Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's interesting going in to people's homes to tune and repair pianos. You just never know what they're thinking. A few years back I think I wrote a blog post about the homemade pumpkin pie that I was served at a tuning customer's home. She was so thrilled that she had made it from scratch, from pumpkins she had grown in her own backyard. Thank goodness she left me alone in the room to enjoy my slice.

And thank goodness I had a sealable plastic bag with me. Worst pie I'd ever tasted. Truly gagging.

A couple months ago, I spent some time with a potential customer. I say potential because it was a first visit to a very old upright piano. When I arrived, the owner apologized that things were a mess at the house. A water pipe had broken, their basement was flooded, they were trying to determine where the pipe broke and city workers were in and out. The piano had many broken parts. It would take several hundred dollars to make it even playable. I gave them an out saying that they had more pressing expenses with their current water problem, the piano could wait. No charge for the estimate. I left with a half dozen free-range eggs!

A month ago, it was another first time customer. They had booked a free estimate (local) about six months ago and then had canceled at the last minute. This time they were specific about what the piano needed. "We have two missing bass strings." Once I arrived at the most recent appointment, I discovered that they had hired someone different six months ago. He tuned and told them that he would order the two strings. They still hadn't heard from him. I took measurements, ordered the strings and scheduled a time for installation of the new strings. Two weeks ago I installed the strings and checked the tuning over. It needed tuning VERY desperately. In addition, it sounded like no one had tuned the top octave since the piano was new in the 1960s. I gave the customer a choice. I could return in two weeks to fine tune the two new bass strings, no charge, or we could schedule it as a full tuning (tuning fee). She scheduled the tuning. That was last week. Besides being paid in full, she had a gift for me. She was somewhat apologetic saying she didn't know if I'd "be into this kind of thing". She handed me a bag with this cross that she had made for me. I don't think it much matters, into it or not, what a wonderful thought!
Today, my Spring issue of the Reed Organ Society Quarterly arrived in the mail.

And guess what?

No guesses, huh?

I'll tell you. My article, with all nine photographs in full color, about the Thacher Island reed organ that I restored has been published!!!!!!!!!! I've just returned from having two, gorgeous, color copies of the article made. One for the president of the Thacher Island Committee and the other for the president of the Thacher Island Association.

Friday, March 26, 2010

On and On and On

Work, play, work. I've been busy.

Mom's kitchen project (better known as a project for Deb) is progressing nicely. The top cabinet fronts and doors have been refinished. The bottom cabinet fronts are done and I'm working on the doors and drawers. The granite guys came a day early and the counter tops and new, undermount sink look great. Once the rest of the doors are finished I'll just have some veneering to do on the visible ends of the cabinets. The current end panels are too nicked and poorly touched-up to try to refinish. Veneer is the best route. Then there is a little shelf section to build. The old one was ugly. This summer I'll take some time to tile the walls between counter and upper cabinets.

I've still been getting a moderate amount of piano work. Hooray! Tunings aren't as numerous but key work is steady.

In between real work and Mom's work, I've had chance to go out to dinner with friends - just once. A very interesting couple. He's a retired graphics designer/business owner and cartoonist. She's a consultant for mental health and suicide prevention programs within educational systems.

And I've been doing some more painting. Even bigger this time. 18 X 24 is pretty much my larger limit. I think it'll be titled either, "Maggie's Blue Door" or "Nestled Near the Forest". I'm leaning toward the latter. Any thoughts? Anything better? Some of the colors aren't exactly correct as shown here. Among other things the sky has more blue in the painting. It's a bit washed out in this photo. The gardens are more vivid looking drenched in sunlight. You get the idea though. When I get the time, I'll add it to the sidebar slide show.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sticking With the Unusual

Yep, there's a new book in the sidebar. Dark Tide, The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, written by Stephen Puleo. There is so much packed in to this tragic tale. Yes, in January of 1919, an enormous tank of 50 feet high and 90 feet in diameter ruptured due to structural deficiencies and sent a wave of 2.3 million gallons of molasses outward in all directions. Of the many injured, 21 persons died either by drowning in the dark, heavy syrup, or from crushing injuries sustained as surrounding structures gave way and collapsed. This devastating event is enveloped with accounts of anarchism, WWI, immigration, terrorism, and the influences of big business. Seems some things never change.

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Ego Boost

Yesterday, I went down to the Rockport Art Association with an oil painting and a photograph to enter in the Contributing Members Show. I had contemplated for quite some time about which painting to show. I knew that I would be exhibiting the photograph, "Thacher's Little White Cloud", seen below.After some deliberation, I made some changes to my Salt Marsh painting adding more depth to the shadow areas and enlarging the cloud mass at the upper left corner so as not to visually shrink in to the corner of a frame. I was very happy with the result and retitled the painting, "Sentinels of the Great Salt Marsh". The old version is shown here. I didn't get around to photographing the new version.Today I received my e-newsletter from the art association that listed upcoming classes and exhibits. My oil painting was chosen as the visual for the Contributing Members Exhibit listing!
I'm super pleased!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Time? Time?

I've been silent for awhile...again, huh? It just seems like so much is happening, although nothing earth-shattering. First off is that work has continued on in a moderate mode. This I like, generally speaking, as it should mean that all jobs get finished up with no scheduling panics.


Since I had an abundance of work through the holidays, I had saved aside almost enough funds to pay for a huge amount of dental work. Not so much fun. Mix in to that getting all the tax forms filled out for all three of us. Then there's been the increase in tuning and in-home repairs. And this Thursday is the time for submitting artwork to the art association's contributing members show and I had some final touches to make to a painting and a frame to buy.

Now add to the mix that my mom decided to start a kitchen remodel.

Yep, I'm cramming!

Refinishing kitchen cabinets, demolishing the old laminate countertops, reinforcing some counter framing for the new granite she has picked out. Then I've got some ugly sliced brick to remove from the walls over the counter with the inevitable plaster to skim-coat repair. Thursday the granite guys are coming to take measurements and make a template. My mom had to have a new sink and faucet purchased before the granite guys arrive so that they can take them to mount to the counter pre-installation. Total, so far, three trips to the granite company, one prior trip to another company, two trips to the big box DIY stores, with the last trip successful in purchasing a sink at one store and faucet at another after three hours of debate! After the guys make the measurements, it will be approximately two weeks until installation and we've (I've) got to have everything ready.

So, what's the next week look like? Monday: ship some keys, pay some bills, dentist, another box of keys should arrive, more cabinet sanding. Tuesday: key work, movie with 'A' (Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp!), work on removing ugly brick. Wednesday: coffee with a friend, key work. Thursday: granite guys, art association with painting and photograph, work on kitchen, ship box of keys. Friday: clean house, grocery shop, plaster in kitchen. Saturday: who knows?