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I have to start off by apologizing for never finishing the Apes/Enon tour diary from the Fall 2003. There were only a few shows left to write about but I took a job as a full time special educator after the tour was over. Between the job, tutoring, 4 days a week of band practice, and a furious exercise routine (Jeff and Erick maintain that this is an addiction like any other), I never finished it.

This time, I am vowing to write one entry a day during my lunch break. I am an elementary school music teacher until the end of the school year. Picture School of Rock. Today I taught the kids about the style of music known as HEAVY METAL.

March 11 - Our first shows were in Baltimore and DC so the tour really didn’t start till Sat March 13 but I’ll describe a little bit of those days to set the tone. I had sublet my room as of February 28 so I’d already been crashing on floors. Over the months prior to our departure, I’d developed some finger/hand/wrist arm problems. Maybe Carpal Tunnel, or tendonitis. The doctor said it could be the hours and hours of practice, or maybe the weight lifting, or maybe the yoga…probably all of it. [Jeff: Amanda gets up at dawn to go to the gym. Then, during practice in the evenings, she looks at her watch every five seconds, and starts getting furious if she thinks she might miss her late-night appointment with the barbells and treadmills. Strangely enough, many of her perpetual array of symptoms -- fatigue, odd sleep patterns, mood swings, lingering injuries and pains -- are all classic signs of over-training. But what do I know?]

So I was seeing an occupational therapist before we left. She had prescribed hearty doses of heating pads, stretching, anti-inflammatories, icing down…blah blah blah. I was told to stop all physical activity except band practice and playing live as these were not optional. [Jeff: Neither, apparently, were the twice-daily workouts, as these also continued unabated.]

The morning of our Baltimore show I went to the OT at 9 and then went directly to the music store. I was buying everybody’s toys for the road…strings for Erick, a new stand for myself, sticks for Jeff and a microphone for Paul. We were hoping that by him using his own mic, he wouldn’t get sick, and we would no longer have to pay soundmen for broken ones. I bought all the stuff and then went to the grocery store to buy more tour food: New acceptable foods for me to bring in the van included canned kale, spinach, collard greens, green beans. I also bought a giant bottle of squeeze bottle mustard, some Mrs. Dash for spice, and a large assortment of baby food. Right after my purchases, I went back to the music store and returned my new ‘Z’ shaped keyboard stand. Don’t know what I was thinking with that purchase. After a brief argument on the phone with Erick from the grocery store parking lot, I cancelled my dermotologist appointment. My adult-onset acne could wait. Finishing my new bird girl costume could not.

I showed up at Jeff’s and everybody was busy with needles and thread, doing last minute costume fixtures: rainbows, big eyes, wings. We had one final practice, picked up the van (I believe the bill was somewhere around 400 bucks, to fix the recurring over-heating problem), and headed for Baltimore. We played with old tour friends Crimson Sweet. The venue, this awesome warehouse space, made us a super dinner, that I prayed had no high fructose corn syrup. We hung around for hours, went on at like 1:30 am, and all I remember thinking was how the hell was I going to survive this tour with no workouts. On babyfood and canned greens of course!

I drove the DC people back to the city in my Corolla around 3:30 am and fell asleep at the wheel several times.

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