The Case of the Bookcase

It seemed like a fairly typical Sunday midmorning.  Granted, I’d just come back from brunch with My-Friend-the-Lawyer, which was a bit abnormal but still within pattern for our weekend trips together.  As he was headed back across the state via twisty and winding roads, I decided that it seemed like a good day to acquire another bookcase.

This new bookcase would be the seventh of such at Chez Hedgehog.  I have two five-shelf and a three-shelf from IKEA and three low three-shelf ones picked up in a spontaneous afternoon trip to Walmart a couple years ago.

Hmm…weekend afternoons and bookcase shopping. I begin to sense a trend.

I’ve known for a while that I was out of bookcase space.  Piles of books were everywhere; library books were living in an overflowing basket; and I’d started double shelving paperbacks in my bedroom–which always turns into an utter disaster when I’m looking for a specific title.  I have pruned the collection quite a lot. I took another couple of bags in to work two weeks ago and I have two more boxes of Regencies ready to go to the Opera singer.  Still…

I like IKEA, and a friend had mentioned getting a couple of bookcases shipped to her so I moused over to their website to see what was to be found.  I wanted another five shelf bookcase in the light wood color.  And I found one for around$70. That seemed pretty reasonable so I tossed it in my cart and clicked check out.

Now I knew IKEA used to only ship from their Jersey store but I’d hoped that had changed–what with said friend saying she’d ordered stuff.  Apparently not.

Shipping was over $300.  For a single bookcase.

I could have waited and invaded either Chicago or Minneapolis and gone to their IKEAs but it’s going to be a bit before I have a free weekend and I’m not sure if I can fit a 6′ bookcase in my car by myself nor if I would wish to drive with it hanging out the trunk all the way back to La Crosse. I didn’t want to go to Walmart. I didn’t want to go to the antique stores and rummage about either. Whatever I was getting I had to be able to lift and carry myself.  I have a poor relationship with UPS here and wasn’t in the mood to have something shipped (Amazon shipping was over $100 too!) and then still have to haul six foot panels around.

Finally I found something reasonably priced on the Target website that claimed to be available in store.  I set aside my irritation with their recent campaign donation nonsense and was off.

Deceptive packaging, unclear aisles, poor signage, and no sales staff later, I finally located the bookcase! And they had it in the light wood similar to my IKEA shelves.  Only, the box was on a shelf that hit me about chest height–and the bookcase was stored vertically in a 4.5′ box.  With the knowledge that I was going to have to get this thing home alone, I tackled lifting it down.

Okay, that worked, now it’s on the floor, still vertical.

I hefted it up to the cart, picked up a new tea kettle, rejected the water cooker offerings, and checked out.

Nearly dropped the bookcase off the front of the cart in the parking lot and leveraged it into the backseat of the car.  Door shut and yay!

Only…I don’t live on the first floor.  I’m on the second floor and we don’t have an elevator.  And while I could lift the box, the possibility of my actually being able to carry it up the stairs without falling, dropping it, hurting myself, etc was slim.  And so, in a fit of wisdom, I drove home, opened the box in the back seat, and carried the bookcase up in two trips.

Assembly time–adding in the extra help of a feline to supervise and inspect the process.  I put the first pieces together, she hopped in the center of the square.  I muttered things at the screws and said things about alignment and screwdrivers; Gypsy made sure her nose had touched all corners, sides, and edges.  Frame constructed, it was time to nail on the back–which came in two parts.  Laid both on top of the bookcase and immediately there was the cat (small and gray and bright-eyed*).  Only, the backs aren’t secure, so one piece slipped in with cat.  No problem, she hopped to the other back: thud part deux.

I chased her off one half long enough to start hammering in nails–she went and hid under the other piece, pleased with her new hideaway.  Once the first half was nailed down she claimed that as her seat while I hammered the second half down.  At one point I was swinging a hammer about two inches from her paw–she didn’t even twitch, just sniffed the nails.  Nerves of selective steel.

Bookcase assembled it was time to set it up and see if it would stay in the upright and locked position.  I still had a cat on the back on the bookcase but she’s not heavy enough to preclude lifting.  About the time she started actively sliding, she hopped down.

But now! Now there was a new SHELF. She must claim it! I hadn’t even gotten the bookcase leveraged against the wall before she was on it.  At that point, I had a dinner to go to, so I left her enjoying her new perch–though I did throw a couple of boxes on the bottom shelf to try and keep it from tipping when she hopped up and down.

When I got home and found the bookcase still standing, it was time to add shelves. Shelf One went in at the height of “can I fit a DVD in here.”  Shelf Two was “Tall Hardcover Book Height.” Shelf Three is fixed and I figured that was roomy and spacious enough for a small gray one.  Shelf Four went in at “Magazine Height.” This left me “3 Ring Binder Height” for the bottom shelf.

I cleaned out the library basket; I raided all of my piles and caches of books to be read; I gathered my knitting patterns. Gypsy was very disturbed and spent the next hour crying as she tried to figure out why I was making changes in her universe.  I ended up having to put books on her middle shelf, but I left plenty of sitting room for what I am sure will be a favorite spot.  The National Geographics that are being ignored got their own section. I realized I don’t remember reading the last three issues of Vogue Knitting.  The bottom shelf became knitting books and the next box that’s going to the Opera Singer.

It’s done.  The top two shelves are mostly library books.  The third shelf is masses of historical romance.  The fourth shelf magazines and the fifth knitting and box.  I’ve added couple of stuffed animal bookends and moved a couple of favorite hedgehogs to the top.  Gypsy seems to have finally accepted that the cool long box has left for the garbage. I think she’s still upset that I took over “her” shelf.

It’ll have to do until I get my floor to ceiling Beauty-and-the-Beast style library.

*bonus points if you can identify that picture book

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  1. Ping from First Sentences…: Hedgehog Librarian:

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