Monday, August 31, 2009


August 9, 2009
I keep trying to figure out when my life will have timed out, the sands of time passing from present to past. Clichéd adages pop in my mind like kernels of popcorn jumping alive over an open fire. When the going gets tough the tough get going, winners never quit, don’t give up the ship, full steam ahead, those that don’t succeed are the ones who don’t get back up on the saddle. I push myself to visualize my own success in front of odds that stretch like the sheer cliffs of Dover in front of me, my partner, Rick, fighting for a way out of a life lived in depression, a personal debt the size of a small rural county, an occupation with little opportunity due to the current recession, a daughter who’s eye I can’t bear to fill with disappointment and my own fears of how am I going to survive my sense of total failure. A failure that makes me act in ways that seem totally irrational to an outside world. I sit on a seesaw, one side plunging me into despair hoping for the inevitable heart attack and a quick easy way out, the other lifting me to the possibility of miracles and the knowledge that everything will turn out all right if I stay positive and don’t give up. The seesaw keeps rising and sinking from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. Is Rick okay today? Is today’s depression a rock tied to his chest preventing him from getting out of bed or is it a small note tucked into his back pocket. What will happen to Emmy? Is she strong enough to go out on the road on her own? Did I give her enough tools to fix life’s problems? Is the task of seeing she is prepared enough reason to want to live? Can anyone say they’ve completed that task? Michael Jackson died and the world kept spinning. My death wouldn’t change the world. Tomorrow would still come; the sun would still rise even if my eyes weren’t open to see it. Yesterday the sky turned that ominous shade of blue/gray as a sheet of clouds was pulled over it. Within minutes the rumble of distant thunder trumpeted the arrival of one of those horrific yet glorious afternoon thunderstorms with pelting rain and howling wind and then just as soon as it had arrived it left, trailing soft wisps of white and dappled blue and a spectacular double rainbow. All seven colors of the spectrum were on full display. The end of the rainbow seemed to fall just on the other side of the next hill hiding its pot of gold just beyond our reach. I know in life my pot of gold is the little girl standing by my side as we both look out and marvel at the beautiful omen nature has provided us. At that moment the seesaw of my life was on the up side, and for that moment I was ready to get back up on the saddle and show her winners never quit.

Be prepared for the roller coaster ride. When starting over there are going to be plenty ups and downs. Have something set in the back of your mind you can turn to when the going gets rough. For me it has always been a red velvet cupcacke. When the bills become overwhelming or twenty-four hours in the day isn’t going to get you through your list you’ll need something to turn to wipe out the negative. The rich almost blood red cake, covered by a layer of swirling white butter cream frosting, and topped with a fire-engine red-hot jellybean pulls my head around to the positive.

If you're reading this, please forgive the chronology of these first several entries. I wrote many of them before I figured out how to get this blog up and running so my sequencing of events is still a bit wacky.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


In less than a day we should be behind the wheel of our sixteen footer and on the road heading west, the city behind us. Is this the right choice?
Last night Rick slid in beside me and nestled is body into the crescent of mine. It woke me in a way that smelled of his shampoo and warmed my body. It was that waking that is only momentary, not the kind I had been experiencing the past several months. The kind that once you’ve woken you know you’ll never fall back asleep. This was the sweet kind that ends with a sigh and then is gone as quickly as it came as you drift back to sleep. When I finally did wake Rick was gone back to the living room couch blurring my reality with a dream.

I rarely wake from a dream state with the memory of the dream still intact but this morning was different. I expected nightmares what with all of the pressures of packing and dealing with all of the other worries pressing on my mind but what I got was far from nightmare and totally unaccountable. What I got was a sense of joy. The dream began at a charity event at a gleaming New York venue perched on top of some deco building dripping in gilded ironwork, lit with candles in sliver chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, white linen everywhere and tables impeccably set with the best bone china and sparkling silverplate. We sat on those faux bamboo rental chairs that caterers use painted silver with white satin cushions. I was dressed in tails, something I would never do, sitting at a table between Margaret Russell, the editor of Elle Decor and Lisa Jasper, a great friend and PR agent. Margaret was extremely animated and kept talking about all of her food preferences. She had somehow become allergic to almost everything. She kept everyone entertained in a way that made me realize this was definitely a dream.  Lisa kept whispering to me in a way particular to her personality; unobtrusively and with a smile. She insisted she wanted to dance, which I thought was a little awkward and rude since one very rarely finds Ms. Russell in such an entertaining mood. Somehow we found ourselves on another floor and I finally gave in. Lisa and I raced up the steps to the main ballroom just as the music was starting. I remembered the opening waltz position Giles and his partner assumed on “Dancing with the Stars”,  that’s how we looked and that’s where I woke up for real, Lisa and I on the floor, smiling and waiting for the waltz to begin.

I got up, shaved, put another box together, showered, packed some toiletries and got dressed. Chaotic at best. When I went to get my change and wallet from yesterday’s pants I noticed something in the bottom of my pocket, a small pebble or piece of trash caught in the fold at the bottom of the interior lining of my pocket. I was about to throw it away when I realized what it was. Emmy’s babytooth. I dug deeper and there was another one. The day before I had seen the pain on Rick’s face as he realized I had thrown the teeth away from a box he had on the top of our dresser. I thought they had been lost when all the time I was carrying them around in my pocket. I can ‘t wait to wake Rick to tell him.

If you can read this blog you are definitely not on the bottom rung of the ladder of life. Like my mother would chide us when we refused to clean our plates at mealtime, “Clean that plate, there are plenty of people in China who have nothing to eat. Be thankful that you’re belly isn't running on empty.”

Friday, August 28, 2009


August 7, 2009
This is as good a starting place as any. Smack dab in the middle, or at least this is hoping we’re at that nadir where we can’t go any lower and the trip from here will only be up.
Let’s start out with the facts. We’re two men with a teenage daughter. We met in 1979 at a disco (that does not include our daughter). We moved in with each other in 1980, scared to death. We were both very traditional in our ideas about relationships, one plus one equals two not three or four. Our talents have always been on the creative side and our personal and business lives have been intertwined ever since. We set up our own business early on and became very successful in the industrial show business arena. In 1985 Rick decided to go back to school and complete a degree in interior design. Our business then floated from design and graphics (and eventually to the computer and video) on to sprout wings in interior and furniture design, more success, more work, more fun, more money. We had reached the pinnacle of our career, published work both nationally and internationally, an abundance of clients, the ability to give back with charity work, the repercussions and the benefits of a full life: a house in the country, vacations to Europe, a million dollar apartment, a boutique studio, friends, the adoption of our biggest joy: our daughter, and the worst business sense of anyone other than Annie Liebowitz. We jumped at every golden ring and hung on for all it was worth and that became our downfall. We weren’t good boy scouts (well we were gay – what do you expect) we didn’t plan ahead. Rick got sick. Not what you think, a combination of colitis, which had plagued him since childhood sending him into a clinical depression lasting for over two and a half years. Slowly all the blocks of our life began to tumble down. First it was the loss of clients in a field where networking is the key, then came the credit card debt built on a business that looked like a rising star, and then came the lose of all those things: selling the apartment we could no longer afford, losing the lease on the car, moving from cheaper apartment to cheaper apartment, IRA’s gone, then health insurance, now the house in the country being auctioned off in foreclosure, an eviction notice on the current apartment, the same on the studio, credit ratings so low even a mole couldn’t dig deep enough in the earth to find them. The complete shame.
Now it’s time to dust ourselves off and see if we can find a way out at the ages of 60 and 56. We’re doing this for ourselves but we’re doing this first for a little sweet thirteen year-old girl. The journey up begins here. We’ll keep you posted.