28 April 2007

camping with diane

For those of you troubled about the lack of personal time for news anchors, I may be able to begin putting your concerns to rest.

This just in:

Diane Sawyer will, in fact, accompany me on an upcoming camping trip. She said she always regretted not having been outside her own back yard when she was much younger and the only place her parents would pop a tent was over a culvert and c'mon, what kind of adventure is that?

The fiesta weekend location has not yet been determined, but I have reassured her that I won't ask her to cook, nor will I demonstrate fire-starting techniques - unless she wants to learn. She's excited and she's planing to pack yellow shirts.
It's true! We talked while I slept last night.

freud is dead

mmmmeaty, originally uploaded by McBeth.

It's not been a swell week at the McMansion.

Allergies maintain weighty status as, officially, The Plague. With recent cold wet spring weather I have have several days' worth of the throb of what I can only guess is every single vein between my scalp and my skull. ka-BLAM. ka-BLAM.

I noticed a listing on a local real estate site early this week - beautiful old property that had been partially rehabbed in a commercially-zoned location in an idyllic little berb 40 or so minutes outside of Big City Proper. The obsessive thinking began as soon as I saw it: 3500 sq. ft., two story, 150 year old building, not built to be a house. Right up my alley.

I decided that I had to eyeball for myself, so I drove out on a whim, poked around, peeked into windows and felt excited about telling KD about this treasure I'd found. We returned mid-week to see it together. The owner met us there and took us on a walk-through and we talked about the long sordid history of the building and its previous occupants. Small towns are great places to go if you're serious about getting the real dirt on a subject.

After we thanked the owner for his time and for opening up the building for us, we drove to a neighboring village for dinner and a beer at The Grumpy Troll. In the end we've agreed that while the building is beautiful, we wouldn't possibly be able to afford both the mortgage payment (which, honestly, is really quite reasonable) AND the rehab costs (which would be prohibitively expensive because there is nothing noth-ing NOTH-ing but beams, 100 year old insulation and mouse turds in there and we'd have to put stuff like walls, floors and a toilet in it. We'd need appliances too. A stove would be nice.

I'm as disappointed saying no to this place as I've been with the others we've looked at together. They're like children to me, these vacant houses ... they need me. I can take one or two quick glances over a place and I can identify each one's needs and wants as instantaneously as I once was able to do with my son.

The despair I experience over each of these 'give the baby back to it's rightful parents' open house tours is big, consuming, and real. The reality of the situation, however, is that I've been here before. I know the territory. If you were to turn off the light I could still feel my way through, it's that familiar. And I'll surely get past it, just like I have each of those other times. If history is any indicator I'll be feeling less hopeless in about, oh, 48 more hours.

It would have been amazing to have potential studio space, or a darkroom, or a chiropractic office for the missus, yes. But I subscribe to the belief that it'll be alright in the end, so if it isn't alright it isn't the end and I have to believe that I will find that particular house with the trees in the front yard growing tall and strong as they wait for me.

As roller coaster-ey as my emotions have been over disappointing house hunting, I may have overexerted something in one or both hemispheres due to that + the sinus/headache/allergy thing. I feel like I'm melting. I'm starting to feel the sensation of slipping below the radar again. nudge nudge wink wink. When she says that it means 'she's symptomatic'.

KD is (wisely) giving me wide berth; I think I scare her a little when I'm experiencing 'Not Quite Right' days; I'm pretty sure I scare her -nearly to death, is my best guess- when there are several in a row. So tonight I stayed home, alone, to watch a video rental while I'm having my snivelfest. I popped 'Running With Scissors' in and felt an instant wave of peacefulness rush through me once the Seriously Crazy shit began. Yessssss. These are my people.

It didn't occur to me at the time to mark the time stamp of the DVD player when my telephone rang; now I kinda wish I had. Well, whatever time it was, it was the scene when the Natalie and Augusten knock out the kitchen ceiling for a skylight because they hated the kitchen and needed high ceilings.
Which all sorta makes sense.

A woman's voice: Hello, Beth?


Is this Beth M?

Yes, this is Beth. Who's calling?

Do you recognize me?

Excuse me?

Can you tell who it is? Guess who it is!

Uhmm, no. No, I can't. Where do I know you from?

I'm a blast from the past, hunh? she laughs.

I am silent. Hampsters leap onto wheels in my head trying to scramble through 20 years' worth of incidentals, trying to put a face to the voice.




Yeah! Remember me?

Well Jane, now that you mention it ... no. I'm sorry, I'm afraid I've no idea who you are.

It's JANE. JANE! From St. Louis!

I absolutely believe you, Jane, but I don't know who you are. I've never lived in St. Louis.

Remember when you lived on (unintelligible) Street? And I lived down the street with Louis?

She's having what sounds like a lovely walk down memory lane but I for real and for true wasn't there. I don't know what to say.

This is Beth M, right? I've reached Beth M?

Yes, I am Beth M but I thi---
And you're married to Bill?

I had to laugh. No, I am not married to Bill.

You and Bill aren't married?

No, I mean -- I never have been married and I really haven't been married to anyone named Bill.

she pauses.
You're Beth M and you live in Madison? Is that right?

Yes. Yes both parts of that are true but I think you'r--
Well I wonder if there could be two Beth M's?

If only the woman would've stopped shrieking into the telephone for three seconds I would have told her about how yes, there are two of us and why do I know this? I know this because 10 years ago or so I picked up my meds at Walgreens and as I was leaving the store I happened to glance into the bag only to find something that looked nothing at all like the meds I was taking at the time. I returned them to the pharmacist, who apologized to the moon and back for the mix-up. Apparently none of us figured there'd be more than one person with my name. With her name. Er, with our name.

In fact, periodically for years after I would chuckle to myself, imagining the zany fun we all could have had if she'd received my meds.

Oh, well. Say, we're on State Street right now.

Ah, you are? Well. Well, good. I hope you enjoy your visit.

We're hungry and we're looking for a good restaurant for dinner. What can you recommend?

what?! This stranger still has not found her person but she's willing to get dining recommendations from the total stranger that I am to her?

Uh. Hmmm. Well, do you like vegetarian? There are a couple of pretty great Himalayan restaurants on State Street.

Ohhhh, well, no. We really want steak. Are there any good steak places?

Steak places.

Yes, steak places! I really was trying to reach the Beth M. who is married to Bill because she's the only person we know in this area. But we'd like to have steak for dinner.

Uhhh. Okay, well it'll be a bit of a walk up to the capital square but Johnny DelMonico's is up there and is supposed to serve a great steak.


No, J-o-h-n-n-y. Delmonico.

Oh, okay. Well that will be fine because we're just over at the Doubletree. It's not too far.

I am momentarily struck both dumb and blind.
I cannot picture where a hotel called Doubletree is, not anywhere within the entire city limits. I'm not really sure why she's telling me any of this. To be honest, I'm still stuck on how she'd trust a stranger she'd essentially crank-called to give her dining recommendations. And I'm puzzled why she doesn't seem the least bit concerned that she hasn't reached her 'good old times' friend from St. Louis?

Any other suggestions?

No, I guess that's it for now. I mean, it's not every day that someone calls me to reach someone else who shares my name, then asks me for recommendations for restaurants that I'm not accustomed to dining at for their steak recommendations which I don't generally order. Yeah, try DelMonico's.

Okay, we'll give that one a try. Thanks!

One of my favorite quotes of the movie came shortly after I pushed the 'play' button to continue it from where I'd paused the show when the phone first rang. This would have been just after Jane and I said goodbye to one anther.

"According to Hope, Freud died of kitty leukemia. According to me, Freud died of being trapped in a laundry basket for four days without food or water."

This is my life.
True story.

25 April 2007

hard to choose one

hard to choose one, originally uploaded by McBeth.

Did you ever have to make up your mind
Pick up on one and leave the other behind
It's not often easy and not often kind
Did you ever have to make up your mind

-- Lovin' Spoonful

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