At the Just Water house, food consisted of egg salad sandwiches. The band could afford the dozen eggs, loaf of bread, and scoop of mayo each week. The hard part was the rent. A few hundred dollars a month in rent meant that paying gigs were needed every week. The only other choice was having day jobs, which was considered unthinkable, because the idea was to rehearse all day every day. The gigs didn't come as easily as expected. It seemed that even the upstate New York bar scene demanded dues to be paid. While Just Water was figuring out who controlled the gigs in upstate New York, the money ran out and they called the local unemployment agency. After reviewing the applications, the local county determined that five unemployed adults in one house represented the worst case they'd ever seen. The band was asked to go on welfare, with an offer of maximum benefits. Either pride or stupidity made the band say "we don't want welfare. Just get us a job!" And so began a string of odd jobs, which proved that the state was better off with Just Water on welfare.
First, the entire band was given a job at Safeway, as baggers. (That's one step below cashier.) Lead guitar on aisle one, Drums on aisle two. You get the picture. Marty got caught sleeping in the stock room near the TVs. They accused him of plotting to steal a TV and fired the entire band. Next, they were all security guards, but Marty got them fired before the end of the first shift. Then came the only job left for the chronically unemployed, ex-cons, vagrants, and bands without gigs - salvaging for the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, as part of the Erie Lackawanna Train Wreck Squad. This was seasonal work, but evidently plentiful when each winter trains would get stuck in snow and ice. It was organized like a volunteer fire department, with distress calls made to the "squad" whenever the railroad had a problem. Within a week of Just Water signing up, the distress call came, and it was the biggest wreck in years. A postal train went clear off the tracks into the Susquehanna River. Half the cars were submerged (including cars full of Gibson guitars coming from the factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan), and the rest of the cars were imbedded into the snow and mud of the riverbank. After two days of hauling crushed and frozen mail onto trucks, Marty was caught sleeping behind a wall of undelivered Christmas presents in an overturned rail car. They were all fired.
It was now obvious that music was the only option left. Just Water loaded the van, drove to a nearby rock 'n roll club, and asked if they could set up and audition. Unbeknownst to Just Water, the band that was booked that night had just cancelled, and they were offered a five-day run. The rent was paid, and Just Water went on to play every bar and dive in upstate New York.
Craig Pelkie, who normally drank wine alone in a phone-less trailer, decided that if the "big time" included New York City, it wasn't for him, and went on to an honest living in computers. Craig was an excellent bass player, but his replacement, Tom Korba, took it to a higher level. During these formative times in upstate New York, Just Water played an eclectic mix of original songs and covers. The original songs included a few that survived the journey to the NYC punk scene ("Private Eye", "Branded", "Ready To Lose") and a few that didn't ("Don't Thank Us, Thank The Machines".)