Monday, October 17, 2005

A Day in the Life...

I volunteer for HAHS (Hooved Animal Humane Society) and I was supposed to work the booth at an event on Saturday. This meant that I was up at 7 am on a Saturday morn. Ugh. Not content to find something close, I have to travel about 60 miles each way to get to Woodstock, IL - where HAHS and Saturday's event are located.

I finally arrived at the event, almost an hour late thanks to the beaucoup amount of construction, to find NO ONE there. The booth wasn't set up, it was a giant garage sale at the county fairgrounds and there were maybe 10 cars in the lot. I called the volunteer coordinator who called the director who said, 'Can it, just bring the booth stuff back to the farm.' Alrighty. So, I found myself 60 miles from home with the whole day stretching in front of me. *grumble*

After thoroughly rooting around at the garage sale (and finding much cool stuff), I decided to go home and take a nap. Except I wasn't willing to get back on the highway, given the construction gridlock I knew was I decided to take an alternate path home.

By alternate path, I mean that I wandered off in the general direction of home, taking whatever roads struck my fancy. My family gives me no end of grief over my nonexistent sense of direction, but I enjoy my rambles.

In this case, I was on some road, somewhere north and west of home when I saw a sign saying 'Autumn Drive - crafts, art and more.' 'Hmm, sounds cool,' thinks I and away I went. And it really was - I hope I can find it again next year, 'cause I had a wonderful time!

First, I found huge, bushy, beautiful mums, at a fraction of the cost in the store. They were out of the color I liked, but the nice lady said that another truck was coming and if I returned in 45 minutes or so, I'd have my pick. Coolness! So I wandered onward.

I stopped and sampled some yummy preserves, looked at photographs and played in a corn maze and then... I found the antiques barn. And I walked in and a golden light shone down and there was a heavenly chorus and... okay, not really. BUT, I had found a china hutch. Yay!

Those who've seen my apartment also give me grief, 'cause I've been there more than 2 years now and it looks like I moved in last week. I have very little furniture, and many, many cardboard boxes. So, me actually buying a piece of furniture is a very big deal.

And my hutch is beautiful! It's made of maple, stained dark, like walnut. and it's got glass doors on the top 2 cabinents and wonderful trim and ooh, I'm so happy with it! Yay! I told the man that I'd take it if it would fit into a jeep cherokee. (By now, the mums were completely forgotten - my whole brain was occupied by the hutch.) So he measured it and mumbled to himself and measured some more, and said that it's 2 pieces and it would probably fit... he thinks... probably.

So I went back to get the jeep, which was parked 1/2 mile down the road by the flower place, and when I got there, the truck had just arrived. The hutch was too wonderful to completely slip my mind, but I was once again concentrating on mums. I bought 3 pots of mums, each of which were about 2' high and 1.5 - 2' in diameter. (Two are a lovely scarlet/burgundy shade and one is a sunny yellow.) Then I drove back to the furniture guy...

Where I had to spend a few minutes emptying the back of the jeep of the mums and all the treasures I'd picked up at the garage sale, and the 2 bins of assorted things I find necessary to daily driving, while the man's eyebrows climbed ever higher. It took 3 guys, but they got the hutch into the jeep. Then it took me another 10-15 minutes to find a way to cram everything else back in around the hutch. When I was done, the guys who bet I'd never get everything stuffed back in there had to pay off the guy who said I would. Ha!

And so we return to the totally-lost part of the day wherein I attempted to find my way home. It took me an hour and a half, but eventually my theory that if you just drive far enough, you'll eventually find a place you recognize proved to be true yet again. And really, it wouldn't have taken me any longer to take the highway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So, Gentle Reader, we have arrived at the nearly-squashed-like-a-bug portion of the day when I decided against calling a co-worker at home to borrow her 6'2" husband and football-playing teenage son for help in unloading the hutch from the back of my vehicle. Oh no, I can do it. Just because it took 3 guys to get it IN the jeep... bah! The top of the hutch was the easy part. I got it out of the jeep and, inching it along, into my (Thank you, God!) first floor apartment. The bottom half of the hutch took a bit more effort to remove, and led to the first "uh-oh, I'm gonna get squished" moment of the day, but with a last minute heave, I saved myself (and the hutch) and got it upright and on the ground. Scooting it in through the sliding glass door was an adventure, but I did it. yay, me!

I had barely gotten it inside when my cat was under it then on it then under it again. She's adventure kitty and leaves no new thing unexplored. This led me to worry since the top of the hutch is, well, top-heavy and I KNEW that the furball would be climbing around on it if I left it where it was. So I had to devise a plan to get the top of the hutch onto the bottom of the hutch, where it belonged, before Sophia managed to tip it over. (Of course, my own impatience to have it together didn't factor in at all.)

For my birthday a couple of years ago, my parents bought me a fairly sizable TV. Once I had heaved it into the apartment, I had to figure out how to get it onto the stand. My plan included constructing 'steps' of boxes of books, so I could lift the tv up each step until it was high enough to scoot onto the stand. That plan worked beautifully, so I decided it would work again for the hutch. The fact that the hutch was much heavier and quite a bit larger never dented my enthusiasm.

It took a couple of attempts with differently sized stacks (leading to more of those "uh-oh" moments), before I found the perfectly-sized stable object to use as the highest 'step' before the bottom of the hutch. This object turned out to be one of the two end tables that I dumpster-dived months ago. Procrastination pays off - I meant to haul those things to Goodwill ages ago.

Once I had my two stacks ready, I scooted the top of the hutch over, braced one side with my foot and pulled so that the other side lifted up to the level of the first 'step.' Then I pushed until it was up and resting there. So far, so good. I repeated this to get the hutch onto the end table. This was a bit trickier, and the cat winding around my legs didn't help, but I managed. For my next trick, I had to do the same thing to get it to the bottom half of the dresser. And here, my plan started falling apart. I hadn't positioned the steps correctly, so I couldn't really get it where I needed it to be for the last shove onto the dresser. And the height difference between the hutch and the end table was more than I thought it was when I was planning this. AND I had moved the bottom step out of the way in the process of fighting the accursed thing onto the end table, so I couldn't really reverse directions so I was stuck. Trapped like a rat with no place to go but up. *sigh* Why do I always do this to myself?!?

In wiggling the top over to the edge of the end table to try for another angle to get the the bottom, I had my next "uh oh" moment. The hutch started obeying the dictates of gravity, toppling gently away from me. I pushed off in the other direction, hard, which (amazingly enough) worked. I had a couple of seconds to think, "Ha! It worked!" and then the hutch started towards the ground in MY direction. Uh-oh. Scrambling frantically, I shoved upwards. This see-sawing continued for a while longer before I finally gained control of the remarkably unwieldy top half of my hutch. On a positive note, the cat took off for safer ground at some point during the struggle.

Finally, I had the top where I thought I needed it, sorta. More struggling got me to the point that the top of the hutch was balance, precariously, between the bottom of the hutch and the end table. Once again, gravity (never my friend) conspired with the hutch, which started to topple in my direction. And again, an adrenaline-fueled heave of desperation saved me. Actually, this time it didn't just save me, it allowed me to shove hard enough to get the freakin' thing up and onto the bottom. FINALLY!

After a bit of careful adjustment, my wonderful china hutch is together. Even more amazing, I was careful enough with my lifting that even though I am sore, my arms and legs took most of the abuse, leaving my back mostly unscathed. Of course, my arms are mostly useless, very bruised noodles...

So ends the day's adventure, with me flopped on the couch holding frozen peas to my bruises while the cat stuffed her furry little body into every shelf and cupboard of my beautiful new china hutch.

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