Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Okay - so let's finish off this tale...

Thursday night Mike, my dad and I (barely) moved my mom's piano into the piano studio. There are now three pianos residing in our house. No one has an excuse not to practice. But, the room was ready...
Friday morning Jake woke up at 4:15am from a nightmare. I hadn't gotten to sleep until after 1am. When this happens to him, he and I usually end up brainstorming on happy things to think about and lately we just brainstorm a couple topics and he does the rest himself. Well, he came up with the happy topic right away. He said, "Mom...I'll just think about the piano arriving tomorrow. I can't wait to see it."

Which meant I pretty much didn't get to sleep because I started thinking about it again too. I finally got to sleep around 6am, but was up at 6:30 with tons to do. I got up and got ready and headed outside where I did some pretty fast shoveling of the entire driveway and walkway. Then, I headed out to get a "celebratory breakfast" for everyone. I mean - if we are going to have a good day, let's start it off right! Donuts for everyone!

The kids headed to the bus stop and I did everything after that that didn't involve pacing the floor. That was Mike, pretty much. He came upstairs between meetings and said he hoped they arrived before 9am because that was his next call. Then he tried to come up with a bunch of stuff to do upstairs while we waited. All to no avail. He headed back downstairs and Manny's Piano Delivery guys called and said they would be here in 30 minutes. I headed out to salt any remaining snow or possible ice in the walkway and waited by the window to read while glancing out the window every 15 seconds. I don't remember those pages too well.

But, they arrived around 9:30, along with our salesman, Phil Kjos. He was already out and taking pictures of the whole event and walked in with them. Those guys got right to work and laid out blankets and made sure everything was out of the way. Then before I knew it, in comes the piano...

These guys were amazing, to say the least. Two guys to carry a piano that weighs 960 lbs (my last post was off). Except the guy in blue says, "This high polish finish really adds a lot of weight." Mike and I thought he was joking, but the other guy assured us he wasn't; apparently it adds around 100 lbs to the piano.

And they got to work lifting it off the dolly, attaching legs - which actually aren't screwed piece of wood acting as a shim keeps each leg in place! And the whole "tipping the piano" thing to get it upright...small heart-attacks for me.

Coasters were added under the piano, the guys wrapped up and it was here and beautiful! I really don't think this took them more than 30 minutes. After they left Phil gave us some Steinway items. First, there was a DVD called "Note by Note" and it's a documentary about the making of a Steinway (Model ours). We watched it this afternoon and actually even the kids thought it was interesting. He also gave us a book written years ago about the Steinway company - a coffee table book, really. But, it's signed by Henry Z. Steinway - the same man who signed our piano. His final gift to us is really cool. He went and made a small scrapbook of our process in buying this piano. He took pictures of it being taken to Brooklyn Center for final tunings, polishing and basically the whole process in getting fixed up for us. He has pictures of most people involved, plus a page of all their signatures. He also knows the President of Steinway (America) and requested a letter congratulating us, which was included. It's a really neat memento.

And then Phil left, I looked at Mike, and started crying all over again. I was this amazing piano in our living room; it was actually IN our house and belonged to us. I bawled, and laughed at the same time. Then I got to play it. It's so beautiful. It sounds amazing.

And I played pretty much all morning in my new pink t-shirt that reads, "Piano Princess". My friend, Susan, gave it to me for this special day. I don't own anything pink - that's how excited I was for this day - I actually wore pink!

A brief history of our piano: It was bought at the Aspen Music festival (Colorado) this past summer. Before that, it was assigned as a Concert and Artist piano in New York. It's 10 years old. The Concert and Artist pianos are reserved pianos in each city that can be chosen to be used in concerts by Steinway artists. Dealers in certain cities are required to keep a particular number of these on hand in concert-ready condition for artists to choose from. This particular one was kept in New York. There are a couple great advantages here: 1)It's basically been broken in in terms of it's action and sound. The keys are easier to play, which I prefer, and the sound is amazing (as I've stated repeatedly). 2) Being in the C&A series, it was kept in amazing condition by STEINWAY. If these people can't take care of the piano properly for 10 years, who can?

The other part that Mike and I thought was cool is that each piano is assigned a specific "CA number". There is no serial number. Each piano is kept in rotation for 10 years, and after that it receives a serial number and is sold. We don't have the CA number, but we've managed to find the actual lot number of the piano stamped inside it and are hoping that between the serial number and this lot number we can find out who may have played this piano during the 10 years in New York. It's a long shot, but one we think might be interesting to discover.

Anyway, I played the piano ALL morning long, and Mike finally interrupted me to take us to lunch. When we got home, there was a delivery at our door from Phil....

In part the card read, "I've never sold a piano to anyone as thrilled as you..." Before he left, I had hugged him. I don't think I've ever been so excited about a purchase that I've actually hugged a salesman before. That mixed with the crying and the shouts of "Holy Crap" at the store may have put me over the top of the rest of my customer competition.

And Phil will be back to our house in the future. He's offered to give a concert with a small group he plays in. Another party around the corner for us and all our friends and family!

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Here!

I'm taking a little time to post this....our new arrival:

8 ft, 11 3/4 inches
990 lbs.
Arrival: 9:30am
Date: February 27, 2009

Honestly, it's been like being in labor! I'm not even going into details...I'm just going to be playing the piano all day long.

But, here's a clip of my arrangement of "The Lord's Prayer". A little rusty - haven't played it in awhile, but hopefully it gives and idea of how awesome this piano sounds. Obviously, not the greatest recording device, so keep in mind it sounds 10 times better in person!

Anyway - more pics of the men bringing this into our house, and how awesome this day has been...
Must go play...

The Stage is Set!

By 10am.......

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sing With Me....



I love ya.....


You're only a



P.S. While I love snow, let's hope that it thaws enough to clear the path into our house for them to walk in without slipping or getting things drenched. BUT...not thawed so much that water just runs off our roof all morning - right into the path of entry. Probably should have put "getting gutters" on a priority list before this arrival.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

10 Random Happiness Things

Today as I was running around doing errands I couldn't help but think about what a gorgeous day it was and how that made me happy. Then I started to think of other random things that make me happy...

1. Being able to wear high heels that show my painted toenails - and they aren't getting frostbitten (my toes, not the heels).
2. Being extremely busy. Not always a good thing, but a nice reminder once in awhile that I do do other things than sit around for six hours per day waiting for my kids to get home.
3. Accompanying instrumentalists and choirs. This week I've been working with Chaska's choir program for a concert on Thursday night. They have a great choir, so if you are interested in a good program, drive out to Chaska High School at 7pm on Thursday night.
4. I just heard that there's a chance of a lot of snow tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I love this time of year with these "last minute snow storms" and winter trying it's hardest to stay around. It is absolutely against every bone in Mike's body to accept snow after February, but these little possible storms make me happy.
5. Finding a can of pop in the fridge that I thought we had run out of. Now we officially have run out.
6. Getting dressed up. Most people tell me I'm usually dressed up, but that's just because I wear jewelry. Today I'm actually wearing a dress...and heels. Two church services today, and nice weather warranted that possibility.
7. When my kids don't have any homework on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I just feel like Mike finally gets a break!
8. Being able to blast the music in the house because no one's home. Yes Stacey...occasionally that means that Josh Groban can be heard next door. Classical music can be blasted too. Though today it was Harry Connick.
9. Watching "Friends" reruns most nights from 10-11pm. Who needs news programs?
10. And hello???? Special delivery on Friday!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

One Week

But who's counting?

Oh wait...I am. Officially - on the fridge....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

n'ICE Skating

In honor of President's Day on Monday, the kids and I went ice skating at Centennial Lakes. Well...not entirely true. This is actually in honor of their day off on Friday for no reason. It was rescheduled to Monday afternoon because Centennial was closed on Friday due to melted ice and our busy weekend. Hence..."Yahoo...President's Day!"

We haven't been ice skating since last winter so it took a bit for them to get reacclimated to the ice. But, all in all they did fairly well. If you had been anywhere near me you would have heard one of three things:

1. Head up! Eyes forward!
2. Skate...skate...glide
3. Watch your ankles! (They had a terrible tendency to lean them inward as they skated.)

Eventually you would have heard me telling them, "You have to learn to get up on your own just like you had to learn how to fall." That was after I hoisted one kid or the other up after about the 25th time.

And just to show how far they've come and maybe a little of how far we have to's the video. Thanks for the help figuring this out, Tracy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Window Shopping

On Sunday we enjoyed a nice breakfast at Perkins after church and Mike asked if I wanted to go look at pianos. It's another way for us to torture our children - take them to the music store and have them sit quietly while we discuss the different Steinways they have available. We try to do this at least every six months just to annoy them.

So, off we went. Our "reason" this time was much like the last four years of visits - "their best sale yet". We are suckers.

So, the kids brought in books and parked it in one of the piano rooms. Soon they discovered the modern player piano and were fascinated. I had moved over to the "Steinway Room" ('s the name of this room) and proceeded to drool. Soon Maddie and Jake were joining us and getting to have a little go at the different pianos.
There was a beautiful 7-foot Steinway that really was a nice deal and played great, and then there was a 9-foot Steinway that about made me want to giggle the entire time I played it. Ridiculously beautiful sound. It happened to be signed by Henry Steinway (who passed away this past year) and a woman named Melissa Manchester. Mike joked with Phil (my sales contact for the past four years) that if Harry Connick, Jr. had been the one to sign it, then he would have bought it on the spot. Another sales rep popped in and said, "I can get Harry Connick to sign it. I'm serious...I think I could. If you buy it, I'll do everything I can."

So, we shook Phil's hand and left. And whenever we leave my heart literally sinks a little and I think, "I wonder what it will be like one day to have a Steinway delivered to my house..."

I don't know...I'll tell you on February 27th....when it's DELIVERED TO OUR HOUSE!!!!!!

Aaaaughhh!!!!! I have literally been on pins and needles since Sunday night. Mike and I talked about our options all Sunday afternoon. He thought we should look at the 7-foot grand because it was an excellent "deal" and a beautiful instrument. The problem was, I had played the 9-foot and absolutely fallen in love with it. Even Mike had heard the difference and admitted it was pretty incredible in sound.

So, my parents graciously agreed to babysit the kids (only so much torture in one day) and we headed back for another couple hours. I played back and forth between both instruments for at least 30 minutes. I'd play a song on the 7-foot, then move the bench over to the 9-foot, then move it back and repeat the process all over again. Phil came in when we were finished and Mike said, "We'll take the 9-foot."

And then I got a little teary.

So, we did paperwork and Mike kept saying, "Don't get excited yet...." I thought I was going to start to hyperventilate. The VP of Schmitt happened to be there and came over to congratulate us on this amazing piano and told us the story of how he happened to purchase that instrument. I'll give those details another time.

Then Phil told us the paper work was completed, Mike said, "NOW you can get excited," and I yelled, "HOLY CRAP!" and then I started to cry. I'm not even sure I could put into words how much this means to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say I've wanted this piano since I was a little girl. I wanted a Steinway - 9-foot Steinway. In fact, before we even got married I told Mike I was going to get this piano some day and it was going to be costly, but he needed to be prepared for it. When we moved into our house, I said I would probably be able to be happy with a was my offer of a compromise. A couple years ago on one of these window shopping trips we came seriously close to purchasing a 7-foot. It just didn't feel right at the time though. Now I know why.

Anyway - none of the salesmen there laughed at my tears. Phil even said, "I know...this is a life changing moment," and that it was his favorite part of his job.

This afternoon Phil called to tell us everything was a done deal in terms of paperwork and that we can expect it's delivery next week.

So, I'll just say it again. HOLY CRAP!

And, thank you, Mike! Seriously, ladies...reason #1,589 why I so have the best husband. Sorry!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dinner - Round 3

Saturday night was Madison's turn for the meal. It also happened to be Valentine's Day and she wanted to come up with something special for that day.

So, she brainstormed on the "red" idea. Spaghetti was her choice. With it she wanted bread. Originally we were going to try cutting the french bread into heart shaped pieces, but that proved difficult. In the end she opted to "tie-dye" the butter (as she put it) and turned it pink for the bread.

She cooked most of the meal herself. The hardest part, I think, was trying to help her hold the wooden spoon the right way and show her how to cut with a knife in the most efficient and safest manner for her. She's left handed and I'm right handed. There was a lot of trial and error on both our parts, but I think we are figuring things out for her. We definitely have a "right-handed" kitchen though!

We tried to tell her a "watched pot never boils..."

Checking for "al dente"

For dessert we picked names from a jar and had to make a sundae for that person.

Maddie has been BEGGING to get whipped cream. She said her goal was to be able to hold it up to her mouth and spray it in. She even suggested it as a birthday gift to her so that she could do that.
Grandma made that wish come true...

Of course - if one kid has to do it, the other must follow suit...

Three for three delicious meals so far. No pressure for Mike, huh?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wrestlemania '09

A few nights ago our evening started by watching Jake to see his latest flexibility tricks...

Then Jake and Mike got around to a little father/son bonding.
Not to be outdone, Maddie joined in on the mass chaos.

I sat on the side and waited to take people to the ER. Luckily that didn't happen.

I'm not sure who won in the end.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Not to leave her out...

If you've been seeing all the recent posts regarding Jake lately and wondering why Maddie hasn't been in the mix, it isn't from lack of trying.

I think we're starting to reach an age where she avoids anything potentially embarrassing. That, and she's realized her mom may be slightly on the weird side by always having a camera available.

Case in point - last week Maddie had to have a couple teeth pulled at the dentist. As we were driving there she said, "You aren't going to take any pictures, are you?"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nice Hair

Jake loves to style his hair in a mohawk after his shower. He just thinks they are so funny and lately he's wanted to grow his hair longer to part to the side so it has made mohawks easier to style. Tuesday without even knowing, he accomplished his mohawk mission.

He came home from school, took off his hat and we found this:

Actually, now that I look at it, he looks more like the Road Runner. I guess he'll have to keep working at it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hat's Off

I finished Jake's second hat. This was the original hat he requested, but I didn't think it would fit him.

I was right...

Mike asked what I was going to do now. I said I was thinking of giving up the whole hat idea. He disagreed and said:

"I think you should make hats for kids in the hospital. You can advertise that you can make any size....just not the size they request."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

100th Day

Yesterday was the 100th day of school. Jake was poking through the refrigerator, telling me all about it and a couple special things and projects they did for the day. During all this I was going through his school things and listening, but not looking at him.

Then I turned around....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jake's Turn

So, last Saturday was Jake's turn to cook us dinner. First I asked what he was serving - he informed us it would be a surprise. I informed him I had to go grocery shopping so I needed to be "in the know".

He said he wanted Hot dogs...and bacon. I actually entertained the thought of a recipe I have that twists croissants and bacon around a hot dog, but we nixed it. Then he said he really wanted to make hamburgers on the grill. I said that sounded like a good idea and to butter dad up to help him. Then Jake added, "great! And we'll have sausage too!" Mike didn't want to turn on the grill yet so that was vetoed. We went back to his original idea of scrambled eggs, sausage and buttered toast. For dessert we were going to have Dairy Queen sundaes because they were cheap.

The mad scientist steps up to his laboratory....

Jake was VERY excited to crack the eggs. He did a good job too - everything stayed in the bowl.

Mike and I helped him keep everything on time. This may not have been the safest way to be working around the stove:

Jake getting to take over the range on his own...

And his final creation set out for everyone to enjoy.

It was a delicious meal. I don't really care for scrambled eggs too much so this may have been Jake's revenge for all the veggies I force feed on him. But, Jake and I loaded them with ketchup, Maddie and Mike loaded theirs with syrup. My mom silently ate hers au natural and hoped to keep it all down after watching us create these concoctions.