Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Winter of our Discontent

It would be easy to be depressed. As I do my daily asthma breathing treatment, I've been staring out the back window that looks out over Darrow Road towards I-76 and it doesn't look pretty. Akron looks like it just got out of bed, with no make-up and no toothpaste. The trees are bare and somewhat snow-covered. What seems like a never-ending cascade of flurries continues to coat Newton Circle leading down towards Route 91. A few houses in the neighborhood seem to still have some remnants of Christmas decorating up, including our house. Honestly, I don't think I've encountered a patch of blue sky since we've arrived. And it doesn't help a bit that my prescription for Wellbutrin ran out weeks ago.

But, surprisingly, I feel alright. I counter my initial penchant towards gloom and despair by reminding myself that this is the time of year when my city looks its absolute worst. I know that more gloomy days are sure to come, as is more snow. And the gigantic potholes are right around the corner. But these are the worst months of the year, and if I can get past them relatively unscathed then I consider it a victory. And as I inhaled the final remnants of my asthma medication, I realized that, all in all, it's good to be home.

I had a great lunch with my friend Gary. He and I went to high school together and, even at its most marginal, we've been able to stay in touch. Gary is one of those guys who has remained relatively unchanged since high school. He has the same physique as he did when we wore caps and gowns in 1978. And although the dark-red hair has turned a bit gray, he is in some ways the same person who tooled around Canton in his blue Comet with Paul McCartney and Wings cassettes blasting from the stereo system. After hearing about several of the on-going issues with his son, I realize, again, that we all have our frenetic lives to deal with, on so many different levels. Still, it gave me a sense of calm to be able to sit with him, share some laughs over lunch, and hopefully plot out some future escapades of shared creativity.

Donna and I have been making some progress on the house, too. The studio desperately needed some additional sound-proofing. So, Scott, one of Dave Senn's employees who has been doing some work here, rigged up the acoustic tile on the walls and the ceiling, and it's really made a difference. The studio needs flooring as well as some other "detailing", but it's coming along. Kitchen-wise, things are beginning to take shape. And in Donna's office/den, the walls have been painted and the moulding is ready to go up. To the new visitor, the interior looks like tornado aftermath; however, what we've been able to accomplish in just 3 weeks, I think, is pretty admirable.

We haven't had a great deal of time to do much outside of home-improvement projects and visiting relatives over the Holidays. We did join the Tallmadge Recreation Center, so I've had an opportunity to go there a couple of times during the middle of the workday. It looks like an extremely organized and clean facility. Now I'm just waiting for all the kids to go back to school so that I can have a basketball court to myself!

I've yet to find my French press, but I've located a tea pot that allows me to have Teeccino during the week and a modicum of decent coffee on the weekends. Leonardos is right down the street, an easy walk to get some of east Akron's finest pizza. I've yet to make it to Primos to see Bob and the crew, nor have I had a chance to get my growler filled at Hoppin Frog yet. (although Bill Gruber at WAPS is bugging the crap out of me about meeting him there!) But, in time, I'll have a chance to do these things.

Right now, though, we'll just have to hunker down, continue to make the house habitable, and pray for warmer weather to get here. Donna has already started her Spring countdown. I'll continue to watch the snow fall on Darrow Road and fight off the efffects of Wellbutrin withdrawal. Don't pitchers and catchers report soon?


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

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