Friday, May 07, 2010

the pink house, part two

"This is the tribute I get? The same picture over and over?" Oh, Pink House, you know how it is. I'd have to go through old pictures and then, I don't know, SCAN them or something, and who has the time? Pretend it's a different day. Different snow*. Different things happening inside. You choose. (*Maybe it's foam!)

So where was I? The good news. The love story. Elizabeth. Comedy in the hallway. (How am I going to cram it all in? I'm not, I'm not going to. Make peace right now, Tina.) Okay, I know. The old failsafe. Snapshots. ("Irony," declares the Pink House above.)

Pulled at random:

1. Christmas Party, 200...2. I think. It's not that kind of Christmas party. It's the other kind. "Dress outrageously" is the edict, and everyone complies. I've chosen some kind of Hindu tenement angel look, with fluffy white wings, a kimono and a bindi. Brian is sporting an enormous David Byrne-ish suit and tie. It's 3 in the morning. The music is loud. The people are dancing. The floor is bending beneath us a little. The thought crosses my mind, "I wonder...if the living going to fall into the basement." And then it crosses back the other way, and forgets something and crosses back, and keeps doing that. Nice work, floor, keeping us alive. (Lots of spontaneous dancing when people come to the Pink House, due to a music collection heavily weighted to guilty pleasures but anchored - entirely not due to me - with enough credible stuff so that the self esteem of our guests doesn't totally plummet.)

2. September 11th, 2001, before 7 am. The phone rings. Who calls this early? Something is serious. A message from our friend, Jenn, "I'm all right." What? Why wouldn't you be? I turn on the TV. I wake Brian. We stare at it. We go wake Elizabeth and Erik. There we are, in the living room, for most of the day.

3a. April 19th, 2006, around 8pm. I'm in an enormous birth tub in our living room. Elizabeth is squeezing my back during contractions, and Morgan is, and our midwife is, Dave? He may be. He may also be freaking out a little in the kitchen. Larraine, my mother-in-law, she's in the room, too. I say out loud, just to get it out of my system, "We can always put him up for adoption, right?" I'm joking, sort of, but I'm also not. I think I need to have this deal on the table in order to keep dilating. I'm not ready to be a parent but within 15 or so hours I will be anyway. I imagine Finn also needed that deal on the table to keep doing whatever he was doing. Um...she's not ready! I can hear her thinking it!

3b. April 22nd, 2006. Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Baby in a teal velour suit and hat, this is your house. You live here. (He lives here? Really? With us? I need to lie down.)

4. December 31st, 1999. Elizabeth and I are getting ready to go out to our different New Year's Eves. We have purchased and are wearing the same high-heeled pony skin boots, in different colors. Mine are red, hers are olive green. We have that song on. It's still light out. We're dancing. We can't believe it's here.

5. Summer, 1999, a random night. Our friend Forest is living in our basement. He has a bad dream and yells out. I think he's being attacked and launch my knee jerk "we have an intruder" move, which is to yell out in what I think sounds like a man's voice, "WHAT?!" Like, I'm a big football player and why are you bothering me with all these questions? That's what it sounds like. That's my move. Forest comes upstairs and he and Elizabeth join me and Brian in our room. Elizabeth pretends to be on the phone placing an order, "Hello? Yeah, we need some mommies."

6. Christmas morning, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, done to excess. I have stayed up until 5am wrapping all the stocking stuffers. The presents snake out across the floor. The stockings overflow into large grocery bags. Elizabeth is there. Brian is there. Jenn is there. Stephen may be there. Morgan will come later.

7. Summer 2003. It's just me. Brian and I have split up. I watch the movie "Laurel Canyon" and decide to take up pot smoking more seriously. I buy a pretty little pipe. It's odd to be drinking wine and smoking pot by myself in my little house. Anesthetized, lost and hopeful.

8. Various times. What's on television? We watch "The Practice." Ba-nuh-nuh-nuh! Always dance to the theme song. We watch "The West Wing" and "The Daily Show" to help us cope with the Bush years. "Survivor"? This kind of thing can't last.

9. Election night, 2000. I've thrown out a rib and am pasted to Uncle Bill, who is a deluxe old leather recliner that Brian has imported into the house. Am likely wrapped up in Mr. Softee, who is a taupe blanket given to me by my friend, Cara, for my birthday one year. It hurts to breathe. The election is finally called for George Bush. At that precise moment, the TV smokes, sparks and goes black. It has flatlined.

7. October/November 2003. I'm on the phone. Long distance. Australia. A short conversation, just to touch base = an hour and a half. A regular conversation = 3-5 hours. The longest conversation = 10.5 hours. I can see the moon out of the living room window. He can see that same moon. My ear cartilage is nearly destroyed, but this doesn't matter.

Well, this is clearly going to be a three-parter.

Next time, the bad news. No, we haven't sold it - that will be good news. No, we had some renters. And it went bad. And they assaulted the house. Nothing too serious, all cosmetic wounds are healed. But just picture your most sacred, beloved place, and picture it desecrated. Feel that.

Those fuckers.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

the pink house

Some of you will know this place. Some of you won't.

This used to be my house. Well, it still is, sort of, for a few more cosmic minutes. It's on the market. We have to sell it, need the cash to pay my mom back for the funding of our current house, the one we built. Our time is up. The market might not be, but our time is.

The Pink House.

How the hell do I begin to tell you about the Pink House and what it's meant to me? And, shit, which do you want first? The good news or the bad news? Instinct tells me to go good news first. Then the bad news will mean something.

The good news isn't news, either. The good news is the old news, the story of how I met the Pink House and how we fell in love and how good it was to me, how good it was to a lot of us. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this place was the stuff of legend. It was. (Not, like, giant legend. But for a good dozen or so More. Let's say a score. For a score or more of people it was, what do I want to say...a locus. A real locus. A hub, a gathering place, home base, where it was happening. Depending on who you were and when it was, the Pink House was: quiet oasis, bumping party palace, Daydream Central where all the beautiful girls sunbathed and drank wine and dreamed and plotted away the summer of '98, cozy love nest twice or thrice over, and launch pad into incarnation itself for one Finn Rowley. First house, best house for more than one of us. )

My beloved friend, Kristen, bought it in the spring of '98. She and my key girl, Elizabeth, fixed it up from a falling-down wreck and made it so good. Oh, shit, it was good. My girls knew what they were doing. They worked like hell, plaster in their hair, and made it...oh. I want to convey the perfect aesthetic of the place when they were done with it, and I'm doomed to fail. Pea green living room, cream fireplace, perfectly weathered and untouched windowsills. Kristen's bedroom, that muted blueberry, and Elizabeth's, that terra cotta red, both with the beds in counterintuitive placements that made you want to smack your hand against your head, they were so right. So fresh.

I still lived in my crappy Fremont apartment when they moved in. Post-marriage, mid-perpetual-crisis, chain-smoking, fervent, freaked-out times. (Good times included.) I went over to that Pink House as often as I could, to soak up the brilliant company and the perfect surroundings. Home away from home. Uplift guaranteed.

We'd all climb into Elizabeth's bed in the a.m. with our cups of coffee. Elizabeth always spilled. Little tan blobs on that creamy white duvet. Wrecked the perfection just right.

I'm not going to even try to convey that first summer. Let's just say it set the tone, implanted the magic. I know, it's hyperbole city over here, but you don't know! how! much! the place! deserved it! Anyway. Much drinking, much smoking, and a very witty and good-looking rotating cast of characters. Many regulars, some day players. I was deeply pleased to be a part of that scene.

Kristen moved to New York that December, and I moved in. Take the arrow of my life's trajectory from that moment forward and aim it up. No, higher. Steep, that incline. Whatthe- where the hell am I going? Whoo!

I was infatuated before I moved in. After I moved in, I fell in love. And then it deepened and deepened.

And Elizabeth and I, oh, we had such a good thing going on. 11pm every night, like clockwork, boyfriends present or no, we'd find ourselves in our bedroom doorways, chatting...and it was like someone came and sprinkled comedy dust in the hallway. We couldn't miss. Bang! Boom! Bop. Pa-chow. It's a miracle we slept at all.

It was so, so copacetic.


This is going to have to be a two-parter.

lovesexy revisited

It's been too long since I've listened to this. I bet it's been too long for you, too.

I tell you, it's the perfect time to go back in. It sounds so good. Always a great moment, when music that didn't sound quite right for a while suddenly gets its luster back.

Spring of 1988, I'll come back and talk about you later, too. You blew my mind. And this was your soundtrack.