Well…we are back from our tour to Washington state. Just got in last night and drove through the extreme heat (101 degrees) on the way home. Whew! Thank God for air conditioning. Normally we rarely use it, but I was in no mood to sweat it out all the way home AND since we weren’t pulling the trailer this time, I didn’t see any real reason to “suffer” right? God gave us air-conditioning, so why not use it (*big laugh)!
We have a song that we cover now, by John Salz called, “You just have to laugh” and I bring this up because this tour was like that. “You just have to laugh, or you’ll go crazy, you just have to laugh, in between the tears…you just have to laugh, when it ain’t easy…open up your eyes and say hello to another day”.
I got incredibly ill on this tour. So much so, that my voice was stripped from me for several days! Yep! That’s right folks, a lead singer without a voice! I contracted a strange “laryngitis” type of virus, bacteria, whatever it was it was strong.
The Genesis went like this. 4 days before we leave for tour two men knock on our door. They have pencils dangling from their ears and I assume they can read the “No Solicitation” sign by the door. I say hello, “you must be builders, and can I help you?” One of them is French, so he was fun to listen to.
Basically they tell me the neighbor behind us is moving and is replacing the fence. If we have anything against the fence we need to move it. Well, that was good news but not good news. Yes, we need a new fence but what was the time line on the job? They said immediately. YIKES! Well, I told them we wouldn’t be back until the 7th so she’s going to have to wait as we were getting ready for this trip and in doing this it takes a great amount of preparation to leave home for several days (in this case almost 10).
Then the owner’s mother came over and we also got a phone call from the owner pushing us to move our things off of the fence line. Apparently the woman is in a rush to sell the place. So her crises became every one’s emergency and I really don’t like being operated like that. Mo talked me into complying with the woman which is a total role reversal. I’m usually the “hop to” gal and she’s good at saying, “no” and holding a boundary. So, not wanting to be a pain in the ass neighbor I took it on myself to start moving all the wood we had stacked up against the fence.
At first I thought, I’ll get 5 good friends to help and it will go quick. But I had so many appointments before leaving (lessons etc.) that I had no time to carve out and organize with other people AND I knew there were spiders and possibly bee’s in that pile so, I didn’t want my friends to be subjected to that. Then I said to Mo, how about I hire the kid down the road to move it. She did not have confidence that the kid would do a good job or it would take him too long. So, since she’s allergic to bees it was solely my job.
I started Sunday evening and in 2.5 hours had a lot of the junk wood moved. Now mind you, there was every kind of creepy crawler in that pile of wood that has been sitting there since 1962! Since WAY BEFORE we bought the place. I’m sure years and years of pollen, allergens, fungi, bacterial, spores, spiders, cocoons, eggs, vermin where running for their lives as I was disrupting their long standing homes. I worked until dusk and I quickly ran away from the pile as mud bees at the bottom started to buzz around. That’s it! I’m done for the night.
Now, back story…I was stung by bees as a little girl. Around 9 years old. A swarm covered me and I had received over 150 stings as my mother doused me with meat tenderizer on each sting. It was horrendous and fortunately I survived it and was not allergic. I had made peace with bees since then, but I have a deep respect for them. So, I buggerd off, until mid-night and while they were sleeping I sprayed the nest. I felt horrible committing murder in their sleep! Ugh! I HATED doing this!
Now the next day I was deathly afraid of the bottom layer of wood. Who KNOWS what’s lying under there? I have a few tough friends that make me feel tougher when I’m around them and this one friend in particular well, she’s quite tough and had the day off so, she came by for a couple hours and helped me finish the job. She went a little nutty with the bee killer when we discovered a few more.
I may have inhaled a little of that too and let me tell you…that is bad news right there. Anyone that doesn’t want to own a gun…just buy wasp killer as a weapon…that will MESS YOU UP~!!! Between that and all the dusty pollen that went down my pipe something stuck.
I felt fine when I finished the job. I had some other appointments and the next day came around. I woke, felt a small congestive like a sinus thing in my head in the morning but by mid-morning it was gone. Had some more appointments and then by mid afternoon, my eyes started to water. My throat felt like I swallowed a cactus and I started pouring on the home remedies. Gargling with salt water, taking Chinese Herbs, decongestant, wow! This was aggressive and we were leaving the NEXT DAY~! “How was I going to pack?”
Mo let me sleep in, knowing how crappy I felt. That meant for a late start and a long, long drive day! We were heading to a friend of ours Wed. in Seattle, then we would head to the Juan de Fuca festival in Port Angeles Friday morning for two performances.
I thought I might actually kick it on Thursday, I felt better. But oh no, when night came rolling around my eyes felt like burning saucers and my throat started to inflame. I knew this was going to be quite a challenge. I was doing everything to self medicate.
Friday came and we drove up to the festival. My energy was fine, but my head was a soupy mess! Little snotty singer, I was, who sounded and octave lower than normal. I was not at my best for sure and so disappointed not to be. Ugh! We practiced a few hours before going on and I realized my vocal capacity or “lack there of”. Honestly, I was a bit amazed that I could carve out a set list which stayed away from those vocal jumps I knew I didn’t have. My voice was missing its throaty middle tones and high middle tones. I could do the deep stuff and I could do the very high stuff, but the middle, where I sing often was super tender.
We played that night, and did a very good job considering. We got a standing ovation which made it very hard to give myself due to the fact that I was only running on 4 cylinders and I have a 10 cylinder motor! Ha! I let the tenderness of my voice be the platform and finessed with Mo very delicate harmonies, but songs like, “Life is Beautiful” were definitely off the list!
The audience cheered and asked for an encore and it was the first time, I really was not up for it, but what can you do? So we played them one, I had built it in just in case (thank God) so I was prepared. After that I was toast. My voice was done for and I felt razor blades in my throat. I tried not to speak but that is totally hard.
The next day, same thing, I was silenced. Mo kept fooling herself saying, “I think you’ll be fine by tonight.” I literally told her, “you are in denial, we are going to have to cancel or you are going to have to step up”. The show was only an hour and we had enough “Mo songs” to run for an hour. I will do my best to harmonize but honestly, I could barely do that.
I became the silent jester offering comedy that night, while Mo was the star of the show. She did a very good job. She was nervous as all get out. This was a show of 100-200 people sitting in close proximity and you can’t hear a pin drop between songs. It was on her to take care of all the dialogue and sing the songs. I think the dialogue freaked her freaky more than anything. Ha!
It was fun for me to watch her. Ha! I just smiled and silently joked. I played guitar, I had a great time. I was bummed we came all this way and I couldn’t do our specialty songs, but hey…now and then it happens right? So, I cut myself some slack and enjoyed Mo over there sweating. I knew she’d walk away with a new found respect for what it is I bring. Ha ha! And, she did! She was like, “that was the scariest thing I’ve ever done OMG!” Ha!
We learned a lot about each other. In fact, so much so that she is motivated to learn and WRITE more songs! I couldn’t be happier about that! That is good news, so…this trip inspired Mo to consider her place a bit more seriously in this business and it taught me that I need to pay a kid to do my dirty work now and then, ha ha, ha!!!
No, it taught me how much energy I extend all the time and I have to learn how to reel it in from time to time. Just putts around the house, and do nothing. My friend who helped me stack the wood never got sick. Of course she is a nurse and is exposed to cooties all the time. She said she had felt weird that night after, but nothing manifested like it did me. So, stress can definitely do it too. Too much on the plate, not enough relax time.
After Saturday’s show then the exhaustion hit me…like a brick between the eyes! So much so, that we stayed an extra day at our lovely host’s house and I lay in bed all damn day! Somewhat mortifying but hey, it happens to the best of us now and then right? You know that feeling of falling in front of everyone and people asking, “are you o.k.” It’s a little embarrassing right? Well, that’s how I felt. Particularly because I was fighting something last year when I went up there! Strange right?!
So, we stayed until Monday and we had shows last week on Wed. Fri & Sat, near our buddy Steve’s place in Bonny Lake area. I took it really slow when we got back. He wanted to go golfing with me, but I just couldn’t. I retracted and laid low. It was hard. The days were just gorgeous weather over there and I was saddled with a serious congestion that was creeping down my lungs and causing me to cough at random times.
I wound up going to the Doc in the Box in Port Angeles, you can see snippets of our tour from the movie clip. I spent $105.00 to see the doctor and he mainly said, “you need to rest”! Ha! Wow! Really?! He did write me a prescription for antibiotics but told me not to fill it for a few days. He thought I was on the down swing of this thing, and may not need them. I DID wait a few days and then I got on it because it was hanging in there like puppy on a tug-toy! He thought I had a virus and antibiotics don’t work on viruses. He said, “you have to just ride this out”. Now, I think it was the pollen and something else I inhaled and just flat out exhaustion.
Let’s face it, we’ve been to the moon and back since Feb. Plus a CD pre-release party and constantly on the go. I look at my calendar now with a bit of trepidation. We have 8 shows in the next 10 days starting tomorrow! I’m still not 100%. I have my voice back for the most part. 95%, but I was a lazy sloth today. This letter to you all will be my biggest accomplishment of the day! Ha!
So, the Washington tour taught me how to let go a little. Just be where I’m at and accept what is. I’m grateful for that and the people that made space for us to just be. I wrote in my journal a lot. I slept like crazy. I watched the trees for hours, blow in the winds ever so gently. So amazing that is! Almost more intriguing than watching the ocean waves, the movement was hypnotic! I trusted that all will work out. I have faith in Mo and her ability to sound like an angel. And to also let go and allow myself to falter a little bit. It’s hard when your health is not up to par, and you have so much you want to bring and give. Moral of the story…sometimes you have to give to yourself.
So we will soon post our video and the “You Just Have to Laugh” song for your enjoyment. Hope you dig it and hope you stay healthy throughout the season and give to yourself…and laugh a lot! I know we did! Be well fabulous friends!