Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Domino Effect

Why does it seem like the simplest of projects often ends up turning the house upside down??

About a week ago, Geoff and I decided that we were going to change the usage of our living room.  We never, ever use the room, and it feels like a chunk of wasted space in the house.  So...for what we think will be fairly little money, we're converting the living room into a library.  We're both excited about it...especially me, I think, given my love of anything bookish. big deal, right?  Just move around a bit of furniture, add some shelving to the living room and start emptying all of my boxes and stacks of books into the new library.  Yah right.  Things are never that simple, though this time it's taken me a bit by surprise as to how much upheaval this is causing!

Here's the cascade of activity that's happening because of that one change:
  • the living room couch, a lovely custom-made confection for our old house in Vancouver (in the days when we had money at our disposal), is too large for the re-vamped room.  So we decided to move it downstairs to be housed in the rec room.  Unfortunately, with two wall gouges to prove the effort, the couch is a few inches too big to fit down the stairs! Now we have to sell it...and repair and repaint the walls of the staircase.
  • We moved a couple of cosy family room chairs into what will be the new library.
  • To finish the look in the family room started by the chair removal, we moved the rest of the furniture out of that room, into the basement; and moved up the large, five-piece leather sectional from the rec room into the family room...which looks awesome...should have made that move a long time ago. 
  • Because we'll be able (obviously) to fill the new library book shelves with all of our books, I emptied the two existing cabinet-style book cases that were in our den/office...and dumped all of those books on to the dining room floor, where they will sit until we get the library shelving in place a few weeks from now.  Here are just a few of many rows of books:
  • The two, now-empty book cases in the office got moved downstairs into the room we are transforming into a schoolroom. 
  • With the bookcases out of the den, we moved the piano around the corner inside the office to make things look a bit roomier.  But with all of the emptying of the bookcases, I've been left with a huge mess in what was a tidy room.
  • I lugged up from storage a massive (and heavy!) buffalo rug that was trophied by my grandfather years ago (and which has been in storage since his death a few years ago), and I decided to see how it would look on the soon-to-be- library floor.  So far, I'd say the cat approves - she spent the next twenty-four hours snuggling into it (she's there right now, too!).
  • We moved up from the basement a couple of solid oak (ie. heavy) cabinets from the basement that we intend to sell.  Anyone in need of side-by-side cabinets?
  • I heaved up the basement stairs the three fake-but-attractive plants that I bought last year to adorn the rec room.  I figured they'd be better in the family room now (and they are).  Two of the plants weren't too hard to move, but the third....well, let's just say that I was grunting and sweating and tempted to do some trash talking about that one's mama.  Neither the situation nor my frame of mind were helped when Matthew, who trailed behind me on the steps as I lifted and shoved the thing up a step at a time, kept saying things like "mom, you're moving kinda slow here - any chance you could speed things up?"  or "mom, do you realize that the little fuzzy things from the plant (the spanish moss) are falling off the plant? You're going to have to vacuum now, too!" I'm sure I cast a you're-toast-if-you-say-another-word look at him, but it failed to affect him as intended - it just bounced right off of his cheerful, unaffected face and he kept offering helpful suggestions.
Thus, as a result of a simple change to our living room, we now have large organizational projects going on in the living room/library, the dining room, the office/den, and the basement. Oh, and the couch and book cases that I need to sell are occupying my front entrance. Great - more organizational projects!  Just what I'm so excellent at...not.  My house is a disaster zone, awaiting quite a lot of work in the coming weeks.  My word, why can't anything ever be simple???

On the other hand, says the ever-optimistic side of me, the re-arranged and re-furnished family room looks awesome, and, best of all, we're going to have a cozy (I hope) little library in our own home; I'll get to empty into it boxes and boxes of books that I've kept from my childhood for my kids to enjoy, many boxes of books that I'm currently storing in the basement because I've got nowhere to put them, and I'll be able to deal (finally) with the stacks of books that are piled up in various rooms of the house.  I am a happy woman indeed!!

Thanks for the comments!
* Joy, yet another thing we seem to have in common!
* Kate, in my HEAD, I know there are people like you, who seem to love this kinda stuff, but my HEART can hardly believe it's possible!  I do agree, though, that the chaos will lead to something that's better than it was before...I just know myself well enough to know that it's gonna take more time than I'd like it to (cause I'd like it done TODAY), to get everything straightened away.
* Anonymous, I love your comments, and thank you for the encouragement about my writing - it means a LOT!!!!


  1. Glad I'm not the only one this happens to...10 years of this has made me tired.

  2. I have LOVED the houses that we have lived in that had a room we could make into a library. I can't wait to see your house this summer!
    so many changes since i was last there visiting with you!

  3. Ruth, to me this sounds EXCITING! I know living in craziness is not fun but sounding like it is all coming together! If you ever want some help give me a shout I LOVE that stuff (especiallly not in my house :) )

  4. i very love your writing choice, very charming.
    don't quit and also keep penning seeing that it just well worth to look through it.
    looking forward to browse through much more of your current stories, cheers!