Saturday, April 6, 2013

What will you regret?

LucyA Facebook friend posted this picture and quote of Lucille Ball today, and I loved it so much I shared it and am writing about it here.

It relates directly to getting the Rolling Stones tickets yesterday, but also to our broader philosophy of life. Ken and I had this conversation when Notre Dame went undefeated in football last season and were playing for the national championship. It was outrageously expensive, but Ken said, “Let’s do it. We will probably never get another chance like this.”

We talked about how we could save every penny towards retirement, but how many people do you know who finally reached retirement and then got sick, or were in poor enough health that they couldn’t travel? We made a conscious decision to do some of these things NOW rather than wait ten years from now, when Ken hopes to retire. Ken took almost a month off of work and we did Route 66; we went to Miami for a three-day weekend to cheer for our Irish; and we decided to go for it and get good seats for the Stones.

Route 66 was the trip of a lifetime for me, something I’d wanted to do for well over a decade. Although the championship game didn’t turn out the way we’d hoped, we still had a fabulous time in Miami and were happy to be there to cheer for our team. I’m sure that the Stones concert is going to be a blast, and I will probably scream and cry and be a hot mess and enjoy the HELL out of it.

We aren’t wealthy, by any means, and we do things like this within reason. But when a good time comes along, we decided to whip it...whip it good. We aren’t extravagant in our daily life, and we save our money for traveling and doing fun things like this. We still have retirement funds, of course, so I don’t think we’ll have to dine on Fancy Feast, but we’re not going to save every penny for ten years from now. I know there are some people out there who make a total career change around this age, or are just entering the workforce due to various reasons. Whatever works for you, I suppose, but I feel very fortunate and grateful that I not only got to enjoy a quarter century of a satisfying and interesting career, I was able to retire five years ago, and I’ve never missed the daily grind once. I still enjoy the subject of Microbiology and read plenty about it, but I was happy to say goodbye to the day-to-day stuff. If you’re my age and you’re just starting your career, well...have fun with that!

If we hadn’t done the 66 trip when we did, we might not have been able to do the walking and climbing we did. If we hadn’t gone to Miami, we would have looked back and said, “Damn, I wish we’d gone to that.” And if we hadn’t gone to see the Stones this time, we will probably never get another chance. Like any human being, I’ve done things in my life that I regret. But like Lucy, I don’t want to regret the things I didn’t do, miss the opportunities I might never get again, and feel that I somehow let life pass me by.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I got what I need

Stones ticketsI was doing my Facebook thing this morning, and I’m glad I was on there, because I started seeing frequent updates on the Rolling Stones page. The Hyde Park show sold out in less than five minutes...a second show was added in Toronto...and a second show was added in Chicago. What? Had the first one sold out already? This was the presale through Citibank, so what did this bode for my chances on getting tickets when they go on sale to everyone Monday? Not good, I was thinking, so I thought I’d click through and see if I could get any further information.

Well, I’m glad I did, because it took me right to Ticketmaster and let me go through the ordering process. I don’t know if it was because it was through their Facebook page, or what, but I didn’t have to wait long and had the tickets ordered within just a few minutes. GOT ‘EM!

I got one of the ticket packages that included seats on the floor, and they were not cheap. We weren’t expecting them to be, but still...ouch! I’m happy to report that Ken is not upset with me. He understood that we were going no matter what, so he might have expected some expensive tickets! But you know, it probably really is the last time the Stones will tour. Like I told him, I hope these once-in-a-lifetime things stop happening soon, because between the Orange Bowl game and these Stones tickets, we’ve just about tapped out the vacation fund!

Stones seats markedAnyway, the red dot in Section 3 is about where our seats should be. We’re in the twelfth row, just outside the Tongue Pit. It would have been fun to be in the Tongue Pit, but they were even more expensive, and I had to draw the line somewhere. They should still be cool seats, because the stage extends out...the guys will walk out on the rim of the tongue, so they won’t be too far away at times.
It should go without saying that I am super excited. I had an adrenaline rush going for about three hours, and finally managed to calm down. At least I don’t have to wait all summer...only till the end of May! I suspect they might add a few more shows here and there. I was surprised at the scarcity of dates originally announced, but it didn’t take them long to add two shows, and there are rumors that there will be a few more. I think the Chicago show will be the only one for us, though. We couldn’t afford another one!

You can expect plenty of pictures. I hope I can take some during the concert!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Catch-up time!

Baldwin tweet 2Whoops, time got away from me again, but that seems to happen frequently now. We had a funeral to go to in there, but I’m going to focus on happier things. I’ll just say that I am very grateful for a loving family.

I tweeted my previous entry, about Parental Alienation Syndrome, to Alec Baldwin, as well as a tweet thanking him for writing his book. I guess I just wanted him to know that it helped helped to realize that others have experienced the same thing. It’s kind of amazing to me that someone like him, with millions of dollars at his disposal, and people like us, who don’t have those kinds of resources, could go through almost the exact same thing. His ordeal was much more public, and was fought more in the courts, but it was still amazingly similar. He actually tweeted back to me! He said thank you, and also said that if you spend millions, you can usually get rulings in your favor...but that there is no enforcement of the rulings.
Alec Baldwin tweet
Anyway, it was pretty cool that he tweeted me back. I hope that hearing that his book helped us also helped him a bit, knowing that he did a good service to all those people who have had to deal with vindictive exes who can’t set aside their anger and bitterness for the sake of their own children’s emotional well-being.

The next two things are music-related, so not so heavy! If you are interested in rock music at all, you’ll know that David Bowie recently released his first album in ten years, “The Next Day.” I liked Bowie a lot back in the day, and got to see him twice, once in Winnipeg and once in Indianapolis. I still enjoy listening to his stuff once in a while, so I was pretty excited about this new album. I pre-ordered it and got it the day it came out...and proceeded to listen to almost nothing else for the next couple of weeks.

It is FANTASTIC. Critics are saying it is his best album in thirty years. I can’t really speak to that, but I can tell you that I love it. There are pensive tracks like “Where Are We Now?” and “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die.” There are danceable tracks like “Dancing Out In Space” and “I’ll Take You There” (which is a bonus track on the deeeeluxe version). I love these lines in the title track: “Here I am, not quite dying, a body left to rot in a hollow tree.” Not quite dying, indeed, Mr. Bowie! I love the song “I’d Rather Be High,” which seems to be about young people fighting stupid wars:

I’d rather be high
I’d rather be flying
I’d rather be dead
Or out of my head
Than training these guns on those men in the sand
I’m seventeen my looks can prove it
I’m so afraid that I will lose it
I’d rather smoke and phone my ex
Pleading for some teenage sex

But my absolute favorite is “(You Will) Set the World on Fire,” a rock anthem that showcases Bowie’s still-impressive voice. When he belts out,

You will set the world babe
You will set the world on fi-yah
I can work the scene babe
I can see the magazines
I can hear the nation
I can hear the nation cry
You will set the world babe
You will set the world on fire
You will set it on fire

...his voice just soars on the high notes, and no matter how many times I hear it, he has me punching my fists in the air at the chorus. This song gives me chills! You can hear the entire album on this video (and I recommend it highly), but I’ve tried to embed it so that it starts at the song I just mentioned. If the video starts at the beginning, the song starts at around 40:30. Turn it up!

Finally, the big announcement came today, one that was considered to be the worst-kept secret in the music world: the Rolling Stones are touring! I had originally heard that they were going to do 18 US dates, and I was hoping for a Cleveland show so we could make three days of it and see the new Stones exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they aren’t doing that many (so far) and our closest show is, of course, Chicago. After their limited five-show tour in 2012, word was that they are still sounding great and playing tight, and they made it pretty obvious that they were having fun (not to mention making some big bucks!).

We’re going, but the question is whether I’ll be able to get tickets when they go on sale, and if not, how much will we have to pay through a broker? It looks like tickets are going to range from $185 to upwards of $600, and I’m guessing they’ll go incredibly fast. I’ll do my best to get them when they go on sale Monday morning! I’ve said for some time that I want to see the Stones one more time before I die (I saw them in ‘89 in Indianapolis), and this will probably be my last chance. I’m not getting any younger, and Mick and Keith and the boys sure as hell aren’t!

It’s looking to be a fun summer...if it ever gets here!