Monday, October 24, 2005
Weekend at Lizzie's, Part II
Where was I? Oh, yes, about to leave my children at the mercy of my mother-in-law.

So we had dinner Friday night in Boston, and then headed to Fall River with what should have been plenty of time to get us there by 8:00, in order to catch the tour of the house. But between bad weather and a few wrong turns, and baffling directions at the end, we pulled up to the Lizzie Borden House at about 8:30. The had held the tour for us, or simply gotten distracted chatting, but in any case there was just enough time for us to drop off our bags and catch the start of the tour. Which was given by Eleanor Thimbault - if you've ever seen a TV show on the Lizzie Borden house, she's the brunette who appears in many of them. She's quite compelling, and very willing to chat - our 45-minute tour took 2 full hours!

There was quite the cast of characters in our little tour group, including a gentleman from North Carolina who takes himself and his ghost-hunting very seriously, though it was occasionally difficult for me to do the same given his bib overalls and tendency to return to the topic of vortexes and to take 700 digital photos per room just in case he could catch a vortex on camera. Click, flash, peek, erase. Click, flash, peek, erase. There were a handful of other couples, each of whom was interesting in a hey-why-don't-you-go-stand-over-THERE sort of way.

After the tour, we just sort of hung out for a while, everyone chatting a bit but mostly listening to our friend from North Carolina - we were calling him Dwite because calling him Intense and Creepy seemed rude - and then we went to bed. That first night, Willem and I stayed in the John Morse room, where Abby Borden was killed, but I'm mostly happy and a little disappointed to report that there was absolutely no paranormal activity at all that night.

We spent Saturday doing totally grown-up things, like driving around lost without feeling pressured or worried about potty breaks, and hanging out in a coffee house for five hours because we both had work to do. It was so neat to just sit, drink hot things without moving them away from the edge of the table, chat with my husband without being interrupted, do work without being interrupted, and generally do what I imagine people in their late 20s do when they didn't start having kids at 22.

Not that I, for one little second, regret having Emily when we did. But it was a neat little peak into the other side of things. I think I like my way better, interruptions and bodily fluids and all.

We thought about hitting Fall River's "Factory of Terror" haunted house, but decided that we were already paying to stay in a supposedly haunted house, and we didn't feel like standing in line with 500 18-year-olds for an hour. Instead we wandered back to the house, I heard a ghost, we took a walk around the neighborhood and then watched a movie.

"Evil Dead 2," of course. What else?

Though I didn't find it to be all that scary. More just messy and bizarre.

Hmm. Not unlike childbirth, in some ways.

We also tried to call home to check in that night, which was more of a production than I'd expected. First, our home phone wasn't working due to a problem on Verizon's end, so we had to call my mother-in-law's cell phone. And second, we couldn't use our own cell phone because reception in that house is WEIRD. You could literally go from 4 bars to 0 bars by moving six inches in any direction.

The best part about that night was, we had the whole house to ourselves, except for the owner, Lee Ann. Six other people cancelled at the last minute, apparently due to illness. Tell you what, famous grisly murder sites are just a tad creepier when you're there alone.

Around 8:00 or so, I was standing in the front hallway reading through the guest book, and Willem was in the bathroom directly upstairs from me - no way he could have left without my hearing, the door is loud and the floors creak, and he thumps along like he's trying to scare away predators anyway. I wasn't sure where Lee Ann was, so when I heard footsteps coming down the back stairs I didn't think anything of it. I didn't see anyone, but that wouldn't have been too weird either, since you can go straight from the 2nd floor down to the basement without coming into my line of sight there. I just figured LeeAnne had been upstairs for something and then was going to the office down in the basement.

But then a few seconds later, she popped her head out from the dining room to see if anyone was there. I could see both doors for the dining room, so there's no way she could have snuck in and then peeked out again, and Willem came out - loudly - a few seconds later, so it weren't him. Very wild stuff!

I was, and still am, extraordinarily skeptical about the whole idea of ghosts, but having someone else hear it with me definitely helped make it all seem a little more real.

Sunday, we stopped by Lizzie's grave and then headed home. It was a fabulous weekend to step out of our normal lives, and it was fabulous to come home feeling refreshed, remembering why it was I married this guy in the first place, and ready to step back into our normal lives again. Whatever "normal" means.