I spent altogether too much time this morning trying to find something I'd once written.
See, yesterday I had a Furniture Adventure, and I was figuring I'd write it up. But it struck me as not nearly as good an adventure as the Great Armoire Adventure, from when I mail-ordered a big cabinet for Lut. I think I must've done that back in 2000 or possibly even 1999, as I couldn't find a record of it anywhere on either OpenDiary or LiveJournal. I think I wrote it down and perhaps emailed it to some friends. Hey, jordangreywolf, tuftears, brennabat, any of you remember me telling the story of acquiring a cabinet/wardrobe?
I think I mentioned already that I broke the arm of the loveseat Lut and I sit in when we're at our computers. It's still under warranty; I bought it back in 2002 for Lut's birthday. At this point, the warranty covers parts but not labor, and not delivery. And home service is not available. So I could either pay $50 to have it brought to the service center, and then another $50 to get it home after they'd fixed it -- plus have to make sure someone would be home for several hours, both days, during their "delivery window" -- or I could bring it myself.
Lut and I don't own a truck, but we've got a couple of friends with pickups, so I figured I'd call and see if I could get someone to help instead of doing the delivery thing. I called Jewel first; she lives closest to us and I know her better than the other friend-with-truck.
The service center isn't far from where I work, but it's only open from 10:00 to 4:30 during the week, and 10:00 - 4:00PM on Saturdays. Jewel has a generally open schedule, so she could help me during the week, but neither this Saturday nor next Saturday was good for her.
Now, I can get out of work early without much difficulty, but Lut's started work again and H&R Block is generally abusive to its employees, and nasty about scheduled time off.
The loveseat is not heavy, and I figured even two flyweights like me could wrestle it from the apartment to the loading dock, particularly with the aid of the wheeled platform that floats around the apartment building. (Mainly used by maintenance to haul trash, but also available to residents for moving purposes.) However, Jewel's got problems with both her wrists, and is now -- I found out when I called -- scheduled for surgery for a shoulder spur. Ow. I told her the loveseat's back came apart, and the base wasn't more than 100 lbs. She figured she'd be okay with moving it about with only me to help. She's actually much stronger than I am. She's a good 10 inches taller and a lot more physically active than I am; I am only in better shape in the sense that my body is not actively working to sabotage me at every turn the way hers seems to be.
So I arranged with work to leave at 2:20PM yesterday, and asked Jewel to meet me at my apartment at 3:15PM, which would leave us with 75 minutes to get the loveseat out of the apartment, into her truck, and to the service center. The service center sounded like a 20-30 minute drive, so this all seemed fairly reasonable.
I caught the bus home, and arrived at my apartment at 3:07 to find Jewel waiting out front in her truck. That was a pleasant surprise.
I went in to the building office to get a card key for the parking lot gate, so we could the truck to the loading dock. Lut, of course, had his gate card in his car, at work. The office provided it to me, and I got the keys to the storage area while I was there, so that I could get my old "desk chair" (it's actually a piece of patio furniture) out of storage. The service center said it'd be 7-10 days before the loveseat would be fixed; Lut and I would both need something to sit on in the meantime. Lut had thrown out his old chair when we got the loveseat, and we hadn't quite worked out what he'd be sitting on for this interim yet.
Jewel and I drove around to the back parking lot; Jewel came in at a bad angle to reach the gate box, which is too low for easy access from a truck anyway. I hopped out to get it for her, and stuck the gate card back into my pants pocket afterwards. She pulled in and started positioning the truck at the loading dock. The gate from the loading dock to the building was closed. I recalled that it used to be padlocked down, at least at night. As we're positioning the truck, a man came running up and said, "Oh, I thought you had the gate up already. Do you need it up?" We said yes, and while we finished backing in the truck, a different man pulled the gate up for us.
We clambered up the tailgate of the truck and into the building; and I tore a hole in my work pants on the tailgate in the process. Whoops. The trestle was in the room by the freight elevator; good. Jewel pushed the button for the freight elevator. Nothing happened.
I pushed the button. Nothing continued to happen. "Do we need to push these up-down buttons above it?" Jewel asked.
"No, those don't work." I pushed them anyway. Nothing kept happening for another minute or two. Now, bear in mind that the freight elevator is the same elevator that the building was built with back in the 1920s or so. There's a gate inside the elevator that pulls down, as well as a door at each floor that pushes in. Both of these have to be closed for the elevator to work. It's quite common for the elevator to be "stuck" on a floor because someone's inadvertantly left the gate up.
So I trekked off to the stairs. I walked up to the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh floors, each time running around to the elevator room to look for it. No freight elevator. I reached the eighth and top floor. No freight elevator. I took the regular elevator down to the basement. No freight elevator. I walked back up the first floor. Jewel was waiting there, with the freight elevator. "Someone had it up on one of the floors, but I didn't have any way of letting you know."
We took the elevator to my eighth floor apartment, manhandling the trestle as we went -- it's never been the best for steering. We left it at the apartment door and went inside. I quickly changed into jeans, and then we moved on to retrieve the loveseat from the den.
The back on each side is a separate, removable piece. I grabbed hold of the back on my side and pulled.
It didn't budge.
I pulled again.
It continued to not budge.
I undid the velcro flap holding it down and pulled again. One side came up; the other stayed put.
I experienced a moment of panick where I feared that whatever I'd done to break the arm of the loveseat was now preventing the back from coming off.
I got down on my hands and knees and peered up at the inside of the loveseat. I eventually discerned that there's a little metal track on each side that a metal tab on the back slides into, and there's a lever on the track that pushes up or down to lock the back in place. I pushed it up and we got the back off on both sides.
We then pushed and pulled and wrestled with the base of the loveseat, unplugging various cords to get them out of the way, and eventually we got the thing around the corner of the den, out the apartment door, and onto the trestle. We paused then to get a drink. I filled a travel mug for Jewel and take my liter bottle for myself. I checked to make sure I had everything I wanted, jamming my keys and my cell phone into my purse. By now, it's about 3:50PM; still plenty of time.
We left the apartment. I propped one of the back sections onto the cart and carried the other. I dropped my purse, spilling the cell phone out onto the hallway, as I picked up the other section to carry it. I dumped my bottle into the hollow of the back section and put my purse back on my shoulder. Jewel put her purse and drink on the card and pushed it towards the elevator.
We got the trestle and loveseat into the freight elevator room. When the elevator arrived, I noticed that someone had recently spilled something-or-other at the edge of the elevator, which is a couple of inches above the level of the floor outside. By brute force, Jewel shoved the trestle over the lip, but in the process the propped-up back section on the trestle fell off into the spilled stuff. I picked it up and moved it to the back of the elevator. Jewel got the trestle the rest of the way inside, but not without causing her drink to fall off the trestle, and face-down onto the floor. "Well," I said, "we can pretend it was part of that spill that was already there."
We got the loveseat back to the truck with some more effort. Lowering it into the truck proved to be a bit more of an effort, especially with the high back of the trestle sort of in the way for the lowering part. But, finally, we're in the truck and ready to go. I go to get the gate card out of my pocket, and can't find it. I checked all my pockets, and the various compartments of my purse. "What I really don't want is to get back upstairs and not be able to find it there, either." We finally asked someone who'd just come in to open the gate for us; without a word, he obliged.
Now we're on our way to -- where, again? I dug the sticky note with the address and phone number out of my purse, and told Jewel the address, and the intersecting highways, but she wasn't sure how to get there. "No problem, we can call for direction on my cell phone." I said, reaching into my purse to ... not find it. Briefly, Jewel debated whether she could find her way there or not. "I'll go get my cell phone," I announced at last. "Want a refill on the drink?"
Back upstairs I go. The cell phone was in the hallway by my door -- later, I learned that my neighbor had seen it in the middle of the hallway and moved it to the door to make it more findable. I picked it up, and, sticky with phone number on it in hand, I went inside to refill Jewel's drink and retrieve the gate card so I could return it to the office. In just a minute or two, I figured out I had put it in my pocket -- of the pants I had changed out of. I got the gate card, and took it, the drink, and the cell phone to the elevator. It's now about 4:00.
The regular elevator was slow to arrive, so I decided to call the service center from there. But now I couldn't find the sticky with the phone number on it.
Back to the apartment. Tore up everything looking for the sticky. Finally, I grabbed a phone book and headed back to truck. By now, it's closer to 4:10.
The phone book doesn't list the service center. I called one La-Z-Boy outlet. "Number out of service". Next outlet: "Wrong number". Third outlet: "OK, the service center is 923" -- my pen didn't work.
I threw out the pen, grabbed a fresh pen I keep in my purse, and wrote down the two numbers for the service cente. In the elevator, I called the service center, and got voice mail at the first. At the second, I got a person. By now, I was back at the truck. I climbed into the truck and handed the phone to Jewel. She dictated directions to me, which I scribbled down. It was about 4:15 when we finally got under way. "Please don't close," I told the service center. "We're on our way." At this point, I thanked Jewel, for probably the third or fourth time, for her having arrived early to meet me initially.
Clouds loom on the horizon. "I hope the rain holds off until we get there," Jewel remarked.
I laughed. "Don't even start to say a sentence that starts with 'It could', okay?"
We got to the first highway just in time for rush hour. We crawled the necessary mile to our exit, got off, and turned the correct direction. "What number was it?" Jewel asked
"3500-something. 3518, I think," I said, peering at a street number we're passing -- 3505. "Should be -- there!" We passed the sign sayng La-Z-Boy, pulled into the next parking lot, and turned around. It's 4:28.
I called the service center again. "We should be right here. We're at your sign and by the Hertz."
"Yeah, you just continue down that road until you pass the Swan's. Then there's an access road and you take it around to the loading dock," Steve at La-Z-Boy told me.
"Do you mean we go straight on this road?" I asked, as we're heading down the road that had the "La-Z-Boy" sign on it. No plaza or buildings were visible, and a left turn loomed. Jewel went straight up the road. It turned into a gravel hill.
"Is there supposed to be a gravel mound on it? Never mind, this can't be the place," Jewel said.
"We'll be right there," I told the service center, and hung up. "It's past a Swan's. I think that's a store. But if you see a giant swan, or a flock of swans, we should be close."
We continued down the other road. A plaza appeared! With a big number 3518 on it! And a Schwan's out front! We pulled around to the back! There was a big La-Z-Boy office there!
No loading dock.
"Are we supposed to continue down that road?" Jewel asked.
I got out and went into the office. Doors open, no one there. "Hello? Hello?"
I called Steve back. "What do we do now?"
"Get out of the parking lot and go right, like you're heading towards Corporate Express."
I'd seen a sign saying "Corporate Express" when we came in ... but that was to the left of us now. I was confused. So was Jewel. She turned right and we spotted another Corporate Express sign. Aha! We drove along the little access road and we saw La-Z-Boy trucks and a loading dock!
"Pull up to the one that's open," Steve told me.
We pulled up. It's 4:35PM by my cellphone, but two men -- neither of them Steve -- emerged and took my loveseat away. They took down my phone number as said they'll call with an estimate on labor. Victorious, we drove off.
I bought Jewel a tank of gas for her trouble. It turns out I can't pump gas, either, but that's not much of a story.
Could've been worse. Could've been raining.