Weird Things On Shelves Are What Life Is

Been awhile since I’ve sat down to just empty the old brain of all the clutter that’s accumulated. Have I been too busy for the mental upkeep? I don’t know, maybe. I doubt that, though. Even at my most time-lacking moments I’ve made space to sit and click and clack on the keyboard to release the valve, so to speak. I can’t even think of what it is I’ve been doing as of late. That’s probably not a good thing, since just because I’ve not written about it or can even recollect what’s been happening I do know that things have been swirling, both around me and in my head.

We’re getting close to our youngest finally walking across that stage and being handed his high school diploma. The last of our children to say goodbye to WCHS(Warsaw Community High School for those not from these parts.) I know there’s a part of me that feels sad about that, and a couple years ago I’d say most definitely there was. But given the current state of the public school system I’m kind of relieved we’re almost done with the whole thing.

We won’t have to watch public schools and public education self immolate with a front row view. We thought it was bad ten years ago, but now we’re looking at a possible reality where books are banned(hell, maybe even bringing back the old-fashioned book burning), curriculum being scrutinized and rewritten by politicians, backward-thinking parents, and religious zealots. To the point of censoring the parts of history that aren’t colored in Nationalist pride and alternate realities where slavery and genocide are just opinion, or even seen as flat-out fabrication.

For that, I’m relieved.

Unfortunately that doesn’t mean I or my loved ones won’t be affected by this dumbing down of fact. We’ll be blessed with future generations that think things like the Holocaust, lynchings, institutionalized racism, and school shootings are all debatable in their truths. Those kids will grow up to run for office, preach in churches, and even teach future generations. Whether I’m still connected to the local school system or not, I’m still affected.

So while I’m sad all my kids are officially adults and that the band competitions and parent/teacher conferences and general “Tiger Pride” will be behind us very shortly, I’m happy to get out of the insanity that it has become.

My wife and I are as ready as we can be for it. The boy is taking a year off to work and save money before he moves on to higher education. I know there’s some parents that feel college or university needs to start immediately, but I don’t. If they know what they want to do, then fine. But if their future aspirations are up in the air, then I think taking a year off and working and just living for a bit with some freedom is a good thing. We’ve helped both of our daughters in furthering their educations, but we’re not paying that bill. We got ’em through the first 18 years. We raised them into pretty great people, so college is going to be their responsibility. Sure, we’re helping with their loans and all. But with my employment future on a very thin timeline they’re going to have to figure their futures out on their own. We’re not tossing them out of the nest, but we are telling them they need to start figuring out how to build their own.

A couple weeks ago my wife and I headed up to New Buffalo, Michigan for what we thought would be a nice afternoon of gazing over the waters of Lake Michigan, perusing the quaint shops, and grabbing a nice lunch. We did get a nice lunch, but it was cold, windy, and rainy. We saw Lake Michigan out of the windshield of the Accord and that was it. Our original plan was to go the week before, but my wife had a work meeting that Saturday morning and it ran late. So instead we got lunch in town then took a walk downtown. THAT Saturday was absolutely gorgeous, with temps in the upper 70s and blue skies. It would have been an ideal day spent in New Buffalo. Instead, we got what felt like a blustery November day.

On our way home we stopped at what we thought was going to be a nice, rustic antique shop. It was way more upscale than the outside of this place looked. Still, it was fun looking at old barn planks fashioned into $500 wall art. We also stopped at another place closer to home called Coppes Commons. It’s located in the Amish-centric town of Nappanee, IN. Coppes Commons used to be a furniture factory years ago, but they turned the massive building into a shopping mall of sorts. There’s still old machines on display that were used to build tables, chairs, and what’s called the “Hoosier Cabinet”. Now it’s a lot of antique shops, restaurants, candy stores, flavored popcorn, and just a general feeling of an endless maze of artisanal mercantilism. My wife mainly wanted to stop because she wanted some freshly popped cheese and caramel popcorn to take home. We found the popcorn, as well as some quite delicious homemade oatmeal cream pies.

At least the day wasn’t a total loss.

The day that we went up to a cold and soggy Michigan was also Record Store Day. The day that all vinyl lovers drop serious cash for exclusive releases from artists old and new. From new works to reissues to live albums to one-off singles, the releases on Record Store Day brings droves out super early on Saturday morning to wait in line and hope they find that one thing they were hoping to get. It’s been something I’ve taken part in for 11 years now. Well, except for this year.

I’d say the last three or four years I’ve kind of been a little “meh” on Record Story Day. The lists of releases haven’t done much for me, and I don’t think I’ve shown up at my local shop first thing in at least two or three years. Since 2020 it’s been a little weird anyways. But I guess I’m just over the crowds and all that(maybe 2020 has something to do with that as well.) I’d pop in later in the day and see what was left and if anything stood out to me, and I usually did find one or two things. The last couple years have been some great live Tangerine Dream releases, but nothing like the early to mid 2010s where I’d come home with 5 or 6 LPs.

I’m thrilled for the independent record stores that have seen amazing turnouts and big pay days, and all of the local shops I hit have said this past RSD was the biggest sale day yet for them. But for me I think I’ll just leave the 8am lines and asshole to elbow crowds for those that are still feeling that excitement in their bones. I had my time, and it was a fantastic time indeed.

Besides, for a guy like me everyday is Record Store Day.

Now, having said all of that I did in fact grab a Record Store Day release. My local shop got a copy of DIIV’s Live At The Murmrr Theatre. I’ve been a huge DIIV fan ever since their debut Oshin, and so I was thrilled to get this “unplugged” performance from the band that was recorded back in 2017. So despite not actually being at the shop on RSD, I still grabbed something. So there’s that.

So lots of things have been happening I suppose. There was an ER visit with our nearly 20-year old three weeks ago because of a nasty flu, our oldest finally got her driver’s license, our youngest is going to prom in a couple weeks, my wife and oldest went to Chicago to see Into The Woods this past weekend, and I went to a surprise birthday party for my good friend and co-worker who just finished cancer treatments. My wife and I also went to the bigger city of Fort Wayne last Friday and celebrated her 49th birthday(and her 32nd birthday we’ve celebrated together) with a fantastic lunch at Bravas. I made a carrot cake and we had chicken tacos that night. I’ve also been doing a lot of yard work, started working out more regularly, sore because of said workouts, and have been listening to a lot of audiobooks(just finished Grady Hendrix’ The Final Girl Support Group and am over halfway thru Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger.)

I guess I’m just living the life that’s been laid in front of me. I’m trying to enjoy the quiet spaces where I can fill them with things that move and inspire me; books, records, movies, and those people that make me happy to be here. And for those moments when it gets a little too loud and things start to move a little too fast, well I just concentrate on all those quiet moments and look forward to the next one.

I’ve come to realize that life is a lot like one of those weird antique shops; overstuffed, overpriced, and there’s a lot you don’t understand. But there could be something great on the next shelf over. Don’t stop looking for the great stuff.

8 thoughts on “Weird Things On Shelves Are What Life Is

  1. Sounds like you had a great weekend. Hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration with your wife. Sorry I missed you this weekend. Had dinner with Bill & his wife Friday night at Cerulean. Then went to this little wine bistro which is sitting In the building where mom & dad had Blue Heron Artworks. It was a little surreal. Nice place though. Had to do a Penguin Point run through on way to take Bill home. I missed the family box o fries. And it was good. Oh yes.

    Ben likes to hit the antique shops every once in a while. I always tend to see things that remind me of stuff my grandparents used to have. Wall art, kitchen bowls, or other memorabilia.

    Next time I’ll try to give you a little more notice and hopefully we can catch up.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post felt like a letter written to your friend detailing abou your life on a random day. Like in old times..old fashioned…so i am tempted to write one to you in same manner 😀

    Dear Hubner,

    It was very comforting to receive your post. I am happy to know that your love for music and records has not faded even in these many years. Congratulations on the kids finally growing up. Your thoughts on public education system are appreciated. And your thoughts on letting kids taking responsibility is point well taken.
    Lastly, my best regards to the togetherness. Have many more such moments with your lovely wife.

    Liked by 1 person

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