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What I did on Saturday

September 28, 2008

Waited in a line for 3.5 hours.  In the rain.  For a signature.  

The story: Hubby, Princess and I headed out to the National Book Fest on the mall ( the big swath of green in between all the Smithsonian buildings for those who don’t know) in Washington, D.C.  It’s all part of the whole Fall for hte Book thing and basically they have a bunch of authors who speak and sign stuff.  The First Lady was ever there signing stuff (The festival is done by her and the Library of Congress).  The reason we were going was to see Neil Gaiman.  If you’ve never heard of him he’s a fantasy writer who writes rather dark stuff ranging from comic books (his Sandman series is on of the best out there) to children’s books.  He’s about to release a new book, The Graveyard Book, which is a teen/kids book about a child raised in a graveyard by the dead.  As I said, he’s rather dark, but he’s an amazing writer and often his things have a lot of wit in them.

He was speaking at 11:45 and we actually made it out of the house in good time.  We unfortunately decided to drive in which meant finding parking. Ha.  Hubby has a pass to park for free where he works in D.C., but we didn’t bring it, so we drove around looking for parking for about 30 minutes before I finally told him to drop me and Princess off and just go park in a garage somewhere, even though it would cost money.  Next time we’ll either take the stupid pass (hindsight is 50/50 – always pack up the diaper back and get everything ready the night before) or just take the Metro in.  Hubby got there just after he started speaking.  It was a pretty packed tent.  it was very neat to hear Gaiman speak and he read a chapter out of his upcoming book.  He also gave the background of how the book came about.  Apparently, when his son was very little, they lived in an apartment in a very tall house with lots of stairs.  His son had a trike and couldn’t really ride it in the house, so Gaiman took him across the street to a churchyard (with a graveyard) and his son would ride his bike there.  This apparently got Gaiman’s mind working and he wondered what would happen if, like in The Jungle Book, a boy were orphaned and raised not in human society, but instead of animals, he was raised in a graveyard by the dead (this is how his mind works, apparently).  He said he wrote a chapter and decided he wasn’t a good enough writer at the time to write the story.  Every 5 years or so he’s pick it up again and write a chapter and decide he wasn’t good enough yet.  Then, a few years ago, he picked it up again and wrote a chapter in the middle of the book (deciding it would go better than writing from the beginning) and was about to call it rubbish when his daughter walked in and asked him to read it.  he did and she asked what happened next.  He said that got him hooked and now he had to write it because someone was interested.  All in all it was a really good talk and it was neat getting to listen to him.

Neil Gaiman Speaking

Neil Gaiman Speaking

So, as I said before, he has a book coming out.  however, as a special thing for the bookfest, they were welling the books early – books not available anywhere else, yet.  Cool, right?  Well, I had to feed Princess right after hearing Gaiman speak, so I told Hubby to go buy a book while I fed her.  He said no, because I’d want to look at the books, too, and instead he got lunch for us and we ate.  Of course (remember what I said about believing in Murphy’s law the other day) by the time we got there they were already sold out of the books.  Grr.  I can’t believe they didn’t stock enough books.  I mean, he’s a very popular author and they aren’t available elsewhere.  of course they’re going to be a lot of people wanting them.  Hmph.

Waiting Area Sign

Waiting Area Sign

So, we went over to the book signing area and got in line.  Then we found out we were in the 6th line (out of 7 eventually) for Gaiman’s signature.  Remember that hindsight is 50/50 thing?  yeah. guess we should have grabbed a spot in line, then I should have fed Princess and had Hubby go get food, etc.  Oh well.  We met some nice folks in line and chatted with them – after all, we had 3 and a half hours to kill.  The couple in front of us were pregnant, so we talked about babies and warned them to get all the sleep they could now.  Princess was pretty good during everything.  She was unhappy a little bit, but Hubby took her for a walk around the reflecting pond and through the botanical gardens and she napped.  I figured we’d be home before I had to feed her again, since the author was only supposed to be signing until 3, but he decided to stay until 5 since there were so many people, so I had to feed her again (good thing I breastfeed and don’t have to worry about a bottle).  Of course, since we were out, Princess had an explosive diaper situation.  Thankfully I brought a change of clothes for her.

Poop alert: this next paragraph discusses baby poop – You have been warned.

Speaking of explosive diapers, never give a baby iron supplements unless directed to.  The doc told us to pick up vitamin D for Princess since she’s exclusively breastfed. Hubby went out and picked up some baby vitamins, but all they had was a multivitamin that also has iron in it.  We only gave her two doses, but her tummy hasn’t been the same since.  She doesn’t go for a day or two, then has lots of poop in a diaper.  It’s also runnier than it used to be, and stinks more.  I did some research and apparently, the iron they get from breastmilk is a more soluble form and introducing other iron can also introduce bacteria,etc. into their system.  But her stomach has never gotten hard and she’s not in pain and her behavior never changed and she’s not really getting diarrhea, plus, she’ll be starting solid foods in a couple of months and her whole system’s going to be out of whack anyway, so I figure it’s all right.

Back to the story:

So we waited and waited.  It rained off and on.  We got to try out  the rain shield I recently got for Princess’ carriage. Works great.  She was probably the driest of everyone.  I hoped people would leave from the rain, but not many did.  Lots of die hard fans out there.  In fact, one of the girls around us said dinosaurs would have to attack and carry her away in order for her to leave. lol.  The rain did produce a beautiful rainbow over the capital building.

 

Me and Princess

Me and Princess

 

Hubby in the rain

Hubby in the rain

 

Hubby and Princess

Hubby and Princess

 

Capital rainbow

Capital rainbow

So, 5:00 came around and we were finally close to getting our books signed, and they announced that instead of us going up there, we were all to have our books open and he was going to just go down the line and sign them – one book only, no personalizations or anything (apparently, the people in the first lines got to have several books signed each, personalizations, and he also did drawings – nice for them, not so nice for the rest of us) – so that he could get to everyone.  Thankfully, since there were two of us, we got two books signed.  And, when he saw Princess in her carriage and i told him the book I had was for her (out copy of Stardust – I was originally going to get it personalized for her) he drew a little shooting star picture in it, which was very nice of him.

Almost there

Almost there

Gaiman signing books

Gaiman signing books

Then we went home.  Hubby was kinda grumpy. He’s not really the spend all day doing nothing kind of person.  I thought it was a neat experience.  I wonder who’s going to be there next year…

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One comment

  1. I love his books. My friend Amacker (I can’t remember if you met her or not) is pretty good friends with Niel, so I’ve heard good and juicy bits about his new book. I can’t wait!



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