Popping Sounds, Tears, Miles and Arpeggios! Phew!

Hey guys! *wave*

Holy-freaking-cow it’s been a long two weeks. Like, for reals.

My tutoring class started last Monday, and ends in 2 days. I have had tons of homework and reading to do for it, plus in the middle of it I had 2 6-hour days of orientation for my job at the college as an SI (Supplemental Instruction) Leader.

I actually have a shit ton of homework I need to be doing right now to finish up my tutoring course, as well as some harp practice, but I figured I’d do a quick post about what happened amidst all of this (and while I sip on my venti caramel-mocha frap – with an extra shot of espresso – that’s going to help me get through the rest of the day/evening).

So… I had a harp lesson back on the 29th of July. With my harp lessons come 60 miles worth of driving to and from my lesson. It’s really far, but it’s completely worth it because I’m studying with the professor of harp at the university I’m hoping to transfer to.

The day after my lesson, Murphy and his damn law decided it’d be a great idea to pay me a visit – something he does WAY too often if you ask me.

So, what happened you might ask? Well, if you’ve followed my posts on my FB page or on twitter, you should be well aware. He decided to mess with my poor Elizabeth… one of my best friends in the world. Who is Elizabeth you may ask? She is my beautiful, 95 year old harp that I’ve owned for the past 7 years or so.

Elizabeth, my 95 year old Style 20 Lyon & Healy Harp, all settled into my apartment. She was the first thing moved in – along with a sofa, mattress/box spring, and a TV.

So what happened to her exactly? Something I knew could happen at any time, but something I was not prepared for…

She made a popping sound. Mr. Envoy and I had heard this popping sound a few weeks before this, and we both searched all over her looking for a broken string that was never found. We just tossed it up the possibility that a string was going to be going soon, but it never happened. So when I heard this popping sound while I was making lunch for myself, I rushed over to her and started looking at her strings. I started towards her column, and worked my way to the top of the harp, which is when I saw what had caused the sound…


The soundboard on my baby had finally done what I was most afraid of… it had cracked.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start bawling like a baby when I discovered this.

Even Picasso could tell just how sad I was, because he was the king of “helping” me practice. It’s pretty obvious that he loves the harp as much as I do!

But after blubbering around the apartment for a bit, I managed to pull myself together enough to make some phone calls. First I called my best friend, Lauren, because she also plays the harp. She recommended I call her harp technician because she had just seen him the week before, and get his opinion on what to do. So I did, and I e-mailed him a picture of the damage. He recommended I e-mail my harp technician about it, and send him a picture as well, but his opinion based on the picture was that it would have to be replaced…

My heart broke when he said that. I hung up and tried to not start crying again.

I posted in two harp groups I’m in on Facebook looking for advice while I waited for a response from my harp technician. He was also of the opinion that the soundboard would need to be replaced, and recommended I contact Lyon and Healy (the company that made Elizabeth back in June of 1918) to get a quote for replacing the board. So I called and left a message.

I also called my harp teacher to get her advice, because she owns a harp that is a few years older than Elizabeth. She told me to do what I already had – call my harp technician. But knowing I wouldn’t be able to play Liz until she was fixed, she put me into contact with a friend of hers who had a couple of harps for rent.

So while I’m trying to track down quotes on replacing the board, and a crate to ship Liz in (since she’ll have to be shipped across the country), I got into contact with the guy about renting a pedal harp. It took about a week to get in contact with him (he was insanely busy) and decide what harp I was going to rent from him (he had a style 30 and a style 23 available to rent).

We had discussed me driving up to the Salvi store (another harp manufacturer) in northern LA to pick up the harp on Monday, the 5th of August, but we had both been playing phone tag for a bit that weekend so I assumed it wasn’t going to happen.

However, that Monday during the first day of my tutoring class, he called me. He said he had arranged it with the lady at the Salvi store that I could go and pick up the rental! I was beyond ecstatic!

Then I realized I was 30 miles away from home. And I had my dad’s little red convertible instead of my ghetto-tastic van. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE having my dad’s car right now (mainly because it has a/c and it’s freaking hot where my college is), but it is not capable of moving a concert grand pedal harp. Go figure.

So I had to drive the 30 miles back home to drop off my stuff and call the Salvi store to make sure I could borrow a harp cover (Elizabeth is only a semi-grand, so the cover I have for her won’t fit). By the time I got back in the car to head to my Dad’s place 16 miles away, It was already 1:45pm.


Then when I got to Dad’s he fed me lunch (thank goodness, I hadn’t eaten since breakfast at 5 that morning >_<). But this delayed me even more. I didn’t get on the road until almost 2:30pm… Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. However the Salvi store is in NORTHERN LA (it’s in the Culver City/Century City area, east of Santa Monica).

Let me describe to you what that means in case you don’t understand why that is a bad thing…. The Salvi store is 110+ miles away from my home. I was going to hit LA traffic on my way there, and especially on my way home again.


But on I went, because I wanted – no, NEEDED – that pedal harp. I was itching to practice, so I just wanted to get it over with. So I headed over to the 5N, and worked my way up to north. I was able to use a toll road to help save some time, but unfortunately I still hit some traffic once I got to the 405.

(BTW, totally took my top spot for WORST FREEWAY EVER. Just sayin’)

As if fighting traffic on my way there wasn’t bad enough, I was driving in an area I was completely unfamiliar with, and there were TONS of people. EVERYWHERE.

And guess what? My GPS informs me I have to turn left. No prob, right? WRONG. So very, very wrong. Normally, turning left is no big deal. Wait until the light turns green, and turn. Done. Nope, not in this part of LA! They’re too cool for designated turn lanes apparently.

So I got to wait. And wait. And wait for a spot to open up in the oncoming traffic that allowed me to punch it and make it through the intersection.

Phew, finally made it!

Now to find the Salvi store. Of course, I didn’t get there until after 4 pm, so I couldn’t park in front of the store once I found it. So I had to circle around and find a parking lot to park in. But I did it, and walked to the store to sign some paperwork and pick up the rental! Woo!!!!

The guy in the store brought the harp out while I pulled it to the front of the alley near the store so he could help me load it.

Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated his help, but he ended up causing me more work than I had wanted…

After he loaded the harp he went to close the back door to my van. But…… it didn’t close. So he tried again. Well, it shut that time! Too bad it got jammed on the ties from the sleeping bags I have in the back of the van to help slide the harp into my van easier…

So now my ghetto-tastic van is pissed off at me because the back door is “open”. Too bad it’s jammed shut and I couldn’t open it if I tried.

Oh well I guess. Nothing I can do about it now, so I head back to the freeway to sit in traffic for ages.

I decide to be a super sweet gf and pick up dinner on my way home from Mr. Envoy’s favorite curry house (CoCo Ichibanya – he used to get this all the time when he was stationed in Okinawa for 2 years) in Irvine. It took me an hour and a half to drive the 50 miles from the Salvi store to the curry house because LA traffic is amazing. Nothing I like more than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic moving a whole maybe 5 mph! Nope, nothing better! (Sarcasm, can you tell? I hope so…)

Anyways, after I get to CoCos, I park and go inside to pay for the food. However, I forgot to realize that there is a reason I call my van ghetto-tastic. And no, it’s not entirely because one side of my front bumper is held on with zip ties. The other reason is because the battery on it is a piece of sh*t. And stupid me forgot that! And guess what?! The back door wasn’t “technically” closed according to the van. So all the interior lights were on.

Yeah… I’m sure you can see where this is going…

I come back and try to start the van…. NOPE! Big tall glass of NOPE!

So I call my Dad and he says call AAA. That thought doesn’t sound fun. I really didn’t want to have to wait an extra 30-50 minutes for AAA to show up and jump the van for me.

So I called Mr. Envoy instead. He was about to come rescue me when I somehow got the van to start. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. But I didn’t question it. I quickly got off the phone and got ready to leave. However, this is when Murphy’s Law hit again….

I remembered I had planned on getting gas while I was in Irvine. Uh…. yeah. That wasn’t going to happen anymore. No way was I gonna risk shutting the van back off in order to gas up. So I crossed my fingers as I got back on the 405S, hoping I could make it to my Dad’s place with the rest of the gas I had.

Thankfully I did, and he came with my to get gas so I wouldn’t have to risk shutting the van off just yet. After that, he somehow managed to unjam the back door, so I was finally able to head back home because he’s amazing.

By the time I got home it was after 9pm and I was ready to scream from being in the van so much. Overall I had driven nearly 300 miles that day. Including to and from school.

Thankfully Mr. Envoy was home and was able to help me unload the harp (he was supposed to have gone into the field that week), because I was ready to collapse after I parked.

But it was worth it. I got a rental harp to use, and I couldn’t be happier!

Even Picasso was thrilled, because he had a new harp cover to jump into… -_-

The harp is beautiful, and has a great sound. But she’s much more difficult for me to move because I’m not used to it. But with how much I’ll be moving her this semester, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it really quick ;)

Now all that’s left is the “fun” part – rebuilding my calluses! Oh, and figuring out where Elizabeth is going for repairs… But at least I have a harp to use in the meantime :)

Oh… the life of a music major! And even more-so, the life of a harpist!

At least I won’t have to think about making a return trip to the Salvi store for a few months… *sighs in relief*

<3 and harp strings,

3 responses to “Popping Sounds, Tears, Miles and Arpeggios! Phew!

  1. Pingback: And she’s off! | Heart and Harp Strings·

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