Well, as I posted last week, stuff happens.

This week I started hearing a little BobCat driving up and down my alley. And when I poked my head out to see what was going on, I saw the tell-tale signs of upcoming concrete demolition. The road was covered with colorful spray painted arrows and initials detailing the underground path of gas pipes, water and sewer lines.

And a day later the truly irritating sound of a concrete cutter combined with a jack hammer – followed by large back hoes and dump trucks. Even when the concrete cutter wasn’t actually cutting, the generator truck was constantly running in the background.

I trudged down the alley yesterday to find the foreman to ask him what the “schedule” might be. Along the way, I navigated around and over large piles of dirt and was careful not to step in the new trough being gouged out along my side of the alley.

Well, like with so many things in life – there was only the barest suggestion of a schedule. “It depends.” If they run into a problem, they could shut down immediately until someone is able to figure out what to do next. If they don’t run into a problem, then they could just continue to power through from 8:30 to around 5. Lunch break? Again, that depends.

What he did tell me was that it would take 3-4 weeks! And after they are finished laying the new gas lines, the Water Department is going to follow and replace the sewer pipes in a completely different trough requiring another few weeks of concrete cutting and jack-hammering.

Hard to schedule a session in my studio around that.

So, back up plans are in effect. My portable recording gear is set up in an acoustically treated space in the main house (that sounds fancier than it is – trust me). And I have a couple of friends with studios on alert in case a client wants to direct and the construction is simply too crazy.

But for right now, during the daytime while the crews are working, I will be able to use the “inside” location. Everything is networked, so I can save to my regular recording tower, so that works. And I can always start work at around 4 PM when they usually are gone.

Sounds like everything is fine…yeah, right. Either my technical skills are deteriorating, or my stress level has started to affect my brain. I could NOT connect the dots yesterday while scrambling to get a phone patch session ready in my regular studio, and at the same time trying to get the back up system up and running in case there was too much noise.

The MicPort Pro is a very simple device and I have used it many times while traveling. I couldn’t find the cable – and to make matters worse, I was looking for the wrong cable – actually I was trying to use the headphone out jack instead of the mini USB jack and it wasn’t until I was wandering around Frye’s asking someone for a mini-plug to USB cable and finally LOOKING at the MicPort Pro that I realized I was a complete idiot. Left Frye’s with some M&M’s to cover my embarrassment. I was going to resort to using my dbx mini-pre, but somehow the power supply has disappeared.

I was actually able to use the regular studio for an emergency session yesterday around 4PM, but somehow a “pad” button on my new mixer (don’t quiz me on what that is) was depressed when it should not have been and the phone patch was distorted. Why I could hear playback of a QuickTime movie and not of my recording is still a mystery. And then, after I finished the session, why was I unable to record an audition 10 minutes later? Apparently the software had decided to revert back to the computer’s sound card instead of my Gina.

But today, everything seems to finally be working – with a quick troubeshooting trip from the engineer, my regular studio has all it’s ducks in a row again. The back up studio has new foam pads for the Sennheiser 414 – new¬†bungee cables for the Hamburg’s shock mount¬†– and a selection of pre-amps – a Mackie mixer, the MicPort Pro, a Mobile Pre USB (thanks to a fellow VO friend!) and the dbx (if I can find the power supply).

So, I SHOULD be all set for the chaos of the next couple of months. Cross your fingers that I don’t lose any more brain cells, or that the stress level goes down a notch or two.