Another DIY Repair Project & other thoughts

I guess you could say I’ve had a reasonably productive weekend for once. I didn’t get out hiking, but I got a decent amount done around the house. Saturday I got up and decided to finally tackled the 2nd half of my kitchen cupboard project. I have a lot of cupboards, and I’d done some major reorganizing last month, but there was still a lot to do. The shelf that was housing my pots and pans was starting to bow, so I knew I absolutely had to move them and put something lighter there before I had a major repair on my hands. I had several old cans of stain and paint that I had to figure out how to get rid of that were taking up space that could better be put to other use. There were three drawers I’ve barely looked into in years, which meant they were probably mostly full of junk I didn’t need. I was determined to find a permanent home for light bulbs and batteries.

In the process of my organizing, one of the wood valances over the blinds completely randomly flew off. I wasn’t even anywhere near it. A bit of inspection showed me the plastic valance clip was broken. There was no way it was going back up, which meant I might as well start another new project, take down the other three valances, and give them a good scrub down, too, if one of them was down already anyway.

This led to the discovery that another set of clips was also broken, and always had been. The person who lived in my house before me had this miraculous talent for believing tape could solve any home repair if you used enough of it, and this was no exception. That led to me having to disengage 40 lbs of tape. Good thing I had just found adhesive remover in my kitchen reorganizing project.

I tied  up boxes. I took a break to watch a movie and worked on the finger picking exercises while I watched it. I’m still not good at them, but slow progress is being made.

Sunday, I started off with the mundane and gave myself a haircut. After that was cooking, and a movie – more finger picking exercises there. I’m still stumbling, but a bit less.

The next project on the list was to fix my guitar purse. It was given to me as a gift for Christmas, but I was only able to use it once before the strap broke.  Ever since, it’s been sitting off to the side in my ‘I’ll eventually fix this,’ pile. Well, today was the day. I thought it through while watching my movie and doing my finger picking exercise. First, I had to take off the remnants of the broken leather strap. Then, I though, devising a loop would be best, and I could just attach a clip on strap, so I went digging to figure out what I could use to do it. I pirated the metal loops off of an old wallet that I was getting rid of. The fabric used to hold them on was a bit of thick elastic I had in my fabric box. Given the shape and size of the bag, I had no choice but to do this by hand, which took…well, a good long while.  From there I decided I could use some of the leather chording I had in the closet to make a braided chord, but I had to figure out how to “finish it” without it just being a mass of knots on the end. I found some waxy black chord, and decided to bind it with that and a dab of glue.

Funny thing – my cat goes nuts when I change guitar strings:

cleo guitar

…but apparently is a well-behaved little princess when I spend an hour braiding leather chord. Go figure.

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I had hoped I would get through the intro to guitar coursera lessons this weekend, but my projects inevitably took to long, so I’m somewhere in the middle of week 5 out of 7, at the moment, and just at the beginning of the scales lesson. I’ve been terrible about attempting to learn scales too, so far. Anything that requires a high level of memorization and repetition remains a problem. To date, I’ve been looking at scales as sort of drills that have no apparent point. But, the instructor of the course actually described them in a way I really like that I think makes them more accessible to someone who really needs to know ‘what is the practical application of this?’: He described scales as a sort of road map. He baby steps you into scales by playing a chromatic scale on just one string and explains that a chromatic scale is a scale that plays all the note sin order and starts and ends on the same note.

Then, he goes on to say, the reason we learn scales is the same reason we get to know a new city when we move. You can get where you want to go via that one main street down the center of town, but if you get to know individual neighborhoods, you find there are better ways to get where you’re going, shortcuts, if you will.

Ultimately, this doesn’t magically mean I won’t have to memorize things, which has proven problematic for me so far, but it does give the act of learning scales a practical, applicable purpose, which I’m hoping helps me get my head in the right space to buckle down and do it. I’m keeping my expectations low on that front, because I’ve got a track record of an incredibly short attention span for this sort of detail work, but only time will tell, and at least now someone’s given me a reason for learning scales that isn’t just some gobbledeygook about theory, and that’s got to count for something.

So, as I get started on a new week, the agenda I’m looking at is to try to behave myself and work on these exercises a bit, and to get through the rest of the lesson videos on Intro to Guitar, see if that leads me toward any new rabbit holes.

I don’t have any new music in the works at the moment, but I do have a new USB mic en route, so if all goes well, I’ll have that to post about soon.

The poetry album ended up not getting worked on this weekend due to the house projects being a bit more than I anticipated they’d be, but hopefully by next weekend I’ll be getting back to it. I don’t THINK I have any huge projects planned for next weekend. Then again, I tend to underestimate how epic my projects actually are, so there’s really no way to be sure. Things I think should take 20 minutes have a habit of taking 4 hours. So, only time will tell.

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2 thoughts on “Another DIY Repair Project & other thoughts

  1. One of my biggest shortcomings in playing was to not learn scales early on. I played by ear and that was, in retrospect, a great hindrance in writing songs later. So, you’re doing well to address it with the lessons. BTW, I’ve recorded my uke bass in a song, and it sounds a bit like an upright bass. I was pleasantly surprised.

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    1. Well, it’s more like “deluding myself into pretending I’m going to address it”, to be honest. The same thing that hangs me up on scales is the thing that hangs me up on all things bass: I just have zero interest in minutiae. So, we’ll see if it actually gets addressed or not in the long run. I have good intentions, but intentions don’t always amount to much.

      Sounds cool about the uke bass. I haven’t fiddled with anything bass recently. I think I may have accepted that until I can get my head to absorb some bare bones of actual musical information, I’m just treading water on bass, sadly. I still fiddle with it sometimes, and have by no means given up, but it’s back-burnered for the moment.

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