Saturday, August 2, 2014

Antique Upright Piano Challenge: Part 1

The other day as I routinely checked my Facebook updates, I saw a post in which a friend tagged me with the following,
"Paulette Rodriguez ????"
then a link to a Craigslist post which read,

"Antique Upright Grand Piano
Original condition, some wood repair needed.  All playing pieces work perfectly.
Perfect for restaurant decor, Pinterest project, or garden decor.  Will sound great if you choose to tune it.  You..."

Well, shoot! You just know I to take a look. 
The piano was being offered for a mere $25.  There were some additional photos that had me intrigued.

(I no longer have access to the actual photos I saw in the add, but the above photos are very similar.)
Now, mind you, I had just announced to my husband no less than 30 minutes earlier that I was going to stop bringing home "projects," and here I was already considering just one more - and a behemoth at that!

My inner dialogue went a little something like this:

"No, Paulette, you don't need that."


"But where would you put it... huh?"  

I promptly contacted Jenna, the seller, and asked for dimensions.  She responded.  It was too big for the one spot in my house I thought I could put it.  Darn!
But...then Jenna tells me she'll happily GIVE us the piano, as she just needs it gone, and she sure would like someone who will care for it to have it. She then mentions that the piano was salvaged from an old Fort Worth honkytonk! 
Well, who can say no to that?  

" plays! and it's an ANTIQUE UPRIGHT PIANO!  Even if it's hopelessly out of tune, the cabinet top is gorgeous and did you hear that? It was salvaged from a real live honkytonk!" 

(Would you look at the cabinet top!)

"Do you KNOW how heavy it is to move a piano?!  Your husband doesn't want it.  He's not going to want to help you move it.  How in the world are you going to get it home?"

"Hmmmmm, good point. ... "   

I called my sons.  Both of them are self-taught musicians; both like to play the piano.  I gave them a call.  They said they'd help. 
Now, interestingly enough, as I'm trying to talk myself through the decision-making process and calling for back-up, I notice my husband looking online at antique pianos.
I am smart; I said nothing.  

"I think you're crazy," he says.

"I know,"  I say. "Will you at least think about it?"


"Look, I'll let you think about it and ask you again tomorrow, OK?"  I say.

(The piano was strapped down.  The safety straps had just been removed when I snapped this shot.) 
Fast forward several days...and TA-DA!

After a trailer rental debacle, a battle to move it out of the owner's home, loading it into the trailer, driving through Austin rush-hour traffic, one slight piano tipping, and the final unload, Lovely Rita has made it home! 

(The YouTube videos advertised here are in no way endorsed by this blog.  I do, however, appreciate YouTube allowing me to embed videos.)
And would you look who was the first to tickle her ivories!

I think he's smitten.

Though the delivery was painful, it's now almost forgotten; and we're all so glad she's here. Rita will no doubt bring much joy to our family.

Check back later for further updates on Lovely Rita's transformation in Part 2 of the Antique Upright Piano Challenge.

A special "Thank You" to Lisa G., a good friend and fellow creative risk-taker, for knowing me so well, and to Jenna S, a new friend, for her generosity and love of old relics!

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.

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