Piano guy called right after I typed the last entry, so I went and met him at the house. Verdict: grand piano left in house is old, but not a valuable antique; it will cost $5500 - $7500 to repair to good condition. Would cost another $5000ish to refinish to beautiful gloss, but I don't actually care about that; I'm fine with the slightly battered look of it, so that part is irrelevant. Options:
- donate to Girls Club or some such, take tax deduction, buy good quality used upright ($2500ish)
- donate to Girls Club or some such, take tax deduction, buy new upright ($2000 for cheapest version, not recommended; starting around $4-5K for good version)
- repair our piano (assume worst case, $7500)
- buy a new grand piano ($10K and up to $80K) -- we're almost certainly not doing this
It's tricky because we do want a piano in the house, for me to play and to teach the children, but had planned on just getting an upright. Grand pianos are, of course, much better sound quality and more of a pleasure to play. I studied piano for about ten years growing up; I was pretty decent (able to play and perform from memory a twenty page Rachmaninoff piece, for example), and I'd love to get my skills back and play regularly again. But I also want to be realistic about whether I'm likely to play often -- it's a little hard to guess, since I haven't had access to a piano in my home for twenty years. I think I'd play close to daily, but I'm not at all sure. And of course I have no idea if the children will take to it or not; I'm going to encourage them to play, but I'm not going to be as ardent about it as my parents were. If they're not going to love it, then is it worth getting a high-quality piano? On the other hand, if we get a cheap one now, and they do take to it, then we might end up just spending more money to upgrade, somewhere down the line.
And aside from any music issue, there are space issues -- the front parlor is not the largest room; if we're using it as a music room/parlor, it's fine to have a grand in there (and it looks beautiful in the room). But if it's also my study (which we won't know definitively until December 18th, because it depends on what the village decides to approve from our plans), then there probably isn't room for a grand piano in there too. I guess that means that if we're thinking of keeping it, we should wait until the 18th to decide for certain. But if we're sure we want to just go with an upright, we might as well donate it now and get it out of the house so it doesn't risk accidentally being damaged by the contractors. (Who are great guys, and are being very careful, but nobody is perfect...)
What should we do? So confused!