The Haunted House

i worked in a haunted house once. true story.

i don’t know that i believe in ghosts, but i do believe that their are forces in this word that people play with and they shouldn’t. my haunted story isn’t bout Casper and it’s an X-File, it’s just my experience in a, for lack of a better word, haunted house.

in Huntington there is this old Victorian home that stands on the main drag of town near the south end. driving by, you might turn you head to get a better glance, but you wouldn’t expect anything unusual to take place there. it was a Bed & Breakfast for years, but around the time i turned 15 years old, it became a Tea House Cafe/Giftshop. as we lived across the street from it, it was pretty easy for me to get a job there. thus began my experience at the Purviance House.

you need to understand the layout of the house before you can fully appreciate the drama that ensued, however, so you here go… It was a large, two-story Victorian style home that was build over 100 years ago. there was a servants staircase from the kitchen to the servants quarters on the second floor. the servants quarters were positioned above the dining room and parlor. the main staircase was a curved open staircase that led to the families rooms. there was also a wine cellar and a widow’s walk.

the Tea Room attracted guests from across the region. the food was good enough, the men and women, young and old all frequented the place. but it was very niche. our clientele was specific. people didn’t just swing by for a quick bite of lunch. they came in for an experience… with the atmosphere and the food and their friends. however…

one balmy afternoon i was serving tea to a table of two ladies. it was a table like any other, except one of the ladies kept looking at me like she had a question, but didn’t know how to ask it. finally, as i was giving them their bill, she grasped my arm and said, ” someone died in this house.” now, you can imagine that this statement threw me off balance a bit. i didn’t know the history of the house at this point. i just knew that it was pretty and that from time to time we offered tours. trying to quickly regain my composure and not flee in terror, i told that lady i would go and get one of the owners who happened to be a historian of the house. the owner came back with me to the table and proceeded to tell the ladies the tale of the Purviance House. i won’t go into the whole history of the home, but i will tell you this: there was a very wealthy family that lived there, they had servants and a son that died at a young age because he fell down the stairs.

the fact that the child died on the stairs wasn’t well known. however, i can’t tell you the number of times someone came to the Tea Room for the first time and stopped me in passing to ask me/tell me someone had died in the home. i also had more people than i can say stop on the exact stair that the child tripped on and say that they “can feel a ‘presence’ or a ‘spirit’ here.” i even had one lady tell me that she could feel a small child holding her hand while she stood on the step.

then there was the high school students tour we did one evening where one of the girls in the tour stopped on that same step and said that she heard a child crying.

we are just getting warmed up with this ghostly tale…

this house had doorways with windows above them (i’m sure you have seen the type). as this was a gift shop, we displayed teacups and saucers on the ledges above the door. the saucer rested again the window glass and the teacup sat in front to its mate saucer. there were probably five teacup sets in each window. to say that you couldn’t get the saucer out from behind the teacup without moving the teacup was an understatement. one morning, however, we came in to prep for lunch and in each doorway all the saucers were on the ground broken and all the teacups were still in place. freaky, right?

i should interrupt my tale here to tell you that the general consensus among those that “felt” and/or “sensed a “presence” in the house was that there were two spirits in the house: a good one and a bad one. the good one was the spirit of the child – playful and childlike. the bad one was a disgruntled servant that died in the house – not evil, just mean and conniving.

one evening after a dinner party we had to venture down to the wine cellar. there is no electricity in the wine cellar, so we lit a lantern with a glass chimney and headed downstairs. this isn’t a drafty cellar and there are no gusts of wind that surge through the space. also, the kerosene in the lantern wasn’t low. i’m sure you can see where this is going… we are in the wine cellar, putting things away when suddenly we could hear a wind in the chimney of the lantern and the flame went out.

then, and this is one of my favorites, we were cleaning up after a different dinner party. there were only three of us in the house and i was in the dining room and the two others were standing the in the two different doorways talking to me when we heard footsteps above us. light little running steps at first, the a heavy step like that of a man in boots, then the sound of moving furniture. we walked up the steps when the noise stopped to investigate… the furniture was moved from its original spot.

there are other tales that i could share about the haunted house that i worked in for many a summer, but those are the ones that stand out the most in my mind. i hope you enjoyed them. what do you believe? spirits… ghosts… entities?


Becoming a Fager

Josh had warned me that when I officially became a Fager, my life would change. He was right on the money.

Apparently, Fager’s are notorious for their bad luck; this negative karma runs the gamut of life, but is most prevalent in little things. Some might argue that the major accidents suffered by this family are part of this, but that’s a blog for another time. This blog shall focus solely on the subtle nuances of becoming a Fager and how I quickly discovered that my luck had changed.

My social security card has been Lynette Fager for a few weeks now, but I hadn’t had a chance to make it to the BMV to get my license changed. So, last Saturday morning I set off for the BMV early so that I would be first in line. Well, I wasn’t quite first, but I was darn close and I got to work with one of the nice people (which is definitely a bonus at the BMV!). I was pleased. Things were going smoothly and there appeared to be no foreseeable issues with me changing my name! Then, quite literally as she is typing my new name into her system…. all hell breaks loose, relatively speaking.

First there was an issue with my credit from the BMV. Because I had just updated the plates on my car, I had to amend that and therefore I received a refund. Well apparently there was some major issue with that and the computer program wasn’t giving me the dinero I deserved. Then the head-honcho comes over and starts to look at the program and can’t figure out the issue so she makes the person I was working with delete everything we had done thus far (over an hour worth of work because of the program issues that the lady had tried to figure out for herself first) and start over. So we had to redo all that work step-by-step with the head-honcho person looking over the lady’s shoulder, which slowed things down considerably. Then there was an issue with the photo machine not wanting to focus. Then there I we had to get stuff copied, which took forever because by this time the BMV was busy (the best laid plans of mice and men…). The best part is, during this entire process the lady I’m working with keeps saying, “I have been doing this for years and have NEVER had a problem like this before!” or “this is the first time this has ever happened to me!” 

Clearly I have officially become a Fager. Apparently the U.S. government’s seal of approval isn’t what make it official, nor is the seal on my marriage license… it’s the BMV that makes it official. Who knew?

All that to say, I have embraced Fager-dom. (*as the Jaws theme song plays softly in the background…and a Sean Connory voice-over, only female*) I will stand my ground against Lady Luck and  laugh in her face! I shall be strong and courageous and learn to embrace this change in luck with a devil-may-care attitude. I will create my own luck and change the fate of future Fager’s that they may know that bad luck does not reign!

Eh, or I will just find it funny and blog about it. Sounds good to me!

A New Use for Coffee

A New Use for Coffee.

There is a Dutch Proverb that says…

Coffee has two virtues:  it is wet and warm.  

Now we can add a furniture beautification supplement to that list.

I love stumbling on a new use for an old product! I always hated staining stuff because it smells bad, it’s messy, and it’s just darn annoying. But this, this, I can deal with!


I Love Books

I have an obsession with good literature. In high school, while my fellow students were moaning and groaning at the reading, (Rory Gilmore said it best so I’m going to quote her from the “Those Are Strings, Pinocchio” episode, but I will add to it)

“…I hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, created Frankenstein with the help of a mad scientist, followed the white rabbit with Alice, collected souls with Chichikov, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, ventured threw New York City with Holden Caulfield, died with my Romeo, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, pigmented my skin John Howard Griffin, pondered life with Siddhartha, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina, fought Socs with Ponyboy, wore a red “A” with Hester Prynne, hid my mad wife in Mr. Rochester’s attic, spoke newspeak after the global atomic war of 1984, and strolled down Swann’s Way.”

There is something about a good book that just sooths the soul! This small list merely scratches my book-lovin’ surface! Whether I liked the book or not, I always appreciated the rode it took me on…

I think this love of reading and book is dying, or maybe it has always been selective. What I mean is, maybe literature-lovers have always been few and far between, and their waning has just been thrown into sharp contrast with the advent of technology that places this dislike under a microscope. Whichever it is, it’s sad. I wish I could impart on all those around me that joy I feel in opening up a book, in loosing myself in the pages and the characters!

Alas, if I stand alone, then I stand alone. I will continue to enjoy my walk down Swann’s Way and through the gates of my Secret Garden. I will embrace the characters that are so painfully real to me that it’s hard to close the book for fear that they will be gone before I’m able to return…

Oh, this article goes so well with this post! Enjoy!

My Movie Casting…

So, before you read the rest of this blog, you have to first at least SKIM this article about comic book movie castings that shouldn’t have worked, but did.

Done reading? Okay good, now you may continue!

I have just enough comic book knowledge to be dangerous. When Josh and I see a comic book related movie, I’m one of those people that makes the sudden obscure comment that makes him say, “wow, Babe, I can’t believe you knew that” and then five minutes later he has to remind me who Silver Surfer is… Yeah, I’m one of those people.

I do, however, love a good comic book movie and though I will always and forever be partial to Batman (the greatest super hero in the world!), there have been others that I have truly enjoyed. However, after reading this article, I was forced to ponder my thoughts about the casting.

I was too young to have much thought about Michael Keaton as my beloved Batman, but Christian Bale was perfect (in my humble opinion). I was, however, surpassed but more than thrilled with the casting of Heath Ledger. He was a star whose light shined only briefly (wow, I’m so cheesy).

Why so serious?

The rest of the castings were a bit negligible to me, but that could be because I’m very biased toward the Caped Crusader. However, I thought the article was entertaining.


How a Desk Fan (Probably) Save His Life and other life lessons…

I went to Ohio this past weekend for a baby shower (not mine, but a dear friends!), so Josh, my wonderful husband, was home alone and left to fend for himself.

I received a text on Sunday morning however, that asked an odd question: Does the apartment complex have a weekend/emergency number? Hmmm… Odd, why would he need that number, I mused. I texted back with a response and asked that very question: why do you need to know? His response was: Can you talk?

Instantly I’m worried. I call him back momentarily and he proceeds to explain his tale, which, I might add, taught me instantly what “retroactive worry” is (more on this later!).

His story went something like this…

Apparently he missed me a least a little bit, because he cleaned (and I mean scrubbed!) the house. His cleaning, however, led him to the kitchen where the stovetop was in desperate need of a cleaning. Bless his heart, he cleaned it! He scrubbed the top of its white ceramic surface and he wiped clean the panel where the on/off knobs are and… well, apparently somehow during this battle between Josh and the lords of the grime, he turned the gas stove to a position somewhere between “on” and “light.”

Now those of you with a gas stove are groaning because you know that this means that a small amount of gas began leaking from the burning into the previously unpolluted air and fill our apartment. Two key things come into play here; 1.) Josh cleaned the kitchen late at night so he went to be right after he got done, and 2.) our apartment is tiny, so it took no time at all for the gas to fill the place.

As you may guess, he slept through the entire night without realizing that he was slowly being poisoned! It is quite possible that he could be dead if he wasn’t an exceedingly warm-blooded individual and by that I mean that he was a fan blowing on his face all night, every night.

Let me wrap up this story before I tell you the life lessons learned: He woke up the next day, realized what happened and proceeded to air out the apartment with open windows, doors and fans. By the time I arrived home on Sunday evening the place spelled almost completely normal and he was in good spirits and felt fine! Praise God!

But this is what I learned…

Lesson #1

Those little quirks like him being so warm that he has to sleep with a fan blowing on him all night (freezing me) is probably the only reason he is alive. How cool is that the GOD knew that in advance! Josh was planning on sleeping on the couch that night because I wasn’t home it it’s hard for either of us to sleep in bed when the other isn’t there. Had he slept on the couch, he may not have survived because he would have left the air on and not used the fan! How cool is it that God knew all that in advance and planned each aspect accordingly!

Lesson #2

I worry. A lot. So much in fact that I retroactively worried about Josh from the time I talked to him on the phone Sunday morning until I got home that evening and for a few hours after! I’m exceedingly bad at trusting God and his infinite wisdom to protect my family and me… This is an aspect of my life that I’m working on, but then Satan throws a monkey wrench like this into my efforts and I get all worried again! God is bigger than me and Josh and our lives are in His hands whether I like it or not!

Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Movie

I take issue with books that are turned into movies. I don’t mind the concept because, quick frankly, it’s wonderful to have a favorite story come to life! I take issue with Hollywood’s rendition of books. Nine times out of 10 there is absolutely nothing wrong with the book, yet for some incomprehensible reason, the powers-that-be make some sort of change that screws it up!

Do you need examples? Good, I’m glad you requested examples because I have a few right here!

Harry Potter and the… pick one, any one!
I have learned that when watching Harry Potter movies, I must forget the books. There is enough difference in each movie from the book that I can’t appreciate the movie properly if the book is still in my mind. I enjoy the movies, I enjoy the books… but I have an issue with the movies changing the storyline for no reason. One example of many options is how Prof. Umbridge discovers the Room of Requirement in Book 5! Her means of discovering the room completely ruins the room’s magic! Oh, and there is no Peeves! That is just wrong! Oh, and in Book 2, they left out the potions room in the series of tests to find the philosopher’s stone! That undermines Hermione’s brilliance and helpfulness and that series of events. Trust me, if I get on this soapbox, it won’t end anytime soon so it’s best if I stop now.

Need another example? Good!

The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically the first two…
I could make a myriad of arguments about both of them, but I want to spend the greatest amount of time on the second, Prince Caspian, or as I like to call it, The Epically Stupid Tragedy. I have never hated a movie so much in my life! I saw this movie in theaters and found myself glad that my group was basically alone in the theater because I was (literally) yelling at the screen. When, I ask you, in the book did the slaughter of hundreds of Narnia’s take place? Where was the ACTUAL story C.S. Lewis penned? Why did the stupid series of love stories have to take place? Why, oh WHY, did the creators of the film (oops, sorry, “movie”… the term “film” is saved for good creations) feel the need to destroy High King Peter’s character and make him into something he isn’t? Again… this is a soapbox that only raises my blood pressure.

Need one more? I’ve got one!

The Golden Compass 
This one is a bit interesting because though I don’t care for how they changed the film, I’m mildly upset that they did it.  This book is controversial enough that if they hadn’t changed the story a bit for the movie, a lot of people might not have enjoyed it or even given it a chance. My complaint about the movie adaptation is that it makes it extremely difficult for Hollywood to make the next two parts of the story into movies with any sort of accuracy. Let’s be honest, this movie took out all the anti-church references which is probably best for viewing, but it does change the story a great deal. It also tweaked the storyline in the characters decisions and choices. This type of change… well, it bugs me a lot.

I’m sure there are more examples. Do you have any? I’m serious. I actually would like other examples!

Life Lessons

I’m not a gamer. Never have be, never will be! And this isn’t because I disapprove of gaming or because I think that they are evil, it’s because I can’t figure out how to manipulate the dual joysticks in Halo so that i can turn my player and turn my player’s head at the same time! Oh, and I play “inverted” and apparently that’s weird. I can play three games: Lego Star Wars, Lego Harry Potter, and Rock Band (I play bass). That is the extent of my talents with any game system.

But I digress as my mad skills aren’t the point of this post… The point is this. This entertaining Game Informer article made ME, a non-gamer, laugh on more than one occasion! I admit, I have a mildly skewed perspective as I married a gamer so some of the references I understand because of him!

Let’s be honest, hundreds of thousands of kids play video games DAILY and though I don’t think that they are as bad as some say they are, I do find the lessons they teach highly entertaining when put into perspective! Like…

Mass murder is fine as long as you’re one of the good guys.
Seriously! How true is this in ANY video game!?

If you’re shot, hide in an isolated place and ignore your wound. It’ll heal in seconds as long as there’s no incoming gunfire.
Honestly, this one is just brilliant! Just give your wound enough time and poof! you’re healed! It’s a Christmas miracle!

Most bosses go down in three hits. Remember that the next time you’re having a tough day at work!
So concise and true! This is pretty accurate in almost any game!

And this one requires a photo because I actually know which game this is…

You don’t win an animal’s affection through care and nurturing. You win it through violence.
And these are just a taste of what this delightful Game Informer article has to offer *sigh* I never though I would say this, but this is quite entertaining!