Lots of people wonder what it's like to be on book tour. The glamor, the glory, the groupies. So I thought I'd document what life is like on the road, on what turned out to be the longest day on in the life of myself, my partner-in-crime/co-author/wife Arielle, and Olive, our 3 year-old.
7:10am - Olive wakes up.
7:11am - David & Arielle wake-up.
7:12am - 7:33am - Olive watches Clifford the Big Red Dog. David and Arielle sleep.
7:34am - 7:52am - David & Arielle frantically cram clothes, computer cords and Dora the Explorer coloring books into bags. Olive dresses, dances, sings and asks David & Arielle to read her Dora the Explorer.
7:53am - 7:58am - D, A & O shlep WAY TOO MUCH stuff: suitcases, backpacks, satchels and tote bags, into elevator. O pushes elevator buttons with tremendous glee.
7:59am - 8:08am - A checks out, D negotiates with ridiculously understaffed and thoroughly confused parking attendants until they retrieve the hybrid rental car. O dances, sings, and asks to play tag.
8:09am - 8:12am - A & D cram WAY TOO MUCH stuff into hybrid rental.
8:13am - 8:28am - D drives, A navigates, then fills hybrid tank with gas so they won't be charged $14 a gallon by Hertz
8:29am - 8:34am - D & A unload WAY TOO MUCH stuff out of hybrid rental onto sidewalk while O dances, sings, and asks to color in her Dora the Explorer coloring book.
8:35am - 8:39am - Good-hearted salt-of-the-Earth Midwestern Hertz employee takes pity on D, A & O and drives them and their WAY TOO MUCH stuff right to Continental check-in.
8:40am - 8:47 - Continental charges us $50 to check a bag and a box of books while O & D play tag.
8:48am - 8:59am - A & D shove WTM stuff through x-ray scanner while O sings American Pie.
9:00am - 9:26am - D, A & O eat truly gruesome breakfast at Carl & Erma's restaurant inside the Dayton International Airport. Carl & Erma should be ashamed.
9:27am - 10:21am - A tries to get that taste of Carl & Erma out of her mouth while D repeatedly belches fire burps and plays hide and seek, tag and does 50m sprints with O.
10:22am - Continental announces 10:48 flight delayed due to unspecified mechanical issues.
10:23am - D sighs with irritated resignation. A begins to worry. O asks to color in her Dora the Explorer coloring book.
10:24am - 10:48am - A & O color in Dora the Explorer coloring book. D writes blog.
10:49am - Continental announces 10:48am flight delayed indefinitely due to further unspecified mechanical issues. Mechanics have been summoned, but have not yet arrived.
10:50am - D grunts with exasperated frustration. A worries with deeper intensity. O requests juice box.
10:51am - 11:22 - D teaches O to run backwards. Just in case, A makes sure they are booked on next flight out, but there is no next flight out until 8pm. So she books them on flight to Cleveland where they will have to pick up a second plane to get to Newark.
11:23am - Continental announces 10:48am flight delayed even more indefinitely. Mechanics nowhere to be found.
11:24am - D groans with dyspeptic agitation. A worries that D will have nervous breakdown. O announces need to go pee-pee.
11:25am - 11:31am - D takes O into foul hell-smelling men's bathroom, wondering if the women's bathroom could possibly be this nastily funkified. O pee-pees. A edits D's blog.
11:32am - 11:38am - O & D play hide'n'seek, tag, and do 50m sprints. D helps O develop running-backwards skills. O. while running backwards, slams her head HARD, with a sickening SMACK, on the sharp edge of the ledge behind which the Continental employees stand.
11:39am - 11:48am - O howls, yowls, screams, shrieks and cries hysterically. A comforts while D apologies to O. A runs to get "boo-boo ice" while D continues to apologize and comforts O.
11:49am - 11:56am - "Boo-boo ice" relieves pain for O while A gives kisses hugs, and D apologizes some more.
11:57am - 12:09pm - O announces she's all better and wants to run races. D & O run 50m sprints. A worries.
12:10pm - Continental announces 10:48am flight canceled.
12:11pm - D screams "OH MY GOD!" way too loud! A worries that D may have an aneurism.
12:12pm - O tells D in a sweet voice: "Daddy, don't freak out."
12:13pm - D & A crack up. O asks to hold hands & dance.
12:14pm - 12:19 D demands to know what Continental is going to do to compensate him for his suffering. Continental tells him he can have a shitty free lunch. Proving once again: There is no such thing as a free lunch.
12:26-1:40 A reads New Yorker while D & O do some sprints, and run backwards very carefully.
1:41-1:49: D, A & O hump WAY TOO MUCH stuff into tiny, scary, twin propeller airplane.
1:50-1:56: O freaks out when propellers start. A & O happen to be sitting in row right with propellers, which like they're going to propel right into the plane. O cries. A comforts.
1:57 O calms as the propellers disappear in their speed. A calms. D laments.
1:58-2:30 O, A, & D fly from Dayton to Cleveland.
2:31-2:41 Plane to Newark is in whole other terminal. O, A & D have to schlep WTM stuff for what feels like miles. O decides she no longer wants to carry her suitcase.
2:42-4:48 O & D play tag, sing, dance, urinate in foul Cleveland Men's room, and run 50m dashes. A buys remarkably decent salad, which they all consume.
4:49-6:50 O, A & D fly from Cleveland to Newark, happy to be finally really on their way home.
6:50-7:09 O, A & D de-plane, fetch and lug WAY TOO MUCH STUFF to curb side of Newark International Airport. O & D run 50m sprints, dance and play tag.
7:10-7:59 Granville, husband of O's babysitter, picks up O, A & D and their WTM stuff into Lincoln town car. Granville drives to Montclair while D&A stare like road-burned zombies and O falls into a coma-like sleep.
8:00-8:03: D carries O sleeping into their house and gently places her in her bed. O never stirs. A trundles WTM stuff out of large dark car into home where Joann, A's mom has a home made dinner waiting to be eaten.
8:04 A & D collapse. There's no place like home.
David Henry Sterry & Arielle Eckstut, aka The Book Doctors (www.thebookdoctors.com) are the authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Olive Annabell Maureen Sterry is currently attending Scribbles.