A Big Move!

Too long since my last post, and that’s because we have been swamped with MOVING INTO A NEW HOUSE!  Jeanne, Max and Maggie and I are now living in Williamston, Michigan.  Several reasons for the move, like being closer to Jeanne’s parents, looking to downsize now that the kids are both headed to college, wanting a smaller yard to take care of, stuff like that.

It’s been a crazy couple months – some of it I chronicled here – got back from Italy, got sick for a few weeks (man, that bronchial infection kicked my BUTT!), slowly got better from that, then got super busy packing a house we’d lived in for 17 years (while trying to PURGE also!), and moving, and now we are slowly unpacking and making our little house feel like home!

I am loving being able to walk to work.  After working in Williamston for 14 years it already felt like home, but now walking to and from work, I’m falling in love with it even more.  Crossing the bridge over the Red Cedar River and passing by McCormick park with all of its carved-tree artwork, kids playing in the giant play area, it’s a beautiful place.

The kids seem to be enjoying the new house, even though it won’t be long before they are both moved into their college dorm rooms and Jeanne and I are gleefully selling their stuff and turning their rooms into offices and exercise rooms (HAH!  Kidding!)

So, right now we’re all deep into “managing change”, and adjusting to this new phase of life, and enjoying it!  Lots of good things happening, INCLUDING the kids moving to college and diving into THAT big change in their lives.  (Maggie’s been going to school for two years now, but this will be her first time living in the dorms. Max will be in college for the first time this fall!  Both kids lived away from home, of course, for a year, when they did their exchange programs in Finland and Germany, but this will be a cool new experience for them.  I’m excited for them!)

For now, though, we’re still digging out from boxes that need unpacking.  We “downsized” on purpose, and purged a bunch of stuff before moving, but as we unpack, I think another purge may be due!

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The Little Things

The hugs my kids come in and give me, because they know I’ll want them to, when they’re leaving early in the morning and I’m still sleeping. 

As I stand at the kitchen sink, in the cool morning air coming in through the window, the steam that curls up off of my coffee spoon after I’ve stirred my first cup. 

Sitting in the screened in back porch, listening to the rain fall outside in the dark, with the Tigers on quietly in the radio next to me. 

That moment right before a play, when the house lights dim and you know things are about to begin. 

The way our dog FlipFlop will walk around the house carrying as many socks in his mouth as he can find. 

That moment of excitement, despite the fact that I own all of them and could play them at any time, when one of Prince’s songs comes on the radio when I’m driving. 

Watching and listening to patrons file out after a play, hearing them excitedly share their favorite moments from the show, and knowing that we got them. 

The little conversations my wife has, in her sleep, to the people in her dreams. 

The text-message thread between my brother and sister and I that keeps me laughing every day. 

The little things, almost every day, that carry my thoughts back to the many, many alternate-reality-like dreams I had while in my coma. 

Late at night, the gentle susurrus, the murmuring of the wind through all of the trees in our yard. 

So many little things, every day, that it’s easy to forget about. So much time listening to the negative, or looking for the big event, when everyday is filled with things to be grateful for. 

The desire to recognize more of these moments each day. 

Okay 2014, let’s shape up a little.

 

It’s been a while since I wrote on here about the adventures of Wheezy McCoughCough, The Bronchospasm Kid.
(I think the last couple times were here and  here, if you’re interested.)

Some of that is because I didn’t feel like using this site to complain about health issues, and some is, well, I guess that’s really the reason!  The last few weeks have been a challenge, though, and I feel like it’s worth writing about.

Just after Christmas, I was hit by another bout of breathing issues, (wheezing, coughing, bronchospasm, fever, chills, shortness of breath) which knocked me flat on my behind for a while and, unfortunately, kept me there more or less since then.  I’ve had better and worse days, and managed to fit in a fair amount of work, but the last two weeks have been particularly hard.  I’ve felt sort of like this:

hurlinggnome

 

 

Well, I guess I haven’t felt exactly like that, since that’s a fictitional gnome hurling rainbows.  I pretty much just wanted to use that image, because no matter how lousy I’m feeling it cheers me up a little.
(And the video of it is even funnier, if you’re interested!)

My doctors, thankfully, are working diligently with me and I am eternally grateful for the awesomeness of my wife, kids and co-workers who have helped me.

It’s very hard for me to lay on the couch taking medicines wondering why I can’t breathe and not be doing something at the theatre.  I dunno, I’m a little bit of a control freak, I like to make sure things are happening, but I also love my job.  At the same time, if I’m not there I feel like I’m letting people down.  Thankfully, my friends at the theatre can certainly run the thing without me for a while.  If that wasn’t the case, we would’ve been doing something wrong these last 8 years.  But at the same time, I don’t like feeling useless, or like I’m putting the burden of what I should be doing to earn my paycheck on everyone else.

Still, the lesson here is “When your doctor tells you to rest, and your wife tells you to rest, and your coworkers and friends tell you to rest… You should shut up and rest.”

So, I will.  And I’ll be grateful for the amazing people and opportunities in my life… and I’ll hope that the cure to whatever this medical mystery tour I’ve been on the last year presents itself soon.

In the meantime, everybody have a great start to 2014, and take care of your health!  🙂

 

A Nice Week – And A Moment Of Thanks

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” -Phillip Pullman

This Thursday, we had our first preview performance for The Woman In Black at Williamston Theatre.

I got up onstage just before the show to make the pre-show announcements, (“Hi! I’m Tony, turn off your cell phones, thanks for being here, turn off your cell phones, we have some folks to thank for their support, and if you have a cell phone please turn it off.”)

As I was talking, I said “Welcome to the first performance of our 8th Season!” and the packed house erupted into applause, cutting me off.  I smiled and looked out into the crowd, making eye contact with a lot of people who I’ve come to know over the life of Williamston Theatre.  (We have a lot of patrons who LOVE coming to the first couple of previews, they love the talk-back after the show: knowing that we’re still in rehearsals they’re participating in what is still a work-in-progress, and they enjoy the fact that they may contribute to what the piece ultimately becomes.  We love them!)

So, I’m standing, seeing all of these people applaud and cheer, and had a moment.  Just a quick “Wow” moment, but it was there.  One of those lump-in-the-throat,  I had better talk now because if I don’t I may not be able to in a minute kinda moments, because I was again reminded of how lucky we’ve been.

Starting our 8th Season.  Wow.  42 productions – well, 43 now!  Lessons learned.  Friends made.  Families made.  Hundreds of jobs provided to artists.  Many awards won.  And – most importantly – lots of stories told that have moved people.

“People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith–faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.” -Annette Simmons

So many people to thank for making all of that happen – board members, actors, volunteers, my 3 co-founders John and Chris and Emily, our families, donors, our apprentices, our stage managers, designers, directors, the MSU theatre department, Williamston business owners, the list goes on and on.

We’re not done growing, I hope – and in fact as the applause faded and I spoke, I laughed and said “Thank you – we’re as amazed as you are that we’re still here!” because in many ways, we are!

So, this post is a Thank You.  And an acknowledgement of the huge amount of hard work and faith and dedication that so many people have given to help keep a dream going.  It’s also a reminder, too : Sometimes, in the middle of all of the day-to-day running and grinding and putting-out-metaphorical-fires, take a minute… take a minute to look around and appreciate where you are, who helped get you there, because it’s important.  Remembering why you do what you do, why all the hard work is worth it – no matter what it is you do – that not only makes life worth living… it keeps it beautiful.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” -Joan Didion

Another Milestone

We completed our 7th Season at Williamston Theatre on Sunday!

Over 7 years and 42 productions ago, I wrote this post!

It’s amazing how that all seems like it was BOTH yesterday, and a million years ago!

Now, we continue moving forward:

  • There are construction workers downstairs beginning renovations to our seating risers, and construction on a new entrance into the theatre from the back of the house, so we can finally bring actors in from all 4 corners of the room!
  • In addition, season 7 was our most profitable and well-attended season yet.
  • In a couple of weeks we have our Season Launch Party for Season 8!
  • This weekend the Lansing City Pulse had their theatre awards ceremony, where WT won 9 Pulsar awards!
  • We also won several awards from the Lansing State Journal, and are nominated for several by the Rogue Critic
  • Tonight we’ll be attending the Wilde Awards, the state-wide theatre award ceremony, where WT is nominated for 10 awards! Whether we win or lose in any of these awards isn’t really the point, it’s nice to be nominated and to be in the company of some of the finest artists in the state.

All in all – it’s been a pretty great 7 seasons, and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who had a part in getting us where we are: Donors, audiences, volunteers, actors, designers, directors, writers, crew…  we’re very lucky to have the support of so many wonderful people.

So, a couple of weeks for renovations, planning and preparation, and then it’s time to start rehearsals for another show!

First, though, first I’m going to take a sec and look back at these last seven years, and enjoy the view.  Lots of good things, lots of mistakes, lots of lessons, lots of good theatre, and lots of wonderful people.  Thank you, everyone who was involved, for everything you’ve done!