Monday, October 10, 2005

Rent-a-Husband and nesting activities

Oy-vey, I'm tuckered out today.

My friend Rod, former firefighter/cop/carpenter, came over on Saturday and spent the day building bookshelves in my wasted space niche.

Apparently, when Sammy the Landlord's Son took on the task of renovating my apartment a few years ago, he decided to just remove anything in the apartment that spoke of utility, character, or more work than he was willing to do -- that included french doors, transoms, and the small closet just inside the front door. Somehow he managed to hold his coke-and-booze-and-crack-addled brain together just long enough to put in nice hardwood floors. Then his brain went back on its coke/booze/crack vacation during the "re-wiring for electricity" stage of the reno, because Ann, the Landlord's Daughter (who has taken over the building from the hapless Sammy, whose motto seemed to be "Fix something, break two other things!") had to bring in an ace electrician a month ago to rewire my entire apartment (no walls had to come down, thank god, it all happened through the crawlspace in the attic).

So I moved into the apartment last year -- a standard railroad, which means no closets. But there was this useless space by the front door in the living room, which I liked to call, "The Useless Space by the Front Door." Four feet wide by 16 inches deep, running from floor to ceiling. I shoved my blanket chest into the space, piled my Buddhism books on it where I could grab them whenever I felt a karmic emergency was at hand, and tried to pretend I didn't see the other 8 feet of space looming over it. Thought about putting a coat rod in the space, but hated the thought of unsightly garments cluttering up the living room.

Rod, in a fit of handyman-itis, offered to build shelves for me. I guess he got tired of listening to me bitch about the moat I had built around my bed out of all of my books.

He showed up on my doorstep on Saturday afternoon with lumber, tools, and his carpenter's belt, and proceeded to saw and nail and hammer and screw to his heart's content while I tried my best to keep the sawdust under control. Madison, per her usual scaredy-cat nature (so THAT'S where that expression comes from) stashed her tiny self under the space behind the bed, not to be seen all day, but Mambo, typically gregarious, was underfoot all day. He's the most doglike damn cat I've ever known. Even when Rod fired up the saw, old Mambo just sat there, looking more irritated than scared.

With the last piece of lumber, and some left over scraps, he fashioned brackets and a new shelf for my kitchen wall. Ah, more places to put my stuff! Then I hustled him into the bedroom to hang the brackets for my new red curtains. Last but not least, he leveled my stove.

Buy that man a beer! Or, three, plus a club sandwich at Teddy's. I was more than happy to buy him dinner and beers after all his hard labor. What a great thing to do for me! He may be a cranky old bachelor Republican, but he sure is handy to have around sometimes.

Man, have any shelves ever been so welcome? These are not weekend-handyman, make-do crapola shelves -- I could climb these shelves if I wanted to, they are that sturdy.

So I spent Sunday morning painting my lovely new shelves to match the living room walls. (Rod wanted me to stain the bastards. Like any good carpenter, he wants the wood to look like wood. But like a good New Yorker who has spent just enough time around interior design wonks, I want the shelves to disappear. I figure a couple thousand books stand out on their own, the shelves don't need to stand out, too. Or to quote Gloria Upson, "What a stunning apartment -- books are so decorative, don't you think?"

Then came the fun part -- my workout for the weekend -- loading the shelves. I spent HOURS moving books from the bedroom to the living room. An armload at a time, up the ladder, down the ladder, up the ladder, down the ladder. I must say, right now my hamstrings and my ass are aching righteously with the workout they got yesterday.

On fire with home-improvement zeal, I then decided to sand and re-stain the top of my parson's table, then hem and hang my new red curtains that separate my bedroom from the closet -- on the new brackets that Rod installed for me. Next step -- turning the closet room into a real closet -- get rid of the piece of particle-board crap left behind by the previous tenant and the Martha Stewart metal clothes rack from K-Mart and get a real wardrobe built...

Freddy, my new neighbor, must have been having some home improvement urges of his own -- he came over to borrow a hammer and nails yesterday. I say -- can you call yourself a man if you don't own your own hammer and at least a rudimentary toolkit? Or worse -- are you a man who has been living at home until your mid-thirties and using Dad's tools? I can't say anything; I'm a girl who owns not one, but two drills. Then again, he was sporting a backward Kangol and clog slippers, so I'm having a hard time getting a read on him. Gay straight man? or Straight gay man? Hmmm. His main visitor does appear to be this one guy....

Also on the home improvement front, looks like Ann will have to come and do yet more repairs on the front door, since Nancy and the animals who visit her on the first floor have busted the inside door right off the hinge. Nice.

It's very, very hard to feel compassion for the junkie crack-ho when the junkie crack-ho is directly affecting my ability to live in a decent home. I guess it's a dharma test for me. Om padme mani ommmmmm.

For the record, there were 18" of new snow in my mountain town yesterday into today. Oh, boy! Wish I could be transported there RIGHT NOW.


At 10/10/2005 2:57 PM, Blogger Anocsanamun said...

I am feeling that nesting urge today - tidying up all over the place . I have been painting 1 wall for a month now, but I am definitely determind. In one month I have 1/2 a quart of paint up. I am getting there. Nancy the crack monger and her menagerie don't need compassion, that's the path they CHOOSE. And "Funny Freddy" - He's a catcher. A reciever would have his own hammer at the very least.

At 10/12/2005 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm... okay, so I'm coming over to your fabulous, new, book cafe it seems you have built.

See you soon!



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