Holy wow, retail schedules have me a’runnin’! It is an interesting experience, after having a constant schedule for over a decade, to have my routine change week by week. I am not complaining, though. It wipes me out, but at least I never fall into a rut, to say the least. I get one day off a week, that day being today – I am usually exhausted when I get off work, and my one day off is, right now, when I cram in both the things that I need to get done, and also my creative enterprises. It drives me buggy that I’m not writing here at least almost every day. But by the time I’m done with the work phase, I can hardly think. Literally. No energy, no brain. I think it’s the constant interaction with people. It’s rather like being onstage for hours and hours at a time, all at once. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. And doodling, as I have happily come into the possession, at last, of a sketchbook or two. And, Cootie handed me the watercolors she had stashed, so I can paint too, even. Every time I doodle, I tape it up on the bedroom wall. Eventually, I will share photos of The Wall. Not yet, though.
Pretty soon I think, the adjustment phase that has accompanied this work schedule will be complete, and I will find myself with the capability to make tea plans with a couple of my sistah friends. Hallelujah! Until then, I am hoping to take advantage of The Window this weekend. The Window is that gap of time in between work shifts, where I get off early in the day, and don’t have to be back until late afternoon the following day. The Window allows us to get up to something, go out, find friends, that sort of thing, without having to worry about the 5:45 a.m. opening shift the next morning. That sort of thing. This weekend, I have a Window. J, meanwhile, JUST got hired for some retail mayhem of his own (YIPPEE!) and will have his schedule tomorrow. With any luck, he’ll have a Window too. And also with luck, our Windows will be in alignment. We’re hoping this because our tribe’s annual camping event is taking place this weekend, and we really really really really really want to make it up for the afternoon/evening. Dying to see friends, meet new bebehs, sit under some aspen trees, have a beer, jibber jabber with the tribe, including folks we haven’t even yet had the opportunity to see since we arrived last month. So, here’s hoping!
I also had a Window last weekend. Instead of trying to rally troops, J and I had a (GASP!) Date Night. We’d not been out and about ourselves for any R&R (and adult beverages) since we got back, and with my schedule being what it has been, we’ve hardly really spent any time together at all. No good! So, we hopped in the car and ditched Loveland, where life shuts down at 4:00 pm I swear to gawds, and cruised up the road to Fort Collins to have a few drinks in Old Town.
It was so weird to be back there, on a couple of counts. I lived up there before, back in 2000. Met my first husband there, had old friends there, and the like. My old life, or life as I knew it, started there, really. So, there are a lot of memories floating around that place. But, it was all good. I discovered that the old memories were not of the ooky kind, so much as of the “right on” variety. Although I was very grateful to not have run into some of the less-pleasant folks I used to know. So again, all good.
The other weird bit was that J and I kept having this experience, where we were seeing one place with another place filtered over the top of it. It was like opening up a photograph of Fort Collins in PhotoShop, and then layering a photo of New Orleans over the top of it, and lowering the transparency rate by about 80%. Although Old Town Fort Collins can be better compared to Pearl Street in Boulder (somewhat), with its buskers and street musicians and crowds spilling out onto sidewalks from various establishments, that same vibe was at least slightly French Quarterish (save for the Wholesome vibe, anyway). Enough to cause us to notice, anyway. Complete with a tour guide standing in the square, decked out in a red shirt, black vest, top hat, and walking stick, waiting for his tour group to show up. No joke. My first reflex was to assume I knew him. Wrong city, girl. And later, walking past a restaurant and overhearing a guy actually talking about NOLA in passing, was uncanny. It is a weird and disorienting thing, your body living in one place while your heart and soul are delayed and stubbornly nestled elsewhere! It was enjoyable, though, and we had a good time together, and saw some cool things.
Namely, coming into the square, we came upon a most gawgeously painted piano, being played by a gentleman with some reasonable talent. As we neared him, we realized that he was blind. Blind, talented, playing music. We sat for a spell and listened and sang along, and tipped him before we made our way up da street. That was very very cool.
As we rounded a turn in the square to get onto College Ave., I learned more about the Pianos. Apparently, it is another neato Art Thing, of the sort that I become hellbent on collecting. So, I guess this entry also serves as a starting point for another collection, although a casual one, as they seem to be a little more rare up here than other things. I hear these pianos are also in Denver, but my ability to actually invade Denver again is unlikely, due to lack of Windows or Desire, really. Nevertheless, I will keep my eyes open.
Piano in Progress
So we went to the Crown Pub on College, to sit and have some drinks and chat and kick back. I used to go there Back in the Day, and I’m glad it’s still there. We found ourselves a seat on the back patio. For a time, we were the only smokers out there, and I took a vile and rebelious pleasure in offending the nons out there. Not ALL of them, but the one table that got all huffy about it. It was gratifying, given that sometimes, I truly cannot stand a particular brand of Coloradian. Offensive? Maybe. But true. It’s that stick-up-da-butt syndrome. It makes me grumpy. Particularly in Ft. Collins, which is, primarily, a college town. If I had been smoking weed instead of a normal cig, they probably wouldn’t have minded. Insert eye-rolling here. And honestly, in a state where you can’t smoke in bars, leave the patios to the smokers. Particularly this one, which is tiny and walled in, so there is really no other reason to sit out there unless you need an ashtray. Being tiny and walled, there was no breeze to speak of, no view of passersby on the street, that sort of thing. Anyway, /rant. So there. (FY, IFL!)
As the buttstick folks filtered out, the later fun folk filtered in. J and I were sitting at a table that seated 4. The other tables were filled, save for a 2-person that was, originally, too close to the buttsticks. However, when a likely and lively group of 4 arrived, we happily acquiesced our spots so that they could all sit and drink and do that smoking thing like the fellow hoodlums that they were. Later, the guy who shook our hands (or, in my case, bumped elbows as I had my hands full) busted out a harmonica and started jammin. Really well. It was awesome. We were sad that he stopped and that they made their exit before J could get his hands on a pair of spoons. That would have been so fun!
Crown Pub has that old-building smell, of the sort that tugs the heartstrings because of that association with history and age that fills your nose down in the Homelands. I am almost embarrassed, but not quite, to say that I snapped some shots in the bathroom. I was taken with the ceiling, and patterns of the floor and curtains in general. Am I a weird dork for photographing the floor and ceiling of the bar restroom while sitting on the toilet? Yes, yes I am, and that is why y’all love me.
It was nice to sit and drink and chat with my husband. Really nice! It was also nice to satisfy my craving for a Jameson on the rocks. I’d been craving that for a few weeks. Not for the booze factor, so much as for the taste of it. Random. But now fulfilled.
So, hurrah for The Window, and for Date Nights. And for old buildings and PhotoShop layers and harmonica players and blind artsy pianists. Also hurrah for hopefully connecting with the tribe soon, one way or another. Life, she’s groovin’ along pretty durn good.
Now, off to doodle or read or paint or something, and prepare myself for another 5:45 a.m. opening shift tomorrow.