Parties and Puppies

Let me set the stage: my husband is out of town. Every time he leaves me for any period of time, life gets interesting.

This time around, I knew I had a big party to prepare for. That wasn't a surprise. The little bundle of joy who came to share the day was a surprise.

As Writer in Residence, I knew that one of my major duties would be to participate in a celebration welcoming best-selling author Diana Gabaldon. I spent several months preparing my formal Scottish attire -- evening gown, petticoats, Scottish plaid, accessories, even nail polish. Since I'm definitely not a girly-girl, this was a chore, not a pleasure.

The day of the big event had a tightly choreographed agenda: sound check at one location, run to another location for an author chat, run home to get dolled up, back to the ballroom. About 11:00 o'clock on Saturday morning, my son and his wife arrived with their new bundle of joy: an eight-week-old rescue puppy. The fence at their new home had not been completed on time. "Grandma" was needed to puppysit.

Alrighty then...puppy crate was put together, swift introductions to my border collies, another quick snuggle...and I was out the door for my sound check appointment. I sounded lovely, thank you very much. The caterers got to hear all about my footwear as we went through the sound check. (I had to talk about something..that's what popped into my head!)

Ran to the University of Northern Colorado to hear Diana Gabaldon speak to approximately 600 adoring fans. Ran into a retired co-worker and got caught up. Listened in amazement as Diana held the crowd captivated with her humor and her stories.

Ran home, cleaned up puppy poo, gave the puppy antibiotics -- did I mention she had kennel cough? And then, somehow, managed to get myself into my gown and do the zippers and hooks all on my own. That's what husbands are for! In my ballgown, ran the puppy around the yard one last time before putting her in the dog run. Explained to my "girls" that the baby needed their dog run and that they would need to stay outside. Border collies are smart -- they knew they were being used.

Off to the ball! Job #1 -- work the crowd. I met and thanked dozens of supporters of the High Plains Library District. I met people from all around the country. Some of them were so excited to meet Diana Gabaldon that they were shaking. Check. Job #2 -- introduce this incredibly famous woman! Me...dirt under my polished fingernails, dog hair on the ballgown...introducing one of the most popular authors in the country to a room of rabid fans. Check. Job #3 -- eat dinner and talk with the folks around me. One poor woman started crying when Diana gave her an autograph and had her picture taken. Another described the experience as a "middle school girl at a boy band concert." Conversations were varied and delightful. Check. Job #4 -- thank the many donors to the Writer in Residence program. Check.

Run home, clean up puppy poo, play with puppy, try to convince my dogs that I haven't gone completely I lock them all up in the laundry room and head to the after party. This party included all the leftover wine from the first party...and I got to wear jeans and a T-shirt. Finally, a party I could enjoy!

It's ironic. Writing is one of the most solitary endeavors I can think of. Although I basked in the glow of literary greatest for a while, I was definitely out of my element.

Three days later, the puppy left for her forever home. Okay, I admit it...I miss her.

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