It was very busy, and very productive, and, for the first time in many weeks, something close to normal.
Saturday we went out as a family. I had some electronics from work to drop off at The Surplus Exchange
for e-cycling, ultimately deciding to keep the two PCs - I'll convert one of them for my own personal use. Nothing wrong with them that a little TLC (read: not being used by DataGuy) wouldn't cure. I've been pointed to Zorin
as a possible alternative OS to Windows, and I'm going to give it a shot. Frank
pointed me to a DAW* called Reaper
- if I can make a go of that on the new OS, then I'll be able to jettison Windows on the downstairs (shop/studio) PC.
Family and Health
That done, I took my family out for a late lunch/early dinner to Ghengis Khan
, the original mongolian barbecue. Miraculously, the kids both ate well: they loved the flavors, and watching the guys cook their food on the large (large? gigantic) flat-top grill was just too cool. (Ironically, I can make the same sort of food with the same flavor profiles at home and they turn their noses up at it.) Jami flirted shamelessly with our waitress, a curvy, pretty blonde girl with some beautiful tattoo work. Apple don't fall far from the tree, I guess.
That was all fun, but the best part was just being out. Michelle didn't have a migraine and we were able to function normally - or close enough that it doesn't matter - for the first time in a long time. It was wonderful. She is making progress every week, and while some days are better than others the trend is toward the good.
She has expressed an interest in walking/exercising again, so to that end I moved the treadmill from the garage to the dining room, a job that I should probably have had help with but just did anyway. It's a pro-sumer levelI'm guessing the thing weighs about 150 pounds and is large and unwieldy to boot. My hand-cart is one of the small variety, good for moving the odd stack of boxes, and I pushed it and my thigh muscles to the limit of their operational specs, but by god I got the thing done.
It was a stupid thing to do. Had I lost control of it I could have easily destroyed the treadmill, or a nearby piece or furniture, one or all of the pets, or me, or some combination of all of that. My back and legs are both reminding me of the folly of pride.
My birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 46, and I'm trying not to do the mental countdown to 54 (the age at which my dad died). We don't have anything planned, and I'm totally okay with that. (It's amazing how one's priorities change when one's health - or the health of one's spouse - goes to shit.) I did splurge for a birthday present for myself, though.
I've always wanted a phrase recorder/looper. It's a device that goes between your guitar and amp, about the size of a kid's lunchbox with two foot pedals on the face, one for "record/playback", one for "stop." It records what you play and plays it back: the performer just taps the appropriate button with his foot as he goes (I've heard it called a "stomp box" for that reason.) Because it's foot controlled, you can create and use phrases on the fly, and add a lot of depth to your performance. I've experimented some already, and the results are encouraging.
Michelle's grandmother Ruby actually made it possible. I'd gotten a small amount of money from her mom that I figured to use as seed money for the "looper fund". It was the check from Ruby that made it immediately possible, and, cannily, she sent two checks. I'm just guessing here, but I think she knew with just one, my birthday money would probably just go to pay bills, and she didn't want that, so she sent a second, larger check for the household. ...aaaaaand off to Guitar Center I went.
I've wanted one of these things for a long time, at least two years, when we saw Tim Thompson
use one. Using his (same model as mine, I think - it's not like there's twenty different brands) he was able to deliver a really complex performance, just him alone on stage. It was impressive as hell and I decided then I wanted one. Just took me this long to do it. You can read about it here if you care to
With the treadmill out of the way (it had been in the garage) I suddenly had enough free space to do something toward the house. A month or so ago I purchased a cabinet for the kitchen to complete what I call the "coffee wall" - the length of counter space where I keep my coffee maker. Tossing on another 30" (plus a planned foot of additional counter) will complete the "L" of cabinets, and I've started forming a plan as to how to make the countertop.
I pulled the cabinet out of mothballs, so to speak, and started the finishing process. First: 75/25 mineral spirits/polyurethane as a grain sealer, then Golden Oak stain. It was completely dry this morning, but I didn't get up early enough to put on the first coat of poly. I'll do that this evening. In doing the finishing, I found the cabinet was more damaged than I thought (I knew it was damaged, but failed to note how badly...the discount was worth it, though). A back corner at the bottom is completely gone so I'll have to put a new bottom in it, possibly a portion of the back.
So, that was my weekend. Long, busy, tiring, productive. Mostly normal.
* digital audio workstation.