The families are wonderful and the children progress in their piano lessons through the years. I drive up to two hundred miles a day and enjoy it. The first reason is the quality of Wisconsin Public Radio and the other factor is Wisconsin's scenery. It's spectacular. After a drive I often consult "Roadside Geology of Wisconsin" * to understand the terrain. Highway F between Edgewater and Birchwood is outstanding.
Here are some of the more interesting home visits:
I arrive at the tuning and the person says "Don't worry about the dog, try to ignore him. He's bit a few people but we think it's under control now."
I walk up to a house and introduce myself to the husband outside. He seems a little surprised but tells me to go on in. As I play a little concert after the tuning the wife is very surprised. They didn't call me and I was in the wrong house. It turned out well though since they had children who had just started lessons.
No one answers during a tuning call. Twenty minutes later a complete stranger calls wondering why my name was on their caller id. I've never heard his name and he didn't call for a piano tuning. Drawing at straws I ask " Are you involved in Samoyed rescue?" ( One of our hobbies.) He says no. Finally I realize I had dailed incorrectly. Nevertheless he ended up making an appointment with me.
A client I've tuned many times in the past calls me to set up an appointment. She says "No one will be home, just go in." Once inside the house I notice there is no piano. All I can do is tactfully look around. Nothing on the main floor, nothing upstairs, nothing in the basement. A peek into the bedrooms reveal no piano. Later the client tells me "Oh, I'm sorry I did'nt tell you that I got a divorce and have moved." Who's house did I just search?
A not so funny story:
Some professional movers from another company had their new $30,000 nine foot piano on the lift platform behind a truck. The driver was not looking and started to pull forward. The piano hit the building and crashed three feet to the pavement. The amazing thing was the piano seemed to be fine with just a small scratch. I'm sure they 'forgot' about the incident by the time it was eventually sold.
It's embarrassing to tell a client about the mouse nest inside the piano. This is all too common. I'll be in a multi-million dollar house where everything is immaculate and end up filling a garbage bag with acorns from the inside of the piano.
(*Roadside Geology is by John Attig and Robert Dott.)