It's been an...eventful
week. Some frustrating things have happened, but some awesome things have too. I'll definitely take that over the "nothing but frustrations" kind of week, but it does mean I can't in good conscience write a ranty "why did this week happen to me" post. Which makes me a bit grouchy on its own. Grumble.
To begin at the beginning, last Saturday Brian and I were coming back from the Farmer's Market when our car went "bing" and gave us the engine-overheating warning. We popped the hood and discovered the coolant boiling over (even through the sealed cap); given the balance of evidence (it's an eight year old car with 109,000 miles on it) we figured the water pump had given up the ghost. Hardly unexpected, but it turned out to be particularly bad timing. Most weeks we could probably have gotten by with borrowing Brian's work truck (the grocery store is right by his work, and we could have begged rides from friends to/from our mechanic's in Sierra Vista), but this particular week he had a flight to Albuquerque to catch. So that added a couple hundred bucks' worth of rental car to the bill, on top of the towing to Sierra Vista and the pump itself and labor to put it in. Unsurprisingly, that ended up more or less emptying out our emergency fund.
On the other hand, I had a nothing-but-pleasant experience with the rental car company. There's a small Enterprise franchise just a block from my mechanic's; I'd never used them before, but have friends who have nothing but good things to say Enterprise. So I wandered down there and told them "I need to rent a car, probably for about a week?" They were very flexible, and while (unsurprisingly) their least-expensive cars were all rented out, they offered me a Prius for the midsize price (just under $200 a week with tax), which I was happy to accept. Even better, the employees were all competent and polite (surprising, for Sierra Vista) they didn't try to upsell me on insurance/a GPS/roadside assistance/the other eighty billion things Hertz and the others have all tried to push on me. Needless to say, I was pleased.
I also rather enjoyed driving the Prius around. It definitely didn't have the most hamsters on the road (accelerating up the hill from Old Bisbee onto Highway 90 was a bit of an adventure), but it got us all over southern Arizona with no problems. I've heard some people say the cockpit is too strange for them, but I found it to be quite intuitively designed, and really liked the heads-up display with info like the battery charge level and your per-trip mileage. Also, the sound system has improved immensely; I remember test-driving one back in 2007 or so and being rather miffed at the tinny sound quality. This one had a perfectly respectable stereo and a USB connection to my music player, to boot. (Yay for built-in touchscreen controls without having to futz with your phone! Yay also for charging and audio through a single cable!) And
the entire week's driving, which included multiple trips to Sierra Vista and back, a trip to Tucson and back, and a not-insignificant amount of driving around Tucson, cost me all of $35 in gas. (By comparison, a similar amount of driving in our BMW, which gets excellent gas mileage for its age and class, would've cost nearly twice that.) It occurred to me that if I were doing the professional-musician thing (driving around a lot for gigs and lessons and such), it would be a strong contender for the perfect car - lots of room for gear, not too expensive, economical on gas. If only a professional musician's income weren't so frustratingly inconsistent from year to year, and even month to month.
Wednesday came around, and Brian and I got up at 4:00 AM to catch his 7:30 flight to Albuquerque. The story behind this is a little convoluted, but the short version is this: back in May, he had several phone interviews with a network information and security firm in Chicago. Obviously we were pretty excited about this, as we've both wanted to move to a proper metropolitan area for a while, and while Brian's current job with the County isn't awful, its opportunities for advancement were fairly limited (and he'd just been turned down for a pretty significant one). Unfortunately, after several phone interviews, the folks from this company disappeared for a month - and when they resurfaced, they had him talk to someone in Albuquerque about what sounded like a drastically different position. (And in the meantime, Brian had been offered a non-traditional advancement path with the County, doing much more of what he liked, with more money involved too.) The Chicago folks asked him to come to Albuquerque to meet them in person, though, and while he had a lot of reservations about them (as we've already done the "move across the country to a job with people who can't keep their shit together" thing once, and it was a near-disaster), he figured it couldn't hurt to meet with them and ask what was going on in person.
Apparently things went rather better than he expected; not enough to erase all his reservations, but enough that we're adopting a "wait and see" attitude, pending what they offer him. Obviously we're both a little torn about the idea. On the one hand, things are definitely looking up here; he's getting to do some awesome (and awesomely resume-building) stuff at his job, and I'm starting to make connections with folks in the music community here. But on the other, the fact remains that opportunities for both our careers are ultimately pretty limited in this area. Which doesn't mean that saving for a couple of years before moving wouldn't be a good plan, especially as we've just had to empty out our savings. But depending on whether he can negotiate a significant relocation bonus with them...and back and forth it goes. (And that's not even getting into the more emotional aspects of "I want to live in a city, goddammit" and "I never thought I'd say this, but I kinda miss snow and rain.")
Meanwhile, since he was leaving early and coming back at 11:30, I decided to book us a hotel room in Tucson for the night so he wouldn't be driving back after a nineteen-hour day. Thanks to it being summer in Tucson, I managed to nab us a room at the Wyndham Westward Look Resort for about $100 (including resort fee). Gorgeous place - quiet, beautiful xeriscaping, great pool area, super-friendly staff (I hardly felt snooted at once!), spacious room with a bathroom larger than some apartments I've seen. I doubt I'd stay there at the full rate, especially in the busy season, but in Brian's words, "I've stayed in way crappier places for a hundred bucks a night."
Conveniently, while I was killing time down on 4th Avenue, I also discovered that Sky Bar was having an open mic that night. (Convenient because they're right next to a late-night pizza joint Brian adores, and I'd promised to bring him some when I picked him up from the airport.) So I put on my awesome Nordstrom's maxi dress (awesome because it looks great, packs easy, and I got it for $3 thanks to various discounts) and a bit of makeup, grabbed Kalia, and showed up a couple of hours in...only to discover that most people call ahead before the night even starts and all the slots were full. However, the emcee (who went by the entertainingly Regency nomenclature DJ Odious) took pity on me when I told him it was my first open mic, and managed to slip me in for a couple of songs while a Mexican ska band set up behind me. (In contrast to his name, Sir Odious was a fantastic emcee - excellent at tech, good at putting the performers at their ease, and encouraging and helpful to newbies like me. Mass props.) I was fairly nervous, but I think I at least put in a respectable performance. At the very least, I had the undivided attention of a few folks up by the stage - and in a bar environment, "undivided attention" is about the best compliment you can ask for.
Picture, compliments of the aforementioned Sir Odious:
Incidentally, I'm glad he had me go before the Mexican ska band, because holy crap. They were amazing
The night at the hotel/obligatory Costco trip/drive home were all pleasant if uneventful*. Friday I did my usual busking after yoga class; it turned out to be my best day so far financially, bringing in nearly double my prevous record (two $5 bills, woo! plus assorted singles), and some wonderfully heartfelt compliments. And later that afternoon Brian and I drove down to Sierra Vista, dropped off the rental car, walked to our mechanic's shop, and picked up the BMW.
At which point I apparently decided two weeks was far too long to go without a physical mishap, and tripped over a concrete parking bollard and fell, scraping up my shoulder and spraining three of the fingers on my left hand in the process.
In the words of Kvothe
, possibly the literary patron saint of musicians (and craftspeople, and pickpockets) everywhere...Tehlu spare my hands.
The good news is nothing seems to be broken (I can move all my fingers and I don't have that bone-deep ache that signifies a fracture somewhere), so our financial situation isn't any more precarious. The bad news is, as I discovered when I sprained both my ankles a few years ago, soft-tissue injuries are tricky and hard to predict in terms of healing time. It might be a week, it might be three or four, depending on the severity of the sprains and how good I am at keeping them immobilized. And I have a gig in a month to practice for, dammit.
So that's been my week. How was yours?*ETA: Though at Costco I did find a fantastic 18-year-old Scotch for $32, as well as a book I'd been wanting for $9. Which both chalk definitively into the "good" column.