Tag: Opera Singer

Tomorrow is the Day!

Well, my week of respite is finally up.  I didn’t think I’d need so long to get settled in but having a week’s reprieve between moving day and day 1 has been blissful. I’ve slept a great deal of it.  I’m a little concerned how the cat will handle being on her own for more than a couple hours tomorrow. We still haven’t fully established all of her rules yet.

Here’s Where We’re At:

  • Unpacking is at about 80%.  Mostly ironing and setting up the new desktop computer I bought and trying to figure out if I can get the keyboard shelf reinstalled.  Three boxes that are full of “stuff” still to go.
  • I’ve already lost a knitting needle. I thought for about a half hour that I’d lost a pearl earring.  Size 2 DPNs are much more easily replaced.  Earring has been located but the needle remains MIA.
  • Mail has started to arrive and I met the other neighbors on this floor when they knocked to drop off a box for me! So far so good there, I didn’t really want to have to get a p.o. box.  Might order something non-emergent from Amazon to continue this test theory.
  • The first Netflix has begun arriving.  I have over 400 things in my queue.
  • I can’t get my license or plates updated just yet because you need two forms of proof of residency.  My lease isn’t enough.  I am rather peeved by this because it reduces me to having to put guest passes in my car every day until after Christmas, which is when I next expect to have a full morning to sit at the DMV with all of my paperwork.
  • This means that I can’t get my library card renewed unless I can locate a librarian who knows me. Considering dropping in on Stevi and begging. (I’d bring my lease…)
  • I’ve run out of butter.  This may not seem monumental to some.  AudioGirl recognized it for the potential apocolypse sign it might be.  The past couple of years excepted I tend to bake quite a lot. And baking at Chez Hedgehog usually requires butter. I’m not Paula Dean but a pound in the fridge and a pound in the freezer is pretty standard.  Only…I’ve made four batches of cookies since moving and I only moved one pound.  So when I went to make pancakes tonight (dinner and breakfast tomorrow! thinking ahead), there was not butter.  Fear not, I had lots of really good Wisconsin dark maple syrup.
  • The Opera Singer and I are meeting in a bit to go see Tangled. I’m ridiculously excited at the prospect of spontaneous plans, as this hatched a couple hours ago.  I’m taking her some books that have been waiting for me to ship them to her. Hand delivery is so much easier.

I was flailing online a bit about how I had very little closet space here and the Cartoonist reminded me that I used to live in NY apartments, which also don’t have closet space.  Oh…that’s right I did. First with the girls, then the rookie cop, and then the airline steward. J and I had a better kitchen (of course, he’s since married the Blonde and they now have a basement for storage); C and I had no kitchen cabinetry to speak of; and really–you put five girls in one house and tell me how much storage space there is?  Of course, we had a basement there too.

But it was a pleasant reminder that yes, I have done this before and I can do it again.  I’ll get the 3M command strips that worked so well on my mirror in La Crosse and get pictures hung and that mirror back up and somewhere to put the coats when I walk in.  Possibly also my bathrobe out of the closet.  I’ll take a box to Goodwill or put stuff on Freecycle or Craigslist. I will somehow convince the Brunette and Sibling-the-Elder to play What Not to Wear with me.  I’ll buy a shelving/storage unit for the bathroom and one more set of shelves or something for the living room that I can put my tools and things on. I’ll buy one more bookcase because I really and truly need it.  I’ll start reading those National Geographics I meant to not have to move.

I just have to figure out where all of the small appliances and tools are going. That seems to be what’s eating most of the room.

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

Trying to Make Sense out of the "Kindle"-ing

I’d have had to completely abandon my computer for 48 hours to miss the chaotic conversations swarming around Kindle. What incredible w-o-m advertising!

While there was incredible hype leading up to the release of the I-phone and queuing up to obtain the phones–this seems to have exploded onto the shelves out of nowhere. Last week I’d never heard of a Kindle and couldn’t care less– today I’m wading in stories about it up to my cats-eye glasses.

Brief side note: Thank heavens for the Search function in Google Reader. I was trying to remember which all of the bloggers I read had commented on it and was getting a wee overwhelmed.

I see a lot of pros and cons to this tool and since 26 (what’s in my blog list) just can’t possibly be enough– here is my opinion (supplemented with many other people’s opinions).

1) Large print usage. I see a lot of potential if the print is big enough and many more titles (especially best sellers) being available to older readers. With the aging of our eyes, what a great advantage to have.

2) Smaller than packing Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon for all of those wonderful spontaneous vacations where I can only pack one bag (and that bag must include evening wear).

3) Useful for a constant traveler– the Brunette worked as a flight steward and now is in a job where he travels a TON. He also doesn’t collect books the way I do. I could see this on his Christmas list.

4) Saves trees!

5) Built in dictionary and wikipedia.

6) I don’t need a computer—as I would with Ebooks. (Unless I want to upload stuff to it—like Audible’s audiobooks)

7) “Library” on Amazon.com in case I buy more than 200 books.

8) Could be very useful for textbooks. I’d much rather carry this to school every day rather than the heavy texts—and it would mean I wouldn’t be looking at someone’s scribbles and highlights.

9) Battery life of up to 30 hours. Lots longer than my laptop!


1) I have a reasonably healthy fear that I’ll break it. I don’t do things with touch screens (e.g. large Ipod, Iphone) for the plain and simple reason that I’m very hard on my toys. I have a Sansa that I do enjoy using on occasion but I’ve already scratched up the screen. And my cell phone has had to stand trials of being dropped in puddles, being accidentally sent skittering across parking lots (and subway platforms) when it falls out of my pocket, being intentionally sent flying across the room when I get royally irritated and launch it at the bed. Both of those items are compact and have stood up to the test of being chucked under my laptop and three hardcover books in my carry-on bag. Could the Kindle do that?

2) Cost prohibitive. We’re working towards a $100 web-enabled laptop (currently available at $400–where you get one and you send one to a child in a developing company)–explain to me the reasoning behind a $400 reader. Also– $10 per book. I don’t know about you– but I’m a BIG shopper at used book stores. I can get a lot more for $10 bucks than one bestseller.

3) Forced RSS Feeds– what do you mean they get to pick my feeds? Do you think I’m going to survive without my daily dose of Yarn Harlot?

4) I’m a tactile person… I love old books.

5) Needs recharging. My pocket sized copy of Pride and Prejudice never needs to reload.

6) I can’t share with a friend. I’m a healthy consumer of Regency Romances–I get them from used book stores, charge through them and then (currently) toss them in an envelope and send them to the Opera Singer (not to be confused with the Blonde). I was taking them to her about once every two weeks in a small shopping bag but since the move–we’ve had to make some changes. Too—I borrow and loan books to family and friends all the time.

7) Charging to send files you own to your Kindle unless you connect to a computer and issues with copying various formats. Now doesn’t that sound like a sneaky way to charge you more money. What if I send something to you to read–and I send it to your Kindle. Now you’re paying for everything that I send you? I see potential for spam that costs me money.

8) Can you download from a plane? Or would wireless transfer be useless when you’re in air?

10) “No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments” –just the content bill every time you download something.

11) Not available outside the US and currently only works with a US credit cardHmmmm. Taking a cue from Apple, much?

12) Slightly big brotherish in that they hold on to information about everything you’ve read and bookmarked… yeah the circ desk is chuckling because I put every Regency romance in the consortium on hold but at least once I return the books no one is keeping a record of what I’ve read (except me…) What if a government asks for the reading records?

13) It’s just not sexy. Why did they make it white? One does NOT carry white accessories after Labor Day people!!

14) No backlight. Which renders it useless for reading in the car on long night rides, reading in bed, reading it anywhere that there isn’t enough light. Mp3 Player screens light up for a reason…

15) They say that they have their own wireless delivery system. And that covers where exactly? Even cell phones have “out of range.” I should know—I’m currently hanging out on the Verizon Extended Network.

A nice comparison of book vs. Kindle is here.

Eventually, I could see this as a useful tool. I think that in the future, if price comes down, DRM opens up, they make it black, and other improvements are made—this might be very nice. But I don’t see myself getting one for at least a couple of years (long enough to work on the backlog of physical books on my shelves that I need to read).

Interestingly, it does show that we are still reading—or at least the hipsters with money are. And I will get a chance to play with one– my director put in a purchase order.