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Progress on the Library Reconstruction

April 12, 2012

We have succeeded in moving all the books and the bookcases that could be repaired to the center of our downstairs room so the holes in the walls (some of them cut to see if the insulation was wet, some of them caused by bookcases breaking and falling against them) could be fixed.

We can only speculate on how the backing of that one bookshelf got torn like that. It’s not much of a structural hole, so it will have to wait. We’re working on a deadline here.

A contractor came in and put up new drywall.  Now we are painting the walls white, and the trim a color called “peach champagne,” to go with the light wood of the bookshelves.  Once we get one coat of paint on the 1200 feet of wall and the twelve 16-foot pieces of molding lying on the floor of our garage, then the contractor will come back and put the molding on the bottoms of the walls.  After that, we can start taking books off the shelves again and moving the shelves back against the walls.  Our final deadline is May 18, when we pick up Eleanor, who might like to be able to get into her bedroom around the boxes of books and shelves.  Plus that’s where the “mirrors from hell” are–the ones that we inherited from my parents who inherited them from my great aunt–wrapped in a pink wool blanket in an effort to keep them from ripping us all to shreds. They’re two very pretty Mexican tin mirrors with razor edges.

Ron and I have had fun with a sign we found in the basement when we started clearing it out.  You see it here, hung on the pegboard wall to the right of the new sump pump which is supposed to prevent future flooding, and then stuck in a box with some tools.

It feels like less of a disaster area now, though. It will look nice when we finish getting it painted and repaired, and then we can do some serious work arranging and re-arranging all the books.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    April 12, 2012 8:37 am

    Sounds like it’s coming together. When we moved to our current home, we were sick to death of hauling boxes of books and just slapped them all up in bookcases and called it a day. THey used to be pretty organized. Now…not so much. Eight years later they are more or less where the were when we unpacked the boxes.

    • April 13, 2012 3:52 pm

      My friend Travis didn’t believe we knew where all the books were when we lived in Maryland, and he gave me a quiz; I could lay my hand on every title he named. But since we moved here and had kids, not so much. We’ve had various ways of categorizing books, primarily by genre (baseball, SF, children’s, 18th-C lit with rhetoric and comp) but the “everything else” category was becoming shelves full of “read or reread in the past two years.”

  2. April 12, 2012 8:39 am

    That’s fantastic progress. We did the painting thing with the first flood because that was a way to save money. What a chore–we had to prime the drywall and then paint two coats, all the while working around the construction guys. I say we but mostly it was Kent. I did trim, he did everything else. He still looks back on that time as being the worst part of the whole thing.

    • April 13, 2012 3:54 pm

      We don’t mind interior painting, except for the working all day and then working on the house all night thing.

  3. April 12, 2012 8:45 am

    Wow, it’s looking pretty good. We’re about to tear up our basement (don’t even get me started — repairing something else they screwed up the last time). Yes, again. And then repaint. And add some molding that we never replaced after we dug up the floor the last time. But it’s nothing like what you just did/are doing.

    • April 13, 2012 3:55 pm

      It’s easier for us, I think, because we intend to enjoy our improvements. When you have to do all that work just to sell a house, it’s harder.

      • April 13, 2012 6:50 pm

        Also ours has nothing to do with making it look nice. We’re just trying to make my office less radioactive. Which probably has benefits for me as well.

  4. April 12, 2012 10:20 am

    What a perfect sign! But good job on the progress – that looks like an exhausting task.

    • April 13, 2012 3:57 pm

      It was exhausting to see all the stuff we’ve stored in that basement for twenty years dumped in the garage or pulled around so the water could be drained and the floors cleaned. It’s better to be putting it back together.

  5. April 12, 2012 11:01 am

    Looks like you are making great progress. I wouldn’t even know where to start…and I just love that sign…how kismet.

    • April 13, 2012 3:57 pm

      Knowing where to start is one of the hardest daily parts. There’s still so much to choose from!

      • April 18, 2012 9:43 am

        I think I would have the same problem. My library is still askew 1 year after moving into the new house.

  6. April 12, 2012 7:36 pm

    I’m exhausted just looking at that! 😉

    • April 13, 2012 4:13 pm

      Oddly enough, a really enormous task like this is something that life in academia really does prepare us for. We’ve got to break it down into steps and complete one before we even look at the next.

  7. April 13, 2012 10:55 am

    I’m glad it’s starting to come together! At least you get to rearrange all of your books. That’s always fun.

    • April 13, 2012 4:14 pm

      Yes, it should be. And if it isn’t enough fun, we’ll end up doing what FreshHell did when she moved.

  8. April 13, 2012 11:23 am

    I’ve just started a great book, a old-house-reconstruction memoir. The author notes that, as you are going through a space, taking notes on what needs to be done, the previous owners are *always* idiots with no taste, doing stuff on the cheap, how could they have thought this paint color/drywall/wiring was the right thing to do?

    What, no post on Adrienne Rich’s passing? One can only assume the worst! 🙂

    • April 13, 2012 4:15 pm

      That’s so true about the previous owners. I was a little concerned that I wasn’t a good enough trim painter to paint white around some natural wood dowels, until Ron pointed out that if you look at them closely, they have paint all over the backs. If we didn’t notice this in the last twenty years, he said, we’re not likely to notice my mistakes either.

    • April 13, 2012 4:27 pm

      You may notice that so far I haven’t commented on the death of any author. I like to talk about literature in the present tense.

  9. April 13, 2012 1:14 pm

    The worst is over (the worst being the shock and awe when you saw the flooded room), and you’ve picked a great color, but when you christen the room, remember to drink the champagne and not hit it against the wall.

    • April 13, 2012 4:18 pm

      Um, Gwen? You’ve known me in real life. Can you really picture me not remembering to drink the champagne?!! We’re having a party this Sunday to paint the molding the color we’ve picked out, which is “peach champagne” and I’m serving Bellinis. One of our goals for Saturday is to get enough of the garage cleared out that there will be room to paint and drink.

  10. April 13, 2012 2:15 pm

    Good for you for seeing the silver lining in this!

    • April 13, 2012 4:18 pm

      It was pretty much either that or go stark raving mad. I choose seeing things. Like silver linings.

  11. April 16, 2012 7:58 pm

    You must be so looking forward to the part where you get to arrange the books back on the shelves. Change and stress is awful, but I do love deciding on organizing principles.

    A quick moment of advocacy: Organizing your books on the love principle. In my last apartment but one, I organized my books (within sections — kids’ fiction, adult fiction, drama, poetry, various other categories of nonfiction) — from left to right based on how much I loved them. It was the best organizing principle ever. I was always able to find exactly what I wanted.

    • April 17, 2012 7:16 am

      That’s a good organizing principle! We discussed it, and it immediately became apparent that discussion is most of what would happen if we tried that–with two people (or more, especially with some of the children’s books), it’s not going to be clear who loves what how much and therefore how far down on the shelf it should go…

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