The Lending of a Piano

I play the piano. I have been plunking the keys since I was probably two or three, though my first memories are of me trying to “play along” with my mom when I was maybe four. My mom’s hands would seem to be flying over the keys, and I really wanted to be part of this magic. I would hit a couple keys at the very top of the keyboard, sure that if I played gently, it wouldn’t mess up the song. We had an old piano in our living room/dining room there in the North of Haiti. It was in the corner of the room and I remember being drawn to it. It did such amazing things. 

We left that house when I was six and moved to my grandparents farm in Eastern Kentucky. We were living in a small trailer. No room for a piano. In fact, over the next ten years I did not have a Real Piano in my home. My parents got me a keyboard when I was pretty young, then later, as I pursued music more seriously, they got me a nice keyboard, a Roland with a full length keyboard and weighted keys. It also had a cool function where I could record myself playing, play back the recording, and play along with myself. This function worked great for me because I knew lots of duets and I could rarely get someone else to play the other side with me. 

Over the years I learned how to keep an eye out for Real Pianos (because keyboards are great, but nothing can replace real strings and hammers and keys that respond to the lightest touch). I would enter a home and glance around, any pianos? Oh, you have a piano! Do you mind if I play? When we would travel to different churches, I would linger afterwards, waiting for everyone to leave the sanctuary so I could sneak up and maybe play a quick song on the vacated piano. I was drawn to the instrument, some kind of magnetic force I wasn’t even aware of. 

Of course, I have always said, it would be a lot easier to play guitar. Then you just carry your instrument around with you. Alas, a pianist does not have that luck. But, I have good memories of all the pianos I have discovered and stolen a couple moments from over the years. 

The church we attended when I was in eighth grade had a giant Steinway Concert Grand Piano. And for some reason I can’t remember, my father had to be at the church pretty regularly during the week, and sometimes he would take me after school, and the secretary gave me permission to go in and play. I remember sitting in the auditorium-like sanctuary, all the lights off except a little lamp on the piano. I remember the keys were a lot heavier than I was used to. I would belt out the grandest song I could come up with, and at that age, it wasn’t anything too grand, and I would marvel at the richness of it all. It was heavenly. 

Later, when we were back in Haiti and lived close to the Baptist Seminary, I would often walk down our mountain that we lived on, go to the seminary and get the key to the Chapel where they had a lovely brand new upright piano. It was draped in a thick, quilted, fitted cover. You had to pull it off just-so or it would get stuck on a corner. None of the keys were chipped. There weren’t any notes you had to avoid because they would stick. The sound was warm. The empty chapel with it’s wooden benches making a holy atmosphere for creating music. 

I remember when we moved to Bethel, Alaska right before my sixteenth birthday. We had only been there a couple days and one of the local pastors came and introduced himself, invited us out to lunch with him. We went to the local pizza place and got to know Pastor Ralph Liberty a little better. He was the friendliest, jolliest pastor I had ever met. My dad mentioned that I played piano and I was needing a place to practice. Pastor Ralph immediately offered the piano in their church, a little Assemblies of God congregation. I started walking to the church regularly to practice, and our family started attending the church. They had a new, black, baby grand. It was perched on their little platform stage, to the side, right by a window. I remember the carpet was a rich burgundy color and the light came in weakly through the small windows. I would turn on the little lamp on the piano and pull out my books. I had just started piano lessons at the local community college and my new teacher was determined to challenge me. The first day she sent me home from my first lesson with the Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor that was written on four staves in certain sections. I had never had a piece that difficult and I was determined to prove myself worthy. I remember sitting in the little sanctuary, pushing forward one measure at a time until I could finally play through the whole thing, very, very, very lento. 

A couple months after that my parents found me a little spinet piano that just barely squeezed into the tiny house we were renting. My days of searching out pianos to practice on were finally over. I loved that little piano, and I wore it out. But, looking back, I am glad for the adventure I had in seeking the lending of a piano. I inhabited many sacred spaces that became my own for the short time I was there. 

And so I say Thank you. Thank you dear churches. Thank you dear friends. Thank you dear strangers for lending me your piano. Those moments brought me great joy. 

I Am Rich

I love the sounds of my house. A couple minutes ago I was sitting at the piano, trying to sight-read through a fairly simple Chopin piece I had never seen or heard before. It was slow going. Adagio. I wasn’t really focusing on what I was doing. Honestly, I was just killing time, waiting for my kindergartner to finish his workbook. Right now all the kids are waiting for him to finish his workbook. I told him that when he had finished his school work (workbook and read aloud a story) then I would go down to the store and buy our traditional bags of Candy Corn (and for all you haters out there, we happen to think candy corn is awesome!!). Every October I put out some ceramic pumpkins on my mantle, fill them with candy corn and the kids get to grab some after school is done, or chores, or whatever hard task is in front of them. 

Anyway, I was playing the piano, waiting for David to finish his workbook, and I started just listening to all the sounds of our house. 

We started a fire in the wood-burning stove this morning. The stove has a little fan that blows warm air into the room. It is a soothing white noise. We also have a large fish tank in the living room whose water filter sounds like a little waterfall. We need these soothing sounds. They counterbalance the sound of teenagers hurling themselves down our wooden staircase as loud as they can. And the sound of the three year old talking to himself as he plays his little imaginary games. I have one teenager home this week because her school is shut down for Covid. She loves music and carries her phone everywhere with her, sharing her very eclectic music choices with the whole family. 

You can hear our dog barking outside, faithfully protecting us from any random person walking down the sidewalk. The occasional car drives by on the street in front of our house. You can occasionally hear a siren rushing past on the main road which is only a block away from us. 

The kindergartner has a chronic whistling habit and the eleven year old is constantly humming. And Chopin continues to plunk along in the background. 

There is so much life tucked into the walls of this home. 

(Time lapse)

So, I just got back from the store, candy corn has been bought, pumpkin candy dishes are now full. 

When I pulled up to the Family Dollar, I saw two apparently homeless people, a man and a woman, in the alley behind the store. By the time that I left the store and was heading back to my car, they had settled themselves on the back steps of the store’s delivery entrance. They had bags of belongings and some fountain soda cups from a nearby gas station. They looked dirty and the woman looked like she was crying. But they weren’t trying to make eye contact with me, and I had nothing to offer them. No groceries in my bag, just candy corn. No cash in my wallet, just a bankcard. No words to share, my innate shyness balking at starting a conversation. I remembered that I had supported one of our homeless shelters this past weekend by shopping at their thrift store (thank you Ma’am, your purchase has just helped us feed ten people!), and I just hope that this couple will make their way to the shelter by evening and take advantage of this ministry in our city.

I climbed back into my car and drove back home. And once again, I felt like the blinders had been ripped off my eyes. A glimpse at my true reality. My home, a beautiful mansion. My children, costly jewels, unmeasurable treasures. My life, a dream come true.

And the noises in my house sound like a beautiful symphony. The chaos is simply an outpouring of joy. I feel like the richest woman on the planet as I survey this ramshackle house of mine. 

And my prayer becomes, make me a blessing.

God, you have blessed me, show me how to bless others. 

In Memory of My Aunt

I just got news that my Aunt Rachel passed away a couple hours ago. She had been fighting a long hard battle with cancer and today was the end. 

 

And I sit here. Feeling numb. 

 

I haven’t been in touch with my aunt, besides the occasional FB message, in years. Lots of reasons. Family is complicated. My relationship with my aunt was complicated. 

 

But, there was a time when it wasn’t. 

 

When I was six and half, we moved back to Kentucky from Haiti. My mother was planning on returning to school to become a Physician’s Assistant and we were looking at being in the States for the next five years. We settled into a little trailer on my Grandparents farm in Eastern Kentucky. My grandparents were still living in Haiti as missionaries, and my Aunt Rachel and her two children and husband were living in my grandparents house. 

 

We were now neighbors. 

 

This was the mid 80s. My aunt homeschooled at a time when it wasn’t popular. She had an opinion about everything, and taught me the art of discussing a broad array of subjects. She was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. 

 

She taught me how to play piano. She would sit down and start playing something really fun, and then if we kids showed any interest at all, she was quick to sit us down and show us how to do it ourselves. She taught all of us kids (my two cousins, my brother and I, my next-door best friend and her sister) all kinds of fun duets on the piano. When I showed even more interest, she taught me about chords and inversions, and then she taught me how to play Fur Elise and how to jazz up Silent Night. She would sit and play Chopin and I would sit next to her, watching her fingers fly over the keys, mesmerized. 

 

Every summer my aunt would get on a kick. One summer it was roller skating. She made sure we all had skates and then made a big space on her porch and we would skate and skate. She taught us how to skate backwards, and do twists and turns, tricks. We would limbo with skates on. Another summer it was jump rope. She got out a big rope and attached it to a post on her porch and showed us how to swing it and then taught us how to jump in the front door, and jump in the back door. We learned how to jump with the steady beat of my aunt turning, the rope at just the right height, and then we learned how to jump to the erratic turnings of my little cousin who could barely get the rope high enough for us to get under. We knew all kinds of jump rope rhymes and had so much fun. 

 

One summer my aunt put up a volleyball net in her yard and taught us all how to play volleyball. She was an avid nature person too, and she knew the names of all the animals and plants and birds. She was a wealth of knowledge.

 

My aunt also had ponies. Ponies that she trained herself. She trained them how to respond to word commands and very gentle nudges of the reins. Heaven help the child who pulled on the bit or was rough with the ponies in any way. She taught us how to saddle them up and how to ride and we would spend hours riding through the wood trails. 

 

One summer she got a buggy and taught one of the ponies how to pull the buggy, then we would ride up and down the holler road in the buggy singing folk songs. 

 

In the winter, if we got enough snow, she would hitch up an old sleigh of sorts to the pony and would let us ride behind, whooshing through the snow. 

 

Later, she got her kids into gymnastics and she persuaded me to take gymnastic lessons with her kids for a while. My cousins far out-paced me, they had natural talent that I was lacking. But I remember her willingness to help drive me to the gym so I could learn too. 

 

She loved animals. Especially birds. She always had a pet bird of some sort perched on her shoulder or her head. At various times she had ponies, dogs, cats, snakes, pet rats, ducks, hedgehogs, frogs in aquariums, and a whole host of different kinds of birds. And there are probably some other animals that I have forgotten about. It was a child’s paradise. 

 

When I moved away at the age of eleven, back to Haiti, she was a constant correspondent. Her letters and cards were always full of stories and words of encouragement. She was convinced that all of us kids were the smartest kids in the world and was sure that we would be amazingly successful as adults. 

 

When I think of my aunt, those are the years that I remember. 

 

For various, complicated reasons, we fell out of touch, only keeping a hazy eye on each other via FB. But, when I heard that she had cancer and was not doing well, I reached out to her. Thanked her for being such a wonderful aunt to me when I was a child. Thanked her for passing on her love of music. Told her how, when I teach piano, I always think of the way she taught me, and I try to emulate her. 

 

She wrote back, kind words. 

 

I am glad that we had that moment. 

 

And my heart is numb. 

 

Thank you Aunt Rachel for being An Aunt Extraordinaire and for investing in my childhood. I pray for peace for your children and everyone else that you have left behind. 

 

The Art of Mental Health

I’ve been thinking some about mental health. Our family has been going through a lot of big transitions these last couple weeks as my kids have all started back to school. My oldest son is getting ready to head off to Montana for a year, my oldest daughter is home for a quick visit after her summer in Alaska and then she heads back to Alaska for another year. 

Trying to adjust to a new schedule, new routines, new family dynamics, has been exhausting. My body’s response to lots of stress and change is to kick in the insomnia. So, lately, somewhere around 3am, I wake up and can’t go back to sleep for hours. I think I probably could go back to sleep easier if my thoughts would just stop. Racing thoughts. Anxious thoughts. Little worries that quickly turn into life-threatening tragedies. And I’m laying there just wishing my brain would shut up and go to sleep. 

I have been fighting anxiety and panic attacks since I was nineteen years old. I’ve learned some things over the years. When I’m in a full-blown panic attack I find that reciting my Creed of Beliefs out loud helps things to calm down. Writing down all the things I’m afraid of and then writing on top of those things scriptures where God has promised to take care of these particular worries is also a big thing I can do. But usually my anxiety doesn’t reach those levels. Usually I can keep it under control. 

It was only this week that I connected some dots with my behavior. I suddenly realized that some of my life-long habits are actually ways of controlling anxiety. This week I have been carrying around a book of Sudoku puzzles (very fun math puzzles!). When I’m sitting in a room with all my kids clamoring around me, telling me about their days at school, playing with each other, asking for me to watch them do a trick or look at this picture they colored, I sit there and work on my Sudoku puzzles. Whenever they want my attention I look up and give it to them, but as soon as they’ve moved on, I go back to my puzzle. So, this week, I suddenly realized that when I’m doing Sudoku all my racing thoughts go on pause. It’s like, somehow, doing Sudoku uses enough brain power that it distracts those thoughts, but I can still listen to the conversations around me. 

After this major AH-HAH moment, I started wondering what else I do that has the same effect. Playing the piano definitely does that, though it takes too much brain power to be able to still listen to other people in the room. But playing Bach is kind of like pouring soothing oil on a raw wound. It creates order out of chaos. 

Reading books is also a huge one. I have been a bookworm since I was in Second Grade. But, I can read a book in the room with my family and still hear what’s going on around me, and stop reading and engage and then go back to reading. 

Then there are the times when I can’t do these activities because I’m driving or in a meeting or some other place where those things would be frowned upon. Well, then I usually have some story that I’m creating in my head and I run the story in my mind, kind of like a movie, making it up as I go along. 

I’ve always thought I was a little weird. Why do I do these things? I have to admit, realizing that these habits are actually ways that I manage anxiety is actually a bit of a relief. I feel like instead of being a bit weird and anti-social, I have actually just stumbled on ways of being a bit more mentally healthy. And it didn’t involve any illegal substances or harmful practices. Yay! 

Of course, it would be nice if those racing thoughts would just stop. And I find that I engage less in my Habits when I’m doing well spiritually, physically, mentally. But, I’ve also discovered that I can’t control everything that happens in life. Sometimes I have lots of time and energy to focus on being healthy. But other times life starts throwing a bunch of curve balls and instead of “living victoriously” it’s more like holding on to the roller coaster with an icy grip and just waiting for those big flips and turns to be over before you hit another straight stretch. 

I thank God for his mercy and grace that helps me to soar high, living the Great Life. And I thank God for his mercy and grace that helps me to just hang on and survive when life is hard. And I’m thankful for the coping mechanisms he’s helped me to find without my even realizing it. 

 

 

Everyone Needs a Manifesto

Today I have been focusing on piano. Piano teaching to be exact. In the fall I will be teaching piano lessons at our church’s homeschooling co-op which meets once a week. I will have four students this year. I had two students last year. I am slowly sticking my toe into the waters of Piano Teaching. My end goal is to teach lessons from my home when all my kids are in school, hopefully focusing on the home school crowd who have the flexibility to take lessons during the day instead of during after-school hours. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime I am slowly feeling my way forward in the realm of teaching. I have been looking at all kinds of different piano teaching curriculum. Reading reviews. Watching tutorials. I am also brushing off my own piano books, starting to set some goals for myself in learning new pieces and brushing up on my music theory. 

As I’ve been doing all of this, it occurred to me that I should write a Piano Teacher’s Manifesto. Kind of a written statement of what my goals are for teaching piano. I’ve been jotting down different ideas today, trying to figure out what is important to me and what isn’t important to me. I think I can boil down my ideas into two key points. 1. I want to share the joy of music: expose kids to all kinds of music and hopefully pass on the wonder and delight I feel when I listen to music. 2. I want to make music accessible to them: give them the skills they need so that they can participate in music and also let them realize they can enjoy and participate in music no matter what skill level they are at. 

Once I have a manifesto then I have a measuring stick. When I consider different curriculum I can ask the question, Will this curriculum enable me to fulfill the goals of my manifesto? When I plan out my lessons and recitals I can always be making sure my methods line up with my goals. A manifesto is a very useful tool. 

It occurs to me that I should have manifestos for other areas in my life. Like parenting. What are my goals for parenting? Teach my children to know and love the God of the Bible.  Teach my children how to love and respect the people around them. Teach my children how to become responsible citizens. All the parenting methods I use, all the decisions I make should be lining up with those goals. 

How about a manifesto for my online presence? Something to regulate how I act on Facebook and my blog and anywhere else I might show up. How about: Be respectful and kind at all times, reflect character that is pleasing to God. If I was tech-savvy, I could somehow make a little window pop up every time I’m about to hit POST or COMMENT…Is this content Respectful and Kind and Pleasing to God? I would have to hit the YES button on the window before I could go ahead and hit enter. 

Ok, I’m on a roll now…How about a manifesto for my marriage? Let’s see. All my words and actions should have the purpose of encouraging and building up my spouse and promoting unity between us. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little voice reminding you of that manifesto every time you opened your mouth to speak..”Is this going to encourage him? Is this going to promote unity?” 

Anyway, I’m having fun with the whole idea of writing down my goals so that I have some direction when I need to make decisions. Maybe I’ll expand this to a House Cleaning Manifesto, Money Spending Manifesto, and Book Reading Manifesto! 

 

Kid Tune Torture

It’s a rainy summer day here in East Tennessee. All of my teenagers are off living their lives somewhere else today. I am home with six of my children plus three bonus children. And amazingly, everyone is getting along and playing nicely. I made all the kids work and clean up the house so we’d have a peaceful environment. It’s not immaculate, but it’s tidy and welcoming. The older boys are in a bedroom playing legos. The older girls are cleaning the girls’ bedroom and making a game out of it. The three youngest are sitting at the dining room table playing playdoh. Talking quietly and cheerfully to themselves. I have been playing my piano for the last half hour. Schubert’s Serenade, some Preludes by Chopin, a Waltz by Brahms. I’ve been skimming through my piano collections, finding the simple, peaceful, pensive pieces. My piano is right next to two large windows and the falling rain has accompanied my music. Ah. So peaceful.

I retire to my chair in the corner of the room, my own little private space. And then. Then, my brain resumes it’s torment. “I AM THE IRON MAN…toodootoodootoodoo,doo doo doo….I AM THE IRON MAN…toodootoodootoodooo.doo.doo.doo…” You might be wondering what on earth that is all about. There is some kind of spoof song about the Iron Man that my son showed me once on YouTube several years ago. That song has taken up residence in my brain and it won’t leave me alone. I only know a couple words of the song, but my brain helpfully fills in all the rest with toodoo toodoo toodoos. This song won’t leave me alone. I try to replace it with other songs. But, I have children, and there is a whole repertoire of annoying songs ready to take its place.

The other day I realized that I had been singing the Alphabet Song all day long, under my breath. With great feeling and emotion. Kind of like a sad ballad. I stopped. What are you doing??? I asked my subconscious. My subconscious refused to answer, and instead continued it’s sad wailing, “Q, R, S, T, U, V…” and then, with great feeling, “W, X, Y and Z…”

AAAAACCKK!!!

New song. I need a new song in my head. Then I hear the piano in the background. Two of the girls in my house have learned the same arrangement of a song from the Disney movie MOANA. I, of course, do not know all the words to this song, and so my head does another rendition of, “Too do dooo, to do doo, to do doo, doo, doo, DOOO, doo, And now I Know, how far it goes…too doo doo, too, doo doo, doo doo, DOOO doo, and now I know, how far it GOES!” (now the key change…) and on and on that song goes in my head. Just a short part of it, cause that’s all the girls play.

If it’s not Moana, Iron Man or the Alphabet song, it might be the little song from the tv show, Sarah and Duck, in which a narrators’ voice says, over and over and over again…”Sarah and Duck…Sarah and Duck…Sarah and Duck…Sarah and Duck…quack.” (By the way, on Youtube, somebody was nice enough to post a video where they had looped this song. You can sit for nine hours and listen to a narrator say “Sarah and Duck.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who is bothered by this song.)

It would be nice to have a Praise Song, or a Bible Memory Song, or a beautiful hymn running through my head all day. Occasionally, I’m fortunate, and I do have something like that repeating through my thoughts throughout the day. “Amazing grace, how sweet the song, that saved a wretch like me…” And then, out of nowhere…I AM THE IRON MAN!!

Good grief.

 

When You’re Just Not Feeling It

I’m not feeling it today. I woke up with a headache this morning that didn’t go away till the afternoon. Then starting about four, I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. But I had to, because this night is my husband’s shop night and so I was on my own to get kids to bed. I fell asleep in the two year old’s bed, because he wouldn’t go to sleep and I finally gave up and just laid down on his bed and went to sleep myself. It must have worked because I eventually woke up and he was asleep next to me. I dragged myself downstairs, remembering that I hadn’t finished my blog for the next day. I started one this afternoon. All about perfectionism. And I just reread it and I feel like I’m preaching. And I just don’t feel like preaching today.

I want to write down funny stories about what my kids have done, but my sense of humour has been a bit strained lately. I would like to be poetic or lyrical. Nope. That’s not happening either. Today is just one of those days where you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving.

There were a couple sweet notes in the day. Eating lunch on the deck with my two little boys and my husband who came home from work. Giving my six youngest children the job of moving our humongous trampoline from one corner of the yard to the opposite corner, a journey that was long, and involved getting around a lot of obstacles. Not only did they rise to the challenge, but they managed to work together cheerfully and with lots of enthusiasm. So, now you know, teamwork building project: have your children move a really big trampoline. That cheerfulness even lasted all the way to bedtime, major bonus.

Let’s see. Other good things that happened today…I got to help my eight year old daughter practice a couple songs on the piano and started teaching her a cute little song to sing for our musical evening that’s coming up soon. I got to sit out in the sunshine and fresh air while I watched my little boys playing in the yard. I exercised today, despite my headache.

I thought about some good things. Pondered perfectionism. Questioned the meaning of life. Daydreamed about what my children would be like when they were all grown up. Enjoyed reading a book by Linda Nichols, “In Search of Eden”. I recommend that book and any of her other books. She’s a really good storyteller that mixes gritty, harsh reality with amazing grace.

I will conclude with one little snippet about perfectionism. I am a closet perfectionist. I feel like a good day only happens when my house is spotless; I’m full of energy; my children are all perfectly-behaved, content, and well-adjusted. Today wasn’t really any of those things (aside from the success of children moving a trampoline). But, looking back, I have to say. It was a good day. Full of flaws: headaches and messy houses included, but it’s ok. The day doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. What makes the day good is me being able to stop and notice the goodness tucked away here and there. It’s a good day when I take the time to be thankful for the small things.

I guess it was a pretty good day after all. And the best thing, I can now go to bed. 🙂

 

Kitchen Pianos and How to Degaje

kitchenpiano

(edit: I forgot to post the picture! Here it is!)

When I was a kid growing up in Haiti, there was a word that I heard a lot. Degaje. Which means, essentially, make do with what you have. If you have ever repaired anything with duct tape, then you are Degaje-ing. My dad had Degaje down to a science. “Well, the car broke down, and I couldn’t find a part for it, so I took this scrap metal I had and welded my own part..” or “You need bookshelves? Ok, here’s a big stack of milk crates, have fun…” or maybe, my mom, “I made bacon for breakfast…ok, it’s not really bacon, it’s fried spam, but it’s close!” You get the idea.

I have carried the spirit of Degaje into my marriage and family life. It sometimes gets on my husband’s nerves. His motto being, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right”. My motto goes more like, “Do whatever you can with whatever you have and as long as it works, everything is fine.” I will tell my kids that we are going to Degaje and they look at me blankly. What? Speak English mom. I still haven’t got it into their vocabulary.

That brings us to my kitchen piano. My husband knows how to tune and repair pianos. Shhh. It’s a secret. He’s not out for hire. He doesn’t mind keeping our family pianos going, but it’s not his favorite work. No, he really doesn’t want to come tune your piano for you. So, years ago he brought home an old broken down piano. I think someone was giving it away and it was either he take it or it was going to the dump. He took it. I think the idea was that he would fix it up and let it be a piano for the kids. Shortly after that though, he bought me a nice upright piano and of course the kids wanted to play my nice piano instead of the old beat up one that hadn’t been tuned yet. The old piano got relegated to our back room.

The back room is an addition on the back of our house that is very pleasant, full of windows. It has been a multi-functional room since we moved in 12 years ago. It has been a children’s bedroom, a sickroom, a family room, a junk room, a school room, a guest room, and finally it became the parental bedroom. Throughout all these transitions, the piano has remained. When it became my bedroom we used the piano as a kind of bookshelf and shoe rack. It looked ok, but it took up a lot of room. Then, for my 40th birthday, my husband remodeled our bedroom. We got carpet on the floor, fresh peachy paint on the walls, new curtains, new closet system. It’s beautiful, I love it.

When Andy started the bedroom remodel, he moved everything out of the room so he could lay the carpet. I suggested this would be a wonderful time to haul the piano away since we had no use for it. He seemed to agree with me and I was excited. Hurray, the unused, old, forgotten piano will finally go away! He rolled the piano out of our room, down a short hall and into the kitchen. He was focused on our bedroom and he said he would take care of the piano a bit later. The piano was in the middle of my kitchen and getting in the way, so we pushed it against the wall where there was plenty of room.

Now, I have to explain a bit more about our house and kitchen, because I’m sure you’re wondering why my kitchen had plenty of room for a piano…Our house was built in 1909. It is a “project” house. We are in the middle of remodeling it. We’ve been in the middle of remodeling it for 12 years. We have done all the major work like replacing plumbing and wiring and drywall, new bathrooms, new roof, that kind of stuff, but we’ve never quite got to finishing all the trim and painting and maybe fixing the floors…or finishing the kitchen.

My kitchen right now has very little counter space. A round table in the middle of the room, a countertop that holds all the cereal/fruit/bread/vegetables, and a little bit of counter on either side of the sink. That’s it. So, suddenly, I had a piano in my kitchen. I started setting things down on it while I was cooking. Other people started setting things down on it. Slowly the piano began to disappear under a pile of spices, and cooking supplies, and tea pots, and cast iron skillets. My husband raised an eyebrow when he saw the accumulation. “How am I going to get rid of the piano with all this stuff on it?” I assured him that as soon as he was ready to move the piano, I would move the stuff out of the way. Then logic kicked in. Why move the piano when it makes such a great counter space? Degaje at it’s best. And that, my friends, is why I have a piano in my kitchen. In case you were wondering.