It’s been a long time, dear readers! Sorry for the absence, but I’ve been undergoing some strange anxiety/depression stuff for the past month, with no clue how to shake it. Part of it was work-related, with some work-worries waking me up at odd hours. To compensate for lost sleep, I fell back into my habit of adding a mid-morning coffee to my normal caffeine regimen. (I normally drink a 2-cup mug around 5 a.m. when I get up, and a 2-cup French press around 2 p.m.) My biochemistry started getting worse, of course, with more anxiety and less sleep, which compounded the need for coffee and . . .
That’s exactly how I ended up with heart palpitations that resulted in an ER visit last September. So I’ve been consciously cutting back the caffeine intake, and trying to get more sleep. And now, with my wife immersed in the season premiere of Game of Thrones, I figured it was about time I started writing things down again.
So: last month. I had a business trip to San Francisco that was pretty entertaining. I’d tell you more, but I’m planning to ramble about in the April installment of my podcast. Which may be delayed a little bit, but I promise it’ll come out this month (or your money back!). See, I’m really intent on getting at least one interview/conversation into each new podcast, and I’ve sorta failed at lining one up. But I’m going to see a pal of mine next weekend, and I think we can have a good conversation for the Virtual Memories Show.
In fact, this weekend I picked up some good microphones and a recorder so I can do remote interviews with good sound quality. So if I show up at your door with a Dopp kit, don’t be afraid that I’m planning to move in; I’m just making a temporary studio in your living room. (Speaking of: lemme know if you want to record a book-oriented conversation sometime!)
I guess the biggest news I have is that we’re building a library. I mean, I’ve been building a library for decades, but now we have a handyman in doing the actual building of a library. We’re taking two rooms downstairs — the rec room and “The Shack,” a guest bedroom where Dad used to keep his HAM radio stuff when we were growing up (short for “Radio Shack,” in other words) — building shelves into the walls above the foundation, tearing down the wall between ‘em, installing lights, and putting in some Pergo faux-wood flooring.
I’d kindasorta wanted to do something like this for years, but it was only when Handyman Lou finished the first phase, installing and painting the bookcases in the rec room, that I really started to get excited. As I started taking my books off the multitude of Ikea Billy bookcases and organizing them on the new shelves, I thought, “This is going to be my home.” (It’ll also have a photo-studio area for Amy to use; no man-cave here.)
So, I suppose my anxiety about this stuff — having someone in the house a lot, having to trust that he’s going to do the job right, having to trust that I’m asking for the right thing — has also preyed on me. I took a couple of “before” pix, but I’ll wait on posting stuff till “after” is ready.
Anyway, that’s the tale I have to tell, I guess. Last week, Amy & I miscommunicated about when her train from NYC was going to arrive at the station in Radburn. As a result, I got there half an hour early. I considered driving over to Garden State Plaza and meandering around for 15-20 minutes, maybe looking at some clothes.
Instead, I drove in the other direction and hit Well Read, a nice indy bookstore in Hawthorne. I’d been doing well with my 2012 austerity plan (admittedly blown up by this weekend’s audio recorder / mics purchase), but all this shelf-space I’m about to gain left me thinking I could pick up some new books. I grabbed used copies of Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson, the subject of last month’s podcast) and Rabbit, Run (I’ve never read Updike) and a new copy of Inherent Vice, Pynchon’s stoner detective novel, which I’m enjoying. I suspect I’d enjoy it more if The Big Lebowski didn’t exist, but whatever.
What I’m saying is, I want a place to read, even if I have more books than I’ll ever get around to.