Tuesday, December 20, 2005



So, I'm supposed to finish from last night's post, where I said I feel trapped. It's no big mystery.

Until Z graduates from HS, we're not going anywhere. We are stuck in our current location and lifestyle for at least 4-1/2 years.

We live here for free - we only have to pay the utilities.


So, if we moved outside (for a job, or just to live somewhere warm), we'd have to shell out $ for rent or to buy a house. We have looked at many locations around the country over the past few years, and found several that appeal to us as a place to spend our winters.

But none of them have school systems that measure up to what we have here, and that is the primary issue for us. I want Z to attend a decent, safe school with a healthy, positive atmosphere for the kids, and plenty of opportunities. Our local schools aren't perfect, but they are better than any we've seen. The other systems we looked at have lower graduation rates, lower college attendance rates, more disciplinary issues, more crime and "gang" situations. With the increasing oil prices, it appears future school funding crises here have been put off yet a few years more.

Some of Z's friends are planning to move from town to our area - they used to live out here, but moved into town for whatever reason, and now they're talking about coming back out. Z will be ecstatic! They currently go to the same school, but when they get to HS, Z would go to a different one.

There aren't exactly a lot of jobs in the area that I want to do, or could even get hired for, unless I went for something way down the $ scale.

So, here we are. "Trapped", but it's really our own doing. I guess I have to run through the list every once in a while to make sure we're not off course.

The Luthier

Today, we drove up to Anchorage to return the HP 21" wide screen monitor to BestBuy. Since part of it was paid for by a Gift Card, they had to refund the $ to the card, but that is going to take 24 to 48 hours for it to show up on the vapor version of the card. So, after returning the monitor to the store, I couldn't use the gift card to buy anything else there. At first I thought it was absurd, but then I remembered: they've already earned their $ from the initial sale of the gift card, so they aren't going to put a lot of effort into making it easy for me to exchange it for any merchandise.

I also stopped in at the Violin shop, where I had rented the cello last month, to see what a "real" cello sounds like - up close. The place was full of customers, coming and going, and all 3 proprietors were pretty busy. I told the one guy that I was currently renting a cello and wanted to look at some upgrades. I added that I wasn't going to buy one yet, but I'd spent enough time with the rental to know its sound and wanted to compare it to a carved model. He showed me a graphite one that looked pretty cool, and probably had a cool sound, but I told him I wanted to go much more traditional than that. He went in the back and returned with a nice looking Eastman V405 cello. He said the Eastman line has a good reputation, and he pretty much only sold those at this price range. The price tag was $3000. He said he'd sell me the cello, a bow, and a hard case for $3,500.

He sat down and quickly tuned it up, grabbed a bow and played a few chords up and down. It sounded really NICE - warm and mellow, and rich. It has a more handmade feel to it than the one I have now - it's the difference between handcarving to laser cutting from a sheet of plywood. Then - egad! he handed me the bow and stood up to deal with another customer. There I was, sitting in the middle of the small shop with a bow and a cello, with lots of customers standing around. I'm such a novice and a chicken, that I wasn't able to do more than scratch across the open strings once or twice. After a bit, he came out and asked me if I was through testing it. I told him I was in no way ready to play it that kind of setting, yet. All I had really wanted was to hear one up close so I could compare it to what I'm playing now. Then I bought the Level 2 "All for Strings" book, and slunk out.

Still, I really liked the sound. Is it worth $3,500? If, after six months, I've advanced enough to like what I'm playing (and more importantly, I'm still playing and enjoying it), I'll be inclined to go ahead and do it. I will do some research on other celli, first.

So, I didn't get to play today. Tomorrow, maybe I'll be able to make up some time. I did workout this morning before hitting the road.

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