Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

Dear Bob,

Listen, friend: We need to have a talk.

You were one of my favorite teachers in high school, and I’m thrilled we reconnected when I lived in Atlanta.

But you have scared the bejesus out of everyone with your recent emergency.

I realize that taking a group of students to the Galápagos Islands — a trip that included snorkeling — was too appealing to be denied.

However, when loads of people in the group got a stomach virus, did you HAVE to be an overachiever and get an extreme case? Of course you did.

This was your lovely wife Susan’s status update over the weekend.

Emergency surgery, scary-low oxygen levels, infection attack on numerous organs — that’s just a fraction of the issues you faced.

The good news is that you are awake and asking for sweet tea from Chick-fil-A.

So that means you are on the mend.

It’s about time.

Keep up the great work!

Love,
Beth

* Thanks, Toy Story.

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends and Family,

So let’s recap quickly:

Howard and Jeanne adopted me and loved me fully.

Mom breathes in that new-baby smell.
I was a daddy’s girl. Completely.
I know I don’t seem happy and grateful in this photo, but I was. Later. 😉

I loved them and didn’t dwell on the thought of my birth family.

However, I will cop to entertaining fantasies of being surprise royalty. You know, “Princess Diaries” style.

We were the only ones in Atlanta. Dad’s family was in Pennsylvania/New Jersey and Mom’s in Missouri. (This becomes important in the next installment.)

We visited each family roughly every other year. I read books in the back of the car and alternately wanted a sibling and was glad I didn’t have one.

I grew up. Went to college. Graduated. Worked in journalism. Got the letter. Put the letter away. Started dating Eddie. Got married. Had kids. Searched their faces for any scrap of me. Found very little. (Eddie’s genes are strong.)

But sometimes it was there.

Gideon stars as the saddest baby in the world.
The only pic of Dominic where I can actually see a little of me.

My parents were always there. Rock solid.

But they didn’t take care of themselves. Their health declined. Mom passed in 2009, Dad in 2017.

For Christmas 2017, Eddie got me the best gift ever — a gift that keeps on giving.

It was an Ancestry DNA kit.

I swabbed and sent.

The results came back in the middle of a family tragedy. It was a much-needed bright spot to find a second cousin (Laura) with genealogy as a hobby.

I sent her that letter.

Not only did Laura know who my mother was, but she was going to see her the following month. I learned I had a half brother and sister.

So that was … a lot.

Laura met up with Kathleen and gave her photos of me and my family, along with my contact information.

For her it was … a lot.

Time passed as we both adjusted to the idea.

On this exact day (New Year’s Eve) in 2019, I decided my New Year’s resolution would be to write to my birth mother. I used my good stationery and employed my best handwriting. Sent it off once the holidays died down.

A few days later — Jan. 15, 2020 to be exact — I got a call from a Missouri number I didn’t recognize. I didn’t answer it for three reasons:

  1. I don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t know.
  2. I hate to talk on the phone.
  3. I was serving as Secretary in a Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce meeting.

I let it go to voice mail. Then I took a look at the transcript (Visual Voice Mail).

"Hi Beth, this is Kathy, your birth mother ..."

You know that falling scene in “Vertigo?” Yeah.

Scary!

But it was also exciting.

I called back (because of course I did). We set up a time to talk properly.

And that brings us to Part 3 of this journey.

Until next time …

XO,
Beth

*In case you didn’t get the reference.

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends and Family (old and new),

As many of you know, I’m adopted. I was adopted when I was about six weeks old. (“Fresh baby! Get her while she’s pink!) I’ve always known I was adopted. My parents said they would help me look for my birth family when I was ready.

I was never ready when they were alive.

It felt like it would be disrespectful to them to search. Also, what if my birth mother hadn’t told anyone about me? Showing up on her doorstep would be a bit of a surprise — and likely not in a Prize Patrol kind of way.

I had great parents. Howard and Jeanne loved me, and I loved them. I had a normal middle-class childhood: We lived in a standard subdivision of ’70s split levels (say that three times fast) outside of Atlanta, and I went to public schools but a private college (scholarship, FTW!). We weren’t rich, but we weren’t poor. No abuse. (Unless you count all those times I got whacked with a fly swatter because of my smart mouth. And I certainly don’t.)

Some of my friends were adopted too, and we commiserated about what it must be like to actually look like someone else or see some of your behaviors handed down from a parent. My parents often looked at me like I was a zoo animal because I had so much more energy than they did. They were sedentary people. And y’all know I am … not.

Still, my friends weren’t so keen to search either. It’s a big thing. Rejection looms large.

All I knew about my birth mother was that she was a very young college student and didn’t feel she could care for me at the time.

When I left college myself and started thinking about starting a family, I wrote to the adoption agency to see if I could get any medical information. It felt important to find out if I had a family history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes (“The Shugahs” if you are from the South), etc.

They sent back a few pages of typed social information: birth parents’ first names, general background, number of siblings, physical features, college education, circumstances surrounding my conception and birth, etc.

Then, the kicker:

My people, I was not ready for that. I folded that little letter back up and tucked it into a file folder. There it stayed for nearly two decades.

And even now as I try to explain what has been going on over the past few years, I realize I have to stop here for now.

This feels like a four-part series: Beginning (this part), Discovery, Meeting Mom, Meeting Dad.

Stay tuned. (If you are interested, that is.)

XO,
Beth

*Credit to Harry and the boys.

Read Full Post »

Dear UPS,

You SUCK. Truly and completely.

Scenario:

Gideon left his glasses at a friend’s house. Friend and friend’s mom sent them back via UPS. They never arrived. Tracking number came up as “invalid” on phone searches. A computer search turned it up in Alpharetta. Where? I don’t know. This is all the information I had:

Left at the front desk WHERE in Alpharetta? Friend and mom shipped from Brookhaven to Gideon in Savannah! (Note: Brookhaven is 20 miles away from Alpharetta, and both are more than 270 miles from Savannah.)

So I filed a claim.

A month went by with no answer.

I emailed you.

This is what you said:

Shan K., I can ASSURE you it was not delivered to the address.

I wrote back. (I TRIED to call, but was hung up on TWICE.)

Then Ana Z got involved.

  1. The delivery address was correct. I confirmed that with friend and friend’s mom and THE ACTUAL RECEIPT.
  2. They sent it from Brookhaven. The package ended up in Alpharetta.
  3. There are EIGHT UPS stores in Alpharetta.

I called ALL EIGHT stores looking for a Richard who was working there in March. The LAST store I called was the only one with a Richard. He happened to be working when I called.

Oh, yeah. It’s right here.

He confirmed that the address was correct. And then CHARGED me to have it resent.

Why? Because the package was sent originally from a different store. UPS stores are franchises. So Alpharetta is not responsible for Brookhaven.

So to recap:

  1. The first driver was lazy as hell. (Mailing address was accurate.)
  2. The claims process is a joke. (No updates/information.)
  3. Your customer service is beyond laughable. (Didn’t actually do anything and gave conflicting information.)
  4. I’m out $11.68 and time out of my life to deal with this hassle. (Evidence of your sucktitude.)
I paid the ransom money, and it arrived Friday.

YOU should have tracked down this package for me. I should not have had to call EIGHT stores to find one with an employee named Richard. And I want my $11.68 back.

Never again, UPS.

Sincerely,
A Former Customer

*Sorry, Stevie.

Read Full Post »

Dear Dominic,

You may look like your father, but your personality is all me. And that’s why we drive each other crazy. You know what buttons and borders to push.

When you want something, you don’t stop until you get it.

That’s me too.

Take, for example, a car.

I told you I needed something to drive when I’m in Savannah. You took it upon yourself to find me something. In Atlanta.

Well, to find yourself something.

Lucky for you, I’m a big fan of muscle cars like this.

I had the dealer FaceTime me. As soon as he started it up, and I heard the signature purr of the engine, I was sold.

So I did cancel the second leg of my flight to buy it and drive it down.

But I didn’t tell you that. I told you I was getting a rental. So when we went out to get in “the rental” to go car shopping, you were shocked.

The good news for me is that this maneuver ensured you wouldn’t forget Mother’s Day.

$1. Funny kid. 🙄

I love you, you silly boy.
Mama

Read Full Post »

Dear Mean Girl,

You actively sabotaged me.

You lied about me to ruin my reputation and stall my career.

You friended me on Facebook to gather information then defriended me when your nasty work was done.

But I guess I should thank you.

In the words of Christina Aguilera (whom I never thought I’d quote):

After all you put me through
You’d think I’d despise you
But in the end, I wanna thank you
‘Cause you made me that much stronger.

I met up with someone recently who knew you when you were just starting out. You did the same thing to that person that you did to me.

So I know it wasn’t personal: You’ve got a history. A pattern. A way. It’s like that parable (and song) about the snake: “You knew I was a snake when you took me in.”

It’s sad, really.

It’s hard enough for women to succeed without other women dragging them down.

Being in a leadership role is not like having pie: Some for me doesn’t mean less for you.

Anyway. Our circles no longer intersect, and now I’m better off.

If you hadn’t made my life miserable, I wouldn’t have focused on finding new opportunities. And I now love my job.

So thank you.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Best wishes and warmest regards,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Dominic,

Thanks for going on a road trip with me to bring Eddie some stuff that ended up with me in St. Louis.

It was a great bonding experience for you and your new brother.

It took nearly 16 hours of driving (should have been 12), but we made it manageable with stops in Chattanooga (no time for towing, sadly) and Atlanta (so you could harass all your school friends).

Barb the Minivan (rental) served us well. She was spacious enough to allow for a litter box for Leo’s bathroom breaks.

It turns out that he’s good on car trips.

Just so everyone knows, I don’t usually put clothes on pets. But Leo is naked, and it was cold when we left St. Louis.

So thank you for making the trip with Leo and me. Next time, I promise we will stop in at a ridiculous museum that will amuse us both.

Love,
Mama

*Thanks, Willie.

Read Full Post »

Hey Rock Music Fans! Have I got a new album for you.

Jesse’s Divide releases “Thirteen Steps” tomorrow. Some of you even responded to my prior call to action and helped fund this album. It’s their first.

“But wait, Beth,” you might say. “Haven’t they been a band for years? Haven’t they released songs?”

Well, yes to both. But this is their first ALBUM. The others were EPs.

Now, I’ve reviewed books, movies, plays/musicals, performances, etc., but I’ve never reviewed an album before.

But like an antivaxxer who knows ALL ABOUT the danger of the COVID vaccine thanks to his YouTube research, I’m going to act like an expert.

This is a great album — their best work to date.

Let me give you a frame of reference for my taste: Of their EPs, I’m partial to “Strange Alchemy.” Specifically the title track.

So let’s get to it. The debut features 10 tracks plus a special “secret” track, which is not so secret, clearly. (Why isn’t it 13? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them.)

  1. Bad Decisions
  2. Free Thinker
  3. Down Again
  4. Long Time Coming
  5. Fyre!
  6. Thirteen Steps
  7. Jajvam
  8. The One
  9. Hollow Throne
  10. Anubis
  11. SYCM (aforementioned “secret track.”)

Bad Decisions

I feel like this is “my” song. My oft-used phrase “bad decisions make good stories” was, I’ve been told, the inspiration for the title. And the song is about bad decisions the guys made during their U.S. tour: Too much beer on the plane for Nick, too much tequila on stage for Rob, too much ALL THE ALCOHOL for Si in Savannah. The chorus even references what you do with a tequila shot. (“Lick it. Down it. Suck it. Wooo!”)

Photo evidence of debauchery:

I know you want to look at Si’s tongue. Don’t. Look at Rob’s dead eyes.
Look at Rob’s tequila sweats.
In addition to looking vaguely like Papa Smurf, Si has the dead eyes like Rob.

I don’t have photos of Drunk Nick, sadly. I wasn’t on the plane.

Anyway, the song. It kicks off the album with a bang. The main riff vaguely resembles the theme from “The Munsters,” so I’m a fan. Si has a fantastic voice, but here he screams like Steven Tyler. That’s great, if that’s your thing.

Free Thinker

This is the song for the antivaxxer mentioned who will think the guys agree with him. (Hint: They don’t.) It’s a critical COVID anthem.

Down Again

“Free Thinker” segues nicely into “Down Again.” And it’s catchy as all hell. It’s been in my head every morning this week. This could and should get radio play.

Long Time Coming

The lyrics make me think someone in the band is getting a divorce. (What’s going on, guys?) Again, catchy as hell. Accessible to people who like rock, pop, alternative. Also could and should get radio play.

Fyre!

No one likes a KISS soundalike song more than I do, so this is a song for me. I want them to wear fancy pants and big boots and play this in a stadium full of fans, all of whom are yelling “Fyre! Fyre! Fyre! at the chorus. “Burn baby, burn.”

Thirteen Steps

The title track is a heavy-as-balls concoction that references 13 steps to the gallows. Grim. But the song is a banger.

Jajvam

What the heck does that mean? A Google search says it’s Klingon for “Today is a good day to die.” Delightful! “Jajvam” hearkens back to JD’s first EP “Metadome.” And it would be a great song on that EP. Here it is overshadowed by everything else. Sorry. It’s just that the others rock SO HARD. (To be fair, I saw them do this live, and it killed.)

The One

This will kill live too. I want them to play it after “Fyre!” It’s an energetic and infectious rock song.

Hollow Throne

The opening riff sounds like a mix of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and the soundtrack to a whodunit. This, “The One” and “Thirteen Steps” are, in my opinion, the heaviest on the album. But they still are accessible to pop-lovers like myself. We’re not talking Slipknot* heavy.

Anubis

Like “Down Again” and “Long Time Coming,” “Anubis” feels commercial. I could hear this on any number of my Sirius presets. It also sounds like a divorce song. (Seriously guys: Are you OK?) That said, it feels optimistic. It connects the whole album together and ends it on a high note.

Oh, but wait.

SYCM

It’s an acoustic amuse-bouche. Why here (this position and at all)? I’ll probably never listen again. I’m so sorry. I’m honest to a fault. I hope the guys will still love me. 😉😘

Anyway, the album rocks your face off the whole way through. No real ballads here, which is fine by me. It’s already pushed out “Strange Alchemy” as my favorite release of theirs.

So, be a trendsetter: Download the album on your favorite streaming service today! If you like it, spread the word and buy some merch.

*Look. Listen. I know there’s way heavier stuff than Slipknot. Not for me. This is as far as I go. You know my taste!

Read Full Post »

Dear Missouri Drivers,

I’m so glad I learned to drive in Atlanta where Nascar has nothing on I-285. If I hadn’t, there’s no way I would have been prepared for you.

Perhaps you didn’t get any drivers education. Let me help.

Pro Tip 1
People getting onto the highway need to be able to merge. Let them in, for crying out loud!

Pro Tip 2
When someone has his/her/their turn signal on, that means the person wants to get over. Oh but wait, none of you seems to know what that is.

Pro Tip 3
The turn signal is a lever on your steering wheel that, when activated, lets other drivers know you want to make a turn or get into a different lane. You are in the Show Me state, so show me your freakin’ turn signal.

Pro Tip 4
It’s helpful to other drivers for you to pick a lane and STAY IN IT. Weaving in and out is annoying and dangerous.

Pro Tip 5
The posted speed limit is not a suggestion. It’s the max. It’s right there on the sign!

Maybe y’all drive this way to avoid all the potholes and road damage.

Seriously, these roads are about as bad as the ones I had the misfortune of driving in Antigua. That’s saying something.

Please, for the love of God, think of your fellow drivers.

I thank you from the bottom of my wheel wells.

Beth

Read Full Post »

Mi casa es su casa.

Dear Readers,

You may be wondering where I’ve been. I’ve been in Hell. Specifically, I’ve been in the First Circle: Limbo.

I do not do well with uncertainty. And finding a place to live in St. Louis has come with SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY. And dealing with people who hang out in the Fourth Circle: Greed.

First, I was going to rent. Then I saw how expensive rent is here. (It’s not as bad as Atlanta, but considering we are paying for two places to live, it’s bad.)

I decided to buy a cute condo downtown. Until I saw how much HOA fees are. (Hint: They are not cute.)

My brother said, “For that amount, you can buy a nice house.”

But I didn’t want a house. A house comes with upkeep.

My realtor said, “For that amount, you can hire someone to do the upkeep.”

So I found a house and decided to buy it. It’s adorable. It’s on a street that reminds me of Savannah, and the neighborhood brewery is a one-minute-and-20-second walk away. (For real. I timed it.)

But.

BUT.

The inspection found a few issues in this 1891 gem. We negotiated like mad to work it out.

But then, a new problem:

The seller got a divorce. Never took the ex off the deed.

Uh oh.

That delayed closing a week. Meanwhile, we had to get out of the place in Atlanta. No problem: Seller was going to grant possession prior to closing (as she should: It was her fault). But she wanted to charge $83 per day.

Excuse me?

As my stuff was in a moving truck and ready to go to St. Louis, I was in a tight spot.

Sigh. FINE.

Then — as Eddie and I were driving separate UHauls to Missouri (another terrible story), the seller changed her mind.

SHE CHANGED HER MIND.

Now, I need you to know this: I discovered (because I did spend many years as a reporter) that the seller would be my next-door neighbor. SHARING A WALL, as it is a row house.

So this woman fully knew she would be royally screwing over her soon-to-be-close neighbor. And she did it anyway.

(This is not even the climax of the story, in case you are wondering. We have a ways to go to the denouement.)

My GOD.

Now entering Fifth Circle: Anger. Please keep hands and arms inside the vehicle.

As the owner, it was her prerogative. For sure. But also a dick move.

So.

I’m nothing if not resilient. While driving the truck, I booked a storage unit in St. Louis and hired some folks for the next day to help us move my stuff into it.

Recalculating. This route avoids the Seventh Circle: Violence.

On the day I was supposed to move in, we ended up staying with my mother. Thankfully! And made the best of it.

I did close on the house a week later. Her decision cost me a week and SO MUCH MONEY because I had to hire actual movers, instead of abusing my family.

That experience was atrocious on its own. (Hence my comment about the climax.)

The good news is that the house is mine. I’ve been here two weeks. And my neighbor hasn’t dared to show her face.

Are you surprised? I’m not. She knows what she did.

But I have a place to live. And a forwarding address. Finally.

And you are welcome to come visit.

Your hardy friend,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »