Friday, December 12, 2014

Fri Dec 12 2014

Tough few weeks. Began Thanksgiving week with some tube issues with the amp. No big deal, just an inconvenience. One of the things that is pretty much part of the deal when the only amplifier that sounds like that is 50 years old; they just need a bit of pampering, and fortunately I’ve “got a guy” who is a rock star at keeping old amplifiers cooking. In this case, it was a Monday night, and I had a Tuesday noon rehearsal, so there was a certain urgency. But if that was all that was going on it wouldn’t even merit a note in the journal. It was the first in a series of things.

Melvin was really getting noticeably skinnier, so on Wednesday I called the vet to make an appointment for a weigh-in to see if my perception was accurate. They were taking the Friday after Thanksgiving off, so the earliest I could get in was Saturday at mid-afternoon. I was concerned enough to make the call, but the sense of urgency was pretty low, so that was okay. Mostly, in noticing and acknowledging that I was concerned, my worry level went up a bit. I just needed to wait a couple of days, that’s all.

Wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with the Wilsons, who make a practice of making a place at their table for us orphans on this holiday. Stayed late. Happy.

THEN, I got home. Thought all was doing was one last email check before heading to bed. What I got when I woke it up was a whirling pinwheel that never stopped whirling. Ever. You don't quite realize how dependent on technology you are until it is suddenly gone. Won’t detail the process here, but the bottom line is I was computerless (or, put another way, computer-free) for 10 days. The possible remedies swung from buying a new one for a couple grand to replacing a connector for about $100, before it finally settled on a new logic board, hard drive, and battery, in the $300 range. A bargain.

The biggest lesson from this experience was that I could easily live without about 99% of the stuff I depend on a computer for. But the financial records are just a huge problem. I am entirely paperless. No physical bills. No physical check registers. No physical bank statements. Nothing. If my phone wasn't basically a hand-held computer I'd be SOL. I had to use it to go to websites to find my bank and credit card balances, due dates, and then keep track of everything on paper. A huge time and energy suck. In the long run I was never going to lose the original data – I back up religiously – but the day to day grind was just unbearable.

Back to Mel. Saturday came and I took him to the vet. Sure enough he had lost another pound in the 2 months since his last check up. And since the vet considered his weight at that time a serious cause for concern, this was a real problem. Straight into the back for x-rays. It took a couple of days for the radiologist to review them, but the feedback was more or less what the vet saw right away. Something going on in the intestines. We talked about options. The next step would be going to an internal medicine specialist for an ultrasound, or possibly an endoscopy. Oh boy. Made the appointment. Last Tuesday we went in, after subjecting him to a 12-hour fast in preparation for the procedure (try explaining that to a cat). The doctor looked him over and agreed that an ultrasound was the best next step. This involved tranquilizing him and shaving his belly. Rather than make him go through this any more often than necessary, we went ahead and ran a number of additional tests at the same time.

Now we’re waiting for the report from one last test. The last couple of days have been tough, as he is having trouble keeping food down so we need to keep him on anti-nausea medication. Today is the first good day for him in over 2 weeks. Much relief for that, but I suspect in terms of my own anxiety it is just a lull in the action.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As always, Undercover Blues Band rehearsals are my island of sanity. Today:

•    Warmup: slow blues in A, which developed into I Smell Trouble
•    Going Down Slow
•    Sitting On Top Of The World
•    Taxi Blues
•    Deep Elem Blues
•    Don’t Go No Farther
•    Born In Chicago
•    Mean Town Blues
•    I Smell Trouble (redux)

Beginning to transition into Get-Down-To-Business mode. I’ll miss the free-flowingness of the process so far, but we do have a gig in 3 weeks, and there are a couple of major holidays in the interim. Next week we’ll put together the working setlist. The following week I’ll be traveling. The week after that we’ll finalize the set, and at the end of that week is the gig. I’m pretty excited. This band is always stretching, and sounds really pretty awesome. I was happier with my own guitar playing today than I’ve been in months. Dead computer/sick cat… maybe you just gotta actually have the blues to play the blues.

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