Happy Saturday morning all:

Weekly wisdom:

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”  Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

A shout-out wishing a Happy Birthday to Derek (today) and to me (tomorrow).

It’s a tiny habit that I have, eating a banana while my morning coffee is perking. Recently I’ve come to the realization that buying bananas places me in a quandary. Buy a bunch of ripe ones and by day four they’re mostly suitable for use in banana bread. Buy them green and it takes the better part of a week for them to ripen. The obvious solution is to buy two bunches, one ripe the other not. This week the store only had green. This morning was my first banana in four days. Having it made my morning mug taste better.

Vinnie-the-cat – left us this week. Marcia gave the little guy a wonderful tribute on Facebook, which I cannot improve upon. So, here are Marcia’s words for those who missed the Facebook piece;

”To all my friends and family…a tribute to one of my best friends for 17 years. He came into my life when it was safe for me to have him in my circle. I called him “my chemo cat”. He snuggled, he irritated me, woke me up, wouldn’t let me sleep. I will miss him…I do miss him already and it is only 4 hours since he’s been gone. Miss you Vinnie!”

I realize that over the years I’ve made many a reference to Vinnie-the-cat, most of them a bit of an insult. My favorite being that I’d turn him into a “sail cat” if he climbed over me one more time (“sail cat” making reference to a Frisbee style missile). Truth be told, for better than a decade and a half he was a dear part of our household. We gave him a good life and he reciprocated the very best way that cats can.

Nevertheless, in all fairness, I should point out that Vinnie was also death to furniture. I too will miss him.

Steinway & Sons – let out a collective sigh of disbelief. Too many years ago Marcia went to an estate sale auction up the street. Not long afterwards several professional piano movers were seen straining mightily trying not to allow a HUGE Steinway Regular Grand piano escape and careen down the hill on a little piano-moving cart. Marcia had bought a Steinway Regular Grand piano made in 1886! It was massive and weighed a ton. It was also totally out of tune.

At some point in time we had a piano tuner come out to apply her magic. Soon we realized that we’d hired a ‘magician’ who’d run out of tricks. We also realized that any other piano tuner would also face certain defeat. Marcia had bought a very large, very sturdy, buffet table. A buffet table which took up a large chunk of the living room.

It started by us trying to sell the beast. Hopeless. Much later, oh joy, the new dean of the University’s Conservatory of Music moved next door to us. Now, the University’s school of music has over a hundred Steinways, certainly they could use one more? For free? No they wouldn’t! We couldn’t give it away.

A final blow came when we discovered that we could hire folk who, for $300, would take the beast away and off to the dump.

This kicked in the final phase. Dirk would take the time to carefully strip down the piano to save possible “artsy” artifacts and scrap the rest. By the end of day one I was ready for an overdose of Ibuprofen and had accomplished very little in the ‘artsy stripping’ department.

The next day it was Tevita to the rescue. Now, complete with reciprocating and large circular saws, two hammers, breaker bars, socket wrenches, and large screwdrivers we set to work. A few “art-like” pieces were saved, but by and large the ‘disassembly’ was a total disaster. Soon Marcia joined the fray with the regular and wet-dry vacuum cleaners. Over and over she kept yammering on about the “one inch of sawdust on the carpeting.”

As dusk was beginning to settle in we had maneuvered the piano’s carcass outside and were merrily pounding away on it with a previously unused tool from my tool stable, my eight-pound sledge hammer.


Animal Planet – I’ve taken note that discussion of Spring and Summer have begun to creep into some conversations. As a reminder that Mother Nature still has a firm grip on winter, Kim who lives in the North Woods posted photos of thigh-high snows and minus 30 degree temperatures blanketing the place we call home during the warm months.

Fini – Tonight its dinner at one of the new fish specialty restaurants in the city. The earliest reservation we could get was 8:00 PM, so that is a good sign based on popularity. Now, its time to get ready for a haircut and then over to the shoe sale the Nordstrom Rack store is having—the kids won’t recognize me when they pop over tomorrow.

Make it a great week everyone.



From the Archives
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Welcome Derek Ryan!

“Absolutely thrilled” is a very understated way of expressing my feelings with the news that Kirstin delivered Derek Ryan Briones. At 9 pounds 6 ounces he is a hunk. Does the word “strapping” apply? Derek is beautiful, mom is in great shape and I am told that dad is hanging in. Actually, Kirstin said that Vince was spectacular helping her through the delivery process.

Now hurry and check their site for pictures. I know that you are anxious to have a look-see. Marcia hightailed it away from frigid Ohio to help out – why then did she pack her bathing suit since the purpose was to “help out”?

Derek, welcome to the family. We love you, and as soon as there is a chance we’ll hug you. Bunches!

Opa Dirk

One Response to “The Week of the Steinway”
  1. Pieter Says:

    Yep, there we have it- a picture of Dirk “helping” Tevita with a one ton piano and Dirk is wearing his slippers. Slippers and a crowbar there I have said enough.
    Happy Birthday Dirk