Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Spring Break Blues

So here we are. The last day of school for Melody's first school break since Lori passed away.

And, even though I get pretty decent days off, I'm faced with a good month or so of Melody being out of school with me still at work. Tthere are some exceptions. I'm taking some time off around her birthday and right before she goes back. But it's nowhere near a month. It's more like three or four days spread around here and there.

And so I'm faced with what the heck I'm going to do with her during that time.

Fortunately, we've got family.

Of course, that doesn't always translate into the "free babysitter" that it might seem. My mom recently (yesterday) had surgery to remove a lump of cancer from her breast. So she's in recovery mode now. And that leaves my sister who, thankfully, works from home. But she's used to having my mom watch her three-year-old so she can ACTUALLY do work from home. Nevertheless, it seems that Melody will be spending at least the remainder of this first week at her Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Joe's house. She'll have a blast with the cousins... far more fun than she would have with me as I go to work every day and put her... someplace.

But then that leaves me alone every night. And that's when things in the house get somewhat haunting.

I'm in the midst of changing some things around.

The room that was formerly Lori's mom's room (when she passed away, Lori's brother informed me that his mom wasn't my problem and took her to a residential-care facility) is now being transformed into an office for me. It's a lot of work to put bookshelves, books, desk, other furniture, computer, high-speed access, etc. into there. And, although I'm making progress, it's slow going. Perhaps I'll make progress in there on the nights when Melody is staying with her cousins.

I'm also planning on changing around the bedroom. As it is, it's pretty much the way it was the day Lori went to the hospital. The exception is that Lori's brown "venting" chair is now in my office. But otherwise, everything remains intact. Late at night when I'm in that big bed by myself, it does indeed haunt me. I believe changing the furniture around will help with those feelings.

I've also started replacing some of the artwork in the house. Not the photos. I'm keeping those all up for now. I want don't want Melody to feel as if I'm moving on too quickly. And, indeed, I don't want to move on too quickly. But I also need to do certain things so as to not torture myself as well.

As for Lori's things... her clothes, jackets, hats, boots/shoes, etc., I haven't really thought about that. I don't need both of our matching dressers. But since they match, I don't really want to get rid of one of them either. My brother, Jim, suggested putting hers in the closet, an idea that I like. Perhaps some strategic folding and stacking, and I may even be able to get a good amount of Lori's stuff inside, at least for the short term. I'm keeping her jewelry for Melody.

That brings me to what I'm doing for therapy. Not much. I'm going to work. I'm attempting to resume my writing but ramping back into A Stranger At The Gallows has been slow going. The thing that I have found that has best helped me cope so far is music.

In the aftermath of Lori's passing, the remaining members of Launch Pad (myself, Scott Johnson and Randy Scott) got together and jammed. We wanted to see if we were going to stay together and keep it going without Lori. At the time, the consensus seemed to be that we would pick up where we had left off and try to move forward without Lori. We didn't think she would have wanted us to stop and we all wanted to carry on, partly in her memory and partly because we still wanted to play together. However, as Randy said at the time, "No matter what we do, it won't be the same without Lori."

And he was right.

As time has passed, it has become somewhat evident that Launch Pad probably will not continue forward. Lori was the heart of that band. Launch Pad was born of both of us. Had she and I divorced or either of us had left the band, I don't think it would have been Launch Pad anymore. And even though Lori didn't really choose to leave, she did. She left the entire planet! And it's just not Launch Pad anymore.

So last week, Scott stopped by the house. We were talking about maybe writing something but nothing really popped. We went down into The Underground, just he and I. And we messed around a little. Still nothing really struck us. So I broke out a book of songs I had been working on over the past few years... stuff I thought I might record or do outside of Launch Pad if ever an opportunity presented itself. These songs are pretty much complete. Chord progressions, lyrics, melody, etc. I started playing the first one, "Collapse," and Scott took a liking to it. The chords were right on the page so it was nothing for him to start playing along. Then we moved to another. Before we knew it, we had gone through five songs. Scott had some suggestions for a couple of them and I jotted his name down alongside mine.

At that moment, I decided that the lifespan of Launch Pad was tied to the length of Lori's life.

Something new was going to happen. Scott came over again this past Saturday. I think the idea was that we might go back through some of those songs and flesh them out a bit. Instead, Scott started playing an infectious riff. I added a bass run under it and we jammed on it for awhile. When we came up for air, Scott was like, "Do you wanna do something with that?" I said, "Let's write some words right now. What should it be about?" We agreed that something we had both encountered in various bands is the feeling of being held hostage by the lack of commitment on the part of other band members. And thus, "Hostage" was born. The whole song was pounded out in a half hour... maybe an hour. Scott was stoked. I was happy. We were now up to roughly six all-new songs!

We still had no drummer. It was just Scott and me. Randy didn't seem interested. We made a few calls... Linda (our previous drummer), Robert (our almost drummer one time)... it just wasn't panning out. Scott and I made a trip to the music store and I used the trip to upgrade our PA. And then, Mike called Scott. Mike was Launch Pad's drummer for roughly a year before Scott joined and perhaps two more after Scott joined (I don't remember... maybe it wasn't quite that long). Our chemistry was undeniable. In fact, Mike played drums on all of the songs on the first Launch Pad CD. Indeed, I considered just dropping all the way out of Launch Pad when Mike left because I didn't really want to do it without him. As a bass player, I guess I get pretty attached to my drummers. So Mike called Scott, who told him what we were doing. Mike couldn't make it over on Saturday but Scott followed up with him on Monday and now we're going to get together this Saturday with an eye toward perhaps pulling this thing together. The idea is that we'll do (at least) these six new songs and port over some of the Launch Pad songs that I primarily sang (Has Beens, Do You Got The Stones?, Live Life, Bring It On, etc.) and the one Scott wrote/performed (Shades of Gray) to start with. That's plenty of material. And I'm sure we'll write more.

So my somewhat melancholy beginning of this post now morphs into something hopeful.

And I will leave it on that note.

Until next time...

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