Where'd I Go a.k.a. My Spending Spree

It's been a while since I updated my blog. I like to use the "I've been busy!" excuse, but that's just another cop-out. I apologize to all my active readers.

Seriously though, I have been amazingly busy. With the continuous rise in gas prices, I've sold more Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas in the past month than ever before. Last week I got a check for over $2000...another reminder of what I am giving up. I try to get into the dealership in the morning to handle emails, update inventory, secure financing, and eventually handle all the other small details before I can even get ready to sell cars. Elvis' future brother-in-law will soon be working with me to take over my position; I'll have more things to worry about.

In my free time, I've been playing a lot of soccer as well as walking. I'm unsure about the walk to Milwaukee for several reasons now, but I haven't stopped working out. In the past 2 weeks I've lost 10 pounds simply by eating a little less and being more active. I've yet to give up my "Beef Jerky and Gatorade Breakfast," but I think being active is doing a lot to help shed the pounds.

I've continued to save my money, but I'm a spender at heart and I've tried to find constructive ways to spend my money. I continue to give to whatever causes I can find, but things like golf outings and support walks cramp my work schedule. Even now, 72 days away from entering the Postulancy, I worry about work before anything else. Either I'll be a workaholic Capuchin or I'll run wild with my newly found freedom.

The funny part is that I don't worry about work for the money...perhaps that's also the best part. By the first of July I should be done working full-time at the dealership. People ask why I work as hard as the owner to make sure everything is working properly. I know I wouldn't like to continue this line of work, but since I'm here, I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that the dealership continues to grow and remain profitable. In the grand sense of things, my big paychecks mean that the business is growing; if I am making money than so is everyone else.

I've already saved more money than ever in my life. I've bought some pretty outlandish things along the way, but I've tried to keep my expenditures limited to things 1. I can take with me to Postulancy, 2. things I intend to share with the others in the Order, or 3. things that will help me grow. Let's take a look at what I've bought so far.

1. NikeiD shoes. Looking back, I probably should have skipped these and just bought a pair of Birkenstocks, but I thought it would be cool to get an extra pair of shoes for soccer (and there will be lots of soccer when I leave.) For those of you that don't know, NikeiD's are the shoes where you customize them over the internet. Not the most practical of purchases, but not the most expensive. Cost: $160 (included was a blue/maize soccer ball with Ronaldinho's signature on it.) Check them out here.

2. New Glasses. The old glasses I have constantly fall off my face, and my eyes feel like they're on fire each time I try to put in my contacts. I know that the Order will pay for any new eyeglasses, but I figured I might as well buy some myself and save the Order some money. I actually did pretty good on these; Lenscrafters tried to charge me over $500 for a set of glasses when Pearlevision was able to get me rolling for $375 with everything included. I think my frames, while a little retro, will fit on my face and last a little longer than the old ones.

2. Instruments. A while back I wrote about the thrill of finally getting a Les Paul. However the attaining of the item wasn't as much of an experience as I'd hoped. The Les Paul was a thing (a beautiful thing, be that as it may), but that didn't mean I wasn't interested in music. Last Friday I stopped into Guitar Center to see a beautiful Ibanez eCoustic (acoustic guitar with built-in pick-up, EQ, and outputs). It was used but was in excellent condition. I played it and fell in love. I walked out the door with it that day. $250

I don't know if I thought about what I'd do with both guitars or whether divine inspiration took a hold of me once again, but I realized that I needed to buy a bass guitar as well. It was as if I'd ordered fries and not gotten the ketchup. This Monday I called up Firehouse Guitars, asked them to get a bass guitar for me and I walked in to get it.

The bass is something I started playing a LONG time ago; I set it aside soon after I got my first electric Lyon guitar. But soon after I got the bass, I remembered what I had missed: that feeling of notes as well as rhythm. Instruments like the flute, the violin, and the trumpet require notes to be in tune and follow within the parameters of the chords. Percussion instruments require no notes, but only the proper time in which the sound is created. But the bass is the perfect fusion of both types of instruments...setting the backbone for the songs melody as well as establishing a rhythm for the song.

Instead of getting a regular bass guitar, I decided to go with a fretless bass. The sound is slightly different from a regular bass, sounding more like an upright bass. The sound is more warm for jazz, but I already knew that I'd use it mostly for Liturgical music.

Since I didn't have a bass guitar and I wanted something that was going to give me the option of 1. having nice amps for my guitars/bass, 2. something that would be reasonably priced, 3. something that wouldn't take up much room, and 4. something I could play my bass along to "I Will Survive" by Cake and other favorites. Along with the bass I bought Guitar Rig 3...a software program that allows everything I just listed as well as providing an abundance of sounds for almost any instrument I wish to plug in. Also included is the CUBASE software for software recording. It seems that things have changed so much from the days of sitting in a recording studio and spending a ridiculous amount of money. Total cost of bass, software, and other goodies: $600

I don't have much left to buy...my time is running out at the job and my work may be done after June. I have plenty of money in the bank so I'm not worried. It's just the realization that all this buying is the result of hard work at a job that has provided everything for me. Would my life be about buying more small things, or would I be looking at a house, a large investment portfolio, or maybe reinvesting my money into the dealership? Perhaps I'd repeat my life and decide it was time to find a woman to "complete my life." Or maybe without the constant chase of money, I will realize my true calling from God. Maybe this money I've spent is the building blocks on which my ministry will begin. Perhaps in Milwaukee I become part of the local parish musicians. Perhaps there sprouts an idea about using music to reach out to people, to encourage under-privileged kids to experience what it's like to learn an instrument instead of learning how to sell drugs. I'm just rambling, but maybe, just maybe, I'm not spending...rather I'm investing.

The mood was perfect so I added a new track to my playlist. "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin...a great song with an awesome guitar and bass line.

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3 Response to Where'd I Go a.k.a. My Spending Spree

June 9, 2008 at 3:46 PM

Man oh man... you mean we wouldnt ever have to sit through Keith Gill wanting to slit his wrists after a day in the recording studio? Imagine the hours we could have spent if we had the software to play with back then. I still have that keyboard--and it has a MIDI port but Ive never had anything to hook it up to.

You were always a bass lover -- but your acoustic guitar skills were pretty slick. Are you going to carry the guitar on your back to Milwaukee?

June 9, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Keith Gill...THAT'S what the weird guy with all the weird posters was called. Thinking of the amount of money we gave that guy...for $260 and an Intel box we could've made our own studio and made my singing sound good!

While it would be rather cinematic to leave Grand Rapids with nothing but my guitar strapped across my back, the year spent interning with a luthier knows better than to expose an instrument to the elements of weather.

Even now, with a break in my day, I find myself on craigslist searching for any guitars people might be trying to sell. =)

June 10, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Walking to Milwaukee via chicago seems a trek. But south eastern Wisconsin is definitively walkable. Not too many hills or traffic. There's a catholic seminary, sacred heart I believe, for older vocations at hales corner in wisconsin. You could probably walk from there into Milwaukee.