Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I just wanted to move the piano

by Marion Ueckermann

You’ve had those days, I know you have. Days when the one small thing you set out to do turns into something huge, something that leaves you exhausted and sapped of all energy.

I had a day like that this weekend. All I wanted to do was move the piano. It stood against a wall where the afternoon sun shines in, and I realized that six years in that position had caused the beautiful rosewood veneer to fade. It HAD to move. I had no choice. In my husband’s family for probably four generations, this 150-year old piece could not get ruined under my hands.

But when I shoved, and grunted, and groaned to get it to budge, I realized why the piano hadn’t moved from the day it had been placed in that position. Pretty much like my novel, The Piano, I had written which was inspired by this piece and has been on my computer for almost as long. But more about that later. Back to the piano. It was H-E-A-V-Y! The fact that the wheels no longer worked, jammed or rusted in one position and likely all four wheels at different angles, did not help, either. By the time I’d moved the heavy load the seven foot from one wall in my lounge to the other, I had scrape marks on the ceramic floor the entire way. I quickly scrubbed the tiles with a wet cloth and cleaner. Finally, the marks came off…almost.

Now I had to move the three-seater couch to the opposite wall, and move the two-seater into its place as the piano plus three-seater equaled not enough wall. That in turn had me moving the single-seater chair to make way for the three-seater.

Oh, the wall was a little dusty behind where the single chair had stood, as well as where hubby had removed the family crest wall-hanging to take it for dry-cleaning. I grabbed the wet cloth and wiped the marks. Which in turn made me realize how dusty the rest of the wall was. Couldn’t have a half-clean/half-dusty wall, so I grabbed the cleaner, sprayed some on the wall and wiped. And rushed to the kitchen to rinse the dust from the cloth, and wiped again. Spray, wipe, rinse, repeat. And repeat.

Satisfied with the clean wall, and making a mental note not to let the cloth touch another wall, I moved on to mopping the floors beneath where the couches needed to stand. Then I eased the two-seater into its new home beside the piano’s new home.

Not wanting the piano to extend the six or so inches over the window where I’d run out of wall, I decided to let the large instrument extend into the dining room area beside our staircase, instead. I could fill the gap…hide the fact…build my own little fake wall. I hurried upstairs and grabbed the two slender wicker pedestals I had up there. They were the perfect size, and if I stacked them on top of each other, they’d make a “natural” extension of the too-short wall and hide the piece of the piano that jutted out. I lifted the hi-fi speaker off the first pedestal. Ugh, more dust. When had my maid last cleaned up there? I made a mental note to return with polish another day. Almost a month ago, I'd retrenched my maid. I was now the maid in the house.

Downstairs again, and proudly bearing the two pedestals, I wiped them clean. Rushed to the kitchen to rinse the cloth, and wiped some more. Wipe, rinse, repeat.

When I positioned the pedestals, I decided I didn’t like my idea after all. I’d either take those pedestals back upstairs, or use them somewhere else downstairs.

I shoved at the piano again, inching it over until it was flush with the end of the wall. It would just have to spill over the window a tad. I glanced down at the floor. Groan, scratched again. I sprayed more cleaner onto the tiles and once again applied some elbow grease. I stepped back. Over the wet tiles. With my now dirty feet. Sigh. Grabbed the mop. Cleaned the floor. Again.

By the time I finally had the piano and the couches all in place, I’d wiped yet another wall from floor to roof. And I’d sprayed, wiped, rinsed, and repeated several times, too.

So now I had a bare wall where the piano had stood. Can’t stay like that. I know, I’ll move the bookshelf around the corner and stand it in the empty space…I’ll figure out what to put into the new empty space. Maybe those two wicker pedestals.

I wrapped my fingers around the bookshelf and pulled. Nope. Not going anywhere with almost 200 paperbacks inside. I unpacked the books…on the piano, the couches, the floor. I polished the cabinet and shelves, and once I’d moved the bookshelf around the corner, I repacked the books. In alphabetical order!

By now my lounge was looking pretty incredible, but there was a gigantic space on the one wall where the single-seater had originally stood because I now had to move it over a little from its original position because the three-seater couch I’d wanted to move to that wall just didn’t look good in that spot. So I moved the three-seater to where the two-seater was because I couldn’t move it back to the original spot because there was no longer space as the piano was too long. But because the three-seater was longer than the two-seater which had originally stood in front of the large window, it encroached on the single-seater. Hence the reason that chair had to move over a little and the space that now needed to be filled.

I know, I’ll move the cabinet with all my Lilliput Lane clay houses—four shelves of them—into this blank space. It’ll fill that gap nicely. Besides, it needed a new spot because the piano now stood in its place. Once moved, I polished the cabinet, unpacked all the little houses, dusted them off, polished the shelves, and repacked my collection.

Well, I might have had a great new look to the lounge, but the dining room looked pretty sad as the mess had now migrated there. I set about washing the next open piece of floor. Once done I moved away to grab the polish and cloth. And stepped on the wet floor. Again. I grabbed the mop and cleaned my dirty footprints. Again.

Ugh, the moved bookshelf had left dust marks on the wall where it had stood. I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t resist. I cleaned the mark. And had to wipe the entire wall. Spray, clean, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. It was a far bigger wall than the others.

I turned to my hubby. “Um, sweetheart, I think  we’ll need to move that family crest hanging because the Lilliput Lane cabinet now covers half the wall where it hangs. And besides, it’ll fill this wall where the bookshelf stood really nicely. We’d just have to move all the paraphernalia from that wall to somewhere else. Not sure where we’ll put dad’s wooden eagle though if we do that.”

“You’re kidding, right?

As my husband’s form retreats, I run the now polish-laden rag over said bird to clean off more dust. And the toenail breaks off. I send my three-year old grandchild on an errand to tell his oupa (gramps) that ouma (granny) needs him to glue the bird’s toenail back on. Oupa is back in the garage fixing the candelabra holder from the piano that I’d noticed was loose.

Well, I could go on and on about the rest of my spring-cleaning-in-autumn spree, but I’ll spare you the details of the numerous times I washed the floor, or the fact that the cleaning spilled over into the kitchen and all the way down the passage to my office. One-and-a-half tins of polish later and over ten hours on my feet, I finally flopped into bed. Cleaning, bending, stretching had exhausted me and I bore a backache of note.  My “just want to move the  piano” had turned into something far bigger than I’d anticipated. But what a day… As I’d polished and wiped and cleaned, I’d handled special things which brought to mind special memories… The antique piano on which I based my novel, The Piano. This book will finally be released in June in the Cherish box set. The crocodile tail my dad had mounted and whose story is in Bush Tails, the book of short stories of my dad’s hunting and fishing escapades that’s now available on pre-order. The wooden bird my dad made. The brass mining lamps that had belonged to my late father-in-law. The ninety-year old leather satchel that had belonged to his father. The “Coke can” my son had made as a child from a piece of wood for his father. My dad’s elephant-engraved leather shoes. The reindeer slippers my son bought for us which hang beside all our other Finnish souvenirs and paraphernalia. The Lilliput Lane ornaments, many of which are modeled on places I’d actually visited in the UK and Ireland. The books in my bookshelf written by some of my good author friends.

Yes, although a tiring day spent doing everything I hadn’t planned to do, it was so worth the while to be taken down memory lane with every little item that hangs on the walls or stands on the shelves in our home. And I came to a conclusion…I have far too many ornaments and books, and way too little wall and shelf space.

MARION UECKERMANN's passion for writing was sparked when she moved to Ireland with her family. Her love of travel has influenced her contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. Marion and her husband again live in South Africa, but with two gorgeous grandsons hanging their hats at the house next door, their empty nest's no longer so empty.

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  1. Marion, I am exhausted just reading this work marathon. It all looks lovely but I do hope you won't suffer from all that heavy moving. Naughty girl, use the grandsons in future. :) Still, if the writing muse ever leaves you, you have prepared yourself for another career cleaning mansions. (More money in that.)

    1. Ha, Rita, I'm exhausted reading about it, too. Fortunately, the aches and pains subsided within a day or so. Grandsons ... they're only 3 and 7 :) I could have called hubby, but then he would have disputed moving the piano :) Hmm, I plan to keep my muse around a long time ... no money in South Africa in cleaning homes :)

  2. Oh Marion! I so identified with you. That's the sort of thing that used to happen regularly when we lived in a bigger home and there were five of us. Normally that started between two of the three kids, who would make a secret agreement to swap bedrooms. This seems to have been a favourite pastime of my family. That would start an exercise which spilled over to involve all five of us and every room in the house. So I know the feeling. What I do want to know is couldn't this have waited until you'd completed your deadlines? :-)

    1. I thought many readers would identify with this, Shirl. Oh, I just don't even want to get started on all those times I've rearranged my lounge, just to put it back the same way. Deadlines? There will always be deadlines LOL. This was my day of ... okay, weekend of procrastination :) We all need them, don't we? Except I'm sure some people would rather go to the beach than move furniture :)

  3. Just this scripture came to mind whilst reading your blog: such an inspiration ❤️
    Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things in daily life, and the God who is the source of peace and well-being will be with you.

  4. That's such an awesome scripture, Devorah. Wouldn't people have different outlooks on life if everyone practiced thinking that way? It was a great afternoon pondering on all those special people and places...even if I made a whole lot more work for myself :)

  5. I can just imagine you doing all this- of course I can visualise it all perfectly as I have enjoyed eating delicious blueberry pie in your home and seen your beautiful piano.

    Good to hear The Piano is going to be published at last.

    1. Thanks, Ruth. Seems I'm moving more than one piano :) Really excited to finally get this story out there. And, oh, yes, I do remember that blueberry pie all too well. So do my hips :)

  6. Marion, I'm glad your piano is now in a safer position and you survived all the moving! Congrats on your upcoming releases. :)