Sunday, May 20, 2012

Because Life Happens

A few days ago Michael's bass snapped out of tune suddenly. After a bit of investigating, we found out the tailgut snapped on his tailpiece. After not panicking... much, we asked around and were directed by a long-time bass playing friend to a site with instructions on repairing your own tailgut with cable. She had done this in the past with great success, so Michael went off to Walmart, purchased the metal cable, and after performing some bass surgery, it sounds as good as ever. Whew!

Just in time, too. We had a show yesterday for the great people of Yellville. Nice people, nice event, and an opportunity to try out our new mixer in an outdoor setting, as well as 2 new tunes we've worked up for the contest this weekend.

Yellville is a small city, but it sure does know how to host a music event! Check out this great crowd!

The show went well, but it wasn't really our best, mostly because we were trying out our new mixer, and as far as sound tech goes, we are rather pathetic. Our system is not that bad, especially for indoor use, but it theoretically has the power to do a good outdoor show as well, if we could figure out how to best manage it. Someday we will have to get some formal training on sound systems if we are going to be able to really put on a professional show.  The learning curve is huge in this business, and it will take time to figure it all out.

The crowd seemed to enjoy the show, and the new tunes worked. Nothing to put in front of judges yet, but they worked well with a crowd.
Thanks to a chance meeting on a facebook board with the new managers of Branson View Campground, we were given a fantastic spot at a very pretty park in which to spend our week. To make it more fun, Michael has arranged for us to rent a minivan on Tuesday, for the full week we are here. This should make it easier to get to and from Silver Dollar City, where we get 4 days in the park.

Two of those days we will be playing at the Youth in Bluegrass Contest. I wish I was excited about that one, but contests stress me out. I can see how they drive you forward, and we are putting in that extra time to learn the ropes of what we need to be competitive. We were given some sound advice from the mother of last year's winners, which prompted us to change a couple of the songs we originally considered in favor of new ones. This means those new songs will likely be good, but not contest great this year, but they may set us up for a better leap at a good placement next year, once they are firmly polished. Our overall selections were slightly limited if we wish to avoid either sounding like copycats of a famous person, spending too much time tuning the banjo from a dramatic key change, or placing an adult as the lead in a youth program. However, our experience is still limited in the realm of contests, so any of our tunes could be a great hit with the judges, or a complete miss. Last year we had a bunch of complete misses, despite very good songs. They just weren't the kind of music that sells to judges. Plus, Mary was included, and she is simply too young to do well in a contest, and every member must count, despite age. She isn't at all offended that she will sit in the audience this year. She's going for the roller coasters anyway.

So, this week we will stand around a single microphone, figure out who moves where, practice balance, starts, stops, and introductions. Thanks to a nice park and location, here is where we get to go through the drills.
 The name of the campground, Branson View, sure lives up to its name, too. It's amazing!

After this we have to go deal with a major "life happens" moment, however. Recently we noticed some spots on our vinyl flooring were growing... under the top covering of the vinyl. I did some investigation, and sure enough (gag) MOLD. Possibly some nasty stuff, too. Right now it is sealed up tight, with extra floor-matching colored duct tape over the spots for extra protection, but some softer spots in the kitchen floor area have led us to believe we have a definite rot and mold issue going on under the floor. Since the initial spots on the floor were first noticed back when we got the bus, I personally think it started from earlier leaks, before we owned it. It was made worse when we first hooked up the water to find all of the poor plumbing issues, which Michael replaced and repaired. We thought we dried it out, but the water that got trapped under the flooring must not have, and instead rotted out some of the plywood and vinyl.


We have a plan. Thankfully, God gave us a week in Kansas with friends where He denied us pretty much every attempt to find playing opportunities, leaving us a week free on their property, where our friends have a workshop of tools and places for the kids to sleep during the repairs. As a conversion, most of the counters and benches are simply attached, without fancy factory construction, so we will be pulling out most of the kitchen area fixtures, some in the bathroom, and bringing it down to the metal bottom. Once we see what the damage is, we will go from there. Provided there is no real damage to the metal flooring, we may just treat that, get on some rust-free paint, a flooring top coat of paint, and use area rugs throughout the bus on top of that. Michael has had many sleepless nights worrying about water damage to the bus from the unknown. When you are in a house that moves and is constantly jostled, you never know what leak will show up where. We have access to nearly all of the piping throughout the bus, except under the floor, so if the floor is the base of the bus itself, it will be a bit less comfortable, cooler in the winter (we will be spending that in South Texas anyway), but the chances for unknown water damage go way down from that point forward.

No one has suffered from any potential mold exposure, thankfully. In fact, outside of one kid with a couple bouts of a mild soar throat a few weeks ago, there has not been so much as a common cold in over a year. (I'd "knock-on-wood" over that declaration, except I do not happen to believe the One who arranged that merciful health-spree, in the midst of all of our trials from the last year, falls for such rituals, so I gladly skip it!)

We'll use gloves, masks, and pull out all bedding, curtains, and everything for the clean-up. Bleach, dry out, paint, replace, move back in. When we get back to Colorado we will then have the engine and mechanics checked out, as we close our our first half of our first year of travel, preparing, God willing, for many more.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Have you really been on Benny for a whole 6 months? I've enjoyed it thoroughly!

    I do hope you solve your mould problem without finding anything more nasty than expected. Thank you God for an empty, workshop provided, week in Kansas!