Music Meloncholy

Today I put all of our CD’s in storage.

Music CD’s not Money CD’s in case you were confused. (As if.)

I found it really hard to do. 

But I’m on a quest for de-cluttering my house before the holidays start. Those babies are nothing but dust collectors and space taker uppers. 

But they also symbolize over twenty five years of Grant’s and my life together. 

When we first met I think we were both still listening to the occasional cassette tape. I still have two huge cases filled with cassettes including some of my favorite mixes that I had recorded in high school using a recorder sitting NEXT to the RADIO. You had to totally pay attention if you wanted to cut out the commercials. The Walkman was the greatest invention of all time and pencils were not just for writing with: they were, with their erasers, the trick to winding messy mayhem back into crucial life tunes. 

We also both had (and still have) an extensive collection of records that we combined with our vows of ‘till death parts us unless you decide suddenly you don’t like music-then you’re OUT’. I have known a couple of really nice people in my life who don’t care all that much about music but I would NEVER have married one. 

Did you KNOW that the invention of the compact disc is mostly credited to James T Russell who was born in Bremerton Washington in 1931? He lives in MY STATE! Who knew?! In 1965 he joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Battelle Memorial Institute in Richland Washington. He is still alive as of right now but I’m not sure where he is living. I’d like to write him a thank you letter. Anyhow, that is your history lesson for the day. You’re welcome. 

Putting the CD’s away I was filled with melancholy. There were SO MANY homemade playlists: ones we made for our kids and ones our kids made for us when they got tech savy. “Stuff Mom Will Like”. Hundreds of purchased CD’s, used until they skipped from the scratches. Thousands of songs that would take a book to list, because of the memories they bring to the light.

When I was working in Montana for a week, super pregnant with Maria, I came home to a major event: Grant had traded his beloved truck in for a fifteen passenger van, later named The Rambuski. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen and I honestly thought he had lost his mind. “I just thought it was time to show you that I’m ALL IN with this kid thing. I’m down. But I also spent two thousand dollars on a stereo system with six speakers.”

That van rocked Spokane and we filled it up with kids, their friends, football teams, soccer players cub scouts and there was NEVER a time when the stereo was not playing full blast, little heads and big heads bouncing up and down to request of the minute. Oh those memories, they just fill my eyes. Every kid remembers that rocking van, and the white one we bought later, the Whitebuski, that was traded in this year, with a Tom Petty CD still stuck in the player, for Grant’s dream truck. It took fifteen years to come full circle, complete with Bluetooth to play songs on his phone. 

We can put the CD’s away because now we have a family Spotify account. I lied about the Walkman being the greatest invention of all time: it’s second. To be able to listen to any piece of music on the face of the planet with a 4 second search? 

An epic gift from the universe. 

I can climb into history, take myself to a life moment that comes back in full color and smell from a song. Or into the minds of my children when then send me a song they love via text. I love to try to feel what they feel when they listen to a song. 

I will put the CD’s next to the box of records and cassettes and we will play them for the grandchildren and they will be in AWE of our ancient and strange artifacts.   

Plus, just in case there is a zombie apocalypse we will still have music to listen to, provided there’s gas for a generator. It’s good to be prepared. 

How I am Going to Prepare for the Eminent Electro Magnetic Pulse and/or Zombie Apocalypse


 (This is not really me. I mean just LOOK at my hair.)

Okay, first, I need to confess something: I have become completely ignorant (on purpose) these last few years about what is going on in the world. I do not watch, read or listen to the news, at all. Most of the stuff going on is just plain upsetting and I decided that the continuous flow of bad news was beginning to affect my ability to believe I could make a positive difference in the world.

The irony of course is that I have a political science degree and a passion for politics and world history. Or at least I used to. But the problem with knowing your history (if you are a cynic) is that you eventually catch on to the fact that the present is just a never ending repeat of the same stupid mistakes made by us dork humans. I am not a cynic, but was fast becoming one. And cynics do not help the world, they harm it. Besides, I got busy with stuff.

So I stopped worrying about what was going on in the world… there was waaaay too much broken stuff that I felt powerless to fix. I chose the “ignorance is bliss” stand and narrowed my focus to my family, to work life and to re-posting Facebook pictures of baby hippos and cats and dogs doing funny things, my mentality being that I can best help the world be a better place by trying to not repeat my OWN mistakes, which is no small feat, believe you me. I am currently on an every third day “got it together” roll right now, which is better than last week. No need for me to worry about the state of the big mean nasty world: the state of H World is tricky enough for me to keep in line. Besides, baby hippos are funner to think about than war, disease, murder, pollution, and the mean spirited people who are causing all this shit. I know what you are thinking: ignorant narcissists with bad grammar do not help the world either, but they are generally more content with their capabilities than cynics and they sleep a whole lot better. Just sayin.

Anyhow, a couple weeks ago, my in-laws came to visit us. They are wonderful, bright, devout, engaged in the world and all its trouble, brilliant conversationalists.

And I couldn’t keep up.

With anything they talked about.

I was able to pull a little bit of pretend ‘smart’ out of my ass when it came to talking about Obama Care by just frowning. I nodded yes and shook my head no at the same time (which is hard to do) when the VA scandal was brought up. Damn straight that dude should have resigned. And nod yes, terrible that our tax money is being used to pay for ____ when there are starving people in my own back yard. Literally. Just look at how skinny our three littlest boys have gotten, I should feed them but I am too busy paying taxes. Yes, horrible what’s going on in Darfur, Ukraine, Iraq, Nigeria, China…though I did feel I was pretty informed on what was going on in China: “Can you believe the Chinese government banned Facebook in all but a 17 square radius of their country ?! No wonder things are so difficult there!” Their blank looks made me go back to “nod, frown, shake my head, repeat” mode. It was just easier. They would be leaving in a few days: no sense letting them realize what an ignorant moron I had become over the last few years.

But then they started talking about EMP and what their emergency plans were when it happened, “which was eminent” and I had a very hard time keeping my fake smart face on. I had no idea what EMP was but thought maybe I SHOULD if it involved making emergency plans. It’s important to know what to pack. I casually did a quick search on my iPhone and all those years of remaining blissfully ignorant came tumbling down upon me like an “I told you it’s a bad idea to ignore the world” rockslide. EMP is some bad ass shit people, equal in impact to the zombie apocalypse and WAY worse than the Chinese government banning Facebook. For you ignorant people who do not know what this is, take a moment and look it up. Or you can ask your know-it-all children who have seen the latest Godzilla movie… we will all wait for you to catch up…go on now…learn something useful.

Now, fast forward to the conversation I had that night with my husband:

Me: “OMG!!!! It COULD happen you know! All it takes is one crazy ass dummy with a grudge and one TEENY TINY nuclear bomb that he doesn’t even need to AIM! He just has to explode it in the atmosphere above us-and POOF-there goes all our stuff that we need! I HATE pooping in the woods. We at LEAST need to stock up on toilet paper.”

Husband: “Why do you assume it’s a HE who is going to do this? Everyone knows that WOMEN hold on to grudges far longer and far deeper than men do.”

Me: “Well, it IS a pretty smart way to completely screw with civilization as we know it. Maybe it IS a woman who thought of this treachery. I don’t know. All I know is that I wish I DIDN’T know about this. It’s terrible. I am not even prepared for the zombie apocalypse and now THIS!”

Husband: “You’re so much easier to live with when you are pretending you don’t know what’s going on in the world. Why don’t you go make a to-do list or something? That will make you feel better.”

And that’s exactly what I did. It’s so nice to live with someone who understands you completely, even if that person is a sarcastic (loving) jerk face.

Things I Will Need to Have on Hand when EMPZA* Happens

*Might as well lump these two things together. My in depth research (I am in the know now people…a changed woman) has lead me to believe they will both happen at the same time. Besides, the preparation is mostly the same, except that you need longer pokey sticks to keep the zombies at bay as compared to short pokey sticks (element of surprise) to keep the regular bad people away. Plus, I am tired of having to spell check apocalypse every single time I type it. I wonder if I should trademark the acronym. I could become famous! Does owning an acronym create money making opportunities?

Anyway, I mentally went through a typical day in the life of me and narrowed it down to a few really important things, at least things important for my own personal happiness because when I am happy, everyone around me is happy, or at least it is less upsetting when they aren’t but I still am. Happy that is.

First, there is absolutely no sense in stocking up on food. The looters will more than likely take it all within the first week. And by looters, I mean my own children. There is no such thing as stocking up on food in my house. When you buy a bunch of stuff to eat, they eat twice as much as normal, twice as fast, like locusts to the fields. Food lasts much longer in our house when there is “nothing to eat”. Though I might get a 50# bag of white rice. Everyone hates rice. So it will last until we are either desperate enough to eat it or someone figures out how to make the lights work again.

I will for sure need a large supply of paper and pens. It will be important to record the EMPZA experience so that future generations can repeat all our mistakes in a more spectacular way the next time it happens. Obviously my lap top won’t be working so paper will have to do. Plus we will have to learn how to communicate with each other in a way that doesn’t involve texts or Facebook messages. Notes might be a good way. Like “Went to go kill a deer, be back in four or five days, unless I get eaten by a zombie or find a better place to live where there is more to eat than just white rice.” Or “Do NOT go into the basement, I have captured fourteen zombies down there and they are severely pissed off. One of them looks a LOT like your dad but I can’t be sure. It’s complicated. But if it is him and he wasn’t a zombie when I locked him down there, well, he IS now. So don’t go down there. It will just upset you. I’m trying not to think about it.” Yes Lots of paper and pens will be required for EMPZA.

Toilet paper, wet wipes and a shovel are serious necessities. We will probably dig the holes in the neighbor’s back yard. They are in Germany and probably will be a while getting back home, especially if planes don’t work or if the zombies cause them travel problems. I am thinking I should start doing some squats to get ready for this part of the suffering. This is one thing that is not covered in ‘Walking Dead’: how hard it is to poop when you don’t have a comfy toilet seat to rest your tooshy on. It’s especially rough on the quads. Also we will for sure need the long pokey stick close to the toilet paper: I can’t imagine anything wrecking a satisfying bowel movement more than when a zombie tries to get you and you don’t have your long pokey stick. It’s bad enough having to squat.

And so that you don’t all think that my life is so shallow that I only care about writing and pooping (though I wouldn’t have to go to work anymore so I would for sure have more time for both of those things with EMPZA) I should add a few more necessities to my preparation list. Matches, a good sharp axe for chopping down trees for fire wood, gallons and gallons of bottled water (no sense worrying at this point about BPA or other endocrine disruptors, besides the water is for washing my hair, not drinking), a big pot, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, moisturizer and hair gel…lots of hair gel…curling irons will be a thing of the past for a bit but there is no sense ignoring personal hygiene and possibly being mistaken for a zombie, like the husband in the basement may have been. Accidentally.

Anyway. That’s my plan for now. It’s still a work in progress but I at least have the important things worked out. I will say that since this newfound knowledge of the impending EMPZA, I have decided it’s a good idea to be at least somewhat mindful of what’s going on outside my circle of influence if only to be able to do more than just nod and frown in conversations. Now I can actually intelligently take part in them. Am I right? Ha!