The most important lesson my dad has taught me in my luthier journey is to be patient. There is no such thing as perfection, but keep working and redoing things until it is as close as it can be. Mistakes happen, and things don't always go how you expect them to on the first try and that is ok, just fix it. No one exercises such patience like Wayne Henderson though. While I try to emulate his calm, 'we will just fix it' attitude when things like this happen, I tend to fall a bit short, at least for a few minutes before I collect myself and make a new plan. I am a type A planner, you see, and when my plans break and my contingencies have been exhausted as well, I tend to freak out, or at any rate, have to take an extra beta blocker.
This week has tried my patience time and again but I am quite proud to say that I only took several minutes to decide on a new plan and dealt with each situation as it came, mostly because I had no other choice. My dad has been teaching a guitar class this week and hasn't been working in the shop so I have had to fix my own problems without the 'we will fix it' safety net usually set in place for me. The reason I had such and unusually tight schedule is because these particular instruments are heading to their new homes in Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska. I typically set a tentative timeline for finishing instruments once I begin them, but in this case the timeline was set by Alaska Airlines so things had to be completed on a certain date.
If you don't know this about me, Juneau, Alaska is just about my very favorite place on this planet. (Maybe only slightly second to Haw Orchard Mountain in Grayson Highlands State Park.) One summer in undergrad, as part of my Outdoor Leadership minor I was working toward at NC State, I decided to apply for a plethora of outdoor jobs sprinkled all over the country and was then hired by a kayak guiding company based in Juneau. That summer and the summer following when I returned to work for a glacier guiding company were truly the best I have ever had. I grew as a person, learned my limits, and met some of the best people I could imagine. I am so excited to head back there next week and show Nick where I used to work and play. The time couldn't come any quicker though, now that my ukuleles are (finally) ready to go to their new homes. Hm, maybe my dad's rule of practicing patience will prove to be helpful in many aspects of life.
|Stars of the Alaska flag on 12th fret|
Before you go, I want to share a little something with you. Below is an excerpt from an email I sent to my friends and family the week in May that I began working in Juneau that first summer. I was searching my email for 'Alaska Air' to send my itinerary to some friends, and this one popped up as a potential match for my search. While it has nothing to do with guitars or ukuleles, I hope you enjoy a little snippet of my time there, so you can more fully appreciate my excitement upon returning to the great white north next week.
I started my job on Friday. The weather was chilly but not too cloudy. I had about 5 minutes to learn how to drive a trailer and be a tour guide. Saturday was my fist official day of work.That day I shadowed a seasoned guide leading a group then she had me lead the second group. The cove we paddle to amazingly beautiful, with a fantastic view of the Menedenhall Glacier in the distance. The water is definitely freezing since it is primarily runoff from the glacier, but the sun really warms up the air.
As I lead my first group of tourists across the water, I attempted to rattle off some Alaska trivia. Unfortunately the only information I have retained so far are the strange random bits since I had about the time one spends picking out paper towels at the grocery store to learn the tidbits from a sheet of paper the company provided. So, now these people are aware that the whole of Alaska can hold 420 Rhode Islands...And Douglas Island (the smaller island running parallel to Juneau proper that we set off from each day) is named after the Bishop of Salisbury.
Yesterday the esteemed raft guides were not available to drive the chase boat, an unnecessary piece of equipment that is mostly there for the client's peace of mind, so I had to do that. Driving a motorboat around was a new experience. I learn I don't enjoy boats with motors very much. The Life of Pi, the book I had borrowed from the library downtown and what was enjoying while waiting for someone to overturn so I could race the chase boat gallantly over to them and pluck them from the water, dropped into the unpleasant mixture of gasoline and water that permanently sloshes in a vestibule next to the steering column of this ghastly vehicle. I am quite sure the library will not accept a book returned sopping with gasoline, therefore I will have to purchase it but won't be able to finish it without getting high on fumes. I have decided that, while more labor intensive, kayaking is significantly more enjoyable to chase boating.
Anyway, all little blips aside I am enjoying the new adventure here in Juneau. The weather has been amazing so far-it is beautiful and sunny at the moment. I hope it stays like this for a while but I won't get too comfy just in case it takes a turn for the rainy and cold. Perhaps then I will find a more pressing need for the rubber boots I was ordered to purchase immediately upon touching down in Juneau. Looking forward to more excitement as my adventure here continues!
|Fritz Cove, my office as a kayak guide. We would paddle from the beach one the left of the picture to the islands and river on the ride side of the picture. The river is murky colored because it is 37 degree glacier runoff which is filled with silt.|
|Ice caves at the Mendenhall glacier. Representing a Henderson Festival shirt. And my sunglasses that toppled overboard...|