Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Waiting

"The Waiting is the hardest part." - Tom Petty

Some of us hate waiting. I have come to grips with it for the most part. My dad used to say "she has to come out sometime" in reference to waiting for my mom to come out of a store when we were waiting in the car for her. I use that one a lot. A friend recently said that she is always waiting for something. I have done some weighty waiting in the last several weeks. Here is my recent story.

I will be forever waiting for a 15lb. hole in my heart to heal. Three weeks ago I had to put down a dog we rescued year ago. He was our biggest challenge. He came to the rescue from a hoarder situation where he had to fend for himself for the first two years of his life. He was at the rescue with 30 other dogs from the hoarder. He was one of two that found forever homes. The rest are un-adoptable for various behavioral and physical reasons. He had a defense mechanism where if you touched him while he was sleeping (or even just sleepy) he would snap at you like an alligator. I said "we'll wait and see what happens next". I wasn't too optimistic about him working though this at first.

After about 9 months with us he had stopped biting me and the wife and was doing way better with the kids and anyone else. We just had to warn folks about his temperament. When I got home from work he would get on my chest when I was in my recliner and look me in the face. He would not kiss (lick) me like our other dog does. I would say ‘give me a hug’ and he would turn his head sideways and bury it in my chest.

His name was Roscoe. He was a Dachshund / Mini Pinscher mix. When he was on top of me I called him Crusher (his wrestler name). My wife won him over with fresh cooked chicken and he gained almost 4 pounds in a year with us. He truly loved being an ‘inside dog’ for the first time in his life. He had gone home with two other families before we got him. They brought him back because of the biting. They were not into"waiting".

Our other dog Tucker was very annoyed with him at first but became a great big brother for him and was looking for him for the last three weeks all over the house. Roscoe had two seizures in January and the vet said he was probably epileptic. We have had that before with two other dogs and knew we could deal with it. The other thing the blood tests showed was a high liver count. The liver problem could be causing the seizures too. We went home with the appropriate meds and the knowledge that it could a minor thing or become a larger issue. Two seizes a month and seemed to be controlled with meds.

Three weeks ago my wife was out of town all week for job training, just me and my furry boys at home. Roscoe seized every two hours and then every hour and then he couldn’t put his head down without seizing. It started at 730 at night and went on until 430 in the morning. I gave him enough pills to put a human out. They no longer worked on him. It was heartbreaking to watch and hold him. At this point I couldn't "wait" any longer.

At 430 am we went to the all night emergency vet clinic and I held him while they gave him the shots. I was devastated. There was nothing anyone could do for him. I could not ‘fix’ him. Now I have had 5 dogs since I’ve been out on my own. Four of them I made the last trip to the vet with. This guy was a baby, not an old dog at the end of his life. This was just not fair. I felt like I had let him down somehow.

I was mad at God for a week. I waited for a sign that I was going to be OK. I started a fundraiser to buy fleece blankets for the dogs at the 2 local rescues. Roscoe had one when he came to us and it was his only possession, he loved it. I have raised over $500 for this effort. I’m not mad anymore.

I then waited to start looking for another rescue dog to care for. There is no set time frame. You just feel it. Who is out there that needs me now?

A week ago I looked at PetFinder online. Sixty miles away in Pasadena was a Dachshund / Beagle mix named ‘Roscoe’. Same coloring, same size, a year and a half old. Go figure. What are the chances? We went to meet him Saturday and brought him home that afternoon. Tucker punked him all day, but settled down by Sunday. He was found at a truckstop in San Bernardino where people dump dogs. He has no biting issues and is the sweetest dog that is not Tucker or the original Roscoe.

He is not a replacement for my other little friend. He is the continuation of caring for another little guy that deserves to be an ‘inside dog’. We discovered that this guy had only been ‘Roscoe’ for two weeks so we have changed his name to Tex which is short for Roscoe, Texas Ranger. A Ricky Bobby movie reference. The hole in my heart is still there and I know it always will be to some extent. The part without the hole has grown three sizes this week, just like the Grinch. I'm not waiting, I'm doing.

Roscoe & Tucker


Monday, January 26, 2015

That Damn Clock

Sometime in 1978 one of my very best friends and I decided we had had enough of our parents telling us what to do. We started gathering items for an apartment of epic consequences. Some sweet avacado green lowboy club chairs, a coffee/end table with the obligatory semi-hidden compartment for our "collectables" and whatnot, AND a sweet Dr Pepper clock given to us my one of the soda salesmen for the theater chain we worked for.
Well some months passed and we realized that our intitial treefort was just not going to happen. Most of this stuff ended up in my apartment with my wife some years later. My buddy always gave me crap over the clock in my place (even in my first home's kitchen). "That's part mine you know..." I would hear from him.

"Yeah, I know...get over it" was my usual reply.

When i bought the newer house we live in now, no one was more interested and happy for me than my buddy. Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with cancer and left us a little over a year or so later. Six months before he passed I had given him the clock and told him to not be so dramatic, he could have had it earlier if he had wanted it so bad. That was our sense of humor. I sat with him in his final month watching a USC basketball game on TV. I hate basketball and he knew it. It was however his favorite sport and he was always really good at it.
He told me the clock was in the garage and for me to take it when he no longer needed it. It has a mojo to it that only two people in the world truly understand. One of them is gone.
After 14 years it is back on display in my office at the house. Sorry it took me so long to put it back up to enjoy buddy. I hope you're happy now...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Out with 2014

Couple of days before Christmas. Things are going very well. Lots to be thankful for this year. Hope y'all have the same thing going on. Some new builds will be completed over the next two weeks. Some thinin' of the herd to follow that. Bless all of you and your friends and family as the year draws to a close. Do good things. It's all on a big wheel. New Thirty Dollar Stella CD available on Amazon right now - You're In Some Trouble Son

Monday, October 28, 2013


I have a friend who was a big customer for me 7-8 years ago when I was out of work. He would buy a lot of guitars on eBay and bring me 2-3 a month to repair and setup. I made a lot of cash from his collecting. He's about 59. He was a contractor. About 3 years ago he injured his shoulder and lost the use of his left hand almost completely. He couldn't work. He got behind and eventually lost his house. He and his wife split up. He has since sold all his guitars except one acoustic. I bought a couple from him and resold them. The last time he was at my house buying a case from me so he could sell one of the last guitars he had, he gave me a pocket knife. An Uncle Henry old timer’s antler handled jackknife. Nothing special. I kept it on the shelf over my workbench and used it for opening boxes of guitar parts for UPS.

I have recently been drawn to collecting a few knives and while on the phone with a customer in the shop I was messing with the knife and noticed it was actually a nice piece. I call my friend to see how he was doing. He was still kinda down about the turn his life had taken but stated that he had regained about 60% use of his hand. He mentioned that he would like me to keep an eye out for a nice low end guitar for him. He thought he might be able to swing about $200 by the end of the year and he really missed playing. Next call I had with him he said that he was jumping the gun and things were just too tight for him to spend any money soon.

I had a beautiful but cheap Fender Squier strat hanging in the shop that I got very cheap but couldn't seem to get $100 for it right now, there are so many of them on the market. I took it apart and put on better tuners, very good pickups and re-wired pickguard from my salvage box, stripped the finish and logo off the neck and refinished it with a relic/worn/dirty broken-in feeling. It came out great. I hung it in the living room and just couldn't take my eyes off it. I really liked it. A cheap guitar upgraded with parts that would otherwise spend a few more years collecting dust in my shop, and it sounded great.

Now I really felt like I’d keep it. Why? How many of these do I need? Am I thinking that if it hadn’t come out so nice I’d have no problem giving it to my friend? No. One of the reasons it came out so nice was because I was doing all the work and picked out the good parts with him in mind the entire time. I wanted it to be something that he’d enjoy looking at and playing and showing to his friends. I wanted it to no longer be that cheap guitar, but something special and cool. This one now looked and sounded like a $400+ instrument.

I talked him into stopping by to look at “something cool” yesterday afternoon. He was a little confused as to why I had him over, after all he no longer has stuff for me to work on for him, nothing for sale that I could buy. We never had really hung out unless he needed work done. He played it and liked the sound. He really enjoyed playing an electric guitar for the first time in years. Awhile back he had given me a somewhat collectible Fender amplifier in a trade for work I’d done. It needs a new speaker but still sounds pretty good. He left with the guitar in a new gigbag, a cord, and that old amp, not sure how to take what had just transpired. I told him that “it’s all on a big wheel” and to pay it forward down the road when he gets back on his feet. I told him I knew all too well the healing power of the instrument, both for the body and the mind.

I’m sure he happily irritated his roommate and the neighbors yesterday, although he is a very good player. It was a good day for me as well.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Voice

Hard for us to top this one for now. Half of the team here at Tonebender watches The Voice on NBC almost religiously. The other half enjoys some of it. Two weeks ago Blake Shelton had his band on playing their new single "Boys 'Round Here" and our friend Kevin Post (in the cowboy hat) did us a solid by playing the Tonebender Resobender AGAIN on national TV. The mix was great and this time the Resobender really shined through over the other guitars. Great performance as usual and we get another 5 minutes of fame. Very cool, thank you Kevin (and Blake).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Live Room Livin'

Blake Shelton's band doin' what they do best here in the Live Room with "Boys Round Here". Our friend Kevin Post has the Tonebender Resobender dialed in and boy does it sound sweet. The rest of the group and the boss don't sound too shabby either. Go out and get yourself a copy of "Based On A True Story", the new album by Blake Shelton, and shake things up a bit in your life.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Last Sunday in Las Vegas the ACM awards were given out. More like they were celebrated. Lot's of talent on stage. I think there were more performers performing than awards being awarded, but that was not a bad thing.

Our friend Kevin Post of Blake Shelton's band showed up on stage for the opening number with Blake, Sheryl Crow, Pistol Annies, Luke Bryan, and Brad Paisley - playin' one of our Resobenders in the backline with a longneck beer bottle. The mix was good and we got a couple of real good looks at the guitar and player doin' their thing. Thanks Kevin!