Friday, November 30, 2007


I'm in London Ontario, in a recording studio!

Jethro's been invited to listen to a few albums in consideration for a Juno award next April. He's part of a group of music biz guys, deciding on what will make up the shortlist for the nominations.

I'm hanging in the lounge. A surprisingly large amount of hours in my life have been spent in recording studio lounges. They generally all have black furniture and a huge TV. And a pool table. And some big chunky funky art on the walls.

This one is in a building that used to be a church, built in about 1920. It's been a studio for over twenty years now. I love this lounge because it's got these giant church basement windows. Upstairs in the control room, the light from the three ten-foot high windows comes rolling into the live room and straight onto the console. Light is a rarity in this environment. I've been in so many studios that are windowless and cut off from the world, a totally artificial environment. I hate that. Jethro's place of work has about six tall windows. It's a headache of a challenge to soundproof a room with windows...but worth it!

I also like this place because they have FOOD here!

This lounge has a yellow wall at one end and a purple wall on the other. Coooool!

I had to struggle today, actually, deciding what to do. The kids and pets are at Grandma's farm. I could have, should have, stayed there. Spent a day off school with my young uns. Wash my mom's dishes for her while she's at work. Clean up the barn.


Part of the deal to lure Jethro to London for this day? A free hotel room tonight. And dinner.

Now I generally try not to use my blog as a complaint platform. I don't whine (too much) about the lack of time my husband and I have together. Here's the truth: I think in the last two weeks, we've spent about two full nights in the same bed. This is not unusual. This is our life. He's only slept at the studio one night in the last two weeks. That's rare. In October he was averaging two nights a week away from home.

I had to weight this out. As much as I crave farm time, and school-free kid time, I miss my man. So what if it means a few hours entertaining myself in yet another studio lounge? I've got Mac White. I've got my current Epic Trashy Novel stuck inside this computer, aching to have more words in it.

I've got stuff to read, and there's always that giant TV, which could take up the whole afternoon just figurin out what button does what. And there's a kitchen full of food!

Upstairs, I can hear the bass notes. I wonder what they're listening to. I was invited to come and listen, but I declined. It's not my element. We joked in the car on the way here that when I'M producing an album I'm very sensitive to the use of pedal steel in the choruses and how I ALWAYS double the vocal; Chad Kreuger taught me that and I always use live drums instead of programmed and I want the kick to sound really...ORANGE...but I'm just the engineer's wife.

Sitting around the table listening to their indecipherable engineer jokes and smiling like I get it is as far as I go.

There was a strong realization for me though.

I've been around for a looong time.

Twenty years. That's how long I've known him. He went to Fanshawe College, right here in London, for Music Industry Arts in 1988. I was The Girlfriend back then. I used to bag off high school and hang around the college studio. I went into a couple of his classes. I snuck into the studio to watch the magic happen at 3 am. I went to the parties, and wiggled into the clubs he was working in, doing live sound, even though I wasn't 19 yet and didn't even look 17 at the time.

We drove through some nasty ass early winter to get here today, and ha, look at this, metaphorically have weathered some nasty stuff to get where we are in our life together.

When we dropped the kids and critters off at the farm, I dashed over to the corral to say hi to my two shaggy, dirty, windblown horses. Phoenix walked up to the fence first, then the Little Lady. Their tails whipped around their hind legs as they walked. Not the best day to go for a ride, really. I blew in their nose holes and got back in the car.

Screw the stupid 401- we took the scenic route. The wind battered out little Jetta as we motored along through farm country. We didn't listen to music for the rest of the hour long drive. We talked about our kids, my book, Phoenix, Jethro's next recording project, and my next book. We watched the scenery go past and marvelled at the few changes in the last 18 years. The exact same sign hangs on the front of the Kintore General Store. A few houses got new siding, a few barns got a paint job.

What a huge comfort to us, we two old fashioned at heart country kids, to get far enough away from the big bad city to notice these things.

London has done a bit of sprawling lately, like any other city in southern Ontario. "Look at this," Jethro said, "it's all exactly the same but different." Then we laughed at our moronic observations.

The same but different? I looked around the table. I knew or had talked on the phone with most of the other guys who are judging Juno submissions today. I got that weird feeling I've gotten for years, a feeling that gets stronger with every year that goes by, and every album release party, every awards show...

Yes, it's me, Heidi. The same Heidi who was around back in college. The same girl he married after that.

I usually say I'm so glad they remember me and often they say something like, How could I forget?

I knew, at the beginning of our marriage, that I'd be spending a lot of it alone. It's never been a rude shock to me that I've had to deal with crap on my own. I'm used to it, but it doesn't mean I like it. It's just the way my life is.

But today, instead of being Mommy or being barn help, I'm the girl in the lounge again. I have no responsibilites...it's almost enough to make me dizzy. No cat or dog to feed, scoop up after, or let out for a wiz. No stalls to clean, hay to feed, ice to break in buckets. No dishes. No laundry. Just a bunch of words to type.

And a free hotel room with my favourite person in it. The guy who's been my favourite person for two decades, since way back when he was the long haired guitar playing rock dog.

(He's been my favourite person even longer than this guy.)


Biddie said...

That was sweet.
I always laugh at that photo. Those were the days...
Sometimes I wish that I had the sameness that you have. Not a boring sameness, but a loving reliable one, like you and Jethro have.
Oh, well, I do, in a way. I do have you and Jethro. Man, am I glad for that. I have my someone to look back on the last 20 + years with.
Have a great time away. :)

coffeypot said...

Are you the only "engineer chick" hanging around? Do you have any "recording widows" to talk to? Do you eat alone? Enquiring minds want to know.

rain said...

Enjoy, enjoy. Those times away without kids are too precious to feel guilty about.

Heidi the Hick said...

biddeeeeee I am so glad you commented today! I wanted you to see that picture again!

Coffeypot...it is JUST ME. I am the only chick here. When he was in college there were five girls in a class of 60. I think two of those girls graduated in a class of 30. I could be wrong- I'm not so good with the numbers.

I can't think of any female recording engineers working these days. It's a very male business which is weird to me since the horse biz is predominantly women.

Sometimes I can talk with other studio widows, and often we relate very well, but usually they are women with big high paying jobs...since their husband's income is kind of erratic. We're the only ones stupid enough to do this on just the music biz income!

Generally the other guy's wives I've met are really cool. They have to be, or they won't last. Marriage is hard enough as it is, without these long hours and the crazy obsessive career devotion.

I suspect there aren't many women engineers because it's just too awkward to be the only chick in a room full of guys for 16 hours, 6 days a week. I mean, I LOVE men and I think I'd get sick of it. haha!

I don't eat alone anymore cuz I have kids.

We eat dinner with Daddy maybe twice a month.

I'm not eating alone tonight because I'm going out with five other engineers, two studio owners, and one legendary producer.

They'll spend the whole meal talking about Icon and Digi and SSL and ProTools. I'll smile and nod.

it's veeeery quiet here in the lounge...

Heidi the Hick said...

Thanks Rain. I'm telling myself they're having a good day at the farm without Mom breathing down their necks.

Biddie said...

I love getting away from the kids for a night a two. Anymore than that, and I am no good...I worry more about Ruby when I leave the house than I do about the girls..probably because they phone me every 15 minutes or so to report the happenings...Ruby, on the other hand, has to deal with all of the madness and CAN'T phone.
I do love that photo. It reminds me of days gone by...Can you believe that KC is about the same now as Jethro was in that photo?

Heidi the Hick said...

Um...actually...I think she might be older now than he was in that picture. Yikes is right!!!

I havne't heard from the kids yet. I'm assuming they havne't trashed Grandma's house or injured each other.

My fear is that I'll get snowed in here in London and they'll run out of dog food. See? Not worried about kids- worried about Grandma and Dog.

Heidi the Hick said...

Gotta tell something cute-

When he was a kid, Jethro was always sent out into the hall for being a little smart mouthed #%#$.

He just came downstairs to see me in the lounge. He got sent out into the hall! haha!

It's because they came across a CD he worked on, so he can't vote on it.

He says this is all very interesting. Selfishly, I hope he gets a nomination cuz I wanna go to Calgary next spring!

dilling said...

enjoy...make a big mess in your hotel room cuz you don't even have to clean it! yayayay

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh my gosh, I didn't even think of that!!!

Party like a rock star!


I for sure am not gonna make the bed. OOOO I'm such a rebel, it makes me shiver with rebelliousness...

Biddie said...

OMG. Another nomination?! I'll keep my fingers crossed :)

Lynn Sinclair said...

What a treat! Do I need to say "enjoy yourself"?

Anita said...

I have Isaiah with me 24/7, except the last 4 hours or so of my shift at work, when he goes home with Rick, and every other week for a few hours when I am at the GreenTown meeting... My daughter is always working and can't sit with him, and my mom won't. So, enjoy a bit of time away from the kids while you have it - enjoy it a bit more for me... lol

Tod said...

I love nights away in hotel rooms. Sometimes I don't even wanna go outside.

terry said...

what a sweet post about true love.

glad you got a little break!

Olly said...

Enjoy every minute. I'd find a hot tub or spa to spend to time at while he works.


Throw the TV out the window at least!!! Rock Chic eh?

Major day December 15th. I'm backstage with Bad Manners (big Ska band from the 80's)

That's assuming I survive Oldham away at Millwall in the afternoon...

Dr. Medusa said...

You are my rocker babe hero. You have also just been tagged for a meme, so get on it when you get back to the real world.

A Paperback Writer said...

Oh, nice Bay City Rollers hair-do there on what I assume is Jethro about 20 years ago!

CindyDianne said...

where are you now?

There is a little music question on my blog that might interest you when you have time.