Thursday, July 31, 2008

Picture Puzzle

Got an email today in my blog emailbox. It reminded me of something from a couple years back. Here's a picture.Do you know what it is? Totally correct answer wins.........
my admiration.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hurry Up August

I'm ready to be rid of July.

July has been a month of extremes and I'm too tired for extremes.

As you may recall, I was swamped with work at the beginning of the month. A good thing but more equal timing would make me much happier. Nevertheless, paying work is always welcome!

I've installed three of the six replacement windows. I've had some words for each of the installations. Most of the poor language has been due to the fact that the guy that measured for the new windows did not leave enough 'wiggle room' in his top to bottom measurement. This has made for major headaches in fitting them.

Then there was the craft fair date change. No more to be said about that.

The same day as I found out about the above date change and had words with the organizer (seems to be a poor noun choice, oh well), I had asked a fellow employee at Tuck's if he would like to work my Sunday hours this week. (Today to be exact) He agreed. I was ecstatic. I was invited to attend a cookout and sing-a-long on Thacher Island. I was actually going to have a day of fun! Yippeeeeeeeeeeee!

You just know that can't last, right?

So, this morning I got everything together in a carry bag for my trip to the island. This WAS going to be a good time. The sing-a-long was to be accompanied by THE reed organ. I might have the chance to ride out to the island on the Ocean Reporter, a real workhorse of a boat for marine salvage, diving, and other heavy duty water work. Every girl's dream, right? (Told you I'm a bit different). Just after 11 a.m., my mom drove me down to T-Wharf. I knew better than to expect a parking space in town on a Sunday. There was a space! Mom parked and we got out, looking around for a familiar face. No one was around except BL and BS loading a mushroom mooring down to a work boat. Why wasn't BL on the Ocean Reporter? Maybe he wasn't going to help ferry the attendees after all. We wandered over to the yacht club to see if anyone was waiting around there. We got some glares as we walked through the club to the front porch. (We're no longer members, you see) One of the guys that had told me about the cookout and had sort of invited me was sitting on the porch. I asked when they would be starting out to the island.

Canceled. Nobody had let me know. Three different folks had known that I was planning on the trip. Not a word from any. Pfft.

Day off, half wasted. I went home and did chores.

Only four more days to survive this month.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


or......the end of paying with frustration for a bit of fun.

The Old Firehouse Craft Fairs are expensive for table rental. Higher than most other fairs around. The reasons I haven't minded are because it's right here in town and it's indoors. No worries about inclement weather.

On the very negative side. Not only is it expensive to rent a table, it is one of the most poorly publicized events that I have ever seen/participated in/whatever. Most of the townies don't even know it exists, never mind any tourists. Any customers exist purely by accidental wandering in as they 'tour' all the shops in town.

As I said in the title of this post - incompetence.

And now....

I was reading the little 'agenda' section of the paper when I noticed the usual tiny mention of the crafts fair. The next is scheduled for August 2. I won't be there as I have been frantically working on more necklaces, some with autumn themes and some for Christmas/winter. They won't be dry in time. I was astonished when the newspaper said that the following fair would be on August 31. That's a Sunday rather than a Saturday. The problem is that we were all given a schedule of the fair dates and that schedule lists August 30, the Saturday. Must be a typo in the newspaper, I thought. So I called the woman (above blog title applicable) who is in charge.

And I was told...

I changed the date because I decided to rent out the place to someone else for the 30th.

Yes, I'm furious and I told her so. She had a prior commitment for usage IN PRINT. No notification of the change. NOTHING. I can't just switch to Sunday. I work that day. I will not give up a day's pay and pay for an exorbitantly overpriced table rental. I'll never make THAT much at an UNADVERTISED NON-PROMOTED craft fair.

Suppose I had personally rented that facility for a function, would she then 'go with a better offer' and merely say sorry to me and offer to refund my deposit? I can think of many, many words that I cannot put in print to describe what I think of the situation.

So, the next definite opportunity that I have to sell at that fair in Rockport will be Oct 11. Assuming she doesn't change that at her whim.

I may just say "to !##! with it and her", save my rental fees of $50 per fair and use the money for the big three day, indoor event in Essex next spring.

Yes, I am fuming - big time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Being Different

Just like this Hydrangea I am usually juggling multiples. I have to have many different types of things going on at once. And frankly, I enjoy being a bit different and having a variety of interests. As a point of fact, this plant is supposed to have deep, rusty rose blooms. Until this year, it did. Now it's pink, purple, blue, and a very pale rose.

Anyway, my point...Dickiebo did a 'what your taste in music says about you' questionaire and posted his results. Annette then did the same and got the same results as Dickiebo. So....I gave it a go.

And of course, came up with a different result:

Your musical tastes are reflective and complex. You are intellectual to the point of being cerebral. You are very open to new experiences, and even more open to new ideas and theories. Wisdom and personal accomplishment are important to you. You are naturally sophisticated. You are drawn to art, especially art by independent artists. You are likely to be financially well off... and not because you were born that way.

It was doing okay until the finances comment. Oh well maybe there's hope!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

On a Roll

As seen in the Gloucester Times, July 19, 2008.Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Pod Promise

Technically it is known as the fruit from a Bunya-Bunya, or Monkey Puzzle tree. Dickiebo mentioned these on his blog. The fruit is a very, heavy, solid cone. They make quite a thud when hitting the ground or roof.

Anyway, in a comment on dickiebo's blog, I promised to post this picture. (I may have posted it a year ago or so. Haven't checked)
There you have it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Things Have a Way of Catching Up

It's been a whirlwind of a few weeks. Far too much going on. In case you haven't been keeping up I'll summarize. Eleven sets of keys, total, within about ten days. Add to that the two days per week at Tuck's, and a craft fair. Then Mom decided it was time to look for a new car. Before she went for her next cataract surgery, that is. Oh yeah, can't forget about mowing the lawn and hauling the trash to the dump. Still waiting are the six replacement windows that I agreed to install.

I'm not doing the next craft fair. I'm waiting until the one scheduled for August 30, Labor Day weekend. Quite frankly, I haven't had enough time to create more stuff to sell. I did start on more necklaces last night.

Just so you know...the last of the sets of keys were shipped today. To the lady from the previous post. Yes, she finally got the 'balance due' check to me.


So, why is buying a new car soooooo difficult? My mom had decided that she wanted either a silver Subaru Forrester or her second choice, a silver Toyota Rav4. Silver because neither the dirt, dust, and pollen nor the winter road salt show up too badly. Last Tuesday afternoon we started at the closest Subaru dealer. The salesman was quite nice but they didn't have any 2008 Forresters left other than one in bright blue. 'Twas ugly. The design changes in the 2009's made them very uncomfortable for both Mom and me. Even with the driver's seat in it's highest position, we could barely see above the dashboard. The salesman called his manager over. He was an extremely demeaning individual. He had nothing nice to say to us. Didn't even make an attempt. Among his many comments, "No one else has complained about the seat height in the new Forrester," he said.

Humph. Won't buy a car there.

We continued to the Toyota dealer down the road a bit. Since the Subaru dealer had tied us up for over two hours, we tried to limit our time at Toyota. That was tough. All we wanted to do was sit in a Rav4 to see if the visibility/seat height was good. Two and a half hours later we made our escape! We got home just in time to pick up Amanda from work. This gave me just enough time to look in the workshop to see how much I still had left to do.

The next morning I got up at 6 am and started to work. My midday was taken up with tuning jobs. Back home for dinner and then back to work until 10 pm.

Thursday it was back to car shopping. This time we headed further from home to the Subaru dealer in Wakefield. In the record time of two and a half hours, he managed to find my mother a silver, 2008 Forrester at another dealership over two hours away. That dealership wouldn't trade the car for anything the Wakefield dealership had on his lot. On the plus side, they were the nicest bunch of salesmen and managers we have met in our quest. Since I wasn't about to drive down to the 'other' cape to car shop, we left there and made a one hour drive north to Skip's for a very late lunch (or early dinner). The next dealership was only 15 minutes from there, in Haverhill.

The Haverhill dealer sold Toyotas and we looked at a silver Rav4 that he had on the lot. My mom was very interested and we got in to the price negotiation portion of car buying. This dealer tried everything. Maybe I should say he tried to make it LOOK like he tried everything to meet my mother's requirements. I'm not an idiot. It's not a deal when you just increase the downpayment, lengthen the payment schedule, and then say you've lowered the price. NOPE. We started to leave and the sales manager actually stood in my way, thisclose. This does not make me happy. I finally maneuvered around him and got to the door with my mother following close behind.

Almost three hours there.

It had become obvious that we were not going to be able to find the Forrester, so we headed back to the first Toyota dealership to see what kind of 'deal' we could get there. It was 7 pm when we arrived. We checked out a silver Rav4 that had only been at the dealership for two days. 11 miles on the odometer. We went inside and negotiations began. Mom bought the car. Pretty much within her terms. A better deal than Haverhill, by far. It was after 10:30 pm when we left to head home armed with an appointment to pick up the new Rav4 on Saturday afternoon. The cleaning crew was at work as we left!

Friday I tuned and I worked on keys some more...frantically, and mowed the lawn. Saturday morning was the trip to the dump.

Since Mom didn't want to drive an unfamiliar car home on the highway, I had to make the trip with her on Saturday. I would be the first to drive it! It takes about a half hour - one way. We arrived to pick up her new car at precisely 1 pm, as instructed. We waited. Paperwork. A half hour later we were told that we couldn't pick up the car. They needed to contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles because my dad's name was on the old registration. WE HAD TOLD THEM THIS NUMEROUS TIMES THURSDAY NIGHT! They had said it was no problem. We made another appointment for Tuesday morning. Here's Mom's new car in her driveway. Twenty and a half hours to get it.

Work, work, work. Tuck's and keys, Tuck's and keys. Only one tuning job scheduled for this week and I had to change it because of picking up the car on Tuesday morning. Today was set aside because of Mom's cataract surgery. Since a van picks up at the eye doctor's office and takes the patients to and from the surgery center, Mom thought there would be no problem for me to fit in a tuning job. Last time she didn't get back to the office until after four in the afternoon. I scheduled the tuning for two o'clock and arrived at the customer's a minute or so early. At two-thirty my cell phone rang. The patient van was returning to Gloucester. It would arrive in 40 minutes. !#$%^! I just made it to the parking lot to pick her up with only 4 minutes to spare.

Now, in the meantime!

I had planned to submit my 'Diamonds in the Rough' blog post for publication in the Piano Technician's Journal. I was just having a difficult time actually getting the revisions finished and emailing the editor. Today, he contacted me asking if they could publish the story. He had already read it on the Pianotech List and they had made their own edits. I gave him the go ahead. I like my final version better than their edited version, but what the heck - THEY asked to publish MY work!

Today, I did get a short descriptive paragraph and three photos about the Thacher Island reed organ submitted to the Gloucester Times. Wonder if I'll get published there as well!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Do You Have All Your Oars in the Water?

I'm dubious about this woman....................

I got two more sets of keys today. One expected, the other a surprise. The surprise was from a non-tech. I don't normally take in key work from non-techs. It's too much of a hassle for the price of the job. The one time I agreed to it was near disaster. Unfortunately, the classified ads in the PTG Journal (professional journal) are available online. Convenient for tech happy piano techs and usually not a problem, for me, with the general public as they haven't a clue how to get keys out of their piano.

Anyway, this box arrives. It's nearly falling apart. I didn't recognize the name on the return address. I opened the box to find a set of grand piano keys jammed inside in every direction. Marvelous, I thought, can't reship finished keys like that, I'll have to find a better, bigger box. That irks me right from the start.

Then I found this note inside in an envelope. I'll intersperse my thoughts as I read it, in color (like this).

Hello Deborah (Couldn't spell my name correctly but managed to get the address right),

I thought it would take forever to figure out how to dismantle my piano to remove these keys. I hope I can remember where all those screws go when it's time to put it all back together. (Oh no, not a piano tech.....Oops, you should have kept them in order and labeled them - good luck)

Enclosed is a personal check for $135 for the resurfacing of these keys. (Wonderful, it's an old price. Hasn't been that for over a year. Hope you included contact info and now I'm going to start wasting work time calling you to straighten it out) If questions arise that require my attention, my home phone number is (SNIP). If I'm not there, use my answering service and I will get back to you promptly. (Please be out when I call. I don't want to chat. Let me just leave a message about the price discrepancy. Then you can call me and leave a message. Really, I don't want to talk to you.)

We have eight-year-old twins who are studying music, and each kid has his own piano. They will have to take turns practicing this week, poor kids. (You send keys, unannounced, with the wrong payment, from halfway across the states, and you expect them to be back in your piano in a week? Don't think so. There are five other customers ahead of you.) Maybe this is a good time to learn some duets. (And find out how all those less privileged one piano households manage to survive)

I really appreciate your effort in making our old piano more enjoyable to play. (Gee, thanks) What will you do with the old ivory you remove? Black market? (You didn't really ask that, did you? Yeah, it's from your piano, if I sell it on the black market and should be caught, I may implicate you as an accomplice. Seriously, if you thought that I were dealing in the black market, why would you do business with me? Huh.) Ebay? (not worth the trouble) Just wondering. (And now I'm wondering about YOU) Hope all goes well with your work, and you'll be able to get the keys back to us soon.

(Did you ever think that I may be dead? on vacation? have sold the business? your keys could have been sitting on a doorstep in the rain for weeks? Don't you think calling ahead just might have been a good idea? Yeesh, lady.)

And an update............

I called. I got her (drat). I kept it simple. Told her the price had changed over a year ago. She said to "trust her", she's putting the balance in the mail tomorrow. I told her that her keys were in the work line up, thanks, bye.

I still can't believe she said black market!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Oh My

Just a very quick post as I may not be here for a couple days. The way I feel now, could be years! (Just kidding).

The crafts fair was extremely busy today. Lots of lookers, not many buyers. I sold one easel mini and five ivory necklaces.

When I left the house early this morning, I reminded my mother to be on the lookout for a box of keys. I was expecting one more set to be arriving. Literally number eight of the latest bunch of the past week. When I got home she said that no boxes had arrived. Thank goodness, I've still got four sets in the workshop to finish up. At just before eight o'clock I headed out the door to pick up Amanda from work.

Guess what?

A box.

And not the one I was expecting. The box was from another tech customer for whom I routinely do key work.

I dragged it in the house and went to get Amanda.

Before I headed up to 'retire' (hah) for the night, I decided to open the envelope taped to the top of the box to see what work he needed done.

Oh my, there are TWO sets of keys in the box.

Numbers nine and ten in ten days.

So, add all that to two days at Tuck's, a piano moving job, three tunings, car shopping with mom, and mowing the lawn! I'll surface eventually!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Blog is Begging

I've been putting off and putting off writing a post. Mostly because I've been very busy and by the time I get enough blogging time....I've fallen asleep. Yep, I'm worn out.

So, I'll try to catch up with a few things tonight. Can't sleep as it's Independence Day celebrations. No private fireworks are legal in Massachusetts. This must explain the multitude of explosions shaking the house. Nothing quite like the smell of explosives on a cool summer night. Can't arrest half the town, I suppose.

Well, I guess I'll start with today and work backwards. I took a drive to Lanesville this afternoon as there was a rumor about an unusual topper for their annual bonfire. You might notice a grand piano sitting up there. It used to belong to a customer of mine. After I condemned it and he bought a replacement, he needed to find a convenient way to dispose of the original. This evening, Mom and I went downtown for the Rockport Fireman's Parade. Amanda doesn't like parades so she stayed home. I don't know, but the parade seemed to lack something this year. We had chowder at Ellen's after the parade and then came home, skipping Rockport's bonfire. Like I said, I'm tired.


Awhile back we took three days to have a mini-vacation up in North Conway. We didn't know that it was also 'biker' week! I've never seen THAT MANY motorcycles in one locale. All in all a very polite group. I didn't have my camera with me when we saw approximately fifty Harleys parked in a neat, shiny row in front of a children's store named "The Toy Shop". It just begged for a photo! The big touristy thing we wanted to do is take the Conway Scenic Railroad up through Crawford Notch. We've never done it and it looked like a super ride. We've seen the route from the roadway, trestles hanging on to the edge of mountains. Should have been a thriller - we were four days too early. We were there for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The 'Notch Train' began running for the season on the following Tuesday. Drat. We had to be satisfied with a rather mundane valley train to Bartlett and back. Took a few nifty pictures, though, including this one of an abandoned passenger car. Some of the people that work for the scenic railway live in a Caboose Park near the station. Some of the old cabooses have been sidetracked and converted to seasonal 'homes'. A lady that was tending the gardens around the station gave us a tour of her caboose. One evening Amanda and I decided to walk to the Saco River along a well-tended path from our motel. We got this far before Amanda chickened out. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!


I must mention the latest Recent Read. "War Journal" by Richard Engel is a must read! Middle East politics and an inside view of the war in Iraq from NBC's Middle East News Correspondent. Richard Engel has live in the Middle East for 12 years, the past 5 in Iraq, is fluent in Arabic and writes a striking commentary on the political, religious, and military dilemmas of the region. Until reading this book, I never truly understood.


Tomorrow is the second crafts fair and I'll find out if there is any interest in the painted on ivory necklaces that I'll be adding to my inventory. Per the norm, advertising for the fair is lacking.
Sunday and Monday will be working at Tuck's. Next week I have several tuning jobs and, of course, key work to finish up. Eight sets came in this week! Mom wants to start looking for a new car and that requires my presence, and the lawn needs mowing again.

Did I mention that I'm tired?