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Not Quite The Best Of Times

Not Quite The Best Of Times published on 6 Comments on Not Quite The Best Of Times

An excerpt from an email I wrote to an acquaintance this evening, explaining my lack of correspondence with him lately, and which doubles as a general update:

OK Mike, here’s the deal:

On the first Saturday of January of this year, about a week and a half before one of the single biggest and most important solo gigs of my entire life, I learned that my mother had terminal cancer. A day and a half later I was flying halfway across the country to San Antonio, Texas, to see her for a few days. I then flew back to LA for four days, where I juggled various logistical and legal arrangements for my mother, while frantically trying to prepare for a show which I’d anticipated having about twice as long to be ready for.

I then jumped on another plane, flew to New York City, played at the guitar festival there (which my mother, a working musician herself, had very much wanted me to go ahead and play at), and then flew back to Los Angeles, where I was told by my mother’s bank that they were denying my power of attorney on the grounds that they had no evidence she was incapacitated. (By this point, my mother was more or less incapable of speaking in complete, coherent sentences, or of understanding them when spoken by others.)

I flew back to San Antonio for a few more days, making countless frenzied phone calls to her hospice organization and her attorney to try and sort matters out, trying to visit with her as best I could, and starting to take care of some loose ends in her life – most notably Francisco Strings, the highly successful regional wedding music string group she ran, contracted, and performed in, which had about eight outstanding gigs already booked for the year, the soonest happening just three weeks from that point. None of her clients were aware of what was going on, and all of them had paid her deposits to reserve the group. As I was about the only person my mother had, it fell on me to sort through all of this – and, as it would turn out, just about every other arrangement for her.

By the time I flew back to Los Angeles, it was the end of January, and I’d been zipping back and forth across the country for three weeks, with the nearly 30 guitar students I had at that point taking lessons from substitute teachers while I was gone. I ended up dropping one of my teaching days in order to make it easier for me to travel back and forth to visit my mother and tend to her affairs, but between various outstanding legal and logistical issues needing to be tended to, as well as my enormous mental and emotional exhaustion by that point, I didn’t end up booking another flight back out to see her until the 24th of February.

As it turned out, my mother died about 24 hours before I touched down in San Antonio. I’d planned on spending that weekend seeing her; instead, I ended up going to a funeral home to make arrangements for her visitation and cremation, picking up her things from the nursing home she’d stayed at, and wandering around a San Antonio hotel amidst a sea of strangers, trying to wrap my head around my mother’s death.

I made yet another flight out to San Antonio the following weekend, for her visitation and memorial services. A few weeks later, at the end of March, I went back out for three days of sorting through her apartment, deciding what I would keep and what would be given away or donated. By the time I arrived back in Los Angeles at the end of March, I’d been back and forth between LA and Texas five separate times, with a sixth flight (to New York City and back) in between the first two runs, in the space of a little under three months.

Shortly after getting back to California and looking forward to finally being able to resume my life with some order, the logic board on my 400 mHz G4 Macintosh died. Faced with the choice between spending $500 to repair an ancient computer, or buying a new computer with a different, incompatible OS (and having to make decisions about a new computer and new versions of programs in an unexpected rush, with the current version of Logic Audio alone costing over $1,000), I opted for the unseemly but less stressful short-term solution of replacing the logic board in my dinosaur computer. It was about two weeks before I got the computer up and running again.

About a day and a half afterwards, the new logic board crashed again, under the same set of behavioral circumstances as the first time. Back it went for repair yet again, which thankfully was under warranty. But the part ended up being back-ordered at Apple, which meant my machine was gone for another two weeks. The result of this is that I’ve spent most of the last five weeks as an Internet vagabond, relying on Kinko’s and cafe’s for my access (and thereby trying to limit any lengthy correspondence as a result.)

I finally got my computer back from repair last night. Shortly after dropping it off, I went out for dinner with the lovely young lady I’ve been dating, where she told me that, after some reflection, she’s decided she wants to be friends rather than romantic partners.

So, sorry for the prolonged silence – but it’s been a bit of a time, you see.



Sorry to hear about the bad news. Some things in life and death are beyond our control. 🙁

(Fortunately logic boards and girlfriends can be replaced!)

I also faced the dinosaur upgrade question. I just had my G4 logic board swapped out, it would have been a $700 repair if it hadn’t been under warranty. As I was pleased to have a whining noise that had made audio recording impossible, I bought a new $130 battery since the old one had pretty much given out. But once I got it home and started installing software, the keyboard spontaneously died, and it’s been sitting here like a brick while Apple orders the part. So I did the only logical thing…I bought an iMac. Which was seeming good for audio work, until this…oh no.

If you’re not doing anything tonight, my friend is playing the nova
…and of course we’ll see you next week!

>it’s been a bit of a time


Anyway, Your not alone. Both in that I can somewhat understand, and that it’s not your burden to bear alone if you need an ear.

My stepmom passed away unexpectedly right around Christmas (when I was tooling around on vacation in the middle of nowhere) and still help my father sort things out. Lately been under quite a bit of stress with a music performance in SF (thankfully over) with similar scopes of technical changes pre-performance, moving to a new location with lots of stuff around the place that needs fixing (e.g. not having ANY shelves), and starting a self-employment.

The point of this is not to suggest that misery loves company, but as long as you focus on the next step, there is light at the end of the tunnel which is (I swear!) not an oncoming train.

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