in them. I am pleased to report that the dog sitter waived the fee and offered to pay the vet bill. (I accepted the former, declined the latter.) But I am certainly going to be leery of anyone other than ExNeighborGirl watching the dog from now on. Sigh.
This Friday, the YP and I leave for our next great adventure: We are going to Illinois to see my family, while NYAB stays home and works. I am sort of tired just thinking about all the driving ahead of us, but at least the squabbling over the music will keep us awake! I don't know what it will mean for blogging, either. Probably another half-week behind. Maybe at that rate I'll get back to blogging on Saturdays, as originally intended!