Track 3 - Iowa Weather

Hello and welcome to the Ol' Big Bear Blog!   This is one of a series of  blogs where I will attempt to convey the inspiration and background of each of the 12 songs on my album Iowa Weather.  I hope you enjoy and are somewhat entertained.

“This life we have could always be better                                                                                                                 But it’s best we remember, things change like Iowa Weather”

I am writing this on a Saturday night in January, in Iowa.  It’s 13 degrees outside.  Today it got up to 20 and it literally felt like spring as we just came out of a single digit week.   When it starts to get down in the 20’s and 30’s in November it’s shocking.  We seem to forget how frickin’ COLD it gets even though we brace ourselves for it each fall.  But once you’ve braved a short ice age and get past the teens, the coats are thrown to the floor and everyone is outside walking the dog, shooting hoops and chatting it up with the neighbors.   I think that weather is a favorite topic of conversation in Iowa because it’s unpredictable and failure to plan ahead could be life threatening.  People freeze to death and die of heat stroke every year in Iowa.  But I didn’t write a song about that, thank god.  I did however, write about the unpredictability of life, the love for family and a dream. 

Iowa Weather was born on a cold February night in 2009 while my wife Ellie and kids (Charlie 2 and Quinn 3) were fast asleep.  This was the year of the biggest blizzard Iowa had seen since 1971, the year I was born.  There was lots of snow on the ground and elsewhere and it was cold enough that the carport had become an extension of our freezer.  Inspired by something I wrote down while journaling I concocted the lyrics first and then sat down at the piano to work out the chords and melody.  I quickly adapted it to guitar - an instrument I am much more proficient on.  I’ve actually had a couple of people tell me that this song would sound good on piano not knowing it originated there.  Maybe a B-side someday if I get practiced up a bit?

Ellie had taken a 3 year furlough from her job as a flight attendant to avoid being out of town for days at a time while the kids were still young.  Turns out she felt like she saw the kids more when she was flying.  She started out her furlough working in a cubicle for a formidable bank in downtown Des Moines.  Not a good match for her, maybe anyone for that matter.  She actually had to press a button when she went to the bathroom!  If she was gone for what they considered too long she’d be called into an office and questioned.  If this were me,  I might be tempted to make up excruciatingly detailed stories about explosive diarrhea and painful genital warts.   Ellie would leave the house at 7:30 in the morning and get back at 5:30, five days a week.  And the pay was nothing near what she was making at her previous job.  Needless to say, Ellie only lasted 3 months at the bank. Luckily she found a different desk job that included a variety of tasks that better suited her infectious  personality and allowed for much needed time away from the man eating desk trap.

We had moved from Dubuque, Iowa about a year earlier.  My new teaching and gigging endeavors in Norwalk and Des Moines were picking up nicely which meant I was working most nights and at home with the kids during the day.   I became equipped with skills such as vegetable consumption negotiations, sleep inducing mini van rides and preschool hunting.  We would often fantasize about working “regular” jobs and having a routine. Sometimes you need to visit the other side of the fence to realize that there’s just as much shit in the neighbor's grass.  It may smell different and have different shades of brown and green but…okay I’ll stop there.   

A lot of my songs are very straight forward, not a lot of metaphors and what not.  This is one of those.  It’s all in the song folks.  Things were tight financially.  Ellen worked days, I worked nights. Although at the time we may have been wishing for a better life,  I knew that “this too shall pass” and that we had a whole heck of a lot to be thankful for.  Also the scary or hopeful fact that things can change on a dime and everything apart from an underlying current of spirit, energy or love (if you fancy that kind of thing and can dig it up) is impermanent.   So this song is a reminder and perhaps a warning that things could always change for the better OR they could actually get a lot worse.  So, be in the moment.  Enjoy what you have and don’t take it for granted.  All that stuff.  And yes, this is also a song for Ellie.  A “love song"  if you will.  A reminder that I’ll be there through the hard times, the mundane times, and the awesome times.  And really, it’s all awesome if you take a moment and attempt to fathom the gifts we are given every day.  

Thanks for hanging out.  I hope to have you back for my next blog, Track 4 - Self Made Man.

Iowa Weather

by Dan Trilk

 

It’s been a long, cold winter, it’s been a crazy year

It’s goodbye in the morning, I’ll be staying here

You brewed a pot of coffee, set out my favorite mug

The burner is still warm, but it ain’t warm like a hug

Printed on that mug is “World’s Greatest Dad”’

And apart from missing you I’m happy and I’m glad

When you come home for supper I’ll already be gone

Guess you gotta make a dollar to keep a family strong

 

Oh, this life we have could always be better

But it’s best we remember things change like Iowa weather

And that sparkle in your eye is like the North Star                     

And I’ll always follow, no matter how far

 

Now I’m sorting the laundry, scraping food off the kitchen floor

Trying not to step on the kittens, making sure that the kids ain’t bored

And you, well you’re downtown working, trying to get it all done at best

Hoping for that dollar raise to help make up for what we lost out west

 

Oh, this life we have could always be better

But it’s best we remember things change like Iowa weather

And that sparkle in your eye is like the North Star                     

And I’ll always follow, no matter how far

 

And when the evening’s over I’ll slip into the house

Half trying not to wake you, I’ll kiss you on the mouth

But we got a baby sitter next Friday night I think

We’ll put on nice sweaters, probably have a drink

We’ll get caught up on some things, try to forget about all the rest

You tell me I’m handsome, I tell you you’re the best

 

Oh, this life we have could always be better

But it’s best we remember things change like Iowa weather

And that sparkle in your eye is like the North Star                     

And I’ll always follow, no matter how far

Oh, this life we have couldn’t be any better

But it’s best we remember things change like Iowa weather

And that sparkle in your eye is like the North Star                     

And I’ll always follow, no matter how far

 

winter dan.jpg
Quick selfie during the video shoot for Iowa Weather

Quick selfie during the video shoot for Iowa Weather