Monday, January 03, 2011

Tuesday Has GOT To Be Better

I am afraid, no, make that terrified. My last post was Saturday, and since then my anxiety level has only risen. Usually anxiety can be managed by judicious applications of control and Prozac, but this time I am just not keeping up. I haven't had the time or luxury to make lists and plans or do any of the other geeky little tasks that calm me and give me an illusion of control over my life, my business, my fate. James McMurtry's lovely rendition of "Ruby and Carlos" provides a background to my fear:

Ruby said "You're gettin' us in a world of hurt.
Down below the Mason-Dumbass line the food gets worse.
I can't go back to Tennessee
that NASCAR country's not for me.
Go on, if you think you must."

Carlos packed his drums up in the dark of night
Ruby's standing just outside the front porch light
chain-smoking Camel straights
the sky off to the east got gray
And he rolled off in a cloud of dust.

And the gray colt nickered at the gate
She said "You're right its getting late.
You and me got work to do
we can't be burning daylight too."
She took down the long lead rope
and stayed off that slippery slope

The aspen trees were turning gold up top
The talk was buzzin' 'round the beauty shop
"Wasn't he barely half her age.
Well that's just how they do now days.
We should all had been so lucky."

By spring she'd had the run of the free born men
Ruby turned 50 in a sheep camp tent
her body still could rock all night
but her heart was closed and locked up tight

Potato fields all muddy and brown
the gossip long since quieted down

And after one more Coggins test
Pouring coffee for the county vet
Pictures on the ice box door
of Carlos in the first Gulf War
Black-eyed brown and youthful face
smiling back from a Saudi base

And then Carlos on the big bay mare
Heavier now and longer hair
Looking past the saddle shed
From way on back inside his head

And the old vet said, "One day, Rube,
that colt will break an egg in you.
Now and then one comes along
you just can't ride." And he went on home.

And the storm door didn't catch
It blew back hard as she struck a match
But she cupped it just in time
And she sent that ash tray flyin'

And holding back the flood
Just don't do no good
You can't unclench your teeth
To howl the way you should
So you curl your lips around
The taste, the tears, and the hollow sound
That no one owns but you
No one owns but you.

Carlos took the road gig and he saw it through
He rode the tour bus while the singer flew
Managed out of music row
Carlos never saw the studio
Session guys had that all sewn up.

He looks out the window and it starts to sleet
Laying on a friend's couch on Nevada Street
Lately he's been staying high
Sick all winter and they don't know why
They don't know why or they just won't say
They don't talk much down at the V.A.

And Ruby's in his thoughts sometimes
What thoughts can get out past the wine
He feels her fingers on his brow
And right then he misses how
She looked in that gray morning light
She never shaved like they all do now
He sees it all behind his eyes
and his hands go searching but they come up dry

And half way in that wakin' dream
Carlos lets the land line ring
He never guessed it was Ruby calling
The pin in her hip from the gray colt falling
Figure eight in a lazy lope
Stumbled on that slippery slope

And holding back the flood
Just don't do no good
You can't unclench your teeth
To howl the way you should
So you curl your lips around
The taste, the tears, and the hollow sound
That no one owns but you
No one owns but you.

I try to stay off the slippery slope. I'm turning 50 this year, and the introspection and life-weighing have begun already. Man, my teeth are clenched so tight, and I want to howl...

I wrote up my plan for the year on Saturday hoping that putting it down, putting boundaries and borders on it and evaluating it would make me easier in my heart. But it hasn't. Sunday was supposed to be a last family vacation day with no thoughts of work, but of course it didn't work out that way (just like the last day in Hawaii was consumed with issues of the ESPN filming and long LONG distance phone calls). Then today began as all workdays do with a deluge of phone calls, technical issues, clamors for attention and time, work left undone from days/weeks/months past... and I'm behind again/already. Right now all I want to do is flee back to Hawaii, or to Montana, or just to the couch with a box of bon-bons and a good book.

The hotshop is in complete flux with the furnace issues--new/rebuild/what kind/how much/when/who/how to finance it--and I just haven't been able to hand it all to Lee and say "This one is yours." Why? Because this one ISN'T his--it's mine. It's my studio, my growth/expansion plan, my responsibility, my liability, and my investment. As much as he would like to step in and step up, when push comes to shove I can't abrogate any of the above. Decisions made now will have a direct and consequential impact on everything I do going forward. Had I not just spent upwards of $900 on new elements, a new controller and a new thermocouple, I would feel less tight on the whole control thing for the new system, but I just can't get there.

I sit, almost in the pit of despair, and "Get Lucky" by Mark Knopfler comes on:

I'm better with my muscles
Than I am with my mouth
I worked the fairgrounds in the summer
And go pick fruit down south

And when I'm feel them chilly winds
Where the weather goes I follow
Pack up my traveling things go with the swallows

And I might get lucky now and then
You win some, you might get lucky now and then
You win some

I wake up every morning
Keep on eye on what I spent
Gotta think about eating
Gotta think about paying the rent

I always think it's funny
It gets me everytime
I wonder about the happiness and money
Tell it to the breadline

But you might get lucky now and then
You win some, you might get lucky now and then
You win some

Now I'm rambling through this meadow happy as a man can be
Think I just lay me down under this old tree
On and on we go through this old world of shuffling
If you got a truffle dog, you can go truffling

But you might get lucky now and then
You win some, you might get lucky now and then
You win some

Why this song comforts me, I don't know. Maybe it's because I can't help but feel that if I just keep pushing, I'll get lucky. I'll win some. Heck, right now I'd settle for I'll get caught up.

Is it okay to write all this here for anyone to read--to show such doubt and weakness? Heck yeah. This is what it IS to be a small business owner struggling with bills and employees and vendors and customers and expansion and websites and life in this very fast millennium. This is what it is to be The Owner. Yes, I understand now exactly what it means to say "The buck stops here". I always thought it was about the money, but it's so much more.


Bill said...

I wonder if that element that burned out had a warranty? Since it was new, it ought to be replaceable, no?

Brenda Griffith said...

Nope, there is no warranty on elements as there are many stupid things you can do to them which cause them to burn out. In our case it looks like contamination and running it too hot (no thermocouple to read the temp)--neither of which would be covered.