Personal injuries sideline Kate Meloy Trio band practice

Oct. 15, 2008

Yes, you read that headline correctly. It’s half music and half something you’d see on a sports page. You see, I’m in a band, and we try to practice once a week. We’re working with a new guitar player, and it’s really working out well. I really look forward to practice. But last month, it’s a good thing we weren’t on a world tour or something. I guess this is what happens when you try to play in a band when you’re over 40.

You know, a long time ago I heard a report on the radio - a story concerning one of the Rolling Stones’ concert tours (somewhere around the Tattoo You album) that has always stuck in my mind. There was this report that the band was sequestered somewhere on a farm or ranch, months before the start of the tour, “getting ready.” Mick was reportedly running 10 miles a day. God knows what Keith was doing, maybe getting a blood transfusion. Anyway, as I get older, I do see the value in “getting ready.” You see, the phone call from our new bandmate late Monday went something like this. “Uh, I really can’t make band practice today, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I suffered a muscle pull over the weekend, and it really hurts to sing. I thought I would be better by today, but I’m not. Can we try practicing on Wednesday?”

What a coincidence. You see, when our new guitar player was sidelined with a pulled muscle this last weekend, do you know what the trusty mandolin player was doing? That’s right, renting a jackhammer, for the first time. You see, I needed to break up some concrete, and the sledgehammer method just wasn’t working. So a few days ago I saw this guy working across the street from the office, right in front of the Wine Sellers. It turned out to be Pete Wagner “the Concrete Guy.” He had a big electric jackhammer, and a pickup truck to haul the stuff away. So we got to talking, and he assessed my situation, and proceeded to convince me that, yes, Jim, you can go to the rental store and get one of these babies, and get that job done, yourself. So I did, and that’s how I decided to spend my Saturday. But first, I put on all the safety gear – gloves, hearing protection, dust protection, and eye protection.

I couldn’t see because of the sweat/fog build-up on the plastic goggles and my glasses, I couldn’t breathe that great through the mask, and I couldn’t hear anything outside of the actual jackhammer. Perfect. But I did remove those two concrete footings. And I did it within a 3 hour time period, which cut the rental cost in half. So far, so good. I needed to take a few rests during the ordeal, but overall, I felt pretty good. Except for the blisters on my thumbs. Didn’t I wear gloves? Oh well, with some band-aids, I’ll be able to go to band practice. And then came Sunday.

I couldn’t move. My whole left side locked up. My first thought was, darn, I might have to reschedule band practice. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to sit down. I didn’t want to know what playing a mandolin would feel like. My girlfriend recommended “stretching.” (Oh yeah, stretching, yes, stretch before working out – I think the Rolling Stones did that). Also, take ibuprofen. Yes, medication. Good idea. A short time later, I was feeling ok enough to go to breakfast. And a few hours later, I was actually back on the job, trying to complete Phase II of “the garage project.” But in the back of my mind, I was wondering – maybe I should postpone band practice for a day, to make sure I’m all healed up.

It’s Monday. You know, the blisters on my hands are still there, and they’re still kind of sore. But I can walk. My body is a little sore, but I still could have gone to band practice. But deep down inside, I’m glad we’ve moved band practice up a few days.

Besides, I’m sure the Rolling Stones had weeks like this.


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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