“My life has a superb cast; I just can’t quite figure out the plot.”
MARY: Also known as the Incorrigible Night Owl. Job description, “Couch warmer, dust collector, Price is Right watcher, all-around decorative piece.” Resides (very begrudgingly) in small-town Oklahoma, but can also be found, on a good day, in San Luis Obispo county, California (a.k.a. “Home”). Hatched 9-27-74 in Arcadia, CA. Married 11-1-97 in Las Vegas (on purpose). Has a passion for the Beatles, Harry Potter, the Buffalo Bills and traveling. Also watches too much telly and reads a whole heck of a lot.
ROBERT: Long-suffering husband of Mary. Has similar problems with getting to bed at a decent hour. 12.5 years older than she; met online on an AOL message board for “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Shamefully underpaid attorney. Puts up with a lot of baloney.
MADALYN ELIZABETH: Child #1 of Mary and Robert. Born October 28, 2000. Loud. Opinionated. Talkative. Contrary. Highly intelligent; entered school a year early. Tall for her age — doctor predicts she’ll be 6′ when all is said and done. Plays basketball (what else?) Constant source of both amusement and frustration. Is practically a clone of her mother, which is likely responsible for the frustration part. Oh, and she’s quite the looker, too.
JOHN-ZACHARY HARRISON: Child #2 of aforementioned parents. Born June 23, 2003. Named after John Lennon and George Harrison. Also highly intelligent, but in a completely different way than his sister. Has eyelashes that any woman would kill for. High-needs child who has been wearing mama out since day one. But is also loving, funny and a ladykiller. JZ loves animals, animals, animals, and a few more animals thrown in for variety.
ELIZA CLAIRE: Child #3, also known as The Grand Finale. Born at home, in water (planned) without the benefit of a professional in attendance (unplanned; midwife was stupid and unforgivably negligent). Loves Mommy. Really really really loves Mommy. Loves Mommy so much that she was up every 2-3 hours all night, every night, for the first fourteen months of her life. Was nearly sold on eBay a number of times, but is off the hook now that she’s sleeping like a normal human being. Funny, preternaturally persistent and gorgeous, with porcelain skin and dark hair and eyes.
MOM and DAD: Mary’s parents, also in California. Mom works for the state of CA and Dad is a retired Teamster. Mary is Mom’s only child and the youngest child of Dad (and the only one who grew up in the same house with him, start to finish). Added a room onto the old homestead to accommodate oft-visiting child, grandchildren, and their endless mounds of stuff
GRANNY: Dad’s stepmom. Took care of Mary after school and all day during the summer from first through sixth grades. Has two enormous cats, Puma and Sammy. Also has a fuller engagement calendar than her granddaughter does.
JENNIFER: One of Mary’s oldest friends. Lives in California. Met when M. was 12 and J. was 10. M. was maid of honor at her wedding. Has two kids, Blake and Stephanie.
ROBIN: Jennifer’s sister, and another of Mary’s oldest friends. Have known each other since September 28, 1986 — the day between their two birthdays. Was maid of honor at her wedding, too. Has two sons, Sam and Seth.
NICHOL: Mary’s oldest friend, since the third grade. Sometimes life takes us different directions but we always seem to find our way back to each other. Has two girls, Breanna and Haley.
COSMO: Big, blue-eyed, stripey cat of undetermined lineage. Adopted from animal rescue group at 7 months old. Is now 11 years old. Too damned smart for his own good. Operates under the theory that any attention is better than no attention. Weighed 14 lbs. at last vet visit.
GRACE: Seal-point Ragdoll, bought from local breeder. 9 years old. Very beautiful but dumb as a bag of hammers. Hides under the bed 50% of the time; spends the other 50% lying on her back directly in the middle of the floor to be as much of a hindrance as possible. Hates everyone but Mary; however, surprisingly, tolerates Eliza.