Midnight and a Mini Guitar


What can you learn at midnight? A lot if you're willing to keep a playful attitude.

A couple of nights ago my husband suggested going to the basement to "see how the work is coming along." You see, we've been working on it all summer to turn it into a usable space.

Now I've been married long enough to know that "see how the work is coming along" means "see what we can go work on right now." Did I mention it was 11:30 at night?

Despite how ready for bed I was, I followed him downstairs in hopes of making him wrap up this little adventure quickly. A minute in to putting around, he grabbed a box with a light fixture in it. Here we go, I thought.

"Are you really going to hang that light right now?"

"I just want to see if it's going to fit here," he replied.

Sure. As aforementioned I know what "see" means.

He set out about unwrapping the fixture, holding it up to the ceiling, then disappearing to the garage for tools.

And there I was in a basement looking for a way to entertain myself as midnight approached. That's when I spotted a hard black case tucked between a foosball table and a couch cushion. My stepson's old guitar.

It had been a gift from his grandfather, a guitar lover himself. My stepson had been thrilled with it for a few weeks before the novelty wore off. Now it sat lonely and neglected, covered in drywall dust.

I wish I could play an instrument, I thought.

Well... what's stopping you. Here you are and there's an instrument.

Darn my conscious and it's logic. I walked over, opened the case, and pulled out a child's sized guitar. I gently carried it over to a small step ladder and sat down. Being the country fan that I am, I knew, more or less, how to hold a guitar. Brad Paisley, Keith Urban... I've seen how it's done.

Then I realized I'd reached the extent of my knowledge.  I figured tuning was probably important, so I played with the strings, not knowing at all what each one should sound like.

That's how my husband found me. He returned from the garage with tools in hand, saw me, and laughed. "Of all the things I thought you might do while I was gone, playing guitar never crossed my mind."

"That makes two of us."

I explained my dilemma about tuning and he said, "there's an app for that."

"Really?" I raced upstairs for my phone and found a tuning app. Two actually- one to hear the note and one to listen to my note and gauge it's accuracy.

Admittedly, tuning took me a little while. Once ready, I found another app with beginner guitar lessons. In less than 10 minutes I was playing the well-known riff from Smoke On The Water.

Me. Playing the guitar. Go figure.

So, here's what we've learned...

  • If you find yourself in a basement at midnight, make the best of it.

  • If you find an instrument, start playing. Even if it's a kid's instrument. Even if all you do is make noise.

  • If all you have is 15 notes from Smoke On The Water, you can still be a rockstar (or a country star) in your imagination.

  • If you want to learn something, there's probably an app for it.

  • If you want to learn more, learn more. If you're happy with just that wee bit of knowledge, that's okay, too. (I want to learn some more.)

  • Relish in your new talent. Video that big goofy smile to remind yourself of how much fun you had.

What new thing have you wanted to learn? Why not spend 15 minutes on it?




  1. Very inspiring!!! Way to have a "make the best of it" attitude!! I want to learn how to shoot a gun...for personal safety :)

  2. This is why I love reading your blog! I never know what I'm going to find here but it's always going to make me smile.

  3. I used to play a lot of guitar when I was young. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to relieve stress. I encourage you to learn more if it's something that's interesting and enjoyable for you :)

    Hmm, I guess the big thing I want to learn is how to write a novel, but I'm already working on that. I'd also like to be able to speak Norwegian, but there aren't a ton of great resources out there because it's not as popular as some of the other languages.


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