Monday, July 31, 2006

I am woman, hear me...


Twin yellow bruises. One on each leg, just above the knee. Various other discolorations that mark the occasion of a living room rearrangement. Weight on the legs, not the back. I recite this mantra to myself as my muscles and ligaments go into shock, as I balance a bookshelf taller than I am on the top of my legs. It’s 95 degrees in my apartment and the humidity is high enough to verge on requiring gills to breathe. I’m hauling – not dragging – bookshelves around the room. I’m lifting them over the explosion of dispelled books and bric-a-brac on the floor.

I’ve spent two solid hours of the morning sipping coffee and looking at the living room with lethal intentions. I’ve hit the burn-it-or-change-it stage. My insurance isn’t high enough to make me independently wealthy and I’m not an experienced pyromaniac, so changing it around seems to be the only option.

It takes hours. All those books. All that vacuuming, dusting, hauling. The table returns to the tiny dining area. The plants move out. I’m sweaty and panting with effort. I eat boiled eggs and toast in the middle of a suburban war zone where the combatants have tried to kill each other with copies of How to Grow A Novel and small wooden cow ornaments whose "hooves" double as muscle massagers.

A male friend visits the next day. “Did you do all this yourself?” Oh, I’m smug. I’m smirking with self-satisfaction.
“Do you see anyone else here?”

Damn! This makes up for the desk I spent hours assembling, only to haul it upright and have it collapse on my knees. At midnight. It makes up for having to holler for help from my next-door neighbor, Kevin. Who tells me, sympathetically, that I had all the pieces together right, but I just (a tiny detail) didn’t tighten the screws right.

It makes up for the Scorpio snickering at my standing fan assembly last summer. There it was, fanning its’ heart out, revolving like a good fan, upright, sturdy. I was so proud. And he started to grin.
“What?”
“You see that piece there? In the middle?”
“Yeah. It’s decorative.” Oh shit. Shit. It isn’t is it? “Decorative,” I repeat, defiantly.
He gets up, whips the stand apart and puts the decorative piece on the bottom, where, strangely, it actually fits.

Hell.

But now? My friend stands back and observes the rearrangement. “It’s about perfect,” he says. “You got it just right.” I puff up with pride.
“You’ll be moving it in the winter though, right? Because it’s blocking the heat vents?”

Hell.

15 comments:

Jess D'Zerts said...

Just tell him that's the plan, LJ. In the winter it's cold out. The physical activity of moving furniture warms you up and it's more ecological than fossil fuels. You are saving the planet with seasonal variations of the furniture arrangements. And I, for one, thank you! And thank you for the picture too, as it feels quite homey--and we all know how deficient I am in that area these days. I'll take any virtual homey-ness you are willing to share!

beadbabe49 said...

truly, we must be breathing the same air or in matching biorhythmns...I just redid a corner of my living room...bookcases and tables moved also, as well as plants! (although, I did NOT put anything over the heat vent..;)

herhimnbryn said...

Oh Hell! Just look on the pre- winter furniture moving as a good cardio-vascular workout. I say this having just vacuumed the whole ( little) house and washed all the floors! Deep bleedin' joy!

chuck said...

"Blocking the heat vents?"


"Minor detail."

Leazwell said...

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men...

Are you published? You should be. When I read your posts I feel I am in the midst of a novel.

LJ said...

Actually, Jess...I'd like to plead environmental consciousness but I'm with Chuck on this one, "minor detail." Well, I guess we'll see HOW minor when the cold begins. There is space between the bookcases and vents and I'm hoping on the theory that heat rises...rather than head soaks into the back of the shelves.
And welcome to any virtual homeyness you can find. I'm sure that soon you'll have a home. Mainly because your car will become mighty cramped.
And Oregon does have winter, right?

Leazwell, yes I am published - very modestly...a few articles and essays Mostly "literary non-fiction"...which is kind of the style here, I guess. And thank you. That's a lovely compliment.

BB! Seems this is second time we've coordinated on organizing sprees and now Herhimnbryn is on the same cycle.
"Deep bleedin' joy" for sure! While the new and clean lasts.

Jessie said...

Oregon winter varies from place to place, LJ, but in no case is it conducive to living in my beloved minivan! Hey, consider this, even if your theory doesn't work out, at least you'll have some hot novels to read. ;-)

Vita said...

Oh, what a delightful picture of your beautiful clean dust-free newly located bookshelf-blocking-the-vent. All you need are a couple kitties sleeping in the sunny spots.

zhoen said...

Did all that with only two bruises? Wow. I'd've been black and blue. Not to mention the cuts and scrapes.

My mother used to rearrange the furniture in that little house every spring and fall, for better ventilation or use of heat vents.

I never move anything heavy if I can help it. Put it on wheels or leave it there.

LJ said...

Vita, I agree! But Kitties in an apartment with wall to wall carpet & no place to go is not my idea of providing a good home. And Kitties = vet bills. Getting ready to retire, the cuties are out of budget range...

Actually, Zhoen...I had two MATCHING bruises. The remaining dozen were from careening into random corners and falling over lurking out-of-place objects. And I do move heavy things. Point of Pride. I loathe asking for help - and I begin to go absolutely insane in the same, unchanging space. I change curtains and cushions and add rugs, but sooner or later we get to the end of that and it's lugging time.
The worst was switching my bedroom and studio - the studio having, by far, the most crap in the house, (two desks, filing cabinet, computer, 3 book and storage shelves etc.) and the bed being a thick double futon. Moving that futon was like trying to drag two dead bodies. And at one point, I ended up with a desk wedged solidly in a doorway. It was, incidentally, the same night I assembled the collapsing desk.
I was nearly crippled for a week.

Jess D'Zerts said...

Oh, I am so laughing here. We are cut from the same cloth, LJ, and if we ever need a new career, I think we should go with "Coast-To-Coast Big Bookcase Mover Babes, Over 100 Years of Experience! No Extra Charge For Desk Wedgies! (Corpses Must Be Rolled And Tied)"

LJ said...

Jess. Desk Wedgies??? I'm peeing myself here. And..end of the desk story...
What how do you think I thank Kevin, my kind helpful neighbor who assists with the desk? We move it to the other side of the room, Kevin walking backwards...and I wedge HIM (at family jewels level)against the wall! To use KD's phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished."
You think maybe we're too stubborn? Naw.
I prefer to think of it as "motivated."

phlegmfatale said...

Well, in a 95 degree apartment, you can't be expected to think heat would ever again be a necessity, can you? Glad you made a change - I'm sure it was therapeutic!

LJ said...

It was therapeutic. I'm stuck here, for the time, held captive by the decent landlords, proper maintenance & low rent. But the place has carpets everywhere...and doors, everywhere. It's a major challenge to rearrange around those.
And believe me PF, it is NOT 95 in the winter. But I have sweaters.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work » » »