Now that we have our flight and hotel info, I did a little mapping and found that the airport is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Buffalo. As with most major cities, the big box stores tend to be outside immediate city limits. So what I'd like to do once I've landed is get either an Uber or a rental car, stop at a Target outside of town for any necessities and groceries, then proceed to check in and unpack.
This would potentially happen with my new buddy Yael, our female trumpet player.
This chica has never been on a tour before, plus she's only 21 years old!
Obviously she's gonna be an adult and capable of handling herself on this adventure. However at 21, she can't just off and rent a car when she needs one. She might not have a lot of savings to afford Uber rides before we've even gotten a paycheck. And practicalities aside, I selfishly want to be a helping hand and a reassuring presence for her on her first experience with touring. She may know a lot already, but if she has questions or needs help with something, I want to be there for her.
Not surprisingly, this is because when I was young and vibrating with excitement for my first gigs there were wonderful people who helped me along the way. And I remember that, I know what a treasure it was to have such people in my life, who took it upon themselves to protect my starry-eyed enthusiasm from the ugly attitudes of many jaded, road-weary touring musicians. These were the people who showed me where to find the best food in each town; or how to get in with the roadies; or how to get all around town and back in time for the preshow with only a few bucks in your pocket.
I owe so much to those people, many of whom are still in my life, still incredible mentors and friends.
It makes me excited and happy that I might be able to be that person for someone else.
On Friday, work was work.
After work, I practiced, trombone and steno.
On Saturday, work was incredibly slow. So I reached into my PTO wallet and paid to leave early. Only an hour.
I'm almost out of my favorite hand sanitizer ("kitchen lemon" from B&BW) so I used some of my extra time to brave that godawful store and buy some more.
Back home, I found some N95 masks waiting for me.
Did you know they're available to the public now?
Regular cloth and disposable masks are fine for everyday, but I thought it would be good to have some of these exclusively for flying, public transportation, or any situation where I'd find myself in a crowd of strangers while on tour.
For dinner I wanted to make us some pasta chips. Jameson and I had seen these on TikTok, apparently they're popular and also easy to make. You just boil a pasta of your choice (ideally something easy to eat like a chip) then toss it in olive oil, whatever seasoning and spices that you like, and/or cheese. Into the air fryer at 350 for 12-15 minutes until crisp.
I went with a basic Italian-style, seasoned with Italian herb blend, salt, pepper, and parmigiano reggiano.
Served with marinara for dipping.
They were extremely crunchy...pasta is thicker than most chips after all.
We both liked them, but honestly, they're not that special.
They give the impression of really stale, thick chips, despite tasting pretty nice.
Sunday was a chill day at work, I got to caption a bit due to call volume.
Jameson was out with friends for the evening, so I had dinner by myself, vacuumed, cleaned out my car a bit, pruned some of the plants in the pollinator garden, and practiced steno.
I'm feeling really disheartened about steno lately. It seems like I'm just trapped in this class forever.
It's now going to be two semesters in the 100wpm class, double the time you're supposed to take at any given speed.
But I don't know what I can do. I need to practice at least a little trombone each day to maintain my embouchure, and there's just no more time available in my day, I have to take it out of my steno practice time. And I only have a few tests left at 100wpm, and my teacher says I need to complete more exercises in order to get more tests opened up. Which I'm trying to do, but it's such a slow crawl with only an hour or two available each day to practice.
I don't know whether it's better to stop school and come back, or keep trying to at least maintain where I'm at. It's frustrating and it's stressing me out to be paying $$$ per month and making no progress.
Work was boring, nothing really new except HR gave me a t-shirt because I ordered one several months ago and never got it.
Nice of them! It wasn't their fault it was lost.
After work I came home and ate fast while Jameson packed up for his first rehearsal of RENT.
I'm excited for him!! Hopefully he'll have a great time and do a great job directing this show.
It would be really great to see him enjoy the arts again, and have his passion reignited.
I had steno class, which was fine. I was supposed to call the "dean" (I don't know her actual title...founder of the school I guess!) to ask her advice but completely forgot because I launched right into packing for the trip to my aunt's. By the time I was done with that it was 9pm, so I decided to call tomorrow once I'm on the road. Big mistake, because I spent half the night tossing and turning and having this pending conversation in my head. It's bothering me a lot, I guess.
Jameson even suggested that maybe it's time to give steno up for a while. Which I've thought about, too. Maybe this little practice is truly not enough. Even with more time available to my while I'm on tour, I'll still be learning to use a new machine, and that will set me back AGAIN. I just don't know.
Tuesday was a WFH day. I had been reassured several times that I would NOT get called in, partly because I've been called in like the last three times and partly because I'm leaving early that day so calling me will likely be a massive waste.
The promise was kept. I worked from home and maybe did a little less than usual, but tried to at least monitor my entire team.
At 2pm I'll start loading up the car, at 2:15 I'm hitting the road, and at 2:30 I'm picking up a PubSub so I hopefully won't have to stop to eat, just to pee.
It's an 8-10 hour drive to Raleigh depending on traffic, so I'll probably have to get a hotel before I make it there.
First stop will be the brass repair shop, then I'll be at my aunt's for three days. Then it's a straight shot driving back down (which I am kind of regretting now but at least it'll get kill my itch to drive before I have to abandon my car).
When I get back, I'll have exactly one month left until I go on tour.