Geek Momma Pride & Piano

Price­less moment this week­end: the look on sev­er­al peo­ple’s faces when I casu­al­ly men­tioned that when my broth­er gave his old PC to Katie, she installed Lin­ux on it. Her­self. (Okay, I think she had to ask sam­bear one ques­tion regard­ing the NIC driver.)

As my par­ents pre­pare to move, all kinds of things are show­ing up. My sis­ter has this annoy­ing habit of going over to “help clean” their house when­ev­er they’re out of town. She and my broth­er have got­ten rid of all kinds of things over the years with­out any­body’s permission—if it were my home, I’d change the locks. But Mom and Dad don’t even know about a lot of that stuff, as it was in the guise of “clean­ing clos­ets” and such. BUT, they’d stuffed most of my music books into the depths of some clos­et (at least they did­n’t throw them away) and they’ve only now been dis­cov­ered. I’m annoyed that the whole series of music books from when I was tak­ing lessons have dis­ap­peared, as I had kept them for a rea­son, but at least most of the oth­er stuff I’d thought gone was there. sam­bear has­n’t ever seen most of this stuff, and he was espe­cial­ly tick­led about the Indi­go Girls songbook.

This is even bet­ter because they’re giv­ing us the piano! Now, it isn’t a great piano. It is a stan­dard upright and it’s real­ly old. After I’d been tak­ing piano lessons for about 6 months and prac­tic­ing at Mama Sadie’s house every day, Dad­dy had done some air con­di­tion­ing work for some­one who then said they had no mon­ey with which to pay him. They had this piano sit­ting on a porch, and he loaded it up and brought it home in pay­ment. That was around 1976. It has been moved from Alaba­ma to Geor­gia since then (not by pro­fes­sion­al piano movers) and shuf­fled to var­i­ous places in their liv­ing room. Nary a tuner, ever.

They had some­one from their church who ren­o­vates pianos come over to take a look about a year ago because the B flat below mid­dle C just makes a “thud” sort of noise now. He said there was some part bro­ken and that he could­n’t get parts for this piano. Dad­dy is now think­ing that per­haps he could make a replace­ment part. (My Dad­dy can fix any­thing. No, real­ly, he can. When he wants to do it.)

So while I imag­ine ilexx is scream­ing now and say­ing, “No! No! I can’t imag­ine how awful that sounds!” I’m hap­py to have the piano any­way. It sounds far bet­ter than you’d think for how it’s been treat­ed, and I can’t begin to tell you what an impor­tant com­pan­ion that piano was to me over the years. Seriously—by the time I was about 12, my par­ents found that the most effec­tive pun­ish­ment they could find for me was to put me on musi­cal restric­tion. I was­n’t allowed to lis­ten to or make music, at all, for a week or so. At home. They could­n’t exact­ly keep me out of band class each day, could they? And they still insist­ed that I go to church and choir practice—but I was used to hav­ing music around so much that it was harsh, anyway.

I haven’t ever been able to get used to a keyboard—they just feel wrong. And I can’t play for crap any­more since I haven’t had reg­u­lar access to a piano since los­ing the feel­ing in most of my left hand, but I plan to work on it. And I sang much more often when I had a piano to play. I’ve want­ed one of those cool dig­i­tal pianos with the weight­ed keys for years, but the mon­ey has­n’t ever fall­en into my hands. I haven’t had reg­u­lar access to a piano since I was 18. I’m so excited!

We will have the piano tuned, as well as it can be tuned, after it gets here. But first, we have to find a place for it. And any­one who has seen our home knows that while we have lots of space, it’s pret­ty darned full of fur­ni­ture. And we fill all those seats in the liv­ing room on a pret­ty reg­u­lar basis since we enjoy enter­tain­ing. But I don’t want to put the piano down­stairs, because I won’t play it near­ly as often down there.

On a sad­der note, I’m wor­ried about Shel­ley. She’s refus­ing to eat even the chick­en liv­ers now. She likes the kit­ty milk we got for the kit­tens, but she real­ly can’t just live on that. And I’m fair­ly sure she’s devel­oped arthritis—she’s mov­ing in a way I’m all too famil­iar with. Now, that isn’t sur­pris­ing in a 13-year-old cat, but she had no signs of it at all 3 years ago. She keeps scratch­ing her­self obses­sive­ly, although she does­n’t have fleas or any­thing, and the sores don’t heal due to the FIV. At least she isn’t scratch­ing great big raw patch­es now as she did for a time after her move in 1999, but it’s still worrisome. 

We have to weigh her qual­i­ty of life against the trau­ma of los­ing her. While it would be much eas­i­er on Katie (and the rest of us) now than in 1999 right after Wayne died, it’s nev­er going to be easy.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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