Why Tom Waits doesn’t do it for me anymore.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not renouncing my appreciation for the man’s music. I just have a bone to pick.
My Tom Waits backstory.
I discovered Mr. Waits when I was in my twenties and I was working on my Associates Degree. If memory serves me correctly, the first “album” (even though it was a greatest hits package) of his that I heard was “Beautiful Maladies”.
It made love to my earholes every time that I put it on. After that first encounter, I made it my mission to buy all of his albums, read everything that I could about him and I even went so far as to hunt down bootlegs of his shows.
Fun Fact: I actually was lucky enough to find a bootleg copy of the Alice Demo’s two years before he turned it into an album. Stupidly, I loaned it to my girlfriend at the time. Within a month, we had broken up. Haven’t since the demo since. I still feel like an asshole about that: loaning out the demo, not breaking up with the then girlfriend (she was a fucking whack-bat).
Part of me still thinks that she was using me for my Tom Waits collection…
At any rate, that’s how devoted a fan I was of his.
A couple of years later, I’m driving to work and I hear on the radio that he was touring. Naturally, I almost shit myself. The last time he toured it was 1970-something. I needed to be at this show.
I made it a point to sneak away from work (while the boss wasn’t looking) in order to shoot down to the Giant Eagle 15 minutes down the road to buy tickets from Ticketmaster and then shoot back to work before anyone realized that I was gone.
So I get to Giant Eagle and the woman working the Ticketmaster machine told me “I can’t find the event in the system”.
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T FIND THE TICKETS? DO YOU KNOW I COULD GET FIRED FROM SNEAKING AWAY FROM WORK TO DO THIS JUVENILE BULLSHIT? FIND THE FUCKING TICKETS WOMAN OR I AM GOING TO JUMP THIS COUNTER AND REDEFINE PAIN FOR YOU!"
That’s what I said in my head.
What I had crestfallen-ly said out loud was “Please check again.”
The lady was really sweet. She checked again and even went to the trouble of calling Ticketmaster to find out what was going on. It turns out that Mr. Waits had taken the initiative to bypass Ticketmaster in an effort to thwart price-gouging and Scalpers, etc and was having the tickets sold from the venue directly.
I was screwed. I couldn’t engage in any phone shenanigans in hopes of actually reaching someone at the venue. I had to go back to work.
To add insult to injury, I had learned years after this horrible day in my personal history, that Mr. Waits was double-booked on the night that he came to town. After he was done playing at one local venue, he took his bus up to another local venue within relative walking distance from my house at the time.
Since then, I don’t enjoy his music half as much as I first did. Some of you make think I’m being childish. I’m inclined to partly agree to that. Also, I’m sure I will incur the wrath of my friends who are also into Tom Waits. But you know what? I don’t give a shit.
I could have walked to that second show.
Hey look! Cows!
I never really understood the importance of family vacations until I had a family of my own.
A review of my background: I am the youngest of four children. This would not be that much of a big deal if we were all close in age. I am the youngest by 9 years. All of my other siblings are close in age.
When I came into the picture, my parents were all ready on the verge of separating. That, coupled with the age gap enabled me to miss out on all of the ‘normal’ vacation-y type stuff that my family used to do. Like going to the cottage my parents used to rent regularly. Granted, my older brothers and sister never really told me anything good about going out there but I can’t help but feel left out.
My parents separated for good when I was four. After everything had quieted down, they tried to pick up the pieces and make good with me. Visitations were established and trips were planned. These were measures that were taken to impress upon me that, even though my parents did not share a home, they were ‘there’ for me and they were perfectly capable of being civil around each other in my presence.
From what little I remember of those trips, mom pissed dad off a lot and in response, dad had a short temper and smoked a lot of cigarettes.
After the initial experiment, my father took it upon himself toplan the trips for just me and him. Some of them were fun. Others, not so much. Those were the ones where I had more fun staying in a hotel than spending time with my father.
Suffice it to say, I had a very warped sense of what a vacation, let alone family vacation, really was.
After I met my wife and we had started a family of our own, 3 years go by before we take our first family vacation. Our son was just over the cusp of being 2 and our oldest daughter was 4. My wife wants to go camping. At this point in my life as well as our relationship, my wife is well aware of the fact that I have never been camping. So you think it would be just the two of us, right? Nope. It was us, both kids and for some reason that still escapes me, the family cat. Needless to say my first camping experience left a bit of a raw taste in my mouth. I enjoyed it though. My wife chose Camp Toodik and it was a great place for a 1st time camper such as myself. Plenty of well kept camping amenities as well as some of the best fishing that you could imagine. Every time I cast my line I got a bite. You can find them here: http://camptoodik.com/
So two years go by and my wife gets the itch to vacation again. At this point in our lives we are in radically different positions. She is a full time nurse at a world renowned hospital. I stay home with the kids, and we have had our 3rd and final child.
Given my previous vacationing experiences, I don’t think that I was wrong in the least bit for being put on edge and not being really excited about the whole venture. I tried to explain it to her like this: when you vacation, you are leaving your job temporarily and going to a place to relax. Since I stay at home with the kids, I really wouldn’t be leaving my job and not worrying about it because my job would be coming with me. It would be a working vacation.
That’s how I felt about vacationing before we left town.
My wife did most of the planning because that’s her thing. We rented a cabin from Secluded Cabins outside Loudonville, Ohio. Go ahead and check them out: http://www.secludedcabins.com/. We rented ‘Heron Hill’. My wife and I liked it so much that we plan on renting it again when it can just be the two of us.
It had to be one of the most pleasant vacations that I have ever been on. By no means was it more fun than a barrel of moneys. But in regard to family vacations I don’t think that it could have gone any smoother.
It was an adventure of firsts. Thanks to Mohican Reservation (http://mohicanreservation.com/) It was our first raft ride as an entire family. It was my first as well and I must say I did quite well piloting the raft, if I do say so myself. It was the first time that our son had consciously seen cows outside of a petting zoo. It was the first time that our youngest daughter had been more than a 100 miles away from the city that she was born in. It was also the 1st trip that our oldest daughter had been successfully car sick. By that I mean she had the wherewithal to hold it until I was able to pull over and if that wasn’t the case, her coordination had improved to where she could vomit in a shopping bag while the car was still moving.
In the event that you are in the area you also need to check out these places:
http://malabarfarmrestaurant.com/ We stopped here to eat. I had one of the best damn burgers I have ever eaten. If you are in the area, you need to eat here.
http://heinisgourmetmarket.com/ We bought cheese from their cheese shop. It is the best cheese that you will ever eat. That is all that you need to know.
Here I am back in Cleveland Heights. If my stunted understanding of families and vacations is forgiven due to my background, I think that I could quite easily say that I understand how crucial family vacations are now. Families need to go on vacations every now and again, away from their homes to be reminded that, regardless of what may be going during their normal routines, it’s not as important as being with the people that love them the most.