I really do. I'm lucky. First, foremost, and, I expect, forever, there's Lorraine, who has been my personal assistant now for about 18 years. This is Lorraine.
She arrived in 1992, a friend of some friends, just to help put the books on the shelves into alphabetical order, shortly after I moved to the US bringing my books with me, and she's never left. She's had to learn new skills, and face her fears (bees! airports! grumpy authors!), and is absolutely amazing.
Sometimes I listen to her on the phone, talking an airline into doing something they don't do, don't want to do, and if they did do it it would cost me thousands, and then she gets off the phone and says "all sorted. It'll cost you $25 for additional airport tax, but you're now re-routed round the world via Hobart..." It's like magic.
Somewhere in there she's filled her house with fostered Bengal cats, acquired a horse, played violin and sung in a variety of musical entities, garnered a fan-club, declined offers from other writers and organisations to go and run their lives, and, most recently, got herself fit. She says that what she's looking forward to most about the American Gods HOUSE ON THE ROCK gathering is practicing with roller derby girls.
And right now she's off on her first holiday in about 12 years. (It's not that I am an evil taskmaster, honest. She's hard to move. Her bengals get pissy, in all sorts of ways, if she vanishes, for a start.) But when I was invited to Octocon, the Dublin SF convention, and she was declining on my behalf, she happened to mention that she has wanted to visit Ireland for a very long time.
So next weekend, the Fabulous Lorraine will be a guest at Octocon. Prior to that, she will spent most of a week wandering around Ireland.
As a side-effect of getting fit, she's lost 25lb over the last few months, and none of her clothes fit her. This has not deterred her from going.
She and I discovered that if she flies out of Rochester rather than Minneapolis the price of her ticket plummeted. This is not a strange thing. The strange thing is that she is permitting Doctor Dan, our local Doctor, to fly her to Rochester in a small plane.
Small planes do not make Lorraine happy. When I go somewhere via small plane she is miserable, convinced that she needs to spend valuable working time mentally keeping the plane in the air.
That she is doing this, with enthusiasm, leaves me delighted and baffled. I think she will have a wonderful time in Ireland.
(Here's Lorraine's Blog on Going to Ireland: http://blog.fabulouslorraine.com/2010/09/ireland-well-cabal-and-ireland-ok.html
and her blog of Today: http://blog.fabulouslorraine.com/2010/10/did-i-mention-ireland.html)
If you're at Octocon, or just in Ireland next week, say hello to her for me.
My other assistant is Cat Mihos, AKA Kitty.
This is Cat. (After a quick Google Image search I snaffled this picture from her myspace thingummy. Whenever I have seen her she has been much more dressed than this.)
She's not full time. Mostly, she's not my assistant. On the whole she goes on the road with people like Lady Gaga or the Jonas Brothers, making things good for them and their crew. We made friends when she was working for Tori Amos, seven years ago, and she taught Maddy how to bowl with lemons.
Somewhere in there, Cat started the Neverwear.net website, selling stuff she does that's me-derived: limited edition prints and tee-shirts and mousepads and such, along with jewelry and magnet-pictures she makes herself. (It's a non-profit site for me, in case you were wondering, as what would be my royalty on the stuff she makes and sells there goes to the CBLDF.)
When I'm in LA and she is, she'll drive me around, come to meetings with me, make my life easier. Here's Kitty blogging about having me in LA for a few days: http://kittysneverwear.blogspot.com/2010/02/whirling-dervishes.html
She also tends to be point person for fan-mail to me and requests for signed photographs and that kind of stuff (and if she goes on the road with Lady Gaga for 6 months, it can get very backed up, alas).
She's wonderful. She's produced some small films, and will, I suspect, one day be a film producer more than she is anything else.
And she's getting married today.
She's marrying Drew. This is Drew:
This is Kitty and Drew.
I'm in Baltimore tonight for the wedding. I will wear my amazing black velvet and stripy thing that Kambriel made me (as seen at http://kambriel.livejournal.com/289161.html, which also contains mermaids, for those of you missing party photos from the last blog entry, and also in http://kylecassidy.livejournal.com/622744.html, which has a wonderful photo of Kyle and me and my daughter the ineffable Holly Gaiman).
If you want to give Cat a wedding present, go and buy something cool from her Neverwear site. (She is going to be putting the prices up on some of the limited edition prints very soon, which she does when the stocks begin to dwindle and before they go out of print, so right now the Jim Lee print of my poem "100 Words" and the Molly Crabapple illustrated "Desert Wind" are probably the smartest things to buy.)
I'm going to read "Instructions" at Cat's wedding tonight. But before then, I need to put on the posh clobber.
Actually, I should probably stop blogging and shave.