We had a one day window of oportunity to get home between snow storms and made it back last night from Scottsdale green grass and palm trees to 2 feet of snow that fell on Monday and Tuesday. Then 12 inches more last night and this morning. Thankfully our neighbor plowed our drive so we could get to the garage.
It is great to have moisture for spring and summer to help us out of the drought here in SW Colorado.
Here I am in Scottsdale, Arizona, away from the Colorado cold and snow, wanting to bask in the warm sun but the weather gods are against me, only offering cool, cloudy, and rainy days. We are having to go back a day early on next Wednesday instead of Thursday, as we had planned, due to another storm bringing more snow to both of our two possible routes home. Drat. Back to long pants, fleece, hats, gloves, and down jackets.
Seem to be a day and a dollar short these days. No excuse, but it rained yesterday and we spent the day goofing off. I went to one of my favorite music stores, The Mandolin Store which was a mistake as I spent a pile of money on a new octave mandolin. It has a guitar shaped body rather than the traditional tear drop shape an, to my ear, it sounds much better with a more balanced and richer voice.
I’m including an excerpt from my book, The Awakening of Russell Henderson when Russell bought his mandolin . . .
. . . “The store smelled of wood. Guitars, banjos, violins, and mandolins hung all over the walls, and strings, accessories, books and CDs sat on racks around the room.
I explained to the salesman—a guy about my age—what I was looking for. He asked me about my experience, and I replied that I had none.
He showed me several student models. I asked him the difference between those and more expensive ones, and he explained about the differences in woods (solid or laminated), manufacturing processes (how much hand work was involved), and price (solid wood being pricier). I asked if he could play some from the different price ranges. I found it easy to hear the differences: the student models were nice, but the more expensive ones definitely sounded much better, having a nice, woody sounding low end and less harshness on the higher strings. He played a number of different ones, and I asked Hanna what she thought. Interestingly, she liked the same one as I did, a Collings MT O Oval Hole A Style with a satin finish for $2970.00 including a quality hardshell case. The salesman recommended that I get a good humidifier for it.
Not understanding, I asked, “A humidifier? Why?”
“Where’re you from?”
“Well,” he said, “it’s pretty wet in Iowa, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it rains a lot, and it can be really humid, especially in summer.”
“Our relative humidity out here can be really low, averaging maybe around thirty percent. Most wood instruments are now made in climate-controlled conditions around fifty percent. When the outside humidity is low, the wood dries out, warps, and can actually crack—usually the tops. Half our repairs are due to lack of proper humidity.”
I thought about our guitars and looked at Hanna. I could tell she was thinking the same thing I was. So, along with the mandolin humidifier, I got two guitar humidifiers, some mandolin picks of various thicknesses, a shoulder strap, and two extra sets of strings for the mandolin along with two sets each for our guitars. I browsed the book shelves and found three books, one for beginners, one on accompaniment, and one of folk songs for mandolin, all with videos and sound tracks. I also bought another electronic tuner. I then found three folk type CDs with mandolin. The guy showed me a few things about care for the instrument. He threw in all our strings along with a polishing cloth and some polish. We walked out into Montana sunshine, and I couldn’t wait to start playing.”
Missed several days now . . . trooped back across the desert to our favorite winter respite with palm trees, a lovely pool and hot tub and nice people.
I committed myself to get some work done while hanging by the pool in the sun but all I’ve gotten done so far is to congratulate some of the folks who won a copy of “The Awakening of Russell Henderson” in a Goodreads giveaway. Still a few more to go as Goodreads kept increasingly wanting to know if I was a ‘robot’ and I was having to prove I was a human by trying to select all the stoplights or bicycles or storefronts, etc, in their fuzzy hard to decipher groups of poor quality fuzzy images. My eyes started crossing and I got frustrated and quit and haven’t triedagain . . . yet. I know I have to go back and keep on truckin’ along . . . much rather be writing . . . hell of a lot more fun.
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