Monday, February 24, 2014

The Great Purge

A friend named this photo "The Emperor's New Piano":

It's a beauty, no?

About a year and a half ago, my mom reached her limit. She and my dad had been nudging me since about 1998 to move the family piano from their house to mine. Between the two of them, my dad was the more persistent verbally. He died in early 2012, but he would be pleased to know my just-do-it decision-making mom finally achieved what he was never able to. To encourage the transition, she generously helped us get the piano refurbished.

Just before Thanksgiving last year, The Piano People (Urbana, IL) declared their work complete. Shipping was postponed until after the holidays, by which point The Piano People were having difficulty locating a moving company in Durham that could receive and deliver the instrument. This gave us time for the long-delayed Great Purge.

For better or for worse, I don't have a photograph of the study pre-Purge. What's deftly omitted from the post-Purge photo above are two bicycles and some large rolls of bubble pack. What you also don't see--because they are no longer in the room--are the futon we had since grad school, a desk, a printer cart, and a table. These had all been providing horizontal surfaces for Stuff, so moving the furniture out for the piano meant clearing shelf space for keeper Stuff, plus folding and putting away 75 cubic feet of laundry that we had been storing on the futon instead of in our dressers.

Clearing the bookshelves meant finally saying farewell to the academic detritus I hadn't been able to part with during the Lesser Purge of '11--the books I was still clinging to because they had offered glimmers of light in my previous incarnation as a depressed music theorist. Goodbye books: a Recovered Academic lives here now. Ten years out, and I'm healed.

Cookbooks, gardening books, travel books, textbooks, unused scores... The purging process was slowed by time spent imagining how much better and more interesting I would be if I dedicated myself to actually reading and studying all the books on the shelf.

I willingly parted with some gems, including a 25-year old German textbook that built a lesson, in Chapter 3, around the vocabulary words "der Kassetterecorder" and "funkelnagelneu":
Gisela: "Ist der Kassettenrecorder neu?" 
Susi: "Ja, er ist funkelnagelneu." 
Gisela: "Und hast du auch Kassetten?" 
Susi: "Ich habe fast 20 Kassette. Was hoerst du gern? Culture Club? Styx? Duran Duran?" 
Gisela: "Ich hoere nicht gern Rockmusik, sondern lieber Klassik. Hast du nichts von Beethoven oder Brahms?"
Gisela: "Is the tape recorder new?" 
Susi: "Yes, it is brand spankin' new." 
Gisela: "And do you have tapes too?" 
Susi: "I have almost 20 tapes. What do you like to listen to? Culture Club? Styx? Duran Duran?" 
Gisela: "I do not like to listen to rock music, rather classical. Do you not have any Beethoven or Brahms?"

Thankfully, I have a blog, so though the book has moved on, I can continue to revisit that dialog.

We also bid adieu to about 25% of our CD collection. Goodbye Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Messaien, and you other bitter Brussels sprouts of academe. I admit it: I never liked listening to you. (Well, OK, Wozzek has some freaky redeeming value, but I'll rent it on DVD if I ever miss it--which I'm sure I won't.) Other choices were a little harder. Goodbye, Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium and Matthäus-Passion; you were too long for your own good.

The futon moved across the street, the desk moved into a hall, the printer cart moved into the basement, and the table moved...into the middle of the living hold boxes of purged Stuff. We'll get rid of them this week, I swear.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's a piano!!!

Dear friends and family,

We're thrilled to welcome this beautiful little bundle of joy into our lives! It arrived yesterday, February 17, at 8:24pm--earlier than the due date--we didn't even have time to finish painting the room! E's taking it all in stride, and was very gentle and sweet when he got to meet the new arrival. I'll post photos soon, but for now, here's the announcement! Pianist and instrument are resting comfortably after a long night.

Mason Hamlin
Length: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 1000 pounds 2 ounces

Liz, S, & E