So, it’s my anniversary and I never remember my anniversary. What I remember is the love.
The bodyguard I am married to says it this, “Every day is our anniversary, baby.”
I love the bodyguard despite the fact that he calls me baby and we are profoundly different in our thoughts and reactions and essence.
This blog is a quick excerpt of our life from awhile ago when I went to Conestoga, this convention in Oklahoma and it was super fun. I talked. I met cool people. I saw strange things. I presented on panels, but then it was time to come home to Maine with the bodyguard.
Our first sign that something was off should have been the airport. I am a person who like airports. I think they are neat. There’s all this hustle and bustle and people going off to exciting places like – um – Hawaii or something. I am never actually going to those super cool exciting places.
But to me Tulsa, Oklahoma was exciting.
This was evidenced by the airport.
The zombie airport of Tulsa
We get to the UNITED counter to check in at the handy dandy self-serve kiosk and there were only two other people there. Seriously. Two other people! There were four people behind the counter. Do you know what this means? There were MORE UNITED workers than customers. Score!
But wait, I thought, perhaps this is a bad omen. I looked around the airport. There were hardly any people anywhere. I told the bodyguard my thoughts.
He said, “Baby. Take deep breaths.”
I ignored him as I will whenever he gives me good advice.
“Oh my God,” I said. “Was there a zombie apocalypse? I totally should have gone to the panel at Conestoga about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. AND I AM IN AN AIRPORT! There are no weapons here. They don’t even have metal steak knives. Everything is plastic. How am I going to survive? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”
The bodyguard hugged me, which is an effective way of making me stop talking. He is a smart bodyguard.
“Miss,” the airplane guy from UNITED said. “Can I help you?”
I looked up at him. His flesh did not seem to be decaying.
“You aren’t a zombie, are you?” I asked.
He lifted an eyebrow. It didn’t fall off. I figured it was safe.
I cautiously approached the counter wondering if I could throw my suitcase at him. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE TO! Instead of eating us, he told me that our flight to Chicago has been delayed for 500 hours.
“But we have a connection,” I said.
“You have forty minutes to make it,” he said. He frowned. “If there are no more delays.”
I had sudden images of being trapped in a Chicago airport surrounded by zombies and the bodyguard trying to fend them off. I decided this was vaguely sexy.
“Um,” I managed to say. “Is there a reason for the delay like – um – like – um – zombies?”
“Did you say zombies?” he asked.
I shook my head really fast.
“It’s weather related.”
“Okay,” I say, “cool.”
Because we now had four hours to waste in the Tulsa Airport. We did this super slow walk over to the security check-in where you get to take off your shoes and walk through the cool metal detector thing, which always reminds me of Star Trek and futuristic things because – well, because I am nerdy and live in Northern Maine where we don’t have a lot of futuristic things. We do have lobsters ….
And blueberries …
Which can be kind of scary actually.
The Land of TSA and Bodyguards
So, we get to the security part and still – THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHER PEOPLE THERE.
“We are totally in a Stephen King novel and almost everyone is dead,” I said to my bodyguard.
My bodyguard, however, didn’t hear me because he was stuck in the futuristic cool metal detector thing because he was made of metal or something and he was kind of big like bodyguards are supposed to be.
I swallowed hard as TSA agents surrounded him. Were the TSA agents actually high-functioning zombies?
“Do not take my bodyguard!” I started to say. “I totally need him to — to — um — guard my body?”
The bodyguard smiled. They let him through. He puts his shoes back on.
Side note: May I just say that bodyguards in bare feet just aren’t as threatening?
So, there were other people who have put their shoes back on. We all randomly roamed around a pretty empty concourse. I decided to go to the bathroom.
I am the kind of person who constantly thinks, “I am going to be in a ________(Fill in the blank. Car. Airplane. Deserted Wilderness. Bad theatrical production of GUYS AND DOLLS) for hours and I may never get to pee again. I should pee now.”
“I am going to try to pee,” I announced to my bodyguard. “If I don’t return, the zombies got me. Get back-up.”
The Lady In the Bathroom
And I headed to the restroom. But there was a woman with a badge there, blocking the door! The last time I was in Tulsa there was a woman security person blocking the door. It is like Groundhog Day mixed with a Stephen King novel now.
“You can’t go in there,” she said.
“Is it zombies?” I whispered.
“Go away weirdo,” she said.
I went away. I suddenly had to pee a lot more.
There was no place to pee in the Tulsa airport except the restrooms. Normally, this was a good thing. Not today.
Police came. She let them in the bathroom. Firemen came. She let them in the bathroom. I wondered if they were there to help or to pee. After hours pass, they took a fragile-looking older lady out of the bathroom. They let us in. There were blue gloves and EMT type things all over the floor. It was scary looking. But there were no zombies. I started to worry a lot about the fragile-looking older lady. When I came out, I tell my body guard.
“She’ll be okay,” he said in a very reassuring bodyguard way.
I decided to believe him.
“But will we be okay?” I asked.
Getting on the Plane
This is because the bodyguard doesn’t worry the way I worry or think the way I think. He just knows, which is possibly why I married him eventually and we have an anniversary that I can never remember.
We boarded and it was the SMALLEST PLANE IN THE UNIVERSE! It was like a Playskool airplane and tall people had to sort of shuffle sideways down the aisle bent at the waist.
I was suddenly happy that I was not tall.
The happiness didn’t last though because the pilot said, “Um. Folks. The plane has been delayed another fifteen minutes. It’ll be that long before we take off.”
We would never get our connection. I would be stuck in Chicago forever with zombies and just my bodyguard.
Bible College Girl
The girl in the seat behind me started murmuring. I thought she was praying. She said before that she went to Bible college so I was hopeful. The plane takes off! SCORE 1 for Bible College Girl.
But no – as we were landing, the back of my seat suddenly thrusted forward. I heard a funny coughing noise and Bible College Girl’s hair seemed to touch my hair through the crack between the seat and the airplane wall. Suddenly, there was a smell of parmesan cheese and eggs. It was NOT a good smell.
I looked at my bodyguard who was reading. I make big eyes. He sniffed. He gagged.
Bible College Girl had upchucked all over the place.
“Sean,” she whimpered to her seatmate, this cool young guy coming back from a wedding. “Um … Do you have anything I can wipe up with?”
There were no barf bag things. We were landing and the flight attendants were all sitting down. There was no way to clean up the mess. It was all in her hair. I gagged again.
“I think I might throw up,” I said to my bodyguard.
“Do. Not. Throw. Up,” he said and put his massive bodyguard hand over my mouth and nose so that all I could smell was bodyguard-hand smell, which was much nicer than parmesan cheese-acid-egg throw-up smell.
“It is in my hair?” I shrieked this but it came out all muffled because of the hand. “Is it in my hair too?”
“No,” he said after deciphering my mmphh mumpphhs. “I swear it is not in your hair.”
We landed. The flight attendant came over.
“Oh,” she said to Bible College Girl. “You poor dear.”
Bible College Girl said, “There were no bags.”
Flight attendent made scoffing noise and rushed off to get cleaning supplies.
“Bodyguard,” I said. “Are we going to be okay?”
“Yes,” he insisted and gagged. “We are going to be okay.”
We got off plane. Bible College Girl had now morphed into Throw-Up in Long Hair Girl. Satan has scored one for his team. Boo Satan!
THE SKIRT ISSUE
We got off the plane onto the tarmac in Chicago and we had to walk down these steps on this narrow staircase. But the problem was not that it was a super steep staircase.
The problem was: I WAS WEARING A SKIRT!
Anyway, there is a reason they call Chicago, “The Windy City.”
This reason does not involve flatulence.
Oh no,” I said to Mr. Bodyguard aka my seat mate. “Will you hold my bag?”
“Sure,” he said as all nice bodyguards do. “Why?”
“Um ….” I coughed. I stuttered. I ended up pointing at my flouncy skirt. This same flouncy skirt made me get patted down by a TSA officer in Manchester, NH. She said I could hide things in there.
Let me tell you: I needed more than two hands to hold that baby down.
So, once down on the ground, I grabbed my bag back and sprinted across the tarmac towards the airport terminal.
“My skirt!” I explained. “I only have (gasp!) thirty minutes to get to my next flight. ARE WE GOING TO BE OKAY?”
Mr. Body Guard nodded. He had to wait for his carry-on luggage, which became carry-under luggage during the flight.
I sprinted to the terminal. Bible College Girl With the Vomit Hair (as she is now known even to her mother) sprinted behind me. I held the door for her so she wouldn’t touch it and spread germs and then scooted inside, holding my breath so I didn’t have to actually smell her and become Writing Person with the Weak Stomach and Vomit Hair of Her Own.
Inside the building were masses of people waiting for some delayed planes, more masses of people were in a customer service line complaining.
There was no easy path through the sea of people and luggage. I am not super tall or big. I could not push my way through.
“Excuse me!” I yelled. “I need to get through.”
“Excuse me! Zombie attack!” I yelled.
“Excuse me! Brad Pitt! Oh my God. Is that Brad Pitt getting off that plane?” I yelled.
Everyone rushed to the window screaming.
I took my clear path and dashed up the escalator looking for the screen that would tell me where the next flight is.
It was not good.
Our flight was in C terminal (at the end of it). I was in F terminal (at the end of it). We had a mere twenty minutes to get there. Could Mr. Bodyguard sprint that far carrying me in less that 20 minutes? Wait! Where was Mr. Bodyguard?
I had lost Mr. Body Guard in a sea of carryon luggage and zombie humans
I looked around frantically. Mr. Bodyguard was nowhere! I was a lowly writer without a bodyguard.
Screaming, I went down the escalator I just came up. Mr. Body Guard was going up the escalator. We were on different escalators separated by a divider thingy.
“Mr. Body Guard!” I screamed waving frantically at him. “Our flight is 42 miles away! And we have 20 minutes! And I am going the wrong way on the escalator!”
Mr. Bodyguard assesses the situation and reached over the escalator divider and yanked me up and over. I was now heading in the right direction.
“We are going to have to run,” Mr. Body Guard said.
“Run!” I gasped. “Like Whitney and Kevin Costner in that movie? About the bodyguard?”
“No.” He shook his head and grabbed my hand. “And please stop talking about that movie. I hate that movie! And that song! No, I meant like in the tv show CHUCK when there’s about to be an explosion. And if they don’t run they will explode into tiny little body parts and not even their teeth will be whole.”
And right then I realized that Mr. Bodyguard was not actually all that different from me.
“Got it,” I said, clutching his hand getting ready to run. “Are we going to be alright?”
“Yes, baby.” He smiled even as I cringed and he kissed me before adding. “It will always be alright.”
So, happy anniversary to my more stable, stronger half, the man who gives everything to take care of his girls, who steps into the role of full-time dad and anxiety coach with ease. It’s hard to imagine anyone else I could ever feel safer with or love any more. That’s because there isn’t anyone. Sometimes we both suck because we’re human, but there’s nobody I’d rather go on adventure with, fight against the zombies with, or make a podcast and life together.
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I just publish eda super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?
Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.
But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.
You can order it here. Please, please, order it.
So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.