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Jean from Weber

So last Sunday I called Weber, and Jean–who I suspect is in Minnesota–got my Silver Genesis working again.

Jean: I’ll be sending you a document, now just give me your email, see?
Me: Oh, thank you!
Jean: So now, you know where the manifold is, right?
Me: Yes, I see it in the booklet.
Jean: That’s good, then! You just…

At which point Jean and I engaged in a technical discussion that involved a phillips-head screwdriver, a crescent wrench, and a straightened coathanger. I printed her directions and got to work. We had ribs for dinner that night.

I still want a three-burner Weber grill; I still want to be in California again. I dreamed about California the other night. I was driving to Piazza’s–a lovely overpriced grocery store in Palo Alto–on my way home from the University of San Francisco.

Naturally, my dream didn’t include the hard parts of life in California, such as the grotty one-bathroom home we rented for $2200 a month, or Sandy’s temp work, or how I spent five years as a grant manager living the Perils of Pauline. It was like those dreams about people who have died, where you don’t remember their butthead moments or where they disappointed you, but instead you relive what was wonderful, and there is nothing wrong with that. I hope when I’m gone people remember my better moments.

I’m also missing those two years I was in the MFA program. I put in decent hours at FPOW (Former Place Of Work), but especially the last two years, my heart was with my family life and my writing life. The reverse is true now. Even when I have writing time now, it’s hard to pull my mind away from LibraryLand and AdminWorld (Michael Golrick, you know what I mean by the latter). I can’t quite get to that “shabbos” place where my head is peaceful enough to concentrate on My Craft.

So this morning we were at Fresh Market, a fancy-schmancy grocery store in Tallahassee, and near the checkout counter was Gastronomica, where I have an essay to be published late this year or early next. My eyes stung with pride. I saw people buying this magazine, taking it home, reading what I wrote. It mattered. I felt something. It was a remarkable, this-is-love, this-is-real-life sensation. It didn’t cure everything, but it was a bit of flotsam to cling to, something to keep me afloat.

My grill works, and I’m publishing an essay. I may not get to write anything new of significance for a while, but I can work to publish what I’ve written, and I can plan writing retreats. Lisa J., take off your belt with the heavy buckle and smack me until I apply to the one we spoke of at ALA.

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