Originally published on 6-26-13
About 5 years ago I was living in McAllen and would visit Austin my home away from home and mosey downtown, particularly 2nd street and look at all the twinkly lights and busy eateries and wine bars and think, “Someday, I’m going to walk here, live here, be here, I’m not sure when or how, but I will.”
Then one day in early 2011, I got a phone call and on one end of the phone I heard, “You ready to move back?” I replied, “I’m in.” Tom my great friend and past and future boss man replied, “I can’t promise you anything, I’m not even sure I need a manager.” “I’ll make it work,” I said. “We’ll make it work,” he said, and we did.
By the first week of June 2011 I had an ACL Live all access badge, a parking pass and a spot on my favorite street in Austin. And as luck would have it, the twinkly lights were still up.
After two glorious years, June 16th was my last day at ACL Live.
For 2 years I have worked 2 full time jobs. I have been in overdrive and I have loved it. I worked as a General Manager of Bar Operations at ACL Live, fulfilled the Business Development role at Holiday Wine and Liquor, ran a marathon, did 2 Tough Mudders, jumped out of a plane, rappelled down a 32 story building, found a church home, fell in love, remembered to brush my teeth twice a day (ok, maybe not every day) and I tried my best to keep the laundry done and folded. Can I get a high five? Before you give me that high five, I can never promise anything is ironed; can I still get a high five?
I wanted to see just how much I could fit on my personal plate and the answer was, a lot. One day my friend and co-worker turned to me and said, “You’re intense.” I thought, “What, me?” I had never thought of it in that way, I always thought about it in terms of, why not?
My life was movin’ and groovin’ and then this rhyme started to creep into my head, First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Catia with a baby carriage, and I had to stop and reassess. Creating the best environment I could for my relationship and future family became my top priority and something had to give. Knowing it was the right thing for me, for our relationship and for the dream of writing Anna and reaching more people; I put in my notice at ACL Live.
During May and June I hugged the staff more, promised to keep in touch and made sure each team member knew how instrumental they had been in my life, and on my last I cried like a line cook cutting onions. To say that that last two years of my life have been the greatest life has offered me would not be an overstatement.
While eating a Schlotzky’s sandwich, drinking a cold diet coke and laughing so hard I snorted with friends I got to watch Louis CK perform 4 comedy shows standing 10 yards away, AND I got paid for it. I heard Miranda Lambert sing the song, the house that built me. I got to watch Diana Ross strut across stage and have her huge hair follow. I got to hear the Dixie Chicks belt out Wide Open Spaces while I sat on riser steps and cried my little eyes out because I thought they MUST have written that song about me. I got to hear Randy Travis sing Forever and Ever Amen while my boyfriend wrapped his arms around me. I was able to host my parents in a fancy suite when Chris Isaak was in town. Wicked games! Backstage, I spoke with Gary Clark Jr. and expressed to he and his parents that they should be proud they raised such a genuine and humble soul. And, I was blessed to work with my brother David and the experience was marvelous for reasons told and untold. Two full years at ACL Live were a gift from the universe and from the pied piper, Tom Farace.
Well Sunday the 16th was unforgettable. There were sweet gifts and hugs and well wishes and a going away bash that included cold champagne, grainy Polaroid’s now mounted on my refrigerator and safe cab rides home.
The concerts were cool, but the good stuff, the good stuff you can’t buy. For me, the magic is in bartending team I worked with. The value is in the tens of thousands of high fives exchanged, all the goofy dancing we did together, learning about each other, and all the laughter and joy exchanged (even when the jokes were so gross I’d go into convulsions). Here’s to all of my favorites there at 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. I will miss hugging you, giving you high fives, telling dirty jokes with you and asking you if you have any candy.
Folks, the universe will give you what you need when you need it; you just have to ask for it.