The Friday Five!

1. The chaos continues around here. Today, it’s some furniture being delivered, wood for repairing our kitchen floor getting dropped off, and our laundry room has been totally ripped out. My husband, as I have said, is barely fazed by this. To him, it’s business as usual. But I keep finding myself coming over here to my office and just EXHALING, enjoying the fact that everything is working and quiet. Especially me. But I know, in the end, all the upheaval and stress and craziness will be worth it. It’s like writing a novel. Once it’s done and you get to see the finished product, you forget all the angst it caused as it came into being. If you didn’t, you’d never do it again. Although I am willing to say I WILL be writing another book before I start any more home projects. That is, if I can keep my husband from doing it anyway.

2. Speaking of working, it’s that time of the summer when it seems like the whole WORLD is on vacation. Call it Dog Days or just August, but it seems like every email I sent gets an auto-response saying they’ll get back to me in a couple of weeks. In Chapel Hill, where I live, it’s that lull before the students all come back and everything revs up again. I’ve learned to appreciate these quiet parts of the summer here, when you can easily get a parking spot downtown and a good table at your favorite restaurant. Shorter lines at the bank, lots of open machines at the gym. Time just slows down when the days are long and hot and town is empty. Before I know it, the streets will be crowded again, with beer trucks blocking Franklin Street as the bars stock up and the bus shelters on my way into town packed with twenty-somethings wearing backpacks, tapping away at their phones. As a faculty brat, I’ve always lived on the UNC schedule: my year begins in August, ends in May. Everything else is summer. Just the way I like it!

3. This week, I got completely sucked into Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL, a book I had heard SO much about I couldn’t wait to read it. I’ve been a fan of Flynn since she wrote for EW years ago—I am a longtime subscriber, totally addicted—and read her first novel and loved it. It seemed like everyone was talking about how great GONE GIRL was, but I have learned that most books don’t live up to the hype, especially if you hear the hype for a LONG time before you read it. This one did. It was one of those books that once I started it, I could NOT stop reading. In fact, don’t tell my editor, but I lost an entire day when I was supposed to be working on my OWN book just because I had to finish it. Won’t spoil it by saying much, just that it’s unlike anything else I’ve read in awhile. If YOU are heading out on vacation and looking for a good read, pick it up. You won’t be sorry.

4. I bought a white dress today. Let me rephrase that: me, a person who cannot eat anything without leaving some of it on whatever I am wearing, bought a white dress. It was one of those things you just KNOW is a bad idea even as you are doing it. But I couldn’t help it. I was at Saks! It was on sale! It looked cute on! Unfortunately, none of these things will prevent me from spilling coffee or red wine down the front of it the first time I wear it. But life is short. You don’t have to look far for proof, especially these days. Last weekend, I got together with my high school girlfriends for a spa day and night out. We met when we fifteen or so, and have seen each other through boyfriends, college, marriage and now children and career. We’re getting older; our parents are getting older; our marriages are getting older; our children are getting older. It’s the ultimate irony that you realize how important it is NOT to waste time after you’ve already done such a lot of it. So yes, I bought a white dress. I will most likely get stained. But until it does, I will be able to enjoy and say “I did this, just this once,” and that’s a good thing. Also, I might wear a rain poncho over it. Unless that would be too weird?

5. Finally, as the end of the summer gets closer, I face the fact that my baby, my tiny little girl, is about to turn…wait for it…five. FIVE. Oh, man. Wasn’t I JUST pregnant and dragging my self around in flattened flip-flops, having hormonal rages because I couldn’t figure out why everyone was staring at me at Whole Foods? (Answer: because I looked like a HUGE, CRAZY person. That’s why.) What can I say, August 2007 was not my best look or month. But now here we are in 2012, and five seems like a milestone. Also, it’s the first year we’ve decided NOT to do a casual party here at home but have it someplace else, like a museum or theme restaurant. All I know is that Sleeping Beauty MUST be involved somehow. I have some wiggle room otherwise. Truth: the idea of planning this birthday party is giving me the nervousness, mostly because I’ve been to some other parties this year that had stuff like giftbags and costumes and the whole shebang. I am not good with shebangs, especially when it comes to the younger set. No experience on that front, but I don’t want to mess up my kid’s day, either. I’m thinking just a few kids, a princess cake, and maybe some way of sending everyone home with something without going overboard. I mean, I certainly don’t want to go all Real Housewives and blow the bank. But I don’t want to scrimp either. So if you’re a parent and have great insight into this subject—anyone?—leave a comment. I will be most grateful! One thing for sure: I will NOT wear my white dress. Life is too short to be that stupid.

Have a great weekend, everyone!