Bebop has been with us for more than 6 months, now. Are we bonded? Oh yeah! She is constantly with one of us. When we are in the same room, it’s an easy choice of where to be. Otherwise, she has preferences:
Kitchen: Well I guess that’s obvious. It’s where the food is.
Outside: That’s where we play. That’s the fun place. Unless it’s too hot or too cold or too wet or the person there is not into fun!
Upstairs office: She has a nice bed there, and the people are friendly.
The shop: She has a nice bed there, too. When Duane is tuning, voicing, or playing a piano, it’s a nice place to be.
While Terri was working outside today, it was too hot and Terri wasn’t enough fun. So Bebop chose option four: shop dog.
Yesterday I did tell her, “Bebop, I think you’re going to have to get a job!”
I was sitting at my desk, either working or wasting time (who knows). In the background I could hear Bebop’s satisfied chewing on a chew toy. But given time, the parenting skill of “eyes in the back of the head” came into play. I realized that satisfying chew didn’t really sound like any one of her dozens of “chew toys”.
No indeed. It was my best pair of progressive bifocals that she had cleverly plucked from the edge of my desk.
A few seconds of evaluation showed me that in addition to distorting and re-decorating the frames, my sweet dog had also chewed into the lens coatings. I know that I paid about $500 for those glasses in 2018, so Bebop heard some things she hasn’t heard before. I went so far as to say:
“Bebop, I think you’re going to have to get a job.”
You see she was still working off the $15.99 from her allowance for the corded headset of my phone.
I went downstairs to tell Terri, Bebop’s Mom and reliable advocate, the entire story. As I described the event, focusing on “bad dog” and “get a job”, Bebop looked from one of us to the other, with tail between her legs. Yes, she knew she was in serious trouble. We had more discussions about “this is yours, but THIS is mine.”
Later in the day, in discussion with the optical department of Utah Eye Centers, I found to everyone’s relief that the insurance/warranty that I had purchased with the glasses would cover 100% of replacement. Even for puppy destruction. Whew. That was a huge relief for Bebop.
Today, she has had a very relaxing day, knowing that she would not need to join the workforce. Indeed she will maintain her status here of favored one. Much loved and pampered. The education of Bebop continues.
Sometime around 1959, in Raymond Washington, I had my first piano lesson. It was on this piano: Schilling and Sons #93032!
Schilling and Sons Upright Piano made in 1926
My mother acquired the piano sometime in the 1940s. My sister Carol, my sister Nadine, and I all learned to play on the Schilling and Sons. Then in 1972, Mom thought she should have a smaller piano for her dining room. So she bought a spinet piano, and as part of the purchase, she arranged free delivery of the Schilling and Sons from Raymond to Carol’s new home in Vancouver, Washington. Carol’s three girls: Angela, Heather, and Tiffany all learned to play on this piano too.
In 2008, at the age of 91, Mom left the Raymond home to live in a senior apartment near Carol’s home in Vancouver. Carol selflessly provided near daily care and support during Mom’s time there. In 2011, with gratitude (and a bit of showmanship), I gave Carol a modern baby grand piano for her birthday. I made the surprise piano delivery, from Utah to Washington, while Carol was on the East Coast for a week. Then I spirited the Schilling and Sons off to Utah to be rebuilt. As it worked out, procrastination and the lack of a plan for that piano meant that it has just been waiting on me these past eight or nine years.
But then, in 2019, the very house we knew as home in Raymond came on the market, and Carol surprised us all by buying it as a family vacation home! It was then obvious what the next stopping point for the Schilling and Sons piano would be!
COVID is upsetting travel plans for this Summer, but today I was pleased to note the completion of work on this family piano.
For Terri’s birthday, she asked for sand and gravel. Actually, it was sand, gravel, cement, and experienced labor. I accepted the challenge, and now reap the benefits of daily exercise.
In recent years, Terri has been using large concrete paving stones in the garden of this design:
For her current project, a patio for a fire pit, she wanted 60 more, but her local source was gone. Enterprising girl that she is, she acquired three forms for casting the blocks, and then asked her dedicated partner for help.
I’ve got a bit of experience in this area. Old experience. My early career with sand, gravel and cement was with Dennis Company of Raymond, Washington (1968-1972). There, I was privileged to gain lots of life skills. Among many other tasks, as a teen I operated the concrete batch plant, and delivered building materials.
In the storage shed next to the feed store, we would sometimes cast pier blocks in steel forms with the tag ends of premixed concrete left in the trucks. Bruce Dennis hated seeing that concrete go to waste, so when inventory of pier blocks was low, we oiled up some forms and poured some more. That was pretty simple manufacturing.
Though I’ve noticed that the work is harder than it was 50 years ago, it does seem that Terri found someone with applicable experience.
The forms shown above are glistening with special form release agent that I brushed on prior to pouring concrete this morning. Somehow I knew the recipe for that release agent. If you need some, it is 50% motor oil and 50% mineral spirits (paint thinner). It works just as well as it did fifty years ago.
I can’t do this work without reflecting on my time as a gopher boy at The Dennis Company. After I got the forms oiled up this morning, it was time for a senior citizen break before mixing the sand, gravel, and cement that I’d placed in the wheel barrow. While I was enjoying a chocolate doughnut (with chocolate frosting and coconut) that Terri had made to help motivate me, I had to remember and relate my experience with doughnuts in The Dennis Company years.
To recount the story with factual accuracy, I must admit that I am a morally compromised person. In addition to the many virtuous and valuable skills I learned at the time, I also gained a basic skill in thievery. Among the many, varied products handled by Dennis Company was bulk flour for the local bakeries which arrived in railcars with animal feed from Fischer Mills in Seattle. When delivering flour in the morning to the South Bend Bakery, if Mr. Noonan, the baker, was still in, he would always offer a free doughnut. There was also a lady working there: Mrs. Noonan, or an employee, I don’t know. But it was bum luck if she was the only one there. No doughnut. With better luck, one day I delivered flour with a veteran Dennis Company employee, Harry Smith. I always loved working with Harry; he taught me a lot. On that particular morning after we’d unloaded the flour, we passed that glorious rack of freshly glazed, warm doughnuts by the back door of the bakery.
Harry said, “Grab one. That old biddy will never offer you one.” What could I say? I was the trainee! I can tell you it was probably the best doughnut I’ve ever eaten, with the possible exception of that double chocolate coconut doughnut Terri made for me this morning.
With my doughnut and my memories giving me strength, I did get back to the task at hand. I mixed up that concrete and poured three more pavers.
In the days since the birthday I’ve generally made three a day. Today’s work brings me to nineteen. I have just forty-one more to go. Happy Birthday, Terri, and thanks for the doughnuts.
She’s an expensive dog, and worth it! Now complete is a new walkway to the shop, and concrete steps.
When Bebop arrived in February, we realized we’d want improvements. In the winter time we haven’t been accessing the shop from the deck. Instead we take the safe route from the front door with handrails and well shoveled and salted concrete steps. However, we clearly needed to use the newly fenced backyard for Bebop’s winter potty runs. Once again, the new puppy addition brings improvements for all.
I don’t do concrete well. That was left to the pros. I built the handrail yesterday using redwood for posts and mahogany for railing. Terri finished the job today by staining. Bebop approves.
I’ve spent the day with thoughts of Dad. He shared freely with the people of his life from 1913 to 2001. As I reflect, I regret not writing more about his life. Sometimes, I just don’t know how to write the story. But the vignettes are there, and each of these photos have their story. While thinking about Dad, I looked to see exactly what I had written. It’s a good start.
Here’s what’s currently tucked away in the blog:
Just Like Downtown-Dad was someone who was known as a practical man. He could get things done,…
A House-In about 1942, my Dad, Harvey McGuire built a house with Grandpa Henkel. That house…
Electrified Thoughts- I came to know at an early age that linemen were brave, robust, and knowledgeable…
Horseback riding-Harvey McGuire, my dad, didn't say much about how rough life had been for him.…
My dive into digital recording and production started in December with a gift of Ableton LIve! from my son, Ryan McGuire. While he was visiting at Christmas we recorded an earlier release of “Ashokan Farewell” based on my recording with a Yamaha CP33 stage piano. That was a good starting point, but didn’t quite satisfy.
The introduction to digital recording took me down another path in January, as I wanted to record digitally from my Steinway grand. With that I could express my music with the instrument I love to play. Thus I purchased and installed QRS PNOscan system for recording. With this system I recorded the following performance of “Ashokan Farewell”. Ryan rendered it with a PianoTeq 6 Steinway D digital model.
This has been such a satisfying experience! I so appreciate Ryan’s gift of a digital recording system. It has been a joy to collaborate with him. I am also pleased to have preserved this performance. I listen to it today, months after the production, and, with pride, I find it to be remarkable, professional, and refined.
As Terri and I were enjoying another of her fine meals on the deck, we talked about how self-isolation has changed our daily lives. Terri was pleased to say that she is quite content with staying home: tending to her garden, caring for Bebop, and being with me more. I loved hearing that she is the happiest she has been since retirement.