Andes Mint #25: By the Numbers

Zip codes in which you have lived: 13354, 02114 (past), 55408 (current), and 05346 (also current). Apartments: six. Houses: four. Bathroomless one-room cabins in Dummerston, Vermont: one. Children, two of whom are now as tall or taller than you: three. Neurotic cats: one. Hyper dogs who remain meth-head-like no matter how much you exercise them: one. Broken bones: two. Trips to Italy: two. Times fallen in love: five. Eyeballs lasered: two. Days spent rising before 5 a.m. to write until you wrote a book good enough to be published: 5,476 minus approximately 1500 spent despairing of talent, lacking in work ethic, or too damn tired = 3975. Shoe size: ten. Minutes per running mile: a sad nine. Ability to alpine ski, despite having attended a college with its own Snow Bowl: zero. Novels read: approximately 900. Trips to China: three. Times spent slapping then-four-year-old son in middle of night when you were exhausted and he would not let you sleep: one. Times spent despising self for slapping then-four-year-old son in middle of night when you were exhausted and he would not let you sleep: countless. Trips to Taiwan: two. Novels written (published or soon to be): 11. Novels written (that will never be published): 3.5. Trips to Paris: one. Vows to stop saying the f-word in front of children: countless. Times vow to stop saying the f-word in front of children has been broken: countless. Ratio of children’s picture books written to those published: approximately 30:1. Best friends named Ellen Harris Swiggett: one. Marriages: one. Divorces: one. Trips to Portugal: two. Regrets: a few. Poems read before dawn daily: three. Current favorite adult beverage: vodka gimlet, up, in a martini glass. Friends and family members seen through cancer treatment: seven. Trips to Turkey: one. Mountain that can be glimpsed in leafless seasons from top of acreage in Dummerston: Monadnock. Shortest length of hair: one inch. Longest length of hair: three feet. Shade required to maintain hair’s unnatural color: Cool Light Brown. Trips to London: one. Exact pre-dawn times at which you typically wake: 2:47, 3:20, 4:54. Strong cups of coffee drunk before dawn: .7. Men who, upon noting length of fingers, have asked if you can palm a basketball: approximately 18. Times you have palmed a basketball: none. Times heart has been broken: five. Trips to Mexico: ten. Pairs of tomato-red suede pants: one. Times spent dreaming that you are driving up an increasingly vertical road until your car tips backward and you fall into a bottomless void: at least 46. Times spent dreaming that you are short one chemistry class and therefore cannot graduate: at least 37. Letters written to grandmother before she died: approximately 570. Lindt Milk Chocolate Truffles consumed: approximately 2100. Times spent practicing Chopin’s Prelude in F Minor without noticeable improvement: approximately 233. Trips to Bhutan, Morocco, Macchu Picchu: none. Yet. Times daily you think how lucky you are to be living this big fat life: at least three.

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