Honey, I Shrunk the Piano
Thirty-six years ago my wife got an acceptance letter from Local 8 IBEW to be one of the first 8 women to get a commercial construction electrical apprenticeship in Toledo, Ohio. My letter said something like "Sorry, we�ve got enough white males", but I digress. We couldn�t believe our eyes when we read that within 6 months she would be earning over 8 dollars an hour! Middle class, here we come. Since she bought her first house before she was 21, her second major purchase was the 5�2" grand piano pictured above.
We got married 3 years later and the piano followed us to 4 more homes before I crated it, an all-day job, before our move to Florida nearly 2 years ago. Piano placement isn�t a problem with a 2,300 square foot home in Michigan with a walkout basement, but when you downsize to 1,600 on a slab and your niece moves into the spare bedroom, real estate under air conditioning suddenly becomes more rare and valuable. With my brother and his wife coming for a week, the Den has to give up its role as the media room and begin bedroom duties. It�s not just the twenty-five square feet the piano itself consumes, but its got to have space around it too.
Just as my wife�s career progressed from electrical ditch digger to Corporate Safety Director for the 4th largest rigging contractor in the country, her piano playing evolved too. Let�s just say she was much more enthusiastic in the beginning of each. It isn�t easy giving up an instrument that has enhanced years of holiday and family gatherings, but we can�t be slaves to our possessions either.
She was lounging by the pool when I mustered enough guts to broach the subject of divestiture. We discussed an outright donation and agreed to call her tuner and to visit a local shop that sells pianos the next day. Trading in a piano isn�t much different than trading in a car, except the showroom is cleaner and much more pleasant. It�s identical in that you�re selling wholesale and they�re selling retail, but I�m not complaining. I emailed back a picture of the worst scratches, we negotiated a bit on the phone, and then they picked up a check with the Baldwin and dropped off the Roland. An hour before the deal went down, my wife called me from work saying she was sick. I told her we could call it off, but she refused and stayed at Lowe�s where she�s the Electrical Professional. (87% pay cut, but again, I digress.)
So now instead of a piano that takes up 40 square feet and was hardly ever played, we�ve got a piano that takes up 8, shares an isle with the dining room chairs, and can play itself. While the picture below does glimpse my faucet, that�s not the only thing that qualifies this thread for the "Kitchens" section. No matter the room(s), you�ve got to consider how space is used and how that use may evolve over time. For even the smallest project, always think big-picture and comprehensively. Downsizing isn�t always easy; I had to sell some of my favorite nudes because we�ve run out of wall space to hang them. Sacrifices must be made; some are easier than others.