Christmas in the key of me

Kim says we’re too old to have another baby, but she seems happy with the one she got for Christmas. She’s even saying I gave it to her, but that’s not exactly true. Still, I’m happy to take the credit for it.

I’m talking, of course, about a baby grand piano — our newest addition. Kim has played piano since she was a child, and when she was in college, she took out her first loan to buy an upright for her apartment. When we married, we combined her debt with mine, and were well on the way toward living paycheck-to-paycheck. But we had a decent piano, along with all of the crap I had bought.

Boy, the way Glenn Miller played....She played it for me frequently, particularly at this time of year. Sometimes I’d even abandon my inhibitions, and sing along. At least she’s musically talented.

But there’s one thing she’s wanted forever — a baby grand. I promised her I would get her one before our twentieth anniversary, but there were two major obstacles to meeting that goal — space and money.

We moved to a bigger house this summer, which overcame the former, but made the second seem even more insurmountable. But earlier this month, with only weeks to spare before our twentieth, she got her heart’s desire. And I had nothing to do with it.

It helps to know the right people. Kim works with a man who in recent years built a new home with his wife, one that doesn’t have a good spot for their — you guessed it — baby grand. They tried to sell it on eBay, but nobody wanted it. It’s about 20 years old (coincidence?), and beginning to show its age. A few nicks, in need of a major tuning, and wrapped up in storage for a little too long. They didn’t know what to do with the thing. Enter Kim.

She told them we’d be glad to take it off their hands. And they told her she’d be doing them a favor. How do these things happen? It can’t be karma, because I’m not that good of a person.

Meanwhile, we still had Kim’s upright piano, but we also had some good friends who were looking for one. We decided to pay it forward, and offer them ours. All they had to do was pay the cost of moving it from our place to theirs. They found a good, affordable mover who specializes in pianos, and I met him at the old house to let him get the upright.

While he was there, I asked him what his schedule was like the following week, and we worked out a date and time for him to pick up the baby grand from Kim’s colleague and move it to our new place. It happened to be a date and time when I couldn’t be there, so Kim worked from home that afternoon, and let the movers in. I came home that night, and … instant piano!

A real fixer-upper

It’s chipped, worn, and out of tune, but I’ve never seen Kim happier than she’s been since the afternoon it arrived. She said just looking at it makes her smile, and she can’t avoid looking at it when she comes downstairs and rounds the corner in the morning, or when she comes inside after pulling into the garage at night. Instant piano = instant happiness.

The best part is, this was just a week or two ago, so she told me to consider the moving expense to be her Christmas present.

Guys, I don’t know if you caught what I did there, so let me recap…

1) I promised Kim a baby grand.

2) Kim found a baby grand.

3) Kim negotiated, so I didn’t have to pay anything for the baby grand.

4) Someone else found a guy who could move the baby grand.

5) Kim supervised the moving of the baby grand.

6) I got full credit for giving Kim a baby grand.

Call it a night, fellow husbands — I just won.

About Dan Bain

Dan is an award-winning humorist, features writer, emcee and entertainer from Raleigh, NC. His collection of humor essays, A Nay for Effort, has earned him fans from one end of his couch to the other. Why not join them and buy one? (You won't have to sit on his couch.) Dan will donate 10 percent of the book's proceeds to education. You can check it out at; thanks!
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10 Responses to Christmas in the key of me

  1. Peter Bourey says:

    If perception is all there is, than yes Dan, you won. That being said, I’ve been married long enough to understand how women eventually look at reality. So enjoy it while it lasts.

  2. Sounds like everybody wins! Glad you all got the gift of music. And if she seems to forget all the credit she gives you, liquor her up and spin it into a tale of magic. Santa brought it. Something like that.

    • Dan Bain says:

      Santa brought instruments to the boys, too. I don’t play a thing, so I got an iPod, along with the news that Led Zeppelin’s full catalog is finally available on iTunes. A musical Christmas, all around!

  3. Terri T. says:

    You can always claim (as my dad has for years) that you can ‘play a radio’ – so you’re not completely out! Great story about things working out full circle. Wishing you all years of beautiful music to soothe your worries away! And by the way, it looks very good in the picture… helps to know it was used enough to bring pleasure to others before it entered your domain. Those dings and such are actually character. 🙂

    • Dan Bain says:

      Thanks, Kid — for the compliment, and for the perspective on the piano’s finish. Let’s face it — there’s no way we would have gotten a baby grand in mint condition, and we were lucky to know such a generous person. Hope you had/are having an excellent Christmas!

  4. Tori Nelson says:

    Ha. A sneaky victory but a victory nonetheless 🙂

  5. Sounds like Christmas a short story, all right. Nice post. Enjoy this left over week!

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