Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good Riddance

The big day finally came... Deb and I loaded up the car with beer and cleaning supplies and trekked back to our 2 Street apartment, ready to paint and clean to our hearts content.

Fortunately for us, we have an AMAZING group of friends who are easily bribed with beer and pizza. They came en masse and soon had our very colorful walls looking white and clean.

Dalice and Amanda tackle the purple wall:

And then got into a massive paint fight (for the record, Amanda fights dirty and does not honor truces):

Amanda gets to some of the higher spots in our kitchen in a very inventive way:

Phew! Time for a break! Amanda (nice hair!), Rachel and Dalice relax with some brews:

Deb came up with a very clever way to get all of those high corners (yes, that is a paint brush taped to a broom handle):

McKenna's graffiti (with Rachel's addition):

Pizza break! Amanda and I try to relax with some pepperoni and beer:

Group painting! Dalice, Rachel and McKenna get cozy:

Melanie demonstrates her man sweatpants and the sexy belly they give her:

Deb and I retired very late last night, exhausted and covered with paint. We slept for a few hours and then got up this morning to finish cleaning up and to turn in our keys. 

In the clear morning light, it was surprisingly easy to say goodbye.

Goodbye, bedroom. I won't miss you at all. Especially not on Friday and Saturday nights, when the bars emptied out right below our bedroom window. I've never heard so much fighting and screaming and breaking things before in my life. We had to call the police at least once a month to break up the massive drunken brawls.

Goodbye, deck. I will miss you. You are large and beautiful and it was so lovely to have so much space for my garden and my clothesline. Not to mention all of the rocking barbeques and parties we had out here... But then again, the boards on the deck are almost completely rotted and the railings are falling off. So maybe it's better that we are leaving now, before anyone gets hurt...

Goodbye, massive living room. You were a great space for parties, but too large and too awkward for day-to-day living. Oh, and what's that on the floor, you ask? Why that's the ceiling fan that our landlord Vinny dropped off over a year ago, to replace the fan above it. He never replaced it, and denied dropping off the new fan when we asked him about it. We've kept it here for him. We left it in the middle of the living room floor. It was the only thing we left in the apartment. Screw you, Vinny.

Goodbye, kitchen. I won't miss you, with your slant-y floors and your weird corners I could never get clean. Seriously, check out how slanted everything is:

AJ took this picture of us. We're holding today's newspaper so everyone can see that we did indeed clean and leave the house in good condition today, March 31st.

So it ends. It's a huge weight off of our shoulders, to say the very least. Now we can concentrate on settling in to our new place and enjoying our Mondays again.

A HUGE thank you to Amanda, Dalice, Rachel, Leo, Melanie and AJ for all of their help yesterday and today. We truly could not have done this without you. You are the best friends two gals could wish for!

And now we leave 2 Street and all it's inhabitants behind us forever. Onward!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sprung Free

This past week I've picked my head up and suddenly realized it was spring.

Now all cheesy metaphors aside, this has been a long, tough winter and just when I feel the light at the end of the tunnel, suddenly it's spring. Nature and my life seem to be in perfect sync right now.

I would say that things in our lives are very spring-like: optimistic, blooming and hopeful, with the occasional blast of cold or rain.

And although I'm being rather shady because of legal reasons, I will say that I am rejoicing in my former landlord's stupidity. His lack of brains may just save our asses. Phew.

Monday is our official last day in the 2 Street apartment. We've invited a few friends come over to help us splash paint on the walls and drink beer with us to celebrate our newfound freedom.

And then I will close the door on that chapter of my life and walk away, remembering the lessons I've learned but never allowing such negativity back into my life ever again.

I think this just might be the best Spring re-birth ever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Too young to hold on, too old to just break free and run...

So... life has given Deb & I a swift kick in the ass these past few months-- there have been more twists, turns, triumphs and failures than I can even think about, much less detail here.

But I do see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel-- at the end of this month we will be officially out of our 2 Street apartment and looking forward to really starting our new life on Christian Street. Right now all things legal, financial and personal are swirling around us like some sort of ugly black tornado, but we are hanging on, if only by our fingernails.

Perhaps these days it's something of a cliche, but I am learning just how much hard times really teach you about yourself and those going through them with you. Deb and I are being forced to deal with so much shit-- honestly, the sheer volume of it is what's really overwhelming. But we are definitely learning. We are learning to break things down into manageable sections. We are learning to take time out in the middle of everything for ourselves-- not for our friends, not for the other partner, but for the individual. In the middle of this absolutely crazy time I've taken up reading for pleasure again, something I haven't done in a long time. So far this month I've read Norah Vincent's Self Made Man (amazing, shocking-- I highly recommend), Dan Savage's The Commitment (hilarious and beautiful) and currently I'm reading Paula Deen's It Ain't All About the Cooking. Don't laugh about that last one. I had my doubts-- Paula is pretty funny on TV, but I'm generally not a fan of the celebrity memoir. But the lovely Amanda McKenna lent the book to me with a high recommendation and I trust that woman's taste implicitly. And I'm enjoying it thoroughly. Paula is one amazing woman-- going from an agoraphobic housewife to a mega-super star. Fascinating stuff, plus some delicious Southern-fried recipes to boot.

Anyway. Deb and I are also learning to treat each other very gently and respectfully. Times like this are very wearing on a relationship, so I suppose it's only natural that our little spats increase in both frequency and volume. We've discovered that although this is only natural, it's quite destructive. There's nothing worse than having a rough day outside your house and then coming home to have a little fight that blows up into something bigger because you're both so exhausted and drained. And then of course this fight exhausts and drains you further. It's a viscious circle, and we are determined to break it. We have to be each other's champions. We are both human beings, with good days and bad days, and the best part of being in a relationship is having someone there to hold you up when you feel like falling down.

Slowly but surely we are fighting our way out of this nastiness, and we couldn't do it alone. We have each other to love and support and be strong with, but we also have a wonderful circle of friends who know just how to cheer us up when we're at our lowest.

So thank you. Thank you especially to Melanie for sitting with me during a party when I was too tired to stand and talking to me about her life and my life and just being there with me. Thank you to Arizona for making me laugh at that same party. Thank you to Dalice for holding that bottle of wine for me-- we're going to get to it some day, I promise! Thank you to Caitlin for making me remember why old friends are just the best. Thank you to Amanda for sitting with me at Royal Tavern and letting me pour my heart out. You are the best listener ever, Amanda. Thank you to Melissa for offering to help. Thank you to Alison for texting me and trying to get together to talk-- this week, I promise! Thank you to Gina for offering margaritas whenever I'm feeling bad. (How do you know that's a perfect cure??!) Thank you to Weas for always letting me know I'm never far from her thoughts. (I miss you!) Thank you to Mom and Dad for supporting me in everything I do, both emotionally and financially. I literally could not do this without you. Thank you to all of my girls (and boys!) over at AJ-- you are so supportive and never seem to care when I neglect you for a little while.

There are so many people I'm leaving out-- please forgive me if you're one of them. I'm so tired I can barely think right now, but please know that I love and appreciate you very much.

And it's with your help that we are getting through this, step by step. I never knew it would be this hard, but I also never knew how many people in my life loved and supported me. What a blessing to discover this.

And just so no one thinks the title of this blog is too morose, I've taken it from a Jeff Buckley song that is suddenly playing on repeat in my head these days:

The photograph at the top is Sally Weiner's-- check out the rest of her great stuff here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Criminal...

Hearts, that is.

Rehearsals for the fourth show of our season, Criminal Hearts, are underway. Which explains why I've been a little MIA on the blogsphere-- well that, and all of the other crazy things happening in my life right now.

But ANYWAY, this is going to be a great show! We're setting it in the 80's, so look for some fun fashion and some great music.

And as it's directed by one of my favorite directors to work with, Madi Distefano, you know we're having a great time, as illustrated in this rehearsal shot:

(l-r: Kaci M. Fannin, Damon Bonetti, Jennie Eisenhower and Madi Distefano doodle on some pizza boxes and listen to 80's music to get themselves psyched up!)

I hope you can make this one-- it's fast, madcap, fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dog's Life

Sometimes all you want to do is lay on the couch and watch a little trashy TV.

But life comes at you fast, and you find yourself in the midst of rehearsals for a new show during the day while performing the old one at night, dealing with legal and financial woes as your former landlord rants and raves and threatens and intimidates, unpacking the stacks of boxes that threaten to collapse every time you walk by them, and the stress, stress, stress of too much stuff in too little time.

Those are the times that you think to yourself "I wish I was born a dog".

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Family Time

Sometimes family isn't people related to you by blood, but people who come into your life and make you feel at home, safe and happy.

And it's rare that this happens in a show setting, as odd as that sounds. There are always egos and personalities, quirks and quibbles that keep you merely work-mates.

But on those rare occasions where cast and crew comes together as an improptu family, it's imperative to celebrate, and appreciate.

To that end, the cast of Honor and the River decided to have a potluck dinner inbetween shows yesterday. We sat around the "table", (actually the boat flipped over and used as a table, just like we do in the show itself) ate delicious food and had wonderful, familial conversation.

(l-r: Nick Park, Kevin Duffin, Papa Paul Nolan, Melissa Buffaloe, Mama Ellen Tobie)

I will be very sad to see this one close. I've had a blast with everyone, and it's really nice to come into work and have such a positive, upbeat atmosphere surrounding the whole show.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Moving and Grooving

At the end of the week, I was in a total panic. We were not ready for the movers by a long shot-- half of our stuff was packed, the other half strewn around the apartment as if a tornado had just hit. Both Deb and I were totally and utterly exhausted, both from the strain of getting ready from the movers, my show opening & her show closing and the stress of dealing with our deadbeat landlord. I thought it might just not happen, that I might just sit down and cry and give it all up.

Thankfully I have an amazing group of friends who are incredibly supportive and (as I discovered on Sunday night) really great packers. Who knew?

After the show Sunday night I bribed Amanda McKenna, AJ and Melanie over to our place with beer and pizza and we packed and got drunk. Surprisingly enough, it was the most fun I'd had in a long time. I enjoyed their high spirits and superb box labelling techniques. (Today I discovered a box marked "VERY IMPORTANT: ALCOHOL") Naturally I had to document this event photographically...

Amanda was in charge of packing the kitchen:

AJ and Melanie busted out the bathroom and some of the living room (teamwork!):

Labelling is very important when you move:

Wow. And this isn't even all of it:

Hyde gave us a hand, gobbling up any food we dropped on the floor:

Look! It's snowing!

And boy, oh boy, did it snow. We got around a foot of snow, which is a lot for Philadelphia. The snow continued all through the next day, our moving day. But thankfully the guys of Mambo Movers didn't seem to mind at all.

I must take some time to plug Mambo Movers. They were INCREDIBLE. Right on time, three hipster-ish boys showed up at our door, courteously introduced themselves, and then got right down to business. These guys busted their asses. I've never seen anything like it. Deb and I are so used to the stress and physical pain of moving ourselves, we didn't quite know what to do. We simply stood in our living room and watched as they hoisted 3 or 4 boxes at a time ON THEIR BACKS and trotted down the stairs as if it were no big deal. Which, I suppose to them, it really wasn't a big deal. And when we got to the new apartment Deb and I stood in the kitchen as they came up with boxes and furniture and simply directed traffic. I think all I said for an hour was "living room", "bedroom", "spare room" and "bathroom".

When they left, Deb and I stood in our new apartment and were utterly amazed and grateful and relieved. For all the stress and worry leading up to it, the actual move was so shockingly easy that it didn't seem real.

Of course we had to celebrate, so we invited Mel & AJ and Lindsay & Carrie over to check out the new digs. Linds & Carrie brought the dogs, so Hyde had some company too!

Lola is fascinated by AJ's conversation:

Lindsay & Carrie snuggle on our new futon (bought from the previous tenant for only $50, so now we have a place in our apartment for friends to crash!):

The dogs took turns competitively napping (here Max and Hyde show us how it's done):

I want to send out a huge thank you to our wonderful and supportive friends (both here and long distance) and family, who have helped us enormously during this very stressful time. We couldn't have done it without your encouragement and love.

Another huge shout-out to Mel, AJ and Amanda for their awesome packing skills. And if you're in the Philadelphia area and thinking about moving, HIRE MAMBO MOVERS. They're extremely professional, pretty cheap, wonderfully polite and all together a great company. Totally worth not having to cart all of your stuff around yourself.