Monday, March 28, 2011

Cuttin' Up

My husband vehemently disagrees with me on this, but I think my old apartment was pretty awesome. I mean, it had a dishwasher, which, in my mind, erases all of the cons.

Fact: Washing dishes by hand is the leading cause of dishpan hands - an unbearably horrific condition.
Fact: Washing dishes by hand requires the foul act of touching dirty dishes.

Before I had a dishwasher, I addressed these concerns by wearing rubber gloves to wash dishes and/or leaving them to pile in the sink as long as I could stand, but I still found dishwashing a hateful and tedious chore that should be outsourced to machines at any opportunity.

Granted, my tiny apartment had a few problems:
  • Plush, powder blue carpet covered the bedroom and hallway floors.
  • The counter around the bathroom sink was made of a problematic fiberboard material that warped when it encountered water (good choice for a bathroom). 
  • I lived next door to a shut-in who periodically came out of his apartment to yell at me for various imagined infractions - usually "slamming the door". To be fair, his hair appeared to have been constructed out of an animal pelt, which would make me angry at the world too.
  • It was the only city apartment I've ever been in that had unfinished wood floors. I thought it gave the living room a cozy cabin-in-the woods / barn-like ambiance, though others referred to it as "gross" and "difficult to clean".  
  • The floorplan was strange and inconvenient (see below).

Entering the apartment, you found yourself in a dark, narrow, windowless hall with those same unfinished wood floors, directly facing a closet. The closet door opened outward, while the apartment door opened inward, meaning that the two doors, if opened at the same time, would stick together. Overall, this made it a pretty inconvenient set-up for moving large items into the apartment. Fortunately, when I arrived in town from grad school, I had almost no furniture so didn't notice the problem until about a month later when I bought a small couch and the delivery men were unable to fit it through the front door/entryway. After about an hour of trying to wedge it through the door, they angrily gave up and made me pay approximately the value of the couch for a "breakdown service." A man from West Virginia came in, disassembled the couch and then put it back together inside my apartment.

All that worked out great for the next few years that I lived there. The couch got nice and comfortably worn-in to the point where I was nearly afraid to sit on it.

When I finally decided to move out, I knew the couch couldn't come with me. After all, it looked like it had been through several world wars that had been fought by cats.  I wasn't sure how the h*ll I was going to get it out of the apartment, but I knew I wasn't paying to have it disassembled again. I tried to sell it on craigslist, which didn't fail to find me several buyers willing to drive 50 miles for a $2 ottoman and scream at me on the phone when I sold it to the first person to arrive at my apartment, but there were exactly 0 takers for the couch. So I did what I always do and procrastinated until the weekend I had to move out to figure out what to do.

By the time the weekend rolled around, a decision - however undesirable - was magically made for me (procrastination has yet to fail me on that count). My only remaining option was to disassemble the couch myself, which I knew I could handle, because I had a toolkit and a fiance. In addition to a tape measure and a few nails, the toolkit contained two tools that I thought were totally up to the job.

With that, I formulated a plan that was equal parts desperation, overconfidence, and complete lack of experience with woodworking. That weekend, my fiance and I would take apart the couch ourselves, reducing it to pieces small enough to get out of the apartment and leave on the curb for bulk trash pickup. For reasons that still remain unclear to me, my fiance actually agreed to this plan. And that's probably why he's now my husband.

Anyway, we first tried picking up the couch, which weighed approximately 3 tons, and made one last-ditch effort to force it out the door. Fail.

So we started on the destruction, feeling a little like Dexter. Initially, I found the process very thrilling.

My first instinct was to saw off the legs, a simple step that I thought might enable us to get the rest of it out the door. So I gleefully began to saw. And sawed. And sawed. And sawed. After about five minutes, I laid on the floor, completely exhausted. I had managed only to put a small scratch in the leg, which seemed to be made of some kind of advanced hardwood-diamond composite material.

Moving to plan B, we decided to try and knock/rip the thing apart using our bare hands (and possibly the hammer), Pumphrey Brothers-style. That sounded awesome. Then we tried it. Unfortunately, not only were we not martial arts experts, but all the pieces of the frame were held together by industrial-strength staples and nails spaced about an inch apart and coated with a thick layer of wood glue. Also, when struck against the couch frame more than once or twice, the head of the hammer would fly off.

At this point, I started to weep and beat my fists helplessly on the couch, visualizing my security deposit slipping away as the couch sat there mocking me, wobbling on its damaged legs. My fiance, always more level-headed than I am, wisely ignored my meltdown and continued to hit the couch legs over and over with the hammer until they came off. I, meanwhile, ripped uselessly at the fabric covering the frame, mainly exposing hundreds of sharp industrial staples.

A day later, we had the legs off and decided to make another run at the door. Since I had stripped most of the material off the frame, I had rendered it nearly impossible to carry comfortably. However, our final round of destruction did the trick, and we were able to force the carcass of the devil-couch out of the apartment (deeply denting the closet door in the process), get it into the elevator, and carry it down to the street. I may have had severe lacerations across my hands and arms, but I hadn't felt this good and free in a while.

When we came back up, I took one final look around the apartment and made sure to slam the door on the way out.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Attention Surplus Lethargy Disorder

Okay, so I totally missed the joy of Alternative Universe Month, as I've been living in the alternative universe of Too Much Work.

If there's an opposite of ADHD I definitely have it. Especially when I get busy, I can fixate my attention on only a very limited set of things (even when they're not interesting or fun or rewarding) and I block out everything else. I guess that would either be called "OCD" or "normal" or "narcissistic jerk", depending on your perspective. So when I get busy with a project at work, life falls by the wayside, which becomes unfortunate for things like blog updates and laundry.


Anyway, lest this blog be confiscated by the authorities for reasons of severe neglect, I'd better start posting again. Which, coincidentally, works out because I just took a few days off, and I'm TOTALLY WORKING ON A POST RIGHT NOW!