A Guitarist’s Nightmare 8

Summer, 2012

I fell into a routine as best I could, the visits to therapy, trying to up my practice time on the guitar (breaking the sessions up into 15 minute increments throughout the day and alternating pieces that required different techniques, coddling things along which I despised) , preparing for a big concert with trumpeter Ken Watters, Ingrid on piano, blues guitarist Dave Gallaher, and percussionist Darell Tibbs. The left wrist bothered me a lot as far as the playing went, the shattered elbow was gradually getting more and more range of motion. Let me put it this way, at therapy I would tell Nicole and Jessica things like “I was able to brush my teeth today with my right arm!” or “Look, I can almost touch my nose, how cool is that?!” Reacquiring the basic dexterity we all take for granted was a long, painful process.

I need to tell this about my in-laws, because it contributed greatly to the guilt I was feeling about the accident. I mean, what kind of idiot trips over a root the size of a pencil and then disrupts the lives of all who care about this dweeb for the next few months? They had just gone through a horrible ordeal not seven days earlier. Their mother, Traudel von Spakovsky had died the week before. It was completely unexpected and devastating to us all. She had just had Easter dinner with me and Ingrid the week before she became ill. I had a lot to do Easter weekend, trying to get ready for some performances coming up and had discussed putting off having her over for dinner to another time. In the end, I thought, “It’s Easter. This holiday means something to her, I will cook her one the the dishes she really likes. I’ll catch up later on the practicing.” The dish she liked was grilled rack of lamb. It’s tricky to do on a charcoal grill because you have to keep a constant watch on it so the fat doesn’t flare up into a grease fire and ruin an expensive cut of meat. I cooked it, we sat down and had a wonderful time together, and in a week she was gone. The whole family just barely got to the hospital to be with her when she took her last breath. To this day I can’t cook that dish without thinking about her, and I would never have forgiven myself if I had gone with my original plan to have her over a week or two later. The von Spakovsky family were superb in how they dealt with the estate, there was no petty squabbling between family members, they’re a class act. I don’t blame them at all for occasionally questioning my wife’s choice of husbands. I question it all the time. I played this piece with Gianni Graffeo, Ingrid’s nephew, at the memorial service. Afro-Cuban Lullabye

Most people were very considerate of us and what we were going through. I say most, not all.

Ingrid and I are members of a local professional organization, and she had been serving as treasurer for a few years. A new president came to office, and began pestering Ingrid extensively, wanting to review every detail about the books. It’s a tiny account, barely over a grand. At one point El Presidente decided it should be switched to Quickbooks. There are barely a dozen entries a year, including deposits and checks written, it could be done on clay tablets with Babylonian cuneiform, although postage would be an issue. Ingrid handled the account just like ours, writing down the entries in the checkbook. Duh. What was she going to do, clear out the account and drive to Tunica? I could tell she was getting upset and suggested emailing El Presidente, and remind her of our situation. So she did, and here’s the reply.

I know that you have had a lot on your plate recently and I know that I have contacted you frequently about ….. financial concerns. Given your situation, I am sorry about that but at the same time I must get the …. things for the coming year wrapped up this week because I have plans for June.

Wow. I have plans for June. We were dealing with the grief from the loss of a family member, my recovery (which was far from certain then), and Ingrid making frequent trips to her Mother’s house to help out with the estate, but El Presidente had plans for June. How clumsy of us not to fit this into her social calendar. She then informed us she would be coming to our house to collect the documents. I called her and told her “do not come to my house. Ingrid has resigned as treasurer effective immediately and is taking the documents to ……. (the only other member who was a signature to the account).” Over and done with right? But no. She came to my house anyway and banged on my door like it was a drug raid. I didn’t answer the door, it was a bad pain day and I wanted to be left alone. She pounded for a very long time, and eventually left. This is trespassing, if you’re told specifically not to come to someone’s house and you do, the homeowner has the right to call the police and have you removed. What kind of person would do this anyway? It’s basic human decency not to bother people with trivial matters when they are dealing with real life issues and have asked you to leave them be. I could not even conceive of doing this to a colleague, harangue them about a triviality, then go bang on their door while they were in pain recovering from surgery after being asked to leave them be.

This Kafkaesque tale goes on, when I emailed the executive board protesting this absurd behavior, El Presidente wanted to sue me for libel. Later in the year Ingrid had lunch with a board member to discuss this and was told that at a planning meeting when it was suggested that Ingrid and I present a program the next season, El Presidente slammed her little fist on the table and said “WE DO NOT MENTION THE WEAVERS!” To me this brings to mind Southpark, season 10 episode 10 when Cartman is appointed hall monitor. “Respect muh authoriteh!!” At one point I decided to check the bylaws to see why the president was given such power. Well guess what- El Presidente’s actual powers are to preside at meetings and appoint committees. That’s pretty much it. So Ingrid and I are blacklisted and our privacy was invaded by someone who assumed powers that were not theirs to begin with. At that lunch Ingrid was also told that when El Presidente was recovering from an illness she became annoyed at being sent a mere email, she insisted she be left alone. @!@W#@$#%^^!&*