Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Puzzles and Pianos (Day 7 of vacation)


I'm a month behind as day 7 of vacation occurred on August 25, 2006. This was a rainy day and we mostly spent time finishing the Statue of Liberty puzzle that Adam got just 2 days before. Everyone was quite impressed that Adam had the perseverance to finish a 500 piece puzzle. He did almost all the buildings and Lady Liberty and I helped with the words, sky and blue parts.

Here is a blurb about "saving puzzles" that I wrote up in the Flickr Jigsaw group: My parents were big fans of gluing all the puzzles I did, so they are glued, framed and displayed all over their house. Throughout college, I did the same in my dorm room. When I got older, I met friends that never heard of such a thing and always put them back in the box, so I started doing that. Now that I have children, they love to take the puzzles apart (part of that destructive phase), so I never even think to glue them anymore. Now that my son is old enough to do 500 piece puzzles (at age 5!), Grandma was so proud that she said she would glue and frame them. Now he's expecting me to do so as well! Full circle.

Unfortunately this puzzle had all sorts of oddly-shaped loosely locking pieces (which I personally love to work with), which simply didn't hold together. I promised Adam that I would help him glue it again when he got home. Hopefully doing it on my felt puzzle pad will allow it to stay together for the final "flip". We haven't even tried yet, as Dova the great destructor is a constant threat.

U1 Image
Later that day, Grandma took Adam and me to a piano store to check out some used pianos she saw on eBay. She had gotten the idea that she wanted to learn to play after she retires. Of course when she got into the store, she was more interested in how the piano looked as opposed to how it played or sounded. I would sit at each piano and play her favorite piece, About Strange Lands and People from Schumann's Kinderszenen (need IE and the Sibelius Scorch plug-in to see the sheet music). She didn't much like the shiny clean lines of the ebony Yamaha's and Kawai's and preferred the more furniture-looking Story & Clark's. I told her flat out not to even consider Story & Clark, and tried to steer her towards Kawai, which is what I have. But this one 1985 Yamaha U1, suddenly caught our ear. This sound from this instrument was truly beautiful and singing and it had wonderful action with no mechanical clunkiness. At 48", it wasn't as big as some other uprights, but it clearly had a strong, warm sound. At this point, I was sold and told her to haggle the price down a bit. Even as we closed the deal, she kept trying to get me to play more pianos including a white (eeks!) Young Chang grand. I refused to even touch it, being the piano snob that I am (no Liberace PLEASE!). I even tried their prized $30k Steinway grand and didn't much like it because it had an older style keyboard where the black keys were wider than I am used to. It took quite a while to iron out all the details of price, delivery, bench, etc, but Adam was pretty well behaved for a boy cooped up in a piano store on a rainy day. When we got back, I was all fired up telling Doug about the new piano. He was surprised that I would be so excited, and he finally likened it to the thrill of buy a new car. But how often do you get to buy a piano in your lifetime? I can't wait to go back and try it.

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