I was going to have my book launch at a tiny, human-being-owned book store in Mount Airy, up the twisting and beautiful Lincoln Drive in Philadelphia, about thirty minutes away from my home. I created the Facebook event, ordered the postcards and THEN went to check out the venue because hey, I like to operate completely backwards sometimes. I mean, who doesn’t relish the chance to confuse people and then feel like an idiot?

The bookstore was ugly. And small, and smelly. I was going to just say fuck it and have it there anyway. I’d already invited everyone. I’d already made the postcards. It was the eleventh hour. I cursed at no one and everyone in the car on the way back to the suburbs feeling stuck and angry and stupid. I stopped at Trader Joe’s for some milk and chicken thighs and nearly wept when my favorite employee asked how things were going. Q put his tattooed arm around me, talked me though it with the wisdom of an ancient scholar, and Reader, he showed me the light.

It was my book. My party. My choice to either be a slave to my up-till-then resentful indifference, or be pro-active. I walked out of there slightly changed. Determined. I’d had a turning point in the produce aisle.

I’m sure the grimy little bookstore is a wonderful place, filled with intellectually eager and culturally aware folks who don’t dye their hair or shave their pits, but the $230 dress I bought for the occasion is not going to be swishing against its cat-stained walls. No sir.

Bryan and I had been wanting to have a party at our house ever since we got our porch windows replaced two years ago. That didn’t happen. Then we got the basement renovated. Still no party. A few months later we bought a fire pit at Lowe’s for a hundred bucks. It left a dead, yellow crop circle beneath its diameter after our one and only fire of the season.

A couple YouTube videos later I decided that I could totally build a patio. I just needed to dig, tamp, spread some gravel and sand, mooch a few pavers from friends and neighbors and voila! A little whimsical weekend project to add some charm to our yard.

It started innocently enough, a shovel here, a gravel toss there, a few bricks scored every few days or so. It would take as long as it took. No biggie.

But then the party venue changed. And suddenly the patio needed to be finished as soon as humanly possible. Plus it turned out that I needed three tons of sand and gravel along with a heavy duty wheel barrow. I was now on a mission that felt like a religious pilgrimage. I paid penance for my sin of not checking out the venue sooner. It was grueling. Punishing. Cleansing. (And the whole thing cost about $350, if you’re playing at home.)

Three sunburned weeks later, sweat dripping into my eyes, fingers swollen and cracked, back aching and clothing stained, I set the last stone. And collapsed. I’d never done anything so physically demanding in my life. Well, maybe the kettlebell snatch test at my certification… and the first time I gave birth. Which, by the way is relevant because get this—and talk about changing my mind late in the game—at 32 weeks pregnant, I switched from a knife-happy OB-GYN to a birth center midwife. Same story, different circumstances. It wasn’t too late to change my mind because the baby was still inside me. And because of that experience, I know it’s really no big thing that I changed the venue for a book party. Unless, you know, people show up there the night of June 4, and I’m, well, at home.


So yeah. we’re having the launch party here, at our house. I think the rain is even supposed to hold off.

And yes, you are invited. And yes, there will be marshmallows.