April has been called the Cruellest Month, but April 2018 hasn't been cruel so much as it's been frantic. I've certainly had months where I've been traveling more (see: March 2015) or months where I've had huge tasks to accomplish (see: June 2015, moving), but this month I've found my brain in a state of more-or-less constant whirl. That whirl has involved some very pleasant stuff, some less pleasant stuff, and the inevitable anxiety about stuff that hasn't happened yet. Shall we pick that apart?PLEASANT STUFF:
I started the month with a interesting musical experience courtesy of the folks at Orbital Music Park, who organize occasional match-ups between musicians. I signed up for such a match-up, and on April 1st I hauled a couple of guitars down to to meet a few of the local folks. Alas, a couple of our assigned participants had to bail out, so it ended up being just me, one of the organizers sitting in on bass, and a drummer. I found myself cast in the somewhat unfamiliar role of bandleader, as the organizer didn't want to run things for us, so I had to suggest covers (Warren Zevon, XTC, Soundgarden), work on a little jam, and offer a few originals for the guys to play along with. I went with an old Terminal Mouse standby, "Camouflage," as well as one of the tunes I cowrote with Mimi Herman, "Something New to You," and "Clean Enough to Eat Off," which is probably the easiest song in my repertoire. I wish I'd had the chance to meet more folks, but I enjoyed myself enough to imagine I'll do another OMP session someday.
Dixon was back in town for a few weeks. He arrived on the 13th and moved back into our apartment so that he could begin rehearsals for ONE IN FOUR at the Firehouse Theatre. The show, which premiered last summer at the DC Fringe Festival, made its Richmond debut on the night of the 20th and ran over two weekends, providing delight, novelty, and occasional amazement to enthusiastic audiences, including us, family members, the cast's VCU-based social circles, Richmond theater connoisseurs, fans of avant-garde sci-fi comedy, and wandering members of the general public. Both Kelly's mom and my parents made it up to see the show (on the opening and closing weekends, respectively), and Ian and Adriana managed to rearrange their schedules in order to see the show and gather for grandparent visits, even as they were looking for a new apartment.
Birding has been good, with a variety of FOY species hitting the area in migration. I took my first bird walk with the Richmond Audubuon Society, getting looks at a family of nesting Great Horned Owls and several warbler species. A few weeks later I spotted several male Prothonotary Warblers (always a gorgeous bird to spot) and a female Hooded Warbler (my first) on a River Day at Pony Pasture.
In the midst of all our other theatrical involvement, Kelly and I got to see our bonus daughter Anna Grey Hogan in what will probably be her final performance at VCU, Into the Woods
. This was our first experience with the show, so we went in with no expectations other than "Sondheim" and "fairy tales," and we were quite delighted. The set was absolutely astonishing--the finest I've seen at VCU with no real competition--and the performances most impressive. NOT SO PLEASANT STUFF:
We started the month with our dishwasher and dispose-all still out of commission, thanks to the landlords' electrician-based fiasco in early March. That got fixed sometime around the middle of the month--they didn't call to tell us they'd done it, mind you--but the dishwasher is no longer working properly. Doubtless sitting idle and full of sink overflow had something to do with its breakdown, but our landlords have already proven themselves too incompetent and/or malevolent to handle repairs, so we're not optimistic about having it in good working order before we leave.
But we ARE leaving. We have served notice that we're not renewing our lease--and have gotten the office to sign a document to the effect that we have served that notice, because our landlords have already proven themselves etc. etc. That of course means we have to start packing, which hasn't been that easy while playing host to family members, seeing lots of shows, and dealing with various other concerns (like washing a lot more dishes than usual). It's also meant negotiating with moving companies, confirming details with our new landlady, and trying to help Dixon take as much stuff back to Carrboro as possible so that we don't have to pack it up.
Oh yeah. Taxes. Those happened, too. Guess what happens when you and your wife no longer have kids living at home and suddenly you're both working full-time.STUFF THAT HASN'T HAPPENED YET:
Finally, I've spent the last month alternately energized and anxious about this Thursday, when Anna Grey and a number of other local actors are gathering at the Firehouse to do a reading of my own play, The Kindest Cut. I have no idea what the reading will lead to, but the chance to hear people reading my words and inhabiting my characters is one I've looked forward to for a while now, and I'm already in full Party Host Mode, which Kelly defines as simultaneously thinking "No one will come!" and "There won't be enough food!" More on this later. 5:39 AM