Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Busy/Regular Weekend at the McQueens

Some work places have a sign that says "It's been ____ days since our last accident." I think The McQueens could have a similar sign: "It's been ___ hours since our last guest."

On Friday I got home to find two cars parked outside our house. They belonged to this couple who are friends with Jack and Wendy. They decided to bring food over for us. They brought the main course and dessert. The main course was delicious. The dessert, however, was this opaque green stuff with brown crumbs in it. I won't go into any details, but I didn't feel good after dinner. And after Jane's sickness last week (Jane had a stomach flu that was supposed to last for several days), I started getting worried. The next morning I felt fine. I was told that the brown crumblies were bran muffins. So, that explains that! I felt much better.

After dinner on Friday night, as we were watching Jeopardy!, a neighbour, Lois, was out for a walk and saw all the cars outside our house. She thought "The McQueens must have company!" So she went to M&M Meats and got some food and brought it over for us!

When the company left, I went to bed, at which point Jane and Robin each had a guest over. Thankfully I didn't hear them. I was completely oblivious.

I got up on Saturday morning and sat in the art studio reading. I saw another neighbour, Sol, and his daughter, walking in front of the house. They stopped by, intending on a 15 minute visit. The next thing you know, Sol's wife was over. She brought corn on the cob. We made the food that Lois brought over on Friday night. Six hours after the beginning of the "15 minute visit", Sol and his family left.

Finally, when all the guests left on Saturday I was able swim for a bit, sit around enjoying the weather, and do some reading. Then Wendy came out with the phone. It was for me. It was the worship coordinator from Blackbelt Baptist. Somehow he found out I was a drummer. Blackbelt was without a drummer the following morning. I was being asked. I said "yes."

It was great to be back on the drums. And these were _real_ drums!!! Not those electric deals! I used real sticks, not brushes or anything! I was worried I might be playing too loud. But no one said anything. In fact, the first person to talk to me afterwords complimented me on my playing and told me his son played drums, but "unlike you, my son plays really loudly."

Acoustic drums are a bit of a double-edged sword. When you play on electric drums, and the volume is kept at a reasonable volume, the other musicians don't hear you all that loudly. Without that loud "thump thump thump" in their ear, they tend to keep their own timing - which probably stinks. Keeping and setting time is the job of the drummer. Acoustic drums, being louder by nature, give that "thump thump thump" that keeps the other musicians on your time. But, if your timing stinks, theirs will too. So, as a drummer, you need to have a good sense of time.

I was completely out of practice. Not having used a metronome in a while, my timing stunk. I decided to go home and spend time with my metronome every day just in case I got to play drums again. When I got home I found my metronome. After about 15 years, it was pooched and needed to be replaced. D'oh!

I spent most of Sunday, reading, swimming, and enjoying the sun. Jane had her boyfriend over for the day. It was relaxing, but still too hot and humid to take a much-needed nap.

Oh! And the McQueen's car brake lights weren't working. So, we had to take it to the garage again last night! For those keeping track, that's 3 times at the garage in 4 weeks.

It may sound like a busy weekend, but it was just a typical weekend at the McQueen residence.

Monday, August 03, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

Yesterday was a bad day. It was Saturday morning. Usually I take a long walk in the morning across Embrun and back. I stop in at Euphoria, a smoothie shop, for a pretzel and coffee on my way back home. I try to walk 70 000 steps per week. I was way behind yesterday morning. I was full of energy. Instead of stopping at the other end of Embrun, I decided to keep going.

I was well into Russell when it started to rain. Then it stopped. Whew! I wasn't prepared for that! I decided I had gone far enough. I turned around to return home. Then the rain started again. But this time it wasn't just a little smattering. It was a torrential downpour. It didn't take long before I was soaked all the way though. My shoes are still drying!

The walk was about 14 kilometres total. It took two hours.

I thought I had a bad time. Then I got home.

I walked in the door. There was Jane. She was not happy. Just as it started to rain, she was driving out of Embrun when the car died! She lost the engine and the electrics. The brakes didn't work, or at least as well as they should have. She couldn't put on her four-way flashers. She just prayed she didn't hit anyone as she rolled through a 4-way stop.

She tried calling me on my cell. With the rain I didn't hear my phone. She called home. Of course, they didn't have a car. She had it. I was in Russell and about an hour's walk away from home. Even if she had gotten ahold of me, I couldn't have done anything. Jack called a friend who was able to come get her. Bruce biked up to where she was. Somehow they got the car home.

So now they don't have a car. Hopefully it's something that can be fixed easily and cheaply. I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: It was some electronic chip. They dropped the car off at a garage on Sunday night. It was fixed by Tuesday.

On the following Sunday, I took my car to church. The McQueens were going to take theirs. On the way I got a phone call from the McQueens. The brakes stopped working. The car would be in the garage again! Well, as my driving instructor said to me: "Thems the brakes, kid."