Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Mail

MORE THAN a week before Emily's birthday, I sent her a card with a little cash. I carefully wrote down her new address in Rochester, N.Y. I put the card in the mailbox across the street.

About 20 days later, it has yet to arrive.

Emily said, "Don't worry dad. Maybe it will still show up." Maybe. I'm not counting on it.

Apparently there has been slowdown in our U.S. Mail system. I have written thousands of letters and never, repeat, never, had a letter not get to its intended destination.

Maybe I wrote the address down wrong. Maybe it got stuck on something else and is in some distribution center. Maybe it got thrown away or chewed up by a machine or misplaced.

Who knows? It's just sad and I'm not sure there is anything I can do about it.

This year Sheryl signed us up to vote by mail. She's already sent her ballot in, by mail. Apparently you can track your vote to make sure it gets to the right place. 

I am not sure about putting it in the mail. I may just take it three blocks north to the county clerk's office and deliver it by hand. 

2020 can't end soon enough.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Band instrument rental season is different

 EVERYTHING HAS A different feel to it this year because of COVID-19. School band rental season is no different.

We are stocked with Music Shoppe instruments and ready as we can be for the annual onslaught of questioning parents and budding band musicians. But we would like parents to know a few things before they come into the store to rent instruments.

1. Please leave your child at home if possible. We realize some parents simply can't do that with younger brothers and sisters around. We are just trying to minimize the number of people in the store at one time, and rental season can get a little crazy around here. Sheryl is worried about being exposed to a lot of people in a short time.

2. If your child is playing a stringed instrument, please measure them at home. Here is the link to a measurement guide for Violin and Viola. Your band teachers can help you with this too.

3. Remember, we enforce the mask rule at Second String Music. We have masks for sale for $1 if you forget or don't have one. 

4. If anyone is in quarantine in your house, please do not come into the store. You can order one directly from The Music Shoppe or go to the Instrument EXPO on October 14th!

5. and finally. Yes, we are sick and tired of COVID-19. Yes, we wish it was over. No, we don't think it's a hoax and we do think masks work. We were threatened with a lawsuit last week from a man we asked to leave because he wouldn't wear a mask. Evidently he doesn't know the law or care about his own health. We do.

Our hats are off to the music teachers in our local schools. All teachers, actually. You are commended for being flexible and patient during an unprecedented time. We will all get through it, hopefully safely and alive.

If you have any questions, please call us at 217 223-8008 BEFORE coming in the store. Thank you.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Malcolm's first mole

 IN THE HART doggie house, Genie is the primary mole killer. She's an English Shepherd with a nose for snatching moles right out of the ground and then having a good play. Malcolm will join in and lick the mole. Then Angus comes over and puts the poor thing out of its misery. Snap.

A few days ago Sheryl was walking them at their usual romping grounds when she noticed Malcolm dancing around with something in his mouth. Genie and Angus were off digging in another spot. Lo and behold, Malcolm had snatched his first mole! This is a rite of canine passage, and Sheryl was quite impressed. The other two came bounding over and Angus again made quick work of snapping its little neck. Genie was praised for her excellent teaching  the fine art of mole snatching.

We had quite a rain last night, so there are fresh mole hills all over the place. I have a feeling it won't be long until Genie and Malcolm start having a competition to see who can dig the most up. Winner gets an extra treat after the walk. Woof!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Starbucks at Hy-Vee

THE HY-VEE GROCERY store at 14th and Harrison is putting in a Starbucks. In Calftown, this is big news. Many of us can't get enough coffee and the thought of instant access to massive caffeine overload is a huge deal.

I'm in the store at least three times a week. I love the Harrison Hy-Vee. It's clean, stuff is clearly marked, and they are enforcing the mask rule. The employees are super friendly and always go out of their way to say hello and help you find stuff. When it gets busy and the lines pile up at the register, a manager makes an announcement and POOF three cashiers appear out of nowhere to speed things up. 

There was a bank in the Hy-Vee for several years. It was never busy. I can only remember one time where there were more than two people in line. The bank employees were again very pleasant but looked bored stiff most of the time. So it came as no surprise that the bank branch didn't reopen after the spring COVID-19 lockdown. 

A few weeks ago the bank walls were torn down and the remodeling began. The other day there were several important-looking men flipping through construction blueprints and rubbing their foreheads in dismay, which I've been told is normal behavior when you are building something. Another guy was poking around above the drop ceiling and another was sitting on a fork lift awaiting instructions. I think at one point he put it in reverse so the BEEP BEEP BEEP sound could echo through the store. But he could have been backing up on purpose. I was distracted because I was staring at my receipt and rejoicing in the 3 cents earned on my Hy-Vee gas card. 

Putting the Starbucks in the store is a stroke of genius. Who doesn't want an iced mocha latte with caramel swirl and macadamia milk? I'm fine with Starbucks and I know people who work at the main store on Broadway and it's great the three times a year I go in there. But I'd rather go to the smaller coffee shops in town.

Still, the thought of coffee while doing early morning shopping, or the Sunday afternoon rock and roll recovery shopping, is indeed tempting. I will probably succumb. There are worse vices in the world.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Sun smoked out

 IT'S BEEN A beautiful week weather-wise in the Q-Town, but it's been strangely overcast and the sun has been obscured by smoke from wild fires out West.

The photo to the right was taken Monday night from the roof of our Second String Music building. It was indeed eerie looking right at the sun without squinting. It almost looked like the moon. The light didn't slowly fade as much as it just turned gray and then black.

Contrast that in the photo above from the night before, same vantage point, when the skies were clear and the daylight faded past the Mississippi River.

It's fitting this is happening in 2020, the most messed up and strange year ever. Here's to hoping we have more sunsets in beautiful light to bring on the night. And sunrises, for that matter.

Friday, September 11, 2020

It's an Election Year. Be careful out there.

POLITICS IS SERIOUS business. I get it. The upcoming election is huge. But some people involved in politics often lack a sense of humor. So if you are easily offended or if you think the election is already rigged or certain candidates are backed by aliens, stop reading right here. Or, have somebody read the rest of this blog to you, which I suspect might be the case anyway.

I am not a member of either party. I have opinions and I will vote. If you want to know my opinions, call me. But opinions are like assholes - everybody has one, nobody needs two, and they often smell. So save it if you want to comment on this and tell me how to vote or how wrong I am. 

This morning, Sheryl discovered a political bumper sticker on her car had been defaced. I will not tell you what it said. But it was written in marker. So some dirtball actually walked down our alley, saw the sticker, went home, got a marker and came back and wrote on the bumper sticker. Now THAT is dedication. Congrats, dirtball! You get the Dedicated DipWad Award! Lots of people in Calftown get it, so it's not that big of a deal.

I do have an opinion about people who deface political signs or cars, and people who steal signs. Now would be a good time to have the person reading this to you read very slowly so you understand every word - 


There aren't enough Dedicated DipWad Awards out there to give you but the police would like to have a talk. Just stop.

Don't bother commenting on this blog, or on Facebook, if you stole the signs or wrote garbage on a political sticker. Tell the person who is reading this you and writing your comments to stop. They'll get removed the minute you post them. 

If you want to put a sign in your yard, great. If you want to gather in a parking lot and then drive down Broadway honking and waving flags, super duper. If you want to park around Washington Park and jump up and down and tell us how great your guy is, good for you. I won't be around but I have no problem with it. 

The beauty of living in a free country is that you have freedom. Your freedom ends when it harms someone else or their property so be careful. Especially around Sheryl... she's had enough of your stupidity.

This is an election year! Go out and support your party and your candidate. But don't cross the line, and don't tell me who to vote for or why. Otherwise, you will be sentenced to laughing for five minutes every day until you cheer up.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Cleaned out and rented

 WE'VE BEEN CLEANING the daylight out of the upper floors of our historic Second String Music building. Into the 503 Maine space formerly occupied by Electric Fountain Brewing went massive amounts of old drywall, windows, insulation, furniture and bag after bag of dust, dirt and crumbled plaster. Throw in a small mountain of scrap metal and the space quickly got filled.

On Monday our friend Kate Daniels came into the store and asked Sheryl to help with an Adams County Democratic Party project. Then she asked if the 503 space was still for rent. When learning it was and negotiating monthly rent, we asked when she wanted to move in.

"Uh, how about now?" she said.

So 503 Maine is the new temporary headquarters of the Adams County Democrats, and will be through next spring's municipal elections. Sheryl had been doing research on what to do to get rid of the small mountain of junk in the space. Tuesday morning she called Clayton Roll, a young Quincy man who owns Rolling Operations dumpster rental. Two hours later we had a large dumpster in front of 503 Maine and we started filling it up. 

We recruited Isaac Smith from our 505 Maine Studios space, and he got his young son Jaden to help out. Soon we were swinging heavy bags of dirt and the tons of junk into the dumpster. A couple of

hours later we had had it filled to the top, and we tossed an old couch on the top to smash it down.

Clayton was awesome. He was willing to work with us if we needed a bigger dumpster, but fortunately the dumpster was exactly the right size. Sheryl messaged him Tuesday afternoon and he was there 20 minutes later to pick it up. His prices are fair and we are relieved to get all that junk out of there.

Yesterday I took two Jeep loads of scrap metal to Alter. In the end I got a mere $20 for the scrap, but the fact it was finally out of the space and not in a landfill was more than enough to make it worthwhile. 

Our new tenants started moving in literally minutes after I left with the last load. They are happy, we are happy, and our chiropractor has picked up more business this week (Sheryl is there as I write this).

We highly recommend Clayton if you need a dumpster for your trash. Thank you Isaac and Jaden as well!