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.


dickiebo said...

Have we seen these photographs? Can't remember! doh!

deb said...

Ummm, probably most of them. Try entering either/or Thacher or Smith-American in the search block at the top of the blog. That may get some of them.

Annette said...

oh deb, how I laughed about that pumpkin pie!
Make sure you take plastic bags with you now!
Still, its lovely that they offer you these things, isn't it?

deb said...

Yep, I do always carry a plastic bag (disguised as needed for holding some small spare parts). After I published the post, I realized that I had forgotten to mention the package of notecards given to me by the customer who had done the clever ink drawing illustrations for them.