So many people have been supportive and interested in this story that spanned a few threads, that I thought the final update deserved its own.
Clara is home!
As I had posted before, I started out looking for a better digital (started out with a Yamaha Arius YDP-164). After going to the store, I found that even the high end hybrids couldn't reproduce the organic immediacy of the acoustics. I was bitten and there was no cure. And then with an incredible stroke of luck, the store had a 2018 U1 getting traded in the very day I was trying to make up my mind. The stars just aligned. The deal was essentially a new piano (for all practical purposes) for a used piano price.
When I went in to meet her (I had already decided on her name), I was confronted by what I understand is a normal phenomenon for a noob switching from learning the basics on a digital: it's a lot harder to make an acoustic sound good, and especially to make it sound even and controlled. After trying my few lines on it, the lovely store owner (a piano teacher and excellent pianist) played herself, and the sound was just marvelous
My teacher thought it would take a couple of weeks to get the hang of better control on the real thing, but I think I'm already getting there faster than I thought.
The piano is of course just settling in, and we're learning each other's subtleties (she is more subtle, I more boorish, but she's very understanding). I scheduled the initial tuning for about 4 weeks from delivery. I am also having a "cabinet guru" as described by the store take a look at the small scratches and marks, mainly on the fall board. They really aren't very noticeable, and I understand they are very much consistent with the age of the piano, but my OCD kicked in and I want to see if he can make her look perfect
Other than that, all that's left is the hard part: actually learning how to play
But I am looking forward to the years of enjoying that process.
Thanks all. Enjoy the music.