Bookshelf Drama

According to the BF, I need an intervention.

I currently have 35 books on hold at the library. There are at least 20 books on my Kindle I haven’t read. And there are over 50 books on my bookshelves waiting to have their spines cracked for the first time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore we moved out of the house we were renting, I had two tall cases, with five shelves each, about two feet wide. That resulted in ten boxes full of books when we moved. Then the boxes sat there, lined up against the wall of the dining area, stacked three apiece. And they sat there. And sat there. Over the months, I added another 30 books, perched precariously on top of the boxes, waiting for the day when they’d finally have a shelf to call home.

Finally, after long, tedious months, I managed to unpack them the second weekend in February. Why the long wait?

Let me back up. Back in the 70’s, my dad built a set of shelves to hold my parents’ ever growing library. He built five sets in all, meant to line one (or two) walls, connected end on end. Some cases had five shelves; the others had six. The design itself was pretty appealing to my minimalist aesthetic. They consist of four posts on the outside, with short wood blocks screwed into the posts to hold up the actual shelves. Easy to assemble and disassemble, making moving a little easier. In theory. What I didn’t love was the color. Being the 70’s, they were finished in an orangish stain that just made my eyes bleed whenever I looked at it.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quite that bad. But it was bad enough.

When the BF and I started thinking of moving to a less expensive place last summer, I knew I’d need another bookshelf. Right about that time, my parents decided they wanted to upgrade from the 70’s orange to something more modern, and were preparing to get rid of the shelves.

No, no, wait a minute. Those are perfectly good shelves. It’s not their fault the decade threw up on them.

So I came up with the (not so) brilliant idea of rescuing the poor shelves from certain death and refinishing them. Thus began the long, arduous process of sanding off the old finish, finding out I wasn’t supposed to sand the wood so smooth, having to go back and rough everything up again so the stain would take, then apply a coat of stain. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWait. Apply second coat of stain. Wait some more. Apply sealant. Wait some more.

It took as long as it did because we don’t have the space in our apartment for the sanding and staining, so the entire project was done in my parents’ garage, a 30 minute drive north of where the BF and I live. Everything was finally finished and ready to be assembled when…

…we discovered the posts had warped.

The end result was an assembly project which should have taken only about an hour, tops (I only finished two sets, the remaining three sets of shelves still hideously orange) and took closer to three. We hammered. We twisted. There was bruising and scrapes and cursing and sweat. And then we found that we were short three finished wood blocks and two shelves.

But all is not lost. As you can see, there was plenty of space for all my books, and even room for more. Well, sort of. There’s a small box on the bottom that I haven’t unpacked, and another in our storage space full of books. There were still more that I ended up putting in a giveaway pile because I’ll never read them again. But. I have shelves. Lovely, lovely shelves full of books just begging to be read.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I get the joy of packing up all those books and taking apart the shelves again in a few months when we (hopefully) buy our first house. Hooray?

4 thoughts on “Bookshelf Drama

    1. Ohhh, I remember those days. Which books do I keep? Which ones do I get rid of? I think I kept more than I sold…and then ended up selling them later on anyway.

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