I look forward to my weekends (particularly bank holiday three-dayers) with the kind of anticipation usually reserved for children on the eve of Christmas Day. I am so constantly busy that the blissful absence of an alarm clock on Saturday and Sunday mornings causes me to weep with gratitude when I eventually arise. What, therefore, was I doing awakening at break of dawn (that’s 8:00 a.m. for me) two Saturdays ago? (Remember, we’re talking about a person who takes it for granted that the sun rises in the east because she’s never actually witnessed the event.) The boudoir needed a revamp and it was time to git ‘er done!
Some of you may recall my purchase of a magnificent king-sized bed early last year. That, coupled with an entertainment centre and a large chest of drawers, gave me enough space to maybe swing a dead frog if I kept my elbow close to my bosom. I had intended on replacing the last two items with smaller examples, but like everything else, had put that project on the back burner. It was only when I found a nice secondhand desk and exactly the right narrow chest of drawers for sale that my plan was moved to the front burner, and enthusiasm reared its ugly head.
Flatmate Dermott had wisely agreed to house-sit for someone for a week, thus removing himself from harm’s way, but Welsh Mark was happily ensconced in his room oblivious to the honour that was about to befall him. My room would have to be tackled in stages. 1) Empty chest of drawers and entertainment centre of all items. 2) Bounce down stairs carrying aforementioned furniture for pickup by charitable organization. 3) Pick up new furniture from vendors. 4) Dance up stairs carrying new desk and chest of drawers. 5) Replace shower head with rain-type shower head to create spa experience.
Emptying the old furniture was a bigger task than I had anticipated. Trying to get any energy up in the early morning on a weekend was bad enough, but these wooden behemoths were like a magician’s top hat, revealing an endless array of DVDs, books, clothes, CDs, feather boas… I was already exhausted at the end of Phase 1 and it wasn’t even 10:00 a.m. Now it was time to go and grab the unsuspecting Mark. I banged on the door, and when he responded with less than enthusiasm at my request, I reminded him of our barter system where Six Pilfered Hot Dogs + Buns = Conveyance of one (1) piece of furniture down the stairs. I’m sure those Ball Park Franks were pretty bitter in his stomach right about then, but he dutifully removed himself from his comfy bed and shuffled like a man walking the Green Mile across the living room and up the tiled staircase.
The chest of drawers was an interesting move. Too long to simply turn in the doorway and be carried down, it had to be pushed across the upstairs hall into the opposite bedroom, and then lifted at an angle before it would even consider cooperating. The wall narrowly escaped being gouged as we got into position to tackle the downward gradient. Constant high-pitched “Are-you-okay? Yes! Are-you-okay??” banter echoed around the empty house as we advanced a la Laurel and Hardy towards the front door. By the time we got it out on the lawn I wondered how anyone moved furniture for a living.
The entertainment centre was much the same, although thankfully it was shorter so I didn’t have to crank the bottom up to my shoulder to make it turn. “Not to worry,” I yelled cheerfully. “Only two pieces to carry up and you’ll be done!”
Although the replacements were smaller, they were fashioned from solid wood – the kind of stuff that survives shipwrecks. The easier maneuvering was eclipsed by the sheer weight, and like the wolf trying to separate three little piggies from their abode, we huffed and we puffed all the way up the interminable stairs. Once both pieces were sitting in their rightful places I generously allowed Mark to retire from his chores – after all, it WAS his birthday.
I won’t bore you with the details of throwing out items, filling Space Bags and generally losing 2lbs every hour – just suffice it to say that I went straight through until 5:30 p.m. that day, and didn’t actually finish my room until Sunday lunchtime. I hung up a piece of artwork on the wall, about which Lynne remarked “Well that will certainly give you nightmares.” Everyone’s a critic.
Oh, and did I mention the Rain showerhead earlier? I purchased a beautiful stainless steel number for about $78 from one of our local hardware stores, removed the old showerhead and cast it aside, eagerly applied the plumber’s tape and screwed the dawn of my new showering experience onto the pipe. Drum roll please! I turned on the water and not only did it take a good 10 seconds to fill the mammoth head, it also clearly wasn’t getting enough water pressure to give me the monsoon I expected. Instead I got a light trickle which reminded me of Seinfeld’s Low-Flow episode. It had to hang straight down for me to get any coverage, bringing my nose within stubbing distance of the wall. Basically I could only utilize 5% of my shower space if I just wanted to get damp. Not to be deterred, I returned to said store and handed over cold hard cash for an extension pipe. I’m here to tell you that they look a lot longer in the box than they do in person. It bought me a few extra inches, which saved my Pinocchio-like schnozz, but I wouldn’t have wanted to jab my arm out in front of me whilst under the drizzlehead lest I break every bone in my hand on the still far-too-close tiles before me. I was also unable to tighten it in exactly the correct position, which led to the not unsubstantial steel head swinging down without warning in an attempt to crack my skull in two.
Here I am two weeks later absolutely reveling in my new furniture. I can dance around the bedroom like an arthritic Ginger Rogers without hindrance – fantastic! As far as the shower head is concerned, I’ve been stubborn. Sure I have to crouch underneath it in fear of being decapitated, and maybe I’m not as clean as I could be if the water was hitting me with any kind of power behind it, but it looks pretty and I can’t return it. That’s the joy of home renovation!