What a year. Mister Book lost his job in late June, and is still out of work; my mother-in-law died; Kit needs to start therapy because he’s having so much social/emotional trouble in school; Joey might be trans, although it’s hard to figure out for sure with a mostly nonverbal kid, but Joey does always answer “Are you a girl or a boy/boy or a girl?” with “Girl.” Things feel pretty okay day to day, except for the jobless bit—Mister Book has been looking and looking, and still nothing. If he doesn’t find something by the end of the year, we’ll be in the tall grass.

But the thing that actually got me back here is that Ruth has suggested that she, Nora, and Cricket might come see us in November. I had said that they didn’t need to come if they don’t want to, and she told me that on the visit last year, she asked Cricket how it felt to be around his Book family. He said: “I feel like I’m finally home. When I look at them, I see myself.” So that’s a pretty good and intense reason to welcome the little dude, and I’m actually kind of looking forward to the visit for the first time in several years.

That said, I don’t actually know whether they’re coming in four weeks. Last year–the only time that they’ve visited us in Queen City–they left it very up in the air until more or less the moment before. That is not my favorite thing–but I’ve been doing a lot of renovation on the house, and will continue that, so at least we’ll look our best. I’ve learned that I love to put up wallpaper, which I suspect confirms my status as a strange lady, and I’ve started being able to do electrical stuff, which is marvelously handy. If Cricket is here in November, I think he’ll be pleased to learn that Kit has gotten into LEGO and Transformers, meaning that we have better toys to share. We also have enough room to host them, although I suspect they won’t take us up on that offer.