As I write this column, my back is still killing me.
I know what you are thinking and no, I did not play any type of sport — nor did I sleep in an awkward position in my super-duper comfy Tempur-Pedic bed.
The reason why my back hurts? My wife is a harpist.
She likes to harp, I mean, play the harp. And she is good at it, too, which means that she is asked to play at special functions, including weddings. This was the case during a recent weekend.
So, my job as the husband of the harpist to get the harp to and from the wedding. It’s no easy task…
First of all, let me introduce you to Petunia, the harp (yep, my wife named it). She is not one of those small hand-held harps you see in the cartoons when one of the characters dies and floats off to heaven, strumming an old hymn from the 1700s.
Nope, Petunia is large. She is a big ole’ pedal harp, which can also be defined in the musical circles as a concert harp — but don’t confuse it with a lever harp or a Celtic harp.
Yep, I’ve become an expert in all things harp. I think I need to watch some sports right about now…just to get an ounce of my “manly”-ness back.
A pedal harp typically has six and a half octaves (46 or 47 strings), weighs about 80 pounds, is approximately 6-feet high, has a depth of four feet, and is 21.5 inches wide at the bass end of the soundboard.
Eighty pounds, you say? That’s not bad, you proclaim? Well, there is also a harp “case,” which looks like a coffin big enough for a small person. It also weighs like one.
Petunia’s cage, ah I mean, case weighs just over 200 pounds by itself. The case is taller than me and is about twice as wide than me.
Luckily, it has wheels, but unfortunately the wheels are not the same distance from front to back. The wheels in front are just under 20-inches apart while the wheels in the back are roughly 30-inches apart.
So, in my Tim the Toolman Taylor mind, I tried coming up with a ramp design to allow the harp to be transported down a flight of stairs. That is the tricky part. It’s not too hard getting the Petunia off an on my truck. It’s those stairs. Those bloody stairs!
The thought of me being run over by a runaway harp in a coffin scared me, so I went the old fashioned route. I decided to carry it — with the help of two others — down the stairs on its way to the truck.
Then the proverbial light bulb illuminated over my head. Why don’t we just carry the case down the stairs first without Petunia and then carry Petunia second. Once we reached the bottom of the stairs, we could then strap Petunia into her case.
It’s easier to carry an 80-pound harp down the stairs than to carry a nearly 300-pound harp/case. I’m brilliant!