Monday, May 28, 2012

What's round on both sides and HI in the middle?

 Demonstrating the important skill of drawing a bathing hamster in love
with a roll of toilet paper at the Hudson Library and Historical Society.

Ohio! Here we are once again, back in Mark's home state. We've traveled somewhere around 800 miles so far, from Philly to Pittsburgh to Hudson to Grandpa's Cheese Barn to Oberlin back past Grandpa's Cheese Barn to Dayton, where we are relaxing in a luxuriously air-conditioned room on a glorious king-sized bed.

 Ah, Grandpa. Thank you for your wisdom and your cheese.

 Gross, Grandpa.

It's a welcome change from the last two nights, which were spent in room 327 of South Hall, one of Oberlin's dormitories. Not that it was a horrible stay by any means, it's just that there's nothing to make you feel the weight of the ten plus years since graduating college like sleeping in a muggy dorm room and having to walk down a hall with your towel and toiletries to go to the shower.

Our time in Oberlin reaffirmed that Mark is a genius, as he insisted on buying two cheap fans at a Target before we got there, and it also taught us that dormitory bathroom sinks are not ideal for bathing babies. Anya didn't seem to mind, but it took a bit of maneuvering to get her clean. Cleanish. But Mark's reunion was very fun, Anya charmed everyone, and the only thing that marred our weekend was the discovery that the Oberlin College Book Store DOES NOT CARRY THE POPULARITY PAPERS.

Oh my stars!

What's up with that, Oberlin College Book Store? Come on! Oberlin is mentioned in The Rocky Road Trip! Maybe they did carry The Popularity Papers, but they ran out because it was so popular. Right? Anyhoo, if anyone happens to be in the Oberlin College Book Store, feel free to mention to them your deep need to buy The Popularity Papers there.

In the The Seeley G. Mudd Center in Oberlin.

While we were in Oberlin we took a picture of Anya in one of the college's famous Womb Chairs and then put it up on Facebook. Almost immediately an old summer camp friend who also happened to be an Obie recognized where the picture had been taken and quickly emailed me to ask a very strange favor.

I have a special mission to propose while you're there, which you can feel free to turn down, since it involves graffiti (albeit on a wall or door already covered in graffiti) and takes time.

How could I resist? And the next thing I knew, I was sitting on a floor outside of the walk-in fridge in Fairchild Hall dulling one of my Sharpies on painted cinderblock while my friend Andreas dictated Deborah's tribute to the walk-in fridge and the Jabberwocky.

Well of course I had to draw a little monster as well.

And so, yet again, life imitates art--as Lisa Kovac graffitied up the Girl's Bathroom to help out Lydia and Julie, so I graffitied up a hallway in Oberlin to help out my friend. The neat thing is that I met Deborah in summer camp when we were thirteen--right about the same age that Lydia and Julie will be in PP5, and here we are, ten billion years later, still causing mischief. Real friendship lasts.

Wishing everyone a happy and thoughtful Memorial Day, and I'll be at Cover to Cover Books in Columbus tomorrow at 4:30!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On the road again...

We have found ourselves in a La Quinta Inn in Moon, PA on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, and hooray, the internet is finally working. Yesterday we set off from Philadelphia, and after a day of driving through sun and rain (and sometimes both at the same time--the weather was weird yesterday) we made it here.

It's not so different from the last time we took a major, longer than a long-weekend road trip. Oh wait, yes, it's very different, because an inanimate Phanatic isn't the only passenger in the back seat. That's right folks...

FYI: The Visitor's Center on the Penn State campus is a great place to stop for lunch,
and they totally don't mind when you drool all over their enormous floor map.

We're traveling with an eight-month old baby.

An eight month old baby who is currently wailing her face off in the next room, because going to sleep in a dark different place after being completely off schedule and overstimulated is terrifying and stupid and WHY ARE YOU THE WORST PARENTS IN THE WORLD? WHY WON'T YOU JUST LET ME ROLL AROUND ON THE BIG BED??? I WAS HAPPY AND CUTE AND EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME. Don't worry, Mark is calming her down.

This is awesome! Cribs are for chumps.

For the most part, Anya has been amazing. She was either sleeping or babbling or gnawing on a toy for the entire trip (eight hours, door to door) from Philadelphia. Oh did we mention that she's also teething? But she's coping. Perhaps not right now, but she's been pretty terrific up to this point, smiling at bookstore employees and not barfing on their floor. We couldn't be more proud.

Today we found ourselves back in Sewickley, home to the Penguin Bookshop and the scene of our last tour event two years ago, when we arrived, exhausted and wearing clothing of questionable cleanliness, after over two weeks of hard touring. This time it was our first stop and we brought a cute baby, so our former disgustingness was forgotten (hopefully). I started the day off at Osborne Elementary, where the kids made drawing and now I'm kicking myself for not taking photos. Hey, kids, send me photos of your work! They were really terrific. Then an event in the store and now I think, I think Anya might actually be asleep which means that I get to eat takeout dinner without the background music of Miserable Baby. Here's hoping...

Tomorrow we'll be in Hudson, OH, at a library event hosted by The Learned Owl Book Shop. Will all the bookstores that I visit on this trip be named after birds? Tune in next time to find out...