Cincinnati, OH

The Ramada Inn is set for rennovation, but unfortunately for me, not before I pull in late Thursday night. The room smells of old smoke, ground into the dingy carpet and painted on the walls. In the bathroom is a whirlpool tub that no longer whirls and a steam apparatus that must have seemed like a good idea at the time. I’d like to walk out, but it’s too late.

On the way down, I got a phone call that began “everyone is okay, but . . .” Not what anyone wants to hear. Michael’s son Max had been in a car accident. The fact that I wrote in my blog about a car accident just this morning is downright spooky. From this date forward, I think the entire family should just stay home on November 4. I am grateful to make the Ramada Inn, dreary as it is. Lots to be grateful for.

Greener Elementary is far from dreary – a fun school that has prepared for the author visit and is (literally) hopping with excitement about writing. The principal explains her attire and that of her teachers – if they pay money, they are allowed to wear jeans on Friday. This is how they raise money for the assemblies since the parent group isn’t very well-funded. Why don’t stories like this appear on Fox news as they complain about teachers? These teachers are so intent on their kids getting a diverse experience in school, they pay for assemblies themselves.

Extended day – I drove from Cincinnati to Purcellville, VA to see Kelly & Co. on Friday after school. This is a long drive – complicated by the fact that somewhere in West Virginia I managed to get off of the Robert Byrd Appalachian Highway and on the scenic bypass – which went on and on with 15 mile per hour hair pin turns through the mountains, herds of deer ambling beside the twisting road and no cell phone service. Nada. It is undoubtedly a beautiful drive in the daylight, but it loses its charm after dark and I frankly scared myself a few times wondering what would happen if I slipped down a side bank or ran out of gas.

Got into Purcellvile about 1:30AM, very grateful. Had a great time with Benny, who is enjoying reading (mostly memorizing) Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Where is the Green Sheep? Danny knows all his letters, but still speaks a foreign language and Thomas can almost sit up. Michael arrived on Saturday afternoon, by plane. No detours. Smart move.

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