This is our Piano Room.
You have one, too. Or, at least your parents do.
It has lots of different names, and it doesn't even have to have a piano in it. It's that "other" room. Sometimes called a front room, a parlor, or even just a dining room. Like ours, it's typically full of your mom's best silver tarnishing in some hutch, a formal table of the sort that has a leaf in it, probably a few knick-knacks and definitely some family portraits.
Often, even if the rest of the house has been de-seasonalized, this room might retain accidental remnants of some holiday hall-decking. (Note the paint brush holder, top photo, piano left. Yeah, that's some sort of Christmas vase turned art supply receptacle. Mom also has a leftover Halloween portrait on one wall that looks like a gaudily-framed black and white photo of a little victorian girl. But then when you walk past it, she magically, i.e. holigraphically, has no skin and sprouts black veiny wings.)
If you think skinless girl is oddball, check out our sibling portrait. Yeah, that was a Walmart special, where you just walk up with your toddler and pay $4.95 or some ridiculously cheap sitting fee. So the girl running the "studio" that day had her hands full when a few years back the definitely non-toddlerish Kathleen, Donny and I strolled on up to get our portrait.
The hook is, that they take the shot and then you look at it digitally on a screen. Then you have to decide, "yes, that's the one we want to keep and order prints of" or you say, "nah, we can do better" and shoot a new one. But it's sort of like rolling the dice, because you can never go back to the previous shot.
Needless to say, we shot about, oh... like twenty-four poses to get the one we wanted. Kathleen looking properly sassy as if caught in the middle of a mildly surprised expression like "oh, you're taking my picture!?" Tara looking non-double-chinny (notice how I'm practically looking heavenward). Donny looking non-creepy. Well, two out of three weren't bad, so we finally decided this one was the keeper. We even ordered fridge magnets. Those cost extra.
But this post isn't about the portrait. It's about the Piano Room, which hasn't really been a piano room since we stopped playing the piano (okay, that was pretty much just only me who ever legitimately practiced) when I was fourteen years old.
So here is a list of all the multi-purposes our Piano Room has served over the years:
1. Two-Times-A-Year Formal Family Dinner Room: Basically Thanksgiving & Christmas in that order.
2. Halloween Staging Area: We have to sort the mad scientist lab and assemble our skeleton bride somewhere before we drag it in the front yard. Most likely explanation for how skinless girl got left behind as a year-long staple.
3. Shortcut From Kitchen To Bedroom Hallway: Especially handy when avoiding getting yelled at from Dad for walking in front of the family room TV during a football game, which is the other direct path to the bedrooms. Technically you could crawl under the family room TV, but that still makes him nervous, and then the cookies and chips you're stashing up your sleeve might fall out, and for sure the Coca-Cola you have literally balanced in the waistband of your pants might spill. We weren't allowed to eat in our bedrooms, so we got pretty Shawshank about sneaking our Oreos and Cheetoes.
4. Make-Out Room: Self-explanatory.
5. Puzzle Room: Puzzle Bitches of Greater OKC is what we call ourselves when we get on a jigsaw puzzle streak. It's been a while. We may have to reinstate PBGOKC this Christmas break.
6. Sing-Along Torture Room: Okay, another typically Christmas-time tradition. I pull out the sheet music of greatest hits from the 70's and 80's, bang out Fame on the old ivories and Kathleen and I belt out "we're gonna light up the sky with our names" at the top of our lungs. If you are not actually in the Piano Room, it doesn't matter. You will hear us. You will believe. The knick-knacks shaking, the old-time photos of our ancestors looking on side-by-side with the Walmart Studio Portrait versions of ourselves... they all agree. I mean, you know skinless girl believes. And in that moment, we know "we're gonna live forever."
And that's why you gots to have a Piano Room.