So, I finally had time yesterday to play with my spiffy new electronic tuner, and had the top three strings on my cello harmonizing delightfully when I got to the C-string.
I’ve had an adversarial relationships with C-strings since I was about nine, and had one pop and hit me in the face. Ever since then, no matter how many teachers and helpful music store folk have guided me through restringing my cello, that string has terrified me. I think because it’s so thick, and heavy.
I’m a strictly amateur hobbyist cello player. I noodle for fun. I’m good enough for community orchestras or church, but not good enough to be a soloist, and that’s cool, because I have a job, as well as two or three other things that I’d really prefer to have as a second career (writing). The cello I have is an advanced-student-quality “Virtuoso” cello from StringWorks in Wisconsin. It’s pretty, with rosewood fittings (pegs and tailpiece) and a really nice tone.
But I’m beginning to think that my problem with the C-string (this is the second time I’ve snapped one, while tuning, with less than half-step increments) might not be that I’m afraid of the string, and might be related to the peg and pegbox itself, because this string slips far too often to be normal. I’ve tried using stuff to help that, and it doesn’t work.
So, I’ve asked our choirmaster, who works at SMU, to ask any cello friends there if they can recommend an actual luthier, who can look at my peg box and figure out if I’m stupid, or if there’s really a problem.
Last night, at about 7:00, I was in the kitchen waiting for Cleo to come inside from herpost-dinner trip to the rain-damp back yard. She likes to jumb into the raised flower box that runs behind the swimming pool, and then step onto the brick back wall of the pool, so she’s closer to the trees and has a better view of the birds she’s stalking. This gives her a doggie runway that is the length of the pool (about 20 feet), two feet above the surface of the water, and eight inches wide.
We often joke that one of these days she’s going to over-balance on her landing, and land in the pool.
Last night, probably because the rain made the brick slick, she did just that.
Now, when we first moved in here, I took both dogs into the pool, and taught them where the stairs were, so that if they ever managed to fall in, they’d have a decent chance of getting out.
I forgot two things, however.
1) Dogs live in the now. Things that are not reinforced daily, fly right out of their furry little brains.
2) Animals panic when they cease to have ground beneath their feet, and panic more when they land in deep pools of water.
So, it’s twilight, made darker by rain, and I’ve got a scared dog splashing in the pool. I could have gone in after her, of course, but since the filter is broken the water is kind of icky with fallen flower petals and an array of bugs. So I called her.
She ignored me, and kept splashing toward the wall she’d fallen from, which, from that direction, is sheer.
I went to the corner of the pool, on the deck, and clapped, and got her attention, and she turned in the water, but, because she was trying to see me, moved into a position that was almost vertical. I had images of Cleo turning into a black and white canine Titanic, and plummetting to the bottom, but she didn’t, and I moved a bit closer to the pool stairs, calling her the whole time.
Slowly, the clue intercepted the canine brain, and she figured out that I was leading her to the stairs. It took about five minutes, but finally a wet and bedraggled Cleo-pet pushed herself onto the top step,and then onto the deck, where, immediately, she tried to jump into my arms, for comfort, while simultaneously shaking off all the water.
She spent the next half hour drying near the space heater in the bathroom.
I spent the next half hour mopping up the path of watery doom from the kitchen and living room floors.
Two hours later, she was back outside, where she went to the edge of the pool, peered cautiously over it, and into the water, chuffed, and then lowered herself onto her belly, stalking it.
I’m not sure, but I think she won.