THE FINAL YEAR OF OUR ORIGINAL STUDIO AND SHOP
In February of 1997 I went out on my very first cruise ship gig for a 5 month contract. When I came back the studio smelled terrible. It seems that Maria, the feral cat, had now taken up residence in the attic of the studio, and wasn’t going outside to pee anymore because it was just too much trouble to climb all the way down the ladder that Doug had put up for her to get to the ground. So yuck! Fortunately by then I had pretty much decided to stop teaching piano and just be a bass player so I didn’t have students coming anymore. That certainly was an interesting and disgusting way to finalize my career change.
1998 - NO MORE OUTBUILDING
By the end of 1997, Doug had decided that it was just about time to tear down the studio and mouthpiece shop building, so while he was out on his holiday cruise, I painted the OSB in the designated music area of the addition a lovely shade of blue and put up curtains and then my parents helped me put down some wall-to-wall carpeting that had previously been in their living room. Then I had my pianos moved into the addition and I gradually brought in all of the other stuff. It ended up looking pretty nice, and about as cushy as a halfway finished space like this could be.
At this point I began to realize that this new set up was going to exist for much longer than what could accurately be called temporarily. I settled in for the long haul and Doug moved his shop into a work space about 5 miles away. The outbuilding was finally torn down during the spring of 1998.
IN A HOLDING PATTERN, 1998-2004
Somewhere in there we ran out of money and time for additional construction. We had both quit our “day jobs” to freelance and to spend more time on the mouthpiece business. It began to do pretty well, but there was not a lot of extra time to work on the house. The framing of the walls was in place, but that was it. I used the main floor of the addition in this unfinished condition for another seven years for practicing and rehearsals.
My new music space was big, and wide open, and stayed surprisingly warm in the winter. The entire addition was heated with one radiator on each floor which Doug had hooked up to the system in the main part of the house. It was warm enough that we only needed to supplement with space heaters on the very coldest days. There were all kinds of air leaks around the windows since they didn't have any finish trim and yet it still stayed relatively warm. And in the summer it didn’t get too hot either, especially after we installed a window air conditioner. These foam core panels really do insulate amazingly well!