relief in sight

now playing: jackson browne, “sky blue and black”

it’s an unfair truth that as you get older, time passes with a ferocity that youth belies.

lately, i’m finding it hard to just keep a grip on the handles…sometimes it feels like the wheel is spinning just fast enough to toss me through the air and abruptly onto the dirt. but the truth is, it’s my own legs that are propelling the wheel to go faster and faster.

why? greed, i guess. not material greed, or greed in the traditional sense…i’m not racing to acquire material things or accumulate wealth (God knows). it’s not that i want it all, i want to do it all. and on my good days, i come pretty damn close. days fly by, a flurry of activity – day job, studio, music-related activities, wife and kids, the ringing phone, be here, get there by this time so you can leave by that time to be somewhere else – now, it should obviously be said that some days are more demanding than others…but i seem to thrive on this.

and – as i get older, and face the realization that this can’t really go on forever, it’s as if i feel this need to do as much as i can, while i can, before the prospect of doing it becomes a less attractive proposition than it is at the moment. i don’t hear this mythical tick of the clock or anything of that nature, but i have made peace with the notion that there’s probably an expiration date of some sort…some point at which it won’t be feasible for me to keep up the pace that i’ve kept for as long as i can remember now.

in fact, my partner blake often tells me that just listening to me reel off my itinerary over the phone makes him tired.

and it’s often people like blake who i end up envying, to a certain extent, when my life drifts to the extreme end of the scale…as it seems to have done lately.

sure, there are those who would say that i live perpetually at the far end of the speedometer, but the truth is that my life isn’t always as pedal-to-the-floor as it probably looks. lately, though, it’s probably much more so than it could potentially appear.

three straight weeks of sixty-plus hours at work. trips to jim thorpe, to atlantic city, to washington DC, to philadelphia, to wherever – on an accelerated basis. things that should be a matter of routine maintenance – paying bills, doing laundry and such – are only dealt with in fits and starts when either a few moments allow or when they mutate into fires that have to be put out. then things pile up and everything becomes a fire that has to be put out, which leads life itself down a feast-or-famine road. this much, i can at least say, is usually seasonal, and passes once things calm down a bit and go back to whatever you could feasibly call a “routine” for me. in the meantime, though, life feels like a constant game of “catch up”.

for instance, last week, i was rooting through the mail that sits in an ever-growing pile by the door, looking for something totally unrelated and a lot less important, and noticed that i had two envelopes from my car insurance company that were pretty close together. on a whim, i opened one of them to see that it contained a cancellation, dated two days prior, for failure to pay my premium. it wasn’t that i didn’t have the money, i just completely forgot about it. i went online with my debit card and took care of it and everything was fine, but the larger point for me is that i know that other people don’t simply forget to pay their insurance bills. but it didn’t even occur to me. i can blame part of this on my poor handling of finances that’s been a learned trait that i have to work on unlearning, but i mean, come on – who just forgets to pay their bills when they actually have the means to deal with them, and aren’t just forgetting out of financial convienence?

and it’s not just the insurance, either…there are a couple of other things that i’ve been glossing over or just putting off that i’ve got to get sewn up this week, period. to include the paying of other bills. i have the first batch of items to ship out for georges’ auction, and i have to take pictures of the rest of the stuff that i’m putting up this week. i have to start the wiring in the studio in the next couple of days, because the drywall is going up before you know it…now that the HVAC has actually been done. the bathroom has been drywalled, and we’re actually going to paint it within the next few days. things are about to jump into the fastlane with the studio, and as things get closer to being finished, it’s going to become more and more incumbent upon me to be involved with the decisions that are being made, as the rooms take shape and we actually have to start thinking about acoustic considerations and putting together the control room and the like. it’s been contractor-centric up to this point – soon i have to take the reins and prep the rooms properly and such…

now, in addition to all this, i have a backlog of projects that will move to the forefront as the studio becomes operable – the as-yet unfinished poco benefit/tribute album, and the unfinished album by the amazing larry burnett, which is sitting demurely, disguised as a half-dozen ADAT tapes in my house at the moment.

now, anyone who knows me for any length of time should be somewhat taken aback by that. if you’re familiar with the inner rings of my musical tree at all, then you’re probably scratching your head, wondering why i wasn’t rifling through storage and pulling out the ADAT machines and the PC with the Frontier card in it the night i got home with those tapes in the car.

frankly, i’m not sure why i didn’t go get them that night, myself, save for the fact that i was pretty tired from the trip, and couldn’t even bring myself to head to the Dawson or up to harrisburg for my friend mikes’ radio show. we went to cracker barrel and sat and stared at each other for a while and floated home to bed.

in the time since, i’ve worked (as i mentioned) three straight weeks for over sixty hours, and feel as though my life is being taken over by churning out refurbished PC’s for users with outdated operating systems and doing Outlook migrations….

monday morning, i came in to work to a perpetually restarting Groupwise server that eventually decided it wasn’t going to boot up anymore…at all. the power supply had utterly failed, and it simply wasn’t going to turn on anymore.

it should be noted that this machine was old when i got here, six years ago, and i seriously thought that it wasn’t about to come up again. i called around, though, and found that there were two power supplies for this particular model of compaq proliant server sitting in a warehouse in springfield, VA.

“i’ll take ’em,” i told the guy on the phone, “and if i can’t find a courier, i’ll come get ’em myself.”

i made a couple of phone calls…four different services, of which three said they only served the DC metro area, and one that couldn’t guarantee that they’d have it here if they didn’t pick it up before noon – which had already passed.

so off i went.

i called jayda and said, “remember how you complain sometimes about how we never go on drives anymore?”

i told her to tell her brother to get ready if he wanted to come, too, but when i got to the house, he was sitting at the kitchen table in his underwear.

guess that’d be a no, then.

so we took off, made it into springfield in time to pick the power supplies up at a little past 4:30pm, and i called larry up…we stopped over to say hello (since it wouldn’t have been right to drive right by the exit and be within ten minutes of him and not at least swing by) and jayda and i had a couple of sandwiches from subway and chatted with him for a while before taking off in a northerly direction again.

it was around ten PM when i got back to work with the parts and set about getting the email server back up and running. by 10:30, email was synchronized and flowing again…and then there was my own end-of-day stuff that i had to finish before midnight…

so monday night was another sixteen hour affair that saw me put 380 miles under my belt and get almost nothing done in the normal line of duty.

but the true irony in all this is that monday night was the earliest i got out of there until late in the week.

and still, those ADAT tapes are sitting, staring me down, wondering why i’m not all over them…which i’d certainly be under just about any other circumstances.

think about that for a minute.

the tapes that represent the first full studio album in over two decades by one of my personal musical heroes are sitting on a dresser in my house.

does it bear repeating? very well, then.

the tapes that represent the first full studio album in over two decades by one of my personal musical heroes are sitting on a dresser in my house.

never mind the overlooked insurance bill, or any number of other things i could mention…..

if i haven’t acted on that, then it’s relatively certain that my life is a little out of control at the moment.

(footnote: it’s now friday night/saturday morning, a little before 3AM. according to my calculations, i’ve logged 67 hours at work this week, and that’s with having taken the entire morning off today. it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse…but i keep myself going by telling myself that there’s an end in sight. and i really do believe that. at some point, this has to get easier, and my time has to loosen up a bit. because i think that i’ve finally hit that point where it truly can’t get any worse…the number of hours contained in a day simply won’t allow for that.)

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