Wednesday, August 24, 2016

All For The Want Of Bookshelf Space

There once was a mouse; let’s call him Mouse.  Mouse is unhappy with the number of books in the office, so Mouse picks out some books to sell, and a few to take upstairs to the less used bookshelves. Mouse’s wife, hereinafter referred to as Grace I mean Schmrace, feels generous, and carries the books to the car, puts them in a box, and then carries the other books upstairs, and organizes them. When Schmrace comes back downstairs, Mouse hands her a color wheel and tells her to pick a new color for the office.

Schmrace browses colors, and picks a few, but is alarmed to discover that all the bookshelves and the books are suddenly in the hallway. As in, not in the office, where they belong. “We’re doing this now?” Schmrace asks. “We’re doing this now,” Mouse confirms. “Oh, and pick out colors for the upstairs bathroom and the laundry room,” Mouse tosses over his shoulder as he looks for his car keys.

All the furniture comes out of the office; the washer and dryer move to center of the laundry room; fixtures are removed from the bathroom. Painter’s tape is applied, and Lis I mean Little Mouse is allowed to paint the big areas of the walls. Little Mouse is covered in Dresden Blue, Rum Punch Red, and Silver Bells Gray paint. Eventually, the paint dries, all furniture, books, appliances, and fixtures are returned to their rightful places. Mouse declares himself satisfied.

Mouse decides to use the leftover paint to paint the dollhouse he wanted to build for Little Mouse. Mouse brings the paint into the office, and…spills the paint. A lot of paint. On the carpet. “Well,” Mouse says, looking around in dismay, “this is the original carpet, and it’s pretty nasty, so let’s go look at carpet.”

Schmrace packs snacks for the trip to the store.

Mouse and Schmrace talk to the salesmouse about the carpet and pick out some carpet. They discuss the difficulty of having all one long piece of carpet upstairs, with the same carpet being on every inch of the floor. “Oh!” says the salesmouse, “I dealt with that breaking up the carpet with hardwood in the main areas.” Suddenly Schmrace and Mouse are selecting hardwood samples. Schmrace picks several samples that were close to the current downstairs hardwood; Mouse, on a whim, picks a gorgeous grayish brown hardwood. Just for fun.

The grayish hardwood wins. The story behind it is long and unimportant. The new carpet and new hardwood are installed, and lo! They are beautiful, even if the new hardwood does not at all match the bannisters or the downstairs hardwood. The Mouse Family will take care of that in time. Except the hardwood that was installed was defective, so it is torn out and replaced.

Little Mouse is delighted with the new carpet, and rolls around on it. She’s also delighted with the hardwood, and says “Look! I slide in my socks!” and goes flying down the hallway like she’s on skates. Mouse watches her thoughtfully, and asks, “How would you like a slide?” The answer is obvious and immediate.

A modest playset is selected, and built. Little Mouse learns to operate power tools. Eventually, the playset is built and lo, it is glorious. Much fun is had, and Mouse and Schmrace are able to sit and watch Little Mouse play.

As they sit there on their deck and watch her play, Mouse spots a weed.

Mouse pulls the weed, then another, then another. Mouse vanishes around the corner. Schmrace hears the sound of power tools, probably the electric trimmer. Schmrace offers to help, but Mouse tells her to stay there, and relax. Eventually, Schmrace hears “I’m done!” All the bushes are trimmed, and FOUR evergreen bushes are mysteriously missing, or if not missing, are in pieces all over the yard.

“We need to talk tree and bush removal,” Mouse says. Schmrace finds quotes for all of it. While Mouse is cleaning up, he finds a grainy substance. He looks suspiciously at the roof. “Let’s get an inspector out here to see if there’s any hail damage to the roof.” Probably a great idea, concedes Schmrace internally, since she’s been worried about the grainy substance, too.

There is hail damage. Lots of it. The Mouse family needs a new roof, and repairs, and new gutters, and downspouts, and screens. “Well! At least insurance is covering it!” says Schmrace.

The next day, the roof starts to leak—on the brand new hardwood floor. There are many buckets. “Well!” says Mouse, “at least we already know insurance is covering it! So, let’s paint the house.” Schmrace blinks at him.

Schmrace picks out colors for the outside of the house. “Since there’s damage to ceiling in our bedroom, we’ll have to paint,” says Mouse. “Paint the ceiling,” says Schmrace. “Yes, but if we have to move everything anyways, maybe we should paint the whole room. It’s still manufacturer’s tan.” Schmrace does hate the tan color, so she returns to her color wheel.

Schmrace is running out of color wheel options.

The water damage extends to the garage, so it will need to be re-plastered and repainted. This means ripping down the existing shelving in the garage. “It was not too sturdy anyways,” says Mouse. “Besides, we’ve been saving up for years for that gladiator shelving!” Which is true. But…exhausting, thinks Schmrace.

Schmrace and Mouse sit down on the back deck to pick out colors. It’s scorching hot outside. “Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a screened in porch? Or a sunroom? Or a three seasons room that’s sometimes a screened in porch, sometimes a sunroom?” “Yes,” says Schmrace, enthusiastically. “I always wanted that in a house,” she daydreams. “Well, get a quote. We’ll do it in 2018.” Schmrace stares at Mouse and drinks her gin.

Mouse goes on, “We could use the hardwood leftover from the upstairs in it somehow. Oh! As soon as the roof, the tree removal, and the interior and exterior painting are done, get quotes on the downstairs.” Schmrace says, “The downstairs?”

“Well, yes,” says Mouse. “If we ever needed to move, we need the hardwoods to match. Once we strip and refinish the hardwood, we’ll need to paint the cabinet. If we’re doing that, we might has well add another section of cabinets and extend the new countertops. By the way, let’s decide whether we want granite, quartz, recycled glass, or butcher block counter tops. Then we’ll need to refinish or repaint those bannisters.”

Mouse and Schmrace sit in silence, sipping their drinks. Schmrace reflects back to the end of spring, a young mouse blithely carrying off some extra books to make more bookshelf space.

Mouse says, “We can talk about landscaping next year. That reminds me though—we need to put in new mulch this fall.”

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