by Charlene Paul
Last spring, I got the awe-inspiring idea to get each of our kids a piano for Christmas. So, I set about finding pianos we could afford. I did not, however, share this awe-inspiring idea with my husband because he has moved one too many pianos in his life to be excited about the prospect of moving four or five more.
In late summer, I learned my cousin had a couple of pianos she needed to re-home. One of them was a family heirloom and the other was an old upright church piano. Two pianos, two Christmas gifts.
A few weeks later, we drove to Cedar City, rented a U-Haul truck, and with the help of my cousin’s husband, loaded both pianos, an organ, a chest of drawers, and a small table and chairs to take back to Logandale.
Delivering those pianos directly to each child made sense, but since it was only July and these beautiful musical instruments were Christmas gifts, we brought them home and put them in our office. The organ went in the living room with my piano. The chest of drawers went in the spare bedroom, the small table and chairs found a home on the back patio, and my desk was moved to our bedroom.
In August, a friend casually told me she was selling her piano. Another piano – hot diggity dog – I’ll take it! She then asked if there was anything else I wanted. I told her I wanted to trade the fridge in her office for the fridge in my kitchen since my fridge was the perfect size for her office lunch room and her huge side-by-side white fridge with ice and water in the door was a perfect fit for my kitchen. She agreed.
Later that evening, my husband and I drove to our daughter’s home for dinner. On the way home, I excitedly told him about my latest piano acquisition.
“I can’t believe it, Ken. I hoped and prayed for a way to give the kids pianos, and it seems to be raining pianos!”
“Charlene,” he very calmly replied, “no more pianos!”
We were quiet for a minute, and then I told him about my brilliant refrigerator trade. He deadpanned, “You’re kidding, right?”
Not to be deterred, I reassured him that we could make the refrigerator trade the same time we picked up the piano in Mesquite the next day. He never took his eyes off the road as he said, “Pens, Charlene, pens. The next time you go manic, just buy pens. They are so much lighter to move.” I laughed. He didn’t.
Let me explain his response. When I feel an attack of mania coming on, I obsess about pens. Over the years, I have stockpiled a mass of pens, stored them in bins, stashed them in coffee mugs, and cached them in my purse. My entire family roll their eyes every single time I bring home a new pen – or ten. I have gotten much better over the years, but pens still excite me. In fact, I bought a brand-new pack of fourteen beautifully pigmented pens for my purse the day before writing this story. So, when he told me to buy pens instead of pianos, well . . .
The next day, we traded refrigerators and brought the third piano home. Since there was no room in the living room or office, we put it in our spare bedroom. Four pianos and two organs (I already had one) in our house – I played each one – it was glorious!
Thanksgiving Day, we rented another U-Haul and with the help of a couple of neighbors loaded two pianos and one organ to deliver on our way to Thanksgiving dinner in Las Vegas. (The third piano would go to Phoenix at a later date.)
Once we freed up space in our office, I took apart my desk, moved it out of our bedroom, and nestled it on the same wall as my husband’s. Between our two desks, I placed two colorful drawer units. My beloved pens went in the top drawer nearest my desk and my husband’s stuff went in the drawer unit next to his.
When my husband got home that afternoon, he complimented the look of the office and then we both sat down at our respective desks to work. I was busily typing away when out of the corner of my eye I spied him helping himself to one of my pens. I glared at him until he sheepishly returned it to its place. (You need to know that I would rather loan you my husband than loan you one of my pens.)
The next day, I bought two boxes of cheap clicker pens for his drawer because he is incapable of appreciating the difference between a quality pen and a sharpened stick dunked into an inkwell.
I went to the hardware store to buy some yarn last week. (Yes, our hardware store sells yarn and fabric.) While I was there, I also bought a mousetrap. When my husband got home that evening, I asked him to set it for me. Since there are mice where we live, he didn’t ask any questions, he just pulled back the little lever and latched it. I gently took it from him, opened my pen drawer, and laid it on top of my pens. “You have got to be kidding me! And you made me set the trap.” I smiled and walked out the door.
When the mania rears its head again, I will head to the office supply store with no feeling of guilt whatsoever. My husband will be content as long as it doesn’t involve piano moving. My pens will be safe thanks to my trusty mousetrap.
Maybe I should wait to tell him about the two beautiful pianos I saw yesterday on the yard sale website.