Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Almost Hate to Say It........

But, darn, today has been a good one! At the right is my first piano "job". It was the 1960's. This piano was in our finished cellar "playroom". We had a Baldwin Acrosonic upstairs in the livingroom that I took lessons on. My parents gave me permission to do what ever I wanted to this old upright. So..........voila'. It even had thumbtacks in the hammers for that honky-tonk effect.

About today...........let's see...........the Bridgeport reed organ is ready for polishing and I've ordered a special polish for that. OZ polish, the best! When I got home from walking/delivering this morning, there were 4 more messages on the machine (there were a pile yesterday, but more on that in a bit). Two of the messages will be jobs that I turn down and recommend someone else. Purely because they are too far away. One sounds like a player piano repair or rebuild, the other is tuning a player. Lynn and Boston. Then I got a message from a repeat tuning customer in Hamilton. She needs to schedule a tuning. The other call was from a Boston area tech that I just finished a keytop job for. He's sending another. YAY!!!!!! It was the first job I had done for him. Previously he had sent them elsewhere. Obviously, when I've got repeat customers, I can assume that my work is at least decent! But every once in a while, it's nice to be REassured. So, when this guy left a message that he thought my work was great and he was shipping more, it made me feel reeeeeeaaaaalllll good. I'm also working on a set of keys for a tech in TN. First time he has sent any to me.

Yesterday, the choral teacher from the high school called. She needs the Yamaha grand in the auditorium tuned THIS WEEK. BEFORE THURSDAY NIGHT! She wants another piano in a practice room tuned sometime soon. YAY! again. See here for more on the trials of getting the school piano "contract". Then a repeat tuning customer called to schedule a tuning next week. Then I scheduled a BIG repair job for Saturday. Seems I'll be very busy for the next couple of weeks.

Oh yes, I also got the lawyer's appointment scheduled. I called him again this Monday and my Mom and I go there on Friday afternoon. This is about the deed.

This past Sunday I went to Barnes & Noble. Sometimes I think that I would love to live there. Jayne had given me a gift card for my Christmas "bonus" and I had yet to get the opportunity to go browse. I bought a book called "The Birthday Party". A true story of when federal prosecutor, Stanley Alpert, was kidnapped off the streets of Manhattan. I've read a few chapters and it is a really good read! I sent Jayne a thank you note, today. I had bought some really pretty note cards over the last few months. The card I sent is "computer artwork" by a local artist, Thomas Philbrook. Check out the link. I think his photo/computer/art is fascinating.

I've got to say, it's been great to have such a positive start to the week.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Burgers and Fries

Well, gee, I really couldn't think of much news, yet I felt like writing *something* to start the week. So folks, here it is! We decided that it must be the only Art Deco, kosher, trilingual Burger King in existence. Yes, we ate there a lot. And at a local Denny's, as well. Even during the 80's, South Beach dining was expensive. We were going to head to Woody's on the Beach for a nightclub evening until we found out two things....they didn't open until 11 pm and the cover charge was $50/person. Guess they wanted to keep out the riff-raff like us! The club was owned by Ron Wood of Rolling Stones fame.

Anyway, I loved South Beach. If I had *piles* of spare cash, I would own a vacation condo there. Right on Ocean Drive.

Here it is. Part of Ocean Drive during the "restoration" period. Oh yeah, remember that I mentioned the possibility that one of my South Beach paintings had been used as a prop in CSI-Miami? Well, I've emailed them with the question and with pics of the possible paintings. Now I'll wait to see if I hear back. I just think it would be really nifty.

Must be the very cooooooold weather that we are having presently that got me to thinking of Miami Beach! You try delivering newspapers with a wind chill temp of -15.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

His Birthday

The picture on the left is my dad, Al, with his older brother, Tom. My dad was about 2 years old in this photo. I just love the little lace collars!

The photo on the right was taken nearly 15 years ago. Amazingly, he looks pretty much the same today! This photo was taken in the plotting room of the USS Alabama. My dad was Chief Fire Controlman and he is standing in front of the switches for the main battery (the big guns). Normally, to prevent tourists from disturbing and possibly damaging things, this control panel is behind locked mesh walls and doors. We asked one of the security men on board if he could open it up so that we could take a picture of my dad "where he worked".

The USS Alabama, BB-60, is presently located at Battleship Park, in Mobile AL. When my parents lived in Florida, they visited the ship each April for the annual crewman's reunion.
The USS Alabama, commissioned 16 August 1942, served with the Atlantic Fleet and with the British Home Fleet in the North Atlantic until mid 1943. The Alabama earned 9 battle stars in the Pacific. The Alabama was decommissioned on 9 January 1947. In July 1964 she was donated to the state of Alabama and now rests in her permanent berth at the head of Mobile Bay.

This photo was taken in Florida. After building the Minoan my folks owned another sailboat. They purchased it in Miami and sailed it to it's home port in Dunedin. This shows my dad at the helm, just off the coast from their home. Eventually this boat was sold and they purchased a traditionally styled "down east" lobster boat, outfitted for pleasure, called the Alibi.

Happy 85th Birthday, Dad

Friday, January 26, 2007

In the Mail

At the right you see a belated "Season's Greetings" card that came in the mail today. It is from Y, the customer with the Kawai reed organ that I rebuilt last fall. What an unexpected surprise. Here's what she wrote in the card:

Hi Debra, I wanted to say thanks earlier for your wonderful works and efforts for the rebirth of my old organ. It is really nice in our livingroom, I mean, the organ looks nice and sounds good (well?). It was wonderful to visit your parent's beautiful residence twice last year. We had a good time with you all. I was warmed by your Mom's kindness and smile. I thanked your Dad's patience and forgiveness. Please convey my highest regards to your parents. (I'm sure P___ agree with me). Sincerely, Y____

I thought it was really super for her to send this. A little explanation of the comment about her saying that she thanked my father's forgiveness...................
Y____ is Japanese and immigrated to the states when she married P___. In the den at my parent's house (where the organ was delivered and picked up), my dad has on display photos and medals from his service in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier Lexington, on which he was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea, and also stuff from his second ship the USS Alabama. So it was quite obvious that he fought in the Pacific campaign. Anyway, while they were here there was just a little general discussion about the ships. Didn't bother my folks at all that Y___ is Japanese. They were actually concerned that she didn't feel uncomfortable. Quite by accident my mom had put away the "Time" magazine special issue on V-J Day! Thankfully!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So What's Next?

I must start by saying, "how appropriate." Blogger was having server problems when I tried to log in earlier. I amused myself with a few games of Minesweeper while waiting - there was no new email.

So....I did get a few days of relative peace....my own stuff. It has, however, ended once again. My mom pulled a muscle in her neck, yesterday. So...it's call on me again. She tried taking some meds that she had for neck pain (from a year ago). They made her so loopy that she couldn't finish cooking the dinner she had started. I finished that for her and got them both served, then cleaned up. Stuffed down my own dinner that I had cooked at home and ran out the door to pick up Amanda from work. Then I had to get everything set for the night for them. So at about 10 I was filling the humidifier and moving it to the bedroom, getting my dad's O2 tube run under the hallway runner so no one will trip during the night, and then back to the humidifier because it had to be turned so that the little orange light that means it's on was facing away from them. I went to bed dreading checking on her in the morning.

So...morning comes along and my mom is up getting her own breakfast. I just watched for a few minutes and she seemed fine. Seems her neck hurts a lot more when she knows someone is around. Oh well. I'm not doubting that it hurts. She called her neurologist this morning and had to wait for a call back. I ran around like crazy to get newspapers delivered and a box of keys shipped. I would have to be driving my mom the hour round trip to the dr.'s if she got an appointment and I had promised the key delivery so I needed to be sure they got out. Also another tech would be arriving at 1:30 with more keys and Amanda had to be driven to work for 3. My day was a mess. Thank goodness, when the dr.'s office called, the soonest they could see her will be tomorrow, late morning! I worked until 8:30 tonight so that I don't get behind.


So...Hospice came to my folks place today. I didn't know that they were coming until the last minute. I tried to check in every once in a while between jobs. Everything seemed to be set. At last, I thought, something was going smoothly.

Until later when my mom starts asking *me* questions. What, she wants to know, if she can't care for my dad, if she *has* to put him in a nursing home? Then she started on all the "can'ts" again. So...I tell her I'll sit down and read the info - that they have already signed (of course). I did this and explained to her what's up. I haven't a clue if she really "gets" it.


Which brought up a whole other problem. Her continued nursing home comments got me to wondering...had they followed through on a previous recommendation to check their insurance policy coverage for extended care? I asked. And guess what? They had done nothing.

So...they are only covered for thirty days...which then got me wondering...if those thirty days *were* used and then exceeded...then what? Where's the money to pay? Would there be a lien placed on the house? I own 1/3rd and there's my mother's interest to be concerned about as well. Maybe some things need to be looked at...so I pulled out the deed.

Seemingly and evidently my parents misunderstood when they had the attorney make alterations to the deed. I was told that my name had been added as a co-owner. They insist that it has. It's not the way it reads to me. So, by my interpretation, as the deed is written, I own none of it until they both die.

Now, before you all jump on this and say, "yeah, so what? That's how it should be", realize this....I invested the money from the sale of my house in FL into this property building an addition for Amanda and me. I am also paying a monthly mortgage on that. And now, it seems, legally it's not mine, not even a portion. Just what I need, one more problem. I mentioned this to my mom and she doesn't want to have to deal with it...another "I can't". I brought it up with my dad. He says, "do whatever you think is best." Somehow I've got to find the time to set up an appointment with their/my lawyer. First of all I want to be sure that I am understanding the deed correctly. Secondly, if that is the case, then some changes have to be made. We have now agreed that the property should be in my name alone with the provision that they cannot be "forced" to move, etc. (Not that I would ever do that, but still it should be in writing). There is a legal term for that arrangement - I just can't think of it at the moment. In that way their investment, as well as mine, is being protected.


So...one more thing to do. I'm falling behind on everything. I lost two, possibly three, tuning jobs because I haven't a clue when I can reliably schedule anything for. I keep having to wait to make call backs to set up jobs to be sure it will work around everything and everybody here. I'm very discouraged. The wrap-up of my day is a big NOTHING..lost work and the possibility of lost money and no home.

I'm adding this part the following day to this post. The continuing saga.....the lawyer is away until the 29th. Amanda was up sick all last night, which of course meant I didn't get much sleep either. Got mom to her dr's app't this a.m. after getting up early to get the papers done early so that I had time to get her there. Doc gave her a script for Prednisone and says for her not to do anything. Oh boy.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

South Beach, Miami, FL What a switch from the freezing northeast! These paintings were hanging on the wall of my family room when I lived in Florida. I did them. (They are intentionally simplified color blocks rather than a realism approach.) Number one is the Park Central Hotel, number two is the Plymouth Hotel, and number three is the Winterhaven Hotel. I did another painting that shows a long stretch of the Art Deco hotels along Ocean Drive. Doc and I stayed at the Park Central when we visited South Beach in either 1985 or 6. I can't remember. I do remember that it was in the beginning of May and it was the weekend that the finale of Miami Vice was airing! When I moved from FL to MA I knew that I would be living in far smaller quarters so I sold piles of stuff. I sold the paintings. They were rather large and would have looked a bit out of place in the New England setting. Sometime during the period between Fall 2002 and Fall 2005, I think I saw one of these paintings again! I was watching a tv show called CSI-Miami (told you I missed FL) and I'm pretty sure that either painting one or three was on the wall of a hotel room in one of the scenes on the show. At the time, I could have told you which painting it was (I think it was one). Anyway, it was so fast that it was one of those "did I really see that" moments. I may have to invest in DVD's of the show to find out - or I suppose an email with the photos above might work!


Carole and Ed came to visit today. I rushed around all morning getting some key work done, cleaning the house, running a couple errands. Yes, I skipped church. We had a nice visit. Ed used to be Chief of Surgery at Mass Eye and Ear. Carole has been a family friend almost forever.


Tomorrow I head to Dover once more. I'm buying some more tools and picking up one that I've purchased as a gift for someone. I'll be getting there in the afternoon and the ship model people will be there, too. They are doing a final walk through of the shop prior to the semi trailer arriving Tuesday morning to load up all the inventory. That will be a huge job.


Tuesday I'll be shipping out the keys that I'm rebushing and I have to meet Joe the piano tech when he delivers some for new keytops. The Bridgeport reed organ is nearly finished. I have a few little adjustments to make and then the case will get a good cleaning and polishing. In a couple weeks there will be another arriving!


Wednesday, Amanda has the day off from Stop & Shop so I'm hoping we can go furniture shopping. I'll have to have the new keytops glued by sometime today on Joe's keys so that I can do the machining on them tomorrow.


Thursday I hope will be a totally shopwork day. I want to finish Joe's keys so that I can ship them in the afternoon and I'd like to finish the reed organ.


Wow, another week almost filled up!

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Thought I'd do something a bit different by including a photo with each post (mostly) and a description. Then get on with newsy stuff. This bulletin board was from when Amanda was in elementary school. Yes, I just went through my photo box! I was in charge of the "Citizen of the Month" program and also all the main hallway bulletin boards as the artist in residence. Anyway, with our cold weather this week, I thought the subject matter appropriate. The iceberg and the ice on the moon were done with iridescent cellophane. It doesn't show up in the photo.


It was on the news the other day that 51% of adult American women are single. First time.


For those that don't know Rockport. We have a horn system. I don't know how long we have had it. It announces locations of fire alarms for our volunteer fire department, ambulance calls, and noon time. Also, school cancellations. We really don't need it anymore as all the needed emergency people have radios. We're just a nosy community. Noontime is 2 blasts, ambulance is 3. We have actual fire alarm boxes that can activate the system or when someone phones in a fire it's called an imaginary box. This code list is published in the phone book so that when the horn sounds we can all figure out where there is trouble. If you have a police scanner (most do) you can get *all* the details as they happen.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sweet Comfort

This stuff is dangerous! I can blame my taste for it on my grandpa Jennings. Over the years it has been difficult to find and for many years I could find no store that carried it. When we moved to Dunedin the local "Scottish" store carried it in the familiar green tins that I had come to love! Well, no longer in tins, but here it is.............
I learned to enjoy it on bread or toast. This stuff is 100% pure cane syrup. Talk about a sugar high. Thank goodness a little goes a long way and that after finishing off a tin (or now a bottle) the desire for more goes away for quite awhile. Otherwise I would be enormous because, guess what, Amanda found this at Stop & Shop.

I've eaten about half a bottle's worth this week. I need a few days off as it is *very* sweet. Yummy when you feel like being bad.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

That's It (short gripe)

My mom has been asked to check Arnold's answering machine for messages (he's still away in NYC). She doesn't know how, so I must go with her to figure it out. I should have known better.

I took Amanda to work and stopped for gas on the way home. The station was all out of gas. Bad sign. I stopped to pick up my mom. I told her we would have to go get gas in Gloucester. Get to the gas station and the window on my truck is frozen shut. I deal with it. Open the door, freeze, tell them what I need, close door. Open door, pay, close door. Pull out and try window again...it opens...oooooooookay.

Head for Arnold's house and mom wants to go the longer "scenic" route. Gee thanks but ooooooookay. It had actually snowed on that road at some point. Weird.

Got to Arnold's, picked all the mail up off the floor and sorted it to find some mail that should have gone to the neighbor's. Left that on the door for the mailperson to find tomorrow. Guess what? No messages on the machine because it wasn't even turned on. Another bad sign.

Soooooo.........get in the truck to head back home and mom says, "oh, by the way, could you drive me to the grocery store? I need milk and bread." Here we go. Okay, sure, fine, after all I have nothing else to do, right?

I take her to the store. She'll just be a minute she says. People park and go in, people come out and leave.....no mom. Where the --is she and what the --is taking her so long to get milk and bread? Finally she comes out with two bags of groceries! She thought she'd pick up some other stuff while she was there. I was freezing and anxious to get home. Not to mention seething.
That's it....tomorrow she can do her own errands.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Enough Already!

People prone to perpetual perkiness may prefer to pass on perusing this post.

Yeah, so sometimes I waste a lot of time thinking up drivvle.

It is too !#$%%#! cold today. And it promises to be !#$%%#! colder tomorrow. I've had enough. Woke today to a North Atlantic sky. Nasty looking. It had rained lightly during the night and had frozen on contact. The streets were clear because they had been heavily salted. The ground felt delicate as you stepped on it. Not quite frozen yet with moisture trapped from the previous warmth and rain. Eggshell-y. The really nifty thing could be seen on rooftops. The shingles were coated with ice and looked like they had been sprayed with high-gloss polyurethane. Amanda hadn't noticed it and when I showed her, even she thought it was neat. It's hard to please her with anything that has to do with cold weather. So, all in all, I'm not happy with having to live with this cold weather, either. All it seems to do is remind me of how much I miss sunshine, palm trees, humidity, turquoise water, warmth, and yes, even sweating!


I apologize for the fact that I took great pleasure in NOT delivering to two customers that owed for over a month. Canceled for non-payment. Ha, take that, no news for you to read today.


I *have* established that it was too cold today....I walked on deliveries for 4.5 miles. It felt good to get home and in to warmth. I had no sooner entered than my mom came over to ask, "Are you going out again?" (insert your own nasty thoughts)


"I need a couple prescriptions filled and some hand lotion."

Okay, I'm trying very hard not to get angry. My mom is stretching her cold into week two. All that is left is an occasional cough. I have been out doing errands for her for the past 5 out of 6 days. 5 times to the supermarket, 3 times to the pharmacy, 2 times to the library. I ask that she call in the 'script refills so that I can make one trip to pick them up when I drive Amanda to work, rather than either having to wait for them or make two trips. I've got piano work to get done. ("CT" has dropped off another set of keys, the reed organ needs to make progress towards completion as another is waiting to come in....). BTW, I'm waiting for glue to dry as I write this, so don't be wondering! AND I'M TIRED.

I went to the cellar to work for awhile.

A little before the time I would be driving Amanda to work, I asked my mom if the 'scripts were called in. She'd gone out herself to get them. YAY. She said she tried calling them in and it was an automated system. She got mad and decided it was easier to drive there. She's attempting to do the guilt thing about how very ill she is and I made her go out on her errands. The key word is attempting. I'm too irritated to feel guilty!


Got a call from a tech that I had done some keytops for last week. Says don't use the check he sent.....it'll bounce. Thanks, I've already deposited the check. Which brings to mind....I haven't gotten my bank statements yet this month. They usually arrive by the 7th........which brings to mind......I haven't gotten my IRS booklets and forms. Amanda got her state booklet with the forms, not me. And no federal stuff yet.


A thought because of a typo I made (and corrected so don't look) in the last bit. If you can say: I've. Why can't you say: I'ven't? I may use it in the future anyway.


They raised the minimum wage in MA. It's now $7.50/hour. Amanda has been working at Stop & Shop for 3 years. She started at minimum wage and has repeatedly received raises over the years. Her raises are now ignored as her hourly rate is increased to the minimum wage. So much for being there for 3 years. She now earns the same as a newly hired employee. There is something wrong about that.


Well, to end on a better note. When I look to the northwest, I see blue sky. It doesn't seem to want to make it here today and it hurts my face to look into the gusty winds out of the northwest for too long, but eventually we'll see the sun. I know tomorrow will be brutish weather. Wind gusts over 30mph and temps around 20 degrees - horrors. At least we are half way through January!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Just for Fun

Uh Huh.........

A friend mentioned getting together for fun. She thought I could use some. It got me thinking. Not only about what I consider to be fun, but when was the last time that I did stuff that others would consider fun.

So, I guess the easiest is to think about what I have done that others would consider fun.

  1. I splurged and went to the Piano Technician's Guild Convention and Seminar last June. Although it was work to get everything set for going, and although I attended classes while there, it *was* fun. I got to see friends that I hadn't seen in years. I met a lot of new friends including some that I "met" online. I got to eat out *every* meal!
  2. I go shopping every once in a while for stuff that I just want, but don't really need.
  3. Meeting friends out for a meal. Arranged or not.
And now for a few more things that I consider fun.
  1. Keeping up with some blog friend's lives. I enjoy reading what they are up to. These are three people that I have never met offline.
  2. I enjoy reading email from some friends that I know offline but never have opportunity to meet up with. It's fun to hear their news.
  3. Sometimes my work is fun. I enjoy my work. It's fun when I get to do something totally new and challenging.
Okay, so off the top of my head, there's my fun. I did forget to mention the occasional movie...very occasional.

Hmmmmm......I guess the list *is* rather slim.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Long Week

It seems like it has taken forever to get to Friday, this week. Almost so long that I can't remember what Monday or Tuesday were like. I do remember that it rained a little on Monday. It's a trend lately. It's supposed to rain/ice/snow this coming Monday as well. Let's see...Tuesday we made a trip to the mall. I bought a carry case for my new laptop, Amanda bought a DVD and a CD and my Mom bought some ribbon. Oh yeah, I got a cute little piano thingy. It's a little picture frame made to look like a black upright piano.

Wednesday I shipped out two sets of finished keys and it was the day that I took both computers to Bill at Affordable Computer Consultants.

He is a fantastic guy that took LOADS of time explaining things to me, making suggestions, and let me hang out until he was through with the laptop so that I could bring it home to use while the desktop stayed for a couple days. It was a long evening and when I got home I heard about my delay in getting home. Gee, I couldn't believe it! I am an adult and getting "in trouble" for being out for a couple hours does not set well with me. I was home by 8:30. Then I heard about how "if anything happened to Dad......." Come on, I have my cell phone on when I'm away for more than an hour. They knew I was only five minutes from home! I appreciate the fact that they were worried, but this is a bit too much. If my home were not attached to theirs, they wouldn't have even known I was out.

I need a break before I scream!

Thursday morning comes along and my mother has a bad cold. Oh boy, this is trouble. Yes, it is a very bad cold, but really, it isn't fatal. From the whining and complaining and inability to do much of anything.............so, I run errands. I had a tuning job in the afternoon after driving Amanda to work so I had to rush around to get Mom's errands done first. After the tuning job I had to go to the library for Dad. A quick dinner, some key work, and then off to pick up Amanda and some grocery shopping.

Friday rolls around and Mom is still sick. So it's off to the pharmacy, then delivering newspapers, a trip to the dump with the weeks trash, the bank, lunch, post office, ship off more finished keys, the newspaper office, grocery store again, and then home. I called Bill and he said my computer was ready to pick up. I warned everyone in the extended household that I was going out to pick up my computer and that I would be home .......sometime! Anyway, Bill was great and true to the company name - affordable! I have my desktop back and will get it set up again tomorrow morning. I'm just too tired tonight.


Some other stuff.

Yesterday, a tech that I know from Tampa was in Boston. His son was auditioning at Berkeley School of Music. I wish that I had had time to meet up with them. Maybe if his son does go to Berkeley, we'll get chance to visit on occasion.

Amanda and I were going to spend the afternoon on a furniture hunt. She needs a "unit" for her room. Preferably something that is a cabinet below, space for tv, and then shelves above. We were going to head for Gallaghers in Salisbury, MA. I thought we would look for an unfinished furniture piece and do the finish ourselves. It's better for color matching to her existing furniture and also saves a bit of money. I guess we'll have to schedule that trip for another day. It takes about an hour to get there.

I did get a note written to Derald and Nick. They should get it next week. I found a really nice card that was a repro of an oil painting of Motif #1 at night, in the winter. I gave them this blog address, so maybe they will read and make some comments eventually.

This weekend I'll be getting back to work on the reed organ. With three sets of keys in this week, and all the other stuff, it has sort of been bypassed.

The weatherman says Monday is going to be nasty. I hope not. Next week, though, we're supposed to have temps in the 20's for highs. Yuck and more yuck. Maybe it will only last for one week and then we'll be back to our mild winter.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Half Back

This is mostly just a test. I've got my "new to me" laptop in use while the BIG computer has been left for a couple updates. Thank you so much Jayne. I'm thrilled to have this as a back up now! This is a bit slower going and I've also a bit of a learning curve. I'm getting better though! So, for now, I'll only be checking email a couple times a day. Probably early morning and then late evening. Hope all keeps working well with this. Hey, then I'll be able to cancel my computer hour at the library that I reserved just in case.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Treat in the Mail

Wow, what a great surprise in my mailbox today. My real mailbox...out in front of the house...the one that gets all the bills put in it :-(...you know...it has a door on the front...and a red flag that we never use. We don't use the flag because for some bizarre reason we are afraid that our outgoing mail will be misplaced, dropped, or eaten by the mail carrier.

Okay, not eaten. But the other stuff is distinctly possible. Anyway, we drive (or walk) to the post office with our outgoing mail. That's what the red flag is for - to let the mail carrier know that there is outgoing mail to be picked up.

Oh yeah, the surprise.

Derald and Nick sent me a Christmas card and letter. Yes, they are a bit late with their cards this year. According to the letter, they have been verrrrry busy. D and N were piano tuning customers of mine in Florida. They have a beautiful Victorian style home that they have been renovating FOREVER! Anyway, we don't really keep in touch that much. Just an after the holidays card, letter, or note. The first year that I was away from "home" (FL), having moved back to MA, they sent me a Statue of Liberty glass Christmas tree ornament *and* a beautiful beaded box, from Saks Fifth Avenue, depicting the Statue of Liberty. Talk about special customers. In the card, this year, they said "we miss seeing you". I miss them, too. It was always such a special treat to go to their house, even though it was for work. Super nice guys that always made me feel like part of their extended family. Usually I was there to tune the piano for a special party that they were having. Even though I never managed to attend - they always invited me to join in the fun. This year they said they had over 200 people for their annual Halloween Open House. At Christmas, every room in the house was decorated stunningly. Most rooms had their own tree. Derald would always be baking loads of goodies!

While I am computerless at the end of this week, I'm going to write them a nice letter.

I really hope I get back to Florida soon to see all of my friends.

Once Again!

I have proven that I give people too much credit!

So, yes, it is in the local paper that tech ABC has been evicted from his building! Court ordered for failure to pay his lease. Over $11,000 due in back payment. Place is locked up and he and his sub-leasees locked out. Phooey. I'm not happy.


That was front page........page two........Rockport news.
BIG article on email scams. Glad it's in there don't get me wrong. But........what took them sooooo long! Over six months ago I created hand-outs for the police department (they were also made available at the library) on how to recognize online scams and phishing. I encouraged the police department to make a little note in the local paper about the availability of the hand-outs. Nothing. I had also written to the GDTimes about the upswing in email scams and made reference to WHOA as an information and aid resource. I sent this to the "Letters to the Editor" page. It was timely as they had had several reports about victims of email scam. Nada.

Now they've got this big report like this is something new! Come on folks! Where have you been? You go online and you've invited the WORLD to Cape Ann. Certainly they can't think that this is recent stuff.

I have very mixed feelings...it was a pretty good article. I'm glad it's in the paper. But I feel like I beat my head against a wall continually. Maybe I'll try another "letter" in response.


FYI, my computer(s) will be hospitalized briefly for a couple minor procedures. I will be "off" from late Wednesday of this week until ??? Hopefully just a day or so. I'll post here as soon as they're back home!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Three R's

Rumors Running Rampant

I just don't get it. Why is "Complaining Tech" so intent on spreading rumors about tech ABC. I really don't care if any of it is true. Today, it was done under the guise of "thinking of you". Yep, the tech who has no problems with mistakenly complaining about my work and whose "partner" bailed on a job owing me some significant money (I no longer care to pursue the cash or the job I'm that irritated and disgusted with him). All of a sudden they are concerned that I may have "stuff" that is now behind "lock and key" at tech ABC's shop. Seems there are BIG problems - supposedly.

Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about it. My fascination is in the whys that make "Complaining Tech" driven to spread the rumors. For a few moments I even considered consulting the PTG about his practice. But, that's just not me. Can't do it. I don't want to cause any waves and quite honestly I think "Complaining Tech" is doing a good enough job on his own....doing in himself and losing business due to his attitude. Higher ground will be the best approach for me!

Another thing...this is a small town and a small island (okay we have two bridges to the mainland). I truly believe that the local newspaper would have picked up on the type of story that was told to me. It would be scandalous, trust me.

So, my conclusion. It is "Complaining Tech" that has business problems. They are of his own making. Throwing words about concerning tech ABC is "CT's" warped way he thinks he can get more business. Shoot down the competition seems to be his mode. Let me say this.............

It doesn't work.

I will also say, at this point, I have not heard these rumors from anyone else in the community.

Are the rumors true? Could be, maybe. Maybe some part in truth. It would be a shame. Really, truly, and sincerely, competition is good for business. There are enough pianos to go around. There is no need to be unscrupulous or to step on toes. And I like tech ABC. He seems to be an okay guy. Disclaimer...I'm sometimes give people too much credit. I'll put it this way, he's always been up front and honest with me. He's been pleasant and helpful. He always has paid me, on time, for any sub contract work that I have done for him. The only bad words I have heard about him are from "CT".

It just makes me uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of these RRRs.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

First Week Flashback

Wow, It's hard for me to believe that I'm still in the first week of the new year. Seems that Jan 1st should have been ages ago.

I expected a bit of a slowdown for this first week as far as business. Not so. Five sets of keys in, 3 tuning calls. Never been like that before (I checked). No complaints except I have been feeling like, well, crap most of the time. (sorry) Not fair.

Remember that I started out on Monday with a non-hangover. Well, much to my relief I felt pretty good on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was a bit questionable with sniffles, but by midday I was back to feeling normal. Friday morning was fine (more on that in a bit) then later in the day once again felt lousy, sniffles, just blah. This was not good as I had a lot of work to do and a very busy day on Saturday. I think I am blaming it on the weather. For the end of Dec and the first week of Jan, in New England, it has been MARVELOUS. Hey folks, it was 72 degrees today - Jan 6 - yippee! Unfortunately this has caused an increase in the mold spore count :-( Not good for my allergies. Only got 3 dismal hours of sleep on Fri night due to a sinus headache. I spent most of the night with the heating pad on either my forehead or the back of my neck. This was not good.


Friday morning at 7:15, I met up with Betty and Ted for breakfast at Flavs. I have a $20 gift certificate to use. It was a Christmas tip from I and K. It was sooooo good to see Betty and Ted again! We dallied for an hour and a half catching up on each other's news. Mostly they wanted to know what was happening with *the* problem person (R). Thankfully, I could tell them that it had been mostly resolved. They told me about their Christmas, Ted's subway adventures, and Betty's memoir writing class. Hopefully we'll be getting together again soon. We'd like to get back in the habit of meeting at least every other week.


So Saturday....today still! My, it's been a long one! Started out in the wee hours with lack of sleep. Got up at 5:20 and dressed to deliver the newspapers. They have to be "assembled" on Saturdays and delivered before 9 a.m. Amanda and I were set to go by 6 a.m. I still had the headache and felt sort of spacey (probably due to the variety of meds I was taking to try to get something to work). I needed to get everything done, get back, showered, changed, have breakfast and head out the door to Dover, NH by 9 a.m. I had a 10:30 "appointment".


I was on a buying trip. And seeing a good friend. J is selling the workshop tools, machinery, and supplies from her husband and father-in-law's business. We had also agreed (last fall) that I was buying a laptop from her. This was the first opportunity to get together on any of it. The drive was pretty uneventful with only getting cut-off by two maniacs at the same time (or nearly). They both decided to go right at a fork in the highway from the far left lane. I was going left in the lane just inside of them. Really. At 65MPH. 6 lanes. 2 left to turn left, 2 center for straight, and 2 right to exit right. Even with that surprise I managed to get rid of my headache on the drive. I had some ragtime music playing and since I95 is a nice straight run for many miles, I just got in the lane I wanted and worked on relaxing (but not falling asleep)! Amid a downpour of rain, I arrived in Dover.

This trip I had to find J's mother-in-law's house. That was as easy as I had anticipated. Mom2 (as J refers to her) was delightful. She has a "new to her" 7 year old Jack Russell Terrier who is EXTREMELY protective of her. It's so cute.

I must say that I have never seen a workshop like this one. Absolutely unbelievably stocked. FP your jaw would have dropped. I'm serious. If only I had the resources ($$) to buy everything that I wanted! J has made arrangements on all the supplies, but not the equipment. There are some VERY nice tools. Everywhere I looked I saw more and more. Those of you that I know personally and that either see me or have my email....if you want to know more, get in touch with me. I've told J that I will let some people know what is available.

So, I bought the mini table saw that J and I had discussed. I bought a couple other things too. And now, too, I've got to figure out the laptop and how to work it in combo with my desktop. I need a tutor! J has a way of challenging me. She unintentionally pushes me just out of my comfort zone. It's good for me.

On my way home I stopped by Pine Hill Cemetery to visit the graves of J's husband and father-in-law. I hadn't been up that way since her husband's funeral. Mom2 lives just a couple blocks away. The headstone is now there and it is really quite suitable. I stopped to "talk" to C and W for a bit to tell them how wonderful J was. Especially how she's looking after Mom2. I looked for some others that I know are nearby at Pine Hill but couldn't find the right spot. There were no "street" signs/names anywhere and I couldn't find the right location. I'll try again on another trip.


Well, counting the sleepless hours of last night, I have now been awake (or at least semi-conscious!) for over 19 hours. I'm exhausted. If there are typos in this post.....too bad. I'm done and done in! Good night.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Think

What do you think?

I think that cabinet doors should be shut after you're done getting out what you need. Drawers, too.

I think if you borrow something it should be returned.

I think if you have to borrow something without asking, it should be returned promptly, before the owner needs it, and to the same place as you got it.

I think everyone should pick up after themselves.

I think when you run out of room for things, you have too much.

I think kids should be taught to take care of their things. Why are bicycles and scooters left out in the rain and snow?

I think it should go a step further and toilet *lids* should be put down.

I think there is a black hole in the floor of my workshop.

I think for one week, with no warning, everyone should be required to live on a barter system. No cash, checks, or credit.

I think everyone should know how to count back change.

And now....

I think I'll quit.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sloshed into the New Year

Rain, folks, the rain!

So...it's now 2007. What does that number bring to mind? It could have been my 30th wedding anniversary this year. Well, I did make it halfway with 15.


Had fun last night, New Year's Eve, at the celebration in town. Missed having J join me, but maybe next year. Volunteered and got my "button" to add to my collection. I got to see and hear the Bullock Brothers, The Bells of Harvey Park (our own super handbell ringers), and a really good folk duo, Tamarac. I always like the Bullock Bros and George Sr. has written a book that I'm going to try to get. He forgot to bring copies to sell (tsk, tsk). Tamarac was a pleasant surprise. Their second set had alot more umph to it than the first and I really enjoyed it. They performed some original songs and Dylan, Kingston Trio, Baez, John Denver, and Beatles numbers.

Other than a quick drive to pick Amanda up from work, I hung out at one location. Over the years I have seen alot of the other performers, so staying at the church (where I volunteered) for the ones performing there gave me a chance to see some I wanted repeats of and then the new experience of Tamarac. Others from past years that I have enjoyed: Tony Hilliard (folk and Irish songs), 60's Invasion, Senior Class (barbershop quartet), the Cape Ann Jazz Band, and Volume II (steel drum band).

Next year I'll probably be advertising in the "official" booklet/program that is given out.


I could not get to sleep last night for the longest time. My sinuses were acting up and then I got a "tickle" in my throat. I was still cold from being out. I finally gave up, got out from under the covers, and took some Advil and got some citrus lozenges. That did the trick and I finally got to sleep around 2 am. Didn't wake up until 8 in the morning which is late for me. Felt like crap but I got up anyway. I guess not being able to get warmed up made me tense up my neck and shoulders while I was sleeping. ACHE! My sinuses were still bad and I had a headache. A hangover without the alcohol. I felt cheated! Top it all off with newspapers to deliver. In the cold and pouring rain.....

Yuck, I got soaked. After the first route I changed my jeans. They were so wet I had to peel them off turning them inside out as I went. My legs were so cold and wet it hurt to do it. Of course there was no way to wear gloves, so my hands were like ice, also. Changed socks and shoes, too, and off to do the second route. By the time that was done, my hands were done. I could hardly get the newsapers out of the bag without getting tangled up in plastic bags. My hands were wet, freezing cold, hurt, stuck and scraped on everything and just plain refused to work right. I was sooooo glad to get finished. I got home, threw in a load of laundry, had some lunch, then crawled back in bed to try to get warm again. It was mid afternoon before I felt near human. Still had the headache and a bit yucky.

So, why do I deliver papers? Why not just the piano business? Sometimes, on days like this, I wonder.

It gets me out. I meet lots of nice people. I get paid (a little) to exercise. I GET TIME TO MYSELF. Yes, I would rather not do it on days like today. I could give it up, although I do like the extra money for fun stuff. I could say I'll exercise anyway. I can go for walks without delivering newspapers....but....would I? Certainly not as much as this requires (4.5 miles, 6 days a week). And, I know, that over time those walks would get less and less, and the time filled with more errands and work. So, for now, I'll put up with days like this because mostly the weather is okay and I know that I would miss my walks if I changed the routine.


And for the rest of the story. I finished the keys for *that* piano tech on Sunday afternoon. So, I thought, I'll just call his shop and leave a message that they are finished. No one will be there on Sunday late afternoon, New Year's Eve, right? Wrong. His son answers, tech is not there but he will give him the message. Okay, I say. So, I wolf down an english muffin and call it dinner. I need to get ready to head down to town. Literally, folks, I was in the bathroom, undies only, in the midst of changing, when I heard my mom yelling from their house that *that* tech was at their door. He KNOWS I live at the other end of the building. My own place, my own door, my own driveway. What a pain. I'm yelling to her to just hold on...she can't hear me....I'm trying to throw on any clothes that I can get to quickly enough. I head for their house to meet him. He pays, asks some questions about the *problem* bushings (see my Not Gloating post about this). Yes, I told him about the incompetent previous mutilation of a keybushing job ;-) He starts in with "he hopes it's not something that ABC tuner did". "Did I know that ABC tuner has 3 lawsuits against him and is in real bad shape?" And on and on. Give me a break and shut up and grow up. This guy has a lot of unwarranted gripes with the other tech. You know, I may rant a bit and voice a few gripes here, but I do not badmouth like that, within knowns, professionally. Honestly, although I just don't think it's right, it's also in violation of the PTG Code of Ethics.


Betty called tonight. We were going to meet for breakfast at Flavs on Tuesday morning. We both forgot that they were closing (except Fri and weekends) for the next two months. We're aiming for Friday instead. She's going to call the night before to confirm. Ted wants to join us, too. We haven't had breakfast together since last year this time. Betty says they miss me. I miss them. We used to see each other two mornings a week for breakfast. After Flavs "reopened" in March, we were out of the habit of meeting there.


Sometime soon I'll be getting together with Jayne. I'm buying a couple things from her. A laptop which will be real good because I can show my dad stuff on the computer. He can't get up the stairs to where my desktop is located. I really wanted to show him some things that Jayne and LB had sent and I had no way. Then Ferd sent that really neat Christmas "performance" and again my dad couldn't enjoy it. Plus a laptop will be good for back up. I'm also buying a miniature table saw, similar to one I have for my key work. Excellent back up, again. It may become my primary, with my older one reserved for back up.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to meeting up with Jayne again.

Off to a new year. Starting with a non-hangover. Can or should I read anything into this?