Sunday, November 30, 2008

home "improvement"

I'm generally a girl of few hobbies, and most of them involve sitting - reading (sitting), watching movies (sitting), sewing/fabric art (mostly sitting). My most recent hobby, about one year old, is home improvement, which involves a bit more physical labor, or so you would assume. My version of it involves a lot of - wait for it - sitting, reading IKEA and Lakáskultúra magazine, checking design blogs, sighing wistfully.

I think Tomi hates this hobby. Mostly because when I do get motivated enough to get off my bum and actually improve something, improvements take one one of two forms: I got out and buy things (plants, throw pillows, kitchen gadgets, etc) OR I move furniture. Most of our furniture is giant and heavy. Him being an engineer and me being a girl means that I'm disallowed from moving furniture by myself (despite years of injuring neither myself, nor another person, nor any item of furniture while working alone...). He is methodical and gets bossy. I am spontaneous and get cranky. Good times.

So yesterday I decided that the kitchen needed some change. We have a relatively big kitchen, with a kitchen table, sink, fridge, stove - the basics. What it was lacking was any sort of storage or counter space. There was exactly one tiny square of counter between the sink and the stove, usually covered with dirty dishes, or clean drying dishes. The space beneath it is food - flour, spices, cans, potatoes, etc.

In the pantry was a nice big counter unit: shelves below, counter space, and a top section of more shelves above. I decided to drag it out of seclusion in the pantry and put it in the kitchen, where it could be more useful (also, freeing up space for the next improvement project, hiding away all the junk in the living room). Feeling very grown-up and ambitious, I requested that Tomi stay out of my hair and let me work alone. I think he only agreed because he'd just bought a new Mp4 and was immersed in playing with it.

Commence dragging. Sweaty, but successful. The lip of the pantry and the fact that I couldn't get behind it so I had to pull, not push, were the greatest problems, not to mention the nest of spiders I uncovered. But in a relatively short time I had the whole thing in place (and the spiders drowning in Raid). Then problems ensued: the unit couldn't sit flat, because there was a shiv under one side. So I pulled it out again, lifted, and tried to kick the shiv away. No dice, the stupid thing was nailed to the bottom. I asked Tomi if he had any wooden blocks (I wanted to use them to prop up one end so I could fiddle with the shiv and pull it off). He was fascinated with the new Mp4 and vacantly said no. Under normal circumstances he might have asked me what I needed them for, and disaster could have been avoided...

So, no wooden blocks. I used two firm books instead. This in itself was not a problem; it was actually quite successful, as I managed to yank the shiv away from the bottom of the counter, huge long rusty nails and all. Disaster occurred when I lifted the whole stupid thing off the books to set it right again, and... the top part, which had up to this moment been firmly attached to the bottom, suddenly freed itself and tipped over, face first. I caught it before it got too far, but the doors swung open, and ... I may have left a few things inside. Glass things. Glasses and mugs and things. Including several souvenir and memorabilia mugs. Everything ended on the floor with a horrific crash. Glass shards bounced everywhere.

Tomi came running. He took one look at the disaster zone, threw up his hands, and retreated back to the living room after ordering me to put on some shoes and clean up the mess. I nodded meekly.

But wait, there's more! In the process of cleaning, all I wanted to do was shove the counter back into it's corner so I could sweep unhindered. But the stupid thing was still up on the books. I kicked the books out - the counter stayed magically suspended. I looked down to see what the hell was holding it up and found half a broken shot glass. I jerked the counter down... and the top part completely disattached itself and nose-dived forward again. This time there was nothing left to spill out, so it contented itself by knocking the microwave off the fridge onto the floor.

Again there was the horrible glass-falling sound, this time accompanied by screaming, yelling, crying, and a bit of hysterical laughter (thank god our neighbor on that side is deaf). Tomi came running faster than I've ever seen him move. He helped me move the top cupboard off my arm and onto the floor in the hall, then prudently went outside "for a walk" while I swept up all the glass. He kindly asked me to try not to kill myself or damage anything else while he was out. I seriously considered trying to lift the top part up again (because I wanted everything nice when he came back) but in the end I waited. Mostly because if I had damaged myself or something else...

So he came back, we lifted the damn thing up, and I put everything to rights. And long story short: it looks quite good now, don't you think? No sign of the disaster of yesterday. But I do have to buy a new microwave. And I guess all of my home improvements will be of the buying kind from now on.

Epilogue: This whole episode happened on a Saturday night. Sunday, we inherited a new-used microwave. Monday, I discovered JYSK, which is like a Danish version of Ikea, and spent a lot of money. Everything back to normal ;)


avetter said...

What a hilarious story! I'm sorry that you had to go through all that pain to "tidy" your place! Please don't blow anything up soon! I'm excited to see how the new flat compares to the old house! But now I am very curious about the kitchen arrangement!

Jo Peattie said...

Sounds like my attempts at DIY. It gives you a good excuse to go out and buy some glassware. Glad nobody was hurt badly.