Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I don't know if I ever really wanted children, but sometimes I wish your son was our son.

And having avoided it for years, I recently learned your new last name. Your old one was better, but not as good as the one you used to write in your notebooks.

"Please, remember me; fondly
I heard from someone you're still pretty
And then they went on to say...
That the pearly gates... had some eloquent graffiti
Like 'We'll meet again' "

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Last Sunday, my life was in deadly peril! Someone broke into my house late at night while I was upstairs. Events did not unfold as I expected them to.

I recently bought a house in downtown Nashville. I bought it knowing full well that the neighborhood was not the best of places to live, but it is one of the few areas the city is dumping money into and they are estimating much improvement and growth over the next few years. I moved banking on that hope. Regardless, I really love my house, if not the condition of the neighborhood. But really, the area is not much worse than the area I grew up in.

I came home late on Sunday after an excellent weekend of visiting friends, fireworks, grilled foods and whitewater rafting (as you already know!). I was upstairs, reading in my office, and so enthralled was I in my book, I had not moved a muscle (except to turn the pages) in about an hour. The house was exceptionally quiet with no sounds coming from outside to disturb the peace. It was then that I picked up the sound of a quiet rustling as if someone was stealthily going through my unpacked bags. And when I say "unpacked", I mean "since moving in" not "since getting home from my weekend trip". Don't judge me! Regardless, someone was in my house, going through my things, and I was not please about it.
I assumed they must have come in the backdoor, which is downstairs and on the opposite side of the house. I'd not have heard them that way if they were careful, and apparently my dog Buckley had not either.

I was frozen in place. I want to say mostly because I didn't want to move and them hear me upstairs through the ceiling, but I was also pretty nervous. I didn't move for several minutes, but I knew I couldn't just stay in my chair for the intruder to see as soon as they came up the steps. Lights off or not, I was very exposed in the middle of the room, silhouetted by the window.
Finally, I decided my move. I grabbed the knife that was on the bookshelf near me and ever so slowly I creeped to the doorway by the steps.

The way my house is designed, if you come up the steps, the wall is on your left, straight ahead is a closet. To the forward-right is my bedroom. To the right, a bathroom and lastly, 180 degrees to the right is the office, the room I was currently in. I crouched at the door, knife in hand, ready to plunge it into the chest, neck, face or WHATEVER I hit when they came up the steps. I sat there for at least 10 minutes, daring not to breathe, clutching the knife in a sweaty-handed death grip while they continued to go through my things.

It was around this time that I noticed the sounds had shifted. Not because the person downstairs was moving about, but because of my new position. My house seems to distort the direction of sound like an office building full of cubicles.
Only then did I realize that this malicious intruder was in my BEDROOM. That's not as scary as it sounds - not like that whole "the call is coming from inside the house" situation - because I also realized it was a plastic bag that I had left in front of a fan that was making the noise.

That explains why my dog was so unconcerned. I can't be sure, but I'm pretty sure I saw something in his eyes as he watched me nervously posed at the corner of the stairs, ready to strike. Something unmistakable...


But that plastic bag will think twice before sneaking in.

"though I don't know you, I think that I would do.
I don't fall easy...at all"

Monday, July 06, 2009

Impromptu Rafting

This weekend I found myself reintroduced to the world of 4AM, driving east across the state, bleary-eyed, a single passenger in my Jeep and a motley variety of music blasting from the speakers (Mr. Roboto - a road trip staple - curiously missing from the track list) as we raced to our destination. For most of the week (and the prior), Rhetoric and I had been planning to take advantage of the long weekend with a little bit of kayaking. It turns out however that pretty much everyone else had the same plan and, hard as it may be to believe, we were unable to find any available kayaks that we could procure.
Giving up the idea as a failure, we had accepted our grim and uneventful fate when inspiration struck my friend and he suggested whitewater rafting. I almost didn't go; the idea of driving 2 hours to his location and another 3 to the river was daunting, tired as I was. I again (re)learned a lesson that I already knew but often forget, and that is simply that when I look back at life later on, I'm not going to be regretful about the things I did do but rather the things I didn't. And sure, you may say "it was only rafting", but I am often skipping opportunities like this, to enjoy life, enjoy my friends, and end up sitting around, living uneventful moments and doing unimportant things. It's small steps like these that I need to take more often to get where I really want to be.

Ideally, I'd have liked more friends to join us, but due to the last minute nature of our reservations, that wasn't really possible. Having forgotten the time change from central to eastern, we still managed to arrive early and with plenty of time to spare, most of that time filled with fretting over who we would get stuck with for the other 4 members of our rafting team.
There was a pretty unique mix of people there and I think we were probably exceptionally lucky in who we ended up with, both with our team and our guide. Speaking of which, if you ever go where we went (Wildwater Rafting on the Ocoee), you should request Ashley for your guide.
Sure, one of the people in our raft may have hit me in the back of the head EVERY time we did paddled forward, and two of the people may have been confused with the concept of paddling in general and tried to paddle by putting their oar blades inside the raft instead of in the water at first, but you should have seen the OTHER people we could have been stuck with! And our group made the most ridiculous faces and poses for the camera, so they win.

It was a good time on the water. None of us were thrown from the raft which, despite the danger, I feel is a fun event, though my tone will change the next time it happens to me and I land spine first on a giant boulder. I imagine the tiny lady we had to pull from the water 15 seconds into the trip probably wasn't a fan. But she wasn't one of us so she doesn't count. Even our 90lbs Russian girl managed to stay on-board, though a few times when she was rocketed into the air, I assumed she done for. It was troubling to look over and her be nowhere in sight, only to see her plop back down from the sky a moment later. The raft full of kids didn't drown as I fully expected them to do, what with the way every time we looked their direction they had all been thrown out of the raft like it had exploded. The girl behind me didn't give me a concussion with the T-grip side of her paddle. And I have yet to develop any sort of disgusting fungus in my hair from wearing the helmet that smelled like a pair of feet and was slowly beating down my will to live. All in all, a successful trip.
I fully intend to go again - soon - and with a little more planning so I can include a few more people. Of course, if anyone feels the need to drop everything and go randomly some weekend, I'm up for that as well.

Maybe The rest of the weekend resulted in some unexpected fun for the 4th. Firework viewing with Rhetoric, the geese and their fellows. Some good grilled action. Meat on a stick. Falling asleep on their floor and not waking up with an awkward yet dashing mustache drawn on my face.

Maybe next time I'll get the mustache, then the weekend will be perfect.