Sunday, November 10, 2019

Daily Life Stuff and End of the Decade Preview

Lots of stuff going on in the home front, as always.

To start with, Denise tried to kill me again. Well, that's my story, anyway. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little.

Here's the deal. These days, as I've written, 90% of the time, I work from home. However, once a month, I have to physically attend a staff meeting for my job. This wouldn't be so bad, except that the meetings occur in Little Neck, at 9 o'clock on a Saturday morning. And while that doesn't sound too horrendous, understand that my normal sleep schedule tends to be roughly from about 4AM until about noon. I've worked more of my life than not on the graveyard shift, and for whatever reason, this seems to be my body's natural proclivity. So while I'm used to waking up at noon (or a little later) most days, on that one day a month, I suddenly have to get up at about 7AM. So if you normally wake up at 7AM for your job (as many do), this is the equivalent of once a month, having to get up and go in at 2AM. Wouldn't be much fun, would it?

And me being 62 years old, I'm not as flexible on these things as I used to be. (I've tried to convince my boss to throw the occasional staff meeting at a more reasonable hour for me -- say, midnight. But so far, he's being very stubborn about it.) So by the time I get home from these things, I usually feel like a poo poo sandwich.

Anyway, what I usually do on these Saturdays is get as much sleep as I can the night before. Then, when I get home (about 2:30), I wind down for a half hour or so, and then take a nap. I prefer not to do anything that night, but it seems like the universe makes sure that all the cool stuff (concerts, etc.) happen on that one monthly Saturday. But at least if I have, say, an 8 o'clock show somewhere, and it's not somewhere too strenuous (like going into the city, or walking the marathon that is the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium), I might not be 100 percent that night, but I'm in at least OK shape to enjoy a show. (This is why I had to skip that Morrissey/Interpol concert a few months back. Forest Hills on these Saturdays is a no-go.)

Today, though, Denise's family decided it would be the perfect day to throw a 85th birthday dinner for my mother-in-law at an Italian restaurant in Williston Park. Originally, it was supposed to be at 6PM, which would have allowed me to go to the staff meeting, get home, wind down for a half hour and grab a couple of hours of sleep before going out. Unbeknownst to me, however, the family decided to move the time back to 5PM, which meant no sleep for me. There were some other possibilities -- I could have skipped the staff meeting today -- I've never missed one -- but I don't like to do that if I don't have to. Or I could have gone directly to my mother-in-law's house after the meeting and slept there. But then I'd have had to drive home tired after the restaurant (instead of Denise driving me home). And especially since my night vision isn't what it used to be, I decided to just suck it up and go to the dinner without sleep.

Anyway, last night, I just couldn't turn things around to grab a full night's sleep. ( I got maybe four hours.) So I went to my meeting, came home, and watched TV for an hour before going back, After the dinner, we got home here at about 9PM, and I crawled into bed feeling godawful. And now it's a little after 4AM, and I'm up again feeling maybe half my usual self and kvetching about it all here. And since it was an event for Denise's family, I put this in the category of "Denise tried to kill me". See what a delight I am to live with?

Really, though, I must be. A delight, that is. Because this past Wednesday, my daughter (and her boyfriend) moved back into our home.

The original plan was that in the beginning of November, they were supposed to be getting their first real apartment as a couple, with no roommates, etc. But on that last (backbreaking) drive to Huntington a few weeks ago, she asked me about the possibility of them moving in here.

They're both hardworking kids, and they looked at a number of apartments together. But Long Island is such a friggin' expensive to live that they started to realize that while they could afford to get a place together, if they did, virtually all of their money would be going just towards surviving.

Now if you read this blog regularly, you probably figure that I'm pretty freaked out about this (me being a misanthropic pain in the ass and all). And when she first asked me the question, I think I was a little.

But then, a weird thing happened. As you might have read an entry or two ago, we just lost our little buddy Noodles (my son's cat) recently. And when I really examined my feelings, I discovered that while it's going to be a little challenging (five adults living in a small one-bathroom house), I was more happy about it than not, especially with the holiday season rolling up on us like a runaway reindeer.

If you've raised biological children, by the time they're young adults, you've had about two decades with them. Maybe you're sad when they move out, or maybe you're excited for the privacy. But Denise and I have only had our kids half that long -- my son was already ten when they first moved in with us, and my daughter was thirteen. And the time goes so fast.

So my daughter and I are already picking out what shows to watch together. (Right now, it's looking like Season Two of The End of the World is going to be our number one choice.) My son is happy, because it's two more people near his age in the house all the time. He'd try to claim otherwise, but he's always looked up to his sister, and her boyfriend is like an older brother to him -- he was actually my son's friend before he was my daughter's boyfriend. Denise is still a little freaked out, I think, about the extra cooking, etc. But she and my daughter have always been close, so I know it will work out. So from my point of view (and much to my own surprise), right now, things are pretty good here. I'm looking forward to getting through the long winter season surrounded by the warmth of my family.

Anyway, (finally!) getting around to music, I've been working diligently this year, not only on my Best of 2019 lists, but also on my Best of the Decade lists. I started working on the Top Songs of the Decade stuff the weekend Denise and I went away to Connecticut, and this week I started organizing my Top Albums list. I think I know how it's all shaping up, although I'm not finalizing it yet -- there are still another six or seven weeks left in the 2010s, and I'm leaving room for something to blow me away at the last minute. (And it's actually possible. There's a brand new Bayside release I've just started listening to, and the greatest rock band of all time, aka The Who, have a brand new studio LP coming out on November 22. I'm not actually expecting greatness -- after all, the guys are in their mid-seventies. But who knows what kinds of surprises Pete and Roger might have left for us?)

However, barring an eleventh hour shocker, here's how things are shaping up. 1. My #1 song of the 2010's looks like it's going to be something from the country-folk rock genre; 2. My top album of the decade might just be an epic metal album; and 3. to give you one actual specific, my artist of the decade, no matter what else happens, is clearly going to be Bayside. Regardless of the strengths or weaknesses of the new LP (Interrobang), this band already put out what my British friend Zak would call three absolute bangers in the 2010s, in Killing Time (2011), Cults (2014) and Vacancy (2016).

I've also been thinking about the shape of this blog in 2020. I told you back after the Bastille concert that I didn't know where I'd be going with it, and maybe I'd even be winding it down. I do plan to attend fewer concerts in 2020 than I have over the last two years. Neither my body nor my wallet can keep up with the constant concert going. But while I might post less often in the future (I usually try to post at least once a week or so right now), I might also add a couple of features to spice it up. Denise has no intention in cutting back in her concert going, and she's got some fun shows coming up that I won't be attending with her, including Midge Ure, The Fixx and Dead Can Dance. (She's also got that eighties cruise coming up next March that I won't be taking with her). So maybe I'll fill in the gaps with a couple of guest reviews from her. (If you know her, you know she'll be a lot less curmudgeonly in her write-ups than I am. But be patient with her. Nobody's perfect.) And while I don't plan to go back to doing full album reviews anytime soon, maybe I can at least throw some one or two-line summaries in there once in awhile.

So I think the blog will continue to go on, albeit in a somewhat altered form.

Anyway, that's my little sneak preview for the my End of the Decade stuff. How about you guys? What was the music that blew you away the most in the 2010s?

Until next week, when I'll be back at The Patchogue Theatre, I bid you all adieu!