This is a very, very good life, and I’m grateful for it.

It's quiet outside my office window, like the heat and humidity is sort of absorbing and muffling most of the sounds that usually come through during a typical Saturday morning. All I really hear is birds singing, the occasional drone of a distant train, and the low rumble of thunder out over the mountains somewhere … it's magical. Both dogs and both cats are asleep in my office, Nolan is sleeping in, and Anne is out at the gym. At this peaceful and solitary moment, it feels like I can take a few minutes to look back on the last week.

I'm home between episodes of Eureka, and rather than spend the week taking walks with my wife and my dogs, I recorded an audiobook. It took about 24 total hours, spread across four days, to perform my friend John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars. I'd read this book a couple of years ago, but performing it aloud was an entirely different experience from reading it. I had to create distinctly different voices and characters for everyone in the book, and that brought the material to life in a way that simply reading it did not. I love Agent to the Stars, and I'm blown away that this was John's "practice novel" that he wrote on the weekends while he was working full time on what was, at the time, his real job. Briefly, the story: Tom Stein is a junior agent in Hollywood, and when an alien species decides to make First Contact with humanity, he acts as their agent … to the stars. There's much, much more than that, obviously, including characters I really cared about and became invested in, but that's the basic MacGuffin. At least once a day while working on the project, I marveled that I was getting paid to read a book I loved. I mean, for one week, that was my job.

I seriously mean it when I say that I don't ever want to wake up from this wonderful dream.

Oh, hey, it's raining outside. I love the way the rain smells when it's warm outside.

That reminds me: one day this week, when I got home from work, Anne and I watched this huge thunderstorm blow up from way out east, and eventually over our house. It was probably 85 degrees when it passed over us, so while we watched the gutters on our street swell with a miniature flash flood, I grabbed Anne's hand and said, "Let's go run out in the rain!"

Some of you may remember a story I first posted on my blog a thousand years ago, about dancing in the rain with Anne; it made it into Dancing Barefoot as We Close Our Eyes. It's a tiny story that's really just a love letter to my wife, but it remains one of my favorite things I've ever written. Strangely, since that happened back in 2001 or 2002, we haven't intentionally run out into the rain, so this was especially lovely.

The afternoon sun was low in the sky, and the trees on our street broke it up into golden shafts of light that turned the sudden downpour into a glittering cascade of tiny jewels. We kicked off our shoes and skipped across our lawn like children (or a middle-aged couple deeply in love with each other). When we got to the street, it was still hot under our feet, and the cold raindrops were creating little clouds of steam that sat around ankle level. I brushed my hair back off my face, and looked up into the sky, with my arms out and my palms turned up.

"Remember when we danced in the rain in Santa Barbara?" Anne said.

"Yeah," I said, "that was awesome."

"I liked that a lot," she said.

I turned to look at her, and remembered how much I loved her at that moment, so many years ago, and wasn't surprised in the least to discover that I love her even more, now.

I kissed her face. "I love you so much," I said.

"I love you too. I love that we're walking in the rain!"

I took her hand in mine again, and we walked up our block and back. We were soaked through to the skin when we got home.

Last night, we went on a date to an arcade (I know, right?) where we played the hell out of Centipede. I'm not sure exactly why (some may say my reflexes were affected by a Guinness) but Anne destroyed me on our first two games, and got a high score. For her initials, she put in ASS, laughing hysterically the entire time.

"I really love that we still do stupid stuff like this, even though we're all old and shit," I said.

"Yeah, we're totally twelve," she said. "Play again? Or are you too chicken?"

"Nobody calls me chicken!" I declared, and started another game. This one, I focused, did my best, and not only did I win the game, I got an even higher high score … so of course, I put in SEX as my initials. We made a stupid cellphone video of the moment, because it was important to preserve that for posterity.

When we got home, I played Xbox with Nolan, and fell asleep a little after midnight, happily exhausted from a wonderful week doing things I love with people I love.

This is a very, very good life, and I'm grateful for it.

 

 

46 thoughts on “This is a very, very good life, and I’m grateful for it.”

  1. Hey, think how I feel — Dude, Wil Wheaton is totally doing the audiobook of one of my novels! How cool is that?
    Also, today I wrote a short story about yogurt taking over the world. It’s my job to do things like that. Life does not suck.

  2. “ASS SEX” hehe.
    I love it when you write about your family. It’s so honest and heartwarming. You and Anne are clearly made for each other (isn’t it great to have that perfect other half in your life? There’s nothing in the world I would trade for my Kevin.) Anyway keep up the good work, enjoy your time between shows, oh and the only thing that smells better than rain on a hot day is my daughter’s hair after a bath. It’s like almond cookies, honey and magic.

  3. Oh, that was JUST what I needed to give me a lift today (working on homework, stressing at loosing health insurance, etc). It’s fun doing goofy stuff with the one you love :) Spent last night laughing with my husband as we watched the movie ‘The Rocker’ – not exactly an exciting anniversary night (we’re too darned broke for that right now… but 22 years! woohoo!) but it was a lot of fun.

  4. Lovely. A blog of gems. But the following is just too lovely to not be repeated:
    “The afternoon sun was low in the sky, and the trees on our street broke it up into golden shafts of light that turned the sudden downpour into a glittering cascade of tiny jewels.”
    Reading this makes me glad I’m following you on many levels.
    – Regina

  5. I’m so happy for you Wil. :) My wife and I listened to your audio book of Just a Geek on our latest drive to Colorado, and finished up the last few RFBs on the way back, so it’s been quite an adventure listening to the changes in your life over the past few years. You are so talented and…can I say lovely and not have it sound like I’m trying to pick you up? Anyway, I’m so glad that you’re in a good place in your life. You totally deserve it sir.

  6. What a lovely, lovely post. I experienced that same moment of “I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to get paid to do this” earlier today after spending two hours holding snakes and alligators and talking to people about them at a local festival. As I was walking back to my car I stopped and though, wow, I’ve gotten to a point in my life where that is really part of my paying job. I am so incredibly lucky.

  7. It’s a wonderful life! Most excellent that you are a professional at stopping and smelling the roses. Thanks for a very nice snapshot of your happiness to share.

  8. Sometimes the magic does last, doesn’t it? I’m on 18 years and counting. Sure, come the zompocalypse, I’ll still waste the missus, but I’ll be screaming “NOOOOOOOooooooooo!” as I swing the axe.

  9. And meanwhile that same day but a few miles west and 2000 ft up, a drama of a different sort was unfolding. I was practicing touch-and-go landings at Van Nuys airport, as a student pilot in a Cessna 172. The Tower announced: “Be aware, lightning strikes east of the airport”, and I looked over to see the dark clouds high above Burbank rolling along the Santa Monica hills. I finished my descent, let the wheels kiss the VNY runway, and gunned the engine to climb up back to home base at Santa Monica airport. Over the flood basin, on the Valley side of the Sepulveda Pass, I got splatterings of rain on the windows and the plane was twisted sideways and dropped in a rollercoaster-like drop of several hundred feet. The flight training helped though: I let the plane drop in order to keep the speed up, then built up enough altitude to cross the hills, and made it safely back to the calmer Westwood. When I landed (and after unclenching my hands from the controls), I noticed the smell of the rain on the runway pavement, and thought it lovely. I think gained significant XP on that flight, maybe enough to advance a level… and certainly learned the lesson of _always_ checking the weather forecast even for short training flights close to home.

  10. Beautifully written. Thank you.
    A hint of this blog entry reminded me greatly of one of my all-time favorite books: Shoeless Joe by WP Kinsella (“Field of Dreams” before the movie was ever made).
    I think I’m going to go curl up with it now – been way too long since I’ve read it.

  11. “it was important to preserve that for posterity”
    Considering those initials you two left… wouldn’t that be posteriority?
    *groan*
    You should totally get a show called “RomantGeek”…

  12. Awesome story – I think there’s something in my eye. The love of a family is a wonderful gift. As much as I will enjoy seeing you on TV, I have been missing the /writer side – so thanks for coming home. Have a great time.

  13. Whenever you get romantic about your life, I just smile. What a sweet man. What a sweet husband. You make me want to grab my husband’s hand and run in the rain . . . plus, it intensifies my schoolgirl crush on you 10-fold.

  14. That was really enjoyable to read, thank you for sharing.
    And if I may add, I don’t think you should be calling yourself old just yet. I’m about to turn 36 and being silly and playing video games is what helps keep my life in balance. ;)
    Heck, Commander Riker was in his mid thirties when he was romancing all the ladies…and wasn’t Wil Shatner in his mid to late 30s during TOS?
    What’s the old saying…”A man is only as old as the woman he feels.”…or something like that. ;)

  15. That is so cute! Loved the video… nothing as fun as not acting your age, whatever the hell that means!
    And I love love love that you’ve done an audio book again… I still have Tom Sawyer and Why I left Harry’s All Night Hamburger (was that what it was called?) …on tape! They were awesome! And weren’t you a voice in a War of the Worlds audiobook?

  16. Awesome news! Much congratulations to you and your wife-to-be! Marriage can be really great, it actually sorta saved my life, or at least kept me out of the hospital.

  17. As it happens, I saw the video before I read the post. Very cool. And I LOVE the concept of you doing Agent to the Stars! I’m quite a Scalzi fan, and though I’m oddly not too much of an audiobook fan even though I have 3500 podcasts on my laptop, this is one that I’ll definitely buy.
    I didn’t see your D&D run on the RinCon schedule yet, is it up?

  18. After doing Delves at a few cons, I decided early this year that I wouldn't run them any more, because it's way too much work.
    But that's sort of moot, because I am not able to attend RinCon this coming weekend. Eureka asked me back for another episode, and I'm going to be in Vancouver during the con. I think RinCon announced this last week, but I've been working so much, I didn't have a chance to see if they did.

  19. Oh, man! You will be missed. I didn’t notice mention of it on the RinCon web site (rincongames.com), but I can’t say that I pour over it in exquisite detail daily.
    It’s definitely for a good reason, I look forward to seeing the eps! And yes, doing delves and creating original content like that is definitely a lot of work. That’s where I like carrying a digital voice recorder, I can make notes whenever something pops in to my tiny little brain.

  20. Your blog post about dancing in the rain with your wife was the first blog of yours that I ever read. A friend of mine sent a link to me and I remember reading it and getting caught up in the narrative. Skip forward a couple of years and I remembered the blog (again) went in hunt of it and subscribed to the RSS feed so I get to enjoy your continued gems.

  21. I read this twice and it made me smile each time! It also gives a Girl Geek hope for finding something similar one day! It reminds me, in a way, of that old comic. I don’t recall which it was, Farside? Where there were several people following the ‘norm’ conforming, and then two little toons who were wearing their clothing backwards, or a hat upside down. (I don’t remember exactly what, they were just going against the grain) The cartoon was titled “Soulmates”, or something to that effect. Bah… that’s what PHD land does to your brain! I remember the emotion and theme, but not the details! Anyone know it?
    Thanks for the post, and the blogs! I love seeing new updates!

  22. I have not commented for quite a while, but am still a faithful reader. This post is a perfect example of why I keep recommending your blog to others. I tell them “You won’t be sorry – he is brilliant. But even better, he’s real, and in the moment. He creates an atmosphere that helps you be more aware of the gifts in life, and you learn to appreciate simple pleasures.” That is exactly what I say about your writing, and they believe me. You continue to prove me right. Heartbreakingly beautiful post.

  23. This post is so sweet. I love to see two people as in love as you and Anne, it really gives me hope :) congrats on being such a happy couple!
    Sidenote: this also reminds me of my wedding vows (I just got married in April) where my husband promised to squish the spiders on the wall, and I promised to let him win at video games…sometimes ;) We then walked down the aisle to the Throne Room medly from Star Wars Ep. 4. Our bridal party was saluting us with lightsabers. It was awesome.

  24. Your wife is one lucky woman! I’ve been married for eleven years and have yet to get my husband to dance or walk with me in the rain. When it comes to video games he can destroy me with his eyes closed. We celebrated eleven years of marriage this last august. As his gift to me he gave me the chance to go after my life long dream. He believes in me so much that he quit his job, packed up and moved our family over 800 miles so that I can go to pastry school. Is that love or what? Age is a state of mind and I say if you feel like acting 12 again then go for it. It just goes to show you are never to old to have a good time. If anyone tells you different stick your tonuge out at them and tell them ththththth!!!! LOL

  25. That is one of my favorite stories in Dancing Barefoot – it does read like a tiny love letter or story, and yet you’ve managed to share it with readers in a way that isn’t awkward or uncomfortable or gloat-y (I don’t think that’s a word); it’s just lovely and warm. You two are so very lucky in each other!

  26. Heartwarming post. My, it’s a bit dusty in here…
    Thanks for leaving me smiling with yet another slice-of-life essay. And the news you’d be doing Agent To The Stars made me hoot with happiness — it’s one of the most entertaining novels I’ve read in the last few years. Looking forward to hearing you play Michelle Beck — not to mention the various Yherajk!

  27. Hey Wil this is my first time posting on your blog I watched 3 of your movies this weekend and just wanted to show my appreciation. I was four when I first saw you in was Flubber, great movie but I wasn’t sure if your character died or not? There should be a sequel. Well thanks for your blog and all your work!

Comments are closed.