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#2122934 - 07/25/13 06:05 PM What was your worst job?
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
In the late 1980s, a very kind, very good, and very old piano teacher decided she would do a final recital for her students. To make it special, she was going to use 6 pianos and do a kind of piano ensemble for the finale.

For the recital, she had her piano moved to an elementary school stage. She then rented the other 5 pianos from a furniture store that "also sells pianos."

I showed up the morning of the recital to tune the six pianos for that evening's recital. Her piano was in decent shape since I would tune it roughly every six months. The other five? They were a blend of 80s vintage Wurlitzer spinets and consoles, all a minimum of 100 cents flat. Seems the furniture store sold pianos as a sideline and didn't really care much about keeping them in tune while they sat on the floor.

That was not a fun day.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2122952 - 07/25/13 06:54 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Loren D
In the late 1980s, a very kind, very good, and very old piano teacher decided she would do a final recital for her students. To make it special, she was going to use 6 pianos and do a kind of piano ensemble for the finale.

For the recital, she had her piano moved to an elementary school stage. She then rented the other 5 pianos from a furniture store that "also sells pianos."

I showed up the morning of the recital to tune the six pianos for that evening's recital. Her piano was in decent shape since I would tune it roughly every six months. The other five? They were a blend of 80s vintage Wurlitzer spinets and consoles, all a minimum of 100 cents flat. Seems the furniture store sold pianos as a sideline and didn't really care much about keeping them in tune while they sat on the floor.

That was not a fun day.


I can well imagine . . .
Sounds like an emporium that was here in my town when we first moved here:
Jay's Sewing and Music Center.

Their real business was sewing machines -- which I think they actually knew something about.

But they also featured Wurlitzer pianos and organs. What they stocked was the lower end of the Wurlitzer line. I never was able to discern what the connection between pianos and sewing machines was. AFAIK, never did instore tunings. I guess the sewing machines were good out of the box, so why not pianos?

_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2122955 - 07/25/13 06:58 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
A friend referred me to a friend of theirs to tune an upright they had been given by "a music teacher." It turned out to be a 1917 Francis Bacon, originally a standard mahogany finish, and this "music teacher" had taken it upon herself to paint the piano white. It appeared that she used latex house paint, and didn't bother with even opening the lid, let alone remove any case parts to do this. It also appeared she had slopped at least two thick coats for good measure (although, she left the inside of the fallboard in the original finish; maybe so the decal didn't get covered up...). As a result, all of the case parts were essentially glued together with paint - even the lid was glued shut. The piano was quite flat, so it obviously hadn't been tuned in decades.

I advised the customer that if they wanted me to work on it, I was going to have to break apart all of those painted-together joints, and I wouldn't be responsible for any resulting damage. They were okay with that, so crack! crack! crack! I went. I didn't break anything, but what I found inside was the filthiest piano I've ever worked on. Moths and mice had been at work, so most of the felt and cloth was badly chewed; mouse poop and drifts of chewed-up felt were everywhere. The bridle straps were pretty much rotted to nothing, and the piano was impossible to play with so many of them gone, so I sold them on a bridle strap replacement, along with a pitch raise. Since the piano was so dirty, I went ahead and stripped it down to the key bed. There were more drifts of filth in the key frame. I felt like I needed a biohazard suit to work on this thing.

I came back to touch it up three months later. The owners didn't seem thrilled with the work I had done. They seemed to expect that the $250 they spent on me working on it was going to totally transform their piano into a great-sounding instrument.

Oh well...
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2122957 - 07/25/13 07:00 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: OperaTenor]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
A friend referred me to a friend of theirs to tune an upright they had been given by "a music teacher." It turned out to be a 1917 Francis Bacon, originally a standard mahogany finish, and this "music teacher" had taken it upon herself to paint the piano white. It appeared that she used latex house paint, and didn't bother with even opening the lid, let alone remove any case parts to do this. It also appeared she had slopped at least two thick coats for good measure (although, she left the inside of the fallboard in the original finish; maybe so the decal didn't get covered up...). As a result, all of the case parts were essentially glued together with paint - even the lid was glued shut. The piano was quite flat, so it obviously hadn't been tuned in decades.

I advised the customer that if they wanted me to work on it, I was going to have to break apart all of those painted-together joints, and I wouldn't be responsible for any resulting damage. They were okay with that, so crack! crack! crack! I went. I didn't break anything, but what I found inside was the filthiest piano I've ever worked on. Moths and mice had been at work, so most of the felt and cloth was badly chewed; mouse poop and drifts of chewed-up felt were everywhere. The bridle straps were pretty much rotted to nothing, and the piano was impossible to play with so many of them gone, so I sold them on a bridle strap replacement, along with a pitch raise. Since the piano was so dirty, I went ahead and stripped it down to the key bed. There were more drifts of filth in the key frame. I felt like I needed a biohazard suit to work on this thing.


But other than that it was OK?
laugh
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2122976 - 07/25/13 07:30 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Keith, you're killin' me! laugh

Actually, other than that, it was a typical neglected old upright.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2122987 - 07/25/13 07:54 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: kpembrook]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: kpembrook

I can well imagine . . .
Sounds like an emporium that was here in my town when we first moved here:
Jay's Sewing and Music Center.

Their real business was sewing machines -- which I think they actually knew something about.

But they also featured Wurlitzer pianos and organs. What they stocked was the lower end of the Wurlitzer line. I never was able to discern what the connection between pianos and sewing machines was. AFAIK, never did instore tunings. I guess the sewing machines were good out of the box, so why not pianos?



Yes, exactly! So here were these brand new pianos sitting on the floor for years, no tunings since the factory. By the time I got home that night, I don't know what felt worse; my arms or my ears. On top of that, I worried about how well the pianos would stay in tune with each other. She was happy though, and I never ever saw those pianos again. And that was fine with me!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2122994 - 07/25/13 08:06 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1772
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Piano teacher that used the old Baldwin Lab Pianos. Electric-acoustic hybrids, these tuned from the back. She had about six of them. Only one word to describe it: TERRIBLE!
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#2122995 - 07/25/13 08:12 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: bkw58]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Piano teacher that used the old Baldwin Lab Pianos. Electric-acoustic hybrids, these tuned from the back. She had about six of them. Only one word to describe it: TERRIBLE!


Oh do I remember those! Those were awful to work with.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2123022 - 07/25/13 09:43 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2142
Loc: Maine
I've had several worst jobs and curiously all of them that I can remember involved bars. Bar owners must operate on a razor thin margin. All of the pianos are horrible, and the lighting in those places ranges from minimal to non-existant. The worst, I guess, was the one where some early clientele insisted on singing along with my efforts to tune a piano with very loose tuning pins.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2123029 - 07/25/13 10:03 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: David Jenson]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 481
Loc: Oregon Coast
Baldwin Electro-Pianos? Oh yes...a college I worked for had 18 of those in a classroom. DO you realize that I had managed to completely drop them from my 'worst' category? I had literally not thought about them for 15 years....and NOW you guys bring it all back. AAAaaaaaarrrrgh!

Sitting behind the piano, reaching over to tap the keys, a handful of clinky, clonky wire, pins driven backwards into a poor imitation of a pinblock.....(sigh) Start at 6PM and finish when you can, Mr. Tunerman...all 18...all night long. Classes start at 8AM. Well...as there were so few strings, each piano took only a 1/2 hour or so, but that still took me until the wee hours of the morning to get through.

But the worst job? Worst??? That would be telling a family that the piano Mom bought with saved egg-money in the 30's is now dead, and beyond their budget to fix. THAT'S the worst job, my friends.

Gee!
Thanks!
Yr. svt.,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2123036 - 07/25/13 10:44 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3876
Some mouse damaged pianos have been rather bad!
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2123043 - 07/25/13 11:11 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 480
Loc: Farmington, MO
I had a customer call and complain of sticking keys. When I opened up the piano mice droppings rubbing between the keys was the culprit. The entire piano (every nook and cranny) was filled with dog food. The mice were getting stored up for the winter.
_________________________
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

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#2123058 - 07/26/13 12:20 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: TunerJeff]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
Baldwin Electro-Pianos?
<snip>
Sitting behind the piano, reaching over to tap the keys,


Ya did it wrong. The way that was demonstrated by an official Baldwin factory tech was to sit on it like a horse. That's right. . . mount it so one leg is over the keys and the other in back. Then (if you are right handed), hit the key with the left hand and tune with the right.

Sounds unorthodox . . . . well, actually, bizarre . . . but it worked! Thankfully, they are no more. Although . . . the action was creative.

(I actually sold one of those -- when I was a Baldwin dealer!)
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2123061 - 07/26/13 12:26 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Roy Rodgers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/09
Posts: 347
Loc: Ranger, Texas
I opened up an old Wurlitzer console at a rural church one time and the mice came running out at me. That got intense for a few minutes. LOL
_________________________
Tuning and repairing pianos since 1981 in Ranger, Tx. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roys-Piano-Service/173273022711505

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#2123067 - 07/26/13 12:41 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21668
Loc: Oakland
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2123071 - 07/26/13 12:56 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: BDB]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!

Gak! sick
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

Top
#2123122 - 07/26/13 02:23 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: BDB]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!


How did you handle that?

Me, I probably would have horked on the spot...
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2123167 - 07/26/13 06:26 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: kpembrook]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
Baldwin Electro-Pianos?
<snip>
Sitting behind the piano, reaching over to tap the keys,


Ya did it wrong. The way that was demonstrated by an official Baldwin factory tech was to sit on it like a horse. That's right. . . mount it so one leg is over the keys and the other in back. Then (if you are right handed), hit the key with the left hand and tune with the right.

Sounds unorthodox . . . . well, actually, bizarre . . . but it worked! Thankfully, they are no more. Although . . . the action was creative.

(I actually sold one of those -- when I was a Baldwin dealer!)


And that's exactly what I did! A college here used to have a Baldwin lab (they took it out in the early 90s). I used to straddle them to tune. I felt really strange about it, but hearing a Baldwin tech confirm it makes me feel better. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2123189 - 07/26/13 07:54 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1772
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Piano teacher that used the old Baldwin Lab Pianos. Electric-acoustic hybrids, these tuned from the back. She had about six of them. Only one word to describe it: TERRIBLE!


Oh do I remember those! Those were awful to work with.


Yes, indeed.

I was a latecomer to servicing these contraptions. (How I got roped into it is another story.) By the mid-1990s, all local group teachers had thrown the stinky little buggers out in favor of keyboard computer systems. That is, all but this one. Tried tuning them every which way. (Even wondered: Would hanging like a bat work confused.) My colleague at the Baldwin dealership was too busy laughing to offer anything constructive.

With parts also failing, calls to both Baldwin tech services in Conway and Trumann produced only statements of denial: "We've never heard of 'em." But such provided the perfect excuse to service these no longer. Still, the teacher not wanting to give the things up, finally said, "You know, Jerry (her last tuner) used to bring a mirror on a stand with him."

That was the one way I never tried. crazy
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#2123221 - 07/26/13 09:52 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2446
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Had to tune a piano in Toronto quite a few years back and the home was just around the corner from the slaughterhouse/meat processing plant. It was summer, a really hot day, no air conditioning and the smell was horrific. I ended up getting nauseous and cancelling the rest of the day out.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2123240 - 07/26/13 10:36 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: kpembrook]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21668
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!

Gak! sick


Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!


How did you handle that?

Me, I probably would have horked on the spot...



Wimps! smile
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2123244 - 07/26/13 10:47 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
We went to pick up a tall upright once and when we got to the piano it was moving by itself. The veneer was moving. Upon closer inspection it was the dormant termites in the yard sale piano they bought years earlier.

They had gone through the carpet which was the only thing supporting the weight , eaten the floor joists, sub floor, and gotten through the wall into the kitchen. I'd say that was the worst I'd ever seen.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2123261 - 07/26/13 11:11 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: BDB]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 376
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!


Maybe this happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT2llVyPmHg#t=2m

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#2123272 - 07/26/13 11:28 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: BDB]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!

Gak! sick


Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: BDB
A dead mouse crushed under the keys, recent enough to be stinky!


How did you handle that?

Me, I probably would have horked on the spot...



Wimps! smile


Yessir, I am. That kind of biohazard stuff gives me the willies.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2123276 - 07/26/13 11:33 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1772
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
In the late 1980s, a very kind, very good, and very old piano teacher decided she would do a final recital for her students. To make it special, she was going to use 6 pianos and do a kind of piano ensemble for the finale.

For the recital, she had her piano moved to an elementary school stage. She then rented the other 5 pianos from a furniture store that "also sells pianos."

I showed up the morning of the recital to tune the six pianos for that evening's recital. Her piano was in decent shape since I would tune it roughly every six months. The other five? They were a blend of 80s vintage Wurlitzer spinets and consoles, all a minimum of 100 cents flat. Seems the furniture store sold pianos as a sideline and didn't really care much about keeping them in tune while they sat on the floor.

That was not a fun day.



Maybe this tuner has the answer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9UICSlp5es
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

Top
#2123279 - 07/26/13 11:36 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
It was back in the late 1970s and it was a 4-1/2 year old Steinway Model M. The complaint was “dead bass strings.” I began to identify the problem as I walked up on the porch to ring the bell; there was the strong odor of a cat litter box long in need of changing and cleaning. Except that the litter box turned out to be the piano; the strings were black and there was a half-inch layer of dried cat urine and poop covering the soundboard.

I considered simply leaving but, as a favor to the dealer, I went ahead with the job. I ordered the new strings and enlisted the aid of an assistant. We took every cleaning aid known to mankind with us along with masks and a large window fan. I'll not go into the sordid details of the job—it was worse than your worst nightmare—but the stench was so bad that I can almost smell it today as I write this.

When I gave the owner the bill—it was considerably higher than the normal charge for replacing bass strings—she had the audacity to suggest that, since the piano was only 4-1/2 years old and bass strings should last longer than that, this should really be covered under warranty and would I please send the bill to Steinway. I declined explaining that by allowing her cats to use her piano as a litter box she would have voided any reasonable warranty. She was certainly entitled to try but I wouldn't do it for her; I'll take cash or a check now if you don't mind. She grudgingly paid and I don't know if she ever tried to collect from Steinway or not; when it came to her cats she seemed to have a mental disconnect of some kind.

If you had met her away from her home she would have appeared to be a perfectly normal person. She worked as a dental hygienist in a local clinic. I made sure to get the name of that clinic so I could be sure to avoid it (and her) in the future. She did not go on my list of people to call for repeat tunings and, thankfully, I never heard from her again.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2123286 - 07/26/13 11:50 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1772
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Had one - and thankfully only one - similar "cat" experience. The difference was: piano - a relatively new "DH Baldwin" Grand. Person, a piano teacher. Job took two days: one to clean the instrument thoroughly, and the other to install new bass strings, etc. And, of course, the numerous trips back to pull 'em up. No warranty coverage was requested. Yes, for me it was as unpleasant as you state, Del.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#2123461 - 07/26/13 06:32 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2123469 - 07/26/13 06:46 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: OperaTenor]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.

I have no idea what she suffered from. I can say that she seemed oblivious to the stench that permeated her whole house. It was like she didn't smell it at all.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2123492 - 07/26/13 07:38 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Del]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Del
It was back in the late 1970s and it was a 4-1/2 year old Steinway Model M. The complaint was “dead bass strings.” I began to identify the problem as I walked up on the porch to ring the bell; there was the strong odor of a cat litter box long in need of changing and cleaning. Except that the litter box turned out to be the piano; the strings were black and there was a half-inch layer of dried cat urine and poop covering the soundboard.

I considered simply leaving but, as a favor to the dealer, I went ahead with the job. I ordered the new strings and enlisted the aid of an assistant. We took every cleaning aid known to mankind with us along with masks and a large window fan. I'll not go into the sordid details of the job—it was worse than your worst nightmare—but the stench was so bad that I can almost smell it today as I write this.

When I gave the owner the bill—it was considerably higher than the normal charge for replacing bass strings—she had the audacity to suggest that, since the piano was only 4-1/2 years old and bass strings should last longer than that, this should really be covered under warranty and would I please send the bill to Steinway. I declined explaining that by allowing her cats to use her piano as a litter box she would have voided any reasonable warranty. She was certainly entitled to try but I wouldn't do it for her; I'll take cash or a check now if you don't mind. She grudgingly paid and I don't know if she ever tried to collect from Steinway or not; when it came to her cats she seemed to have a mental disconnect of some kind.

If you had met her away from her home she would have appeared to be a perfectly normal person. She worked as a dental hygienist in a local clinic. I made sure to get the name of that clinic so I could be sure to avoid it (and her) in the future. She did not go on my list of people to call for repeat tunings and, thankfully, I never heard from her again.

ddf


Wow! You're practically a saint for continuing with that job, I commend you for it.

Sometimes it feels like we are living in a human zoo known as planet Earth.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2123494 - 07/26/13 07:42 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: OperaTenor]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.



I believe in this theory. I've met people that seem to love their cats more than life itself. I know a woman who talks about her cats continuously, no matter where she happens to be.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2123498 - 07/26/13 07:48 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Jbyron]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1772
Loc: Conway, AR USA
...ain't it the truth =^..^=
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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#2123506 - 07/26/13 07:56 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Not as bad as some of the other stories, but sometimes you get stuck halfway into a job and can't get away.

I was in a home one time that had several automatic artificial air fresheners and potpourri pots situated around the place. One fourth of the way through the tuning I started to get queasy as an automatic room odorizer sitting on a table nearby would squirt something out into the air every few minutes. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. I could taste it and smell it on my clothes for a long time.
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2123522 - 07/26/13 08:23 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Isn't it Ryan with the custom shirts and 'pianod-up' truck? I wonder if has a logo haz-mat suit?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2123539 - 07/26/13 09:22 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2142
Loc: Maine
If this was in the form of a contest, I'd have to vote for Del's dilemma. Eeewou!
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2123561 - 07/26/13 10:01 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1973
Loc: Philadelphia area
Experience has taught me that sometimes it is better to just walk away.

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#2123620 - 07/27/13 12:47 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: David Jenson]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
If this was in the form of a contest, I'd have to vote for Del's dilemma. Eeewou!


+1
thumb sick
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2123685 - 07/27/13 07:38 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: OperaTenor]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.



Thing about that is, it's common with outdoor cats, not indoor. It's also found in the soil, making fruits and vegetables a risk unless washed really good. Toxoplasmosis is often associated with cats, but there are many ways you can get it. Indoor cats would be the least of my worries. Only reason I know is from a vet and MD while going through a relative's pregnancy.

That's #1. #2 is, it amazes me how many people point to Wikipedia as a reliable source of information! I could go change that article right now to say that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets, and someone could quote it as a source before it was corrected (if ever).
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2123727 - 07/27/13 09:37 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1251
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Wow, I just read this interesting fact. Did you know that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets?
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2123730 - 07/27/13 09:40 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Eric Gloo]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
Wow, I just read this interesting fact. Did you know that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets?


Lol see what I mean? smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2123778 - 07/27/13 11:32 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.



Thing about that is, it's common with outdoor cats, not indoor. It's also found in the soil, making fruits and vegetables a risk unless washed really good. Toxoplasmosis is often associated with cats, but there are many ways you can get it. Indoor cats would be the least of my worries. Only reason I know is from a vet and MD while going through a relative's pregnancy.

That's #1. #2 is, it amazes me how many people point to Wikipedia as a reliable source of information! I could go change that article right now to say that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets, and someone could quote it as a source before it was corrected (if ever).


Ever heard of an.....indoor-outdoor cat?
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2123847 - 07/27/13 03:37 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Jbyron]
Tuneless Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/13
Posts: 184
Loc: AZ, USA
Cats get toxoplasmosis from eating mice. I have had some very good mousers in my cat owning days, and mice do get into houses. We had to start using an electric mouse trap since our last good mouser went to the happy mouse hunting ground in the sky. We catch a mouse in this trap once or twice a week, continuously. Can you imagine how badly infected our old cat must have been?
_________________________
Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano(yet) and couldn't tune a guitar, much less a piano.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.

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#2123852 - 07/27/13 03:55 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Jbyron Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/10
Posts: 514
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.




That's #1. #2 is, it amazes me how many people point to Wikipedia as a reliable source of information! I could go change that article right now to say that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets, and someone could quote it as a source before it was corrected (if ever).


Remember the days before the internet when you had to go to the library for information? The information in some books isn't accurate either. I think Wikipedia is a great source for information. As for doctors, I have a doctor in the family and do you think I would beleive everything he says?..... HECK NO! laugh
_________________________
Tuner-Technician



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#2123889 - 07/27/13 05:25 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Jbyron]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Jbyron
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.




That's #1. #2 is, it amazes me how many people point to Wikipedia as a reliable source of information! I could go change that article right now to say that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets, and someone could quote it as a source before it was corrected (if ever).


Remember the days before the internet when you had to go to the library for information? The information in some books isn't accurate either. I think Wikipedia is a great source for information. As for doctors, I have a doctor in the family and do you think I would beleive everything he says?..... HECK NO! laugh


But at least the encyclopedias on your shelf don't have [citation needed] every other "fact." And that's the problem. No one seems to have a problem with a "fact" in an "encyclopedia" that flat out says "we don't know if this is right or not."

So yeah, I have more faith in Britannica or World Book, where the articles are sourced.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2123890 - 07/27/13 05:30 PM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Dave B]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5317
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Experience has taught me that sometimes it is better to just walk away.

Believe me, that experience taught me that there were some jobs it was better to walk away from. I'd have walked away from that one except for my relationship with the dealer that had originally sold the piano. Even so, after that I determined to never again subject myself (or anyone else) to an experience like that -- and I never have.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2124574 - 07/29/13 02:09 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2386
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Del wins ....... or loses, I guess...

That woman may be a sufferer of Toxoplasmosis. It is theorized that "cat ladies" have been exposed to the parasite, and develop a somewhat unnatural attraction to cats.



Thing about that is, it's common with outdoor cats, not indoor. It's also found in the soil, making fruits and vegetables a risk unless washed really good. Toxoplasmosis is often associated with cats, but there are many ways you can get it. Indoor cats would be the least of my worries. Only reason I know is from a vet and MD while going through a relative's pregnancy.

That's #1. #2 is, it amazes me how many people point to Wikipedia as a reliable source of information! I could go change that article right now to say that toxoplasmosis is more prevalent in Italians who drive Chevrolets, and someone could quote it as a source before it was corrected (if ever).


My wife is a biotech clinical research lead scientist, specializing in infectious diseases. I knew about Toxoplasmosis already, just used the Wiki link as a quick reference. Assuming they're strictly indoor cats is just that - an assumption, and as Jbyron said, there are such things as indoor/outdoor cats, and hardcopy encyclopedias that contain erroneous information.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2124628 - 07/29/13 04:58 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
I never said these cats weren't indoor/outdoor cats. All I said is that toxoplasmosis is more of a concern with cats that go outdoors, which is accurate.

And sorry, any comparison between Wikipedia, which anyone on the planet can edit in real time, and an encyclopedia which is painstakingly sourced by experts in the respective fields is....well, funny.

The point is that toxoplasmosis can come from many sources, including the soil in your garden. [citation needed]wink
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#2124672 - 07/29/13 07:42 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1665
Loc: Chicagoland
I've only got two 'icky' stories from my past....

Way back when I was a young and hungry tuner, I took a tuning far away - friend of a friend type of thing. Small little console or spinet in the basement. When I opened the top with the owner right behind me, a mass of what looked like white cockroaches began to scatter. She calmly reached for a spray can and started dousing the piano! I opened a folding chair, banged it on the ground and set my tool kit off the ground. I was already there and needed the check, so tuned right through the heebie jeebies! (shudder)

After I got my college contract gig, I got a call one night from one of the teachers that use the studios in the evening for private community kid lessons. His student threw up - right into the keys.... That was a looong night of scraping, scrubbing and replacing punchings!
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#2124697 - 07/29/13 09:12 AM Re: What was your worst job? [Re: Loren D]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1772
Loc: Conway, AR USA

Wasn't necessarily the worst, but maybe the scariest or spookiest.

Tuning a large vintage upright in an old church building on the bad side of town.

By myself.

Place, quiet as a mouse.

When, all of a sudden, he jumps out of the action.

I jump off the piano bench.

Before I can whack him, the bugger runs back into the action.

I can't find him.

Totally unnerved, and the tuning nowhere near complete, I wonder what to do.

What would you do?
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com/

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