Cross THAT Off the Bucket List

1 Comment

I’ve been playing musical instruments since 4th grade, starting when my mom brought me back a little silver fife from Williamsburg, Virginia. I played it for hours. My brother Sean, a first grader at the time, tried to play his but he couldn’t and said it was “stupid” and “girly” and then I had two fifes.

(He would later go on to be a fantastic trumpet player that could hit the highest of high F’s after not playing for a year, but gave that up for FOOTBALL…)

I played flute in 5th grade, then Mom then dusted off her clarinet and I started playing that in 7th. I couldn’t stop practicing, I loved it so much. I would tape myself on a cassette recorder (for the youngins, it was something we old-timers used to record music with) playing one part, then rewind and have a duet with myself.

Good times.

I played all through high school, then packed the clarinet away before leaving for my freshman year at Kent State where I was majoring in elementary education.

That year, I was MISERABLE without playing.  After 6 + years of playing my clarinet, I missed it, but what could I do? I was too shy and figured everyone at the music building were Juilliard caliber players.

Then it happened.

I heard the soundtrack to “The Little Mermaid” and decided right then and there to change my major to music. I went home, got the clarinet, and practiced in the dead of night at the music building so none of the music majors could hear me in case I sucked real bad.

I auditioned, made it into the school and got a scholarship to boot. I was so excited to change majors.

I met my best friend, Diane, the 2nd day of my sophomore year, the fall of 1991. I walked into the band room, and had NO clue where to sit. You have no idea how terrifying that is…everyone knew everyone, and I was freaking out that I would accidentally sit in the flute section, the HORROR.

Thankfully, Diane recognized me from our clarinet class the day before, and yelled: “Hey, come sit by me!” I loved her that moment, and 24 years later we are still best friends.

In college, I played clarinet, then became the Eb clarinet player (it’s like a piccolo clarinet) for the school. At least I played it for most of the pieces, unless a greedy clarinet grad student took my part because there was a great solo in it. BUT I’M NOT BITTER.

I’m still bitter. 

With all the opportunities,  I wasn’t satisfied with just playing clarinet, I needed to play everything I could get my hands on. Luckily I was indulged greatly by the music faculty, and during my years as a music major I played: piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute, oboe, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, Bass clarinet, contra-bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, and accompanied soloists on the piano.  I was the person that played what no one else wanted to.

One thing I really wanted to do, though, was direct sing. I thought I had a decent voice, but was so unsure of it that I botched all of my singing auditions in high school. One time, I pretended to have a cold when auditioning for “My Fair Lady” and ended up getting the role of a MAN with 3 lines.  My singing was then limited to a few karaoke sessions at dive bars but only after a few wine coolers.


I eventually sang in church for a few years, but was always uncomfortable. I decided that one day, I would find the opportunity to sing with a band and belt out something before I die.

Then the community band director mentioned needing a vocalist for “Blue Moon.” In a rare moment of “OMG I WANT IT, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEMME HAVE IT!” I asked if I could audition right there. He looked startled and had an “oh-crap-what-if-she-sucks-then-I’ll-have-to-figure-out-how-to-say-no” face, but he let me, and next thing I know, I’m in.

I made it!

So the concert was June 20th, and I got up on stage in a middle school auditorium and sang my heart out. I was not even a little bit nervous, and I’m not sure why. Before a clarinet recital in college I would be ready to hurl 3 seconds before going on stage then break into uncontrollable yawning.

Not this time. I had a lot of friends and family come to see me. The best parts were my husband waving to me like a goober from the very back of the room, my twins yelling: “That’s my mommy!”, and my own mommy beaming at me from a few rows from the front. (She told everyone afterwards: “This is my BABY!”)

Scratch that off the bucket list.

I need to get started on my other items, such as finishing my novel and making millions of dollars, meeting Jon Stewart, and getting my 5 year olds to wipe their butts consistently.

That last one is going to be a doozy!


Antique bellybutton lint? Sold to the CarrieLouWho in the corner!

Leave a comment

I found out something about myself.  I have a deep, dark place inside I never knew existed that cannot be let loose, cannot be let out alone, and cannot be handed a checkbook.

I have auction sickness. And it’s bad.

Real bad.

My in-laws are antiquers.  I think that’s the word for it.  I’d call them “pickers” but I might get slapped, that might be the new trendy faux-reality TV word, I’m not sure.  Whatever they are, they are good at it, and occasionally they come across some neat things, and Mr. Who and I go to an auction to check them out.  We rarely buy anything because we have no idea the value of things.  What I think is worth $5 goes for $500 or $300 goes for $1, so, in essence, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

Recently, a man who lived in his mom’s basement was selling a plethora of instruments.  CarrieLouWho kinds of instruments; wooden recorders, Japanese stringed instruments, snake charmer instruments, Native American flutes, you name it.

I wanted them. For the right price, which wasn’t much. I wasn’t going there to spend a lot of money.

I really wasn’t.

But then, something terrible happened.

I was given a number.

They started holding up things I needed, and they weren’t even at the instruments yet!  A box of crystal? Well, darn it, that’s pretty, and what a bargain! I might need that! I excitedly hold up my arm to point, while Mr. Who, and Mr. and Mrs. Who-in-Law tackle me and throw me to the ground reminding me to NEVER raise my hand in an auction house unless I want to buy something.

I dust off my coat, put my hair back in place, and sit back down with an ice bag on my jaw from Mrs. Who-in-Law’s right uppercut and sit there like a good girl.

But oh man, there was a wicker corner table, and a box of rocket pieces, and huge wicker giraffe that Twin A the Burly would love to tackle and break into tiny pieces and OH MY LORD I NEED THAT!

Mr. Who’s hand gripped my shoulder tightly, and he gently moved in to give me what I thought was a kiss and instead I hear: “CarrieLou, don’t make me take that number off of you.”

Defeated, I sit back and finish my auction house nachos, looking excitedly at all the things I couldn’t have but desperately needed.  Kites that flew YOU, velvet paintings, guitars, and glass pieces I always thought were ugly when my grandma collected them (R.I.P. grandma).

Then my instruments were up.  It was my turn, I finally got to hold up my number.  I had a set price in my head and was ready.  I had a straight poker face, and held up my number like a good girl.

But, what was this?  I was being bid against?  What?? Oh HELL NO! I bid again, and again, and again.  Mr. Who is trying to hold my arm down, and my head is screaming: “FORGET THE BUDGET!!!!” but the first instrument had to be let go or else I’d be tackled again.

I stop, use my inhaler, and wait. Next instrument, and I am ready, and OH! OH! OH! OH!….I WIN!!! YES!!!!!

It’s all I can do to not run up and down the aisles Rocky style.  Mr. and Mrs. Who-in-Law are whispering to themselves, most likely reminding each other to never, ever, ever bring me along again.

I win the next few sets of instruments, get into a few more battles, but I got most of what I wanted. I am drained, exhausted, and a little bit broke.

It’s been decided that I shouldn’t go to another auction for a while.  I get the sickness too easily.  “Want-itis” comes on faster than normal, and it’s hard to contain. I’d probably buy someone’s granny for the right price if I got too excited.

“Hey now, folks, we have here an elderly woman with one broken hip, a walker, mostly white hair, and dentures.  She bakes a mean chocolate walnut cookie, and smells like Red Door. Let’s start the bidding at ONE HUNDRED!”

OHHHH ME ME ME!!! You never know, we might need one!


The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World

Humanity Death Watch

The Future Is Funny


I Have No Filter!

Dear Crazy Kids,

(A note from Mom)

Greg Gotti

The writings of an American somebody


prattles on the pathos of parenting

Jenny Kanevsky


Pick Any Two

Because moms can do anything, but not everything.

Love Marriage Worms

and other absurdities

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

From diapers and tutus to meetings and boardrooms

Trying to keep my sanity one blog post at a time

Perpetually Irritated

Barely Containing My Inner Indignance

Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops

Motherhood, Mental Health, Moving Your Body

Overthinking my teaching

The mathematics I encounter in classrooms

established 1975

stories to read while pooping

"I don't know so well what I think until I see what I say; then I have to say it again." -Flannery O'Connor

Journeys of the Fabulist

Adventures With Family. (Making it up as I go along.)

%d bloggers like this: