Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Book Things Come to Those Who Wait
After living in our current (upstairs) apartment for over three-and-a-half years, we finally, finally closed off the ledge of doom!
This was so unnervingly dangerous that I'm sorry we let it go for so long. We had considered just putting up a wall to close off the ledge (think: ugly and industrial-looking), or limiting the openness with closely-spaced bars (think: giant crib), or even plexiglass (think: bird flying into closed window).
Ultimately, though, the best idea was to close off the entire L-shaped ledge with book shelves. Several carpenters came over to scratch their heads and pick their wedgies while considering the plausibility of this venture. Most of them wanted exorbitant amounts of money and would not have been able to start the job for weeks or months. The prospect of putting aside any of our tax return started to elude me like a piece of lint floating down over said ledge.
Finally, a messenger from the One Above, under the guise of a hardworking Polish carpenter, came along to ensure that my safety nightmares would stop. Kazik did the job in about a week and a half, charged literally just over half the cost of the other guys, and installed the whole thing last night with another worker.
The work is professional, functional, and much nicer than I had imagined it to be. I thought of closing off the ledge as a necessary evil, and was willing to sacrifice asthetics and a feeling of openness to achieve peace of mind. However, now that it's done, RaggedyDad and I both feel like the wraparound bookshelves give a warm, classy, home-library feel to an otherwise dead space.
We have LOTS of books. Many of them are still in boxes, waiting to be given their spot on the shelves. Our other bookcase unit, bequeathed to us when my brother made aliyah, also has plenty of room on it now, and I'm eager to organize toy bins for the kids on the lower levels.
What's great about having more space in our shelving is that books can actually be stacked single-file in terms of depth so they can all be seen, and books can be organized in a logical way. For instance, my cookbooks (without which I'd still be making only toast, macaroni, or microwave popcorn - WITH the help of an adult!) have a home that places them nearer to the kitchen. RaggedyDad's Russian books along with his father's chess manuals can have their own section.
Religious books can be organized (somewhat) by type or topic. Our relevant college textbooks can all hang out together in a nondescript place and look intellectual all they want. Childrearing books, billions of childrens books, creepy Russian sci-fi books, lame used novels picked up at garage sales, etc., etc., etc. have finally been placed! It's almost movingly beautiful.
Like all home improvement projects, this one is a work in progress, but I'm posting some of the photos. Have a look! (The top photo is "before," the next one is our old set of bookshelves, and the bottom two are views of the "after". p.s. the top molding on the shelves isn't as dark in real life as it looks in the photos)