Maggie Kirn,

       Pulled into the ranch late again last night. I was in town for a Humane Society meeting. We discussed the progress in constructing our new shelter, worried about our massive veterinary bills, and talked about a grotesque case of equine abuse–a situation we’re dealing with in which three corralled horses are being left to starve to death and a fourth horse’s carcass has been devoured by bears. There are also 10 sheep involved, which I volunteered to adopt, a detail I’ve yet to share with my husband. When I drove in, exhausted and feeling enormously pregnant, the dogs–Rupert, Pipsqueak, and Drudge–were waiting for me by the house, battling over an empty bottle of water. Walt was up writing as usual, this time frantically typing out commentary on Wee Willy Clinton for Time magazine. He works in our garage, composing works of fiction and nonfiction alike, surrounded by boxes old records, weight sets, and outgrown clothing. The circular saw had been put away while I was gone, and Rick had left a neat pile of sawdust by the front door. When I got in the house, a stack of upscale catalogs lay on the kitchen table, research on the piece I was supposed to have finished last week for Harper’s Bazaar.
       I ate a bowl of Golden Grahams and collapsed into bed in front of the latest installment of CNBC’s Hardball. Despite the three day weekend, this week has seemed long. Labor Day only reminded me that soon I will go into labor. Every reference to the holiday–from an invitation to a barbecue to the Fed Ex man asking me how Labor Day went–felt like torture. Radio advertisements for Labor Day white sales made my heart palpitate. Even reports of Labor Day traffic fatalities brought on thoughts of the birthing experience. Oh, for Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day. I wonder how Monica Lewinsky feels on President’s Day. Like lighting up a cigar and celebrating?
       The countdown to my own personal Labor Day has begun. This coming Monday marks the start of Week 30, the beginning of Month 8. Ten weeks to go. I’ve compiled a ToDo list. Dry wall ceiling of nursery and remodel kitchen. Buy car seat. Attend dog obedience class with Pipsqueak. Finish Bazaar article. Stop eating sugar cereal. Plant bulbs. Attend birthing classes with Walt. Free abused horses from mean old lady. Tell Walt about the 10 sheep. Reconcile with my father. Pick a boy’s name. Buy a crib. Order wood for stove. Clean fridge out. Stop watching Hardball. Find Drudge an owner. Buy a stroller. Have baby.
       Turn 23.