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WANTED: AN ARSONIST
1 November 2005
"I thought this was why I had sons," I complained, as I huffed and puffed my way up the stairs balancing the heavy bookcase. True, Walt was doing the lion's share of the work, but my view of myself in my dotage had always been that I would sit back and eat bon bons while directing my strong male progeny on where to move the heavy furniture.
"I did this before," I said to Walt, reminding him of the time when we were moving a refrigerator when I was 7 months pregnant with Ned and he said "Here--hold this up for a minute while I do [something or other--I forget what now]," leaving me with the weight of the refrigerator resting on Ned's unborn head, or butt, depending on which way he was facing at the time.
My children have gone to great lengths to avoid carrying heavy furniture for me. Two of them were so adamant that they off'ed themselves in the bloom of youth. Jeri (who is as strong as most males) took herself off to the other side of the country and Tom moved 300 miles away. And, in fairness, (a) Ned and his friend Greg had moved all of the furniture into the living room months ago, and (b) we never asked for his help today, nor did we let him know that any heavy furniture was going to need to be lifted, so I can't really complain about his lack of attendance.
However, I'm sure there is a valid complaint to be made there somewhere and I'm going to milk it for all it's worth.
Let's also overlook the fact that I am the daughter of a woman who, at my age, was standing on top of a roof helping her husband hammer nails into a house they were building. I am a delicate flower and please refer to the aforementioned bon bon comment.
Walt has taken the past week off to rearrange furniture. He has thrown away things (please, those of you who know him, get hold of some smelling salts) and moved furniture out to the garage by himself without telling me he was doing it.
This actually is the best way, because I have these three constant companions, who must be under my feet at all times and I probably would have been more of a hinderance than a help.
But the Big Bookcase, which my father built when I was a child, weighs a ton at least and is about 10 feet tall and is more than one person can handle, even if the one person is Mighty Walt.
So he needed my help.
The dogs were eager to "help," so I got out a fence that Ellen had picked up for me at a garage sale and blocked off the hallway. The three of them looked like they couldn't believe it.
Walt and I unloaded all the stuff that had been stored in the bookcase and then began the tricky maneuver of getting a very tall, very heavy, very unwieldy bookcase out of a room with a very low ceiling and up a very narrow staircase.
As I said, Walt did the lion's share of the work and my job was to keep the thing from sliding down the stairs and to bitch about it. I did my job very well.
We finally made it upstairs. Neither of us had a heart attack in the process, and we only knocked one picture off the wall. We slid it into the big bedroom and into position. I was reminded of how carefully my father measured that bookcase (it was originally made as a record cabinet) when he built it in the basement of our flat in San Francisco. When he went to move it upstairs and put it in the spot he had so carefully built it for--his measurements were off by just a couple of inches and it wouldn't fit. There was hell to pay for us innocents because of his miscalculation, lemme tell you.
Walt, being an engineer, had planned ahead much better. He had cleared a hole exactly the width of the bookcase with just enough space left over to get to the plug in the wall. It fit perfectly.
Now the job is mine. I have to move as much as I can into the bookcase and find a space for everything else in the living room, since I no longer have any excuse.
I looked at the junk in the big bedroom. I looked at the junk in the living room. I looked at the junk in Walt's office. I looked at the junk in the master bedroom. I looked at the junk in my office.
And I just wanted to hire an arsonist.
A little fire. Even a controlled burn. A planned burn. It doesn't have to spread to the neighbors. We'll get the pets out first. I won't press charges. I promise.
Somehow the idea of standing on the sidewalk watching all of my earthly possessions go up in flames is kind of...I dunno...appealing.
Imagine starting all over with nothing. In an empty house.
But since I can't hire an arsonist I guess I'm going to have to dig in and start finding holes to put all the stuff I have to fill them with.
No more bon bons for me, I fear. Not for a very long time.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I just have to find a place for all of this crap by Christmas