Thursday, May 28, 2009


Do-It-Yourself(ers). A sign of a good do-it-yourself-er is knowing when something should be done by a professional.

As the player piano owner didn't realize when he dove in to rebuilding a 1910, 65/88 note Ellington upright player piano. The piano represents the crossover from 65 note piano rolls to the new standard of 88 note rolls. It plays both. Or best stated played both. It will again when I'm finished.

And two lessons. Although Elmer's Glue-All may indeed glue all. There are things that it definitely should not. And...more is not always better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Good, The Bad

Somehow I don't even know where to start with this. I'll leap in....

A miserable, damp, rainy, gray, cool day like today makes me feel sunshine deprived and unmotivated, yet there is work to be done and that's such a good thing.

First on my list of chores this morning was to pay whatever bills that I absolutely had to and maybe squeak in one or two more. I managed the three most critical and could have finished the rest, but well, there was no rush on those. I wrote up the list of what 'A' owes me towards bills and will collect off her tomorrow. Then, while I had calculator in hand, I decided to attack the business books. I thought I had 3 months to do. Found out there were four. Turns out that February was an outstanding month for work! Unfortunately not outstanding enough to make up for a dismal January, March, April, and May.

Last Saturday was the first Firehouse Trust Fair and I didn't participate. I called to see what the table fee was this year. It is still $50! Sorry, this is far too high for the size, location, and poor advertising. I'm not in the mood to lose money. The three of us went down to see how it was doing. It was around 2 p.m. and town was fairly busy. The craft fair wasn't. It even looked pathetic. Two with beaded jewelry, one with some nifty melted glass jewelry. One with knit baby clothes, one with individual watercolor notecards (maybe a couple dozen to pick from displayed flat on the table), and a table full of categorized old postcards. Not one table had any oomph. Blahhhhhh. The knit baby clothes lady had been at some of the other fairs last year. We asked how it was going and she said real slow. Glad I wasn't there. I think I'll be doing the Methodist Church Fair in July and the High School Holiday Fair in November. I'll probably throw in a couple others along the way. I'm considering Internet sales.

What upsets me the most is that there is absolutely nothing I can do about getting more money coming in. There isn't even a bailout line for me. I have considered presenting myself at the Department of Transitional Assistance and simply asking, "Do you have any ideas?" "What can I do?" "I'm self-employed and business is overly slow due to the global economic status. I have a two day a week job to try to make ends meet and they won't give me any more time due to their economic hardship of state mandated employer contributions to the state healthcare system. I need a very flexible schedule (minimal days with definitive hours, preferably no nights) because I provide transportation for my daughter to her job AND for my mother to doctor's visits." "I've tried selling at some craft's shows, but darn, folks don't have money to spend due to that ever present economic strife."

"I'm open to suggestions."

I think I'll get a blank stare.

Anyway, on the good side...I called the financial person at the school system and quite pleasantly inquired about the 3 tunings worth of payments that are overdue to me, even by their payment scheduling. Thankfully, I have been assured that the check is in the mail. It may take the long way around the earth to get here, but it's on it's way! This is super good as nearly the total amount will be going to paying my quarterly taxes. Can't have the Feds on my back.

Well, I feel a bit more organized if not happier. I guess there is something to be said for that!
And here's a colorful picture of Mom's azalea...when it was sunny last week!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Floating Pitch

When a piano is pretty darn close to being on pitch, for example A4 should cycle at 440 but there are times seasonally when it may vary to 439 or 441, it may be possible to leave well enough alone and tune the piano where it's at. This can depend on the seasonal cycle among other qualifiers. Is the piano at 439 and summer humidity is approaching and you just know it's going to settle out sharper? Or has it been raining for days before winter heating season arrives? Does it need to be exactly 440 because of use with other instruments? Anyway, none of those things applied to today's tuning. It was dead on 440.

Today was my yearly visit to tune for opening weekend at The Studio. The piano was not ready per my instructions, but at least the check was waiting for me. This is the Godzilla piano replacement. Now it's Frankenstein. The body and guts of a 1970's era, 6 ft. Kawai with the top of the 9ft., 1896 Chickering painted to look like an artist's palette! They hadn't slid the lid (and padded arm rest of the bar) back out of the way prior to my arrival. It took a couple minutes to get some guys out of the kitchen to do it. This year it was propped up on a trash can at the tail end while I tuned. Anyway, it tuned up fine. That is if you don't mind tuning pins that really don't want to budge and a disturbing rattling across 6 or so notes in the 5th octave. I think the rattling is the lid arrangement for creating the bar. I'm not dealing with that and no one but me seems to notice it! The interesting thing about tuning at The Studio is that while I'm working I can watch ripplets of waves beneath the building through holes in the floor! Tune a piano or floating pitch?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tired of A Lot

It's been a long few days. Today was only marginally better in that the weather was nice and I got to do some work outside.I stained the back of our house. At least all that I could reach with a 12 foot step ladder and a 16 foot roller extension rod. How on earth am I going to finish the top part? I may have to put the ladder out in the PRIVATE Way and climb it with the 16 foot roller extension. I reached the areas next to the window by using just the ladder. Hmmm. That'll just leave the front to do which will be a bit more complicated around more windows and shutters, too.

One phone call for work. A tech will be sending a set of keys on June 1st. This little work is not a good thing and there's nothing I can do about it. From 4 - 6 sets a week to 1 - 2 sets per month.

I really and seriously don't know what to do. I've never been so work starved before.

The down side of working outside today is that the pollen count is HIGH. Way up there. So not only do I ache from arthritis, from carting a big ladder and painting for a few hours, from staring up while pushing a roller around way over my head, I am suffering from the excess pollen.

A Benadryl and I'll sleep well tonight. (Sneeze)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Another Pretty Picture...

for a foggy, dreary day.And a few updates. Our lovely robin's nest was attacked by bluejays. Two eggs stolen one day and then two pecked and eaten the next. No cute robin babies to watch this year. Late this morning, after shipping out some keys, I decided to try to make better my situation. I went to the candy factory where I work retail two days a week. I can't manage more than the two days on my feet, but I could certainly work in the factory part up to 4 days a week. It's somewhat self paced (I work efficiently) and not always standing. They need help this year as several are not able to return from last year. I offered to make the switch. I was politely told that it most likely wouldn't work. They need guys to do the big vat cooking. Yeah, I understand.

I guess.

One good thing happened today. Squirt is back! Most of the squirrels that have been around this spring have been ignoring us. Today, my mom saw one on the porch railing. She opened the door a crack and called, "Come on Squirt, I've got a peanut for you". And he came within a few feet of the door, waited patiently for her to toss the peanut to him, and ate it. He 'asked' for a second and got it. For more about our squirrels you can search this blog using their names. Squirt, Scooter, and Squeaky. Should get you some pictures, although I haven't tried it yet.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On Edge, Stressed, and Down

Yes, that's why I haven't posted much of late.

Business has been very borderline. A couple tunings, a couple key jobs. A new key client. The school seems to have forgotten that I exist. At least as far as paying me goes. I had an estimate to go and do today. I knew that it would be a make do, slim on money prospect. Evidently so slim on cash that they left a message yesterday canceling the appointment for a FREE estimate! Ultimately it was a good thing it was canceled as I spent three and a half hours with my mom at the emergency room. She wasn't feeling well this morning and called her doctor. Since her symptoms were light-headed, weak, sickish, and her arm was sore to touch and ache-y, her doctor told her to go to the hospital. Blood work and a three hour wait to even see a doctor! Then did a quick EKG. Sent her home. Supposedly everything is fine. To me, it seems like a repeat of the Christmas holiday illness. I got to work on keys after we got home.

The bills continue to come in and I'm just managing to squeak by. I hate this. I don't know how I'll keep up with everything. Mom stuff, Amanda to and from work, my two day job, keeping the piano business going on schedule, and all the house stuff. Painting, repairing, lawn mowing.

Here's a picture I took last week that's a whole lot more cheerful than I am right now.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ahemmmmm, Tagged

By my twin of blogland dickiebo!
Neno's Award

Here are the rules for this meaningful award:

The aims of this award:

* As a dedication for those who love blogging activity and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

* To seek the reasons why we all love blogging!

* Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it

* Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.

* Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.

* Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.

* Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

So....why do I blog?
My main reason for beginning was to establish a 'place' where my friends in Florida could check up on what I was doing. Phone calling is great, but not always convenient for both people. This way keeping in touch was made easier. Then I found that my blog gave me a place to meet people and 'talk'...sharing interests and stories, getting feedback. Here in blogland I can share with friends rather than always talking to myself (grin) and it's enjoyable to get a glimpse of life away from here.

[Wow, that sounds very mundane]

And now for satisfying my curiosity and tagging some others.
Heads up Annette and Claire (who has been silent for a while)
May I add that I wish Mary would start writing a blog?