Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Degree of Displacement

After many years of living with our yucky, threadbare carpets, we have finally decided to replace our upstairs carpeting with hardwood floors. This is, of course, a non-trivial exercise both economically (the stuff ain't cheap) and in terms of what we might call Degree of Displacement.

The economic part turned out pretty well. Agnes is a marvelous negotiator, and managed to get us a good price on the maple flooring she wanted, including installation and removal of the old carpeting and the cheap parquet flooring underneath, installed by yet another previous owner. Agnes is good at that stuff. I think if the government would let her negotiate with the Iranians, they'd not only pay us to come in and dismantle their "peaceful" nuclear facilities, but to replace them with synagogues.

The Degree of Displacement is another matter. This is a term I have coined to address the amount of flailing agony involved in finding places for all the stuff on and in all the shelves and drawers and cabinets in the affected rooms. You see, the flooring installers will move the furniture out of the way and replace it, but it has to be empty. This means finding a place for all the displaced stuff until the installation is done and the furniture moved back into place.

Until you have had to consider the Degree of Displacement, you never quite realize how much stuff you have. One of the advantages of a long military career was that we had to move every few years, which meant periodically getting rid of enough stuff to meet our weight allowance for each move. Now that we've been in one place for 19 years without the pressure of a pending move, however, we have accumulated a great deal of stuff.

Here are a few observations made over the last few days as we prepare for the arrival tomorrow morning of the installers:

1. Books are heavy.

2. Lots of books are extremely heavy.

3. All the cooking magazines we've been saving because each one had one good recipe in it have, in the aggregate, enough mass to affect planetary rotation.

4. If you dig far enough back in most drawers, you will find things that haven't seen daylight since the Coolidge administration.

5. There is not enough room on the same floor to store all the displaced stuff, which means that most of it must be carried downstairs.

6. Everything carried downstairs will eventually have to be brought upstairs.

7. Ben-Gay ointment does not come in large enough containers.

8. Have I mentioned how heavy books are?

Once the floors are done and everything is back in its place, the house will look wonderful, so we're keeping our eyes on the prize and trying to stay focused on the eventual outcome rather than the immediate aches, pains, and displacement. It's hard, though. One good thing is that I have managed to go through my library and select about 56 cubic yards of books that I can either donate to the library or try to sell through the local used book shops. Agnes hasn't gotten quite that far yet ... every time I suggest she prune her book collection, she gives me a look that would curdle milk and crack reinforced concrete ... but I'm still hopeful.

Stay tuned for the outcome of this major project. We're hoping to have the floors done and everything put back by about mid-week, when the next major project begins: putting up the Christmas tree and related decorations.

I can hardly wait.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



KKTSews said...

I love your term...can I use it? We started a master bath rehab in Oct, due to end by 11/13.....and are still "displaced". We had issues with the cabinets, which had to be reordered. Now we're hopeful to be done by Christmas, but Halloween of 2010 might be more realistic. Moving is painful but easier because it is OVER quickly.
What you can't donate, you should offer on freecycle. It's a great way to get rid of things unfit even for donation. I was happy to get rid of usable stuff from the bath (mirrors, hardware) that way and save adding to the landfill.

Bandit said...

Are you going to get to use any of your tools that were described in a previous post?

Hand the books out the window to Mike who will be on the roof. He will tie a rope around them and lower them to the ground.

Mike said...

"including installation"

WHAT! Your not doing the work? Think of all the fun your missing!

Debbie said...

I can help with issue #3! Start trying each of the "saved" recipes, if good, put it in your computer and toss the magazine. I have an ongoing project of compiling "Grandma's Cookbook", with all of my favorite and old family recipes that I print, put in plastic sheathes, and in binders for the younger generations, and email them additions as I get them. It's a treasure you can leave to your little ones.

Amanda said...

The hardwood floors will look great. I always prefer them to carpet.

After what we went through in the move from Palembang to Brisbane, I'm NEVER accumulating stuff again :). No matter how long I stay here.

Leslie David said...

I live in a small place so I can't accumulate more than the apartment will hold. Books are reviewed and if they meet the re-read policy they stay and if not, they go. I did my own negotiation when I moved across the hall--the deal was I'd move and they'd take out the carpet and put in a new floor, sans carpet for me. It's pergo, but I'm not complaining since I can sweep, dry mop and wet mop every inch of my floors.