22 June 2011


The piano tuner came last week.  After spending an hour tuning my sister's piano, he turned up at my house and left again after only 10 minutes.  Trouble.

My main problem had been 'sticky keys' - where the little hammers don't return to their places after hitting the strings, meaning that next time you hit the key, the hammer can't get enough of a wind-up to hit the string again.  Usually this is caused by damp weather, but this time I wasn't so sure. 

The problem had started well before our wet summer, and it hasn't improved at all since it's become drier.  This time, the problem was so bad that more than two-thirds of the keys were suffering.  After playing a few bars, only random notes were able to sound and on lifting the lid and looking inside the piano, I could see up to 20 hammers sitting too far forward, not in their correct positions.  I was curious to see what the tuner could do.

The piano tuner had a quick look inside and said those lovely words: "You've had a mouse."

This blog post would be much more interesting if I'd got my camera out and taken some photos at that point.

To identify a mouse problem inside a piano, the Average Joe would probably look for mouse droppings.  The gifted piano tuner notices that the little tapes on most of the 88 keys that provide part of the tension needed to help the hammers return to their places were bitten clean off and had completely disappeared.

He took the guts of my piano away in his car with a promise that when he returned to place the fixed piano guts back inside the piano, we'd probably find all the little tapes made into a nest in the bottom of the keybed.  Which, of course, we did.

Again, that story would have been so much better if I'd got my camera out and taken a photo.

17 June 2011

Socks talking nonsense

Jessie recently acquired five new pairs of socks.  After her shower one night, I laid them all out and asked her which pair she would wear to bed with her purple pants.  My SpideySense told me that she was just about to refuse the warm purple pants and demand something less suitable, so I used my SuperMumSense and put the kibosh on that immediately by pointing out the benefit of the socks with reference to the pants.

"This pair is purple, so that will match your purple pants, this pair is white with pink and purple so that will match your purple pants and your white skivvy and your -er- pink undies, and this pair is pink but they do have hippos on them and hippos like purple so they'd be good, and this pair is also pink but there's the word "FUNKY" and a picture of a monkey so I guess that funky monkey has something to do with purple ..."  As I trailed off, wondering how I was going to sell the black and white stripes with reference to the purple pants, I realised that I'd given her too many options.

"I'll have these on my feet and these on my hands," she said.

And do you know, I let her, only because it appeared that she had taken it for granted that she was wearing the warm purple pants.  So I guess I won, in a way.  I let her put the purple socks on her hands and the white/pink/purple ones on her feet.

As I packed the other pairs of socks away, I noticed that Jessie now had four sock puppets engaged in a discussion that, on the face of it, made no sense.

Right hand, to left hand: "What? And give Rudy a midnight snack?  Not likely."
Left hand, to left foot: "The skull's right.  We can camp here for the night.  Now, who's hungry?"
Left foot: "I am!"
Left hand: "You don't need the calories!"

And it continued to make no sense until she told me that it was from Ice Age 3.  And so it is, a quote down the bottom of the page here.

09 June 2011

No Lollies Please, We're Sick

Late last month, I told you about the disaster that occurred when a well-meaning pharmacy assistant offered Jessie and Woody some lollipops.  Your responses empowered me.

Today it was a different illness, a different medication, a different pharmacy, even a different variety of highly-coloured confectionary, but exactly the same situation.  Two garishly purple jelly beans were offered as Woody struggled to get out of my arms and remove all the stock from the ankle-height (!) shelves in the pharmacy while barking a horribly croupy cough that made him sound a little like a demented seal.

This time, thanks to my wonderful readers, I WAS READY!

"Oh, no thanks!" I politely asserted, "they're sick and they really shouldn't be having ..." etc.

The pharmacy assistant looked shocked and chastened.  She did the only thing that she could think of in the heat of the moment - she popped the jelly beans into her own mouth (yurk.)

Victory was mine!  For ten seconds.  Then.

"I'm not sick!!" hissed a scandalised voice in my ear.  "She should give one to me, and not one to Woody because he's sick!"

Complaints in a similar vein assailed me as I paid and hauled everyone back to the car.  Jessie's pleas were falling on deaf ears so she pulled out all the stops, most likely learned from some animated kids movie: "I'm warning you!"

"That's fine, warn me all you like," I countered.  "But I am now on a mission to teach pharmacy ladies that it's probably a bad idea to bribe strangers' children with sugar and then act like they're huge heroes for making them happy.  [Grumble-grumble] ... darn sugar peddlars ... [grumble grumble.]"

As you can see, I have read your wonderful comments and assimilated them into my being.

But, sugary lollies being the short-term emptiness they are, the complaints were quickly forgotten and the huge fuss died down to nothing.  However, since then, the phrase "I'm warning you!" has been pulled out a few more times and I think I might now have to do something about that.

A song for Woody

I should blog more, shouldn't I?  I just enjoy reading YOUR blogs so much, chat to my friends, stalk people on Facebook by hacking into Mr de Elba's Facebook account because I don't have one, and hanging out on My Fitness Pal - what a great site!  And Nowadays instead of siting in my office in the cold, I am snuggled up in my comfy armchair with a ridiculously small laptop which is difficult to type on.  IT's not all that good for blogging.

I would like to dedicate this song to Woody.  It could have been written for him.

01 June 2011

My hairdresser is rubbish

Oh, wait, that was me.
I suppose I'll agree to go to a real hairdresser, like Mum said.