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20 June 2012
Though we feel right at home in Truckee, where we've now lived for six months, there are certain things I'm still getting used to. The demands of having a house, instead of a condo or apartment. The quiet (most of the time). The fact that, YES, we really can go right out the door on a mountain bike ride or hike, or we can be on water in under 10 minutes, and so I need to stop dragging my butt and just get outside already. Those are just adjustments, and I know I'll get there.
There are few things, however, that I really and truly miss, sometimes longingly so. My friends in LA. My old spinning and yoga classes. Great sushi. And flea markets.
For the first few months that we lived up here, I was going down to Reno almost every week to scour the antique stores. And while Reno actually has some amazing antique stores, it is so not the same as being able to hit up two or three world-class flea markets every month. Other than the Alameda flea market down in the Bay Area (and almost 200 miles away), there's really nothing in NorCal that compares to the flea markets I was spoiled by in LA. I think of those first few months of Reno antique store scouring as my time of denial. I'm not really sure what the anger part was, but the bargaining was a phase I went through of planning out imaginary trips to LA to coincide with flea markets, or dreaming that I could leave at 3 AM on a Sunday morning, drive to the Alameda flea market, and somehow be home to go skiing by noon. It was lunacy.
Now I've reached a much healthier place of acceptance. But even still, you can't begrudge me a passing glance at a garage sale now and then, right?
Well it was a passing glance -- literally, while Mark was driving at high speed past a neighbor's garage sale -- last weekend that made this beautiful creature the newest member of our family.
Me: "Babe! They have a piano!"
Mark: "Screeeeeeeeeeeeech." (Just kidding. That was the sound of the brakes. Or maybe tires.)
A little haggling later, and this classy lady was all ours. And not just any haggling. We actually haggled the seller UP (there's a first time for everything, I suppose). Here's why: The seller, Stephanie, started a nonprofit to provide funding for arts and music in schools, and every single Saturday she holds an all-day garage sale to raise money for it. People donate things to her to sell, but she does all of the work herself. It's kind of amazing. Apparently, the weekend before, someone had pulled up with a big trailer, and unloaded this piano for her to add to her wares. And she clearly didn't know what a piano is worth. So when she said she was asking $100 for it, we told her that wasn't enough, and offered $200, since it's for a great cause. And it's hard to imagine ever haggling someone up again!
According to the serial number and Google, it's a 1961 Winter Musette spinet piano. (Not white or a baby grand, as the post title suggests. But I can't help singing that song from Smash every time I look at it. Anyone else with me? Anyone?) And other than needing a tune on the high and low ends, and a little touching up on the finish, it's actually in great shape. And see how it fits so perfectly under our windows? It was definitely meant to be. Nothing screams TOUCH ME like a piano, especially one that's not too fancy or in perfect condition, so that it doesn't look too precious to play. Perfect for the warm, welcoming vibe we're trying to cultivate. And of course we also love to play the piano. It's not just a prop.
Sidebar: In case you're a geek like me, here's some info to feed your geekdom: a spinet is the smallest type of piano, though it's still a real, full-size instrument. It has a much shorter back than a traditional upright or more common studio piano, which means that the sound quality is ever so slightly compromised. But this was the only place a piano would fit in our house, and any other kind would have obstructed those windows, and we have no daylight to spare as it is. Plus, neither of us is that good at playing that a slight reduction in sound quality really matters.
In another major stroke of serendipity, right as we were trying to figure out how on earth we were going to get this thing home, even though we live only two or three blocks away, the nicest man in the whole world pulled up and offered to help us. So he and Mark wheeled the piano down the street to our house on a hand truck, with me "supervising" (code for "being a girl"). And he even insisted on helping us get the piano all the way into the house. (Did I mention we had never met or even heard of each other before?) Needless to say, we bought him a very nice case of beer that night. Gotta love generous small-town neighbors. We never would have found that in LA... something I definitely do NOT miss. That means that $200 was our all-in cost (not counting the beer). If we'd bought a piano in much worse shape off of Craigslist, it would have been at least $300 plus several hundred more in piano moving fees to bring it home.
Of course, welcoming the newest member of the family into the house meant having to rearrange some furniture, since there had been a small console table where the piano now lives.
But since we had always envisioned putting a piano there, I had also always envisioned moving that console table to live beside its twin as a buffet next to the dining table. And we still gained surface space since the top of the piano isn't too tall.
Of course, when I tried to take a picture of the whole great room, the back half of the room was flooded with light and the camera refused to cooperate. I'll snap a better photo soon.
I officially count this as our best vintage find ever, and one of the best deals imaginable. Pretty crazy that it all went to a great cause, too.
Found any unbelievable deals lately? Any good finds? Any moments where you've said to yourself, "Holy crap, generous neighbors are so amazing!"? Tell us all about it.
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