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Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

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 Holzhauer Auto and Motorsports Group:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Best?

When Gideon was visiting me, he found a 2014 Dodge Charger he liked at your establishment. (What is it with my kids and muscle cars? Just teenage boys, I guess.)

We took a drive to Nashville, Illinois, and purchased the car on the spot.

Gideon save up $2,000 for the down payment.

We were assured that you had inspected the car and all was well. We purchased a warranty to be on the safe side.

We drove back to St. Louis, and arranged for Gideon and Eddie to come up this weekend to drive it back to Georgia.

Worst?

I took the car for safety and emission inspections to get it registered.

I bet you know what is coming.

It failed the safety inspection because it needed a new catalytic converter, engine mounts, an engine leak fixed, etc.

I think you knew this. That’s why we got such a good deal.

And your warranty doesn’t cover any of that. Of course. (So what good is it? I’d love to know.)

More than $6,500 later, the car is finally road worthy.

Happy about the car. Not happy about the 12-hour drive ahead.

Sigh.

It was worth it to see Gideon so happy, but I’ll be contacting you tomorrow for a discussion.

Talk to you later!
Beth

*Thanks, Rihanna!

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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.

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Dear Dominic and Gideon,

I see my friends posting about prom and honor societies and college visits and whatnot. Though part of me wishes you wanted the traditional high school milestones, most of me loves that you are doing things your own way.

For example, you eschewed the actual prom to have your own prom in a friend’s back yard. (Props to that mom: She did a great job!)

This is a fancy party! (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

And no one seemed to care about dates. It was one big friend group.

Girls seem to be an afterthought, which is fine by me. I’m not ready to be a grandma! I do wonder if I’m somehow a gang mom. What are those signs they are throwing? (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

I’m surprised there were real suits. You two had threatened to go to Actual Prom in your Spider-Man costumes.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I guess. It’s really par for the course for you and your pals. After all, this is how you go to school:

And how you go to Target:

I don’t know how you can go shopping. You spent all your money on a Batsuit.

My son, The Batman

It’s movie quality. It should be for the amount of money the two of you spent. (I still can’t believe you chipped in, Gideon.)

But you know what? You AREN’T spending money on drugs.

Your habits are nerdy and wholesome. I’m a fan.

And Dominic, you’ve been a Bat fan for your whole life, so I’m not surprised.

Uh oh. You spotted the Joker!

I love you both very much. And I love that you are individuals.

Stay Gold,
Mama

*Thanks and apologies to Frank.

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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

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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.

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Dear Dominic,

I was so happy to see you and your brother this weekend. Gideon is pubescing HARD, so I didn’t see him much. You, though? Plenty of contact. The whole “Peacemaker” series so far, as one gauge of time.

(Five stars. Would recommend. Would recommend for the awkward dance routine intro alone.)

I loved spending time with you.

I do want to say I’m having a really hard time keeping my mouth shut about your hair.

It’s a tension as old as time: Parents disapproving of hairstyles. Or lack thereof.

But look:

What animal died on your head, Dominic? And can I taxidermy it instead?

I know, I know: A girl (or maybe two) said it looked good.

And here we are.

I don’t know why you care what a girl says. You clearly aren’t interested in dating at the moment.

I mean, you quickly shut one girl down about prom. Full stop.

Poor thing. You don’t even have her saved as a contact in your phone!

(Also, what the heck, Dominic?!?)

Are you sure you’re MY son?

But you know, I love that you and your friends are into something so wholesome. Spider-Man fandom is infinitely preferable to any typical teenage interest.

I’m a fan. (Not of Spider-Man — please* — but of you and your friends.)

I love you, and I’ll see you soon.
Mama

*Look. Listen. He’s one of my least favorite characters in the Marvel universe. Give me Tony Stark, Black Widow or Thor any day! Spider-Man is … fine.

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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!

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Dear People with “Just a Cold,”

Maybe you do have a cold. But also, you might have COVID. Let’s recap the Omicron symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose

That’s right: Also symptoms of a cold.

So before you get around anyone, TAKE A COVID TEST. They are available in stores (you can use your FSA/HSA), and there are free testing sites all over the place.

If it’s positive, ISOLATE, FFS.

And let’s be clear: You shouldn’t be around anyone if you have a cold either.

It’s because of one of you that my son and sister in law had a lonely Christmas.

Gideon hung out with some friends. Two days later, he didn’t feel well. Typical cold symptoms. We sent him to his room. Tested him: positive. Then Eddie, Dominic and I tested ourselves: negative. We waited a day. Tested again. Negative. Waited. Tested. Negative.

Only then did we feel like we were safe to be around other people.

Even though we didn’t have any symptoms.

See how that works? Protecting others?

We just tested again to be safe.

Waiting for results
Still negative

But Christmas 2021 is the one Gideon will remember as the one where we made him wear what amounted to a HazMat suit to open his gifts.

Poor Positive Gideon

I haven’t ever gotten Coronavirus [knocks wood], and I don’t plan to get it. I’m not taking chances.

The bottom line: If you think you have a cold, get tested anyway. Don’t be a Typhoid Mary.

Somehow this manages to sum up this Christmas.

Kthxbyeeee,
Beth

* To the tune of this classic.

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I Tetrised the heck out of my stuff to get it all to fit in my tiny trunk.

Dear Readers:

I’ve been keeping this blog for 12 years. I started it because I was about to make a class of students start one. I figured I needed to practice what I preached.

Anyway, though I’ve traveled all over the place and written about my adventures, my home base (i.e., where I get my mail) has always been Georgia.

That changes today. I’m Missouri bound.

Q: Um … why?
A: I got a great new job, and I’ll be based in St. Louis.

Q: Isn’t that where your birth family is?
A: Yes. The universe clearly has something to say. It’s also where I have loads of adopted family.

Q: Is your family excited?
A: Excited for me, yes. But Eddie and the boys aren’t coming with me right now.

Q: What?
A: Yeah. Eddie did not thrive when we moved to Atlanta. He missed Savannah, his job, his friends. So he went back to work at his old job. He’s much happier. The boys are staying in Atlanta with friends until winter break, then they will join him. I’ll be back with them as often as I can, and we’ll work it out.

Q: You think this is the right decision?
A: I effing hope so. We had many family discussions. We decided on this plan together.

Q: You’re ok?
A: Eh. In general. I watched two episodes of “Intervention” last night because I couldn’t sleep. Of course, I convinced myself I was scarring the children. I told Gideon that this morning. He rolled his eyes at me. So maybe I’m not scarring the children.

Q: But what if you are?
A: What if I am? This is the path we chose together. At least the boys will see their parents doing jobs they really like.

Q: When do you start?
A: Monday. I’ll be staying in university housing for two months. My plan is to find a permanent place this week, so I can make arrangements to get all my stuff moved up there.

Q: And you’re sure you’re ok?
A: Well, there’s been plenty of ugly crying. I made a road-trip playlist. I got to “Wide Open Spaces” around Chattanooga, and lost my shit.

If you are inclined, send positive thoughts my way as I (we) embark on this new journey.

I am looking forward to writing about a new environment. I’m sure the Show Me State is named that for a reason.

Meet me in St. Louis,
Beth

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