Just moved the last of my boxes from storage to Ravenshead during my lunch break today, and in a revoltin' development discovered that I seem to be short 2 - 3 crucial containers. Guess what they had in them? Yep. 90% of my kitchen stuff. The good stuff. The stuff I was really, REALLY looking forward to unpacking and using again after eight-odd years being packed away. Unless there's a secret hidey-hole in my locker somewhere, it's all gone.
Pots, skillets, mixing bowls, serving trays, cookware, barware, flatware, glassware, rolling pins, pie tins, blenders, mixers, yogurt and espresso makers, springform, muffin and baguette pans, woks, spatulas, spoons, ladles, knives, mallets, chopsticks, whisks, strainers, can openers, sausage stuffers, -- vanished into thin air, like a rabbit in a hat. Even my cookbooks. It's gone. All gone.
It's not that any of this can't be replaced, it can (although the Italian espresso machine will be particularly missed), it's just that here I've been under the impression that I've been lugging this stuff from one living situation to another for years -- and SO anticipating its impending re-emergence into the light of day -- that now that it's aparently disappeared, I'm feeling very unhappy.
Remember Ronald Reagan's old story about the kid who woke up on Christmas morning, ran out to the stable and saw the big pile of manure, and said, "With all this, there must be a pony around here somewhere!" That's the sort of disappointment I'm feeling; all this manure, and not a pony in sight. But for me it's even worse, because at one time the pony actually existed! Evidentally it snuck out of the barn in the middle of the night, and I'm going to have to spend a fair amount of money to replace it.
Plus, it begs the question: WHERE did all those things go? Are they sitting in cupboards and drawers at the house on Durland? Did they get left in a closet during the brief stay on 17th N? Were they accidentally schlepped to the dump when the house on N 125th was sold? I've no idea. And the mystery of its disappearance is, frankly a bit disturbing.
Well, I guess I should look at it as an opportunity -- or more to the point, perhaps you-all can. I've got a birthday coming up in exactly 32 days, don't you know, and now you've got a list.
The boxes. So many, many boxes. Still more boxes. Boxes within boxes holding long forgotten surprises nestled like Russian matryoshka dolls inside of envelopes, inside of folders, inside of shoe boxes, inside of larger boxes, hidden away in the depths of a storage locker like the Ark Of The Covenant in some U.S. Government warehouse. Things that sneak up when you're not looking and rabbit punch you in the kidneys, that melt your face off when you stare into their depths.
Everybody has at least one of these boxes within which resides the reliquery of a past life. The tiny bits of surviving detritous that somehow manages to cling to us like sweater lint through a lifetime of packing, sorting, downsizing, moving. The old photographs, the letters, the journal entries, the reminders of lost loves, of forgotten friendships, of barely recalled events, all of the contact points between your life and other people's, cold-case evidence of someone going left when you went right, when two joined threads diverged to create new spokes in an infinitely huge spiderweb of collective experience. Thin bone fragments of your life that have been carefully preserved, though yellowed and faded with time, and smoothed like river stones to a dull finish in your mind.
The thing about all these little pieces of history is that at one time pulling them out of their paper cocoons and holding their butterfly thin pages up to the light would have been a risky proposition. There used to be a lot of pain, sadness and regret attached to them, psychic echoes of missed opportunities, hasty decisions, spurned offers. But memory is a funny and wonderful thing; I can now look at quite a few of these things and remember the sensation of physical discomfort they once might have caused me, but the pain itself is absent. Somehow over time, they've lost their power; now the blows are weak and have no effect.
And there's a part of me that sort of feels bad about that. Because when the memory of the pain has dulled, it means the memory itself has been corrupted, dilluted, and become inert. It's not that I want to wallow in the past, especially with memories that obviously are personally traumatic, and surely this means their influence has equally waned, which means the emotional knap sack has been lightened somewhat along the trail, but the main reason we hold onto this ephemera is that they are a reminder that sometimes even pain is precious.
Still, there's something hopeful about being able to look at things that once caused pain, but now don't.
Maybe it means there's some room inside again for happiness to take its place.
Made the first move of boxes out of storage and into the new place last night (which I'm tentatively dubbing "Ravenshead Manor" -- a bit verbose, but if you come by sometime you'll see why -- Oh Ladies Who Name Abodes, if you are inspired by something better, please let me know), and am quickly coming to the inescapable conclusion that, despite not having all that much in the way of material possessions, I'm still going to end up departing with some things by the time I complete the move in another week or so.
I've had boxes and boxes of all sorts of odds-and-ends that I've been holding onto for, in some cases, 10 years or more, some of which haven't seen the light of day since I moved off the farm where I lived in Eastern King County back in the early '90's. Although I'll no doubt keep most of the books, there will surely be plenty of other items that realistically should go to some worthwhile thrift store, but part of the "fun" will be opening each of these cardboard treasure chests to rediscover what amazing contents it may hold. I can vaguely picture some items: the pub glasses, theatre logo'ed coffee mugs, the various and sundry kitchen accoutrements, but I expect there are going to be other things that I just pull out and go, "Huh. Didn't realize I still had THIS!" Some of these surprises may turn out to be useful, necessary, and "keepers", but others will end up in the "what in the world was I thinking when I decided I needed to keep this?" pile.
Also purchased my first actual furnishing item last night: a teensy little yellow drop leaf dinette table with two matching vinyl chairs, circa 1963 or so, in very good condition. The copper trim is a bit worn and in need of some spit-and-polish, but otherwise it has been very well taken care of over the years. I've decided that the kitchen decor will be 1960's "space age" style (think Peter Ghyczy or Eero Aarnio -- "The Jetsons", but on a much smaller budget). The main living/sleeping area will probably be something more traditional, maybe English Country Manor, but cleaner, since it's a pretty small space itself. (I can't believe I'm actually thinking of these spaces in terms of actual interior design!)
So, if you've got a spare lava lamp or wingback chair you're just itching to get rid of, give me a call -- maybe we can make a trade.
The Associated Press
Updated: 1:42 p.m. ET Sept. 23, 2004
WASHINGTON - Standing beside Iraq's interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, President Bush on Thursday denied that he has sugar-coated the situation in Iraq and said that elections are possible as scheduled in January despite ongoing violence “because the prime minister told me they are.”
On top of the other good news, just a few moments ago my agent posted an email saying she's getting out of the business effective the end of this year.
Not that I've gotten much in the way of auditions through her since I joined Actors' Equity, but given the dismal state of the film/commercial market here in Seattle, chances are no other agency in town is going to be eager to pick up any of her actors.
Well, "when it rains it pours", as they say. I got an email this a.m. from the people managing the little apartment I looked at on Saturday offering me the unit. So, looks like as of the 1st of October I'll have a new home!
Okay, the place is teeny by apartment standards (but still big compared to what I'm used to), and it's a bit on the dark side being a basement unit, but it's surrounded by lots and lots of green (certainly a change of pace), which will be pleasant in the spring and summer, and the upstairs neighbors seem very nice -- and evidentally, they thought enough of me to overlook my carnivorous tendencies.
I'll probably begin moving things in as early as next week (the unit is currently vacant), and make a major move of big items the weekend of the 1st/2nd. Fortunately, most of what I own is already boxed up, so if I can get a few people to give me a hand with a couple of larger/heavier items, it should go relatively smoothly.
The one thing I'm going to need to do is track down a couple of furniture items, specifically a new mattress for my bed frame, a small love seat, a small dining table & chairs, a computer chair or nice comfy reading chair, and probably a torchiere or similar type of stand up lamp. Yikes! That sounds like a lot of stuff!
On the plus side, I'll be giving up my storage unit, and no longer living on the boat, so that saves me $200 a month right there. In another month or so, I'll probably move the boat to a cheaper marina, which should save me another $100 - $150 a month, so between all these, I'll have most of my rent covered without too much additional expense. It means putting a little less into savings each month, which concerns me a bit, particularly as there may still be ramifications due to Friday's office shake up, but given the rotten weather we've had the past six weeks, the advantages of being able to eat, sleep, shower and dress in the same space actually outweighs other concerns.
Well, Old Boss didn't come in to work this morning, lending credence to the speculation that whatever went down on Friday, it wasn't planned on his part. But, it does of course beg the question of whether he'll show up again during office hours. I'm not holding my breath.
Yesterday afternoon's revelation sent me into a bit of a funk, which I proceeded to dispell with several Guinnesses at my local watering hole, which just happened to be celebrating their 2nd Annual "Half Way To St. Paddy's Day" event. Since I won the limmerick contest last year, I naturally felt compelled to defend my crown, although sad to say, politics triumphed over talent, as I was dethroned by a decend, but decidedly inferior effort. The host later informed me that, "Your's was the best of the lot, but I didn't make the decision." This made me feel a little better, but I also understand this is strictly a marketing gimmick and so naturally the proprieters might want to "spread the love" as it were. Either that or they found out I'm a family member of rival Pacific Northwest Irish Restauranteers.
Today is the kickoff for Annex Theatre's Hothouse playwright's festival. We've hooked up with four writers (one each from Seattle, Vancouver, B.C., Minneapolis & NYC), brought them all to town, put them up in a B&B "Big Brother" style (but without spycams and manufactured dramatics), and over the next two weeks they'll basically have a free hand to create, embellish, hone or otherwise work in a creative, fun, pressure-cooker atmosphere that we hope will generate some good ideas and perhaps even some finished product on their part. It's a way for our company to get to know young, up-and-coming playwrights, establish a rapport, and hopefully build a creative relationship that will prove mutually beneficial in the future. Lots of work to be done by all, but also lots of fun.
In my burgeoning quest to seek land-based housing, I took my first walkthrough of a little studio apartment this morning. The place itself is small (although the kitchen is rather spacious compared to most studios), but it has a lovely yard filled with fruit trees, medicinal herbs, and even some space for a garden plot. The people who live upstairs are very nice, artsy-activist types, and I felt like we had a good connection during the 45 minutes we spent talking and looking a the unit. There are a couple of issues that might preclude things working out (namely the cat situation -- the landlady already has two on-site, and the issue of vegetarian versus carnivorous consumption), but I did my best to assure them of my flexibility in these areas. Still, even if it doesn't happen - it is after all only my first foray into apartment hunting - it was a good start.
Finally, just a reminder, in case I don't get online, that tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. So get out your eyepatch, your tri-corner, your cutlass or your blunderbuss, and start practicing your "Arrrs!" and "Ye scurvey dogs!" in the mirror, then get out there Sunday and TALK LIKE A PIRATE!
Holy Bleeding Heart of Jeebuz on a Ritz Cracker, Batman! My boss left early today, exiting with a completely out-of-character handshake and a "goodbye", which naturally prompted a quizical look from me. "Just leaving early for the weekend", he replied nonchalantly.
Two hours later, our HR Dept. posts an email informing us that my boss is "taking an early retirement" effective September 30!
I'll Trade You This Pair Of Sunglasses For Your Wool Mittens
The TV weather forecasters are loathe to report it, but I have it on good authority that, for all intents-and-purposes -- summer is officially over here in the Upper Left-Hand Corner. The sun still occasionally makes a few paltry attempts at showing up, like that distant relative whom you haven't seen at family renunions in 20 years, who always writes promising to put in an appearance next time around, but generally the result has been pathetically ineffectual.
In the past two weeks our daytime temps have plummeted from the low-to-mid 80's down to the lower 60's, mornings are increasingly dark, grey, damp and blustery, and the nights are starting to chill down to near refrigeration levels. There are still a few cockeyed optimists strolling through the early a.m. gloom and drizzle wearing shorts and T-shirts, but the rest of us aren't fooled by their forced cheerfulness. "We'll get a nice Indian Summer!" their pitiful attempts shout, but we all know it's a doomed proposition, like expecting the White Sox to ever win another World Series.
No, the rest of us aren't fooled in the least. We're pulling the sweaters out of storage, turning up the thermostats, spraying the heavy jackets with water repellent, searching through drawers for gloves, scarves and knit hats, wondering if we should invest in that full-spectrum sun lamp. We know Winter is coming. We can smell it in the air like a bloodhound scents its quary.
At some point in the next few weeks we'll get a bit of a break, a sultry, burlesque tease courtesy of Summer Past, just enough to feel the heat of the sun warm cheeks already windburned the color of ripe cherries. If we're lucky this will be followed by a week or two of what in other locales might be recognized as Fall: the evening air will get as crisp and brittle as a saltine cracker; the leaves will begin to turn from lush green to mottled orange. Then, right around the end of October we'll be plunged into another six months of perpetual, drizzly twilight.
The sweet summer smells of mint, strawberry and honey are already being replaced by the savory aromas of curry, tumeric, and nutmeg. Soups and stews are beginning to bubble away in crock pots like pre-Cambrian lava pools. Bodies honed to razor sveltness by months of outdoor activities will soon soften and swell like Thanksgiving parade balloons under gradually increasing layers of wool, polar-fleece and gore-tex. Mounds of buttery popcorn paperback techno-thrillers will be pushed aside in favor of dense, meaty hardbound volumes written by dour Russians and verbose Brits. Bar-B-Que utensils will be shoved to the backs of drawers, while pumpkin carving implements will be placed at the ready.
If you go by the calendar of course, Winter isn't officially expected in these parts for more than three months, but up here we know the futility of relying on arbitrary, man-made systems of seasonal reckoning. Winter makes her own vacation plans, she books her own flight itinerary, and tends to arrive before you've had a chance to put fresh sheets on the guest bed. So, we're preparing now, in expectation of the moment when she presses the buzzer with her icecicle-thin finger, when we'll welcome her in with bright Jack-O-Lantern light, a warm fire, and a hot cup of cocoa.
$475 1 BR Chp Apt. In The 'Hood (Central District)
Because of all the housesitting gigs I've done in the past couple of months, I've actually spent more time off the boat than on, and all those days not having to walk outside to take a shower, being able to cook meals on real stoves and store the leftovers in real refrigerators, not to mention actually getting a complete night's sleep in a real bed has prompted me to give a lot of serious thought to moving into an apartment situation. Now that the boat's paid for there's not so much financial pressure to economize, and a quick cost-benefit analysis shows that a modest rent expenditure of $600 a month would allow me to stay within my income budget and still put a couple hundred in the savings account each month.
So, I've been looking through the classifieds, checking out apartment listings on Craigs List, and scoping out "For Rent" signs in some of the neighborhoods close in to downtown. The good news is that right now the rental market in Seattle seems to be pretty stable, with a fair number of studio & small 1 BR units available in my price range, so I seem to have the advantage of being able to take my time, find something that fits my needs and lifestyle, and plop down a bunch of cash.
The only possible downside I can see is that the whole process of renting has changed drastically since the last time I was actively seeking housing. Now, it's all about background checks, evidentally to give the landlord some assurance that: a.) I'm going to be able to pay rent on a timely basis, and b.) that I'm not some crank-cooking, machete-wielding psychopath. From their standpoint, these are probably quite reasonable considerations, but in terms of my rental history, I've been somewhat "off the grid" for a number of years (unless the definition of "renter" can be strethed to include three plus years of liveaboard boat moorage), which conceivably could cause me some difficulty.
I suppose I could always do the roommate route again, but I've been-there-done-that, and with two geriatric felines in-tow, I'm not sure that would necessarily be any easier of an arrangment to negotiate than just living by myself. Besides, at a certain age (namely -- mine) the issues of trading social interaction in exchange for things like being able to use the bathroom whenever you need to start to rear their ugly little heads, in addition to the fact that I've frankly come to enjoy the luxury of privacy.
"Work, work, work. Work, work, work. Hello boys, did you miss me? I missed you!"
Back on the chain gang again after a relatively blissful 10 days away. Actually, transition today was much less stressful than I expected, but that could in part be due to slight punchiness from yesterday's blood donation.
With the last couple days of my vacation winding down, here are a few things I've learned in the interim:
1. It's amazing how much of your stuff can migrate from the place you live and/or store your things, to someone else's place when you've been housesitting for two and a half weeks.
2. As much as I miss having a real oven, what I really miss is a four burner stove.
3. While cable television offers scores of channels, the only ones really worth watching are those that broadcast programs about: history, custom hot rod and motorcycle fabrication, cartoons intended for adults, satire disguised as news, and news that just happens in front of the camera without commentators, pundits or anchors filtering it through their own narrow world-views.
4. Bellevue really is as dull as most people who live in Seattle believe it is.
5. On the plus side, they're not picky about issuing library cards.
6. Van Gogh was as good at drawing as he was at painting.
7. Mondrian is highly overrated.
8. Sarah Rudinoff is not.
9. Two cats can shed enough fur in two weeks to inundate a small state such as Delaware.
10. Vacations are never as long as they need to be.