September 7, 2011

Therapy. We all need it sometimes.

That’s because we all have those days when we just need to chill. We need a breather. Our minds end up worrying about things that don’t really matter. Hey, even sometimes our minds worry about things that really do matter, but we just can’t handle worrying about it for too long. It’s just not healthy.

Some find help in meditation and relaxation. Some people seem to release their stress out while working out. Others believe that they can just talk it out with a friend or relative. A few might even enjoy doing something creative.

My therapy is playing guitar.

Yeah, I just pick up the old git-fiddle and pluck away. Well, I guess I don’t really think of it as plucking, more of a strumming or brushing manner. Some picking could be involved…but never a pluck.

I have played guitar for many years, but I havent’ really been playing all that much until I have been getting stressed out lately. Work is keeping me pretty busy and I need a release from time to time.

I really do enjoy music. But I’ll admit that my guitar skillz (purposly spelled with a “z” at the end to indicate how sick guitar skills are) really aren’t that flashy. I don’t “shread” or “groove”, I just play. I don’t plan it, it just happens. But the music is really the reason I play.

I do it because it physically hurts to do play. That’s right, it physically hurts me to play guitar.


I haven’t played this much in such a long time.

For those of you who don’t play guitar, allow me to inform you of the inconvienances of guitar playing.

Callouses. You need them. You really need them. And the only way to get them and keep them is to keep playing. I have been lacking in the maintinece department and have been paying for it ever since.

If I could just play 30 minutes everyday for the next week or two I’m certain my previous dexterity and strength (as well as pain tolerance) would be fully restored. For now, I only end up playing for a few hours every few days. Not nearly enough to build back those callouses.

When I used to play in high school and my early college days (Ha! It’s looks funny to see me type a sentence like that) I had some pretty incredible hand strength. This is due to my previous playing style.

For one reason or another I used to be in a metal band. While I’m not going to comment on the whole band thing (I’ll save that for another post one day), I am going to say this. We played really fast and really hard. I played bass with my string action set waaaay too high. But I liked it that way. I played so hard that I needed that little extra room over the fretboard so the strings wouldn’t bash against it too often.

In short, I could play harder without having to deal with unwanted distortion or “boinging” in my tone.

This meant my hand had a grip that could crush a cinderblock. (This is a very big lie but you get my point).

Now-a-days I end up whining to myself when I play. But that pain reminds me of the past. And I really like that.

I think of how my wrist would get so stiff toward the end of the set. Memories of how I used to get nervous about playing music and not messing up. Daydreaming about the number of hours I would devote to making something sound “right”.

Then I snap back into reality and think…I’ve got a ton of papers to grade.

There it is. My therapy sessions are playing guitar and remembering my glory days.

What about you? What do you do to relieve the stress?

Plucking Picking away the stress,


Yesterday was a day I will soon not forget. A real trying experience I tell you!

Behold my story!

Yesterday was the day of my job interview for a local high school. I was pretty amped about it because it’s close, cool, and (most importantly) might have a position made for me. I’ve known about it for a week, and haven’t let it get to me. I’ve remained pretty calm and collected. I was still excited, but I wasn’t panicking, so that was good.

I decide to wake up early (that’s read as 9 o’clock) because my interview isn’t until 2 p.m.. So, I wake up, relax, eat a small breakfast, and begin preparing for my interview. I start running through practice questions in my mind, think about my teaching philosophies/experiences, and go over my resume and reference letters. And i’m liking what my brain is telling me. If I were interviewing me, I would give me a shot.

Overall, I’m still feeling pretty good. I’m not pacing around like I usually do.

I must also mention, I’m the only person home, and we’ve had an air conditioning emergency. There is no cold air in my home because some sort of leak is causing the freeon (magical cooling fluid) to not be in my A/C unit. So, even though I am a little muggy as I try to get dressed, I’m still feeling alright. That’s only a little stressful. Like a 3 out of 10.

But I walk out of the door forgetting one thing.

My Chapstick.

I always need Chapstick because I am just one of those guys that doesn’t drink enough water I guess. Or maybe I just don’t drink enough in the morning. Point is, I need it, especially if I need to make sure my two lips don’t look like two dried out salmon. (Horrible image, sorry). And when I meet a new person that could potentially decided to hire me I think Chapstick is a good decision.

For those of you keeping score of my stress level: I have had a no A/C morning (in Florida), Preparing for job interview, and forgot my Chapstick. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I’m feeling around a 7. Not good at all. I am pretty stressed, but at least I know it’ll be over soon.

At least I made it to my interview on time.

Next comes the interview. It was a little strange at first but I warmed up and got some good answers in. I felt comfortable asking the principal some questions about the job and the school, and she seemed rather receptive about that. Only problem was that I kept licking my lips in order to make then not look too milky and dry. When I got in my car to drive home I looked in my mirror and realized that I had failed at that.

But at least the interview part well reasonable well. So now my stress level is at 6.

But that’s only the first half kiddies…

(Sorry for calling you kiddie.

The interview ended at 3 p.m.. That gave me enough time to go home, eat, check on the A/C repair, and then pick up my bass for practice at a church that I’m helping out. The practice begins at 5 p.m..

Personal note: I am never late. I hate being late. I WILL be there. Even if I’ve already had a defcon 7 of a day.

I do everything I am supposed to, but decide to not change out of my clothes. I figured I wasn’t going to need to do that, considering all I was going to be doing was playing an instrument and not in front of anybody to boot. I hop in my car and head on down. But maybe a mile from my house, I feel something suspicious and terrible.

My car starts feeling….lumpy. Rumbling. Flappy. I look down at my guages and look for some sign of what is happening. And a little orange tire pressure guage is on.

I have a flat tire.

And that’s it. Today is officially a 9 I think to myself. The stress of my day was supposed to be the interview. At that was it. I was supposed  to enjoy the rest of my evening.

I relize that I have to put on a spare tire. This is totally okay and expected, but I have to do it in my dress clothes. (Didn’t change, remember?). So, I take off my tie, throw all the junk out of my trunk, and begin the very dirty process of changing my tire.

I fumbled around with the world’s worst emergency car jack for about 10 minutes (thanks Toyota). And I still can’t get these lugs off with this hideous excuse for a tire iron. No leverage.

We are at a 9 and 3/4 of a stressful day. I’m going to be late. I have to buy a new tire because this one is beyond patching. The side wall has blown out (which would have been awful had I been going faster than the 35 mph I was doing). And you can’t just buy one new tire, you need at least two. So there goes more money.

I contemplate calling somebody. Maybe just skipping the very important practice entirely and giving up. I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Yes, if I just go home and go to sleep, things will be better.

Then a green truck pulls up. A middle aged dude pops out and says, “Hey man, car problems?”

“Mondays.” is my response.

He laughs and pulls out an awesome tire iron. One with the ability to pull the lugs off of my tire and helps me get this thing done.

After the very kind man (who, I will be honest, smelled a little bit like alcohol) left, I was able to return home and borrow somebody else’s car.

I was only late by 10 minutes.

Stress level down to 2.

That was a pretty long story, so if you read the whole thing here is an internet high five for you.


Nailed it!

Thank you for reading a story about my Monday.

Would you like to share a stressful story with me? Feel free to do so in the comment section.

Wishing you a better days than what I just had,