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Car Crisis, Work Week

The weeks just get busier and busier. I can't wait to get rental season started (and over with).

Monday and Tuesday were normal, busy days. Lots of customers. On Tuesday night as I was driving home, my car stuttered and the check engine light came on. Greeeeat. Most garages around here close after 6pm. I was able to get home ok, and luckily my boss had given me Wednesday off to ensure that I wouldn't dip into overtime hours. Perfect. I got up early and went and sat in a Toyota dealership.

I had pulled my car into the garage and was waiting next to it for someone to sign me in. Several other people were doing the same. I was startled when a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, did you know you've brought a passenger with you?" She pointed to this large bug on my rear windshield. Cool!

Soon after that I was all checked in and waiting for a diagnosis. After about an hour I was told that my ignition coil had failed and taken a bunch of fuses along with it. The problem with ignition coil failure is that that part is attached to many components of one's engine. So there was a possibility that other parts of the engine were damaged as well. They would start repairs and report problems as they went. Greeeeeat.

I had three hours to wait, so walked to a Panera for lunch, then since there were several dealerships in this area I walked through some lots and looked at cars. Just in case. My car is pretty fantastic, it's been coast to coast twice and up and down the east coast more times than I can count, through temperatures from -20F to 120F, and various altitudes, climates, and driving conditions. It's been driven HARD. If it needs some repairs finally after a decade of use, I'm willing to invest in it. But only to a certain number, you know.

Anyway, as it turned out, the repairs were manageable. I was able to drive home in the afternoon, leaving enough time for a much-needed nap.

That evening, I prepared for a gig. A few weeks ago a local trombonist named Jeff had invited me to sub for him with a local Chicago tribute band called Flashback KC. As the gig drew closer I had become more and more nervous, to the point where I was praying for it to be rained out! But the rain let up just in time. We set up outside a bowling alley within the Prairiefire complex. We were given the set lists. The trumpet player helped me to set up my wireless mike, then we got to work rearranging our books. And then it was off to the races.

For each piece, the trumpet player "babysat" me, acting as a second conductor by giving me cues that I might miss because I was so busy looking at the music. I really appreciated his direction...and it gave me a funny feeling inside, because Slick had provided the same kind of patient, effective, good-humored direction on the circus. I was very grateful to have someone help me.

During intermission I got to meet more members of the band. Everyone was friendly, and just there to perform and have a good time doing it. This was honestly pretty surprising to me. Maybe I've got too much of an east coast mentality. Past gigs have always seemed just so tense and cutthroat, especially when money was involved. This group seemed more like, well, the circus band. Like they understood that there's no point playing if you're not enjoying it. I'm glad that people with this mentality still exist. The audience was awesome too (though rather small; this band normally plays on Thursdays not Wednesdays). Many people got up to dance and cheered for soloists and after each number.

By the second set I was feeling more comfortable. Some songs went very well for me (mostly the Chicago stuff) while others were a struggle (mostly the motown stuff) but I got through it and the group seemed pleased with what I managed to do. I was shocked when they asked if I could sub with them again. Jazz bands, and bands that require a lot of on-the-fly musicianship, have always been something I struggle with. So much so that I've never been called back on such gigs before. So when the band manager came over and gave me my cut, shook my hand and sincerely said he hoped I'd play with them again...I was kinda floored. More than kinda. I was moved. I can't explain how much this meant to me, walking away and realizing that for the very first time I was getting a callback for a jazz-type gig. 33 years on the planet. There's a first time for anything.

Thursday, back to work. I don't recall anything amazing happening.

Friday, more work. It was kinda busy in the morning. We had a small rush of customers, and at some point I got busy helping a young lady string her violin, and when I looked up I realized I was alone. My boss and coworkers had gone to a local school to give a presentation on proper instrument maintenance.

I was alone for much of the afternoon. Customers came and went, and between them I did my administrative work. After work I ran home to do laundry so I wouldn't have to do it over the weekend.

Saturday, work in the morning. I had a minor heart attack when I found out that an instrument we'd sold had been shipped to the wrong address, because I'd typed it in wrong. I made a few frantic and apologetic phone calls, and waited. Thankfully, after a few hours, the instrument was returned to the correct address. Crisis averted. After work I went grocery shopping, then came home and organized Jeff's trombone book, and tried to chill out.

On Sunday I chose not to volunteer at the Nature Center. Although I enjoy it, I really, really needed A Day. A day to rest, to prepare for work, and to prepare for an audition that I plan to take in the fall. To figure out when I'll be able to practice, IF I'll be able to go to the gym, and what I need to focus on between now and rental season. Most of all I just wanted to have some time to myself and get into a good mental state, because I'm going to need a lot of patience and a positive attitude to get through August and September. That's the difference between me and a real vet tech. People who dedicate themselves to animals don't get to have A Day.

Anyway, I cooked and cleaned. I had a conversation with someone on career advice. I called my Dad for his birthday. I organized my excerpts and made copies and made a playlist. I watched the hummingbirds fight on the porch. I talked to my sweetheart. It was a very good day and I very much needed it.

Next up is I suspect a very busy work week.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2017 03:32 am (UTC)
I'm glad the car repairs weren't too excessive. When cars get older, they can start to get expensive. I had a Toyota for over 13 years, put about 235,000 miles on it, and never had any major problems. I hope you have the same kind of luck!

It's awesome that the band wants you to play with them again.

Have a good week! :)

Aug. 26th, 2017 10:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, mine is just now reaching 150k so I do expect some problems. But anything too costly is going to make me question how much longer I might keep the car.

I hope you had a good week too :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )