Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Ho, Ho, Ho Happening

Well, what a relief! My aunt and uncle and cousin are coming for a visit tomorrow. Guess what? My mom was dashing around to get all the Christmas decorating done! You see, they haven't been to this house for a visit during the holidays, so my mom wants to make sure everything is finished. And better yet, I was out on tuning jobs all afternoon!!!!!!

I got home to the news around 5 pm. Since I had to get *something* to eat, I decided to go to Ellen's Harborside. When I got there, some friends, Ed and Margaret, invited me to join them at their table and we had a nice chat over dinner. I got back home and went to Mom and Dad's. Mom had all the boxes of ornaments out of storage and had started a bit of decorating. I worked on it for about 45 minutes and then went to pick Amanda up at work. Got home and did some more ornament hanging. Then since I had already taken my Christmas decorations "out of storage" earlier in the day, I made a mad dash and got my living room done.

So.....HO, HO, HO, once again. What normally takes my mom a few days got done in less than two hours. FANTASTIC!!!!

All that's left to do for Christmas decorating is to put the candles in the windows and run the extension cords outside.........THEN I AM DONE!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah....shhhhhhh, I found the perfect gift today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Asked and Here They Are!

I have no idea how all this will work on the page so please be tolerant! Hmmm, weird layout and I don't know how to rearrange it! Oh well...commentary.... First off is a really lousy picture of the latest reed organ job. I guess I'll have to move it for the final picture when the job is done to see if I can get some better detail definition through better lighting. This is a good sized "Bridgeport" organ (built in Bridgeport, CT in approx. 1889). Written on the key wood (covered over inside when assembled) are two handwritten notations. The first I found says "repaired by Ed Jacobson, January 2005". Sorry Ed, the organ is in rough shape and the only recent repairI could find were new straps for the pedals. So although the pedals *were* repaired, I'm *very* dubious that the organ played - maybe a few squeals if you pumped frantically! The second notation I just loved finding. It says, "tuned by H. S. Thomas, Jan. 22nd /89". It has a really neat personal "logo" under the writing. I'm going to try to imitate the "logo" for my rebuild records.
Now the keybushing photos - the top one shows the tiny red wool cloth bushings at the front underside of each key. When the key is depressed when playing the piano it travels on a metal pin, this mortise combined with the pin it rides on keeps the key from slopping side to side. The key will travel absolutely (perceptively) vertically. The second key photo shows the mortise and bushings where the "center" (not really) of the key pivots on another metal pin. So when the front of the key goes down, the back goes up like a seesaw. In this photo the old keytops have been removed and the surface prepped for new tops. Now, in both pics you can see the cauls used as clamps for the new bushings during the time it takes for the hot animal hide glue to dry. The caul size varies depending on what make piano the keys came from. The key pins can range from .087" (old Chickering and others) to .162" (some Steinways). When finished the bushed mortise needs to have approximately .002 - .003 clearance on the pin. So, first I have to remove the old worn out bushings that are allowing the keys to be sloppy and sometimes click against each other and glue in new ones. Don't ask me to try to explain the process for either! LOL I'll just leave it with "precision counts"!
Yes, Ferd, I know it is an over simplified explanation. I'm better at showing how it works than just describing it!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

'Tis the Season

For too much to do.

I don't really know why this year seems to be rushing by. Maybe because we have had unseasonably warm weather this fall. Does it seem like Christmas is going to be real, real, soon to you? This year I can echo the sentiments of a friend's email. I'd like to just take the week off and go away. No anything other than relaxation.

Of course this won't happen. We did it once, over 20 years ago. We left for over a month and spent a week in Florida and three weeks on St. Thomas. Oh to do that again! A couple pre-Christmas gifts, no tree, minimal decorating outdoors (just to look like someone was home).

Instead....we prep the house for the holidays. Mom and Dad's place gets the attention first, naturally. After delivering 4 miles of newspapers at 5:30 a.m. and having breakfast, I spent a couple hours working on WHOA paperwork - well, Jayne PR stuff! I enjoy doing that. Then I went down downstairs and worked on the keys from ALASKA. In between the key work I hauled the 7.5 foot artificial tree up the bulkhead and into my folks livingroom. It is prelit and in two sections but still VERY heavy. Then the trash got thrown up the bulkhead so that my mom could go to the dump. Phew....back to keywork. Oh, did I mention the hallstand that had to go down the bulkhead after I moved the desk to make room for the tree? Mom finished the Christmas window boxes and, you guessed right.....up the bulkhead with those.

And we're (read I'm) not done yet. Tomorrow I have to assemble the tree and make it look real! I'll help my mom with some of the decorations. Then I've got the bulkhead to tackle once again, this time with the lit reindeer. Personally, I think they are a bit tacky, but mom likes them. I can't understand this from her. Then maybe I can start in my house. Thankfully my house is so tiny I can't fit much. I'll get mine done in a couple hours. Then it will be back to keywork. I've got to ship these back to Alaska on Monday. I'll probably work on the reed organ, too. Next week I've got three more sets of keys. Ferd's should arrive Monday. Danny's are waiting on "off" white keytops that I ordered, and I've got a new customer in NH sending some. Later this my spare time.....I may post some pics of keywork (for you, Mary) and of the latest organ rebuild.

HO, HO, HO (and sometimes BAH HUMBUG) However, most of my Christmas cards are written and some of my shopping done. I've still got to do about 60 cards for my newspaper customers (and Amanda has to do hers). Then the shopping, too. Mine, and with mom, and with Amanda, and get Dad's done for him. I'm tired just thinking about it!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Some Quick News

I hate when I've been away from the house and return to find that I have missed a call. Okay usually this isn't a problem because most people know to leave me a message. I've made a point to emphasize this cuz it just drives me nuts when they don't. I have caller ID. It's frustrating sometimes but the benefit of ignoring 800 number calls is great. I have it for some other reasons, too. Anyway, my mom and I went out for a quick bite tonight and when I got home the caller ID was flashing. I looked at the answering machine. No message. I checked to see who the call was from. PRIVATE. (see? frustrating) Now this really drives me crazy! There is absolutely nothing I can do, and really, there is no need to think that there should be. About an hour later the phone rings. I dashed in from the other room to look at the ID....PRIVATE. Twice??? In a row??? I grabbed the phone before the machine picked up. Yeah, yeah, I probably should at least screen the call considering "the other" reason I have the machine, but what if there is no message again. And besides, twice in a row and I "want" to know who's calling.

Guess What?!!!

I've got a key bushing job coming from Alaska! :-D

For Christmas, I've asked for a US map that I can put on the bulletin board in my shop. I want to start putting push pins in to show all the different places that I get work from. This was an idea that my mom had and will be interesting for customers and techs that stop by. If Santa doesn't bring one I'm going to buy my own....I've just got to be "good" and wait.

WOW, all the way from Alaska.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I Hate Change (sometimes)

Well, I finally broke down and converted this blog to their "new" system. I hope this works as well as the old or I am really going to be irritated. Actually, I got tired of the messages coming up requesting politely that I do it's done. I get used to something...teach myself a system...and just as I am comfortable with it, someone changes the system. I hate it.

On the other hand I could really use a pleasant change. It's been a rough week or so. Topping it off is that it seems some family members have decided that my purpose in life is to wait on, run to get for, interrupt, whine at, and CONSTANTLY complain from morning to night. I could scream. It's driving me nuts. I want to run away from home :-( (maybe just for a little while?)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

For Friends

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tired and Swamped

Well...things I didn't mention about yesterday. When I got home there were 3 boxes of keys waiting for me (One set is a rush job that has to be overnighted on Monday). I'm already working on a set. Oh my, 4 total! Then this morning the owner of the next reed organ job phoned to say that he would be arriving just after 10 with the organ. Tomorrow morning I have to be at a restaurant to pick up some piano action work that has to be done and returned before Friday. Monday, I'm catching up with the tunings from yesterday that I rescheduled. I made a couple phone calls. One was to schedule another player piano rebuild - to start in April, whew. I've got another for over the winter already on the books.

And the other call.........................The tech that I'm not too happy working for (remember?).
Seems he has decided that they want to have a reed organ job done. He remembered that I had looked at it MANY months ago. Remembered the quote a bit low, though. Anyway, he left a message that made the assumption that I could start working on it right away. Like I couldn't possibly have any other jobs keeping me busy. HUH???

Well, I called back and got the machine. I left a message with the correct price, a clarification on the condition of the organ that may make a rebuild a bad decision economically. Then I said that I couldn't even consider starting the work until late summer because of so many major jobs scheduled ahead of it. I'm sure it will be thought that I have intentionally ditched them.....NOPE, I don't work that way at all. But sometimes I *do* love coincidence!

Friday, November 10, 2006

and continued...

Okay, to finish this...
I did forget to mention that I called M (she used to live in the town where I would be heading). She's so good to me. A super lady who knows just what to say to me! She gives excellent directions, too! And I emailed a couple friends. Yeah, I was real nervous. I did get an email first thing this morning that R was thinking of me. What a boost that was to keep that thought with me.

Then there were *all* the things that I wanted to say to my friend. The comfort and care to offer. Knowing that I would have but a few moments to hug and hold her. Amid tears for her, the thoughts just wouldn't stop repeating in my head.

Since I couldn't get back to sleep (I did sleep from about 1 - 2 am) I finally got up at six. I had some light breakfast (I eat dry bread just to fill the stomach void when I'm a "mess") and a half cup of coffee. Thankfully the newspapers arrived extra early, all 105 of them! A got up and dressed while I counted out the routes, then we folded and bagged and dashed out the door. We were done by 8:15. The early exercise did my head some good and by the time we were leaving for our drive, I was much more at ease.....not perfect, mind you!

Everything went fine drivewise. We arrived earlier than we anticipated which is always my preference! Yeah, those are other thoughts....what if's....flat tire, traffic jam, lost, car trouble. Of course, none of those happened. But I was still worried that something would prevent me from being there as promised. A was a huge help. A pleasure on a sorrowful day. Good with signs and tolls, too. She's hired as navigator!

She lost it a bit with the discomfort of waiting at the funeral home amid strangers. We were waiting outside to head for the cemetery as the service would be graveside. I assured her that I knew no one else other than my friend, that yes, it could be a little uncomfortable, but friendship was the reason I was there. I was there to give my support to my friend, A was there to support me. That worked.

I'm not going to talk about the funeral other than to say it was "just right".

I met my friend's mom for the first time. She is a doll. She is soooo proud of her daughter. As a matter of fact, of her other children, too. She was radiant when she talked about them and made sure that she found her other children and introduced each to me. I told her that she had certainly done a good job! That I have one of the best friends in the world-her daughter.

Sorrow and Caring

It was a very long day that started in the wee hours. I could only sleep about an hour last night. All that was on my mind was the promise that I had made for today. I tossed and turned and many, many thoughts kept running through my mind. I had to keep trying to *make* myself relax. I knew today would be a tough one and I really needed to rest.

This week, one of my friends, so dear to my heart, lost her husband. I worried because I didn't have any way to get in touch with her. She wasn't at home, I knew that. But I didn't know if she had gone to stay with her mom or her dad. I didn't know how to contact them. So I waited, I cried. I tried to keep busy but I couldn't keep my thoughts from returning to my concern for her.

Finally, she emailed with a phone number to reach her. And I did. If phones could only transmit hugs. I hurt so much for her. Today was her husband's funeral and that's why I got no sleep. I promised that I would be there and I meant it. I would do anything for her.

I absolutely hate driving on BIG highways. You know the type. 5-6 lanes with cars flying at over 65 mph. Then add to the mix not having a clue as to where to get on, off. And getting in the correct lane (3 choices, I discovered) for how you intend to pay at toll plazas. I know that this sounds stupid. I can't help the panicked thoughts it gives me.

I knew when I promised to be there, I was also committing myself to those roads.

There was absolutely no way that I was not going to be at the funeral. I had to do this, for her. There was nothing more important. Certainly not my fears.

So I suffered my stupid anxiety all night and into the morning. I begged A to make the trip with me (about an hour and a half each way, but I wasn't sure). "You can watch signs for me, hand me toll money. I need you", I said. She agreed at around 7 a.m. We left at 9:30.

Having A with me also kept me levelheaded. I was afraid that by myself, I would cry all the way there. I can't explain why I feel this connection with this friend. It has been similar with others but not at this level. My friend and I have joked around with some ideas. Okay we've "serious-ed" around with some, too. I'll quit being a bit strange now and get off that!

Now, I'm teary again. I'll finish this later.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ohhh, The Nerve of Some People

A tech came to pick up keys this morning. He writes out the check for payment asking me for today's date. I tell him and get, "well, I think it is the 7th, but okay". Why then did he ask?

Then he proceeds to say that he wasn't happy with the last key job that I did for him. I asked why and he went into a rather vague description. I got him to narrow in on what the problem was and it is not on any set of keys that I did for him. He insists that it is. I explained why it couldn't be and he still insists. Then he takes the check that he has just written for the work I just did and puts it in his wallet.

I'm *really* *#!XYZ'd* by this time and said, "Excuse me, but I believe that's MY check you are putting in YOUR wallet!" With an oh, yeah he hands it to me. He takes the bundle of keys and leaves.

So I'm really...........I know that he is "inventing", maybe intentionally, maybe not. I check my records and I didn't even do the set he is talking about. I am soooooo fed up with him. I'm fed up with dealing with his company. They are pains. They either want discounts or have a rush job. On big jobs they take forever to pay. Actually I have given up on payment on a job for them and will not consider "bailing them out" when the time comes they want help with it. They are rarely on time and very often are "no-shows". I no longer want to do ANYTHING for them.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Big Gripe

My dad woke up this morning and had some pain in his lower chest area. Not his heart, probably some pressure against his lung, either from the cancer or from fluid which he sometimes develops. My mom was worried but my dad didn't want to go to the hospital. By the time he had breakfast, he was feeling much better. After lunch the pain was just about gone and he had to really inhale deeply to feel any discomfort. My mom felt better about the situation and went out on a few errands. A and I had gone to Marblehead where I had a player job estimate and then we stopped at two malls to do a bit of Christmas shopping.

My mom got home in time to meet the physical therapist for my dad. This was the therapist's second visit.

I got home around 6 p.m. to find my mom very upset and near tears. PT lady had really acted grim. She had insisted on calling my dad's Primary Dr and requested that he have a nurse several times a week and that a social worker should visit. Her comment was that they really needed help, that my dad was on a downhill slide, and on and on.

I am sooooo angry. First of all, of course he is on a downhill slide. He has cancer in both lungs and emphysema. The doctor said he has a year or two at best. This is not news. She acted like death was eminent. Huh?????? He was out in town for dinner last night! For right now it is a long slope, not a downhill race.

And REALLY NEEDING HELP. Excuse me? With what? My mom told her if she was needing any help it would be nice to have a cleaning lady :-) LOL Good for you mom! Mom keeps track of dad's meds and makes sure he's doing what he is supposed to - like not reclining in his chair because of his eye surgery. She makes sure he eats well, etc. She gets tired sometimes, but she is handling it quite well and gives herself breaks. She is far from incompetent. I fill in as often as I can so that she can get out for awhile without worrying what he'll be up to (or not). He is up and washed and dressed every day with no help. He's not just sitting around oblivious. We chat, he goes out to eat (and to the doctor's), he goes out for rides, he watches tv, listens to music and reads (right now it's audio books because of the eye surgery). If this PT lady is thinking that help is needed caring for dad, well, it's not that time yet. Yes it may come, and then it will be asked for, we're not stupid! Why rush it when he is still quite capable?

She had the nerve to ask my mom if my dad had said whether he wanted to be "kept" alive. You know, machines and the like. And, in front of my dad, how long he had been given to live? Why harp on this, and in front of him. Does she think it's a good idea to remind him of the answer? This is ignorance.

IT IS NONE OF HER BUSINESS!!!! She is a physical therapist, not his wife, daughter, guardian, lawyer, or physician. You are out of line lady.

This is hard enough without you, PT, making it sound worse.

All I can say is it is a very good thing I wasn't there to hear this first hand.

Friday, November 03, 2006

T.G.I.F. (again)

Thoughts while walking today....why do so many people think only of themselves? What a shame. My life has been so enriched by so many people, how could I not care about others? I've mentioned before about the "privileged", the line cutters, me, me, me folks. I read in Dear Abby, not long ago, about a mother who had the nerve to tell a neighbor to hand out *her* daughter's favorite candy for Halloween. Huh???? I'm sorry, I don't get it. Just think how much better things would be if everyone just put even *one* other person first for a day. Or just thought of someone besides themself for a moment.

Try to be thankful for who is around you, not how much more you can get.

So you know, those of you I invited to read my blog are thought of each day. Each of you.


WWW ....... world wide web - no. Wacky Work Week! Keys are coming in like crazy. Two sets local, two sets from San Francisco, one set from Florida (can I ship myself back with those?) Hey, the guy that forgot to include a return address with his keys finally noticed he had a piano with no keys and he called with an address LOL. It took 4 phone calls and 3 emails before the guys from SF CA settled on what they wanted!

The next reed organ will be arriving in a couple weeks. I'm looking forward to starting on that. Next week I hope to call the player piano customer who has been patiently waiting for me to get started on his piano. Busy, busy, busy.

Loads of tuning calls, too. I'm glad things have picked up. Not only holiday shopping coming up but RE taxes and PTG dues. I just spent nearly $400 on advertising by paying for my PTG Journal ad for the upcoming year and contributing to the Chamber of Commerce Christmas program. That gets me a listing in the holiday calendar. Yikes doubled!


I'm starting my Christmas shopping tomorrow. I like to have most of the big stuff done by Thanksgiving. I'm hoping to have my cards all written by then, too. Then, of course, there are the 105 Christmas cards to sign to give to newspaper customers. Like I said's about other people....


My dad got a good report from his eye surgeon. Everything is progressing as it should. He goes to his lung specialist in a few weeks and I imagine that he will send him for a CT scan. I hope that his cancer has not gotten much worse. This scan will probably indicate how fast (or slowly) the cancer is growing.