Tag Archives: Dreaming

Whatever will be, will be; or whatever was, was; forget about it

When I read recently in Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes Please that one of the acts her improv troupe performed began with asking an audience member about his day and then acting out how his dreams might look, I thought that made sense. My dreams are mostly nonsensical recombinations of my day. I only wish Amy Poehler was involved because I might laugh more in my sleep.

Instead, I woke up (I typed work up first — how Freudian) the other morning in a cold sweat. Actually, it was a hot sweat. A tiny hot flash. I had been dreaming about being editor in chief of the University Chronicle, which I was once, 30 years ago when I was a fifth-year senior at college. In my dream, I had completely missed publishing the first issue of the fall term. I was in charge, and I missed the reporters meeting, I missed editing any of the stories, I missed laying out the pages. Everything. Poof. Just forgot. I showed up for the second issue, suddenly mortified I had blanked on the first issue. This is terrible, absolutely terrible, I thought. I blew it completely.

I vaguely recall the ads were still published. That’s how it was in the newspaper biz at the time. The news side had nothing to do with selling or creating ads. I would just show up on the appointed afternoon, and the ads would be designed and placed on the pages. Big white holes between the ads would be waiting for our stellar news copy to fill them.

The ads must go on. Without or without the news, I guess. (Sort of like my Facebook newsfeed some days.)

Where did that flashback come from? I’ve read that dreams like that are metaphors for one’s current life. When I was editor of the college paper, there was a lot of deadline pressure and a lot of stress managing people (they mostly managed themselves, let’s be honest, but I was stressed about it in any case). Something about my current life had my subconscious reliving that pressure and stress. And failing miserably, I guess, since I missed an entire issue of the paper.

My life is a less pressure packed nowadays. Or maybe I’m just more accepting about my ability to control anything. But I guess I need to bring my subconscious up to speed.

Note to subconscious: You’re not as important as you might think. Whatever you miss that seems so urgent and earth-shattering is probably not that important either.

Que sera sera.

Lofty fantasies

As I was sorting through my belongings a few weeks ago, purging stuff in preparation to put our house on the market, I ran across a diary I kept 10 years ago.

I was living a tumultuous year then. One so ridiculous and unbelievable, I wrote a book about it. But to summarize, it was the year I moved out of the house I shared with my husband of 16 years; eventually, we divorced.

Among the entries in that diary I found was a page where I described in list form (of course) how I envisioned the rest of my life. What is important to know is that I made this list when I was no longer coupled and before I met the man to whom I am now married, so theoretically, this list reflected my true wishes, unaffected by anyone else with whom I might be living.

Near the top of the list, I wrote that I wanted to live in a loft in the city.

If you’ve been following this blog with any attention at all, you know that didn’t happen. I currently am living in a big box of a house in the suburbs. It has 9-foot ceilings and what some might consider an open floor plan, but no one would consider it loft-like.

But for a few weeks this fall, my Beloved and I entertained some “lofty” ideas.

We came this close (I’m holding my thumb and index finger a quarter inch apart) to buying this:

630main

Yup, it’s exactly what it looks like: A 125-year-old church.

It was a smokin’ deal, and by hot I mean it would have cost less than most cars. Let’s just say, it needed a lot of work, otherwise known as a blank canvas to take on every Pinterest dream associated with “loft,” “barn,” “converted church” and “open floor plan.” And the church was located in the center of, well, I think technically it’s a village, so “city” is a stretch, but to be fair, it was within walking distance of the post office, hardware store and local watering hole.

I had visions of turning this:

lofty-goals

… into something like this:

convertedchurchmodel

This is a picture of a church converted into a single-family home in London. Sale price last year? $15.5 million.

To be completely honest, we weren’t going to renovate a $15,000 dump into a $15 million home, but you get the vision for which we were shooting. We went as far as putting in a offer for the church, measuring every room, shopping for lighting and furniture, and meeting with the building inspector, painters, plasterers, electricians and plumbers.

We were what they call in the trade, “serious buyers.”

For about three weeks, I doodled floor plans, planned the perfect kitchen under churchy-looking windows, weighs the pros and cons of a master bedroom in the choir loft and picked out chandeliers Joanna Gaines herself might have chosen.

We also had parts of the flooring tested for asbestos.

Asbestos, as you may or may not know, was commonly used in building materials in the mid-20th century. And it causes cancer.

The church flooring is full of the stuff. And with all the other repairs and renovations required to make the church our dream home (not to mention the dirty work and sore muscles), we couldn’t afford to asbestos abatement, too (or cancer).

So we rescinded our offer.

I was disappointed, no denying it. But for about three weeks, it was like the time between buying a lottery ticket and learning you’d lost. Those 48 hours when you might win $400 million dollars is filled with extravagant fantasies, and fantasizing is fun. So I was like, “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” you know the drill.

My Beloved now is dreaming of all kinds of other living accommodations and shopping for them with online searches of various precision. As he trips across the internet, he frequently shows me other churches on the market.

But then he’s also talking about building a pole barn in the middle of nowhere.

So I’m not sure I’ll ever get that loft in the city.

But it was fun to dream about it.

Fantasy or nightmare?

An attractive woman, old enough to have an air of sophistication about her but young enough to lack the self-confidence maturity affords, sat at a modern dining room table with a handsome man who consorted with royalty, the likes of Prince William and Prince Harry.

The man had the rugged good looks of Middle Eastern or Asian heritage, rather like Genghis Khan with a good stylist and a tuxedo. This was the second night in row the woman had dined with the man, surrounded by other minor celebs in glittery fashions. The woman knew this would be the last chance to make a good impression on this desirable bachelor.

The dining room was part of the penthouse suite on the top floor of a modern skyscraper in Tokyo. The haute cuisine was served with multiple pieces of china and silverware, and one of the courses included a flash of bright orange sauce, artisticially swirled on the plate.

After dinner, while sipping wine and admiring the twinkling lights of the metropolis as fellow party goers milled about the windowed room, the woman noticed a wall of brown dust squeezing between and through the high-rises across the street.

I was the woman.

Nausea overwhelmed me like a punch to the gut when I realized what first looked like dust was a colossal wave of dirty water: A tsunami was about to crash into the building in which I stood. There was nowhere to run. I braced for impact.

The floor swayed. I was horrified to see buildings all around crumpling like they were assembled with bricks but no plaster. Building after building fell like dominoes in the crowded city.

My building remained standing.

Suddenly, well-dressed maids and maintenance workers were in the room, picking up debris, scrubbing floors, washing windows. I was appalled by their misdirected energy. While the city lay in ruins, the hotel workers were worried their high-profile guests might be inconvenienced.

And then I woke up.