Tuesday, July 05, 2005


This morning I had a piece of furniture delivered from Crate and Barrel. A little background info here for those who don't know: I had an electrical fire at my house a couple of years ago. No one was hurt, which is of course the most important thing, but...I can say from experience that the best thing is not to have a fire. The level of disruption created by a fire is horrendous, and in this instance, to add to that, an unscrupulous contractor made off with a third of my insurance settlement...suffice it to say, it's been a long, hard haul, putting my house back together, room by room.

So this morning I was up bright and early to be ready for the delivery guys, and I'd pulled back the rugs, moved furniture, etc., to facilitate delivery of an "entertainment center" (sort of a horizontal armoire for tv & video equipment) for my gameroom. The first delivery man came into my house, took one look at the doorway of the gameroom, and, grinning broadly, engaged in a bit of schadenfreude

I groaned inwardly and bit my tongue; he and his partner brought the piece of furniture in, on its side, and the first guy again seemed to take an apparent delight in telling me there was "No way" it would fit through the door and into the gameroom. He added, "This is a floor sample, right?" I said, "Yes, that's right." That means I got it for a great price; less than 50% of the regular price, but floor samples aren't returnable, even if it they literally don't fit in your house. He reminded me of this, and looked so pleased with himself that I wanted to kick him. "Well, where do you want it instead of the gameroom?" he asked, still smiling broadly. I told him to leave it right outside the gameroom.

After he left I went online and re-read the "How to Measure" section on the C&B website and found where I'd gone wrong: the guidelines said that the diagonal measurement must be less than A OR B; it should have read the diagonal measurement must be less than A AND ALSO less than B. Disgruntled, I turned my attention to the entertainment center and started thinking, hey, wait a minute, this thing wasn't carved out of a solid block of wood...I got a screwdriver and a square bit and began disassembling the base of the entertainment center...I was grateful to discover it was screwed but not glued...15 minutes later, voila! The entertainment center was a good 8" shorter than it had been, but to my dismay it still wouldn't fit through the doorway.

I went to Home Depot and got a small dolly of my own to faciliate matters, and then I got Mike and Chris, who are 19, to help me with it. After re-measuring and re-calculating, I also got a pry bar from my tool kit and removed a narrow strip of molding from one side of the doorway. We then wedged the entertainment center, on its side on my dolly, into the hall outside the gameroom, as far as it would go. Mike and I were inside the gameroom, trying to turn the piece into the doorframe, and Chris was on the hall side, pushing. He kept saying, "Mom, this isn't going to work", but the more he said it, the more determined I became..."Just SHOVE IT, HARD!" I finally shouted at him, and he did, and then...woo hoo! Suddenly it was free of the door and inside the gameroom!

We then re-attached the base, and before we set it upright, I took an indelible pen and wrote instructions on the bottom about how it was necessary to remove the base and the piece of doorway molding to get the piece into the room.

I felt like calling Crate and Barrel and asking someone to tell the delivery guy that we got it in -

There should be a word for the reverse of schadenfreude, but if there is, I don't know it; nevertheless, I feel it: the boys and I took joyful pleasure in overcoming the negativity of that delivery guy.

Happy Independence Day!
(taking malicious satisfaction in the misfortune of others): he said, "That's not tall enough (referring to the doorway); it's not gonna fit." I said, "Excuse me, but that doorway is 81" high by 32" wide, and the piece of furniture is 58" wide by 70" high by 27" deep, so how is the doorway not tall enough?" He said cheerfully, "It won't be tall enough once I put it on the dolly!" I bit. I said, "How tall's the dolly?" "It's 3 or 4 inches high," he said.


Marc said...

proof once again, that our greatest accomplishments occur at the moment when we PUSH ourselves. When we stretch our borders on what we think is possible!
The opposite of "schadenfreude" is "pleasecomeover"..which is what you should asked the the deliveryman to do once you set up the center!
Hope you are enjoying it..and the satisfaction!
Marc :)

olddog299 said...

My daughter was all of 5. We'd been moving for days to a 3rd floor loft with no elevator. Her favorite chair was the last thing to leave the old apartment. It was huge. It was heavy. There was no way I could get it turned on it's side and into the room (all other large things came in through the windows, but they'd already been replaced and the rental crane sent on its way -- Oops!)

I fell into an exhausted sleep, but she refused to give up. I awoke to the chair sitting in the living room. She couldn't tell me how she did it -- only that she had worked and worked until she'd gotten it turned on it's side and shoved through the door.

Perseverance pays. Good on you.

Kat said...

It was only at this moment that I realized that this story could only have been better had you been telling it as the First Lady. That's ok, I've never really been prone to watching movies and playing scrabble in the Mural Room anyway.

Judi said...

Thanks, guys!

Judy said...

I don't know anyone else who could have figured all that out.

Anthony said...

Good for you! What a feeling of accomplishment...something we all need.