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Posts Tagged ‘Out of the house’

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.

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Dear Friends and Family,

(You know the drill: Part 1, 2, 3 and 4.)

During my conversation with my father, he told me that he didn’t actually live at the address where I sent the letter. His ex-wife, Jan, still lives there with her son, my half-brother Brad. (They also have a daughter, Erin, my half sister.) Jan opened the letter, shared it with Brad, and he shared with David.

(After I asked Jan* about this part of the story, she said that when Brad called David, David talked about his crazy day. Brad said, “Dad, it’s about to get a whole lot crazier.”)

David now lives in Long Island in an apartment off my uncle’s house. (The apartment used to be my uncle’s dental office.)

Y’all. I mean. Can you IMAGINE Jan’s reaction? Brad’s? David’s?

I might have had to take some time to process, but David called me within 24 hours.

The call consisted of high-level catch-up, as you might expect. He seemed happy to know about me.

And Jan reached out to me on Facebook to welcome me to the family.

And Brad texted me to start a conversation.

How lovely is that?

David and I started talking regularly, and we decided we would meet when I visited New York for my annual birthday trip in December.

I flew into La Guardia and rented a car as the LIRR train schedule did not cooperate.

Brad: Have a good time! 
Me: Thanks. I'm on my way. Nervous.
Brad: So is he!

David was waiting on his porch when I pulled up. He said he felt like a kid at Christmas. I did too. (Add some flop sweat that Santa doesn’t usually get.)

He had a present for me:

I suddenly became very aware of my nasolacrimal ducts. Why? When I met Kathy, she gave me a present.

It was a gift David had given to her for her birthday when they were dating. She kept it all these years because it was the one thing that connected the three of us. And I had told him about it.

Oh Lord: There’s something in my eye. Hang on.

OK. Proceeding.

He took me to the main house to meet my Uncle Terry and Aunt Rosemary.

As it turns out, they and their family and David spent plenty of time in Savannah because they have a place in Hilton Head. Again, I could have run into them AT ANY POINT and not known about our connection.

Also, I would be staying the night in Uncle Terry and Aunt Rosemary’s house.

Y’ALL. These people JUST met me. I am a stranger. So this tells you a little something about how my existence was received.

The four of us went out to dinner and had a wonderful time. When we got back, David brought out a cake for my birthday.

I lost it (but tried not to).

He got me an ice cream cake (Carvel FTW!) without even KNOWING I am not a fan of regular cake.

It was … a lot. (I know I keep saying it, but cut me some slack. It IS a lot!)

The next day, we went on a drive to key places of interest for him and the family.

We laughed. We argued good naturedly. We got to know each other.

We went to the Long Island Aquarium.

As we were watching the sea lion show, I thought about how completely bizarre it was to be there with him. This is the kind of things dads do with their daughters when daughters are children. But here we were, making up for lost time.

Oh look: My lacrimal sac is acting up again. One moment.

I’m back.

It was bone-chillingly cold. My father doesn’t have any body fat (one area where I did NOT get his genes), so we didn’t linger at the lions.

We went back to his place to continue chatting. Before long, it was time for me to head into the city for the rest of the birthday trip.

I had plenty of thoughts to keep me occupied on the drive, along with a debrief phone call from a blogger friend.

I TOLD YOU it was a wild ride.

Just a little bit more to go if you want to join me. The final part is coming soon.

XO,
Beth

* Yes, I talk to Jan. Another weird and wonderful part of the story.

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Dear Friends and Family,

The story continues, as promised. (If you are new here and need a recap, read Part 1 and Part 2.)

My birth mother Kathy and I started chatting weekly on the phone. And as you know, that’s a big deal for me. (Why do I hate talking on the phone so much?)

Topics? Large: I learned my birth father’s full name. Small: I learned we like our eggs the same way. (So that’s where I got it!)

She told me about all the family I had in the St. Louis area. You’ll remember I mentioned my mom Jeanne was from Missouri. Well, I spent my childhood visiting relatives all over the state: Kansas City, Jefferson City and also St. Louis. My favorite aunt and uncle lived in Hazelwood, Missouri — 25 minutes from my current home and 15 minutes from where Kathy lives.

It’s bizarre to think that I could have passed a member of my birth family in the grocery store.

Weird and wonderful, to say the least.

On one of our calls, I mentioned I had a dream that I had driven to St. Louis to see her. She said she did want to meet me. We started planning for Memorial Day weekend.

Y’all, this was … something. Talking on the phone was one thing. Actually meeting her was another.

She picked me up at the St. Louis airport. Her first words to me were these:

I haven't seen you in ___** years!

So yes, we have a similar sense of humor.

I’ve written about this part of the story before.

This is the day I met Kara and Lodell.

But here’s the important thing:

It was so easy. It felt right. I fit in. No awkwardness.

As George Bailey said, “What do you know about that?!

We all set about building relationships — relationships helped by my move to St. Louis.

It’s gone better than I had any right to want.

The next step? Contacting my birth father. You know: One step at time.

That’s the fourth and final part. Also the most recent. As in past six months.

Don’t touch that dial!

XO,
Beth

*Yes, I know I’m being silly. But I’ll do it again for Part 4.

**Listen, a lady doesn’t share her age — even for the sake of a story. 😉

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Dear Santa,

Thanks for bringing me the gift of time with new family this year. First Christmas with birth family on mom’s side. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Added bonus for 2022: Meeting birth father, David.

Thank you for that too. It’s plenty to process (and write about), so today I’ll just be thankful.

Somehow I must have made it on the nice list.

It’s a Christmas miracle. 😉

Love you, Santa!

See you next year,
Beth

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Dear Halloween,

I love you so much. Still. As I’ve said. And this year, I feel like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities you provide.

Decorating the house? Check.

Haunted Mine? Check.

Costumed cat? Check.

Six Flags Fright Fest? Check. With the boys, even, who had a bit they did for the occasion.

Carving pumpkins? Check.

The Darkness haunted house? Check. Although that wasn’t without risk.

I wasn’t moving fast enough, so Dominic moved me into a doorframe. On accident. So he says. 😉

Scary movies and fire pit? Check.

I’ve even seen “Halloween Ends.” (I would not say it was worth the time and money. Maybe I’m just a hipster when it comes to franchises.)

I’m looking forward to seeing if I get trick or treaters this year — my first year in my house.

Anyway, thanks for being you. I’m a fan.

Love,
Beth

*Alice, of course.

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Dear Victoria,

Thanks for going with me to the Haunted Mine at our university (aka place of business).

I know we are coworkers who barely know each other, but you came through. People I knew better begged off (because haunted, because mine, because both).

Even though I’m an Explosives Technology student, I had not yet been to the experimental mine. I read all about the prep, though.

“Scaring starts at 6.”

Too bad I live 1.5 hours away and couldn’t get in some hours.

I’m glad we met up at the Tater Patch. I don’t know what any of that means.
Sporting saucy hard hats!

We got the safety briefing (“It’s a mine. The walls are made of rock. If you hurt yourself, let a scarer know immediately.”). Then it was time.

It was genuinely terrifying, especially the bit with the clown with the chainsaw.

This is the photo that one accidentally takes when running from a clown wielding a chainsaw.

NO, THANK YOU.

I had to remind myself that the scarers were not allowed to touch me. (And I was not allowed to touch them either. Consent goes both ways.)

Huddled together, we screamed/laughed our way through it.

Well, the screaming/laughing was me. You were mostly laughing. At me. For good reason.

Anyway, it was great, and I appreciate you going with me. Thanks again!

Happy Halloween!
Beth

*A great Duran Duran song and a terrible pun for this post

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Dear Fellow Travelers:

Some of y’all need a refresher in how to behave in airports and on planes.

Auntie Beth is here to help.

DO move to the side of the terminal walkway if you want to text, eat your food or walk slowly.
DON’T eat your chicken wings in the middle of the walkway between gates with your suitcase two feet away from you (and also in the middle of the walkway).

DO give up the armrest to the person in the middle.
DON’T be the person in the middle who also manspreads and elbows the people on the aisle and window.

DO remember that people around you have ears.
DON’T talk to your seatmate at the top of your voice, take phone calls, FaceTime or watch videos without headphones. (I can’t believe I have to remind you.)

DO be aware of personal space.
DON’T run over people with your suitcase, whack someone with your backpack or sling your Doritos bag around with crumbs flying everywhere.

DO follow instructions.
DON’T be a complete idiot.

Folks, there’s an image. How hard is it to follow directions?

DO have manners in general.
DON’T act like the plane is your personal living room.

This man was a complete boor. So loud. Stopped in the doorway to keep talking to his seatmate. I mean, just look at his foot on the seat. That tells you everything you need to know.

It’s very simple: BE CONSIDERATE. We will all thank you.

Let’s make traveling as irritant-free as possible.

With love,
Auntie Beth

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Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for the vote of confidence last night. I’m looking forward to serving as member-at-large for the next two years.

I ran for the position because I want to give back to the neighborhood I love so much. And get to know more of you.

Here’s a snippet of my neighborhood activities Tuesday:

• Took a jacket to the drycleaner.

• Changed a haircut appointment.

• Greeted wine bar owner Jessica, who has a fantastic new hairdo.

• Enjoyed wine tasting at the wine bar.

• Saw new friends Crystal and Ty. Met Ty’s girlfriend Jen.

My “gamer girls” and I didn’t get together for board games as usual after the wine tasting, but that was OK. I still had a good time. And all this happened within two blocks of my house.

Now, the neighborhood is not without issues. The Kia Boyz love this place too.

And my next-door neighbor sent this email yesterday:

Nothing in the body of the email. (This is typical Kate. Also, Kate doesn’t have a cell phone.)

Of course, my response was:

As it turns out, a deceased person was found in a car on a street that borders the park.

What’s funny is that Kate is out of town, yet knew more about what was happening nearby than I did.

That’s why she’s Block Captain. I will have to step up my game in my new role.

Soon, I’ll be in the know also.

As I’m always curious (read: a bit nosy), I’m excited.

Thanks again!

Your neighbor and board rep,
Beth

*Thanks, Mr. Rogers.

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Dear Kara,

Thanks for inviting me to Drag Queen Meat Bingo yesterday. It was one of many commitments I had for the day, but it was BY FAR the most fun.

I will be honest: I thought the “meat” part of the event was going to be the eye candy that one typically finds at drag events. Like Ru Paul’s Pit Crew.

But no, it was meat as in bacon, ribs, three chickens in a sack, etc.

Though it was slow to get going, the roof deck at Sasha’s Wine Bar was lovely. We were supposed to be able to see contestants in the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

We saw two.

You don’t see one? Let me help.
Yes, it was underwhelming.

Bingo seemed to really pick up after Dieta Pepsi saw her old boss from the mortgage company where she used to work.

Odd for him, great for us.

Then you won a prize drawing.

The prizes? Hostess cupcakes and a Fireball shot.

As we were both committed to being sober, you had to get a designated chugger.

Look at this absolute legend.

The very next round was your round. Criss-cross applesauce = five pounds of pork steak.

Thank you for donating it to the cause: The family gathering at my house coming up in three weeks.

This platter of piggy barely fit in my freezer!

Add this run of yours to us winning Pajama Pawty trivia last week, and I’d say we are lucky together.

So thanks for inviting me. Looking forward to next time!

Love,
Your sister

*So does Arby’s.

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Dear Kate and Kathy,

We appear to have a symbiotic relationship. I force you to get out and “people” occasionally. You tell me about all the good stuff going on in the neighborhood.

I had no idea when I moved in that our neighborhood is such a happening place!

Naked bike rides, concerts in the park, Friday evening socials, garden tours, antiques fairs, the Moonlight Ramble, and now the Tour de Lafayette.

It’s such a big deal that it even warranted beer tents.

Not that I could partake. Beer and a 5:44 a.m. flight don’t mix.

Still, it was cool to see the racers whipping around the park.

So thanks for the intel. See you Tuesday for game night!

Your new neighbor/friend,
Beth

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