Tuesday, July 06, 2010

This Is Going So Much More Smoothly Now That Someone Else Is Doing It

Last Tuesday, the day after B. died, I was no longer in tears, but just very sleepy. At odd moments, I think of her and am surprised anew that she’s gone. On Wednesday evening, I took my bike to Freewheel so Jason could build the new less groovy wheel, but he was out ill, so I rode over to the Zen Center, had dinner there and stayed for Wendy Lewis’s dharma talk.

On Thursday, something very wonderful happened: I got to meet in person someone I met online the better part of a decade ago. Stacie came to town for a writers workshop and we had lunch at the Osha Thai at Third and Folsom, and it was splendid.

Friday afternoon found me in a mood of firm resolve.

Some two or three years ago, I bought a replacement roll-up shade for my closet, but of course had not gotten around to installing it. Maybe eight months ago, I bought a latch for something that was loose in the kitchen, and a few months later, obtained a piece of square metal tubing that I thought would make a good replacement towel bar once the sharp ends were filed down and it was cleaned off; the old one was broken by a plumber

These small undone tasks were weighing, however slightly, on my mind, and then, late last week, I received a replacement Levolor blind for my living/dining/sleeping room, and reached the tipping point, as I contemplated one more not-done thing queuing up behind the others.

As I left work for the long holiday weekend, I vowed I would not watch a single DVD until all four items were complete and, when I arrived home, began with the most daunting, the blind. The slats of the old one could be opened and closed, but the overall blind could no longer be raised and lowered, so I’ve been looking out through the slats for the better part of a year.

The old blind was actually still under warranty, though it was about eight years old, and I could have returned it and had it repaired. I’d actually obtained a piece of modern day oilcloth to put in its place while it was traveling about the country, and that would have been the more environmentally friendly thing to do, but I realized that, because it involved more steps, it was literally never going to happen.

I got out the original instructions for installing the blind, set up my ladder and tried to take the old blind down, making several trips back and forth to the Mac in search of more helpful instructions. I found a handful, some of which contradicted others, and nothing worked.

I’ve reached that age where at least one body part is always killing me, at the moment my left shoulder and left elbow. My elbow, in particular, is so excruciatingly painful that I can’t believe blood isn’t dripping out of it. Wrestling with the blind hurt tremendously, but I tried several times and didn’t even lose my temperthe energy needed for flying into a rage was probably going straight into producing physical pain.

Obviously it had occurred to me after five minutes to call Tom and ask for help, but I resolved not to take the easy way out and it was a good 25 minutes before I decided to transcend this artificial and self-imposed limitation.

Since this blind was (tsk) going to go into the trash, anyway, all but the head rail, obstinately clinging to its brackets, was redundant, so I cut some of the lines and when Tom arrived, the blind was hanging down in a most artistic manner.

I asked Tom what he was doing that evening—would he like to install a Levolor blind, install a roll-up shade, file and clean a towel bar, and install a latch? I said if he helped, I would treat him to dinner at Herbivore and he agreed.

Then, lest I incur any injury, I retreated to the other side of the room, affixed my safety goggles in place, and mentioned approximately a million times that it was my hope that after the new middle blind was installed, its top edge would be level with the top edges of the two outer blinds.

In the end, it was not—it’s lower—but if you aren’t willing to do something yourself, you can’t be too particular. Unto itself, I must say, the new blind is perfectly level—unlike the new latch, which was one of my tasks and is blatantly crooked—and it doesn’t really bother me that the blind is lower than the other two, since it’s the one in the middle. It’s symmetrical, anyway.

While Tom was working on the blind—he’s a regular at the gym weight bench and removing the old one took an immense effort on his part, so I didn’t feel bad about not being able to do it—I installed the latch (crooked), filed down the ends of the towel bar, and discovered that the roll-up blind was the wrong size. Then Tom cleaned the towel bar with paint thinner and I installed it. Tom thought he might be able to use the roll-up shade intended for the closet at his place, so I gave it to him.

We had a nice dinner at Herbivore, followed by a trip to a new organic ice cream place in our neighborhood, and I am delighted with the sturdy new towel bar, the latch, and finally to be able to open all the blinds in the main room.
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