So. It’s been a minute since I posted last. I had hand surgery for carpal tunnel and a weirdly painful thumb situation called “trigger thumb” and I am happy to say that I showered with two hands today for the first time in two weeks. It was truly a celebratory moment. I remember this time when we were living in Italy and our dryer went out. I waited for the repairman, sweating through my clothes and desperately writing down Italian word fragments pertaining to a broken clothes dryer, thinking that I would never take English-speaking appliance fixers for granted ever again for the rest of my days. That is how I have been feeling about my right hand. It is still recovering a bit and sore, but it’s useful once more. We are happily reunited and I’ve never loved it quite so much. I’m certain that the honeymoon phase will be over soon, but for now we are very happy together.
We also went on a cruise last weekend. The last cruise Ryan and I went on was when we were seniors in college. We didn’t know each other back then, but like so many other things that happened while we attended the same college at the exact same time, we did things parallel to each other without even knowing it. Needless to say, this is the first time our daughters experienced such a thing.
We boarded on Thursday afternoon and by the time we met the girls for dinner that night, they had eaten nine ice cream cones and were setting an Ice Cream Timer for themselves… apparently so they would be forced to show at least some restraint. I was just happy that they were content. Like most vacations with kids, you’re really only as happy as your grumpiest kid. And for the week leading up the cruise, that had been Kate. She was upset for a variety of reasons, most of which involved missing lacrosse, her friends, and school. “Why can’t we just go on vacations in the summer like NORMAL people?!” She kept moaning in my direction. We had made these reservations back in the fall, noticing that the girls had a five day weekend in March… which ended up being a four day weekend in March. Thanks, Fulton County.
Mostly, it was a really good time. We had great weather and food and, of course, there was the endless supply of ice cream. We let them go off on their own and they were always exactly where they were supposed to be at exactly the time we asked them to be there. We played cards, read books, talked a ton, and endured their barrage of horror, rage, and eventually a grunting acceptance, that wasn’t ever really silent, in response to the fact that we couldn’t use our phones on board the ship. I’m not sure we’re really “cruise people,” but we had an enjoyable time and I think we’re all glad that we went.
Between the surgery and the vacation, I read four books: Quentins by Maeve Binchy, The Other Woman by Sandie Jones, The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian, and The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani.
Reading Maeve Binchy is like sitting down by a warm fire and chatting with a good friend. It’s familiar, interesting, and I don’t want it to end. Quentins isn’t my favorite book of hers, but I just love how she weaves people and relationships throughout the course of a novel, picking up new ones along the way. I always finish her books feeling content and needing to plan a vacation to Ireland.
I was so excited to get my hands on The Other Woman. It had been a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and I’ve been seeing it all over the interwebs, so I was delighted to finally be reading it. I am positive that I’m in the minority here, but I didn’t love it. It was just okay. Emily and Adam fall in love, move in together, and start planning their wedding. Everything seems fine, except that Adam has this mother who is a major problem. The plot is interesting and the ending is a twisty surprise that’s worth getting to. The problem for me is that there are certain things that you have to believe in order for this story to work and I just didn’t. I know this is a weird litmus test, but if I find myself pulling my head out of the story and analyzing why the author would write something a certain way or questioning just how I’m supposed to buy something– then I just can’t. That said… I did finish it and I absolutely had to find out what happened.
Chris Bohjalian is becoming one of my favorite authors. I’ve read Midwives and The Double Bind, which were both fantastic, and The Flight Attendant was as well. The book opens with Cassie (surprise, she’s a flight attendant) waking up in Dubai next to the guy she drunkenly slept with the night before… who is dead. She doesn’t remember much of what happened or even if it was she who killed him. It is a much deeper, more intricate, fascinating situation than I could have predicted. So well written and a total page-turner.
The Perfect Nanny. Oh my God… you guys. This is the kind of book that you start reading and you’re really glad that it is tiny and light and easy to carry because you literally cannot put it down. So it’s handy and kind of polite that it’s so small and convenient to hold. I don’t even know how to begin to describe this book. It, too, opens with a terribly grizzly, horrific scene and then shifts to the “beginning” and you work up to this awful climax that you already know is coming. And yet you still can’t stop reading! It’s mostly description with very little dialogue, something that I don’t usually love– but it works so perfectly here, moving along at this super-fast, sickening pace and you want to know but you don’t want to know. Just go get it. Even if you’ve recently had hand surgery, you’ll still be able to hold it, no problem.