Claresholm: A Three Day Adventure, Part 1

Well that was interesting.

This past weekend was largely devoted to coordinating our show in Claresholm, Alberta. Mike and I spent most of two days gathering up equipment to piece together the sound system we had to bring. Somehow, whenever Mike and I do anything it turns into an elaborate adventure.

This particular escapade began on Thursday night when we drove to my landlord’s father’s house to pick up the speakers. Well, we thought we were driving to my landlord’s father’s house. I should have known by how simple the driving route was that something was wrong. We got out of the car, went around the side of the house, stepped over an array of toddler toys, and scoped out the yard. I had been instructed to “open the combination lock box to the left of the woodshed and then take the equipment out of the garage”. Although I hadn’t really understood the instructions I didn’t want to seem incompetent, so I just went along with them, “Yup. Cool. Sounds good.” Standing there in the yard I saw no “shed”. There was a pile of wood, but it lay nowhere near the garage. I also didn’t see any combination lock of any sort. After wandering around the back yard for five minutes, looking through windows and trying to open locked doors, it suddenly struck us that this was not, in fact, my landlord’s father’s house. We hastily scrambled past the side of the house and jumped back in the car, hoping nobody had taken down our license plate number.
We verified the correct address and punched it into Mike’s iPhone for directions.

“What the balls?”
The house appeared to be located several blocks North of us, on a little street that ran parallel, within several metres of the highway, but had no easy access. After maneuvering through traffic dead-set on reaching the highway, and navigating intersections with forbidden turns, we reached our destination and exited the vehicle, still joking sheepishly about our “attempted robbery”. This new back yard made a little more sense. The woodshed was directly beside the garage. - on the left hand-side too, which sounded familiar. We circled the garage, looking for a door with a combination lock. No luck. There was a door, but it had a regular deadbolt that was clearly not going to let us in easily. At this point we were questioning our location again. Mike left me to check the address on the front of the house again, while I retraced my steps, searching for something I was evidently missing.
“Hey, Mike! I can see speakers through the window, this must be the place. But how the heck do we get in?”

I decided to cave in and phone my landlord’s father on the emergency phone number I had been given.
“Hi Lorne, this is Ben from the rental property calling… “
<Fuzz, fuzz>
“Is this Kyle?”
<Fuzz, fuzz>
“No, it’s Ben, I’m trying to get the gear out of the garage.”
<Fuzz, fuzz>
“Hello?.... Hello?”
<Click>

I called back and was informed that the little plastic box that looked vaguely like a garage door opener was, in fact, the lockbox. Embarrassed, I quickly hung up and went back to tackling the problem myself. I wiggled the little flap on it and –voila! – a combination lock was revealed. I swiveled the dials in place…
“Now what?”
When I pulled on the little flap nothing happened. No door magically sprang open. No happy little ding noise of success sounded. Mike and I tried a duo effort of me pulling the flap and him trying to lift up the large garage door. Then, through pure fluke, I pulled too hard and the box swung down, revealing a set of keys.
“Ohhhh, ‘lock box’. Now I get it.”

Having finally obtained access to the equipment, we began identifying the items I was permitted to borrow and moved them out to the driveway to be loaded into Mike’s car. Mike returned to the vehicle, intending to reverse it up to the garage but discovered that the curb was nearly a foot high. Unsure of how else to proceed, he just went for it. Kicked his Volkswagon Passat into reverse and gunned it. Fortunately the giant piece of copper piping lying against the sidewalk served as a boost and he <ka-thump-thumped> over it unscathed.

We loaded the speakers, subwoofers, and monitors into his trunk then went back for the amplifier rack. That thing must have weighed 150lbs. We wiggled around the piles of remaining gear, reached under the corners of the case and risked our spinal safety for the good of the band. When we made it outside we realized that we weren’t going to be able to fit it in the vehicle anyway. We conceded that we would have to make a second trip, then went in search of cables. I had been told I could borrow banana-jack cables from some sort of eagle bag, or eagle duffle, or eagle DJ case. Something about a bird anyway. There were however, neither birds, bananas, nor duffle bags anywhere to be found. We gave up and decided to rent the cables.

When we finally unloaded the last of the equipment back at my place I discovered that we had grabbed two different models of speakers. Balls. Looked like we’d have to go back again tomorrow night.

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