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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