A Day in the life of the Airstream - Part 2 "Gig Days"
To view part 1 of this series, click here.
A "gig day" refers to any day that Michael has an obligation to play music for a specific person, parish, or event. These vary, but most frequently they consist of an evening concert, beginning at 7:00 PM.
If we have a few days off in between "gig days" we try to finish up in one town, and get our drive out of the way. We look for a campsite that is less than 2 hours from our next event and settle in there. That way when it is time for the next concert, we do not have to a long travel day to contend with. Our typical "gig day" looks like this:
7:30 AM - wake up. We get ready as fast as possible and get out the door. Rarely do we have to set an alarm for this. We have 3 morning people in our family (Michael, Trinity, and MJMJ). We have not had a strong need for an alarm clock for the past 2 years. In the Airstream, we never use one. We do not have curtains, so the light and noise from outside will always wake one of the morning people.
8:00 AM - Mass. We have gotten spoiled to having daily Mass readily available. In St. Louis, you can basically pick any time of morning and find a Mass. When we are in more rural, we are more restricted. Sometimes there will be just Mass just a few times a week at one specific time. We try to make it work. Michael has the coffee in the car, waiting for him to enjoy as soon as Mass is over.
9:00 AM - Breakfast. This is in shifts. The kids have something simple. Michael and I will have eggs & english muffins. I normally do the dishes and ask the kids to clean their room.
10:00 AM - We may try to squeeze in homeschool here. This totally depends on my mood, the check-out time of the campground, and the the length of travel planned. If we do school, it is usually a team effort. We will rarely take the time to go to the lodge, because we want to finish quickly. Michael will sit down and sound out words with the younger readers and I will help with math. MJMJ will get to watch a movie with headphones or play on an ipad.
12:00 PM - Lunch. We try to have a solid lunch because our dinner schedule usually gets weird.
12:30 PM - Clean & Button Down the Airstream. Hitch Up. This is the same as a travel day. It is required that we don't have loose items that will shift during travel, but we also like to have the beds made and the floors vacuumed, too.
1:00 PM - Depart. This is a good time for us to leave, since it is easy for MJMJ to nap in the car. If we have short drive, the older girls might grab a book to read & that's it. Michael does all the driving. We are pretty good about budgeting the time on the short-drives, we can stretch it out by doing some shopping on the way or we can get there quickly if need be.
3:00 PM - Arrive. If at all possible, we try to keep the Airstream on site for the night. When we arrive, we call the host. He/she helps us find a suitable place to park and helps us find an outlet where we can plug in the Airstream. We unhitch.
3:30 PM - Get our bearings. Get the kids settled. We normally get a small tour of he parish. Then we find a way to keep the kids busy so Michael and I can focus on setting up. The easiest activity is for them to go to the school playground if there is one. Sometimes the church has a nursery. Sometimes, the DRE gets out a stash of arts & crafts.
4:00 PM - Set up and sound check. If it is possible to set up our equipment, then we start right away. Michael takes care of the music equipment and I set up the lights and merchandise table. We manage to finish up about the same time and I listen to each of the instruments and try to get a modest sound check.
5:00 PM - Dinner. Often our hosts will have dinner for us. For example, we may join some of the parish staff in the hall for pizza.This normally brings us right up to the time that people are arriving.
(If our hosts are not providing dinner, then normally, we wait until 4:30 to set up, which is where dinner gets funky. Often I will pause to bake a pizza for the kids and Michael will grab a protein bar and plan on a more sit-down meal after the concert)
6:00 PM - Doors open. As people are arriving for the concert, I try to get the kids settled. A good option for me is to have a DVD in the Airstream if it is parked fairly close. I can then check in on them periodically while helping at the merchandise table. Sometimes we have volunteers available to sit with the kids in the parish center, where they draw or play "Simon Says" during the concert. Occassionally one child has found a friend her age and will ask to stay at the concert. I agree.
6:30-7:00 PM - Concert begins. About the 4th song, Michael likes to introduce the kids. I run out to the Airstream and get them. They know the drill. After they have done their bit at the concert, then they go to the Airstream, put on pajamas, and watch their movie. I help them get settled there. This is where I start to be really thankful that we have the Airstream on site. If it is not, then the kids start to get a little stir crazy.
8:00-8:30 PM - Concert ends. I sell the merchandise. Michael shakes hands, signs CDs, and talks with people.
8:45 PM - When things start to thin out, we pause to tuck the kids into bed. Usually, this is the time that we can start to pack up our gear. This goes quicker than the 2 hours of setting up. We normally spend about 45 minutes on packing up. Once again I take care of the lights and merchandise and Michael focuses on the music equipment. Usually there are some guys hanging out who help us carry things to the van and then we begin a giant game of 3-D Tetris as we load it into the van.
10:00 PM - Lock up and Relax. We say goodnight to our hosts as they lock the building. Michael and I sit down in the Airstream and enjoy a snack and beverage before tucking in for the night.