Friday, January 29, 2010

When You Least Expect It

Like most earthlings, I look forward to the weekend. Aside from doing an occasional recording session in the morning, most weekends are fairly off-limits to working. Oh, I suppose I used to pride myself on telling people that, "Matt's studio is open 24/7. I'll do whatever it takes". But over the years, I've repositioned my thinking on that. At least for now, since I don't do a weekend show on a radio station, I enjoy reserving those two days for...well, for whatever Donna tells me I'm doing with those two days.

What I really look forward to, though, most of all, is having my coffee on Saturday morning. In fact, I set my alarm a little earlier than normal on Saturdays so that I can enjoy this short but sacred time. For the past two years, I've given up coffee during the week. That sacrifice started out as a response to acid reflux therapy, but I also enjoyed the fact that I wasn't addicted to caffeine anymore.

Generally, the process goes as follows: I put water in the teapot and start it boiling. (I only use a french press for coffee now, instead of a drip-brewer.) I grab the whole beans (usually Starbucks French Roast or Columbian), wrap a towel around the grinder (so as not to wake up Donna) and grind for 5 seconds. (it would be nice to have a conical-burr grinder, but it isn't affordable right now.) I pour the contents of the grinder into the french press. I let Maggie out and then I got get dressed. I then let Maggie back in, grab the newspaper, and turn off the whistling teapot. I wait 30 seconds, and then I pour the water into the press, stirring the contents with a spoon so that each morsel of the beans is saturated. I wait 4 to 5 minutes, passing the time by going downstairs to feed Maggie. I then grab my favorite cup, pour some of the contents of the french press into the cup, and add a generous amount of non-dairy creamer. I take my cup and the paper over to my favorite chair, open the blinds of the window, turn on WKSU-FM for Weekend Edition...and enjoy. Not an earth-shattering spectacle of pure excitement, I know...but I look forward to it.

Last Saturday was no exception. It had been a fairly rough week, work-wise. I had also planned to do a few liners in the studio for our new station client in Bellingham, Washington, so I wanted to get an early start. I walked out into the kitchen to start the water boiling, and instead found a lake of water on our new kitchen floor! I loathe water. I panicked, almost slipping in the puddle, trying to get Maggie out of the way and at the same time trying to locate the cause of the flood. I pulled the refrigerator away from the wall and there it was. The plastic tubing that carried water from downstairs up into the 'fridge's ice-maker had broken off from the back of the unit and was spewing a healthy stream of water anywhere it cared to. I held the tube down into the sink with, of course, my favorite coffee cup so that it would drain and then did what any red-blooded American guy who knows very little about home-repair would do: I screamed for Donna to wake up!

This was not the most ideal way to wake her up, for a variety of reasons. The day before, she was being dropped off by her friend Connie after being at the gym. Donna said she was being extra careful walking up to the front door, but she hit a patch of ice anyway and landed directly on the cement steps...face-first! I was downstairs working and heard someone yelling "Matt, Matt!" I ran upstairs, and there was Donna, bloodied and sobbing. For a week now, her face looked like the result of owing Mike Tyson money. But last Saturday morning, amidst the purple-hued contusions and the concussion-like symptoms, the last way she wanted to be awakened was by her inept husband screaming at the top of his lungs that he didn't know how to turn off the valve to the ice-maker. She hobbled out of bed and ran downstairs with me.

There was water everywhere. It's quite a strange site to see water pouring through your basement ceiling. Luckily, a painter downstairs had left a huge piece of cardboard on the floor, and I think some of the water was absorbed by it. Also, our basket of clean clothes may have helped sop things up. Nevertheless, the contents in a large amount of boxes had to be removed. Some of my old record-albums were a bit moist and we had to throw away some cleaning supplies and other things. All in all, through, we were pretty fortunate, as most of the water-damage was confined to that room and no water reached the side of the basement where the studio resides. Several days later, however, we're beginning to see the results of the damage to the kitchen floor, and it isn't attractive. All of it will have to be replaced.

When you least expect it. How do you "prepare" for the things that you can't expect? You don't. How did I know that my sublime "me-time" would be crushed by some piece of plastic-tubing from the back of a refrigerator? The day before, Donna was being extra-careful on the ice and she still fell. Anticipate the worst and hope for the best, I guess. Scott Patterson, a guy who's been working at our house for the past several months, was probably looking forward to that evening's Cavs game as he was letting his dog out last week. Minutes later, he lay on his living room floor in a diabetic coma, an ambulance then rushing him to Barberton Citizen's Hospital. When you least expect it.

Today is Friday, and that means I'll hope that my favorite Saturday morning ritual will come to fruition. It's been a roller-coaster week, so I'll be looking forward to grinding those beans tomorrow morning. This past Monday, Donna had to travel to Somerset, Pennsylvania for her court case, which has finally settled. It wasn't how we thought a 9-year ordeal would end up, but it's over. Later in the week, I failed my written test for my Ohio motorcycle license. But, I studied diligently and took it again, and I passed. Donna's injuries are healing and she's looking a little less like Rocky Balboa after that first fight with Clubber Lang. And we found out that Scott has come out of his coma and is conscious and alert. Oh, did I mention that Donna returned from her Pennsylvania trip with a case of Dale's Pale Ale?

When you least expect it.


* Why not grab your favorite beverage, cop a squat, and groove to some DEMOS at