The passing of an era

It has been well-established that I am a hoarder. Chronic, in fact. And part of the reason I hoard is because I form some sort of emotional attachment to my stuff. I remember that sweater, I wore it on that job interview.... I remember that stress-relieving squishy toy, I got it at that conference when we did that thing and talked to those people.... I remember that can of Pepsi, I stole it from Malcolm Gladwell....

And the longer something has been a part of my life, the more I avoid the farewell. I'm not ashamed to admit this, I cried when we sold off the family's 1980 Volvo station wagon in 1999. In fact my brother and I went to the lot to give it our final goodbyes and took pictures with it. Man that was a great car. In high school she got several nicknames, one of which was Dee. One of my friends came up with that one; Dee, short for "dehydrated urine," because that's what color she was.

Well, Internets, today was a day similar to the one when sold Dee. Today, the Salvation Army came and took away my disco love seat and matching chair.

For those of you that have had the privilege and honor of knowing these fine pieces of quality home furnishing, you know both that this was a long-time coming (roughly 20 years) and also that this was very emotionally laden. The story goes that this matching set was my parents' first as newlyweds. And they have lived out their destinies as living room staples ever since that time. Okay, they did live down in my parents basement for a good 15 years before I hauled them off with me to my first apartment. They also had a brief stint in a friend's basement while I had no place for them in Seattle. But other than that, they've always been around. The proof? A picture of a picture of my parents' friends (who were at the time, younger than I am now) relaxing and having a great ol' disco time.

They've held up extremely well for the amount of mileage they've seen (the furniture, Internets, the furniture). Okay, they each have a broken leg, but if you very carefully replace that leg and balance the rest of the piece ever-so-gently, no sudden movements, then you'd never know just how wobbly they are. And, I think my side passion for decorating has helped me make these quite retro, quite eclectic pieces seem to work wherever I've moved.

Most recently, I had them in my TV room, and then a couple of weeks ago, I realized it was time for them to go. Now I have a grown-up TV room with a new couch, and new look. I was able to bring into this room a flokati rug that I've been keeping down in my basement since I decided it didn't work in my living room. I love that rug and am happy to have it back (truth be told, I have four of them. Unintentional hoarding, I swear). I also have managed to incorporate the gear table (which has as much fame and notoriety in my circles as the disco couch). So I haven't quite managed to let go of everything, yet.

When I left this morning, the disco couch and chair were on my front porch, and when I came home, all that remained was a tiny little receipt for confirmation of pick up. As I stood there, in the dark, I felt a little pang in my heart. I told myself to, "be brave, Sport." That, "We had to send disco couch and chair to a farm, where they could have the space to frolic the way disco furniture was meant to." And also, "That when I say, 'farm,' I likely mean college fraternity house."


Something for Everyone

The conversation I had with a teammate leaving my flag football game last weekend:

LMNT: Man, I hate losing.
Teammate: Me too. But it's bound to happen at some point.
LMNT: You're right, not everyone can be a winner.
Teammate: Yes, and as Malcolm Gladwell states in Outliers--
LMNT: Malcolm Gladwell? I have his can of Pepsi in my car right now.

Yeah, back pedal yourself out of that one.


I would do anything for love, but I won't do that...

Internets, I have an incredibly huge crush on Malcolm Gladwell.

He may be a new addition to my list, only I'm not sure which list. Either the "Top Five Famous People List" a la that old Friends episode (some current members of my list include Johnny Depp, John Cusack, and Tina Fey... yes, Tina Fey), or maybe the "Top Five Strangely Hot List" (which would put him in with Jack Black, Gene Hackman, and Jim Murray).

Regardless of the list he's on, the guy is amazing! And yes, I do have a little bit of a thing for his crazy curly hair. On Friday, he was speaking at work about his newest book, and I was a mere twenty feet away from him. Swoon. He is such a nerd. Swoon. And, he's incredibly passionate about his work. Swoon.

He gave us a brief overview of a couple of his upcoming articles in The New Yorker, as he casually sipped from a can of Pepsi. Afterward, he was whisked away to another speaking engagement at a Foundation event. Oh, my poor little nerd heart ached to see him leave.

Note to self: Careful the impetuous things ridiculous infatuations will tempt you to do.

Like subscribe to The New Yorker, or steal a can of Pepsi.

In my defense, it was over an hour after he left the room--it's not like I pried it out of his bony hand. I just happened to stay in the room after the lecture to get some work done and when I went to leave, I looked up at the podium and realized his can of Pepsi was still there. Curious to see how much of it was left I went and picked it up. And then it hit me. Malcom Gladwell's hand touched this very same object. Cautiously, I looked around the very empty room, my heart racing, certain I was going to get caught. Caught by whom and for what, I don't know? Being exceptionally nerdy? Molesting an innocent aluminum can?

The next thing I knew, I was leaving the room, carrying his Pepsi--which, by the way was half-full. By the time I hit the parking garage, I was laughing at the absurdity of the fact that I had just stolen someone's old, flat, pop. But I was still smitten with the thought that that someone is a very smart man, a man who's on staff at The New Yorker! Not an hour before, that very someone was in possession of this then new, bubbly pop. And then, I realized not only had he held this very can, but he had also drank from it. What, I wondered, would happen were I to drink from it? Would my hair spring up and out? Would I write amazingly simple, yet profound pieces on pop sociology? Would I get caught for being a nerd-stalker? All these thoughts were swimming in my brain as I took a big, long, look at that can.

I didn't do it. I cannot stand Pepsi.


Bad news, good news, rinse, repeat

The other morning, I walked into my house and was welcomed by a not-s0-very-wonderful smell. As my facebook status noted: "I was greeted by a funny smell. Unfortunately it's not funny ha-ha..." Nope. It was more like funny putrid carcass.

Bad news: I think there is a dead mouse in my house. At least I hope it's a mouse, it could be some other critter. Nutty?

Good news: That morning, I opened up the basement door to go down and get my laundry, and the smell seemed very pungent and concentrated. This is good news because I think that may mean the source is somewhere down there. And not, say, in a wall.

Bad news: I don't like being in my basement.

Good news: I can probably pay someone to go down there and be a hero.

Bad news: One of the two light fixtures down there is broken. Well, it's dangling by a wire. Whoever installed it originally did so very poorly, and it keeps falling out of place. To fix it, I have to shut the main breaker off and jimmy it back into position. Which means I have to do that during daylight, and because it's winter in Seattle and daylight only lasts for what seems like an hour--while I'm at work--the light can't be fixed until the weekend. Meaning no escape from the smell.

Good news: I bought a fantastic candle last weekend, now my house smells exactly like anthropologie. Yay.

Bad news: Now my house smells like anthropologie. The whole house--that is one potent candle. I can smell it a whole floor away. But now I can't smell the rotting corpse smell. And while that is a good thing, I can't tell if I made that smell up in my head, or if I need to be making funeral arrangements, and building up my bubonic immunity.


Same day, different time

It was eleven years ago.

Wednesday January 14, [1998] 12:30 a.m. [This is taken from an e-mail I received...]

Danny, his best friend Dave, and a friend Mary were coming back from a movie [Good Will Hunting] when a 15-year-old, who had stolen a van and was drunk, ran a red light, and hit the side of Danny's car [a tiny little Chevy Chevette, I remember seeing a picture of the car on the news, it did not stand a chance with that van]. There were 2 people in the van. After the accident, both kids ran, later the driver came back. The passenger in the van has not been located, yet.

All three of the people in Danny's car were trapped and were cut out by the Jaws of Life. Everyone in his vehicle had his or her seat belts on. Danny's best friend died at the scene. The girl in the back seat was in fair condition with a broken leg. Danny was airlifted to Denver General Hospital by the Flight for Life; he was in critical condition and in a coma. At the hospital it was determined that he had no internal organ injuries. He had some swelling in his brain, his left leg and pelvis area were broken. The left side of his face was damaged. The area around his left eye socket is damaged and will have to be set and some cosmetic surgery will be required...

And on it went. For weeks. The updates, the tears shed, the pain felt, the coma, the gradual improvements. Life marched on. He missed his 21st birthday, and I just continued to miss him.

I found out on the afternoon of the 14th. I was leaving the training room, having just finished volleyball practice and two of my sorority sisters and former teammates walked in. We all had spent the majority of the summer hanging out with Dan and his friends, so they knew him and knew how I felt about him. My mom had been trying to find me, and called them to help track me down. They went with me to the hospital, where we sat and I went numb.

Danny, or Dan the Man as he was known in my family and among my friends, was one of my closest friends. True, I started out hating him, but who could blame me? He had replaced me in the neighborhood football and baseball games with the boys when he arrived in the fifth grade. That little school girl "hatred" turned into a crush, and over the years developed into a really good, really strong friendship.

We went through all the trials and tribulations of the awkward teenage years, we "went out" once, briefly, for about a week. Mostly because I got all awkward and that thought it would be better if we were just friends. So we stayed just friends for many years following that.

But I always adored my friend. Even when we went off to college, we remained really close. We both went to schools in Denver and saw each other frequently. There was part of me that always thought someday I'd be Mrs. Dan the Man. And when I got the news of the accident, my heart shattered and my world just seemed to dissolve.

When I was home for the holidays last month, we helped my parents clean out the clutter in the basement. A lot of what we found were relics from growing up. In a box of old college stuff, I found a journal. It was a journal I started keeping a week after Dan's accident. It has only a handful of entries--all quite dramatic as my little 20-year-old self tried to make sense of what was going on, yet all full of the genuine love and the grief I was feeling at the time. I was a wreck. During the day I'd wander around like a zombie and at night I'd just cry. I found consolation in visiting him in the ICU, and as he gradually improved in the rehabilitation hospital.

Finding that journal was a real jolt to my system; it stirred up thoughts and emotions that had gotten a little dusty. It also reminded me of a six page letter I wrote him on the night of the 14th, eleven years ago. I poured my heart into that letter and writing it was the only thing that I could do to cope with the initial shock of it all. Everything I said in that letter I meant at the time, but I was also 20, and thought I knew everything. Thought I knew all life had in store. I wrote that letter and stuck it in an envelope to give to his parents to have and to give to him (but because I wanted to be sure I had that letter saved for myself, I photocopied it first).

After the wounds healed, and Dan the Man woke up from his coma, life began to solidify. He had suffered a massive head injury, and almost all of the medical professionals said he'd never fully recover, he'd certainly never finish his degree and have a "normal" life. But Dan is a fighter, and although it took a little bit longer, he did graduate from college. And he has a job, and his own place, and a great life. He's amazing and a hero, a true testament to the human spirit and courage and hope. And that makes what I'm about to admit so painful to me.

While Dan has been able to accomplish so much more than the doctors and the naysayers ever thought he would, he's done so as a Dan who is different than the Dan I knew and loved. I feel like an incredible jerk even admitting to this. I spent a very long time pissed off at the drunk 15-year-olds that took the Dan I knew away, forever. And I probably will always resent them a little bit, and maybe it was all part of the universe's plan, but that doesn't mean I have to like it all the time. In the journal and in the letter I wrote, I swore that I would be by Dan's side forever. That I would love him forever. And that's not to say that I'm not and I don't, I do love him and admire him, but not in the way that I meant when I wrote those words. And because of that, there's a little part of me that feels guilt whenever I see him and his family. Because surely, he and his family had read that letter and they all know that 20-year-old me and 31-year-old me aren't necessarily on the same page. And we all know that what you think and feel at 20 does not necessarily mean you are going to think and feel that way forever. But that doesn't assuage the pain when I start to wonder, if this had not have happened to him would what I said and felt at 20 still ring true today? Slippery slope playing "what if?"

When I returned to Seattle, I went for my copy of the letter just to remind myself of what exactly I wrote, and I discovered that I never gave his parents the letter. I felt momentarily relieved, it meant that nobody knew what 20-year-old me had professed (and ultimately, but not maliciously, had gone back on). But that relief has been only temporary. After reading parts of that letter, I'm definitely glad I have the only copies, but if there was one lesson I should have learned from all that Dan went through it was that you should seize the day. That you never know if you're going to have a second chance to let someone know how much they mean to you. The fact that I have the only copies of that letter remind me that I may not have fully embraced the lesson from that painful but important experience.

While I was re-reading the letter, I thought about posting it--really seizing the day there. But there's something that's just too personal, too emotional, too raw. Instead, here's an excerpt that just serves as a good note to self, then, now, and probably throughout my life:

"For a year now I've been dying to tell you this. Every time I got the nerve up to tell you, I would back down at the last minute. I kept putting it off until the next time I'd see you, never realizing it might be the last.

I'm so lucky that I have this chance to tell you how I feel. My heart would have broken if you never knew my true feelings. Oh, God, I was so worried, so paralyzed with pain, agony, and loss. But I got my second chance and I could not let it pass me."

Note to self: Don't let those moments--whatever they are, whenever they happen, and whomever they involve--pass you.


Trite as it may be...

... I'm sleepless in Seattle.

Note to self: If you feel the need to take a nap on your couch at 7:00 PM, cash in your chips and call it a night.

I've managed to get myself exhausted and the week's only just begun. Over the weekend I ran from errand to event, and event to errand and wore myself out. For most of the day today I was dragging and couldn't wait for the good night's sleep that was sure to come tonight. But now, I've got nothing. I accidentally fell asleep on the couch.

And although it was only an hour, it's preventing me from slumber now--and I desperately want to be sleeping. As I was lying here trying to force myself to drift off, my brain kicked into overdrive. Thinking about all of the things I need to do, berating myself for having fallen off the blog bandwagon, reciting the monologue I'm going to use in an audition for another play tomorrow. And oddly enough, attempting to do all of those things in my brain with an English accent. Ridiculous, I know. But the audition tomorrow is for an English play, and we'll be asked to do some sight reading, and I'm guessing it will need to be with the accent. So I figured, since I'm up, I may as well practice. It's just like a basketball player visualizing sinking every free throw, or a quarterback completing the winning touchdown pass. Sort of. Not really.

But just so you know, every word of this entry was typed in that English accent. I think it makes this post much more fancy; don't you, love?


Blah Blah Blog

General Apathy has invaded. And here I thought I was a peaceful, sovereign state, but no. General Apathy and his battalions of laziness, procrastination, and special ops force "if I just don't do it, is anyone really going to notice" moved right on in and are setting up camp. I need to muster up the energy to kick these unwanted visitors out of my life, but I haven't quite gotten around to doing that.

So instead, I do nothing. I think about doing a lot. But end up doing nothing.

Note to self: Find a project before General Apathy appoints Major Boredom and they take you into the Great Depression.

This is my typical pattern. I'm a project girl. Like Brittney needs attention, I need me a project. And when I have a project, I am a girl obsessed and it gets all of me. When that project is finished, I usually throw myself into another project, take for instance the all-consuming kitchen remodel after which I jumped right into the all-consuming musical. By the time the musical was finished I was spent, but I really haven't done much of anything since then. And it's driving me crazy.

I know this isn't sustainable, but it's the way I've always operated. If my life is busy and hectic, I get more done because there's less time to do it. Counter intuitive? Nope, it's the procrastinator's way. If there's no deadline, and I can just do things at my leisure they won't ever get done, because at my leisure is NEVER. But if time is scarce, then I accomplish so much more because it just has to get done.

And usually, when I get to the stage I'm in currently, the stage where I just sit around and drool on myself because I just don't feel like doing anything, something kicks into overdrive and I start multiple (sometimes maybe too many) projects. I'm on the verge of that right now. But I'm not quite at that verge yet, so before I get there the couch is calling...