Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Reynolds family and Mike's fight

IN THE EARLY 2000s, I started making home visits to give guitar lessons. One of my first students was Mike Reynolds, the young son of Tom and Kelly Reynolds. I'd go to their house for the lessons and inevitably they'd end up feeding me or asking me to hang out.

Mike and his sister were very good students and the Reynolds were gracious hosts. I spent a few Easters and holidays with them, and when they moved to Chicago maybe 12 years ago, I went up there for a weekend and had a blast.

Mike (far left) and his family.
A few years ago, I was giving a guitar lesson in the back of Second String Music when a strapping young man came to the door and said, "Hey Rodney, I'm in town for just a day or so but I wanted to make sure to stop by and say hello." I didn't have much time to chit-chat, and to be honest, it took a while to realize it was Mike. He'd obviously grown and filled out and he looked a lot different from the little guy I knew.

Early this morning, Mike Reynolds passed away. He was in an ATV accident about a month ago, and he gamely hung on until today. His organs were harvested and eight people will be recipients. That's the Reynolds family I know - giving and full of love and concern for others.

Can you imagine what they are going through right now? They started a Facebook page called Pray For Mike and there's been a tremendous outpouring of support. The Reynolds still had many friends in Quincy and it's  heartbreaking to see them go through this, and reassuring to see they are still a family of faith and hope.

Peace, Reynolds family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Painting in progress

TURNS OUT THINGS weren't quite so bad when it came to the ceiling in Second String Music. The leaking didn't do any permanent damage and a crew is here patching and sanding, and the area will be painted.

We feared the entire area would have to come out and be replaced. It would have been really expensive and messy, so we are grateful it's just a paint job. We've gotten the second floor condensation thing figured out and should have it rerouted without issue.

We hired Ted Johnson to do the painting, and his crew is very good. They've put plastic around the entire area and hopefully we keep the dust down. They just finished sanding and now they've put on the first coat of primer - hello fumes! I'm feeling reaalllllyyyy good. You might get a deal of a lifetime on a guitar if you come in now .... just kidding. But we did have to step outside for a short time to clear our heads.

I wanted Dutch orange paint to go up there, but again, Sheryl is the voice of reason and it will be the same white color that's up there now.

So for the next day or so, excuse the mess. We've had to sardine everything into the west half of the store, and a lot of stuff has been put in the back until the job is done.

And that should be it. No more major repair projects for us, right? Bwahahahaha. Right.

Long live old buildings.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Stay cool, blues lovers

IT'S ANOTHER ROCK and roll summer weekend in the Q-Town. The talented Zeke Cernea plays at noon today in Washington Park, and local band Soul Shaker is in the Washington Park gazebo for Blues In The District tonight.

It's gonna be hot - be careful with those adult beverages and drink plenty of water. Much of the park is in the shade and hopefully we'll have a decent breeze to cool things down as the shadows lengthen. We'll be on the sidewalk, though we might wait for the shade to creep over Fifth Street.

Pepper Spray

We'll try to keep cool Saturday afternoon at QU Stadium - Pepper Spray is playing from 4 to 6 p.m. for the Quincy Gems beach party. And Sunday night from 7 to 10, Cori Lyssy and I host an acoustic jam session at The Club Tavern in Quincy. Matt Roberts Blues Band normally does Sunday nights but they are out of town doing a show, so Cori and I are excited about hanging out at The Club.

As always, stay cool and laugh if you can. This woman did. And I couldn't stop laughing with her, either. Cheers to another great weekend!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ceilings, water and more water

WE HAVE A new tenant on our second floor. But that means old problems become new again.

Last winter we turned on the second-floor furnace and a few days later water started dripping out of the ceiling on the east end of our music store. Thankfully we caught it in time, moved the instruments, turned the furnace off, and called a plumber to check it out.

Of course the plumber couldn't find anything. The condensation from the HVAC unit on the second floor goes into the last remaining 1896 marble sink. We figured it must be a pipe leading from the sink, so we gave up and forgot about it. The ceiling has water stains from years ago, so it's likely been an issue for a while. Funny, though - when we first fixed up the second floor space and the HVAC was used, it didn't leak.

Last week we rented space to a young man and he's renovating the space. It will be way cool. To stay way cool, the air conditioning is on. And .... yup. More leaking. We've got a temporary solution - the condensation pipe is now draining into a big bucket. Yes! More trips up to the second floor to drain buckets! I really miss going into the second-floor crawl space every time it rains, but I guess that's what a new roof does for you.

Fortunately it doesn't go into the Electric Fountain Brewing. Unfortunately, we need to fix it. So Monday morning, Ted Johnson and his crew are coming over to take down the ceiling. Wednesday, a plumber arrives to check the pipes. It will be messy and expensive. We've removed everything from that area, even propped up the stage onto the wall.

It's OK. It's an old building. We understand the challenges. Anybody out there want to buy some nice guitars so we can afford it? Doesn't work that way, unfortunately. So we'll tough it out and get it done.

Drip, drip, drip. That's the sound of our old building. It's not always music to our ears.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The watch that won't die

WE ALL HAVE things we treasure and want to keep. They aren't really worth that much, but they have personal value, more than anything.

About 12 years ago, I was walking down the Lake Michigan beach near my Uncle Peter and Aunt Helen's house, halfway between Saugatuck and Holland. I looked down and saw an Eddie Bauer watch sticking out of the sand. It was in the tide and the waves were crashing over it, another minute or two it would have been covered up and probably lost forever.

The watch was ticking and set for Central time, meaning it likely belonged to one of those BIPs (Bleeping Illinois Persons) from across the lake. Somebody probably went swimming and it either fell off or was knocked off, or maybe it was just thrown from a boat. Who knows? It worked and I loved it and started wearing it.

Still ticking!
A few years ago it quit working. I took it to Dame & Hurdle down the street and they put a new battery in it, but it quit again. So I bought another watch. For some reason, I didn't throw the Eddie Bauer watch away.

The watch is a reminder of walking the beach. On Ebay they are going for $65, so it's not about the monetary value.

I bought a different watch from Dame & Hurdle and liked it a lot. But it grew legs and disappeared recently - I think it might have been at the Cape Girardeau Gus Macker. I felt a little naked without a watch, so the other day I rummaged through a desk drawer and found the old Eddie Bauer.

I took it to Dame & Hurdle. They put another battery in it. And now it's ticking away like nothing ever happened, as if to say, "I've been here the whole time, you big silly. Put me on your wrist! I make you look cool! Well, just kidding. I don't work miracles, you know."

Time to keep track of time again, Eddie. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The things we hear at SSM

THERE IS NO such thing as a bad question or comment when you come into Second String Music. A lot of people are intimidated about buying a guitar or seeing if we have certain items. It's like going to the hardware store - I'm completely lost, and unless the clerk is friendly and looks like they want to help, I'm not going there again.

But you know you are about to embark on an adventure in a music store when hearing the following:

"Well, I don't play guitar, so I'm sure you can't help me."

"Are you the owner or do you just work here?"

"Are there any other music stores in town?"

"I bought this online and now it doesn't work."

"Do you have spare parts for a 1973 Electromatic self-tuning ebow bridge?"

"You don't have records anymore? When did you stop selling records?" (Answer: About two years ago)

"It has to have 24 frets. I can't even try anything with less frets."

"It would be great exposure if your band could play at our benefit."

 "Do you give kazoo lessons?"

"I'll be back to put a down payment on it next week." (hahahahahahahahaha)

"Why don't you fix the elevator?"

"If I owned your building I'd turn it into apartments."

"Is this the coffee shop? Can I just go through that door to get there?"

"I love the door that leads right into the coffee shop!"

"It must be a pain to take the cat home every night." (hahahahahahahahaha)

"I love your dog (Angus). Can I take him home?"

"Why are you begging me to take your cat home instead?"

It is always an adventure owning a small business or even owning an old historic building. We have challenges every day,  but our customers are the best. We love you all!