I went through my calendar items and my photos for the year. All in all, 2018 wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t all that bad either. I spent a good third of the year sick, and I’ve lost more weight with my stomach woes. I also spent three-quarters of the year pushing myself and learning.
On the learning side, I was inspired to use a $100 Amazon gift card on a very cheap beginner’s guitar package (a cheap electric guitar and a tiny amplifier). I took lessons as a kid on an acoustic and didn’t stick with it. I’ve always regretted not following through so I decided to pick up the cheap guitar to see if I could still do it. I could. Guitar one became eight guitars and two bass guitars (guitar acquisition syndrome). Daily practice sessions where I pushed myself to learn using DVDs, books and online lessons turned into weekly guitar lessons with a private teacher. She’s going to teach me bass, too, since I’ve been doing those lessons on my own for about a week now.
The sick of it was a series of infections – SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), a UTI, an infected tooth and emergency root canal, and a long, drawn-out bout with a c. difficile infection that still hasn’t completely resolved itself. I’ve eaten a lot of bland food, taken lots of medication (thus the c. diff infection) and taken more medication to combat the CDI monster. My house smells like bleach, but I guess it could be worse.
2018 also brought two new tattoos and three rock concerts in five days. Not bad considering I was sick and on an antibiotic the week we attended the concerts, one including a trip out of town for two days.
I have no New Year’s resolutions for 2019. My only goal is to get well again. I’d like to spend some of my free time cleaning up the clutter that has taken over my house, but being sick most of the time, working full-time takes the majority of my energy. When I get home, I expend the last of my reserves on practicing the guitar and then I’m done. I sit with my feet up, a heating pad on my belly and a cat on my lap, and I fall asleep in my recliner.
I returned to work on Thursday and made it through my short work week of two days. It felt more like two weeks! I haven’t felt overwhelming exhaustion like this since I had newborns in the house. Recovering from this infection is hard work.
After three weeks away from my job, my ‘to do’ stack is, of course, mountainous. The urgent things got done while I was out. Everything else is waiting for me to pick back up again. It will take some time to get closer to caught up. I’m never completely caught up with everything. That’s impossible in my job.
Right now I’m operating at nowhere near my usual level of performance. Thursday I was at about 60%. Friday I was closer to 80%. I stayed the full day both days, but I was staggering tired by the time I left. My weekend is all about resting up and recharging. It is much needed.
I picked up my guitar again Saturday night for the first time in three weeks. I had been too sick to touch it before this. I canceled four weeks of lessons and stopped playing. I actually thought I did okay tonight. It didn’t sound entirely bad. Most of what I know and learned came right back. Newer notes and chords were harder to remember. The strings hurt my fingers again. I noticed some of the calluses and blisters I had developed peeled off while I was sick. I’ll have to build them back up again.
I sampled something different for dinner Saturday, too. I ate a few cheese ravioli but only a trace amount of sauce. I’m starting to develop more of an appetite again, and that’s a good sign, too.
Guitar number six joined my collection a few weeks ago. I picked it up on my way home from the Cooper concert in York, PA. It’s a used Schecter Diamond Series Spitfire-6. It’s a pretty thing – a glossy black with mother of pearl edging. He plays nice, too.
Number seven isn’t here yet. He (or she) is supposed to arrive on Wednesday. I wanted a Fender but couldn’t afford one so I bought the cheaper (subsidiary) version – a Squier guitar. I got the stratocaster style.
My idea with the Squier guitar was to get something new (not a used model) that was fairly light and fairly inexpensive that I could easily transport back and forth to my lessons. I had my first lesson last Monday, and I took Phil, my Epiphone Les Paul. Phil is top of the line, new, and he’s built like a Mack truck. He’s heavy. He’s also in a hardshell case to protect him. The only problem is it takes awhile to get him out and put him away. My lesson is thirty minutes. It felt like I just got him out and I had to pack him back up again. I’m going to shoot for something lighter and easier to carry. We’ll see how that goes. I won’t have the new one for this Monday, but perhaps I’ll take the Schecter instead or maybe my Ibanez.
I’m not sure how the lesson went. She said I am doing well with the notes. The chords are harder. We spend half the lesson on theory and half on something I want to learn. Of course, I picked Alice Cooper’s Poison as the song I wanted to learn to play. It’s hard! I guess anything worthwhile is going to be hard work.