Thursday, December 13, 2007

What I Did Today, or Go Ask Alice...

I had the piano tuner come to tune the piano for my Christmas party, but the best laid plans, and all that...this guy (piano tuner now, diamond wholesaler in another life...uh-huh, there was my CLUE) said there is no point in tuning it, because what this piano really needs is to be repaired...$23,000 worth of repairs, to be exact...

It's a lovely piano, a 19th century Steinway baby grand, with real ivory keys (badly in need of repair, but not the only thing that needs repair on this piano), however, not having $23,000 for piano repairs (and having had an estimate from a very reputable company not that long ago for the same repairs for a fraction of that figure), I said thanks but no thanks...actually, I laughed and said, "Well, if I win the lottery..." Then the crazy piano man proceeded to tell me, completely out of context (why was I not surprised?) how his mother-in-law had tried to stab him, not once but 3 times, how he was able to disarm her each time because of his army training, yada yada yada...I swear, I LEFT psychiatry...and yet as he told me this long, dramatic tale I found myself wanting to run to a mirror to examine my forehead, to see if I have some huge tattoo there that I'm not aware of that says "TELL ALL!"...

The crazy piano tuner was leaving just as the tub and shower reglazing guy was coming up the walk...and of course, the two of them hit it off like syrup and waffles. Can I pick repairmen or what? They got into such a long conversation about musical instruments that I simply walked away and worked on my laptop until they'd talked themselves out. Then the reglazing guy had me show him the guest bath shower and master bath tub he was going to work on, and he spent some time telling me that although the tub would have to be sanded, he'd have to use some strong chemicals to etch the tile in the shower to prepare the surface..."These chemicals will make you high," he warned me, "but not me! They have absolutely no effect on me, and no one knows why!"

Uh-huh. That's what hatters (people who made hats) used to say, too, about the mercury they used, but there's a saying, "mad as a hatter..." and the phrase came about long before Lewis Carroll made it popular in Alice In Wonderland...

Yesterday, when I was checking references for these maniacs, being something of a maniac myself, I agreed to go see a reglazed tub at the house of one of the reference numbers I'd been given. I was supposed to talk with the man's wife; she wasn't in, but he asked where I lived, and when I told him the neighborhood, he said, "Well, you must be 5 minutes away, why not just come by to see for yourself?" He was German, with a charming accent. "Are you sure?" I said. "Yes, of course, come over, there's something else I'd love to show you too..."

Hmmmmmm, I thought, I'll bet. Suffice it to say, if this guy had come to the door in a raincoat, I'd have been RUNNING back to my car...but that wasn't it at all. A tall, attractive man a little older than I am met me at the door. First he showed me the refinished tub, which looked great. Then he took me to his den and invited me to sit down at his desk.

"Now just look out the window there, what do you see?"
he asked.

There was a mural painted on the wall of his garage; multicolored, narrow lines, carefully painted...symmetrical swirls, with, upon closer inspection, a couple of faint figure 8's...

"What do you see?"
he repeated.

I looked at the wall..."Well, it appears to be a cylinder of some sort," I said, studying it...

"Yes, but what IS it?"
he asked.

"I don't know,"
I said, but then he showed me a photo of himself standing in front of it, and I saw how his shadow fell..."Oh my gosh! It's a vertical SUNDIAL!" I said. I was immediately fascinated, because I've never seen a vertical sundial before.

He laughed. "Yes it is," he said, "actually, it's an analemma sundial," and he proceeded to tell me that, because our alleys are true east-west, it was the perfect location for this type of sundial. He spent some time explaining how he'd designed it, and showed me the lines for winter and summer equinox...he was very interesting, and a nice contrast to the craziness of most of the guys I've been dealing with this week.

Tomorrow morning: the reglazer returns to finish his work and the garage door guys come to replace the garage door. And maybe, just maybe, the fence crew will reappear...well, some of them have to reappear, as there are a zillion bags of cement stacked up against my garage door, and those have to be moved before the door replacement can happen...

9 comments:

Alex said...

You don't just pick 'em, you collect them.

Tammy said...

Thank goodness for a few good men! Fascinating sundial man and I can't wait to see the bathroom.

Alex, you crack me up! My daughter won't be getting my blog address anytime soon. LOL

HUGS

emmapeelDallas said...

Hey!!!

LOL!

Sad, but true...the saner they seem to be when I'm screening them, the loonier they seem to be when they show up...uh, that's assuming they actually DO show up...which the fence crew did this morning, coincidentally within 10 minutes of my calling the company and telling them in no uncertain terms that I was not happy with them...

Gannet Girl said...

I have a similar piano situation. My gm's 1927 Steinway, which I am probably going to donate to someplace that can afford the work and I can have the tax deducation.

I do not, however, have nearly as good a story to accompany it (pun intended, I guess).

emmapeelDallas said...

Oh, I know. My neighbors have a 1907 Steinway baby grand that they've just had restored. They invited me over this evening to see it, and it's beautiful, and they had the restoration done by Steinway, but anyway you look at it, it's thousands of dollars. The piano that I have has been in Anthony's family, on his mother's side, for over 80 years, so I'm loathe to part with it, but...I can't afford the restoration, sooooo...maybe the donation idea is the way to go.

Lisa :-] said...

Man, what's in the water in your neck of the woods?

Jan said...

Wow--you certainly have a welcoming presence for these people. . . .I've never met anyone who talked on and on like those guys. Glad you're safe. Sorry about the piano; it's too beautiful to give up.

Wyldth1ng said...

That seems like a lot of repairs for December.

I would call the police on the piano guy.

dreaminglily said...

Neat. Well the sundial thing, the crazies are just kinda....normal for me lol