Tuesday, February 8, 2011

323. My Very Own Free Piano

So I was driving home from our monthly neighborhood moms’ dinner out when I saw it. A piano covered in plastic, sitting forlornly on a quiet street corner, and boasting the inevitable sign: “Free. Needs work.”

Needs work. Huh. That’s okay, so do my piano-playing skills.

I pulled over, and turned the car off. I gingerly lifted the plastic, and started pressing the keys. Nothing. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a long electrical cord. Oh: it was a plug-in piano.

Just that very evening at dinner, the other moms had been bragging about how they all had pianos, recently bought new pianos, acquired pianos from their homes’ former owners, or were in the process of buying pianos. It was enough to give me an acute case of Piano Envy. Never mind that we have no room to actually put a piano, and that no one in our family shows one iota of budding musical talent (unless you count the cat, and that’s only when she’s hissing at birds through the window). Here was a piano, and it was free. It was obviously meant to be.

I drive a Highlander. We originally bought this SUV with the idea in mind that we could tote around sports equipment for the kids, but now the car’s true purpose in life was coming sharply into focus: my vehicle could easily fit this (small, upright) piano.

I opened the hatchback, and stared at the piano, wondering how I was going to do this by myself. I attempted to lift one side of the piano just to gauge exactly how heavy it was. It was heavy, but not as heavy as a sofa or a refrigerator. I could do this.

I’d only had one (okay, maybe two) margaritas at dinner, and although I was sure I could pass any police-mandated breathalyzer test, in retrospect it is clear that the alcohol had impaired my judgment. I could lift a piano! Why not?

I decided I wasn’t quite close enough to my new found object of desire, so I got back in the car, and slowly backed up until I was mere inches away from the lovely piano. Then, I tossed the two kids’ car-seats into the front seat, and flipped the backseats flat. I huffed and puffed, and got under that piano, and struggled to heave it into my car. It was lighter than you might think, but still heavy enough to realize that it was, indeed, a piano. After two or three failed attempts, I managed to load it.

Do I need to mention that upon completing this fun little exercise, an able-bodied man walking his dog approached me, and asked if I needed help? (Uh, well, it would’ve been nice if you had shown up two minutes prior so you could’ve talked me out of it, Buddy.)

So. Piano in the car. Bruises on the legs. I drove home, and promptly forgot about it.

Like that bad dream that is only remembered hours later when some trivial thing triggers a connection, I remembered the piano right as The Husband was walking out the door for work.

“Wait, Sweetie, wait! I need your help, uh ... getting the piano out of my car.”

“What did you say?” He was hoping I’d want the keys to his truck, or a check for Tall’s school field trip, or even a quick tutorial on how to get our printer to work. No such luck.

“Well, someone was throwing away a piano, and so I took it, and I really need your help getting it out of my car, and into the garage.” I said sweetly, as if I was reminding him to pick up my dry cleaning after work.

“A piano?! Are you insane? I don’t have time for this.” Now he was mad. “Why would you pick up a piano? Who helped you get it into your car in the first place? Geesh. Why would you do this?”

I didn’t want to get into my original motivation for taking the piano (uh, it was free, and we didn't have one; and by the way, how are our children ever going to become child prodigies if we don’t give them the opportunity?).

“Please help me.” I gave him a sad, pitiful look. It was the same look Short gives us when he wants his fifth piece of chocolate cake.

The Husband walked out to my car with me. I was still in my pajamas, with a coat hastily thrown over in a nod to the 35 degree temperature.

The piano was much, much heavier than I had remembered. The feat that I'd accomplished so easily the previous night by myself became an epic struggle with two people. (The Husband is 6’4” and weighs about 235 pounds. I would have thought he could lift two or three pianos at a time, possibly on his head.)

Because he really had no choice, the Husband helped me drag the poor piano out of my vehicle, and toward the garage. He insisted on knowing what had caused me to suddenly want to acquire a piano.

“Well,” I began, “You know Courtney from the bus-stop? She’s a piano teacher, and she’s always badgering me to have the kids take lessons from her.” (Courtney often approached me while we waited for the bus, saying things about music and music lessons. Things like, Hi, how are you? or the equally-weighted, It looks like it might rain again.)

“Fine. Whatever.” Did I mention The Husband is not really a “morning person?”

At last, we were successful in maneuvering the piano into the garage. There was room for it right next to My Very Own Free Rowing Machine.

(“Mozart Or Vivaldi”)


  1. I brought and old, paint-peeling away door home once, a 60's style pole lamp home once, a seen-it's-last-days wooden high chair home once, but never a piano!

    Does it even work when you plug it in?

  2. Thank God, there is no outlet in the garage. I am really scared to plug it in anyway, and possibly have my worst fear realized--that it does not even work at all. (But between you and me, isn't that the ideal kind of piano to have for a very young child? one that produces no sound whatsoever?)

  3. Brilliant! I'm going out right now to search for a broken electric piano!!

  4. This one had me laughing hysterically!

    It sounds EXACTLY like some shenanigans I get our little family into.

    Good stuff!

  5. thank you, Nikki! it seems REALLY funny in retrospect (probably won't be so funny when I have to call 1-800 GET JUNK to come empty out my entire garage).


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