Sunday, March 26, 2006


When things are going pretty well, I get up, shower and shave, dress and start my day without having to think about what I'm doing very consciously. I'm in and out of the shower without really thinking about how I soaped up or rinsed or toweled off, shaved and scrubbed without really giving the steps of it a second thought, because I was thinking about other things I wanted to think about instead, or enjoying ideas for writing that just popped into my mind out of nowhere, or music that came to me as I did these routines.

That's how I know when things are going about as good as they get: I don't have to consciously attend to my routine tasks to complete them efficiently. My mind goes on "automatic" for them, like it functions when we walk down the sidewalks or drive to our jobs. We don't have to think about how to put one foot in front of another or often, even where we're going, because part of our brain's doing it for us "automatically."

Of course, it's not always a good thing to drift into other thoughts while we drive. We may miss our turn or stall when the light changes and get honked at with a Bronx cheer, Or we might have put on the wrong clothes for where we're going, or forgotten to shave, etc. But generally, we don't. We usually do pretty well on "autopilot" for many of our routines, and to me it's a sign things aren't too shabby.

However, it can be pretty weird when we're driving someplace and are on such autopilot that we don't remember the last fifty miles or so, and suddenly find ourselves in a far different place than we were aware of. But for the most part, the more I can do "automatically," without having to think it through, the better I feel.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Go. Stop. Go. Stop.

City traffic moves in bites,
Bites created by their lights.
When a light turns red and pinches,
Bites are small and move in inches.
Even when the light turns green,
Few can go and folks get mean.
Oftentimes no onc can move.
Sure wish something would improve.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What Goes Around...

This week I touched up the water marks on the new piano and bench, and tried to tune it with no lasting success for more than a day. It's still too moisture-saturated in the damper felts, wood action parts, and hammer felts to respond right to the touch and may take several months to fully dry out. In the meantime, it will require a lot of tuning to use at the very least. My fear is that I won't be able to bring it around by myself and will require a professional who may recommend far more restoration than I can justify. If that turns out to be the case, I may be the one advertising the "upright piano, $10, must pick up."

When I was searching the area in recent weeks for an instrument, I was warned about the many pianos that suffered severe storm damage from Wilma due to lost roofs and windows. But I didn't take it seriously till I got this one home and the extent of the damage from exposure to the elements for weeks or months became evident. I had thought a simple tuning would do the trick, but it has not. Not by a long shot--I've tuned it every day. Still, we've only had it in stable air for a week now. It's probably too soon to tell how it will play in, say, six weeks hence. I tend to be an eternal optimist, so I'll hope for the best.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I Love a Piano, ta dum, I Love a Piano....

We got it! For once my piano deals didn't fall through, and we're now the proud owners of a (free) Baldwin Hamilton studio piano. Actually, I gave the lady $100 to lock it in and the mover $200 with the tip. But they had to hoist it down a long flight of stairs, and it was a behemoth to handle. All went well, though. We pulled out with it ten minutes ahead of the next buyer. The day before, I had been "the next buyer" and lost out on a really great deal of $400 on a Yamaha console, but this time it worked out. I tuned it and we've cleaned it up, and it sounds great. Considering the Wilma damage to the apt. where we got it, it held up really well. Barb's got some pix of us and our new "baby" on her latest blog, Iris Blue. Okay, enough bragging, but we're happy. Back to the world's problems.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Old Piano Roll...Blues?

Things are popping pretty fast around here. We finally got the screens that Hurricane Wilma blew out replaced this week, and we love it being able to open up without the bugs coming in. We got our friend Roberta married last week, and today it looks like we're going to get an honest-to-goodness, real PIANO! If we get to take it (It's free!) from Lauderhill, it will be the first real piano we've had since we left our old white clunker in Port St. Lucie in 1989 when we moved to Delray. I've used electronic keyboards to get my piano fix for many years, but there's nothing like a real instrument for touch and sound--and driving each other and the neighbors crazy.

We're just about ready to head out to see it, and I have a mover lined up to meet us there at noon. The lady who is giving it to us just wants to get rid of it before it gets damaged by renovators of her storm-damaged apartment, so unless something changes and she gives it to someone else before we get there, it's going to be our call. If we want it, we'll have the mover bring it right to the house, and if anything happens that we either don't want it or she changes her mind, I can call off the mover immediately without charges, since he's got another move earlier this morning in that same area.

It looks like it's going to happen. But you never know. Yesterday I chased two other ads down and missed one by only minutes to another buyer, and the second never called me back after his daughter in North Carolina said she wanted it. Pianos are chancey things to purchase, whether or not you go through a dealer or private party. There are the really old clunkers most people just want to trash, storm-destroyed or too poor a condition to refurbish, then the salvageable old uprights, spinets, studios and grands people just want to move out of their sight to gain the space (that's the kind I'm hoping we find in this one) and aren't trying to sell for much, then the ones people must think have been Liberace's personal favorite instrument. Prices range at dealers from about $500 plus moving to well over $50,000. This one was advertised for $10. We'll see what it looks and sounds like, but I can't imagine it could be so bad we wouldn't want it. She's offered to give it to us free, and the mover will charge me only $150 to get it in my house, so I think we're on track.

But you never know. Maybe she's got a son in Texas who wants her to keep it. Things like that happen. Oh well, that's show biz. More later....