Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Urban Snoresalofagus

When we first started dating, I asked Ray if I snored. He said, “No, baby, you purr like a little kitten.”

Kitty’s all grown up.

It is not that I snore, per se; it’s that I snuggle up to Ray and snore in his right ear. Apparently I am not easy to dislodge. Ray has tried many tricks through the years to get me to roll over. Gentle nudges. Not-so-gentle nudges. Saying “Roll over.” Loudly saying “Roll over.”

He thought he finally found the answer one night when he inadvertently pulled his ceiling-fan-cooled arm under the covers, and I rolled away from the cool arm. Eureka! Until I started having hot flashes, and the cool arm under the covers was welcome.

Ray has sleep apnea and uses a Bi-PAP machine when he sleeps. The nasal mask has a little stream of air that comes out between the hose and the mask, and aiming that at me would make me roll over. Sometimes.

He has put his hand on my face like a face claw. He has tickled me. He has rubbed my hip. He has tried many things, and they all have one thing in common (just like an investment): past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.

Understand that this all happens while I am sound asleep. Rarely do I come to enough to hear him say “Roll over,” and on the occasions I am aware I also subconsciously know that I did not hear him the first time he said it. I never remember any of the physical things he tries to get me to shift back to my side of the bed.

He tells me about his attempts to get me to move off him the next day. It’s always interesting for me to hear what he has tried, because I know nothing about it. When I sleep, I am a Gordon Log. This is the nickname in my family for the deep, immovable sleep we Gordon girls fall into when we are tired, and it spans generations. Every night when I go to bed, I tell Ray that I will try not to be a pest. We both know that I can’t help it; it’s the nature of the Gordon Log.

Now he calls me his “Urban Snoresalofagus.” I think humor is his way of dealing with the sleeplessness when the 4:30 train rolls into his ear and he can’t get back to sleep.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Does Eating at 4:30 Mean I'm Old?

I turned 52 this year, and my husband and I celebrated by dining out.

At 4:30.

We generally don't eat that early, but he had a gig to play with the Crooked Creek Band and needed to be at El Toro Taco and Tequila by 6 o’clock to set up. The band was schedule to play from 7:00 to 10:00, so an early dinner was really the only option for the two of us to have a little quiet conversation that evening.

It is a cliché that in Florida the senior citizens eat early. I can attest that most of the other diners at that time were older than Ray and me, although there were some younger people scattered around (I suspect they were visiting family members who were on SCT - Senior Citizen Time).

Getting older doesn't bother me, in fact I rather like it. I try to stay out of the sun both to avoid wrinkles and fading my hair (it costs a lot of money these days to hide the gray). I like to think that I would do some things differently If I Knew Then What I Know Now (buy Microsoft, for one.)

Despite living in Vero Beach (which has, as you might expect, a beach) I don't spend time baking myself to a crackly crunch. I have seen the leathery, wrinkled skin on people who spent too much time in the sun, and I have no desire to look like an iguana when I am in my 70s. Certainly in my teenage years I sunbathed. I wore the smallest bathing suit I could, to minimize tan lines, and rotated regularly so I had an even tan all over. I did use sunscreen, but not the 55 I currently use. Now you can only see my “savage tan” when I expose my wrist and show the mild contrast on my arm.

Every time I put that SPF 55 on, I think about the Mad About You episode when Paul (Paul Reiser) was putting sunscreen on his wife Jamie (Helen Hunt) and saw the SPF number on the bottle. He said, "45? What, does a little sweater come out of the bottle to cover you up?" That may not be the exact quote, but you get the gist.

I don’t feel much different than I did when I was 25, and it is hard to fathom how I got to be 52 so quickly. I think age is mind over matter: if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Didn't Plan to be a Groupie

I didn’t plan to be a groupie, it just worked out that way.

But seeds were planted along the way even though I didn’t recognize them.

I like music, and after high school my sisters, friends, and I would go out to hear local bands, or go to clubs to dance. I never chased after any of the musicians in the bands we listened to, and never aspired to be a groupie.

What I knew about being a groupie came from Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous. I still didn’t plan to be a groupie, and my then-fiance/now-husband Ray wasn’t playing music in 2000 when the movie came out. He had played in bands from the time he was 17 until he was in his late thirties, and he knew some of the local Vero Beach musicians.

We would go out to hear Smoking Man and Elegant Mess, and sometimes when they mixed their lineups, Smoking Mess. We got to be friends with them (alright, he was already friends with them, I got to know them and be friends with them). When Smoking Man and Elegant Mess broke up, two members from each band got together and formed 4 Steps Closer. The two singers and the lead guitar player sang and played at our wedding.

And life intervened. 4 Steps Closer went on hiatus; I don’t think they ever formally broke up. My husband and I co-chair two annual fundraisers for the ARC of Indian River County, one of which is a music show.

ARC-a-palooza was born in 2006. As part of the lineup, Ray asked Sheldon and John from 4 Steps Closer if they would like to play one set as a three-piece band. Rehearsals started in October for the April show. I suggested the band name One Night Stand, since they were only going to play one night.

Three years ago One Night Stand added Dave Ulrich, and he suggested they start playing out. One Night Stand no longer applied, and the band name was changed to Crooked Creek Band. They play a mix of rock and new country (Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, hometown boy Jake Owen, Tim McGraw).

My job as a band wife is to be a groupie. I go to most of the shows in public venues (Earl’s Hideaway in Sebastian, Long Branch Saloon in Vero Beach), and some of the private parties. I cheer, I clap, I dance, I talk about the band to anyone with questions. I take pictures of people standing in front of the band with their cameras. I am my husband’s best groupie. It’s fun “being with the band,” and brings a different element to my quiet life as a bookkeeper and writer. 

I like the biker crowd when the band plays at Earl's on a Saturday afternoon (next show date September 3, if you're interested!). I like the country crowd  and the line dancers at the Long Branch Saloon (next show dates August 25-27). People like to hear good music, get up and dance, and enjoy the show. 

I'm lucky that in addition to enjoying a band, I got the chance to be a groupie. It's a good gig if you can get it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bruce Springsteen Was My First - Twice

I grew up in Old Bridge NJ, geographically and chronologically between Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. Each was my first, for different experiences.

The first concert I ever went to was at Madison Square Garden, to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band during their Darkness on the Edge of Town tour. I was 19, and I thought, Oh, so this is what a concert is. There was no opening band, and the show lasted forever, but in reality was probably two and a half to three hours. I was spoiled, because I thought all concerts were like that.

Not so.

My second concert was at a small venue in New Jersey to see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The details that stick in my mind were that it was a Sunday night and the show was supposed to start at 10 pm. I went with my sister, her boyfriend, and a friend of mine. We all had to work the next day. The show started close to midnight (two hours late) and the band played for 45 minutes. We were underwhelmed by the concert, and particularly for me, after seeing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, it was a disappointment.

I have seen Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band numerous times and never been disappointed. I have seen them at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, and I saw them most recently at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, FL.

It was April 2008, and they were performing on their Magic tour. My husband and I, along with another couple, had tickets to see them April 19, and we four also had tickets to see Bon Jovi on April 26.

Danny Federici’s untimely death at 58 from melanoma postponed the Springsteen concert date.

On April 26 we went to see Bon Jovi at the Bank Atlantic Center, with Daughtry as the opening act. We expected an exciting evening, and we weren’t disappointed.

After checking into the hotel and meeting for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at the Sawgrass Mills mall, we walked across the parking lot to the Bank Atlantic Center. Crowds of people milled around, and police blocked the intersections to keep people from crossing. The reason? There was a bomb scare at the venue, called in during the sound check, and the band and crew were told to evacuate the building. Law enforcement from all of the surrounding communities responded with bomb squads, bomb-sniffing dogs, and the manpower necessary to search the building.

We were not told that the show was cancelled, so we waited in a pool hall at Sawgrass Mills. Many people with tickets to the concert were waiting there as well, and updates were relayed around the bar whenever anyone had news. We finally got word that the concert was going to go on, and everyone headed over to the venue.

Security guards were searching bags and handbags as people went in, but the lines moved relatively smoothly. Daughtry was playing as people entered, and played a shorter set to accommodate the late start. Bon Jovi came on and the concert ended close to midnight. Both Daughtry and Bon Jovi put on great shows, the crowd was appreciative that they did, and the bands were appreciative that we stayed.

The next week was the rescheduled date for the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert. Due to the bomb scare the previous week, I had my second first with Bruce: a pat down before entering the Bank Atlantic Center. The show was phenomenal, and was my husband’s first Springsteen concert. He finally understood what all the hype was about, and why I am such a fan.