It's quiet outside my office window, like the heat and humidity is sort of absorbing and muffling most of the sounds that usually come through during a typical Saturday morning. All I really hear is birds singing, the occasional drone of a distant train, and the low rumble of thunder out over the mountains somewhere ... it's magical. Both dogs and both cats are asleep in my office, Nolan is sleeping in, and Anne is out at the gym. At this peaceful and solitary moment, it feels like I can take a few minutes to look back on the last week.
I'm home between episodes of Eureka, and rather than spend the week taking walks with my wife and my dogs, I recorded an audiobook. It took about 24 total hours, spread across four days, to perform my friend John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars. I'd read this book a couple of years ago, but performing it aloud was an entirely different experience from reading it. I had to create distinctly different voices and characters for everyone in the book, and that brought the material to life in a way that simply reading it did not. I love Agent to the Stars, and I'm blown away that this was John's "practice novel" that he wrote on the weekends while he was working full time on what was, at the time, his real job. Briefly, the story: Tom Stein is a junior agent in Hollywood, and when an alien species decides to make First Contact with humanity, he acts as their agent ... to the stars. There's much, much more than that, obviously, including characters I really cared about and became invested in, but that's the basic MacGuffin. At least once a day while working on the project, I marveled that I was getting paid to read a book I loved. I mean, for one week, that was my job.
I seriously mean it when I say that I don't ever want to wake up from this wonderful dream.
Oh, hey, it's raining outside. I love the way the rain smells when it's warm outside.
That reminds me: one day this week, when I got home from work, Anne and I watched this huge thunderstorm blow up from way out east, and eventually over our house. It was probably 85 degrees when it passed over us, so while we watched the gutters on our street swell with a miniature flash flood, I grabbed Anne's hand and said, "Let's go run out in the rain!"
Some of you may remember a story I first posted on my blog a thousand years ago, about dancing in the rain with Anne; it made it into Dancing Barefoot as We Close Our Eyes. It's a tiny story that's really just a love letter to my wife, but it remains one of my favorite things I've ever written. Strangely, since that happened back in 2001 or 2002, we haven't intentionally run out into the rain, so this was especially lovely.
The afternoon sun was low in the sky, and the trees on our street broke it up into golden shafts of light that turned the sudden downpour into a glittering cascade of tiny jewels. We kicked off our shoes and skipped across our lawn like children (or a middle-aged couple deeply in love with each other). When we got to the street, it was still hot under our feet, and the cold raindrops were creating little clouds of steam that sat around ankle level. I brushed my hair back off my face, and looked up into the sky, with my arms out and my palms turned up.
"Remember when we danced in the rain in Santa Barbara?" Anne said.
"Yeah," I said, "that was awesome."
"I liked that a lot," she said.
I turned to look at her, and remembered how much I loved her at that moment, so many years ago, and wasn't surprised in the least to discover that I love her even more, now.
I kissed her face. "I love you so much," I said.
"I love you too. I love that we're walking in the rain!"
I took her hand in mine again, and we walked up our block and back. We were soaked through to the skin when we got home.
Last night, we went on a date to an arcade (I know, right?) where we played the hell out of Centipede. I'm not sure exactly why (some may say my reflexes were affected by a Guinness) but Anne destroyed me on our first two games, and got a high score. For her initials, she put in ASS, laughing hysterically the entire time.
"I really love that we still do stupid stuff like this, even though we're all old and shit," I said.
"Yeah, we're totally twelve," she said. "Play again? Or are you too chicken?"
"Nobody calls me chicken!" I declared, and started another game. This one, I focused, did my best, and not only did I win the game, I got an even higher high score ... so of course, I put in SEX as my initials. We made a stupid cellphone video of the moment, because it was important to preserve that for posterity.
When we got home, I played Xbox with Nolan, and fell asleep a little after midnight, happily exhausted from a wonderful week doing things I love with people I love.
This is a very, very good life, and I'm grateful for it.