Okay. I'm leaving town in less than five days for the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Washington, D.C. At what my sister Leah refers to as the butt crack of dawn on Tuesday, my mom, my kid, and I are heading east. The kid will only be on the journey for just over two and a half hours, and then he'll spend the rest of the week with his grandparents, my in-laws. Tractors will be admired. Deer will be named "Bambi." And toys--oh, you wouldn't believe the toys!--toys will be played with. In other words, the three of them are going to have more fun than you can shake a stick at.
To say nothing of my mom. She hasn't been to D.C. in over a decade. The breadth and quality of museums covering the Holocaust, the American Indian, the Korean War, and so much more! have just exploded since she was last there. She's been chomping at the bit since May for this trip. Just give her a tape of Willie Nelson singing "On the road again!" and her new digital voice recorder (she verbally documents everything. Everything!) and she's good to go. Better than good. Toss in an awards reception that she gets to go to (hope I win!) and the fact that she's going to meet Janet Evanovich and get her autograph? Wow. Did I mention she's been a smidge excited?
And me? At 10:43 this morning, I officially went into panic mode. I barely know what I'm wearing. I have no idea if our room has a mini-fridge. Parking is a byzantine mystery, I have to print my own worksheets, and somehow, I must get to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. If I'm trying to earn my bread and butter on Cowboys and Indians (and I am), I darned well better pay homage. It's a Moral Imperative.
And the bug bites?
In the midst of a slow-burn kind of panic (wanna bet money on whether I'll have dreams about showing up to a presentation without my worksheets? Or my pants?), I have been attacked by at least two (possibly more) separate insects that are chewing the living shit out of me (pardon my French, but it's true). I blame Jake, the Three-Legged Wonder Wiener. I think he collected some chiggers (or fleas, or something!), took a nap on my jammies, and gave me those bad boys as a parting gift. (Tip: Do not leave jammies on the floor for your dumb dog to nap on. Really.) My torso, back, and face are covered with small, itchy welts.
And that's not counting the number the mosquitoes have done on my legs. It's insane, really, but at least the legs are NOT covered in small, itchy welts. They're covered in HUGE, itchy welts. Big difference. I've probably got over fifty bites on me. And counting. I'm going to weep and gnash my teeth tomorrow in the hopes of convincing some sort of medical professional to put me out of my misery. Or at least get me something stronger than benadryl and hydrocortisone cream, because that's not cutting it any more.
And I love the man, but if I have to listen to him 'theorize' that I itch so much because I must be extra-sensitive to the 'anti-coagulant' that the bugs use before they . . . well, I'm going to start throwing up and punching him at the same time. I'd even rather hear my Gram repeat for the millionth time in my life how the bugs like me better than everyone else on the planet because "I'm so sweet."
Welts. Welts! Just in time to meet and greet! Just in time to finally sit down and meet my agent, face to face! Just in time to dress up, real fancy-like, for an awards presentation!
I'M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND!
Or, at the very least, large chunks of my skin. Man, these things ITCH!