Thursday, May 28, 2020

Masks much appreciated

SOMETIMES IT'S THE little things that make a difference during tough times. Trish Santos of Quincy made and dropped off two masks for us yesterday, and they are awesome.

Second String Music opens for regular business hours Friday, after nearly 2 1/2 months. We've done some curbside business and had customers by appointment, but we are ready for the doors to open and get back to the "new normal."

One thing we are stressing is wearing masks when coming into our store. No doubt we'll have some people think they don't have to wear masks, even though we have them for sale for $1 right as you enter. No mask, no bidness. It's pretty simple. Our customers have complied during our limited by appointment hours, and we are ever hopeful it will work out.

The masks depict Snoopy and Minnie Mouse and they are perfect. We already have masks and Sheryl is getting even more made, but you can't have too many because we'll be wearing them all day and every day.

Thank you, Trish. We appreciate you thinking of us in the new normal. You can't mask our readiness to open and get back at it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Learning from cats

WE COULD LEARN many things from cats. We have two felines, CoCo and Josie. They pretty much run things around here and don't put up with any crap from the much bigger dogs, especially the youngest. Malcolm has learned the hard way from some well-placed nose swipes that cat claws are sharp and hurt.

All this alley patrolling tires poor Josie out!
Lately our cats have been getting into watching from windows. We've opened them up in the house, and Josie especially likes to sit in the window with her nose to the screen and observe. When the cats see a squirrel, bird or dog outside, their tails star twitching and they make funny cat noises.

Josie will wander around in the backyard. Every now and then she'll jump the fence and give the alley and neighbor's yards a good patrol, but she pretty much sticks close to the back porch. She has a safe space under the porch where she goes when hearing loud noises or dogs barking, and she's never run off.

Right now CoCo is upstairs with me and having a blast playing with the curtains, batting at a fly and jumping in and out of window sills. Such a silly cat, and so easily entertained!

It's a cat's world, and we are just happy to be in it.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Playing live again

CORI AND I did our final quarantine livestream show on Facebook Sunday. HartLyss had a blast for the past couple of months playing songs, hearing from all kinds of people and making stuff up. And watching Malcolm get his tummy rubbed. Thank you Sheryl for running the camera and keeping things from going completely off the rails, and thank you to everybody who tuned in and had great song suggestions.

It was good for us in that we were trying to play well, but it was far more relaxed than a regular show and we didn't get too worked up about botching chords or remembering words or remembering the song in general. Now we have a bunch of songs to play the next time we have a gig.

We are not sure when that will be. Missouri is opening up, but we are not interested in playing indoors. We hope to get a show outside on the Tipsy Bricks deck soon in Hannibal - we love and miss our Hannibal peeps! Same with our Quincy venues.

Nothing beats playing live in front of people who get it. The more you hoot and holler with us, the more fun we all have. We've also missed our drummer, Lincoln, and it's about time he starts hitting stuff and keeping us in tempo.

Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully, we will see you soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Safety first can really rule

SECOND STRING MUSIC will be open for regular business hours starting Friday, May 29. Until then we are open by appointment only and we ask you call us at the store (223-8008) to make an appointment. We will be resuming guitar lessons as well.

There are going to be some rules. Most importantly, we are asking customers to please wear face
masks when entering.

Sheryl put together an awesome Facebook post yesterday, reposted here. As she is fond of saying, "Slow and steady wins the race."

Some "rules" for entering a small business once we re-open...

1. Wear a mask, cover a cough, and stay home if you feel sick. We will have hand sanitizer and disposable face masks by the door if you don't have your own.

2. Don't touch EVERYTHING and avoid using our bathroom if possible. Shop in small groups of one or two, no crowds please.

3. Pay with cash - we love and really need cash right now. Debit or Credit will be totally ok but remember an out of town corporation gets fees when you pay with a plastic payment of any kind.

4. Don't ask if we got a loan, received a grant or are "doing ok." We probably didn't and probably aren't. We are here, working and moving forward as best we can.

5. If it is in stock, it is priced well. Buy it. Forget about special orders for a while please. Sheryl has already had to be very flexible with this one since that is the nature of the beast.

6. Virtual hugs are still hugs. We need them. Write up a recommendation on google. We love your continued support.

Every small business will need us to support them when this is over. Stay away from online buying as long as you possibly can. Your local economy needs local buyers in order to survive. We can't afford to send our local dollars off to the internet/out of town right now.

So there you have it - some things to consider as we enter our new normal. We've missed our friends and loyal SSM customers. Hopefully we all have patience and understanding in a strange and different time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dolls in the stands

SOUTH KOREA HAS recently resumed sports. At a soccer game the other day, the home team placed mannequins in the stands, since people are not allowed to attend yet due to COVID-19.

Turns out the mannequins were sex dolls, or at least people think they were sex dolls. In the settled and mystic world of Korean culture, where it's a crime to even question the integrity of soccer, this has "blown up" and created all kinds of kinky commentary.

Proof? BBC News even covered it. When the world's only balanced and accurate news organization gives you love, well, it's a big deal.

Apparently, the idea was to make it look like people were in the stands. Geesh. If you wanted to put dolls who do nothing in the stands, why not make them look like politicians or Dolphin fans? They don't do anything either

Sports like NASCAR have started back up here. Leave it to the rubber-burners to be the first to get going and repeatedly turn left in front of empty stands. Soon baseball could begin and every game will be like a Florida Marlins home game, with nobody there and nobody to care.

Fans have been marginalized for years and it's no different now. Let's get started without them! Greedy owners, players and huge TV money mean everything now. Fans? As long as they pay $200 for a cheap seat, no problem.

So why not put sex dolls in the stands instead of real fans? This could lead to all sorts of interesting questions and analysis, but it's a family blog and we'll just let it be. Just so long as the sex dolls are cheering for the right team and keeping the cheers clean, well .... it will all blow over.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Please wear a mask

WE ARE ALL in favor of getting back to normal and reopening Second String Music to the general public. But there is no "normal" anymore and we believe things must be different to safely get back in business.

If you want to come into Second String Music, we ask you to please wear a mask. Many people think wearing masks are unnecessary. They think this whole COVID-19 thing is a big conspiracy, and they think wearing masks won't help and are "infringing" on their freedom. Over 80,000 people had died in the United States from this "hoax" in three months, and those are government numbers. Let's admit those dead people can't respond to your hoax anymore.

We love our custom face masks.
If you think this whole thing is a joke and we should reopen businesses and not worry about getting the virus, I won't change your mind. But it's not about you getting inconvenienced, it's about protecting us and our customers. Medical professionals have been wearing masks to keep from being infected by patients since the late 19th century. It is real and it works.

We believe wearing masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you think we are being brainwashed and the opinion of medical experts is to be disregarded, well, OK. You still can't come in without one. And whether you like it or not, many other businesses are doing this, too. Adapt or don't adapt, it's up to you. #MaskItOrCasket is Sheryl's new motto.

By the way, I do think we need to regionalize our approach to reopening, but to still do it safely and within guidelines. Our biggest concern is if we see a spike in virus cases this fall or winter locally - what do we do then, and who makes the call to shut down, and how do we respond?

We want nothing more than to rock and roll again at Fifth and Maine. But there is no normal anymore, and we have to all be smart, listen to science, and use common sense in a most uncertain time.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Open by appointment, farewell to P&V

SHERYL AND I are saddened to learn our favorite downtown store, Potter & Vaughn, is closing at the end of June. Owner Lisa Crocker is awesome and says she simply wants to retire. We don't like to hear this but this virus probably helped her decision along. We will miss her and the store but we respect her decision.

I love Potter & Vaughn because it sells interesting and irreverent stuff. Every year at Christmas I'd go over there and say, "Lisa, here is X amount of money. Hook me up." I hate shopping in general but I loved going into her store and laughing at all the goofy stuff in there. Sheryl never failed to love everything I bought her there and that is a bonus too.

We hope Potter & Vaughn is the only business closing, for whatever reasons, as we start back up from the COVID-19 restrictions.

Second String Music is open limited hours during the day by appointment only. We are not open for browsing or walk-ins. We ask you to message our facebook page or call the store at 217 223-8008 to schedule. We are asking customers to please wear masks, and we'll make sure we only have one or two customers in the store at a time to maintain social distancing.

We are generally at the store during the day for a few hours, and we live only a mile away so calling us and asking to meet at Fifth and Maine is not a big deal. We are glad to do it.

We expect this will continue for the month of May but we'll be flexible and hopefully be open soon to the general public.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Bar building torn down

Tearing it down at Sixth and Jefferson.this morning.
BACK IN THE day, Quincy was full of little corner bars, grocery stores and a lot of churches. You can see the old bars and stores on many Calftown corners. Our original Second String Music location was in an old grocery store at 8th and Washington, and there's another old grocery store building (now an apartment residence) at 9th and Washington.

Some of these old bars are still hanging on. This morning we noticed the bar at 6th and Jefferson was being torn down - there was a fire just after everything closed due to COVID-19, and it took less than two months to figure out it was better to level it than renovate.

I never went in that bar. I think it was called Belcher's before it was burned (a dubious name, but maybe it fit). I know it was popular for a lot of the neighborhood folks who called it 6th & J. When I first started reporting crime and courts 20 years ago, there was a robbery at the bar and a high-profile trial, and the robber was convicted and sent away for a long time.

Now it's just a hole in the ground. I wonder if they are rebuilding or just getting out, and maybe something else will pop up on the corner.

Or maybe it will stand empty, mute testimony to the many corner bars that have come and gone in Quincy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Masks galore

I WENT TO the grocery store this morning to get essentials. Sheryl and I firmly believe coffee, eggs and cheese are crucial to life as we know it. I also bought beer while I was there, but only because I was already there. Right. Honest.

I used to go to our neighborhood HyVee on Harrison three or four times a week. Now it's once a week, to limit exposure. I have been wearing a mask the past few weeks. The store itself is asking customers to wear masks, and all the employees are wearing masks.

Maulers masks flatten curves and hide smells.
I will never get used to living during a pandemic, but the shock of seeing somebody wear a mask now has worn off. Remember the good old days when we could go to restaurants and outdoor events and not fear catching a virus? You have to admit, seeing somebody with a mask looked strange before all the stuff. You knew something was wrong with them and they had respiratory or other issues.

Now it's standard garb and no big deal.

This morning at HyVee, I did not see a single person without a mask. Not one. A week ago at least half the customers weren't wearing one. So we're making progress here, a little at a time.

I wore my Maulers mask and impressed everybody at the store. Well, not really. Nobody asked who the funny looking guy was below my nose, or if I carried extra pyro, or if I was at the Stink Weed gig in Swinegrass during the infamous Dutch Oven explosion. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you are way better off for it, believe me.

Anyway, we are wearing masks. Hopefully we are flattening curves. Hopefully we can think about opening our small business, sooner than later, but safely. You can't mask our optimism during a very dark time.