Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Poor Timing

Sometimes no matter how carefully planned things seem to be...

Nearly two weeks ago I received an email from a client. He would be sending 3 sets of keys for recovering! I emailed back with some info and also asked whether he wanted bright white or slightly off-white tops. I didn't hear back. Shipping time would be only one day. He had emailed on a Wednesday, so I guess-timated that I'd be seeing 3 boxes on my doorstep by the following Monday. At the latest. Nothing. A week goes by - nothing. I sort of gave up watching for them.

Mondays are the only day that I'm definitely not here. Remember that retail job? My mom stopped by the store yesterday to tell me that the 3 boxes had arrived. I got home at 6 p.m. and got to work. Unpacking, labeling, removing the old ivory, and sending another email. What color?!

This morning I checked my email. Still no response. I phoned him, got his machine, and left a message to CALL ME WITH A COLOR CHOICE. Yep, I was getting a teeny bit perturbed. I went back to work on the keys and got all the machining done in preparation for the new tops. Still no call or email. 'A' and I decided to head out for the afternoon. She had to buy a new DVD/VHS recorder/player. As a treat, I bought a new Beatles CD. We arrived back home around 4 p.m. to the caller ID flashing. He called! I headed down to the workshop to glue on all three sets of off-white key tops/fronts.

Why is it that when you are in a rush there are always additional roadblocks? I had been having some quality problems with the key top supplier. I thought they had been resolved - until tonight when I discovered another two batches of defective keys (Ds and Es only). Last time the problem was with white tops; this time with off-white. Thankfully, I had enough sets on hand to complete this lot of keys. I'll add here that each key is unique in shape and size. Key tops are oversized and trimmed to fit each key. However, they come in basic shapes of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and A-A, C-C (each end of the keyboard). Only rarely could an F be substituted for a C, or a D for a G. There are no spare (extras) per set so once even one is damaged an entire set must be raided for a replacement. Can you see the problem in this photo? The light shows the sunken line near to and parallel with the top front edge of some keys. (yes, the keys are not lined up perfectly in the photo, that's not the point) That 'valley' is not supposed to be there and looks really horrendous when lined up with perfectly smooth, level keys. So add to that problem an additional 7 key tops that were too deeply scratched to buff out and I have a new lot of 33 damaged or defective key tops.

I'm calling the supplier tomorrow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Could be scattered, lack of patience, sort of ill, problem solving, or it figures. Any of those could be a title for this post. Yeah, I'm still sick, although not terribly so. I started with a couple days of dry, burn-y throat. That progressed to some slight head cold feeling - just for a day. Now it's sneezy feeling and a dry, tickle cough. None of the symptoms overwhelming, just enough to be generally fatiguing and annoying. I haven't felt like tackling a big project. The rest of the household doesn't seem to understand this. Mostly I've tried to avoid the evening question, "So what's on your list to do tomorrow?"

I have done some things. I've signed up for the school's holiday fair so that means getting my stock back in shape. I'm just finishing up with five new necklaces and eight pairs of earrings. I spent (mostly wasted) several hours trying to print my own two-sided business cards. Avery supposedly has made this easy. Avery has succeeded in making me feel like an idiot. The first three batches printed poorly spaced on the cards. Not usable. I tried, unsuccessfully, to use the 'alignment' tool that Avery provides in the print set up. Didn't work well. I ended up printing 60, one-sided cards with no border so that the slight misalignment isn't evident.

I'm back to work on restoring my player piano. It's driving me nuts. It's very temperamental. I'm in the process of testing one 'deck' at a time, isolating problems and attempting to correct them. It seems that I can fix these problems without too much difficulty...until I put it all together again and they reappear. I just don't get it. It's definitely punishing me for some unknown reason!Here's a picture of the little set up that I have for testing the player mechanism. The box contains a vacuum motor. It has a dimmer switch in line so that I can regulate the vacuum applied to the player action.This is a photo of one of the decks being tested. I'll scream at it some more tomorrow.

This morning I had a church tuning job. Thankfully, it wasn't too far from home as when I arrived to "the door will be unlocked", I discovered it wasn't.


Just to prove to myself (and Avery) that I'm not a complete idiot, I had brought a contact phone number. Made the call and waited 10+ minutes for the key toting person to arrive. I love church tunings. No interruptions and usually some fine visuals. I must remember to bring my camera along next time. I did wonder about the pipe organ and checked it's name. A Stevens & Jewett if memory serves me correctly at the moment. Made in Boston.

Finished off Saturday with some errand running. Sunday is forecast to be rainy and cool so that should make me feel worse!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Me, Myself, and I

So here I sit...alone...trying to complete a list of seven things that I truly prefer to do alone. Beyond the obvious. Being an only child complicates this. Most of my life I have desired and sought out companionship. On the other hand after so much time alone, I feel quite comfortable with it. Prefer it? No. Apathetically accepting? Probably. I'm pretty much tired of trying or hoping for anything different. So, I could write a gigantic list of things that I would love to share with someone else, things that I now do alone, but that isn't the task, is it?

Here goes.

  1. Painting (as in art). My little studio is set up in my dad's side of the workshop, far from the stairs. I desire only music while painting.
  2. Playing the piano. I can't play with an audience - usually. And don't try to sing along, it'll screw me up. When I lived in FL, I would practice sometimes a couple hours each day. If I caught a glimpse of the mailman heading up our walk I'd make a mistake - just because I knew he could hear me playing. Once, though, I did manage to sit and play ragtime on a piano that was being auctioned at a local church as potential bidders filed in and out of the building for over an hour.
  3. Shopping (as in clothes). 'A' will barely spare me the time amid shopping for herself. Mom is always commenting when she shouldn't. My first husband used to follow a couple steps behind all the time - extremely annoying. Although I rarely have opportunity, let me shop by myself.
  4. Reading. Sharing newspaper stories with another is pleasant, but don't interrupt a good book. I can sit and read while watching the TV. Actually, that's sort of my norm. Not much of interest on the tube anyway. Even when there is a good show, I'll read during the ads. Having another person around while reading a good book is, well, irrelevant to me.
  5. Writing. I can collaborate and have. When it's me and the words, I need peace and quiet. You can hang out and comment and offer constructive criticism when asked - later. I appreciate the comments. I also like a proofreader.
  6. Floating. Yep, you read it correctly. I don't get to float anymore, but I can easily recall the sensation. During summers in Florida, I would force myself to take 1 hour lunch breaks. I would drive to the pool at the park where my parents wintered. Not a soul around, the pool to myself, I'd take 45 minutes and just float on a inflatable raft. Lovely.
  7. Crying. I'm a private crier. Yeah, there have been times in my life when I've shed tears more publicly. I'm not comfortable with that. I cry alone.

There you have it.

Bunches of Stuff

I wish that I had the time to write entries when I really felt the desire! The past few days I have contemplated a few topics, but life has not given me the time to put the ideas to keyboard. Then I end up writing short blurbs about all of the things - one fell swoop. I don't particularly care for writing that way.

Here goes.

The best laid plans and such...A set of keys arrived from CA just as we were heading out the door to drive north for the afternoon. Oh well, I thought, I've plenty of time. I'll get them prepped and glued in the evening upon our return (didn't happen, too tired). No worries. I'll get that part done first thing in the morning, machine them in the afternoon, ship them on Saturday. It'll still be within the 3 - 4 day turnaround time. Company arrived at noon Friday, called first, they have a summer home in ME and were leaving on Saturday for their winter home in IL. Ate out, visited, ate out again, no keys worked on. Saturday was very busy and I managed to ship the keys out at 1 p.m., just before the 2 p.m. closing at the shippers. Then while my mom was out to lunch with friends, I got working on mowing the lawn and weed-wacking. I also replaced a bulb in one of my mom's walk lights, only to find out that the reason it doesn't light is NOT the bulb. Cooked myself a nice hot meal of roast chicken with onions, whole green beans, and a baked potato. Struggled with an aching body to pick 'A' up from work. An Aleve meant a good night's sleep free from the day's aches!

Sunday, a day of rest...hah. It's nice having Sunday free from 'outside' (meaning retail) work. After a quick clothing sort (summer away, winter on hangers) first thing was church. My mom drove 'A' to work. I got home and had a delicious lunch of tuna, lettuce, and Marini Farms tomato. The tomatoes they grow are so yummy I could just slice one up in a bowl, salt it, and be satisfied. With only an hour left before retrieving 'A' from work, I just poked about a bit re-nailing a bit of siding on the house and shed. My mom reminded me of my promise to recaulk a couple windows and I got that done after the retrieval. (oh yeah, Friday the electrical engineer visitor and I fixed my mom's doorbell). None of these things being on THE LIST so I don't get to cross anything off. Then it was off to the library. 'A' didn't find anything of interest and I picked up one book. Which brings up the 'Recent Reads'.

The monthly music book group is meeting again. September's book was "Beethoven's Hair". I had only four days to read it (not knowing if I would have THAT Sunday off, I hadn't bothered to sign the book out until late). While it was a fascinating subject of the journey and subsequent analysis of a lock of Beethoven's hair that was snipped from his head soon after his death, the writing style was overly textbook-ish for my taste. On the other hand, the October book is "The Soloist". Read that one in two days. A probable total of 4 hours. Some of you may have seen the movie about the life of a homeless man on the streets of LA, made even more poignant by his past musical success, schooling at Julliard, and the comfort that playing an instrument gave him.
That finished, I started in on "House of Sand and Fog". An Oprah Book Club book. It is nothing I could truly recommend. Interesting. Way too depressing. I broke down and bought Dan Brown's new novel, "The Lost Symbol". I know, I know. I have succumbed to all the hype. I haven't read either "The DaVinci Code" or "Angels and Demons", so why this new book? Well, evidently it's heavily in to Freemasonry. This intrigues me. My grandfather was a Mason and I have some of his stuff. I tune for a Masonic Temple and the Temple Room is breathtaking, even in a modestly outward appearing building. So, for those reasons alone I have bought the book. One copy out of 5 million in this publishing! I am five chapters in to the book and have been interrupted by another that I picked up today. "Losing Mum and Pup", by Christopher Buckley is a memoir of life with and without his parents (William F. Buckley, Jr. and Patricia Taylor Buckley). An only child who is orphaned at the age of 55 when both of his parents die within one year. I read the first two chapters while waiting for 'A' at the library and since it's a loaner from the library, I'll continue with it and restart Dan Brown's later.

At last I'm almost caught up! Here that is, on the blog, never with real life. I've been spending some time thinking about a post I read elsewhere. About being alone and listing activities that you enjoy doing alone. The goal is to come up with seven things. I've only thought of four. I can think of far more things that I do alone that I wish were shared. (sigh) I'll keep thinking and post later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Timely Things

I had to set the alarm this morning. I had a tuning in Beverly at 9:30 ish, a new customer, a Catholic elementary school. I knew pretty much the location and had no problems getting to the area. Finding a parking space was somewhat challenging, however. I had my instructions. I would find a metered, city parking lot with 2 hour meters across the corner from the school or on-street metered parking would get me up to 12 hours. Not knowing the condition of the piano and therefore not knowing exactly how long I would be there, I was hoping for on-street. As I drove down the street bordering the school, all the parking spaces were occupied. I came upon an intersection with a one way street and saw a vacant space on the corner. I loved it! Easy parking! I made sure I was within the lines and only a couple inches from the curb. I hauled out my tuning gear and headed for the meter with the load of change that I had brought. Quarters only. 2 hours for each quarter so I cranked in two of them. No worries with four hours to get in the school, find the room, tune the piano, and drop off the bill to the secretary.

It was 9:15 when those quarters registered in the meter. It was 10:45 when I returned to my truck, job finished, to find a bright orange parking ticket on my windshield.

Huh?????? There was still nearly three hours left on the meter. I was not a happy tuner. I racked my brain for the location of the Beverly police station and thought that I remembered seeing it when I had gone to tune at a different location a few months back. I headed that way, found the station and couldn't find parking. I did, however, find a parking spot at City Hall, and decided to start with them. I was very pleased to find that the first office inside the doors of City Hall was the parking clerk's office.

Now, before I finish this saga, take a look at this and tell me which meter I used when I parked for my job (A, B, C, or D). Notice it says 'Deb' on one of those parked cars!Well, I put my 2 quarters in meter D (bottom dot) and I was wrong. Yes, I knew that usually the meter is at the front of the vehicle. But, not always. I had even looked at the set up of the other cars and meters before making my choice! There was no other space behind me, yet there was that meter. Must be mine.


So, back to the parking clerk... I told her, "I parked at a twelve hour meter, put in two quarters, and went to tune a piano. I came back about one and a half hours later and had nearly 3 hours left on the meter and found this ticket on my windshield!" I explained the odd meter arrangement and that there was NO parking space behind me.

Her explanation was that they had painted the parking space lines incorrectly. There SHOULD HAVE been a space behind me.

Yeah, well, now what?

She voided my ticket.

You better believe I'm hanging on to two copies of that voided ticket so when the paperwork gets lost I'm not in trouble! (And take another look. If the meters were IN FRONT of parked cars, why wasn't there one for that top car in my drawing?)

I headed home. 37 miles round trip, a tuning fee, 3 quarters used in meters, and I wasn't going to add a ten dollar ticket to the day. The sun was shining and it was a pleasant trip on the highway. Once I got on to local roads there was a surprise waiting for me. You're thinking a police car speed trap, right?

Nope. (and I don't speed)

For the last 3 miles of my trip home I got to be the fourth car in a line-up following the trucks painting the center line in the road. 3 miles at an average speed of 5 mph. I wasn't going to let that get to me and cranked up a Beatles tape that 'A' had left in the truck. Cruisin' at 5 mph with "Ticket to Ride", "Kansas City", and "Revolution" blaring! (the paint vapors helped)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh Deer

This week has been very busy. The holiday weekend, at least Sunday and Monday for me at Tuck's, was extraordinarily exhausting. Evidently, record sales. Then Tuesday it was right to work with a pinblock to CA. This required some creative piano action removal due to tight quarters, but all went well. Tuesday afternoon was what should have been a routine tuning. However, I was given some incorrect information and ended up with a monster tuning and quick repair. My Wednesday morning tuning rescheduled to Friday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon I was back at that pinblock treatment job to reinstall the action and tune. Out to dinner with my mom at Ellen's Harborside on Wednesday night. Then my back started to ache just over my left hip. I took some over-the-counter pain stuff and slept well Wednesday night. When I got up today, my back felt almost better. I could still tell that it wasn't quite right, yet it was hardly noticeable. I did business paperwork all morning as well as scheduling an out of town school tuning job for Tuesday morning. By noon-ish my back was a bit worse but still okay enough to keep going. We decided to take a ride up to Skip's for an early dinner. On the way we stopped at a shoe store for my mom, and on the way back made a quick stop at a chain department store for 'A' to pick up a couple things. It was dusk by the time we got to 'deer crossing' territory in Essex and were pleased to see this sight. A family of deer with the youngsters jumping and playing together.Now it's off to bed, some reading, and the heating pad. Got to get the back better for tomorrow's tuning, church and book club on Sunday (yay, no more Sunday's at retail!), Tuck's and clerking by myself on Monday, and another tuning Tuesday morning!

It only hurts when I walk...or stand.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Today's date deserves a quote of the day.

Copied from WT on the Pianotech List:

Yeh, reality is definitely overrated,
particularly these days.. I'm hanging

on to fantasy for dear life.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Evening Chuckle

After working two days dealing with (foul language deleted) tourists, swarms of them, more than I ever want to see in one place again, particularly in the place where I'm working, I came home and checked my email. A nice update from my best neighbor friend in FL, some piano stuff, Scribb's clever comment on my last post, and this photo, sent by some family friends, titled "The Boat Goes In First".

The Eyes Have It

A new book is in the sidebar. Once again - cats! Homer's Odyssey is more than a cute cat story, it's a cute blind cat story and much more. Check it out and see the incredible amount Homer has to teach about life and faith.

Then there's Wanda the Psychic. She's a local business woman. A few months ago, I noticed that Wanda was being dropped off at her 'office' and she was on crutches. Don't you think a smart psychic would have seen THAT coming and avoided it? Just the other day, the ambulance horn sounded. There were sirens and flashing lights in abundance as the emergency vehicles arrived to carry out one of Wanda's clients. Two reasons I will not be visiting Wanda the Psychic.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Some Folks Ruin It for the Rest

You might notice that I have eliminated the Followers feature in the sidebar. This has been done due to a couple of new additions that were inappropriate, 'spammish', and linked to sites that I did not wish to promote. Legitimate sites within the Followers feature allow those sites to be blocked if so desired. The two sites that caused me to eliminate the feature entirely could not be blocked individually.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What Excuse...

for not getting all the things done I want to...not keeping up with correspondence, reading, blogging, reading blogs, writing (yeah the article still isn't finished - not even the rough draft)? The problem is the things I need to do take over the things I want to do. So, mom's flooring is finished including getting all the baseboards, and such, back in. On to the next item on the list, the flashing repair thingy. Yesterday, I got the BIG step ladder up from the cellar and carried it 3/4 of the way around the house to find out that it is one step too short for me to hoist myself up from it on to the roof to do the repair. Carried it back down to the cellar and moved that item to the 'hire someone someday' list. I've thrown it together with getting a person to clean out the second story gutters and while up there hammering in two protruding nails. So, in all fairness and with consideration of severe budget constraints, I moved one of the 'hire someone' jobs over to MY list. That item was to repair/replace my leaking kitchen sink drain basket. Being the drain, it was not urgent, but I was tired of having a bucket underneath to catch the drips. How hard can it be to remove and replace the metal basket, the part of the sink that is the 'hole' and connects to the actual drain? Well, let me tell you, it was a pain.

But before that, since the flashing job didn't materialize, my mom didn't want a beautiful day to go to waste and strongly suggested that I tackle the window glazing on the shed window. Now, I hate glazing windows. I hate it even more when the window is a sort of permanent part of the shed. No removing it to a workshop bench. Glazing has a sag factor and is annoying to try to make work (read adhere) while working a vertical surface. Nevertheless, it got done. All sixteen panes are now reglazed. I think my mom can take care of the painting of the window once the glazing has set.

This afternoon it was time. Start painting 'A's room (yes, after six years she finally decided upon a color!) and fix the kitchen sink. About ten minutes or so before 'A' was due to leave for work, I disconnected the slip nut connecting the drain to the drain basket. I rigged a large screwdriver with a 'cheater' handle to insert in a slot in the drain basket from above to keep in from spinning while I tried to loosen the lock ring underneath. This was the cause of the leak, the lock ring was not tightened up (it wouldn't go any tighter?) and the entire drain basket could slip and spin around in the hole of the sink. Why this happened after six years is beyond my understanding, and a first in over 30 years of home ownership. I thought maybe something had gone wrong with the gasket or the plumbing putty, or both. So, simple, take it apart and replace it.

Wrong. 'A' held on with all her might from above and I tried to turn the lock ring from below. It wouldn't budge. We gave up and I took her to work. On my way home I stopped at Ace Hardware. I bought a new drain basket (in case of corrosion or whatever on the old one, I wanted no excuses for a second leak) and plumber's putty and I asked HOW to loosen that darn lock ring. Whacking one of the nubs on the ring with a screwdriver and hammer to free it wasn't an option, the whole works spun beyond anybody's ability to hold against the impact. I was presented with THE tool at a cost of $12.49. Still loads cheaper than a plumber! Went home and before I attacked the sink, I got a coat of primer on one wall of 'A's room so that it would be drying while I did the sink. 'A's got so much stuff and furniture that we can't actually empty the room to paint. There's no place else to put the stuff. A couple small pieces are in the hallway, but the rest just has to shift from side to side, end to end, while painting one wall at a time. While the primer was drying I got the new tool out and started in, again, on the sink... to find that the tool didn't work. It was too small. I grabbed the packaging and taped it all back together, pocketed the receipt, and headed back to the store to return the tool. After getting my money back, I asked this different salesperson about an appropriate tool and he found it. $9.99 later...the tool fit...but I couldn't manage both ends of the job. I couldn't hold the screwdriver with cheater while twisting the tool under the sink! I went back to painting while waiting for my mom to get home from a mall trip.

One wall, one coat of primer followed by one coat of paint later, and my mom arrived. It took more effort than imagined to loosen that lock ring, but we got it apart! And, as expected, a simple job to put in the new sink basket. Fingers crossed that it doesn't leak. Seems fine so far.
Now I've got THE tool if anyone needs to borrow it!

Oh yeah, now my mom wants me to fix her leaky kitchen faucet. Drat.