Monday, February 11, 2013

putting things away on shelves

New stuff!
For Christmas I got a hand-me-down Mac Mini and keyboard, and a monitor twice the width of my previous one. Through the successive efforts of my son, my husband, and even me, I have Snow Leopard loaded and have downloaded some necessary applications (Scrivener, Bean, Dropbox). This all took a while, because I'm dilatory and disorganised. But here I am now, posting from the new machine.

On the less technologically advanced side... As I bicycled to work one dim grey morning, I was distracted by a looming darkness on the sidewalk. Because I'm a natural scavenger, even of looming darkness, I stopped, and discovered it to be two wooden bookcases (about 7' tall and almost 4' wide, maybe 8" deep) leaning against a power pole. That is tall, actual wood not particle board, shallow bookcases meant to contain books rather than sculptures and curios. Exactly what I need to get the stacked books and papers off the floor of my study.
You'll have noticed that bookcases of that size and presumed weight are going to be awkward loads. I was on a bike. So bungy-cording them, even one at a time, onto my bike-basket was not going to be an option. I stood pensively for a bit, thinking of my sleeping husband, and whether I should bike to work and phone him to bring the van and fetch them, or go home and wake him up to help me fetch them home. And what if someone else came along in the interim? If I'd had a cell phone, I might have called right then, but... Or was I overestimating the eagerness of the visible traffic - people heading in to work in compact cars - to load themselves up with two large bookcases?
Since I'd been on my way to a morning weights session, it was still pretty early. Soon traffic would pick up. Seize the day, I thought, and turned around. I bicycled quickly home, got the van and drove back. The bookcases were still there, hurrah!
Unfortunately, I could only park about 4 car lengths away (see: early morning, people not left for work yet). A challenge. Next question being whether I had overestimated my personal carrying capacity? I tipped the first bookcase and walked it down to horizontal on its side.  Oh good! It wasn't taller than me or my shoulder-height, sideways. I put myself midways of its length, tucked my shoulder under the uppermost side, and lifted.
Good thing I've been working out with weights.
If you find yourself doing this, gentle reader, be cleverer than me and fold something up to protect the bony point of your shoulder. I collected a nice dark bruise to mark the spot. The other bruise I acquired was at the upper curve of my calf, where the lower side of the bookcases bumped with each step. I proceeded to the van with a sort of chicken-hop, unable to take long steps because my knee would bump the shelf (this was on my left, because that's the good knee and I was reasonably sure it wouldn't buckle unexpectedly). Anyway, I understand why chickens don't routinely carry awkward loads on their nonexistent shoulders.
I couldn't set the case down, for fear I couldn't hoist it back up again, so finally reaching the back of the van, where I could prop one end up, was much relief. Pushing it into the van was dead easy. Pant, pant.   Then trotting around to the side door to move Mark's swords & stuff over so they wouldn't be trapped, then climbing into the van to push and pull the bookcase over to where I could slide the next one in beside it. Minor adjustments.
Back out for case number two. With really no excuse now for not having something over my shoulder to cushion, except that I didn't think of it until I found the bruise the next day. Case number two was heavier, subjectively, and I was slowing down. But! I reached the van, rested the top of the case and slid it in horizontally to lean against its twin. Hurrah!
Except that due to the width of the cases, and the aerodynamic slope of the van's back door, I wasn't going to be able to close the door. Not so hurrah.
Okay, we can deal with this. So I climbed into the van, moved the bag of swords again, and started wrestling with the bookcases, trying to lean them over enough that the upper back corner (of their current alignment, not their functional, upright alignment) would be low enough to clear the doorway. If you've ever, in a confined space, tried to manoeuvre two objects larger than yourself, one of which is leaning on the other, you may guess my degree of success. Fortunately, partway into this, I realised that they were both pressed against the back of the passenger seat--which can be moved forward. Hurrah!
So, I drove home, parked the van, and grabbed my bike. It says something about the subjective nature of time that I was still able to fit in a slightly abbreviated workout.
I left both cases in the van, so that Mark and I could share the fun of getting them up the twisty stairs. This involves a sort of slow-motion bootlegger's turn on the landing, with one person backing into the bedroom, then the other towards the bathroom, so that the long object can be aimed towards the study. In, and stood against the wall, repeat with next object.

All that though was nowt, nowt, to the fun of the next bookcase, oak veneer (if anything is heavier than oak, oak veneer would be it) and more like 5' wide, bought on usedvictoria. Mark and I together could barely get it into the van, and the counsel of wisdom would probably have been to say 'Um, no, this isn't going to work for us, sorry'. But I am not wise and dammit I am going to have bookshelves.
This case was too wide to lie flat in the back of the van, and lay a few inches above the floor, propped by the wheel-wells and creaking gently with the motion of the vehicle. Where it could not stay, for the van was needed immediately for loading other things. We got it haltingly out of the van, along the walk, and up the porch steps, where it stood oakenly.
Fortunately the next night people were over for dinner, and there was enough enthusiasm and muscles to get the behemoth bookcase up the stairs and into my study. Where it effectively blocked access to my desk for another week. But now it is upright, and braced against the wall (all credit to Mark the Wonder Husband), and books are moving into it.

I've thus been able to clear away the boxes of books and papers that were waiting for shelves, and reveal more floorspace. I brought out the blue-and-white oval rug and put it under the blue chair to mark out the reading space as distinct from the writing space, and I can pin up the maps and posters that were waiting for confirmed wall space.

Pics to come.

2 comments:

Sharon Needles said...

Mark has a bag of swords? WHAT KIND OF SWORDS???

Good job on scoring the bookshelves, by the way. Is there anything finer than shelving books and seeing their lovely spines all aligned and off the floor?

I don't think so.

batgirl said...

Longswords, of course! So that he can be ready to teach or demonstrate the methods of Master Fiore at a moment's notice. Or beat off zombies, depending.

So happy about these bookcases - still moving books from the floor downstairs, but the study floor is now bookless. I need one more in our bedroom still, so I can get my fiction off the floor and sort it properly.