For the last 22 years or so, B. and I have been living with a piano. A beat-up old ex-school upright with old student carvings all over it and a top lid falling off, whose interior works are nevertheless in remarkably good condition, made by the Howard Piano Company, of Cincinnati. One of B's sisters had acquired it for something like $25. B. uses it to practice church music on, and sometimes to play for fun. I noodle on it occasionally or use it to sound out harmonies in scores that I'm studying.
B's mother also had an upright piano, made by the Conover Piano Company, of Chicago. It does not have a school in its history, so it's in much better exterior shape. We've inherited it from her estate, with the intention of finding a home for old Howard. It turned out that the music director at B's old church knew someone who wanted a cheap piano for her children to practice on.
So the match was made. The next step was making the plans, which included finding a feasible date for everyone involved and hiring a mover; thus all the phone calls I made last week. The movers were, of course, extremely interested in the size and shape of the instruments involved, which is how I learned that there are uprights, and there are uprights. This chart, though it is not from the movers we ultimately chose, illustrates the point. The Conover is a console upright, second class in the upright family. Old Howard is from the third class, and after seeing this chart I understood why, when I gave its height, the movers always asked if it had any player-piano works inside; they wanted to make sure that it wasn't of the fourth class, saloon pianos, which are much heavier.
This morning was the big day, absolutely packed with logistics. B. was at work, so I dealt with it all, driving early over to the senior center where her mother had lived. I'd been there before, but I had a very short time to clear some space in the still-cluttered apartment and to make myself into a momentary expert in the locations and workings of the delivery gates, back doors, gate openers et al, before the movers came.
After they did their thing, it was back to our home, out with the old and in with the new, watched by cats with "wtf?" expressions on their faces. Signed invoice, paid, phoned the mom with the piano-practicing kids to alert her to incoming arrival. Got another call from her half an hour later, confirming that Old Howard had arrived, and adding, "I'm admiring the carvings."