silver lining

Two weeks ago... Part 3 a.k.a. In conclusion

Ok - so by now, you've heard the saga of Chip and the Corolla.

A few weeks ago, I felt like I was having a rough day. If you haven't read Part 1 or Part 2 of this blog yet, it will help put this all into context.

With that - I know that we're all busy, so I'll sum it up to say, my dog had to have surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and my car died. On the same day. And I love them both.

Today's post is about what happened just after these events...

In the minutes following, I hopped on a train to Brooklyn, and started working on a new CD.

Yep. A little bit weepy, and a lot stressed-out, I went to work. Because that's what you do.

You have a rough day? You go to work.

You have a great day? You go to work. 

My friend, Chris, is producing my next CD, and is a dog lover. (We're working at his new studio, which is beautiful, and I'll be sure to show videos and photos next time.) So, he totally understood that I was upset.

I arrived at the studio, trying to hold it all together, and told Chris what was going on.

He paused, gave me a sad smile, and said, 'Ok, so...let's make some f***ing great music.' 

That did it. It broke the sad and scared spell.

I laughed, he laughed, and we did.

We went to work.

And the songs that we worked on sound amazing. And I can't wait for you to hear them.

So here's the thing. 

Sometimes sad, unfortunate or scary things happen.

Your dog has cancer.

Your car dies.

And then there's a silver lining.

The surgery that you hoped would work, saved your dog. You realize how much you've learned from your dog, and you're grateful.

You got a new beautiful car. You think back on the hundreds of thousands of miles that your other car supported you through, and you're grateful.

And at the end of each day, whether it's a great day or a terrible one, I make music. With people that I know, like and trust. It's my job, and it is awesome.

Coming to this realization, after my emotional roller coaster of dogs, cars and studios... I started laughing as I hopped into the shower the following morning.

Not like, crazy person laughing, just a chuckle.

Because I thought to myself: "Well, today is going to be better, and if it isn't...I'm sure it will be fine."

So there we have it.

Healthy dog.

New car.

And new understanding of how things are really never that bad.

One final first road trip ever in my Corolla, back in 2004 when it was brand new...I landed in Colorado.

And yesterday, I finished driving, and this morning, I'm typing to you on my first road trip in my new car...from Colorado.

Seems like this is all working out just fine.




Two weeks ago...(Part 2)

So - if you’ve read Part 1, you know that we’ve had a crazy few weeks with Chip.

And now, here’s Part 2…

As Bryan and I were dropping Chip off for his surgery (I was really nervous for him, and freaking out a little bit) my mechanic called. 

I had decided to drive for this three week tour through the midwest and Colorado, so that Chip could come with me. Bryan was going to be away for part of the time, and we didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone to take care of Chip with his medications, cone, potential surgical complications, etc.

Chip and I hitting the road together was the best option.

Chip and I are not new to the road trip. He’s been on many tours with me, and has come to a lot of gigs. 

Since my Corolla was 12 years old, with over 205,000 miles, and I was going to be adding another 4,000, I brought my car in to my mechanic for a once over. (Which I always do, and I love my mechanic...Southport Automotive, ask for Rich, tell them Kristen sent you…they’re awesome.)

You can probably guess where this is going.

Rich called me as I was walking out of the vet. I was pretty shaken up, and Bryan and I were discussing our options for Chip.

It wasn’t the perfect moment.

It was nowhere near the perfect moment (though when would be?) to find out that my car needed more repairs than it was worth. And that it wouldn’t make the trip. And in fact, he wasn’t even sure that it would make the trip to the dealer to buy a new car.

Not great news.

On the list of things that I love, my car was just below my dog. (And both are below Bryan and music…I’m not that crazy.)

But I LOVED my car.

I bought it after college. It was my first real adult expense, and I was so proud to have it.

It safely brought me to 2,000 shows, weathered storms, survived Chips teething puppy months, and I had a perfect Tetris-like understanding of how to maximize and pack trunk space.

With mere hours before I needed to leave, I went to buy a new car.

I’m not going to go into the boring details, I will just simply say this: My experience of buying a car as a (gasp) woman, was not great.

I was talked down to by two different salesmen, and it was suggested multiple times that I check in with my husband to make any decisions. I even heard the phrase, 'happy wife, happy life', used in jest.

This is another conversation, but when men speak in a condescending tone to women, what are they hoping will happen? That the woman will swoon with gratitude that the man has explained why it's important there are four tires on a vehicle?

I speak with snark, but really...REALLY...

Anyway, I kept my cool, I was polite, and got the heck out of there as quickly as possible.

*As a word to the wise for my friends who happen to suffer the terrible coincidence of being born female - speak clearly, and when necessary, speak sternly, and you’ll be fine.*

It all worked out.

The experience wasn’t negative enough to turn me away from Toyota forever, and so…I traded in my amazing, wonderful, irreplaceable Corolla (which I lovingly referred to as the ‘Rockin Rolla’) for a new, beautiful, nicest-car-I’ve-ever-owned, Rav4 Hybrid!

I bought the car, and the next day Chip and I packed up for our adventure.

So far… 

- It has a few thousand miles on it, it will soon have many more.

- It is very clean, and I’m trying so, so hard to keep it that way.

- It has that ‘new car smell’, which I actually hate, so I’ve been driving with the windows down and the sunroof open as much as possible. (That’s right…I have a sunroof...I’m fancy, y’all!)

And, I’ve taken my years of trunk-packing experience, and developed an organizational system for the back of my car that is quite incredible. In fact, it might end up being its own blog post one day.

The Corolla and I had a great run, and I’m looking forward to the next decade or so with my Rav!

This car has no idea what it’s in for…

The hubcap-less 'Rockin Rolla' on our last day.

The hubcap-less 'Rockin Rolla' on our last day.

The new tour bus!

The new tour bus!