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The Poltergeists of Spring

They’ve had plenty of fun upsetting our order of things

Inkwell Xwords puzzler Ben Tausig with his newborn son Julius.

Halloween is known for ghosts and spirits, but it’s this time of year I expect poltergeists smashing onto the scene to upset the order of things. Washers spin like whirling dervishes, cups and spoons and cartons of cream go missing, auto windows and windshield wipers stick motionless.
    Naturally, that’s the time we chose for Bay Weekly to move our office.
    The transfer was swift and sweet; Run Moving & Storage had our boxes swathed in tape and plastic, lugged, trucked and transported across the racetrack of Forest Drive in a bit over two hours.
    Our 15-ton dumpster would have overflowed had not resourceful recyclers removed some of the heavy boxes we’d used so briefly. Former intern Aries Matheos also went dumpster diving, and she and her mother stuffed their SUV with file cabinets, rickety Bay Weekly newspaper racks and an old paper cutter. Even so, Patuxent Roll-Off had a full load to cart away when it was time to retrieve the dumpster. Just as full was our Abitibi Paper Retriever, stuffed to the brim with almost 20 years worth of dank, musty, back issues. Finally, Annmarie Garden’s Robin Strayer horsed our huge old flat file cabinet into her truck, along with a dozen boxes of assorted stuff for repurposing in ArtLab.
    Well before dark on Friday, May 31 we were sitting at our desks in the new office and could turn on our computers. True, Verizon failed to set up our phones. True, we had to go outside for cell reception. But we’ve got a garden, with a picnic table, to call from.
    We were smiling.
    Tuesday morning wiped the smiles off our faces. Verizon gave us the multi-circuit runaround but no phone or Internet service. We got the paper of May 31 out on a borrowed wi-fi Internet connection and phone calls in the garden.
    (If you’ve called or emailed and we haven’t replied, that’s likely why, so please try again.)
    All that week, the poltergeists were grinning like Cheshire cats.
    Grinning and stirring up bigger changes in the lives of many of the people Bay Weeky has come to depend on.
    Husband Bill Lambrecht endured wisdom-tooth removal, which was nothing compared to the joint-replacement surgery from which columnist Steve Carr is recovering.
    Diana Beechener has laid down the burden of calendar after five years. She’s continuing as Bay Weekly’s movie reviewer, adding prestige to her byline now that she’s earned membership in the prestigious Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (see Jesse Furgurson’s story on page 4 of this week’s paper).
    To keep 8 Days a Week coming your way, Diana is teaching summer intern Furgurson the complex ropes as calendar writer. Jesse — who has written four stories plus doubling as a moving hand in his first three weeks with us — is learning quickly that around here you don’t get much time to rest on your laurels. You won’t have to do calendar as long as Diana did, I keep promising him, because you go back to college in August.
    To keep that promise, I am reading resumes and peppering potential new, entry-level writers with litanies of questions.
    Margaret Tearman, whose stories have filled our pages and given you good reading since 2005, is also on the move. For many of those years, I’ve depended on her insight to enrich our coverage; hence the title of contributing editor. Now Margaret is refocusing her creative energies on another of her many talents, plants and landscaping. You’ll run into her at Greenstreet Gardens.
    Nobody life’s been more upended by the poltergeists of spring than puzzler Ben Tausig, the guy who torments you with each week’s Inkwell Xwords.
    He clued me in to the big news with the subtle hints he dropped in the titles of his recent puzzles: May 17, A New Man; May 24, Shower Scene; and May 31, Labor Movement.
    Foreknowledge, however, didn’t prepare the Tausig for the dislocation of order caused by Julius Roth Tausig, who entered this world May 31, at 5:24pm, weighing six pounds, seven ounces.
    Ben and wife Serena send this report of their first 15 hours of parenthood: “This may be cloyingly quaint in a few days, but last night we were so excited to hang out with him that the constant wake-ups were welcome, despite our world-class fatigue.”
    Along with this week’s Xwords, Heads of Planning, Ben sent this picture.
    I’m hoping the poltergeists of spring can’t top Julius.