Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Fifty Shades of Mr. Mark Kolt

It’s impossible to live in Flin Flon and not know who Mark Kolt is. Lawyer and administrator for the City, pianist (and more) for the Community Choir, musician extraordinaire for multiple bands and many special occasions. But that’s not all.

Mark is also a composer. Anyone fortunate enough to attend one of the choir’s Christmas concerts will have heard his beautiful piece, ‘Star of Bethlehem.’ But he’s done plenty more than that. When sister Jennifer decided on a Carpenter’s Christmas concert, Mark arranged the parts for soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

Before I get into specifics, let me tell you this. Mark is  a considerate composer. Unlike Beethoven, he understands our limitations, and never wants us to feel bad. No high E for six measures  (I’m guesstimating…it felt like more) for the altos, thank you very much. Which is why I was puzzled after last weekend’s concerts. It finally dawned on the altos that our parts were a little more difficult than usual. I’m pulling my punches, here. Let’s just say there was plenty of weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Thank goodness for our new dentist, who is also in the choir, and will be prepared for our damaged molars.)

I’ll try to be delicate, but keep in mind that a certain amount of frankness is necessary, here. We all know that Mark considers the sopranos the heart of our choir. Therefore, in the mansion of his mind, they are the composer’s true muse and worthy of loving affection, hand holding, and complimentary easy parts. (This is what all the altos think, okay?) The same could be said for the tenors. Well done. Good effort. Pip pip.

As for the alto parts? Well. We are the ones chained in the basement, next to the whips. Is it good for you, Mark asks, hefting the cat of nine tails, a gleam in his eye. ( Not having read the books, I have no idea if Christian Gray of the original ‘Fifty Shades’ actually did this, but I’ve heard rumours.) No, not really, we reply, bracing ourselves for the…let’s just call it the chastisement. The basses, the alto males, are also known to have the occasional rough ride. Though most of them are just asking for it.

In summation, I must acknowledge that, yes, Mark, we were bad. And we deserve a little punishment from time to time. But if a sincere apology will lighten our future, then here it is. We did not do your arrangements the justice they deserved. We did not. But. We’d like a little more loving in the next piece, please, and a lot less pain. We, too, want to make you proud. We’d like to be, if not the heart, then maybe the bladder or the colon. Something essential. And it wouldn’t hurt to give us the melody from time to time, either, when you’re scoring your next big thing.

an alto, second row
right side of the dungeon.

The Hitch in My Step

I like to move briskly. Plodding along sets my teeth on edge, so my tendency is to gallop. The plus side is, I get lots done. The downside? Sometimes I drop things, or occasionally fall down. I’m quick, but not necessarily graceful. I can fake graceful, but it doesn’t offer me much protection.

The other day, there was an incident at my house. I was heading (briskly) into my bedroom when the left belt loop of my newish jeans got snagged on the door handle. It’s a lever type, and at the very end, it folds itself up like a seashell. I’d never noticed this before, but it literally stopped me in my tracks.

Technically, I shouldn’t have been wearing the jeans. They’re a little snug, but since I only  bought them six months ago, I like to pretend they still fit. Because they’re newish, I didn’t want to pull away and rip off the belt loop. On the other hand, I was stuck. And I was by myself. My husband was a thousand miles away, which always seems to be the case when I end up in one of these situations.

Was the universe telling me to slow down? Was it saying that I’m a little ‘stuck’ these days? Or was I simply the victim of another weird happening, like when my exercise ball got trapped under my treadmill and lifted me into the air.  Whatever it was, I could only rely on myself for help.

The loops are small, so there wasn’t much wiggle room, especially given the jean’s close fit. I tried rotating my hip, but it only made it worse. I could not get that loop out of the little curly end. Pulling down my jeans was not an option, so I tried unzipping them. Finally, after ten frustrating minutes, I got the loop free from the door handle.

I should carry my cell phone at all times. Highly inconvenient, terribly annoying, but at least I could call for help. At the very least, if I’m going to move briskly through my life, I’d better keep my eyes open. Watch out for exercise balls rolling under my treadmill, or for old meat stuck to the barbecue. (It had me thinking one of the neighbors had died and was busily decomposing.) And those pesky door handles. For now, I’ll wear jeans without loops, or at least make sure they fit. But if you don’t see me around, ask the folks next door to check up on me. After all, neighborly concern should go both ways.

I’m in Love with My Car

Due to a series of unfortunate events, (caribou on the road, car slamming into the back of us) we have to buy a new vehicle. I am very fond of our current one, a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. But then, all our family cars gradually come to feel like old friends. I picture this one all banged up, languishing in some steel graveyard and wondering when we’re coming back to get her. Yes, our car is a she. We planned to drive her till she dropped, an emotional and a financial win. Alas.

Here is why I loved her. She had great pickup on the highway. You could pass anyone in a pinch. She was so comfortable, and all the knobs and doo-dads were in exactly the right spot. I’m short, but our SUV fit me well. She felt like home whenever I was driving around. So I’m resistant to getting something new.

Clarence talked me into test driving a 2016 Toyota Rav. Since my daughter has an older version, I figured I’d be comfortable with it. Our cars seemed strangely the same. But nothing felt right about this one. Boxy, stiff, with a weird dashboard that managed to hide important buttons like the seat warmers. I wanted to take it out on the highway, so we headed toward the perimeter.

My husband is a positive person. I’ve never heard him talk badly about anyone, and he truly can’t understand the kind of negativity that was welling up inside me. I was working myself up with all the things I didn’t like about the vehicle.Then I had one of those, ‘can’t find the wipers, where’s the wash?’ moments, just when Clarence said, ‘turn right here.’

I lost it. There is no right turn! I said. What are you talking about?? My voice was so high and loud, I’m amazed I didn’t shatter the windshield. No, right HERE, he said. Well, duh. I’m practically hyperventilating through the combination of sadness about our car, not enough information on the one I’m driving, and Clarence’s driving instructions. You’re going to miss it! he said. It’s right here!

Ah. At last his meaning was clear. Turn left, right here. I was so busy working myself up into an old fashioned snit, I couldn’t hear what he was trying to say. Which was, try out this nice car…see if it can replace the one you love. You’ll figure it all out, and by the way, turn here. Once I calmed down, we returned to our regularly programmed relationship.

Want to head home now?
Let’s drop the car off, then. Tell the guy we’ll think about it.

I cheered up immeasurably. The car wasn’t a bad colour. It hid the dirt well. (Behind all the drama, there was reason.) So when you see me next, I’ll be with another vehicle. There may be some awkwardness at first, as we get to know each other. I’ll probably feel like I’m cheating on the Santa Fe. But after a few months on the road together, the new vehicle and I may just start to feel like family. To celebrate the car love story, here’s the band, Queen. And yes, I stole their title.